Posted by & filed under Change, Innovation/Creativity.

During the extended leave of lead singer Natalie Maines, Dixie Chicks sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire got restless. Drawing on their childhood experiences, the two decided to form a new duo, Court Yard Hounds, to begin producing folk-pop music.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What type of change led to the formation of Court Yard Hounds? What forces drive this change?
  2. Arguably, fans of the Dixie Chicks will have mixed reactions to this change. How should Emily Robison and Martie Maguire deal with resistance?
  3. Creativity is fundamentally the same wherever it occurs, but the creative process may differ from one context to another. Discuss the creativity associated with this new group and their music.

SOURCE: E. Gardner, “Two Dixie Chicks Decide to Run With the Hounds,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2010-05-07-courtyardhounds07_ST_N.htm)

Posted by & filed under Human Resource Management.

One thing is certain (beyond death and taxes), if you sit through enough of them, sooner or later you learn to hate performance appraisals. The article contends that it is time to put an end to performance appraisals because they are hopelessly flawed. After outlining the problems inherent in this process, the author suggests it does not have to be this way.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Your text identifies two main purposes for performance appraisal. Which purpose does the article contend is dominant? The fact that one purpose is served more often than the other is not a problem. What about the nature of how performance appraisal is conducted makes this a problem?
  2. Review the different performance appraisal methods. Considering what you learned, how does this support the article’s contention that performance appraisal is flawed? What method(s) what you use to overcome the problem identified in the article?
  3. Use compensation to form an argument for why performance appraisal should continue.

SOURCE: S. A. Culbert, “Yes, Everyone Really Does Hate Performance Reviews,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB127093422486175363.html)

Posted by & filed under Ethics.

In another very public case, Goldman Sachs executives faced tough questions at the hands of members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Investigations Subcommittee. Senators were unrelenting in their questions about reports that Goldman sold a product to clients, who eventually lost considerable amounts of money, while hedging (investing on the belief it would fail). Goldman representatives denied wrongdoing and argued the practice was not illegal and that the company had no obligation to report its position to clients.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Goldman contends that there is nothing illegal about what it did. What type of ethical argument is this? What alternate views might suggest that what they did is unethical?
  2. Which ethical dilemma would be most likely represented by the charges against Goldman?
  3. Reconsider the argument offered by Goldman trader Fabrice Tourre. What stage of moral development does this justification represent?

SOURCE: J. D. McKinnon & S. Craig, “Goldman Is Bruised, Defiant in Senate,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471204575209822231959684.html)

Related video clip:

Posted by & filed under Motivation.

Even as a hobby, stamp collecting is not at the forefront of public awareness. Stamp collecting has been around for nearly two centuries and is big business for some, but interest is declining. Yet for 2,000 of the world’s top collectors, stamps are an obsession.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What need level(s) is/are satisfied for stamp collectors such as Maurice Hadida?
  2. As an avocation, what aspects of Acquired Needs Theory explain the motivation of a top-level stamp collector?
  3. Using Expectancy Theory, explain why the motivation to win the world stamp-collecting championship would be low for a new collector.
  4. How might Goal-Setting Theory help a new collector achieve competitive status at the international level? Using Management Smarts 13.1, identify relevant goals for reaching that status.

SOURCE: M. Colchester, “As Stamps Lose Hold as a Hobby, These Philatelists Push the Envelope,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703494404575081703712186376.html)

Posted by & filed under Individual Behavior.

Ohio University wide receiver Taylor Price never made much of a name for himself in high school or college football. That is, until he was invited to play in the Senior Bowl and participate in the recent NFL combine in Indianapolis. Against better known players from football-rich schools, Taylor set about showcasing his talent with a quiet determination. His confidence was rewarded and Taylor’s stock rose on the NFL draft charts. Taylor was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round as the 90th overall selection.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Discuss how playing wide receiver for a non-passing high school program and playing at a mid-major school like Ohio University might influence the perceptions of Taylor Price as a legitimate NFL prospect.
  2. Consider all the personality dimensions/traits outlined in the text. Which ones define Taylor Price as an individual? Identify any traits that help or hinder him as a football player.
  3. How would you describe Price’s attitudes toward football, his experiences in high school and college, and his chances of success at the professional level?
  4. In what way, if any, do emotions play a role in Price’s success as a football player?

SOURCE: K. Gordon, “Late Riser: Taylor Price of Hilliard Has Moved Up the NFL Draft Charts,” Columbus Dispatch (Retrievable online at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2010/04/19/late-riser.html)

Posted by & filed under Planning.

The wireless phone market is nearing saturation and the number of new subscribers has been dropping for two years. Service providers are faced with declining revenues and the reality that they must look for other revenue streams. AT&T holds a strong position due to exclusive rights to provide services for the iPhone, but this is not guaranteed indefinitely. The communication giant is looking to demand for Web services on the go, connected devices, and emerging technologies in its quest to retain the #2 position in the market.

QUESTIONS:

  1. In a general sense, discuss why planning is necessary as “AT&T looks beyond the iPhone.” It might help to think historically about AT&T (i.e., where they have been, where they are now, and where they might want to go).
  2. What type of planning is involved at AT&T?
  3. What would drive AT&T to begin this planning process? Discuss the role of planning tools in that regard. How should these tools factor into future planning?

SOURCE: N. Sheth, “AT&T Looks Beyond the iPhone for Growth,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704133804575197723800822504.html)

Posted by & filed under Human Resource Management.

A comprehensive study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and McGill University shows the United States trailing other economically competitive nations in terms of benefits guaranteed to workers. These benefits have implications in terms of productivity, leave, and the cost of doing business.

QUESTIONS:

  1. From the standpoint of general recruiting, what advantages do paid sick leave and other benefits offer employers?
  2. Consider the argument advocates use for paid family leave. Are there potential legal risks from not guaranteeing maternal leave or leave for family care?
  3. Work-life balance is an important dimension of maintaining a quality workforce. Discuss the implications of providing or not providing benefits in terms of worker productivity.
  4. Re-read the short section on fringe benefits in your text. Discuss some of the reasons employers, particularly small companies, might be reluctant to provide the benefits mentioned in the article.
  5. In terms of strategic human resource management, why might companies want to consider providing these benefits even if not legally required to do so?

SOURCE: Anonymous, “U.S. Lags in Paid Sick Days, Work Benefits, Study Says,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2009-11-17-benefits_N.htm)

Posted by & filed under Control.

Skilcraft pens are a government icon. The pens trace their origin to the Wagner Act, which established that the government would buy a certain amount of goods produced by blind workers. The specifications for the manufacture of these pens are exacting, but their performance has been unsurpassed for decades.

QUESTIONS:

  1. It is just a pen! Discuss why controlling is important for the government ballpoint pen.
  2. What type of control is used to ensure consistency in the production of these pens? What is the control mechanism?
  3. What type of standard did the government establish for its pens? Identify the specific standards mentioned in the article.

SOURCE: Y. Q. Mui, “Low-tech Skilcraft Pens Endure in a High-Tech World,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/17/AR2010041701297.html)

Posted by & filed under Leadership.

Recent research into men’s friendships reveals that men rarely discuss personal and family issues with their male counterparts. Instead, men are more activity-oriented and prefer to reminisce about the past. In contrast, women prefer to pour out their hearts to one another. Men just want to keep their social relationships simple. First and foremost, the article raises the question about whether there is a connection between social styles and leadership styles.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The present study calls into question Gender Similarities Hypothesis. Think about this. Do differences in the way men and women approach social relationships translate into differences in terms of how they lead? If so, what might the differences be?
  2. The article is directly relevant to emotional intelligence. If we accept that men and women deal with emotions differently in social relationships, will they do the same when leading others? What does this suggest about the management of self as a leader?

SOURCE: J. Zaslow, “Friendship for Guys (No Tears!),” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304620304575166090090482912.html)

Posted by & filed under Planning.

Wal-Mart is known nationally as a discount retailer, yet the company is stepping up efforts to market itself as a low-price leader. Current advertising focuses on internal operating efficiencies that are helping keep prices down. This strategy was implemented because the discount giant believes that consumers are still concerned about the economy. At the same time, the company announced plans to offer 3-D television later in the year, a move clearly tied to an economic rebound. Some analysts are questioning the feasibility of such a move.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Use the planning process to imagine the steps Wal-Mart took to develop its price-cutting strategy.
  2. In terms of planning, is low price leadership a strategic or tactical move? Can you make an argument for both?
  3. Watch the related video clip. The analyst suggests that there is a lot of uncertainty about Wal-Mart’s ability to offer 3-D television this year. In terms of planning timeframe, is Wal-Mart’s decision a short- or long-range plan? Why would Wal-Mart adopt this perspective? What planning tool(s) is Wal-Mart utilizing to make this decision?
  4. Now consider the implications of Wal-Mart’s two-pronged strategy. How should cutting costs and introducing cutting-edge high tech products affect the planning of Wal-Mart’s suppliers and competitors?

SOURCE: M. Bustillo & T. W. Martin, “Wal-Mart Bets on Reduction in Prices,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304198004575172271682347064.html)

Related video clip: