Posted by & filed under Strategy.

Shares of Lululemon Athletica—founded in 1998 and based out of Vancouver—dropped 4%  on 9th September 2011. This was despite a 40% increase in its sales and 76% increase in its profits in the second quarter. It is expected that high labour and material costs will put pressure on Lululemon’s profit margin in the third quarter; however, Lululemon has no plans to pass on the increased costs to its consumers. Lululemon adopts the “scarcity model” for its stores to increase consumer demand—this has led its sales per square foot to far exceed those of its competitors like Roots, Gap, and Target.

Questions

1.  Do you think maintaining their price will help Lululemon? How?

2.  Which strategies can Lululemon adopt to differentiate itself from its close rivals like Roots, Gap and Target?

Source: H. Shaw, “Lululemon dips despite solid sales”, Financial Post (Retrievable online at: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/09/09/lululemon-dips-despite-solid-sales/)

Posted by & filed under Global Management.

According to the World Economic Forum, this year Canada slipped to 12th position in Global competitiveness. As the Canadian economy slowed down, it lost its position among the top 10 global competitors to emerging economies from Asia. While emerging economies showed robust growth, the developed economies were mired with slow recovery and high unemployment. While in absolute terms, we see a marginal increase in Canada’s competitiveness, however, there is a higher relative increase in competiveness among competitor nations. Canada needs to improve its score on foreign direct investments, trade tariffs, and wasteful spending, while at the same time effectively use its resources (people and products) to adapt to globalization faster than its competitors.

Questions

1. How do you think Canada can improve its foreign direct investment?

2. Does globalization improve employment for unemployed Canadians? How?

3. How do emerging economies maintain a high growth rate despite the world recession?

Source: J. Morrissy “Canada falls out of top 10 most competitive economies”, Financial Post (Retrievable online at: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/09/07/canada-falls-out-of-top-10-most-competitive-economies/)

Posted by & filed under Chapter 7 - Defining and Commencing Collective Bargaining, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: Ontario’s 24 colleges and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union have reached a tentative settlement following a two-week strike.

Source: CTV.ca

Date: 09/19/2011

Link: http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110918/contract-talks-continue-in-college-support-workers-strike-110918/20110919/?hub=TorontoNewHome

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What were the issues in this dispute?
  • Why do you think the OPSEU revised its position?
  • Why don’t we know the settlement details?
  • What must happen before the tentative contract becomes a collective agreement?
  • When does the strike formally end?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 10 - Third-Party Intervention, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: Instructors and unionized staff at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology have ended a strike – at least temporarily – and have entered mediation.

Source: The Regina Leader-Post

Date: 09/12/2011

Link: http://www.leaderpost.com/business/Classes+resume+SIAST+union+return+table/5386481/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the main issues in this strike?
  • Why did the union return to work?
  • Why was the union reluctant to enter mediation earlier?
  • What does the mediation agreement say?
  • How far apart are the two sides on pay?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 7 - Defining and Commencing Collective Bargaining, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: Members of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation are refusing to perform some tasks, such as attending staff meetings and writing report cards.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Date: 09/06/2011

Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/teachers+labour+feud+clouds+school+year+education+minister+says/5355700/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why are B.C. teachers refusing to perform certain duties as the school year resumes?
  • How does this form of job action differ from a full-scale strike?
  • Why do you think the union is taking this approach?
  • What are the issues in this dispute?
  • The union says the job action might benefit students. Do you agree?

Posted by & filed under Communication.

Monitoring and engaging customer via low-cost social media can be an effective marketing and advertising strategy of many Canadian companies. Unlike companies from the U.S., which were forced to use low-cost social media to market their products due to huge budget cuts, Canadian companies, though monitors these social sites but does not yet engage consumers. Social media web sites are very popular and offer a unique opportunity for companies to build a loyal customer base. To effectively engage people on these sites, the IT, Marketing, HR and other areas of the company should collectively decide their online strategies.

  1. Do you think it is just the marketing budget constraints in Canadian Organizations that make them less engaged?
  2. While small businesses in Canada are on a rise, how do you think they can make their marketing effective and also strike a balance?
  3. In your opinion, which companies use social media well in listening to their customers and for promoting their products?

Source: R. Ruffolo “Canadian businesses slow to act on social, study finds”, IT World Canada (Retrievable online at http://www.itworldcanada.com/news/canadian-businesses-slow-to-act-on-social-study-finds/143850)

 

Posted by & filed under Global Management.

The article talks about the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)—a free trade agreement under negotiation—which is expected to boost Canada’s economy by $6

billion. For the year 2010—when most developed countries were struggling with economic turmoil—the economies of Canada and India grew by 3.2% and 9% respectively.  Both countries can see immense benefit through CEPA. Through this agreement, Canadian companies will gain access to a large and a growing Indian market for their products and manpower resource. On the other hand, Indian companies benefit through relaxed trade between the two countries. Canada and India expect to complete their negotiations for this agreement by 2013, after which it will have to be approved by the parliament.

  1. Do you think this agreement decrease or increase Canada’s unemployment rate?
  2.  What do you think are the sectors that Canada can benefit from, when the agreement comes in to effect?
  3. Do you think the agreement will be more beneficial for Canada or India?

SOURCE: S. Okalow “Canada-India Free Trade Gathering Steam” Canadian Business (Retrievable online at http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/42685)

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 2 - Theories of Industrial Relations, Chapter 3 - HIstory of the Canadian Union Movement.

Description: An editorial argues that unions’ “unwillingness to put the public’s good at the forefront” means Labour Day is no longer something to be celebrated.

Source: The Toronto Sun

Date: 09/04/2011

Link: http://www.torontosun.com/2011/09/02/its-labour-day-by-george

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Review the editorial and the related links above. Which arguments do you find the most persuasive?
  • Which arguments do you disagree with?
  • Are there any important arguments that the two sides haven’t raised?
  • What is your personal experience with unions? Do you or members of your family belong to a union?
  • Do you think Labour Day is worth celebrating?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 3 - HIstory of the Canadian Union Movement.

Description: As the New Democratic Party prepares to choose a successor to the late Jack Layton, senior party members disagree over whether to maintain the party’s historical affiliation with organized labour.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 09/04/2011

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ndp-does-some-soul-searching-on-the-role-of-labour-in-the-party/article2153445/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What benefits do you think organized labour gets from its affiliation with the NDP?
  • What benefits does the NDP get from the arrangement?
  • What are the disadvantages for labour?
  • For the NDP?
  • Would an end to the affiliation make you more or less likely to vote for the NDP? Why?

Posted by & filed under Global Management.

One year after announcing a partnership, Encana and PetroChina now say the estimated $5.4-billion deal is off. The failure stems from an inability to agree on the operational aspects of the joint venture. Both entities staked a lot on the success of the deal when it was announced back in February. Now Encana’s investors are showing a loss of confidence and PetroChina is suffering from loss of face.

QUESTIONS:

  1. For more than a decade, we have been hearing about companies going global by investing in China, now the shoe is on the other foot. Look at reasons for going global in the text and identify why China  is looking to Canada.
  2. Aside from the fact that the article says the deal was a joint venture, what are the characteristics that make it a joint venture? What do the two companies offer each other that make such an arrangement attractive?
  3. With all that China hoped to gain from this joint venture, why would it walk away?

SOURCE: N. Vanderklippe & C. Tait, “Power Struggle Ends Encana, China Gas Deal,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/power-struggle-ends-encana-china-gas-deal/article2068877/)