According to a survey by Workopolis, people believe they are more productive when they work from home and businesses believe they are able to retain employees longer by offering them flexible options to work from home. It is felt that working from home helps employees to maintain their work life balance and also save time and money. This has led to an increased emphasis on telecommuting among Canadian firms. Despite the enormous benefits for small businesses, there are also costs associated with establishing telework systems by incorporating efficient software and hardware upgrades.
- Do you think working from home will affect the social interaction among employees?
- Will reduced social interaction among employees hinder group cohesion and group performance?
- Do employees who work from home identify less or more with their firms?
SOURCE: Omar El Akkad, “Benefits of working from home add up” The Globe and Mail, (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/digital/web-strategy/benefits-of-working-from-home-add-up/article2201144/
Sean Fahey, an MBA from Florida Atlantic University, wanted to be self-employed. During his MBA he started a retail store of belt buckles, which he eventually expanded to 13 stores in the U.S. and Canada. However, his business was severely hit by recession, and in 2009, he was forced to shut down his business. While working in a job, he had a new business idea—Vidcruiter, an online job interview tool that saves time and cost for firms to hire people. While the companies liked his software, his sales were low—he found it hard to convince the human resource departments. To overcome his low sales, he decided to lower the prices of his online software and also offered his sales team equity ownership along with a monthly salary. He also offered a finder’s fee commission to his clients for referring new businesses. These changes helped to revive his new business
- Do you think Fahey has a successful business model?
- Do you feel his business model is sustainable in the long run?
- What other changes can Fahey incorporate to gain competitive advantage?
SOURCE: Nauman Farooqi, “Online job interview overcomes tough sell” The Globe and Mail, (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/starting-out/online-job-interview-tool-overcomes-tough-sell/article2200358/)
Description: An arbitrator has ruled the Canadian Union of Postal Workers must pay $50,000 in damages for walkouts in 2008.
Source: Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog
Questions for discussion:
- Why was the union ordered to pay damages?
- Why was the union, as opposed to just the workers involved, held to be liable?
- How did the arbitrator settle on the figure of $50,000?
- Dr. Doorey asks: “Is that a fair outcome?” What do you think?
- Dr. Doorey also asks: “Here, the union officials were directly involved in organizing the strike. Do you think the outcome would/should be different if union members engage in an unlawful strike without any direct involvement of union officials?” What do you think?
Description: Air Canada flight attendants have rejected a tentative contract and have given strike notice. The federal government has promised back-to-work legislation.
Source: The Toronto Star.
Questions for discussion:
- What are the issues in this dispute?
- Can you think of compromises on these issues that would leave both sides reasonably happy – or, at least, equally unhappy?
- Do you think the threat of back-to-work legislation affected the attendants’ decision to reject the tentative agreement?
- Why or why not?
- After reviewing the related links above, outline the likely effects of back-to-work legislation on both sides.
Description: A Conservative backbench MP’s private member’s bill would force unions to open their books.
Source: The Globe and Mail
Questions for discussion:
- Private members’ bills rarely become law. What reasons are there to think this bill might be different?
- Usually, when the government wants to amend a law it introduces a government bill. Why might this case be different?
- Consider the arguments in the Fraser Institute article and the union comments in the Windsor Star piece. Which do you feel are most convincing?
- Which arguments do you feel are less convincing?
- If you were an MP, would you vote for this bill? Why or why not?
Description: The St. Lawrence Seaway and members of the Canadian Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement.
Questions for discussion:
- What were the main issues in this negotiation?
- The tentative agreement was reached after the union served 72-hour strike notice. What effect do you think that notice might have had on the negotiations?
- The settlement also comes after federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt hinted at back-to-work legislation. What effect do you think that might have had?
- Do you think this settlement fits the pattern discussed in the earlier update on federal back-to-work legislation? (See above under “Related links.”)
- What arguments can you think of for federal intervention in this case?
- What arguments can you think of against federal intervention in this case?
Groupon is a firm that offers discounts to its customers by offering millions of deals on everything (meals, manicures etc.) through distribution of its coupons. Groupon’s daily deals are very popular, have the easiest reward programs and focuses on increasing customer loyalty. However, despite its increasing popularity Groupon hasn’t been profitable and instead, it has lost $623 million since 2008.
- Suggest some marketing strategies that Groupon could implement to boost its profits.
- Do you think Groupon would have benefited if Google. Inc had bought it?
- Do you think the new program that Groupon plans to launch will increase its performance?
SOURCE: Associated Press “Groupon Newest Deal to Reward Customer Loyalty” Canadian Business (Retrievable online at http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/47941–groupon-newest-deal-to-reward-customer-loyalty)
The 2011 N.C. Governor’s Entrepreneurship summit was a two day event held to promote entrepreneurship in North Carolina. One of the panels was hosted by Donna Fenn, who is the author of the book “Upstarts”. The book speaks about the rise in entrepreneurs born between 1977—mid nineties (called Generation Y). The rise in role models of successful entrepreneurs like Apple Inc., increasing programs in colleges and universities focusing on entrepreneurship, high unemployment rate and unstable jobs in the Y generation, and low living expenses at young ages are some of the reasons why the generation Y turned into the “entrepreneurial generation”.
- Do the younger generations focus on particular fields of businesses?
- Do you think that there could be more ups and downs in businesses owned by Y generation entrepreneurs?
- Can you think of a Canadian businesses started by someone belonging to the Y generation?
Due to the rise in internet and digitalization, the revenues of the music industry had fallen from $15bn in 2000 to $10bn in 2007. While music industry was being hardly hit by the internet, Troy Carter took Lady Gaga in his talent agency “Coalition Media”. He knew he could make her a huge star like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Boy George and David Bowie. Troy Carter, Lady Gaga and her producer Vincent Herbert, used the power of social media to build Lady Gaga’s online worldwide presence. They used online marketing firms, conducted interviews of online bloggers, maintained her website, established her social media brand “MySpace” and established the twitter account. Constant updates, special features and interviews, personal touch to the social media websites and her effort to connect with the customers gave Lady Gaga 5.7 million followers by Aug20 2010, more than Britney Spears. Lady Gaga was named the artist of the year in 2010 by Billboard, her album “Monster” was a global best seller and “Born this way” was the fastest selling single in the history of iTunes. It sold 1million copies in 5 days.
- Do you think the social media is an effective way to promote a product or a company or is it over-hyped?
- Do you think a small business should hire a third party firm to handle their social media sites or hire people themselves and manage their own sites?
- Imagine a business idea that you would like to launch. Design your social media strategy keeping in mind the 4Es mentioned in the article.
Source: Martin Kupp, Jamie Anderson and Joerg Reckhenrich, “Case Study: Making money from music” in Financial Times (Retrieved online from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fee9a408-e430-11e0-b4e9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Z06PI9R7
On the back of dismal second quarter results, in which RIM reported that its profit dropped 58 per cent to US$329 million and its revenue fell 15 per cent to US$4.2 billion, the Toronto Stock Exchange and NASDAQ saw massive selling of the RIM stock. On Friday alone, RIM lost $3 billion in its stock capitalization bringing its current market capitalization to $12.3 billion. RIM has been loosing its market share in the smartphone market and its new PlayBook tablet has seen low sales. Analysts are beginning to doubt whether RIM can launch appealing new smartphones in a hyper-competitive consumer marketplace.
- Why has RIM experienced low sales for its Playbook tablet?
- Which tactics can RIM undertake to turnaround its fortunes?
- Which new features should RIM incorporate in its smart phones to become more competitive?
Source: “Investor selloff chops $3B from value of RIM” in CP24 (article can be retrieved at http://m.cp24.com/news/20110916/110916_RIM.html).