Posted by & filed under Control.

Following the protests in Egypt and the fall of Hosni Mubarak, many are questioning how the Egyptian government chose to respond to social media and the internet. Rather than harnessing its power or, at least minimally, trying to manage it, Mubarak’s regime simply tried to shut it down. Other governments take different approaches, some going so far as to establish units to monitor and influence the content on social media.


  1. In a very narrow sense, we might think of control as something managers use to ensure a set of correct production outcomes. Check the definition for controlling in your text again. It invites a narrow interpretation. But think about it. What does control mean for a manager, particularly one in today’s information economy? What does control mean for the various regimes mentioned in the article?
  2. What type of control is being utilized by the governments that are “properly” managing social media?
  3. Are governments relying on internal or external control of social media? What form does this control take?

SOURCE: E. Morozov, “Smart Dictators Don’t Quash the Internet,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Management.

Until recently, the Calgary Flames were not considered a playoff contender. Shortly after Christmas, General Manager Darryl Sutter was relieved of duty and replaced by Jay Feaster. Suddenly, things began to change. The team is on an incredible winning streak and everyone, from the administrative offices on down, comments about what a different atmosphere exists within the organization.


  1. Darryl Sutter was described as an “old-school manager.” How would you describe him? From what little is reported, would you say his approach was classical or behavioral? Can you narrow it down any further?
  2. Review the research on employee attitudes and performance associated with the Hawthorne Studies. Compare and contrast this to what happened with the Flames in the last two months.
  3. What aspects of high-performance organizations do the Calgary Flames exhibit under the leadership of Mr. Feaster?

SOURCE: E. Duhatschek, “How the Flames Righted the Ship,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Communication.

When former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak shut down internet access in the country, most thought it was just an attempt to control what was being reported about the situation. What we may just now be realizing is the important role that social media played in the protests and the eventual toppling of the president. Different forms of technology figured prominently in protest movements of the past, namely Iran in 1979 and the former Soviet Union in 1989. But Twitter and Facebook appear to be more effective means for communicating information vital to such events.


  1. How do the new technologies of Facebook, Google, and Twitter compare to older technologies (e.g., fax machines) in terms of effectiveness and efficiency?
  2. Discuss the importance of persuasive and credible communication in the recent protests in Egypt.
  3. Facebook and Twitter are moderately rich channels versus the public gatherings in Tahrir Square. Does channel richness matter in a large-scale political protest movement? Why or why not?

SOURCE: C. Rhoads, “Technology Poses Big Test for Regimes,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Environment.

Concerns over the skyrocketing cost of health care, particularly prescription medication resulted in laws to regulate the industry. One such law prohibits manufacturers of generic drugs from paying professional allowances (rebates) to pharmacies. Rather than fight the ruling, large discount pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart are instead focusing on boosting their own private-label drug offerings. For now, Ontario Superior Court is siding with their right to do so. If the practice continues, it could effectively squeeze out small independent pharmacies, but may also invite other large retailers, such as Wal-Mart Canada and Loblaws, to compete.


  1. What dynamic forces in the general environment (for pharmacy companies) are involved in this situation? Identify all that are relevant and discuss the impact they have.
  2. Does Shoppers Drug Mart’s decision to enhance its Sanis line of private-label drugs represent value creation? Why or why not?
  3. In what ways is the development of a strong private label a competitive advantage?

SOURCE: M. Strauss, “Pharmacies Face Upheaval with Private-Label Drug Ruling,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Motivation.

Ken Mikalauskas spent 15 years working in the corporate world and never felt satisfied. He wanted more control. His first move was to leave the big city and then he eventually struck out on his own. He realized that being in business for himself was not without risks, but that he had to face those fears in order to be successful – and fulfilled.


  1. The article described Ken Mikalauskas as a “good worker but not a good employee.” What aspect of motivation is missing? What level of needs is represented by his desire to leave the corporate world and be in the driver’s seat?
  2. Now view the related video clip about DBB Canada. Aside from being “cool,” how does DBB’s office space contribute to worker motivation?
  3. Examine the critical psychological states of the Job Characteristics Model. While all three are important, which one is dominant in Ken’s current work arrangement?

SOURCE: N. N. Farooqi, “Office Worker Ditches Big Jobs, Big City,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at

Related video clip at:

Posted by & filed under Human Resource Management.

After a near collapse of the United States automobile industry and record bailouts by the U.S. Government, automakers are offering huge bonus payments to their UAW employees. Workers believe the move is justified because they made equally large concessions to help their employers get through tough times. The payments are being made in advance of new contract negotiations where the companies are expected to ask union workers to give up their cost of living adjustments in favor of gain-sharing plans.


  1. Discuss the strategic reasons behind the desired shift from cost of living adjustments to gain sharing.
  2. The article mentions several forms of increasing pay. These include cost of living adjustments, profit sharing, and gain sharing. Compare and contrast the three approaches. Discuss the benefits and risks for workers associated with switching to a gain-sharing plan.
  3. With collective bargaining on the horizon, why are Chrysler and General Motors offering generous profit-sharing payments?

SOURCE: B. Snavely, “Autoworker Bonuses Part of Detroit 3 Strategy for UAW Talks,” USA Today (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Teams.

The Vancouver Canucks are having a good season and are dominating the Dallas Stars, primarily through their special teams play. What makes this a bit surprising is that the lineup features five rookie players.


  1. The main focus of the article is on the Canucks special teams play. This is only one aspect of the game. From the standpoint of synergy, discuss why Vancouver’s special teams may be the difference maker in terms of their success.
  2. While winning is the obvious answer, what factors make this season’s Vancouver Canucks an effective team? As you answer, recognize that there are three key outcomes associated with effectiveness.
  3. Sports teams typically experience some turnover in personnel every season (and sometimes during the season). Does the team go through the stages of development each season? Explain.
  4. Discuss the importance of norms and cohesiveness for a sports team. Who is responsible for reinforcing these?

SOURCE: B. Zeimer, “Special Teams Carry Canucks to Win,” National Post (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Operations Management.

Chinese cotton farmers are holding on to their harvest from the past season waiting for prices to climb. Estimates suggest the amount of cotton being held off the market may be close to two million metric tons representing nine percent of the world supply. This hoarding coupled with a lack of production reporting throughout Asia has made the cotton market slightly volatile.


  1. Is there a competitive advantage for Chinese manufacturers given the situation described in the article?
  2. How is hoarding affecting supply chain management, particularly in China?
  3. How should a shirt manufacturer respond to the present situation in terms of inventory management? Do your recommendations change depending on whether the manufacturer is located inside or outside of China?
  4. Let’s extend the analysis for this hypothetical shirt manufacturer. Assume the company makes only cotton shirts. What type of cost does cotton represent? If the price per pound of cotton goes up, how does this affect the manufacturer’s break-even point?

SOURCE: C. Cui, “Chinese Take a Cotton to Hoarding,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Planning.

The landscape in Canadian retailing is changing, in part due to landlords’ desires to add stronger tenants and foreign companies looking to expand into an attractive, and relatively untapped, Canadian market. While Canadian consumer debt is high, competition among retailers is not nearly as fierce as it is south of the border. That has retail giants such as Target and Wal-mart making calculated, but strong, moves to the north. At the same time, Canadian retailers are resizing and changing the look of some of their stores.


  1. Discuss the importance of planning on all sides of this retail equation (i.e., for landlords like Anthony Casalanguida, for Canadian retailers like Isaac Benitah, and for foreign retailers like Target).
  2. One thing is certain – Canadian landlords are showing little loyalty to traditional Canadian retailers like Fairweather. How should Mr. Benitah revise his planning in light of decisions recently made at Yorkdale? How might he benefit from rethinking his plans?
  3. Assume that Mr. Benitah is pursuing a growth strategy. What tactical plan(s) would you recommend?
  4. If you were a Canadian retailer, what planning tools would you use to make strategic decisions?

SOURCE: M. Strauss, “Retailers Gear Up for Foreign Competitors,” The Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at

Posted by & filed under Innovation/Creativity.

One of the reasons that North America continues to dominate the global economy is that conditions are right for innovation to flourish. Creativity is the basis for innovation. Scientists have been studying creativity for years in an attempt to understand its origins. So far, this research tells us that creativity does not emerge from a specific part (i.e., the right side) of the brain. It appears that different mechanisms control different types of creativity. Prevailing thought is that self-restraint and evaluation are suppressed when individuals are most creative. Research has a long way to go, but creativity will remain an important factor in business.


  1. Review the definitions for creativity and innovation in your text. Are the two concepts interchangeable? Discuss how they are related and how one concept differs from the other. Use the “brick question” to illustrate your answers.
  2. If recent research is accurate and creativity levels are declining in North America, what are the implications for business?
  3. Examine the innovation process. The article describes creativity as involving both divergent (generating many unique ideas) and convergent (narrowing ideas into the best result) thinking. At what points of the process are these two styles of thinking most likely to occur? As a manager, how would you encourage both?

SOURCE: A. McIlroy, “Neuroscientists Try to Unlock the Origins of Creativity,” The Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at