Posted by & filed under Motivation.

Laura Silsby and nine other Americans from Idaho were arrested and detained in Haiti on charges that the group was attempting to abduct Haitian children. The group, representing Central Valley Baptist Church and Ms. Silsby’s charitable organization, claim they were taking the children to the Dominican Republic to start an orphanage. Haitian officials counter that the group did not have proper documentation and were warned not to move the children or face arrest. The case is still pending. Group members have been charged with child abduction and criminal association.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, describe Laura Silsby’s motivation for going to Haiti.
  2. The article describes Ms. Silsby as having considerable financial problems back in the United States, including having her house foreclosed upon and her business being in jeopardy. What level of needs (in Maslow’s categorization) are represented by these? How do you reconcile Silsby’s motivation for going to Haiti with this? Does it make sense in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy? In what ways might ERG Theory offer a better explanation?
  3. Consider Ms. Silsby’s experience in Haiti. If she avoids prosecution and is released from custody, how likely is she to continue her work in Haiti? Examine her motivation using Expectancy Theory. What elements would contribute to her motivation or lack thereof?

SOURCE: J. Millman, J. Ball, & M. Schoofs, “Missionary Stumbles on Road to Haiti,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703357104575045794048725562.html?mod=WSJ_hp_editorsPicks)

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Posted by & filed under Technology.

This week saw the much anticipated announcement about the release of the Apple iPad. Almost immediately, technology watchers began discussing the implications for the thousands of applications currently available for the iPhone. Apps makers also weighed in on whether they would work to port their offerings to the iPad. Netflix is currently not planning to develop an app for the iPad. Makers of Pandora, most visibly affected by the iPad’s inability to have background tasks, say they view this as a challenge but hope to adapt. The reaction is obviously mixed. One thing is certain – Apple i-technologies definitely create a lot of buzz.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The Working Today section of your text lists technology as one of the major forces shaping the way we interact into today’s global economy. Are Apple’s i-technologies changing the way people interact? How is the iPad creating opportunities for business? What type/size businesses do you believe are most affected? Flexibility was listed in the text as a benefit of technology.  Does the iPad create flexibility?
  2. Consider the number and range of applications now available for Apple i-technologies. Single digital identity is identified as one of the prevailing technological conditions in the general environment of business. What are the pros and cons of mobile technologies and the proliferation of applications that run on these?
  3. Imagine that you are a developer of applications for mobile technologies. Does technology drive apps or do apps drive technology? Consider what apps makers are saying about the introduction of the i-Pad. In what ways does this represent improvisational change?

SOURCE: Y. I. Kane, “Apple’s iPad Changes the Landscape for App Makers,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704194504575031561969855580.html)

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Posted by & filed under Technology.

Internet-based phone service Skype allows users to communicate virtually for free. This is not just fad. Skype use for international calling has been increasing steadily over the past few years, but domestic use is also increasing. With a web camera, users can also see one another. Nearly one-third of all Skype use is for video calls.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The Working Today section of your text lists technology as one of the major forces shaping the way we interact into today’s global economy. Is Skype changing the way people interact? How is Skype creating opportunities for business? What type/size businesses do you believe are most affected? Flexibility was listed in the text as a benefit of technology. Does Skype create flexibility?
  2. Telecommuting once used to refer to working from home rather than the office. However, mobile technologies now allow business to be conducted just about anywhere. Discuss the implications of Skype for connecting businesses. Is it a viable option for meeting with clients/customers? What about meeting with the boss or coworkers?
  3. What type of service technology does Skype represent? Do you see Skype as productivity enhancing, productivity neutral, or a productivity detriment?

SOURCE: K. L. Gray, “Long Distance Viewing,” Columbus Dispatch (Retrievable online at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/01/23/skype_talk.ART_ART_01-23-10_A1_UVGCS7V.html?sid=101)

Posted by & filed under Conflict, Negotiation.

Conan O’Brien’s reign as host of The Tonight Show ends on January 22. However, the parting with NBC has been anything but amicable. NBC first announced that it was moving O’Brien’s show past midnight to bring Jay Leno back to late-night television. When O’Brien balked, negotiations for an exit spurred a furry of bad-mouthing. In the end, NBC will pay heavily to get O’Brien to leave and leave quietly – for a while.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Describe the conflict between NBC and Conan O’Brien. What form does it take? While the conflict seemingly is dysfunctional, can you argue that it is functional (even for NBC)?
  2. Which conflict management style best characterizes the way NBC handled Conan O’Brien. (Note: you could argue for one style initially that eventually gave way to a different style)
  3. What were NBC’s goals in negotiating with O’Brien? Was the negotiation distributive or integrative? Was it effective? What, if any, negotiation rules were violated?

SOURCE: L. A. E. Schuker & S. Schechner, “Conan O’Brien Seals Deal to Exit NBC,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575016514111492610.html?mod=loomia&loomia_si=t0:a16:g12:r1:c0.593109:b29955310&mg=com-wsj)

See also S. Ovide & L. A. E. Schuker, “Gag Order: Conan O’Brien Promises Not to Be Mean to His Old Bosses,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575017450198490036.html?mod=WSJ-hpp-LEFTTopStories)

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Posted by & filed under Individual Behavior.

Groundbreaking research by Neil Gross and Ethan Fosse finds that the academic profession has been typecast as “liberal.” As a result, this label influences the way people think about the profession and the choices individuals make about whether or not to join the Academy. While Gross and Fosse are quick to diminish claims that there is liberal bias in academics, they do note that control (over who does and does not “get in”) is one of the features given to professors in exchange for lower salaries. Still, the researchers claim that general public perception of the profession does more to determine who will gravitate toward those jobs than anything else.

QUESTIONS:

  1. In what ways is typecasting similar to stereotyping? How might typecasting affect the way colleagues perceive and interact with one another?
  2. Examine the Big Five personality dimensions. In general, how does each dimension relate to the academic profession? How might the expression of these dimensions support liberal philosophies and run counter to the conservative philosophies?
  3. Assume the research is accurate (i.e., there is a strong political orientation in academics). How would being conservative or being liberal influence an individual professor’s attitudes and job satisfaction? Would differences explain why liberals might be more committed to academic professions than conservatives?

SOURCE: P. Cohen, “Professor Is a Label That Leans to the Left,” New York Times (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/arts/18liberal.html?scp=1&sq=liberal%20professors&st=cse)

Posted by & filed under Global Management.

Google is the latest in a growing list of companies reconsidering their business strategy in China. Following a cyber attack on more than two dozen other companies, Google announced it would no longer filter internet searches and might pull out of China entirely. Most economists and business advisers believe it is impractical to ignore China. However, a few companies feel the costs of doing business there are just not worth it.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What are the global business reasons that cause China to be so attractive?
  2. Review what you learned in Chapter 4 about cultural issues in ethics. It is relatively easy to understand why companies like Levi Strauss and Time Warner pull out of China. Why would human rights issues cause Google to do the same thing?
  3. Google’s decision to stop filtering internet searches in China reflects what global management attitude? Do you believe this shift in thinking is warranted?

SOURCES: S. Mufson & P. Whoriskey, “Google Incident Illustrates Dilemma for Foreign Companies in China,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/14/AR2010011402482.html?sid=ST2010011300360)

See also E. Nakashima & A. E. Cha, “Tensions Between Google and China Complicate U.S. Diplomacy,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/14/AR2010011404077.html?nav=hcmoduletmv)

Posted by & filed under Decision Making.

In the aftermath of the worst earthquake in Haiti in two centuries, relief agencies are desperately racing against time to assist those that need help. However, veteran relief workers characterize the situation as “especially complicated” because all key influence factors have been affected by the disaster. There is no working government. There are no communications. The main ocean port is damaged and unusable. The airport has limited capacity and no fuel. Relief workers and supplies are queuing up with no way to make them available to the people that need them most. This case is rich with opportunities for discussing a number of management topics, but the focus here will be on decision making. Be advised that images and video associated with the stories are graphic.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Consider the scope and magnitude of the problems in Haiti. What type of thinking is needed to solve these problems? While one form stands out, can you argue for all three types (i.e., systematic, intuitive, multidimensional)?
  2. Describe the structured and unstructured aspects of this problem. What type of managerial decision should be made here? Does the fact that the problems stem from an earthquake, of which there have been many in the past, make decision making easier?
  3. Given what has been said about the general state of Haiti, what kind of decision environment exists? Beyond short-term relief efforts, how will this environment affect the Haiti government as it tries to rebuild the country?

SOURCES: N. King, “Aid Efforts Face Obstacles in Quake-Ravaged Capital,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704363504575003351571629776.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLETopStories)

See also C. Forelle & J. de Cordoba, “Haitian Rescue Stymied Amid Chaos,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281204575003482938279218.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories)

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Posted by & filed under Management.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a summary report of discrimination claims in 2009. Claims increased in three key areas monitored by the Commission. This article is a good starter for introducing the importance of effective management in any organization.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Unfortunately, some employers equate “disabled” with “unable.” Read the section on talent and discuss why disabled workers are worthy of consideration, particularly in our economy.
  2. If diversity is a “business imperative,” why are discrimination claims related to diversity still increasing? If the statement by Professor Thomas is true, what should top management do to make sure diversity is truly valued?
  3. Consider the section on ethics. What are some ways that organizations can reduce the chances that employees will engage in discriminatory practices?

SOURCE: Associated Press, “Job Bias Claims Based on Disability, Origin, Religion Rise,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2010-01-06-job-bias-claims_N.htm)

Posted by & filed under Leadership.

As the new year dawns, two leaders – President Barack Obama and USC Football Coach Pete Carroll – are characterized as failing to fully meet their objectives. President Obama is being criticized for security breaches in the wake of an attempted airline bombing. His handling of the economy and the health-care bill are also being questioned. USC football is coming off a mediocre season (by school standards). Pete Carroll’s team won the Emerald Bowl and finished 9-4, the worst record since Carroll’s first year as head coach. While Obama’s popularity seems to be fading, Carroll’s is on the rise. The Seattle Seahawks courted, then hired, the coach to take over a professional program that languished the past two seasons. Examine the two leaders and draw some conclusions about the difference in reactions.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Based on the information provided in the articles, identify each leader’s basic leadership style (note: the limited information provided in the articles is really not sufficient to make this determination). Do stylistic differences matter in terms of how others respond to what the leader is doing?
  2. Consider Figure 16.6. What does the figure suggest about the relationship between leadership style and leader effectiveness? What other factors influence a leader’s effectiveness? Identify specific factors that might relate to both Barack Obama and Pete Carroll.
  3. How do the special qualities of transformational leadership relate to President Obama and Coach Carroll and how they are currently being perceived as leaders?

SOURCES: J. Weisman, “Report Raises Pressure on Obama to Focus on Jobs,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126298709380022037.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTWhatsNews)

See also D. Everson & R. Albergotti, “USC Coach Pete Carroll Close to Deal to Join Seattle Seahawks,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703481004574647232293623844.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLEFifthNews)

Posted by & filed under Decision Making.

In what is now widely and infamously known for the near collapse of the financial sector in the United States, the Federal Reserve ignored warning signs associated with massive sub-prime lending for nearly two years. In the wake of this disaster, the Fed had to make decisions about what banks to save with an infusion of cash, what banks to save by negotiating sales to other banks, and what banks would fail. Despite these failures, Fed management contends the agency is the best choice for continued oversight of the nation’s banking system (with a little tweaking). Some lawmakers are not so sure.

QUESTIONS:

  1. There can be no question that the Federal Reserve’s actions (or lack thereof) are consistent with behavioral decision making. What cognitive limitations kept the Fed from making good decisions? Consider the Fed’s response to the crisis. Is there any evidence of satisficing?
  2. Which of the three heuristics most likely influenced Fed decision making? Why?
  3. Escalation of commitment is evident at several points in this story. Pick one and identify the factors that led to escalating commitment. What would you do to ensure no further escalation occurs?

SOURCE: B. Appelbaum & D. Cho, “Fed’s Approach to Regulation Left Banks Exposed to Crisis,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/20/AR2009122002580.html?hpid=topnews)