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).
Description: A report to the Quebec government says McGill University is using illegal replacement workers in a dispute with its non-academic staff.
Source: The Montreal Gazette
Questions for discussion:
- What is a replacement worker?
- Do any other provinces ban replacement workers like Quebec?
- What does the Canada Labour Code say about replacement workers?
- What are the arguments in favour of allowing replacement workers?
- What are the arguments against allowing replacement workers?
Description: A Globe and Mail writer wonders what the threat of back-to-work legislation in the Air Canada dispute means for Canadian workers’ right to strike.
Source: The Globe and Mail
Questions for discussion:
In the piece above, Barrie McKenna asks a number of questions, including this one: “What’s the value of belonging to a union if the most basic right of employees – to withdraw service in the event of a contract impasse – no longer exists?”
- Given what you’ve read about this dispute, do you think that’s a fair question?
- What effect do you think the threat of back-to-work legislation had on this dispute?
- What effect do you think the threat might have on employers and workers in other federally regulated industries?
- What arguments can you think of that favour the government spelling out when it will use back-to-work legislation?
- What arguments can you think of that favour the government not spelling out when it will use back-to-work legislation?
Description: Air Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 6,800 flight attendants, have reached a tentative agreement just hours before a strike deadline.
Source: Montreal Gazette
Questions for discussion:
- What were the issues in this dispute?
- What effect do you think the “facts of life” letter had on this dispute?
- What effect do you think the letter will have on future morale at Air Canada?
- What effect do you think the Facebook page had on the dispute?
- What effect do you think the threat of back-to-work legislation had on the settlement?
- Do you think the threat of back-to-work legislation favours the company or the union in this case?
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.
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/)
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.
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/)