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What every American should know… May 4, 2007

Posted by Janine in Cases, civil society, Class announcements, Government, Military, Public Interest.

Here is a link for a documentary on the 9/11 incident. 


Now it is about an hour and a half, so watch it when you have some time.  This does not really apply to organizational theory or practice, but I think that this is a video that we as Americans should watch and know.

 Now, after having watched it, you are entitled to make your own judgments and form your own beliefs and opinions, but please if you have time, watch it and let us all know what you think.  I know I am very curious to hear what you all have to say!


Extending beyond business April 2, 2007

Posted by Janine in Cases, Organizational Design.
1 comment so far

I apologize for the delay in this post.  I thought I had posted it but rather had only saved it.

 For my additional reading recently, I read an article about organizational structure and culture within an organization that is not exactly a business.  It relates to the radiology and the recent development of the Cat Scan machines. To sum up the article, the author talks about how the introduction of the CT machines created new structure within the department and also changed the dynamic between the radiologist who interprets the scans, and the technician who runs the machine.  It explains in lengthy detail specific scripts that occurred between radiologists and technicians, and how structure was affected based on knowledge of the new equipment, and the assumed heirarchy of power, radiologists over technicians. 

 The reason I found this article interesting was that it put our discussions of organizational structure into the context of organizations beyond business.  The concepts that we studied in class and from the book are at play here.  The dynamic between superior and subordinate, manager and employee, so to say.  The end result of this study showed how a more flat, decontralized structure within the radiology dept. allowed the CT radiologists and technicians to use each others as sources of information.  The radiologists were able to use the knowledge the technicians had of the machine and learn from them in some degree, and likewise, the technicians were able to approach the radiologists and learn from them.  Both ends must communicate ideas, knowledge, and resources in order to provide the best care to the patients.  There may be a new way of using the machine or programming the machine that the technician comes up with that could benefit the radiologist, i.e. getting a better, clearer scan.  In addition, the technician can learn something about interpretation of films from the radiologist.  Yet, for all this to be possible, easy flow of communication is necessary.  A relatively flat, decentralized structure is best suited.

 I thought this article was interesting because it put the topic of organizational structure and culture into a different sphere, that of health care.  Can you think of any other fields beside business where such topics are relevant?

Jet Blue’s Blooper February 19, 2007

Posted by Elaine in Cases, Consumers, Stakeholder management, transportation.

This past Valentine’s Day was not exactly ideal for the 10,000 passengers that were stuck in Jet Blue planes, which were left stranded for six hours each on runways at JFK Airport in an ice storm. 23% of their flights to 11 different cities were cancelled due to the weather leaving many customers aggravated. After reading about corporate social responsibility in Chapter 7, I think Jet Blue is trying its best in taking a proactive approach to gaining its credibility back. They are working on a “Bill of Rights” which outlines the penalities Jet Blue faces and rewards for its passengers in situations where they experience difficulties during weather-related cancellations. Airlines would be required to offer travelers food, water, and clean bathrooms for any delays over three hours, and refund 150% of a flight’s ticket price for those delayed more than 12 hours. Is Jet Blue doing this because they’re morally obligated to compensate for their mistakes or is this just to deter being detested?

It’s to fend off any potential bad press in the future, but it did not mitigate the experience of those people on that flight, says Kate Hanni, one of the customers on the stranded planes.

She believes this is a move on Jet Blue’s part to save themselves from bad publicity. She was mad that the passengers weren’t informed (timely or at all) about the crucial weather impact and will most likely not be a Jet Blue customer after this inconvienent experience. Are the airlines to blame for mother nature’s behavior or should they have obliged to the warnings and consulted with their passengers beforehand? The mistakes have been made, but at least they’re taking steps to counteract their errors.

How theories can become self fulfilling… January 29, 2007

Posted by Janine in Cases, theory.

As the only grad student in this class, I have been issued additional documents for the course that I hope to understand, learn from, and then share with everyone else. 

The first paper that I read is entitled: ” Economics language and assumptions: how theories can become self-fulfilling”. In  this paper, the authors discuss how theories within social sciences, particularly ecomonics, can become reality without actually being truth.  They explain this idea through different dimensions, insititutional design, social norms, and language.  Witihin institutional design, the authors note that “theories can become self-fulfilling when…organizational arrangements-structures, reward systems, measurement practices, selection processes- reflect the explicit or implicit theories of their designers…”  That is to say, when organizational leaders want their employees to adhere to a particular structure, design, or behavior, these leaders must reinforce such behavior and thoughts that are in accordance with the particular theory they agree upon.

 When it comes to social norms, the authors state that people will act and speak as though a theory is true, because “to do otherwise is to violate a powerful descriptive and prescriptive expectation.”  When the expectation is to think and act a certain way, most people will act in accordance with what is expected of them.  Along with the reinforcement they receieve from their leaders, individuals can and will begin to look at these expectations as the “norm.”

 Finally, the authors explain how language can also make theories self-fulfilling.  Language provides the framework that guides how we comprehend the world.  It “affects what people see, how they see it, and the social categories and descriptions they use to interpret their reality.”  Therefore, the way in which language fulfulls certain theories is through interpretation.  How one interprets and understands the theory, how they understand the language used to describe the interpretation can ultimately affect the validity of it.

I give the authors credit.  Their paper is well-researched. They give plenty of examples and quotes from numerous professionals that seem to support their stance. I am curious to hear what some of you think about these explanations. 

Case Questions for Case 9- Bartyles and James January 26, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Cases.

Here are two preparation questions for next week.

Please come ready to answer these and defend your answers.

How did Gallo’s functional and corporate-level strategies develop? How did they effect the firm’s competitive advantage?

What strategy would you recommend they pursue in the future?
Feel free to discuss here too.