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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.
3 comments

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

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7866929448192753501&q=loose+change+recut 

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!

U.S., EU Link on Trade, Split on Climate May 3, 2007

Posted by silviamocanu07 in civil society, Government, Public Interest.
3 comments

The article that I found on BusinessWeek relates to different kinds of organizations, namely state and supre-state: the U.S. and the E.U. Policy coordination between the two economic spaces has long been under negotiation(Link: http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/may2007/gb20070502_918558.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe+index+page_top+stories) . However, some the ideas that are most valued in Europe, do not seem to make the priority list in the U.S., namely taking steps toward the looming issue of climate change.

Despite the fact that both entities are able to agree on the regulatory framework regarding intellectual property and financial services, an agreement is still pending with issues relating to the environment. The U.S. has a long-standing history of not being proactive with regard to environmental issues, as was clearly demonstrated through the fact that the U.S. did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

“Mr Barroso said “We agree there is a threat, there is a very serious and global threat. We agree that there is a need to reduce emissions. We agree that we should work together.” But both sides remain split along familiar lines on how quickly developing nations should react, with the EU arguing richer nations need to take the lead before asking poorer states to move and the US refusing to budge until emerging economies like China and India come on board.”

There is a clear bridge between the two approaches to the climate change problem, with the U.S. trying to evade its responsibility, as having the world’s highest emissions levels. Do you agree with the U.S. approach that they will not take action until other significant Asian economies are on board? Do you think that this is merely an excuse to avoid tackling the problem?

Religion in the workplace–Why? April 2, 2007

Posted by Lady in civil society, Organizational Culture, religious organizations.
2 comments

So after I wrote my last post about Holy Spirit hospital’s “religious” organizational culture, it led to discover the topic for my second writing assignment. I have been pondering the reasoning or motivation for an organization to have a public display of any religious affiliation within their mission statement or business practices. Is religion just being used as a competitive advantage? Or might it be a genuine use of religion because organizations are using their business operations to do God’s will and spread God’s word through their works? More specifically, I am curious to know the type of organizational culture that Holy Spirit hospital has, and I surmised that I can’t figure this out unless I know why they have this religious affiliation—competitive advantage or for the purpose of spreading God’s word.

 

So I am going to speculate on how two different hospitals would operate and what kind of culture they would have depending on their purpose for the religious affiliation. So I have written up a few paragraphs but I’m kind of stuck on all the things to consider that would be different. Some of the things that I have thought about are the relationships between co-workers; relationships between co-workers and patients; and decision-making such as euthanasia and types of pills to carry (Plan B and HPV vaccine).

 

Any suggestions on other things to consider within the hospital that would be different between the two organizations? What other situations in the hospital might lead to different decision-making between the two organizations? I know that there are some things that I have just not thought about or considered and hope that your suggestions will help me think further about these differences between the two organizations.

 

Here are my first two paragraphs, any feedback would be appreciated:

 

The organizational culture of an organization is basically the personality that is associated with that organization. The existence of religious beliefs and practices within an organization can have many effects on an organization and its culture. Why might an organization choose to allow a religious affiliation to be a part of their organization? What might be their motives? Is the existence of religion being used solely as a competitive advantage? Or is the existence of religion displayed through an organization’s beliefs and practices a subcomponent of a larger movement such as spreading the word of God? Might the motives for the existence of religion lead to the existence of two totally different organizational cultures? I ask these questions because of my specific interest in hospitals that have a religious affiliation evident through their mission statement and business operations. Determining an answer to this question might shed light on the organizational culture of Holy Spirit Hospital and how they run their business.

 

In order to determine an answer to this question of motivation for displaying a religious affiliation within an organization, I will use an archetype analysis in an attempt to envision two extreme types of hospitals. One hospital will be motivated to use religion in their organization exclusively as a way of spreading the gospel of God’s teachings while the other hospital will be motivated to use religion solely as a competitive advantage. The motivation of the use of religion in their organization will yield two totally different types of organizational culture as well as different business operations.

The Future of Books March 28, 2007

Posted by breichen in civil society, innovation, Internet, Knowledge economy, Retail, Technology.
4 comments

Employees of Google, the world’s largest web-search company, are scanning books into computers using secret methods at secret locations. Although Google has not released any official tallies, Daniel Clancy, the project’s top engineer, has given some clues as to what is actually going on. He has stated that Google has a contract with UC Berkeley requires them to digitize some 3,000 books a day for the university. Google also has contracts with 12 other universities and a number of independent publishers. Some conservative estimates are that Google will be digitizing books at a rate of 10 million per year. The total number of book titles said to exist is estimated at 65 million.

This is not the first project like this to exist. The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization created in 1996 by Brewster Kahle in the attempt to recreate a contemporary Library of Alexandria containing all public-domain texts and videos. Other organizations such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have all been scanning books but the scale to which Google is digitizing them is far greater than any of them.

As books go digital, new questions, both philosophical and commercial, arise. How, physically, will people read books in future? Will technology “unbind” books, as it has unbundled other media, such as music albums? Will reading habits change as a result? What happens when books are interlinked? And what is a book anyway?

The physical medium of books is unlikely to disappear in the digital age. Sony already sells an electronic book reader with about 12,000 titles available for download. Ron Hawkins, head of marketing for the Sony Reader, states that ““our mission is not to replace the print book.” You may be wondering then, who is going to be reading the millions of pages being digitized by Google and their competitors? The idea is that some people will read the books on a computer screen, some will use Google as a method for previewing books they are considering purchasing in paper form, and some will use the service to “look for specific snippets that interest them.”

Print media is already being diminished by digital replacements. Wikipedia for example, is a free online encyclopedia which is said to have severely reduced the sales of paper-bound alternatives. It is speculated that books which people would not ordinarily read all the way through or that require frequent updates will likely migrate to the digital medium. Other examples of print media being accessed in a digital format more and more frequently include dictionaries, cookbooks or recipes, telephone books/directories, etc.

It will be interesting to see how Google’s project turns out. I think it would be pretty amazing if you could get a digital copy of ANY book in the world just by searching Google Books. I don’t think, however, that paper-bound books are likely to disappear behind the shadow of the digital book.

Holy Spirit Hospital’s “religious” organizational culture March 27, 2007

Posted by Lady in civil society, Consumers, Customer Service, Employees, Organizational Culture, religious organizations.
3 comments

So I happened to go home this weekend (Harrisburg) and found my idea for this week’s blog in the local newspaper, The Patriot News. The article was titled,Better bedside MANNER: Holy Spirit Hospital aims to cure ill will” and showed that since December, Holy Spirit Hospital has been sending walk-in patients directly to a bed instead of having them sit in the waiting area on those terribly uncomfortable benches. This is the first hospital that I have ever known to have such a generous policy. Personally, I am pleased with such a policy. I chose this article because a couple of weeks ago I read Holy Spirit’s mission and vision statement which is as follows:

Our Mission

Holy Spirit Health System is a community Catholic health system sponsored by the Sisters of Christian Charity to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to all in need. We provide high quality, cost-effective health services to develop healthy communities in the greater
Harrisburg area and South Central Pennsylvania.

Our Vision

Holy Spirit Health system will exemplify God’s love through our service and Spirit of Caring.

Over the next three years, we will focus on achieving exemplary performance in service to our community, including:

  • Superior clinical outcomes.
  • Outstanding customer satisfaction.
  • Strong financial results.

So after taking a look at Holy Spirit Hospital as an organization, it led me to ponder some questions about their organizational culture. For starters, I wonder if their policy of sending patients straight to a hospital bed has to do with the religious culture that they seem to have instilled in their organization. Or might the policy just be in response to gaining a competitive advantage? Cheri Rinehart of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania said that it is uncommon practice to send patients directly to a bed, but that there is a trend of “looking at patient satisfaction and what the major dissatisfiers are”.

So is it culture or competition that most led Holy Spirit Hospital to act in this manner and treat their customers in this special way? In my opinion, I think that it is naturally part of Holy Spirit Hospital’s culture to act in this way. I honestly think that the culture of their organization is one that is filled with the “Holy Spirit” literally and this drives them to go beyond the call of duty for their patients. Now, I have never really been a patient there but I wonder what it would be like to be one of their patients. Being a Christian myself and having such a strong faith in God, I can imagine the type of organizational culture that Holy Spirit Hospital may have. Can you?

In general, do you think that an organization that has a highly religious climate can affect their organizational culture? Does that particular religion then define the culture of the organization? How might a religious culture be bad for an organization? How might it be bad for individual employees or patients?