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The Bucknellian – A Student Organization February 28, 2007

Posted by Brian Mulligan in Networks, Organizational Culture, Organizational Design, Workplaces.

I decided to take a look at the connections between the different editors at the student-run newspaper, The Bucknellian. I have had direct interactions with all the students on the Bucknellian editorial staff being a Sports Editor in charge of layout. The relationships between all of the students on the paper are very unique and actually fairly interesting.

At the top of the heap is the Editor-in-Chief. He has last say in anything before it heads out to print and is in charge of maintaining the quality of the layout and content in working with associate editors of content and layout. Additionally, he works hand-in-hand with the business arm of the paper that is charge of the ads and finances of the paper.

  1. Editor-in Chief
    1. Associate Editor of Layout
      1. Layout Editors
        1. Sports
        2. News
        3. Features
        4. Opinions
        5. Arts & Entertainment
    2. Associate Editor of Content
      1. Assigning Editors
        1. Sports
        2. News
        3. Features
        4. Opinions
        5. Arts & Entertainment
      2. Chief Copy Editor
        1. Assistant Chief Copy Editor
          1. Copy Editors
    3. Business Manager
      1. Office Managers
      2. Advertising Managers

The Business Manager overseas how ads are placed and seeks out new businesses to place ads in the paper. He overseas all the finances of the paper and where we can and can’t spend money. Underneath him are the office managers who help with the general upkeep of the office and records and the advertising managers who design and size the ads.

The Associate Editor of Layout is the specialist in layout. She has final approval and is the most trained out of all the layout editors. Additionally, she is the resource if you’re in a bind for layout as well. Underneath her are all the section layout editors and section assistant layout editors.

The Associate Editor of Content is responsible for what is written in the paper. He has the last say on what can and can’t be said in the paper and can make changes accordingly. Below him are two different divisions. The assigning editors are responsible for assigning articles to the writers and assist in titles and captions for layout are under the Associate Editor of Content.  Also, the copy editors are below him as well and they correct all the mistakes in the article before publishing.

That’s basically the make-up of the paper’s hierarchy for layout and content.

There are also many connections between the different positions in the paper.  The Editor-in-chief has to work closely with the Chief Copy Editor and the two associate editor to coordinate a smooth paper production.  Also the different layout editors work together to squeeze in article by swapping ads or even pages, so the paper has all of the white space covered.

Another layer to this organization is who gets paid or not?  The business branch are all paid along with the copy editors.  Everybody else is unpaid.  Do think that this makes sense?  Should some of the people who invest more time get paid for their hard-work?


Women & Theory February 27, 2007

Posted by Abby in Networks, theory.

I remember that in our last class, Professor Comas mentioned that “women are often the main contributors to theory.” This is not to say that men haven’t thought things up themselves, but that women are more able to fully explain the concepts.

In a Women’s Studies class, we discussed how, often, women are able to recognize ‘how things work’ or the problems in the authoritative framework. This is apparently true for two reasons:

  1. Socially, the further away a group is from power, the more they recognize what the authorities are doing right/wrong. They are able to see the strengths and weaknesses within networks. Grassroots group, if informed, are usually those suffering from any injustices or failures resulting from the authorities decisions. (Women are commonly seen to be as secondary to men.)
  2. Women tend to pay far more attention to detail than men, especially in analyzing the relationships between people.

What do you all think? Agree/Disagree?

A Customer Service Champ February 26, 2007

Posted by Kira in Customer Service, Networks, Organizational Culture, Organizational Design.
1 comment so far

Just after I read Elaine’s post on Jet Blue, I found an article on Southwest’s customer service.  In December, Bob Emig, a frequent Southwest customer, ended up waiting on the runway for 5 hours after the scheduled departure time due to the plane having to be de-iced twice.  This seems like it would be another customer service disaster like Jet Blue, but as it turns out it was the exact opposite of a disaster.  While stuck on the runway, the pilot walked the aisles answering questions and offering updates while the flight attendants kept passengers updated on new connecting flights.  Within a few days of the incident, Southwest sent a letter with two free round-trip ticket vouchers.

This was not unusual customer service for Southwest nor just a rush to fix the dilemma.  “Rather, it was standard procedure for Southwest Airlines, which almost six years ago created a new high-level job that oversees all proactive customer communications with customers.”  It is Fred Taylor’s job at Southwest to coordinate information that is sent to all frontline representatives in the event of a major flight disruption.   He also sends out letters and flight vouchers to customers caught in storms, air traffic, and other travel messes whether or not the situation was in Southwest’s control.  According to Taylor, “it’s not something we had to do.  It’s just something we feel our customers deserve.”  For Southwest, customer service goes beyond the employees directly in contact with customers; “it takes coordination from the top, bringing together people, management, technology, and processes to put customers’ needs first.”

I think this is a great example of providing customer service unlike Jet Blue’s recent blooper.  When travelers are in situations that shake their nerves, they want to know that they will be taken care of.  I think that customer service is one of the best and few ways that a company can truly differentiate itself and remain competitive in today’s business world.  Southwest has recognized that customer service is not just a quick fix apology, but is embedded in their structure and culture starting from the top of the organization.  As I learned in marketing, there are many points of customer service and contact that need to be monitored.   Southwest is very wise to have someone in a high-level position to oversee and coordinate all the points of customer service/contact throughout the organization.  I am curious as to how exactly Taylor goes about getting the company to coordinate in order to put customers’ needs first.  What kind of structure does the company have?  Do they use networks to increase the flow of information?  If so, what kind of network do they have in place?


Flashmob- Technology and Org Culture without an Organization? February 23, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Networks, Organizational Culture, Social Networking Sites, Technology.

A UC Davis student  using Facebook apparently, organized (or “organized”?  sparked?) a flashmob earlier this month.  What is a flash mob?

Flashmob – Davis Wiki
A [wikipedia]flashmob is a group of people who are quietly organized, usually through the help of the Internet or other digital communications, to perform a public act. The act is usually odd or striking and involves many people who may have never met each other before the gathering. To the public, no explanation is given and the mob disperses after performing the act.

Over 1000 people gathered.  They chanted “ATM! ATM!” and then dispersed.  Why?  I am not sure.  Maybe one of you can figure out.  Flash mobs are also called swarm intelligence or emergent behavior.  Perhaps the same pyschology of stock bubbles or fashion fads is at work on a more localized level?

Here is the video link.

Is this an example of culture in action?  How does the technology of Facebook influence the culture?  Is his an example of organizational culture without an organization?

Vodafone to Start MySpace Service February 7, 2007

Posted by silviamocanu07 in Business-Society Issues, Internet, Networks, telecommunications.

I found an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the Vodafone Group, a leading European mobile-operator, who has signed a deal with MySpace through which Vodafone users will be able to access the social site via their cell-phones.  This deal is part of Vodafone’s “Mobile Plus” strategy to increase revenues by providing fixed-line internet, mobile advertising and other mobile Internet services. Vodafone is the first mobile operator to make MySpace available to European users.

This article relates to our class discussion about strategic management and I believe that this will prove to be a successful venture for Vodafone. Partnering with other companies in order to extend the offers available to customers will certainly provide them with a great advantage within the European market.

However, as is mentioned in the article, there is always the risk that part of the market segment will not like the fact that this  exclusive deal forces them to sign-up with a single mobile provider in order to access content. This is a very real possibility, and, given the fact that it is an exclusive deal, it does not allow customers many choices. If they want to access MySpace from their cell-phones, they must have a subscription with Vodafone. Do you think that this deal will greatly impact customers in their choice of mobile provider and do you think that it will increase the number of European MySpace users?

Blogging, Learning, and Organization Theory January 13, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Networks, Pedagogy.
1 comment so far

This blog is an experiment in using interactive writing technology (the blog) to foster a spirit of shared inquiry and probing inquisitiveness (learning) about the critical and interesting issues of organization theory as we can observe them in the world today.

My plan is to have all of the students in my Spring 2007 Organization Theory class join as authors. We will use this blog as a current events scrapbook. Each student will be repsonsible for at least one post a week. The posts should be reflections on current events that involve organizations. They should aspire to link observations about the world we live in to ideas, concepts, implications, and theory from organization theory.

For example, this week I read that AT&T is going to spend a billion (?) dollars on an ad campaign to scrub Cingular from its cell service and replace it with AT&T. This is amusing because Cingular grew out of the old breakup up of AT&T (but it is a longer organizational history than this). Some interesting questions come up. Why would AT&T decide to torpedo a successful brand? Has the regulatory environment changed so that AT&T can re-emerge as a monopoly? When businesses are bought, sold, and reconfigured so quickly and in so many bewildering ways, does it make any sense to talk about organizations? Is there athere there, or are organizations simply legal narratives with some financial properties? In that case, are the other ingredients of organizing- decision-making, control, work design, culture, adaptation- are distributed among formal and informal networks? 💡

This is an unfolding experiment. We are “winging it.” 🙂