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Steroids in Baseball May 3, 2007

Posted by collage9 in Sports, sustainable development.

One organization, Major League Baseball, is in the midst of a crisis that is causing a lot of harm to their game.  As probably all of you know, we are in the middle of what is known as the “steroid era” of baseball.  This is obviously not a good image that the league currently has for itself.  A lot of people are questioning the integrity of the game and are very critical of the MLB.  Steroid cases are continually being heard in the courts and the problem has really gotten out of control.  The MLB let the problem get out of control in the first place (with lenient testing policies beginning in the 1990’s) and it is now their responsibility to fix it.  However, it is not something that seems like it will go away in the near future.  It is very interesting to me to watch how the league continues to handle the situation, as we all know they have many people who are very critical of their game right now.  How do you think they should handle the situation?  Should they be as cooperative as possible with the government and try and catch everyone who has taken steroids?  Should they be very active and harsh in distributing penalties?  Should there be asterisks placed in the record books for people who played during the steroid era?  Should the MLB try and downplay the situation and make it seem as if it’s being resolved?  The league has a very serious image problem right now and I am interested to see how they continue to handle the situation.


Home Depot Ups the Ante on Green Labeling April 17, 2007

Posted by Jordi in environment, Retail, sustainable development.

Does the success of deep environment-human change hinge on winning the hearts (do they have nay?) and minds of the Fortune 500?   Here is another example of corporations finding two kinds of green.

Home Depot to Display an Environmental Label – New York Times
The initiative — which is expected to include 6,000 products by 2009, representing 12 percent of the chain’s sales — would become the largest green labeling program in American retailing and could persuade competitors to speed up their own plans.

I am curious to see what this does to pricing and also cost structure for Home Depot.

Gannett to follow after Tribune? April 10, 2007

Posted by Stacey Swift in Growth, Stakeholder management, sustainable development.
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During last week’s class we talked about how the Tribune should handle their large variety of different companies.  Their recent acquisitions has gotten other large newspaper companies thinking, should we be doing the same thing?  Gannettis a large publisher of USA Today and many other newspapers for small and mid-size cities (their headquarters is right by my house, its the most beautiful building….but anyways).  Recently they have been under pressure to increase their return to shareholders, as their price earnings ratio is the lowest in the industry.  Shareholders have watched Real Estate mogul Sam Zell buy out Tribune and their value increased.

The article says Gannett has a $13.2 billion value, but also $5 of debt, making it an unlikely candidate for a buy out.  They also say they could create value by spinning off its NBC stations.  This got me thinking, How much responsibility does the company really have to its shareholders?  Do they need to change their current operations just to increase their dividends to shareholders?  Currently their annual dividend is $1.24, but Barrons says they could technically afford to give $4 per share, or they could spin of their stations to increase profits.  Are they responsible to give shareholders as much as they can?  With huge conglomerates such as Tribune, smaller corporations are under even more pressure to increase profits.  Do you think that Sam Zell is setting a trend and we will begin to see more buyouts in the future?

Baby boomers influence job growth March 21, 2007

Posted by Meg in outsourcing, sustainable development, Workplaces.

Throughout the past fifty years, baby boomers have influenced culture, politics, and the economy.  Now,  as this generation heads into retirement, it is apparent, more than ever, that they’ll be influencing the career paths those of the next generation (those born in the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s) choose to pursue.  In particular, health care professions are expected to have a 30% growth rate between 2004 and 2014.  Doctors and nurses are excluded from this category because of the education requirement.  Rather, positions such as medical and dental assistants, those of the lower-wage, lower-skilled category are expected to rise dramatically.  Other career paths expected to grow substantially are positions in the field of technology such as software engineers as well as those in education including college professors, the reason being that an emphasis on higher education has become more prevalent during the late twentieth century.

Several of these jobs, particularly those described above in the health care profession, seem to not only cater to the influence and needs of the baby boomer generation, but they also appear to bridge the salary gap existing between those with a bachelor’s degree and those with simply a high school diploma.  Obviously, a college professor needs an advanced degree as well as many software engineers.  More and more, however, blue-collar careers are also requiring education at least somewhat beyond high school.

As outsourcing continues to become a dominant strategy for many firms, an increase in jobs requiring at least a certain amount of post-high school education is relieving in my opinion.  It is a shame to see dedicated workers lose their jobs to those who can complete the same task for a lower wage.  A growth in professions though that can cater to these workers will hopefully stimulate the economy and promote a more educated U.S. citizen with a greater confidence in job security.

Can YouTube resist organizational change? March 19, 2007

Posted by Lady in brand, Consumers, Internet, monopoly, Organizational Environment, sustainable development.

I recently read an article entitled, “YouTube struggles despite dominance” which discussed how YouTube is struggling to compete for the business of media companies even after the fact that they were recently acquired by Google.  YouTube’s inability to prevent unauthorized uploads has caused them to lose potential deals with prominent media companies such as Viacom. In addition, some media companies such as Viacom were not pleased with the way YouTube attempted to seal a deal because they felt as though YouTube did not display “respect for their content.”

Analysts have different opinions of what this problem would do for the future of YouTube. Some analysts believe that YouTube needs to make a change in order to build long-lasting relationships with some of these media companies. They believe that they need to adopt new technology to prevent unauthorized uploads and also establish trust with these media companies by protecting the media companies’ copyright terms. Without making some necessary changes, these analysts believe that YouTube will eventually lose out to its’ competitors such as iFilm and Revver. Other analysts believe that YouTube can easily obtain deals with media companies just because of their brand name. These analysts do not believe that competition is a big threat to YouTube.

I chose this article because it shows the existence of some forces of organizational change within YouTube. They may need to do some things differently in order to continue to compete for business with these media companies. What are the forces of change? Well the obvious one is competitive forces since media companies can seek service from competitors such as iFilm and Revver. Might there be social forces working against YouTube because of the increased demand for established trust with these media companies and demand for software that would protect the media company’s content? I believe so.

Does YouTube need to give in to these forces of changes? Or does YouTube have enough bargaining power to resist these forces? Might their strategy of being the most dominant and popular free video sharing website allow them to resist making the changes that these media companies prefer? I believe that this may be the case in the short run. However, I believe that it will not be sustainable once YouTube’s competitors become more popular and trusted by these media companies.

Mentors March 6, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in Organizational Culture, Organizational Environment, sustainable development.

Every so often when listening to the news or reading the paper you hear a story of success or happiness.  While reading the March 12th edition of Business Week, I came across one such article.  The article titled The Holy Cross Fraternity highlights one man’s accomplishments in the late 1960’s when he began recruiting black students to Holy Cross, in Massachusetts, which considering the time and place, was a radical pursuit.  Reverend John E. Brooks took on the challenge of bettering the school and the students by incorporating racial diversity onto the campus.  The African American students Brooks recruited were given full scholarships but many obstacles were still ahead. Between roommate troubles and a general sense of uneasiness around campus, the few black students were not welcomed by all; however “Father Brooks built confidence.  He made you think about your options” (Stanley Grayson).  The article continues about the bonds made among the black students, the troubles they faced and their extreme success after graduation.  Some of the graduates include:

            Edward P. Jones – Puliter Prize winner

            Clarence Thomas – Supreme Court Justice

            Theodore Wells – Attorney

            Stanley Grayson – President and COO of M.R. Beal & Co.

Along with my interest in the Civil Rights Movement and how influential this story is with that respect, I also see this story as a wonderful inspiration of leadership and friendship.  From Management 101 I have learned a lot about the types of leadership roles and what makes an effective leader taking into account the various conditions of the particular situation.  Especially in times of extreme conflict, standing up for what you believe and wholeheartedly upholding those beliefs despite criticism is very difficult and tiring.  Looking at Holy Cross, or any university as an organization, (or a Mgmt 101 company) it can be seen that groupthink, the power of politics, and authority and power are concepts that can easily apply to real, personal situations. 

Who is your role model or mentor?  What makes this person a mentor in your mind?