Editorial

Scary Business

Sometimes knowledge can help you avoid “things that go bump in the night.”

In the movie Monsters, Inc., monsters creep out of closets and make scary noises to collect energy from the screams of the children they terrify to make their city work. In today’s business environment there are enough things to scream about that Monsterville should be running full-tilt for some time to come. There are wars and rumors of war all over the world: the war on terrorism, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the possible war with Iraq, the threat of war by North Korea – and those are just the ones with immediate global implications. Associated with these threats are rising oil prices and massive strains on traditional alliances.

In the face of all of this the American economy is having a hard time deciding whether to wake up and grow or just stay in bed with the covers over its head. And the stock market has been very scary for close to three years now. Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, is still finding it hard to make the structural reforms that could bring it out of its decade-long economic doldrums, and Germany is on the verge of slipping into another recession.

For many business practitioners, there are additional frights lurking in new laws and regulations. CEOs and CFOs have to personally certify that their company’s financial reports are on the up-and-up — and risk going to jail if they are wrong. For many, pretending there are no monsters hiding in the books has kept them from spending hours and hours poring over the numbers to see what is really hiding there. Now they have to actually investigate. That is a truly scary prospect for some! Young companies that have compensated their executives with the promise of future pay-offs (read “big options”) may have to “expense options” whether they want to or not, possibly causing them to report losses instead of profits right up front for all of the world to see. Given the still-soft economy, many employers are still facing the possibility of laying off more employees, perhaps one of the scariest monsters out of anyone’s closet.

Yep, it can be a scary world and no one will blame you if you scream. However, things aren’t always as they seem. Just as some of the monsters in the movie turned out to be friendly, perhaps some of the scary things that the business person faces today may be friendlier once we take a closer look. The trick may understand what’s behind the blue, hairy, fanged creatures we have to face once we open the closet door.!

So, stop screaming and let the GBR help you!

Mr. Jake Laban and Dr. Jack Green show you how to keep your employees focused by leveraging the forgotten fundamental in strategic implementation: communication. This should eliminate some screaming now and a lot later.

Dr. Larry Bumgardner walks on the wild-side of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This article on corporate reform in the US deals with how this legislation will impact American business and whether it will have the long-term impact that is desired. To test your knowledge of this Act, don’t forget to take the Sarbanes-Oxley Quiz! (Quiz no longer accessible)

Dr. Steve Ferraro helps us go back and face the issue of expensing options again. This article takes a look at the true costs when compensation is paid through company options. After you read this, be sure to look back at “The Pros and Cons of Expensing Options” in the previous issue of GBR where Professor Chuck McPeak presents the alternative view point on this topic.

Mr. Nikolai Chuvakin and Dr. Wayne Gertmenian tackle the monster of bankruptcy from the point of view of the creditor. Their article on predicting bankruptcy will show you how to determine when it is safe to grant credit to your customers.

Professors Scott Sherman and James Martinoff then help you recognize how ethical behavior can be taught and “caught” through experience. This article applies the four-step process of tacit learning to new arenas.

Finally, Dr. Mark Mallinger and Dr. Jeff Banks help managers understand how they can help their employees, and ultimately their business, by using emotional intelligence. This is especially important in scary situations such times of job insecurity. Business practitioners don’t have to go running and screaming even when facing the reality of an economic downturn.

For many people one of the scariest things imaginable is to pick up the phone to find out that the caller is a telemarketer! To deal with that fear factor, check out the Telemarketing LOOP. (LOOP no longer accessible)

Before you turn out the lights, be sure to check out the ebizbuz and the arcade (Ebizbuz and Arcade no longer accessible) to get a glimpse of important electronic tools and issues that keep the electronic marketplace looking under its bed for monsters. Maybe life isn’t quite as scary as you thought.

Author of the article
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD, , is an associate professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management. In 2004, Dr. Griffy-Brown received a research award from the International Association for the Management of Technology and was recognized as one of the most active and prolific researchers in the fields of technology management and innovation. A former researcher at the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development in Tokyo, she has also served as an associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Griffy-Brown graduated from Harvard University, is a former Fulbright Scholar, and holds a PhD in technology management from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. She has worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center and has taught innovation/technology management courses in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. She has also served as a consultant for the United Nation's Global Environmental Facility and the European Commission.
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