For someone who grew up in the midwestern part of the United States, Southern California weather can be almost boring—very nice, but pretty much the same all of the time. In the Midwest, on the other hand, seasons changed. You knew when it was spring or fall, summer or winter. Of all of the seasons, for me the most obvious change came with the arrival of fall. Whereas winter sort of melted into spring, and spring gradually expanded into summer, fall arrived with a sudden turning of the leaves to red and gold and a special crispness in the air. In my recollection at least, it was quite dramatic.
Fall was also an exciting time of year. There were new teachers and subjects at school. It was a time of reunion with friends not seen for a while and a chance to meet new people. And of course there were all of those holidays to anticipate. Yes, fall was good. It still is, even here in Los Angeles where the change in the weather is more subtle and my liquid amber trees don’t bother to change colors until Thanksgiving.
This fall is a time when some dramatic changes are occurring at the Graziadio Business Review as well. First and foremost, we are pleased to announce that we have a new editor for GBR. Nancy Dodd Cates joined the staff of the GBR this August and immediately immersed herself in the process of putting together this issue of the journal. We are delighted to have her here and are looking forward to the new ideas and creativity that she will bring to GBR.
Cates brings great experience and skills to her new position as editor of the Graziadio Business Review. Prior to taking this position, she served as the Senior Editor of Marshall Magazine, a publication of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and before that as the Managing Editor of Elán. While at USC, Cates also was responsible for the creation of the Marshall Review, an online journal focusing on the Pacific Rim. In addition, Cates has “real world” business experience with Baker Petrolite Corporation. A published author herself, she has written short stories, plays, and screenplays. (This is, after all, Los Angeles!) It is a real pleasure to welcome her to her new position with the Graziadio Business Review.
If you read the editorial in the last issue of GBR, you are aware that Dr. Charla Griffy-Brown resigned from the editorship of GBR after a five-year term in order to focus on her research and other university activities. Another element of change is that I will be retiring and leaving GBR with the publication of this issue. GBR has been a major part of my life for the last seven years, and I leave with some mixed emotions. As the last remaining member of the original team that created this journal, I have a sense of ownership, or perhaps parenthood, that no one else will have in the future. It has been very gratifying to see the significant growth of GBR over those years, both in quality and in the size of our readership. I am grateful to you, our readers, who have encouraged us by your positive response to our publication. On a personal note, working with faculty from all of the business disciplines has provided me with a great continuing education. I cannot leave without thanking all of those who allowed me to work with them on their manuscripts and, in the process, expand my horizons. Finally, I especially want to say what a pleasure and honor it has been to work with the two previous editors, Scott Sherman and Charla Griffy-Brown.
As is true with the change from summer to fall, some of the new features in GBR will be sudden and clearly obvious. Other changes will be more gradual and/or subtle. Over a fairly short time, however, you will notice that GBR is in a new season of its life. If you look carefully at this issue, you will see a few things that are already different. More changes will come soon. For example, we expect to have a new design for the journal with the first issue in 2005, and with that will come more functional navigation and searching capabilities. But some things will remain constant, particularly the focus on our mission of providing useful information for business practitioners as well as for managers in the nonprofit and governmental arenas.
Now I invite you to engage in some continuing education of your own with this issue of GBR. These articles will indeed provide you with some very useful information. In The Crude Facts about the Price of Oil, Peggy Crawford and Ed Fredericks help put the current rise in oil prices in perspective, explaining the complex circumstances that are behind the recent spike in prices and helping you anticipate the economic environment in which you will need to operate.
Linnea McCord, Kim Greenhalgh, and Michael Magasin remind us that truth is the bedrock of our legal system and undergirds our economic system as well in Businesspersons Beware: Lying is a Crime. They go on to provide some very important and practical information about the law and about the negative consequences of thinking one can “fudge” a little bit when dealing with the government. In another approach to honesty, Charles Kerns continues his series of articles on how managerial leadership makes a difference in the ethical culture of the company. In Strengthening Value-Centered Ethics, Kerns talks about how you can build a company culture where practices such as lying will not be accepted. Charles Hunt explains a different approach to staying out of the court system in Litigate or Arbitrate? In this article Hunt provides helpful information about international arbitration. If you are involved with international business in any form, this is information you should have before you sign a contract.
Marshall Nickles looks at the political election cycle from the perspective of the stock market in Presidential Elections and Stock Market Cycles. This article may provide you with some new ideas for your own investment strategies—or maybe not. But you cannot help but be impressed by the final graphic in that article! And speaking of presidential politics, David Smith and Frieda Gehlen deal with the issue of increasing healthcare costs in a more forthright manner than either of the political candidates has done thus far. In Attempting to Control Health Care Costs—Again, they go even further and discuss some of the pros and cons of Consumer-Driven Health Plans, one of the newer health coverage products being pitched to businesses. And while you are thinking about health coverage, try the Health Coverage Quiz.
Our interview in this issue is with Stephen L. Baum, Chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 company. Baum spoke with GBR Editor, Nancy Dodd Cates, about the fact that California and the nation have still not sufficiently addressed what needs to be done to avert another energy crisis in California. Baum provides some suggestions for businesspeople on managing their energy costs and goes on to talk about alternatives to electrical energy.
Before you leave the website, be sure to visit the Book Corner. The books reviewed this time touch on a variety of topics. You are sure to find at least one that will interest you. You can click directly through to amazon.com if you wish to purchase one of these books.
You will find much of interest and value in this issue of GBR, and when you read something that you think a colleague would enjoy, we encourage you to forward the article. Let others know that the Graziadio Business Review is a free resource dedicated to helping business practitioners do their best in a challenging environment.