Launch of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy!

SAGE is excited to announce the newest addition to our scholarly collection, Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, which launched on January 9th, 2018!

EEX_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgEntrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy (EE&P) is USASBE’s peer-reviewed opportunity for entrepreneurship educators to both publish their scholarship and showcase their practice. EE&P aims to provide a forum for the dissemination of research, teaching cases, and learning innovations focused on educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

SAGE invites all interested parties to read and submit to this wonderful new addition to academia! To read the latest issues click here. To submit click here.

Case in point: A Company Goes Green to Become a Better Competitor

[The following post is re-blogged from SAGE Business Cases. Click here to view the original article.]

Sustainable business practices are good for the environment, but can they also be good for a company’s bottom line? Instead of lowering the costs of its services, leading express courier DHL is setting itself apart from the competition by working to promote sustainability in Asian supply chains. Collaborating with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to establish the Sustainable Supply Chain Centre of Asia Pacific, DHL believes their green approach will benefit not only the planet but also their business, industry, and higher education.

Case and Point 2Examining DHL’s decision, Deborah de Lange wrote a case study for SAGE Business Cases, enabling students to consider how sustainability is applied in a global marketplace and how multiple stakeholders, including civil society organizations, can influence business. We are pleased to share our interview with Deborah, an assistant professor of Global Management Studies at Ryerson University, as the latest installment of our Case In Point series, containing insights from thought leaders in business and management. Read her interview below and check out her full case study, “Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability: DHL, the National University of Singapore, and the Asia Pacific Sustainable Supply Chain Centre,” which is free-to-read for a limited time.

1. Your case focuses on DHL’s partnership with the NUS to create the Sustainable Supply Chain Centre of Asia Pacific. Can you tell us a bit more about DHL’s and NUS’s roles as stakeholders in this partnership?

The university is part of a government strategy to make Singapore an international logistics hub. Partnering with DHL is aligned with this mandate. DHL gains business in Singapore and develops a launch pad into the very large Asian market, it builds its brand with students who are the next generation customers, and has access to a capable student labor pool. NUS gains a partner in DHL with international reach who will hire its students and as mentioned reinforce a goal for Singapore.

2. Can you explain briefly the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental, economic) and how they interact with each other?

Sustainability is about incorporating social justice and consideration for natural systems into positive economic outcomes with future generations and a long-term view in mind. Societal actors together with the natural environment are a firm’s stakeholders and thus, sustainability requires a stakeholder perspective. This has not been a past focus, thus having led to many of the negative consequences we are experiencing today. A firm normally requires profit to reinvest in its development for improved products, services, and operations. Unfortunately, corporate governance has been weak and as a result, profits have not always been reinvested for these purposes and, instead, have excessively lined the pockets of those who have been in control. This corruption of capitalism is a core issue. In many ways, the concept of sustainability represents the resuscitation of capitalism.

Profitability must include a calculation of all of a firm’s costs, not just the ones that the taxation agency, shareholders, or the auditors can quantify. If a firm is truly operating profitably, it does so on a triple bottom line basis meaning that it takes into account social and environmental costs. In fact, a sustainable firm can be more competitive because it produces socially and environmentally attuned offerings. A firm is embedded in the society and natural environmental in which it operates so, if it operates in harmony with these facets of life, it will serve them better and derive economic benefits as a result. Sustainability offers a positive feedback loop for a firm, once it figures out how to operate sustainably. This has been challenging because of past paradigms that dominate our economic landscape. However, we know that the ability to learn, adapt and change is primary for survival and this is what sustainability ultimately means.

3. Can you talk about the relationship between sustainability and a “race to the top”?

A “race to the top” essentially means that firms compete on producing better products and services under improved labor and environmental conditions. This concept is associated with a circular economy as stated in European Union strategy and in the United Nations Global Compact principles, underpinned by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under this paradigm, firms compete on ever improving labor and environmental standards. The resulting sustainable products and services support a higher standard of living, for obvious reasons that consumers, communities and the environment benefit from them, and produce positive externalities for more sustainable development. It is like a positive upward spiral where one positive activity spurs many others. Firms that collectively compete on this basis reduce the phenomenon of the “Tragedy of the Commons” rather than aggravate it. They may even give back to and enhance the commons. Ultimately, the pie increases with a race to the top and sustainable development. Everyone gains from this, including firms and their stakeholders.
This contrasts with a “race to the bottom,” where firms narrowly obsess over lowering costs without considering a more holistic view inclusive of revenue and profit growth. They ignore social and environmental consequences, leaving society to pay for the firm’s costs. As an exemplar, we can think of the outsourcing that has occurred to enormous production facilities where thousands of people spend their days under soul-crushing circumstances, and the consequent negative externalities – consequences for workers’ health, families, communities, and beyond. Lowering costs to an extreme may conveniently increase profits in the short term, but this does not support growth in the short or long term because revenues are often stymied by a lack of investment. It makes sense to reduce costs associated with useless slack relating to over paid corporate executives and their perquisites, but it does not make sense to reduce costs that represent beneficial investments fostering growth. Firms must understand the balance that this entails. They must also understand that their activities have grave consequences for the societies that host them and that there are consequences, as a result of those costs that they did not recognize – the consequences return to haunt them. Think of an economy-wide death spiral where negativity creates more consequences that are negative. Ultimately, firms need strong corporate governance supported by boards of directors possessing sound judgement together with robust internal risk management and information systems.

In fact, many firms prefer a race to the top and are moving in this direction, but they would like local governments to support their initiatives on a broader politico-economic and consistent basis. This means that governments must develop and maintain long-term policies focused on sustainable development. For example, subsidies must go to strategic sustainable infant industries on a predictable basis but must stop when these industries are mature enough to stand on their own. Otherwise, they crowd out the next generation of technologies leaving firms that are “too big to fail” and competition too weak to fill the gaps. Governments must resist particularly powerful special interest groups and their corporate lobbies. Instead, by working towards a circular economy, governments support sustainable development and diversified leading edge economies. They align with the most sustainably competitive businesses that would contribute to improving their societies. Our future generations deserve a better world and our economies can work toward this principle with longer-term view.

4. As we continue to globalize, how important would you say it is for business students to learn to consider sustainability in their decision-making?

As suggested by the previous comments, sustainability means survival. Business students need to understand sustainability as not only core to strategy but, critical for the survival of their organizations, whether for- or non-profit. All of our organizations are embedded in societies and the natural environment. If you destroy your fish bowl, you no longer have one to live in. Unfortunately, we are facing an Anthropocene where humans are determining the fate of the planet. On a positive note, this means that our choices make a difference, but we have to collectively make the right ones every single day. Business students have to learn to make sustainable decisions in keeping with concepts such as the circular economy, the principles of the Global Compact, and the UN sustainable development goals.

Learn more by reading the full case study, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability: DHL, the National University of Singapore, and the Asia Pacific Sustainable Supply Chain Centre from SAGE Business Cases, open to the public for a limited time. To learn more about SAGE Business Cases and to find out how to submit a case to the collection, please contact Rachel Taliaferro, Associate Editor ( Read the last Case In Point post, titled Managing Inventory to Maximize Profit.


Happy New Year!

pf-2018-3031241_1920We would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers and authors for their amazing contributions.  Please enjoy this article about the origins and traditions of the New Year celebration, and have a Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays From Management INK!

christmas-decorations-1149929_1920It’s now time for the holidays and we at Business and Management INK would like to extend a warm season’s greeting to our readers. Here is a fascinating story involving Norse gods, birds, and a few hypotheses as to why Mistletoe is associated with romance. Happy Holidays!

Case in Point: Interacting in the Bossless Workplace

[The following post is re-blogged from SAGE Connection. Click here to view the original article.]

Case in point imgSometimes it’s companies—not just their employees— that don’t want bosses. At W. L. Gore & Associates, a manufacturing company, no employee is hired as anyone else’s boss. Instead, employees support each other and work together in what can be called a “lattice” organizational structure; leaders are not assigned authority at Gore but are selected based on their merits and ability to earn followers.

Delving deeper into the company’s innovative structure, Terje Grønning wrote a case study about it for SAGE Business Cases, titled “Working Without a Boss: Lattice Organization With Direct Person-to-Person Communication at W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.” The case study examines how the lattice organizational structure compares to more established structures, the communication challenges it faces, and more. Curious about the topic, we interviewed Terje for our Case In Point Series. Read the full interview below.

Delving deeper into the company’s innovative structure, Terje Grønning wrote a case study about it for SAGE Business Cases, titled “Working Without a Boss: Lattice Organization With Direct Person-to-Person Communication at W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.” The case study examines how the lattice organizational structure compares to more established structures, the communication challenges it faces, and more. Curious about the topic, we interviewed Terje for our Case In Point Series. Read the full interview below.

1. Can you briefly explain what a lattice structure is and how it differs from more conventional organizational forms?

When classifying organizational forms, the hierarchical and matrix forms are perhaps the most well known and widely implemented, consciously or implicitly. The hierarchical form, is of course, something we all are familiar with either through study, work or experience, since it is the pyramid-like form with sections and departments each with their own managers and well-defined lines of authority. The matrix form is associated with, for example, project management and opens up for larger degrees of decentralization and flexibility. It is, however, an organizational form that still relies upon and functions with management layers and specified lines of authority.  The “lattice” organizational structure, on the other hand, is in theory designed in a way where all the participants are supposed to have equal status when it comes to authority. Indeed, there are temporary or more long term positions where some members are leaders, but the idea is to have closely knit networks within the organization where everybody relates to each other without anyone having more authority based on a particular position within the organizational structure.

2. How can implementing a lattice structure benefit communication and innovation within an organization?

One conceivable and important potential benefit is that ideas for new products, services or processes can be generated from a wider base; in theory, from anybody within the organization.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges with direct person-to-person communication, especially in a large company like Gore?

One challenge is to practically arrange for the possibility of face-to-face interaction on a frequent basis. When there are several hundreds or thousands of employees, it goes without saying that everyone cannot know everyone else, and Gore appears to have continuously tried to solve that problem by constructing new additions to their activities as smaller units located closely to pre-existing units. There is a challenge of avoiding the emergence of a “department” feeling within the units.  In addition, according to the lattice organization principles, there should be egalitarian practices while allowing for temporary rotation-based leadership or other specialized appointments. However, one can imagine that there can be a risk of some persons dominating behind the scenes, although the principles seem to be outwardly followed. Still another challenge can be to have adequate procedures for coordination and decision-making.

4. With more companies integrating more sophisticated communication and collaboration tools (such as Slack), do you think lattice structures are something we’ll see more of in new or growing businesses?

Yes, I think such tools can facilitate lattices or lattice-like structures both in cases where collaborating people are geographically located apart from each other or when they are co-located but are either too busy or too many to be able to interact on a day-to-day and face-to-face basis. But there is always a risk of being overwhelmed by the technological possibilities and forgetting the core ideas, much like what happened in the case with some other programs for knowledge management and team building, etc. I agree with Raanan Lipshitz, Victor Friedman and Micha Popper when they in their studies of organizational learning processes stress the importance of differentiating between the overall mechanisms for organizational learning and the more delimited organizational learning technologies, which are just but one element of such mechanisms.

5. Why is it important for students to read cases that analyze communication styles and strategies in business settings?

Personally, I find it essential to supplement the purely theoretical and conceptual perspectives that tend to dominate course reading lists with examples based on information collected within companies. The theoretical perspectives are, of course, indispensable both within study programs as well as in companies; but the theoretical models, typologies and analytical dimensions about communication styles, strategies and other crucial issues within companies should be discussed in conjunction with such examples from the real world in order to see the utility of the theoretical perspectives.

6. In your opinion, how does teaching with case studies, which exposes students to a wide range of organizational forms, benefit their business educations and careers?

Within business education and similar teaching programs, I think the topic of organizational structure and change is something which is perhaps especially fitting for exercises of a case study type. This is because case studies illuminate the dilemmas which may appear in connection with both consciously choosing as well as trying to adapt to inevitably oncoming changes. In a particular case it might appear to be appealing to discuss the feasibility of, for example, a matrix or lattice organization, but why is it that the case organization nevertheless appears to be upholding a hierarchical form? In this way, the realities and various facets of organizations may come to life in a much better way than what would be the case with only conventional classroom teaching.

Also, for some topics within this field, when students work in groups, the actual exercise can function as a case in itself since this very process can be the basis for discussion as well. For example, students may aspire to organize their project according to lattice or matrix principles of organization, but when discussing the project afterwards, we can sometimes see that there was in reality a “strong leader” influencing large parts of the process.  Such an experience can be valuable also for later careers within working life.

Learn more by reading the full case study, Working Without a Boss: Lattice Organization With Direct Person-to-Person Communication at W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. from SAGE Business Cases, open to the public for a limited time. To learn more about SAGE Business Cases and to find out how to submit a case to the collection, please contact Rachel Taliaferro, Associate Editor: Read the last Case In Point post, titled Developing a Unique Healthcare Model.

Psychological Capital for Leader Development

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Thiraput Pitichat of Claremont Graduate University. Pitichat recently published an article in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies entitled “Psychological Capital for Leader Development,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Pitichat speaks on the objectives of this research:]

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat are the mechanisms behind effective leader development processes? Why do some individuals have a tendency to develop as leaders more than the others? This research suggests that organizations should focus on promoting leaders’ valuable resources or capital – Leader development psychological capital (LD PsyCap), which consists of leader development hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. Two main objectives of this research are:

1.) to validate LD PsyCap construct; 2.) to test our hypotheses on individual and organizational level factors that predict LD PsyCap as well as leader development behaviors as an outcome of LD PsyCap.

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