John Wiley

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Technological Innovations

Published March 27, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Burgelman, et. al, define technology as the theoretical and practical knowledge, skills, and artifacts that can be used to develop products and services as well as their production and delivery systems. It can be embodied in people, materials, cognitive and physical processes, plant, equipment and tools (Burgelman, Christensen, & Sheelwright, 2004). Advances in technology have presented opportunities for organizations to evolve in productive and innovative ways.  For example, when the mortgage crisis hit the nation in 2008, the mortgage and loan company I was employed at for nearly a decade, suffered bankruptcy and shut down. However, because of high speed internet and the ability to share documents, my former colleagues, with whom I have established trustful working relationships, have found a way to continue to work together in a virtual environment.

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According to Tidd and Bessant, innovation is driven by the ability to see connections, to spot opportunities and to take advantage of them offering new ways of serving established and mature markets (Tidd & Bessant, 2009).  In addition, because of advances in technology, more entrepreneurs are hosting webinars as a means to connect with potential clients. Advances in electronics and internet access have opened opportunities for people with electronic devices to attend informative and training classes online (some free of charge) for various reasons that include: career advancement, self-help and healing purposes; and educational training. The advantage to webinar hosts is an opportunity to reach out to consumers, build their clientele list, and open an opportunity to sell their products or encourage people to sign up for future classes and training courses.

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Other innovations and advances in technology now allow entrepreneurs to produce their own products at a fraction of the price. For instance, with the rise in popularity of tablets and notebooks, EBooks have become a more popular format in book sales because it offers consumers their favorite literature at more affordable prices. Individuals who own desktop publishing software for example, can now write and produce their own EBook merely by opening a file, laying out the design, pouring in the text and formatting, then doing a “save as” in an electronic device format. It has never been easier to produce a book! Innovations in technology have given entrepreneurs more tools to help grow their businesses.

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References:

Burgelman , R., Christensen, C., & Sheelwright, S. (2004). Strategic management of technology and innovation. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin Publishing.

Tidd, J., & Bessant, J. (2009). Managing innovation: Integrating technological, market and organizational change. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Leveraging Resources

Published March 18, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Entrepreneurs are the headmasters of their organizations and the taskmasters that seek funding for their businesses, whether for initial start-up, to continue operations or to expand. While changes in banking have altered the financial landscape and closed a few doors to funding opportunities, innovative ideas have opened the doors to others. USA Today’s Small Business Columnist, Steven Strauss (2011) explains two kinds of financing: (a) debt financing; and (b) equity financing. Debt financing requires the entrepreneur take on debt to finance the business, whereas equity financing entails bartering or selling a portion of the venture in exchange for cash that does not have to be paid back (Strauss S. , 2011).

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In the meantime, contemporary business leaders use a combination of resources to fund their ventures. Some of these include more unorthodox methods of financing like: personal savings, retirement funds, credit cards, online grants, business plan competitions, peer-to-peer lending, a variety of loans including friends and family plans, as well as crowd funding and microloans. There also the more conventional methods available from traditional financial banking institutions and business oriented organizations like SBA.

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Some entrepreneurial organizations engage in a variety of strategies as leverage for resources. For instance, entrepreneurs that are in the storming and norming stages of their organizational venture, can invest personal capital in small increments from billable service profits. The pros of personal investment are: (a) interest free resources, (b) no approval is required from others for expenditures, and (c) there is no liability to others. On the other hand, some of the cons for using personal resources include: (a) the depletion of funds which may be required for a rainy day, and (b) it is not always enough. Strauss’s book, The Business Bible recommends a few other inexpensive ways to attract more business revenue with mobile marketing strategies and other social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. These are some of the innovative resources available that are great for free advertising as a cost effective way that can assist to further expose a company’s brand and services (Strauss S. , 2012). When an organization has cash flow challenges and are unable to secure more financing for budget expenses, capital and headcount, other services some entrepreneurs consider, is raising capital from short video ads on social media outlets like YouTube with the intent of making it go viral. A smart entrepreneur understands that in today’s marketplace, a viral video can become a capital resource game changer.

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References:

Strauss, S. (2011). Get your business funded: Creative methods for getting the money you need. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Publishing.

Strauss, S. (2012). The small business bible (3rd ed.). Hoboken NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Social Change in the Workplace

Published January 18, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Precipitous change, both peaceful and vehement, is a fact of life that practically everyone on planet earth has come to envisage, if not unconditionally accept.  According to sociology professor and author Jay Weinstein (2010) from Eastern Michigan University, “a great social cultural revolution is sweeping the world” (p. 3).  A historical juncture has been attained at which the former ways of conducting human affairs from the interpersonal to the international levels are becoming less effective.  This year for example, because of the technological sophistication of electronic communication, for the first time in television history, a prime time television show drama on the CBS network’s hit series, Hawaii Five-O allowed viewers to choose the ending of an episode in real time with the aid of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and computers.

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Just as the modern era deposed feudalism, globalization is reformatting contemporary society.  This research is focused on my personal experience of social change in the workplace and the impact it produced from the functionalist, conflict, and interpretative perspectives when the board members at Capitol Records (a former place of employment) restructured the organization.  This significant event involved substantial personnel cuts and the shutting down of an organizational branch.  These changes created conflict and confusion for both contractual and non-contractual employees as the functional requisites were shifting in the way of personnel and economic resources.  In addition, panic ensued within the organization as workers attempted to interpret the action and parameters of the social change.

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The music industry is constantly in a state of flux.  A musician can enjoy great success or can meet artistic doom through the efforts of their record company.  Executives are always searching for the next megastar.  There is no one way to success and no one can predict what the public will embrace as a hit, or scoff at as a flop.  As a result, the board of directors is, at times, forced to make changes when the executives miss the mark on what constitutes a successful music star and what is considered wasted energy.  When a company does not reflect significant profits, while the books reveal extreme expenditures for artists that are not attracting substantial returns, or worse, lose their popularity, adjustments are calculated to navigate the organization towards profit and success.

Revenue at Capitol Records was in decline and the organization was exhibiting signs of struggle.  The functional requisites were shifting with respect to the minimum number of personnel required to keep the company operational within the frame of the economic resources available.  As a solution, the organization faced a restructuring situation.  In their concerted effort to downsize, an outside agency was employed to provide the hatchet man duties.  The institution in this instance did not require the main body of personnel to conform or participate in the decision to remodel the organization.  Staff members were unsure of job security until they were summoned by the hatchet man for verification.

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The organizational change that was implemented created panic within the structure as workers were attempting to comprehend the action and parameters of this new paradigm shift.  The organizational edifice affected was comprised of two floors.  The main body of personnel was located on the ground level, while the upper floor housed two divisions – the offices of the President and the offices of the Vice President of Business Affairs (the author’s supervisor).  Our department was advised of the organizational changes and I was asked to participate as the assistant to the hatchet man in the downsizing process.

On the one hand I was relieved that, for me, a firm position within the organization still existed.  On the other hand, it was an emotionally difficult task to call each individual employee to their final exit meeting.  That call was something people I had worked with for years were dreading.  A situation-insensitive brother made remarks how proud he was that I was chosen to assist in the organization’s blood bath.  On the contrary, in my view, it was equated to the position of a modern day accomplice to the staff executioner.  Although the hatchet man was a very kind individual with a soft spoken demeanor, his task was not an easy one and it affected me deeply because of my empathy for the people that had been my colleagues and friends – some for many years.  The power of the event and my involuntary participation of this social change presented personal conflict because of my espoused values within the organization and my sympathy towards the people that were being asked to leave.

The new social setting created a reality that redefined the organizational structure implemented by the stranger cast as the terminator.  The idea of job stability was modified as each individual struggled with the change imposed on them.  When individuals heard the phone ring, a disposition of low self-esteem emerged as the withdrawal papers were delegated one by one.  The facility shut down shortly after the event concluded.  Employees that were not dismissed were assimilated in other areas of the organization.

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The world faces a long list of threats that include: (a) hunger, (b) disease, (c) poverty, (d) despair, (e) pandemics, (f) global climate change, and (g) aging economies.  Breakthroughs in society occur when the demand for an end to deprivation, marginalization, and equality ultimately overwhelms the resistance (Light & Reynolds, 2011). Breakthroughs in companies incur change with episodes of restructuring that often include considerable downsizing of personnel as part of the process.  These are the tools of agitation that disrupt and replace the status quo.  The changes that transpired at Capitol Records were instigated by a variety of circumstances which included (a) the completion of the President’s contract; (b) the sale and shutting down of the building; and (c) the financial climate of the corporation.  Individuals who initially challenged the reforms eventually learned to create a new normal.

In conclusion, social change continues to evolve with globalization having a significant impact on contemporary society.  Two fundamental principles drive change: (1) power, and (2) love.  Love is defined as the drive towards unity and power towards separation (Kahane, 2010).  To create lasting change, individuals should learn to work fluidly towards unity and must uncover a means to balance these two forces.  When we learn to shift between power and love, we can begin a new order that will assist to move society forward.

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References

Kahane, A. (2010). Power and love: A theory and practice of social change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Light, P., & Reynolds, C. (2011). Driving social change: How to solve the world’s toughest problems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Weinstein, J. (2010). Social change. (p. 3). Pymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.