Category: Business

Deming’s 14 Points: Continuous Improvement, Prevention of Defects and the SDSA and PDSA cycles

Deming’s 14 Points for Leadership in the Western World is a well rounded guide for achieving excellence in management. The 14 points or guidelines are applicable to any domain or industry.  One of the key insights offered by Deming is how a high level of quality (or even a zero-defect production record) does not pre-empt the scope for improvement.  The very first point talks about creating a “constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service”.  This indicates how improvement is an ongoing engagement that is detached from prevailing production quality.  Deming makes clear that ‘defect detection’ and ‘defect prevention’ are preludes to the continuous improvement process.  An optimal defect detection system would not operate on the misplaced assumption that increasing the quantity of tests (mass inspection) would automatically “decrease the variability of the quality characteristics of products and services.”  Likewise, a robust defect prevention . . . Read More

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Sewing for Millionaires: Rawlings’ operations in Costa Rica

  1. In your opinion, is Rawlings exploiting its Costa Rican employees? Explain your answer.

In my opinion, I don’t think Rawlings’ operations in Costa Rica are exploitative.  The very nature of capitalist enterprise is such that cost efficiency is a major driver of business.  To criticize Rawlings for doing what it is legally mandated to do (namely, to seek profits for is shareholders) is quite unfair.  Moreover, critics are not appreciating how Rawlings has created jobs in the Costa Rican economy. Companies such as Rawlings have helped consolidate Costa Rican economy.  It is in recognition of this fact that the Costa Rican government has offered special economic zone status to Rawlings and other MNC manufacturing units.

Even when one looks at wages and employee benefits, Rawlings has done nothing illegal.  The company has adhered to minimum wage standards of Costa Rica.  Further it complies by paid-leave and medical insurance . . . Read More

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Code of Ethics Case Study: News Corporation


News Corporation, under the leadership of Rupert Murdoch, has unparalleled power and reach in the news media industry.  The Murdoch Empire spans several continents, with significant footholds in Australia, United States and the United Kingdom. Founded and headquartered in Australia, the company now boasts of being the number one newspaper publisher in the world, with a cumulative daily readership of 14 million in these three countries alone. Murdoch has a near monopoly in the media space in Australia, owning two-thirds of all newspaper circulation in the country.  Across the Tasman Sea, in New Zealand, he owns nearly half.  Further, he is the owner of two fifths of the Australian Associated Press. (Knowlton & Parsons, 1995, p. 200)  These holdings are notwithstanding his considerable market share in Britain and the United States. These statistics bear testimony to the Murdoch’s media monopoly. Between the lines one can read the dangers . . . Read More

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‘Two Cheers for Materialism’ by James Twitchell & ‘Profiles in Splurging’ by Randall Patterson : A combined overview

In “Two Cheers for Materialism,” James Twitchell posits that “We live through things, we create ourselves through things and we change ourselves by changing our things.” When we look at this claim by the author, it sounds like a veiled criticism of a materialist culture. But through numerous apt examples and nuanced explanations, Twitchell comes around to acknowledge the power of consumerist impulses and seeks to explain what drives them.  He also argues that capitalist consumerism is not something that is imposed on people as academic critics often claim. Instead, the continued thriving of consumerism is due to our own innate needs, desires and aspirations. The article by Randall Patterson titled ‘Profiles in Splurging’ complements Twitchell’s core thesis.  This essay will qualify the aforementioned working thesis by considering all the facts and arguments presented in these two articles.

To a great extent, the claim in the working thesis can be viewed as a . . . Read More

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Case Study: How the new HR strategy makes Lloyd’s one of the best companies


The case study highlights a major recent transformation underwent by Britain’s global insurer Lloyd’s.  The appointment of Suzy Black as HR Director in 2009 was unprecedented in the history of the company. It indicated a new competitive branding for its HR practices, breaking away from traditional personnel office style of functioning. Though there was initial apprehension from senior managers in the company, Black skillfully managed to get them on board to be part of her HR vision. In the milieu of an ever growing global presence for Lloyd’s, Black was able to create a challenging work environment, healthy incentive programs and meaningful community outreach programs. Black’s approach is flexible enough to modify HR programs to suit specific locations across the globe.  Black was successfully able to pull off a balance between efficiency and team spirit which accounts for Lloyd’s ranking high in recent polls in the list of most . . . Read More

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What are the many cultural, political & geo-economic challenges faced by organisations operating in a global environment. How could they be addressed?

The major cultural challenges facing a global enterprise is understanding and adapting to local business customs and norms. In the Real World Case we saw how business in Africa tends to go on at a leisurely pace – a practice that undermines the principles of efficiency and expediency that multi-national enterprises thrive on. Understanding cultural sensibilities and adapting to them requires an open-mind and a flexible management approach. This can prove quite challenging if the top management is too engrained in their B-school trained approach. Often government bureaucracy or red tape can hinder expedient project execution. Red-tape can thus be considered both a cultural and political issue. Another political issue is the state of development. As emerging economies are mostly from the Third World, the available infrastructure can be quite rudimentary. This is a geo-economic challenge, for a majority of the population might be IT illiterate, as reflected in minimal usage of . . . Read More

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The Real World Case mentions several organizations. For each organisation, discuss the business drivers for that organisation to expand globally.

The main companies discussed in the Real World Case are Cadbury, Forrester Research and A.T.Kearney.
The case of Cadbury’s expansion into emerging economies is discussed at length. As affluence levels increase in emerging markets, the consumer base for chocolate-based sweets also increases. Since chocolate-based sweets are not a subsistence commodity, its consumption is directly correlated to affluence levels. In the era of globalization, many suitable markets have opened up for companies such a Cadbury spanning different continents. The appeal of chocolates and sweets is universal and is not restricted by cultural sensibilities and norms. As a result, Cadbury is well placed to exploit a lucrative, erstwhile untapped, market for chocolates and sweets in developing countries.

Forrester Research is a services company and not a products company. This could work to their advantage, as they could offer their services to a range of industries venturing into developing . . . Read More

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Water as a commercial commodity

How do you evaluate the growing expectations and the changing role of companies in the arena of water management? Discuss the potential and the limits of what corporations can ultimately achieve in the business of water.

Given the abysmal record of private companies in managing water resources and their equitable distribution, the public has a sceptical view of privatization.  International controversies over water privatization are shaping the debate across the world. In a world of six billion people, of which a sixth don’t have access to safe, drinkable and cost-effective water, privatization looms as the great big threat to what prospects they have for fulfilling this basic need.  As the failure of privatization in Bolivia, India, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, South Africa and Philippines suggest, privatization is not sure shot method for optimal utility and usage of limited water resources. To many commentators, these instances of failure of . . . Read More

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The business of water consumption

In terms of the scholarly discussion on corporate social responsibility please outline the key arguments that may support the actions of the firms given in the case. Furthermore, discuss the main arguments against corporate social responsibility considering these firms’ actions. Use scholarly literature and examples from the case study to illustrate.

Though water is considered as essential to survival of all life forms, getting access to quality water is increasingly becoming difficult in the under-developed world. While privatization is promoted as the solution for this crisis, previous examples of such a move have resulted in adverse results, especially for the poor. Where privatization of water has been implemented in the last 10 years, contentious debates and protestations have risen in the communities affected by the project. In the case study titled ‘The Business of Water’, we read about the activities of some of the major water and beverage . . . Read More

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Is it still possible to run a business nowadays using the philanthropic principles of the Cadbury Brothers which were so popular during the 19th century?

Cadbury’s is one of the most recognizable brands in the world of sweet products.  Its flagship chocolate varieties have become synonymous with consumable cocoa products.  And to maintain such sweeping monopoly and brand loyalty over more than a hundred years is a great achievement.  What is also remarkable is the fact that Cadbury’s had always conducted business in a socially responsible manner.  It is one those exceptional enterprises which did not operate purely on the basis of profit motive.  Cadbury’s had had an impressive track record of employee welfare schemes and other philanthropic activities.  But, unfortunately, such a philosophy is seldom seen in the business world today, where greed overcomes any humanitarian impulse. This essay will argue that the corporate culture and business philosophy followed in Cadbury’s during the 19th century is impossible to apply in the present times.

When John Cadbury started the . . . Read More

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