This concept comprises many alternative meanings and connotations. Although a typical definition would suggest the fundamental notion involved is one of responsibility to someone, or for some action (and both elements could be present simultaneously, of course), there is the added dimension of the need to actually render an account (i.e., of one’s conduct) to a superior person or authority so that the adequacy of the level of performance might (retrospectively) be judged.
At a general level, accountability is the basis of agency theory, whereby an appointed agent needs to demonstrate that they have exercised due discretion in the execution of the principal’s best interests— although academics for many years have pointed out the implicit encouragement, because of the existence of reward structures that benefit the agent, for that agent to falsify records of activities undertaken on their principal’s behalf. The Parable of the Unjust Steward is a classic case here, in . . . Read More
The argument that countries differ in their ability to produce goods efficiently, and hence one country may have an advantage in the production of a product that is absolute over any other country in producing it is called absolute advantage. Efficiency is defined as producing with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort, and therefore includes low cost, fewer resources, and fewer labor hours.
Writing about agricultural trade, Luther Tweeten argues that the United States has an absolute advantage in wheat production because only one hour of labor is required to produce a ton of wheat versus four hours to produce a ton of wheat in the rest of the world. In contrast, elsewhere in the world sugar production requires two hours of labor versus three in the United States to produce one ton of sugar. Because labor supply is limited and transferable between commodities but not between countries, wheat output (elsewhere in the world) is forgone to produce sugar. Similarly, . . . Read More
Absenteeism can be defined as any failure on the part of the employee to report to work when scheduled to do so. This includes absences that occur for any reason, whether involuntary or voluntary. Here, involuntary absenteeism refers to unavoidable illnesses and injuries that prevent an employee from attending to their work obligations. Voluntary absenteeism, on the other hand, includes unplanned absences to look after sick dependents, but can also be the outcome of boredom and/or low job satisfaction.
Unauthorized absenteeism represents a major cost for organizations all over the globe. Although individual incidents of absenteeism are fairly innocuous, the cumulative impact can be substantial. The impact on the North American economy alone is estimated to be in excess of $60 million. The obvious costs are those associated with the absentees themselves and includes their regular pay and benefits. Beyond this are the costs related to replacement labor, overtime, and lost . . . Read More
Summary of article:
The article titled ‘Finding Employees and Keeping Them: Predicting Loyalty in the Small Business’ accounts for various factors that determine employee loyalty in small businesses.
The authors assert that employees in small businesses are expected to be more versatile and dynamic. This makes hiring the right people a little challenging. In larger businesses, each employee is a specialist in a particular facet of business. To this extent, job descriptions can be sharply defined and employees hired in numbers. (Dyer and Reda 2010)
Indeed, as the study identifies, small businesses which adopt a formalized hiring process tend to perform better than their less structured counterparts. For example, parameters such as financial performance, revenue growth, as well as owners’ success perception, all point to this correlation. More importantly, selection of personnel inadequately skilled for the role has a detrimental effect on . . . Read More
DVD rental business is coming to the end of its life-cycle. While Netflix made a name for itself by excelling in this domain, the technological landscape and consumer preferences are constantly in a flux.
Netflix’ leadership position in streaming video is somewhat secure for the moment. But rapidly changing technology and competition from niche players pose numerous challenges that require anticipation and proactive implementation.
The major themes w.r.t. the Netflix study are ‘emergent technology’, ‘supply-chain innovation’, ‘precision logistics’, ‘saturated market’, ‘key product strategies’, ‘marketing strategy’, ‘customer relations’, and ‘value creation’. To elaborate on a few, let us consider first the theme of emergent technology. Netflix was a pioneer in supply-chain innovation and distribution. Hence its precision logistics was a pivotal factor in its success . . . Read More
What is the Issue?
Oftentimes, decisions within the US Congress are not made in a straightforward, transparent manner. Although elected Congressmen and Congresswomen are representatives of their respective constituencies, multiple external factors influence their decisions. Corporate lobbies are a major external factor intruding on the democratic foundation of the Congress. Likewise, political ideology, as in staunch conservatism or liberalism can play a key role in the decision making process. As the text by Denhardt et. al. suggests, applying Organizational Behavior theories to the working of Congress can help get to the root of the issues. One can then proceed in designing strategies for countering the issues.
Strategies to ‘fix’ the issues
Denhardt et al is show how ‘the power of vision’ is the precursor for the smooth functioning of organizations – be it private, public or non-profit. (p.26) The US Congress will thus have to . . . Read More
India is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country. It is also variable in terms of socio-economic and development indicators. Moreover the federal structure stipulated in the Indian constitution makes health care predominantly a state-level responsibility. As a result, depending on the economic prosperity, dominant political ideology, and even some cultural factors, access to healthcare varies across individual states. Given the breadth of diversity of Indian demographics, picking merely one group for analysis is a challenging endeavor. This is so because demographic groups in India intersect across language, caste, gender and class lines. When we apply these parameters to the Indian population we get thousands of small groups with marked differences between them in terms of privilege and quality of life. As a result no one group can be said to directly relate and represent India and its healthcare system. In order to overcome this challenge, the biggest minority group in . . . Read More
It is true that CPD needs to be reflective and designed to improve an individual’s attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills. There are several reasons why this is true. Firstly, a good CPD program will include “discussions with colleagues or pupils to reflect on working practices.” (TDA-CPD Guidance, 2013) Such a reflection at the outset will help measure its relevance to the participants. Next, it will also help denote learning objectives and design apt teaching strategies toward attaining those objectives. Just as reflective activity is integral to CPD during the event, it is also important afterwards. Herein, participants “may need time to reflect on what they have learnt and what the impact may be – this could be on their own or with others. Colleagues or children and young people in the school may be able to play a part in this collaborative reflection.” (TDA-CPD Guidance, 2013) Hence it is clear why reflective activity is a crucial part of CPD.
The . . . Read More
The first video is Google employee Chade Mang Tan’s short presentation titled ‘Everyday Compassion at Google’. It was an insightful and philosophically informed speech. Tan draws upon the wisdom of famous Buddhist monks like the Dalai Lama and Mathieu Ricard in decoding the keys to happiness. Based on FMRI scans on these long term meditators’ brains, Tan is able to show the neurobiological basis for happiness. More importantly, he illustrates that the practice of compassion meditation can effect such changes to the brain. Far from being an esoteric spiritual practice, compassion can actually prove to be an effective business tool. Using his first hand experiences from Google, Tan shows how the quality of compassion can help build strong team ethic and trust. In terms of effective leadership, too, compassion is of paramount importance. Many inspirational leaders across the world possess two important qualities – ambition for greater good and humility. Acquiring compassion . . . Read More
What is the difference between descriptive ethics and normative ethics? What role do values play in each of these two approaches to ethics? Provide examples to illustrate your points.
Descriptive ethics is founded on the belief that humans are ‘hard-wired’ to be selfish. That is, they are for the most part absorbed in fulfilling their own desires and goals. The capitalist economy is a good example of this instinct in humans, whereby, ‘greed is good’ is an accepted mantra for business corporations and individuals alike. Descriptive ethics promotes a ego-centric decision making model, whereby, an individual is morally entitled to pursue his own happiness through independent action. Cultural relativism is another term coupled to descriptive ethics. This school of thought contends that what is right or wrong is specific to the particular cultural milieu. Normative ethics, on the other hand, takes a more didactic approach to human action in that it . . . Read More