Mindless, Zombie-Like, Brain Dead Management– They Sound Normal, Act Normal: But Just Walking Dead…

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All too often management is out of touch with their own– organization, customers, markets, workers, competition, partners… they are ineffective, incompetent… and phrases like ‘brain dead’, ‘zombie’, ‘same old, same old’, ‘total lack of creativity’… are being used to describe them… According to Gordy Curphy, Robert Hogan, Joyce Hogan; incompetent or brain dead management in most organizations is estimated to be at least 50%… According to Mike Myatt; it’s important to realize that just because someone holds a position of leadership, doesn’t necessarily mean they should– not all leaders are created equal. The problem many organizations suffer is recognition of good leaders from ‘brain dead’ ones…

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According to Randy Conley; many leaders have fallen victim to the brain dead (zombie) plague… organizations should be alert for the symptoms, e.g.; management that does the minimum amount of work required to keep the organization afloat… they stop pushing the boundaries to innovate and fail to adapt to the new realities of the marketplace… they are content with doing the– same ‘ol, same ‘ol… They waste energy focusing on all the reasons why something can’t be done rather than working to find solutions… They’re often heard saying; Why change? That’s the way its always been done around here…

According to Umair Haque: when you think of human achievement in the 21st century, the kind of soaring ambition and deep, world-shaking creativity that produces– art, cathedrals, symphonies– stuff of enduring, elevating value– it’s in tragically short supply… Perhaps that’s why for many workers– ‘work’ is very– dull, drab, meaningless. According to Juan Antonio Samaranch; brain dead leaders lack the will and/or skill to sustain effective action and resist creating positive change; brain dead leaders are usually supported by brain dead followers– the managers and workers who ignore or discount the warning signs and let bad leadership linger are just as brain dead…

 In the article Care and Feeding of Leader’s Brain by Sharon McDowell-Larsen writes: In business, brain power wins the day, not horsepower. The ability to think, communicate, exhibit emotional intelligence, creativity… and yet, if you were to design a lifestyle that is the antithesis of good cognitive function and long-term brain health, the life of an average executive would come pretty close… Consider the human brain– it’s the crown jewel… Scientists have learned more about the brain in last 10 years than in all previous centuries combined. Yet it remains for all intents and purposes, it’s a deep mystery: Weighing in at just three pounds, it consumes 15% of our total cardiac output, 20% of total oxygen consumption and 25% of total glucose use… When the brain is fully working, it uses more energy per unit of tissue weight than fully exercising quadriceps… The brain is the seat of intelligence, emotion, memory, behaviors… and yet for many in management the brain seems to stop working– they become incompetent, ineffective… mindless and brain dead…

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In the article Business is Brain-Dead by Umair Haque writes: Management is brain dead; as a result many organizations undergo a slow, barely perceptible but wholly pernicious death… It’s literally true– too often management has serious cognitive malfunction– it’s an inability to process reality… Many organizations fake-it, there not authentic, perhaps entirely fictional… these organizations are not just– sneaky, cynical, slightly evil, even deceitful; they are downright fakes, entirely imaginary. They might exist as organization, but there’s little or no economic-basis for it… They might exist in the world of bean counters, but they don’t exist in reality; it’s a theory-based entity…

When management is brain dead they have a ‘reality dysfunction’… and the organization becomes a fake– it’s a game– and the fake is sold to ‘consumers’, and then management gleefully drools over the so-called ‘profit’ that is ‘earned’ (or, extracted)… The point of an organization must be bigger than that– if the sum total of billions of person-hours of brow-mopping effort, vast amounts of human energy, is expended on a game of fake, and the mission of the organization is just to pass fake around… then macroeconomic result is ‘great stagnation’– in which the organization’s objective is just to paying one another with fake… it’s management’s failure to understand and eliminate or reduce the real societal issues, such as: pollution, obesity, under-employment, under-education, mistrust, anger, polarization, apathy, lack of fulfillment… the result is systemic crisis after crisis…

Management must wake up– move beyond brain dead– and create organizations that are not founded on fakery, but grounded in harsh realities of 21st century. Organizations that are not fighting against the future of prosperity, but fighting for it. Organizations that endures because they have the wisdom to matter– instead of those that vanishes into the dust bin of economic history, because it was too ‘brain dead’ ever to matter… However, if management’s ambition and breadth of vision is merely to book a ‘profit’, then maybe they should grab a crash helmet, hunker down… because fakery, at best, is a recipe for mediocrity… And worse, it’s recipe for punishment and pain, doled out from increasingly empowered, dissatisfied, fed-up folks… it’s time to get real…

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In the article The Side of Brain Most Important for Management by Lynn White, Esther Newall write: Psychologists have called the rational ‘left brain’, the part of the brain that deals well with logical and analytical thinking… the left-side brain is supposed to be the buttress for modern business management, but it appears that effective management must also involve something more… it must involve the ‘right brain’ and the ‘whole brain’… 21st organizations requires management that relies far more on giving value to– personal connectivity, intuition, insight, emotional intelligence… The old structures are dissolving as organizations increasingly work in– partnerships, alliances, sharing…

Management must move beyond the traditional command and control and develop the ability to manage ‘looser’ business models and operate more effectively within a web of connections and conflicting demands. Organizations are shifting to focus on ‘purpose’ which goes far beyond traditional– profit, maximizing shareholder value motivations… It’s a ‘whole brain’ management approach, and it means: Leaders without vision fail; leaders who lack vision cannot inspire teams, motivate performance, create sustainable value… A leader’s job is to align the organization around a clear, achievable vision– this cannot occur when management is brain dead…

A leader who lacks character or integrity will not endure, and it doesn’t matter how savvy, intelligent, affable, persuasive… if leader is prone to rationalizing unethical behavior, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Optics over ethics is not formula for success. Best leaders are acutely aware of how much they don’t know; they have no need to be smartest person in the room, but have unyielding desire to learn from others… leaders who are not growing cannot lead a growing enterprise. When leader is not fully invested in the team, he/she won’t have a team– at least not an effective one. Never forget the old saying; people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care…

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Leadership absent courage is a farce– not referring to arrogance or bravado, but real courage. It takes courage to break from the norm, challenge the status quo, seek new opportunities, cut losses, make the tough decision, listen rather than speak, admit faults, forgive the faults of others, not allow failure to dampen spirit, stand for those not capable of standing for themselves, and to remain true to core values. Courage is having strength of conviction to do ‘right thing’ when it would just as easy to ‘do nothing’… When an organization is shy of these traits, you probably have brain dead management…

 

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Power of Moonshot Thinking– Beyond Crazy, Stupid, Even Fringe of Sci-Fi: But Without It, There is No Giant Leap…

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It starts with a dream, a crazy thought– moonshot thinking is a concept that revolves around radical change… According to Shamash Alidina; moonshot thinking is the opposite of the way most organization think… most organizations think about how they can make themselves– 10% better, not 10x better… But 10% better is what most competitors do… But there is different way– it’s another level of thinking; it’s stupid, crazy, science fiction (Sci-Fi)… More than 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy captured world’s imagination when he said; U.S. will land man on the moon and return safely to earth… and thus the term ‘moonshot’ entered the lexicon as shorthand for– ‘difficult and unimaginable task, the outcome of which is expected to have great significance’

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According to Scott D. Anthony and Mark Johnson; all good moonshots have three key ingredients: 1.) It inspires: Kennedy’s quote raises the spirit; a more typical corporate goal of increasing return on invested capital from 13.4% to 13.9%, not so much. That kind of financial target might be important, but it’s unlikely to get people to do extraordinary things… 2.) It’s credible: It’s easy to assume that a moonshot is just a ridiculous stretch target, but before Kennedy made his speech he had made a detailed assessment of the underlying technological trends to ensure that the goal had a reasonable chance of success… 3.) It’s imaginative: It isn’t an obvious extrapolation of what’s happening today (which for Kennedy would simply have been to fly farther into space), but something that offers a meaningful break from the past…

In the article Moonshots by Astor Teller writes: Moonshot’s live in a place that is between audacious, and pure science fiction… Yet the lessons people are taught from early age is to– play it safe, don’t do stupid things, walk before you run, slow and steady wins the race, under-promise and over-deliver… In repeating these mantras the message is very clear– don’t think big… Moonshot thinking starts with picking a big problem; something huge, unthinkable, impossible… Next it involves articulating a radical solution– one that would actually solve the problem, if it exists– something that might that sounds like it’s out of a Sci-Fi story… Also, there needs to be some kind of concrete evidence that the proposed solution is not quite as crazy or impossible as it might seem…

Something that justifies at least a close look at whether such a solution could be brought into being if enough– creativity, passion, persistence… were brought to bear on it. This evidence could be some breakthrough in technology that could actually make the solution possible within say, a decade or so… Without all of these things, you may have a Sci-Fi or crazy idea, but you don’t have a moonshot… And for sure not one where you can aim for new heights, and address a big challenge in a ‘maybe-not-totally-crazy’ kind of way… Often, if you just step back and apply enough audacity, creativity, persistence– you can get new perspective that makes doing the impossible, possible…

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In the article Future-Proof Your Business With Moonshot Thinking by Anthony Scherba writes: Any organization can use moonshot thinking to anticipate change– not to mention brainstorming more effective ways of developing a new competitive strategy by asking questions, such as: Is your competitive advantage truly sustainable? Will current strategies be competitive in your industry for 5, 10, 20 years? According to Clayton Christensen; there are serious pitfalls focusing solely on fulfilling the needs of current customers… The dilemma comes into play when a successful business gets comfortable, and neglects to explore new ideas because customers are happy with the current state of the solution…

But moonshot thinking is easier said than done: It’s very tempting to pour big money in futuristic hypothetical ‘what ifs’, as opposed to investing money in more immediate, less exciting improvement projects… But you don’t need to make big investments to start looking ahead; holding occasional brainstorming sessions focused on the future of your industry can help solidify your organizations place in that environment… and you can get a better sense of what challenges you are facing in future… and to better understand how you must evolve to drive the organization forward. Get ahead of the curve by asking ‘what if’, before your competitors do…

In the article Applying Moonshot Thinking by Zog writes: Great leaders should be the optimal blend of– creative and analytical…They should represent a constant balance between the– right and left brain. They should take great pride in trying something new knowing that there is risk but also great reward… Thinking in moonshots doesn’t mean abandoning the analytical side; it just dares you to think beyond immediate metrics and traditional practices– it allows freedom of thought… Making moonshot thinking part of strategy means– accessing risk and optimal flexibility… The correct blend of moonshot in a strategy can help propel your ‘brand’ and organization forward… Taking risks can yield incredible rewards; when an organizations allows its team members to think boldly they can reap great rewards… and even with failures the journey will make your organization stronger, more resilient… The best (most profitable) ideas often come when you allow  your people to forgo the status quo and think big…

Moonshot thinking is a very risky proposition, it’s totally different approach to innovation, but one of the most important lessons is that– some things are perceived to be impossible until you actually try them… The moonshot thinking is not encouraged or embraced by most organization, because of the risk it involves and low probability of successful outcome… but despite its hazardous aspect it does give whole new twist for thinking… Society needs 10x gains to solve many of its biggest problems; most of the difficult issues are exponentiating, e.g.; world population is rising on exponential curve… use of resources per person is rising on an exponential curve… Humankind needs to keep pace with these and many other challenges to manage and sustain life on this planet… and incremental thinking isn’t going to get you there…

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In the article Stop Looking For Moonshot Ideas, Focus on Simple Solutions by Bobby Emamian writes: Not every idea has to be an earth-shaking innovation… the key is that every strategic step (whether big or small), should be an important improvement for a more competitive organization… and although tempting, big or crazy ideas (moonshot) are usually a big waste of time and resources, and a distraction from the core business… Power of an idea isn’t in its– creativity, brilliance, originality… because ideas have no value until they are actually put into action… true value of ideas lie in their potential to solve real problems. The so-called ‘moonshot’ ideas that don’t solve real problems only distract the mission and derails progress…

Business needs ideas that will actually advance the organization– new initiative that address a real problem, or perceived problem, or issues that customers face, or that improve the existing organization… An idea need not be game changer ( moonshot) to make a big impact on the organization… The best way to avoid chasing useless ideas or ignoring important ones is to ensure all solutions align with organization’s core purpose… Next time someone comes-up with an idea that’s going to be game changer (moonshot); first, determine if it solves real problems or provides convenience that really matters.

Most organizations would be perfectly happy improving their organization by 10%… but according to Larry Page at Google; if you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you are doing wrong things. He challenges his company (Google) to think in moonshots — ideas so large that they require the kind of creativity and innovation that are necessary to literally and figuratively put a man on the moon… This thinking tasks an organization to do things by 10x– 10x bigger, 10x cheaper, 10x faster… Either disrupt your organization, or someone else will… When you shoot for 10x improvement you approach the problem in a radically different fashion…

moon2 thDo you have a moonshot idea? Many people who discuss crazy ideas, get laughed at, e.g.; when the mission of landing man on the moon started, most people just laughed and thought it was crazy, bizarre! No one believed that it would ever happen. Who thought about; Internet, social media, driverless car, mobile phones, new medicines… would really happen? These all started with an idea that was thought to be stupid, crazy… Nobody actually knew how to build an airplane till it was done… We always appreciate– courage, and audacity of a moonshot, once it’s accomplished. Luckily there are a few people who are– stupid enough, bold enough… that they follow a dream: Yes most moonshot’s fail, but the few that do succeed change the world…

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Wall Street Liquid Culture – Tale of Two Capitalisms; Good & Evil: Reforming How Wall Street Works, or Too Big to Change…

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Wall Street’s ‘hyper-elitism’ is made, not born… but while criticizing Wall Street for its detachment from Main Street morality, or for lacking morality altogether; Wall Street’s actions are based not so much on moral distance or immorality, but rather on different kind of morality, based on different reality… Wall Street is socialized to see themselves as; smarter, superior, better educated, harder-workers than other people: They are wholly a meritocratic culture. They are socialized to view roles of corporations, government, and society in a particular way… The prevailing beliefs are that corporations should be run solely for short-term profits of shareholders; that corporations ‘belong’ to shareholders; that government and the economy are ‘separate’ domains; and regulators need to ‘get out of the way’ to ‘let markets work’…

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Wall Street is ‘distant’ from Main Street, because they believe they are morally empowered to do so… According to Karen Ho; many of Wall Street’s ideas and imperatives are myths; corporate law has never required directors or executives to maximize shareholder value at the expense of other constituents; shareholders do not ‘own’ the entirety of an institution, but rather exchangeable residual claims that are created for tradability, liquidity… Adherence to the Wall Street ethos has led to– short-termism, extractive cost-cutting (rather than investment in productivity), expedient restructurings, and demise of corporate/public common ground. Wall Street is ‘distant’ from Main Street, because they believe that they are morally empowered to do so…

They believed— and continue to believe– that greed, short-termism, constant buying and selling of companies, circumvention of rules and regulations, even inequality are all necessary evils, inescapable by-products of a system geared for greater innovation, heightened competitiveness, and ever more efficient markets. They also believe, often unconsciously, that they possess a brand of unassailable meritocratic credibility that makes them deserving ‘experts’ on the economy, no matter that their economic ideas and practices are often prone to failure, implosion, contradiction…

While Wall Street undoubtedly achieves some of its ostensible goals– making markets, collecting savings for investment purposes, increasing retirement portfolios (though in highly volatile and unstable ways) for the upper-middle class… the lessons of 2008 have amply demonstrated that Wall Street takes advantage of ‘common’ people to line their own pockets and create inefficiencies and problems that could lead to future crisis…

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In the article What’s Wrong with Wall Street by Barbara Kiviat writes: Wall Street shapes not only the stock market, but also the very nature of employment and how workers are valued– there is constant job insecurity, constant downsizing, constant restructuring, a constant need to retrain to have an adaptable skill-set and be flexible… In a sense, job security and stability have been liquidated… These firms sit at nexus; they are financial advisers and sources of expertise to major U.S. corporations and institutional investors, and from this highly empowered middle-man role, what they say has a lot of influence… The model that came to dominance in the 1980s was one of constant change: The idea is that companies must constantly be moving, restructuring and changing, in lock step with the markets… rather than stagnant and inefficient, like a lumbering brick…

Understand that Wall Street are ‘liquid’ people; they constantly buy and sell– assets, investments, companies… it’s the culture. According to  Guruprasad Muthuseshan; Wall Street is the symbol of capitalism and there is a general belief that working for Wall Street puts them at top of hierarchical ladder in society..There is general belief among members of Wall Street that there is– dividing line between ‘us on inside’ and ‘those on outside’, and it’s a hierarchy between Wall Street and general public… But despite debates and crisis, Wall Street is still the most influential epicentre of finance for business, institutions, and even governments, globally…

In the article Reinventing Wall Street by Umair Haque writes: Wall Street culture must be reinvented from bottom-up, and a central challenge for today’s economic innovators is to build a disruptively better Wall Street. According to Michael Sandel; over past three decades, we’ve drifted almost without realizing it, from having a ‘market economy’ to a ‘market society’. A ‘market economy’ is a valuable and effective tool for organizing productive activity, but a ‘market society’ is where almost everything is up for sale. It’s way of life, in which market thinking and market values begin to dominate every aspect of life: personal relations, family life, health, education, politics, law, civic life…

It’s impossible to execute a business decision without it having an impact on other humans, or on the world in which both humans and businesses operate, even if those humans are not directly invested in that business, either as shareholders or employees. In this sense, the ‘market’ is exactly the opposite of amoral, because it affects people, communities… their livelihoods and their environment. The trouble with the neoliberal concept of free markets is that humanity is removed from the equation. It’s as if the ‘market’ is an abstraction, somehow operating independently of the people who use it, run it, profit from it, or are harmed by it…

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In the article Re-imagine Wall Street by William Greider writes: Imagine you have the ability to reinvent Wall Street: Where would you start? What would you change to make it less destructive and domineering, more focused on ‘common’ people? Both political parties are locked in small-minded brawls, unable to think creatively or even to tell the truth about the historic economic crisis. Republicans are lost in preposterous nostalgia for small, simple government… Democrats have their own delusions: they insist that regulation will somehow fix whatever is broken, ignoring that the failure of regulation was a principal cause of catastrophic breakdown. Politicians argue over big government so they can avoid talking about big Wall Street, and reality is not cooperating with their illusions…

Despite the so-called recovery, the economic pathologies generated by unbounded Wall Street during the past thirty years are expanding: Falling wages and surplus labor, swelling trade deficits and foreign indebtedness, deepening inequality and the steady destruction of the broad middle class… At some point, it will become obvious that the economy will not truly recover until Wall Street is– refashioned and stripped of its self-aggrandizing excesses, and made to serve interests of society, rather than other way around… it requires deep structural changes, not simply new policies. The essential approach is to reach into the guts of Wall Street and fix the wiring…

In the article Wall Street Power by Gautam Mukunda writes: Wall Street influence on U.S. policy is extraordinary, even after the financial crisis. The sector serves vital functions (no modern economy can exist without it)… but when it grows too powerful, it tends to slow economic growth, increase inequality, and experience crashes that exact a huge toll on society, e.g.; the 2008 financial crisis cost U.S. government more than $2 trillion in lost tax revenues and increased spending…

Hence, the Wall Street needs to change, it needs to be rebalanced, reformed… According to William D. Cohen; Wall Street is not like other industries; when things go wrong on Wall Street, the consequences can be devastating for the world… On Wall Street, two things need to change for there to be meaningful reform: First, culture of what constitutes success in a Wall Street firm– who gets promoted and put in charge and for what reasons– needs to change… Second, compensation system needs a total revamp so that bankers, traders and executives are no longer rewarded for taking big risks with other people’s money, putting themselves in a position to win big if their risk-taking pays off, but not to be held accountable if things go wrong…

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Wall Street’s power and prestige need reforms that reduce its influence to healthy levels without inhibiting its key functions. The challenge is to choose reforms that mitigate the distortions created by its financial power– reforms for purely economic reasons. Surely, they will be resistance because constructive reforms reduce power and influence… and that’s the point… Reforms that don’t do that, don’t work… Real power comes not from forcing people to do what is ‘right’, but from changing the way people think, so that they want to do what is ‘right’… Currently Wall Street ‘works’ for just few privileged people and that must change; Wall Street must ‘works’ for all people. Wall Street must be reformed, rebalanced… so as to liberate companies to do what they do well– to create wealth that benefits all people…

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Global Counterfeit, Fakes Goods Market– Destroys Brands, Endangers Life: Consumer Complicity, Enforcement, Internet…

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Counterfeiters of goods are global pirates of 21st Century; global trade in counterfeit or fake goods (i.e., knock-offs, phonies, copies…) is booming big business. And it continues to expand from relatively innocuous items like; shoes, handbags, watches… to things, like; medicines, pesticides, auto parts, electronics… that can carry serious health and  safety issues… Counterfeiting goods is growing, and increasingly it’s a dangerous global problem of epidemic proportions... According to International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); when factoring in counterfeit goods markets within countries, plus value of pirated digital material, it’s estimated that counterfeits are worth over $650 billion/year, possible in trillions of dollars… Counterfeit goods make-up 5 to 7% of world trade, and costs estimated 2.5 million jobs, worldwide… A United Nations report found that almost 70% of counterfeits goods seized come from China… although other popular spots for manufacturing knock-offs are; India, Brazil, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam…

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According to Jeffrey Hardy; fake goods trade is exploding and it goes much beyond– music, Gucci bags, Rolex watches… Although apparel and fashion accessories still make-up the largest share of counterfeit goods, worldwide… but increasingly fake goods, such as; consumer electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals… are entering the market. Also, counterfeit pharmaceuticals are particularly problematic; not only do they undermine intellectual property laws, but they can be lethal for people using them… According to Ted Leggett; there are counterfeit drugs in circulation that are ‘ineffective’; they have insufficient levels of medicine, e.g.; toxic cough syrup in Panama, tainted baby formula in China, fake teething powder in Nigeria… It may be hard to get people worked-up over the economic costs, e.g.; illegally downloading music… but when the toy that you thought was from Disney contains ‘lead’ paint, then you might care more…

In the article Global Growth of Counterfeit Goods Trade by Springer writes: Major forces that drive global growth of counterfeit goods trade, include; open-markets, globalization; consumer demand, complicity; lack of global enforcement– it’s a low-risk market strategy. The rapid growth of world trade coupled with reduction of barriers to financial and merchandise flows has certainly opened opportunities for fakes goods… The sheer volume of imports in many countries makes it almost impossible for customs services to interdict phony goods… According to Deutsche Bank; over 25 million ‘containers’ flowed through each of ports of Shanghai and Singapore, over ten million through Rotterdam, over five million through Los Angeles… worldwide movement of goods is ubiquitous…

Also, the advent of trade agreement, such as; NAFTA… and EU’s open borders… means fewer checks on goods flowing across borders… Also, free-trade zones can serve as safe havens for counterfeiters– there are over 3,000 free-trade zones in about 135 countries… But without consumers demand, there is no market– consumers are complicit, they are enablers of demand, key driving force for ‘fakes’– consumer can buy just about anything through the Internet and on-line auction websites, and many consumers are ‘suckers’ for the ‘great’ bargain… and the perception that counterfeits are comparable to the ‘real’ item, when in fact most of these great buys are just cheap knock-offs…

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In the article Counterfeit Goods Industry Is Horrible for Fashion by Chavie Lieber writes: The logo-mania of the late ’80s and early ’90s has played big role in the ascent of these knock-offs… According to Ariele Elia; brand logos drive purchase, it gives people the perception of ‘status’– it’s a symbol that they are special, that they have– latest, greatest, e.g.; fashions… Most shoppers purchase counterfeit goods as a way to– stay on top of trends, keeping-up with or ahead of friends– it’s a social thing… while also avoiding paying steep prices. According to Valerie Salembier; consumers might change their behavior if they knew that buying cheap knock-off is probably supporting sweatshops, and many of which have– deplorable working conditions, very low pay, and often use child labor…

In the article Surprising Facts About Global Counterfeiting Goods Market by redpoints writes: Counterfeiting ‘brand’ goods is big business but, it’s illegal, it’s theft– that’s the good news… but, only a small fraction of violations are ever caught– that’s the bad news. Some interesting facts:

    • Counterfeit goods traded annually is greater than the GDP of 150 of the world’s countries! An International Chamber of Commerce report estimates the total value of counterfeit and pirated goods globally could be as high as $1.77 Trillion in 2015. To put it in perspective, that value is roughly equal to annual nominal GDP of Canada– 11th biggest economy in the world!
    • Counterfeits goods market has seen an increasing high growth rates over past two decades… Based on trade & customs seizures data, OCED estimates that the global market for ‘counterfeit and pirated’ goods has been growing at between 15%-22% annually since 2008…
    • Losses from counterfeit pharmaceuticals is 10 times greater than clothes and shoes! According to Havacscope; consumers are much more likely to buy counterfeit drugs, rather than buy counterfeit– clothes, shoes, bags… In fact the estimated losses from counterfeit pharmaceuticals exceeds $200 billion vs. a paltry $24 billion for fashion products…

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In the article Fake and Counterfeit Goods Are No Bargain by Lawyers.com writes: Most of people have seen it, either; at flea markets, tent sales in parking lots, even on-line… Big brand names, high quality goods– being offered at prices that are drastically lower than what is paid in stores… The most common form of fake or counterfeit goods are low-grade items that are altered to make them appear as high-quality, name brand goods, e.g.; athletic shoes, purses, electronics, perfumes, sunglasses, watches, pharmaceuticals… The typical practice involves applying pirated version of– well-known brand labels, logos… and putting them on fakes goods made in illegal factories… There are numerous federal and international laws against counterfeiting goods– although very few laws are actually enforced, e.g.; U.S. Code § 2320 – Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods or Services… says:

  • Offenses: Whoever intentionally– (1) traffics in goods or services and knowingly uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such goods or services… (2) traffics in labels, patches, stickers, wrappers, badges, emblems, medallions, charms, boxes, containers, cans, cases, hangtags, documentation, packaging of any type or nature, knowing that a counterfeit mark has been applied thereto, the use of which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, to deceive… (3) traffics in counterfeit drugs…
  • Penalties: Whoever commits these offense intentionally: (A) if an individual, shall be fined not more than $2,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both, and, if other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000… (B) for a second or more offense, if an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $15,000,000…

What a bargain! Wait ‘til you see the deal I got! This is too good to be true! All too common expressions from shoppers who thought they bought a $700 designer handbag for $100… Then there are those who remark: Yes, I know it’s a fake, but ‘everyone’ buys them! According to Adele R. Meyer; welcome to the world of counterfeit goods! Whether you label them– fakes, replicas, look-alikes, reproductions, knock-offs… they are counterfeit and it’s ‘big’ business. According to Lyn S. Amine, Peter Magnusson; the ‘fakes’ goods industry is a paradox; most initiatives to thwart counterfeiting fail– because consumers’ believe that it’s governments responsibility to protect them against dangers from counterfeit– medicines, car parts, shoes, bags… and these same consumers defend their right to choose between; genuine brand-name goods, or counterfeits version of same brand-name goods…

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Most consumers view– counterfeits goods or knock-offs… as a source of enjoyment, especially in case of– fashion items, which are knowingly purchased at a lower price regardless of quality… Such consumer attitudes are at odds with issues of– legality, moral values, and even the consumers’ own well-being… Even if consumers suspect that there are potentially negative consequences, the desire to be fashionable, keep-up with friends and peers lead them to ignore the warnings… Success in fighting counterfeits requires– proactive, targeted actions involving all stakeholders on both– supply and demand sides… Consumers must understand that quality brand goods at low-bargain-price do not exist… Law enforcement must be more proactive in disrupting the supply-chain, both at production and distributions ends… The  ‘brand’ companies must be more diligent in identifying and managing weak links in their manufacturing and distribution activities…

However, there seems to be another side to counterfeit goods trade issues. According to an European Union-funded report; buying designer goods can benefit consumers and the companies whose brands are being knocked-off… The report rejects the complaints of brand companies, claiming that losses as a result of counterfeiting are vastly exaggerated, because most of those who buy fakes would never pay for the ‘real’ thing, and finding that knock-off goods can actually promote the brands… Others say; this may be true for goods such as; fashions… but it’s problematic for items like; pesticides, pharmaceutical, auto part… these are a clear danger to health, life…

 

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Pain Medication is Big Business– $US1.4 Trillion, 4.5 Trillion Doses: Pain Pills Kill Pain, But They Also Kill People…

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Pain, pain medication, pain management is big business… everyone has pain whether it be acute, chronic… it’s an individual struggle… According to Institute of Medicine (IOM); over 100 million adults in U.S. have chronic pain and worldwide upwards of 1.5 billion individuals suffer from pain related to various ailments… Pain has an illusive definition– it’s subjective, multifaceted, bio-psycho-social experience… Most people take some type of pain medication to mitigate the effects of pain, and there are three common types of pain relievers; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), paracetamol, opioids… Opioids have been regarded for millennia as among most effective drugs for treatment of pain… Their use in the management of acute severe pain and chronic pain related to advanced medical illness is considered standard of care in most of the world. In contrast, long-term administration of an opioid for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain continues to be controversial…

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Opiates cover a huge variety of drugs, ranging from legal drugs, such as; fentanyl, codeine, morphine… to illegal drugs, such as; heroin, opium… The terms ‘opiates’ and ‘opioids’ are often used interchangeably… Opiate addiction is a major issue in U.S., with prescription opiate addiction being one of the biggest drug problems today. Opiate medications are surprisingly easy to obtain and, prescription opiate abusers are far more likely to eventually develop a heroin addiction than a non-opiate abuser… since heroin offers a similar high at a cheaper price…

Every day, 52 people die from opioid pain medications… every year 47,000 die from a drug overdose, mostly from prescription pain medication… Opioids are being over-prescribed: And, it’s not people just reaching into medicine cabinets who have made drug poisoning #1 cause of unintentional death in U. S. adults; its people who have been over-prescribed opioids by doctors, and subsequently become addicted, and many move from pills to heroin… Perhaps even more alarming; 70% of people who abuse prescription pain-killers reported getting them from friends or relatives. The numbers are staggering: In 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report; there are 4.3 million current non-medical users of painkillers. Nearly 2 million people have pain-killer substance use disorders… According to Don Teater; pain killers don’t kill pain, they kill people…

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In the article Can the U.S. Win the War On Opioids? by Leigh Anderson writes: Remember the ‘war on drugs’? This may conjure images of drug lords, packages of smuggled cocaine, or clandestine DEA agents. But now the real bandit is found right in your own home– in bathroom medicine cabinets… According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC); 44 people die from over-dose of prescription opioid pain-killers each day… These are everyday people– mothers, fathers, young people… Not because they went outside of the legal boundaries to use illicit drugs, but because they were caught-in web of prescription drugs addiction, accidental over-dose… Yes, there is much blame: healthcare providers, policy makers, patients… Here are some sobering U.S. statistics:

  • More people now die from prescription pain-killers than from car accidents…
  • Opioids are class of drugs that include; illicit drug heroin and licit prescription pain relievers– oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl…
  • It’s estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction…
  • Drug overdose is leading cause of accidental death in U.S., with 47,055 lethal drug over-doses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving an epidemic, with 18,893 over-dose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 over-dose deaths related to heroin in 2014…

In the article Explosion in Overdose is Changing How Doctors Treat Pain by Harrison Jacobs writes: All of the attention on opioid crisis has major unintended consequence, many doctors are now increasingly wary of prescribing opioids… According to Dr. Ted Cicero; physicians are becoming hesitant to prescribing these drugs because of the bad publicity surrounding the abuse… This development is just latest turn in decades-long saga that is modern pain-management… According to National Institute on Drug Abuse; the increased acceptability and commonness of opioid treatment led to an explosion in prescriptions, as well as, development of ‘pill mills’– shady pain clinics whose sole purpose is to prescribe legal opioids without asking too many questions…

Before long U.S. was flush with opioids and by 2011, 219 million opioid prescriptions were being handed out each year… In recent years, the media and government focus on the opioid crisis has shifted to the explosion in heroin users, but some doctors say the crisis has also led to a major change in pain treatment… According to Dr. Houman Danesh; the pendulum in the 1990s was definitely swung all the way in one direction with doctors over-prescribing opioids for everything… Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction with many doctors refusing to prescribe opioids for anything…

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In the article Opioid Epidemic Myths by Jacob Sullum writes: The CDC says; health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle of pills… That year CDC counted about 16,000 deaths involving opioid analgesics, or one for every 16,000, or so prescriptions… Opioid-related deaths are rare even for patients who take narcotics every day, for years. The CDC cites; a study of patients aged 15–64 years receiving opioids for chronic non-cancer pain who were followed for up to 13 years…

According to NSDUH; 259 million pain-killer prescriptions in 2012 resulted in about 2 million cases of– dependence or abuse or one for every 130 prescriptions… only a quarter of people who take opioids for non-medical reasons get them by obtaining doctor’s prescription… Hence the sequence that many people imaginepatient takes narcotics for pain, gets hooked, and eventually dies of an overdose— is far from typical of opioid-related deaths… The researchers found that one in 550 patients died from opioid-related over-dose, which is risk of less than 0.2%– meaning risk of addiction is greatly exaggerated…

Pain is big business: According to UN World Drug Report; U. S. makes up about 5% of world’s population, yet consumes more than 75% of the world’s prescription drugs… The most abused prescription drugs fall under 3-categories: pain-killers, tranquilizers, stimulants… According to National Institute on Drug Abuse; enough prescription pain-killers were prescribed to medicate every U.S. adult every four hours for a month… The biggest eye-opener is that keeping people on prescription drugs is a big money-maker… It’s no secret the pharmaceutical industry rakes in billions of dollars producing drugs to– treat symptoms, manage medical conditions, relieve pain…

The pharmaceutical market is headed for $1.3 trillion, and the global pharmaceutical industry is projected to grow markedly through the decade, reaching $1.4 trillion and 4.5 trillion doses of medicines by 2020… the emerging markets will account for 30% of the global pharmaceutical market share and it will reach $358-$388 billion in sales by 2018… Given its large population (70% of world’s population), growing middle class, increasing healthcare demands, it provides a rosy picture for growth and profit… Largest markets for pharmaceuticals based on sales are: U.S., EU, Japan, China, India… and these countries will account for over 60% of the global market well into 21st century…

However, there seems to be an inherent disconnect between legitimate business goals of pharmaceutical companies, and the needs and safety of consumers… According to Ben Goldacre in his book, ‘Bad Pharma’; declares ‘medicine is broken’ and ‘drug industry doesn’t work’– doctors are kept ignorant about drugs they prescribe… pharmaceutical firms routinely bury unflattering trial results and publish only the good ones… drug trials are run on unrepresentative patients with dodgy statistical analysis, and then pushed on doctors with advertising budgets that are often bigger than firms’ research-development budget…

Side note: According to OpenSecrets.org; pharmaceutical industry spends more than any other industry group each year to influence Washington lawmakers, e.g.; over $US2.6 billion on lobbying activities, in last decade… To get some perspective, consider that oil/gas industry spent over $US1.4 billion… defense/aerospace industry spent over $US662 million.. during same time period…

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Meanwhile, medicine’s guardians– regulators, scientific journals, professional bodies, academic establishment– turn a blind eye… The net result is that– doctors prescribe in ignorance, drug prices are outrageous, patients are harmed, and vast amounts of money are wasted. According to Sabriya Rice; people are led to believe by– doctors, advertisers, pharmaceutical industry– that there is ‘magic pill’ that will cure just about anything that ails them… Prescription drug usage continues to rise and typical medicine cabinet is lined with multiple prescription pill bottles, and life for many people is nothing more than big bag of pills… The worlds of– pharmaceuticals, doctors, regulators, consumers… must find– different solution, better solution…The pharmaceutical solutions that worked in the 20th Century will not work in the 21st Century…

 

 

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Neurotic, Paranoiac… Styles of Management: Navigating the Deep-Dive of Management Theory and Business Reality…

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Managing people is singularly the toughest gig around– it’s that liberated worker thing; its equal parts– challenging and rewarding, positive and negative– and often all at the same time… Some styles of management work, others don’t work, and still others are down-right horrendous– it all depends on the– manager, workers, culture… Different management styles work– for different managers, for different workers, in different organizations, in different cultures… There are managers who micro-manage, managers who manage by metrics, managers who manage by exception… and some management styles will work under one set of market conditions but not another… ‘it all depends’…

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However, whatever the style of management, it’s an implicit ‘agreement’ or ‘contract’ between management and workers with terms that say; ‘there are things management expect from workers’, and ‘there are things workers expect from management’… Then it’s up to both parties (management and workers) to keep their ends of the bargain… Hence, ‘best’ management style is one that ‘works’ for both management and workers, and when it stops working for either one of the parties, its becomes ‘bad’ management style… Then, if the organization is to continue, a new or modified implicit ‘agreement’ that ‘works’ for both parties must be adopted, until it stops working… It’s continuous cycle adapting to ever-changing environment of– management, workers, markets, competition, resources…

In the article Neurotic Styles of Management by Kurt Motamedi writes: There are great managers, and there are not so great managers, and there are managers who are on the edge of sanity… Some managers practice styles of management that are neurotic, and elements of these are very common in many organization, e.g.; Explosive: Don’t get in my way… Implosive: Don’t let me down… Abrasive: No one is good enough… Narcissistic: Are they useful to me? Apprehensive: No one can be trusted… Compulsive: Get focused… Impulsive: Change for change’s sake… Often out of fear and opportunism, workers adopt and mimic the neurotic styles of their managers and influential leaders. In such settings a workplace culture becomes– abuse, toxic…

In these toxic cultures, everyone– managers, workers, partners… experience a broad range of unproductive feelings of helplessness, distrust, defensiveness, anger, apathy, even depression… When habitually neurotic workers are advanced to key leadership positions, the pattern continues and inevitable the organizations suffers… Such styles of management (or perversions of management) often reflects the inability to– learn, understand, self-actuate… changes that are necessary for a sustainable organization…

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In the article Helicopter Styles of Management by human factor writes: Many managers practice the helicopter styles of management– these are managers who hover-over workers, partners… in well-intentioned but ill-fated attempt to provide support… These are ‘givers’ gone awry– managers so desperate to help others that they develop a white knight complex and end-up causing harm… According to Sandy Lim; the helicopter styles of management, in the extreme, inhabits workers from– independent thinking, creative problem solving, decisions-making, and the opportunity to fail and learn from failure… Managers that hover tend to– tell workers what to do, when to do it, and how to do it…

The ‘helicopter management style’ is stuck in the past… it’s uses management concepts and techniques that no longer jibe with current market realities…To succeed in ever-changing markets– management must have a flexible, adaptable organization that can change direction, quickly… and this can only be gotten by having– empowered, enabled workers who can perform at high levels and achieve goals without someone constantly hovering over them… As manager, the responsibility isn’t to make decisions for workers; it’s to teach workers how to make decisions that are good for customers, organization… The responsibility isn’t to solve problems for workers, it’s to coach them to creatively solve problems on their own… The responsibility isn’t to micro-manage every aspect of workers’ work, it’s to give them the information and resources they need… Then, to get out-of-the-way and let workers do their work!

Management by Walking Around (MBWA): This style (it may not even be a style) is about ‘walking around’ as an unplanned movement within a workplace.. versus, a planned movement, appointment, when workers expect a visit from management at scheduled times… The expected benefit is that management by this ‘randomness of movement and interaction’ with workers is more likely to improve workplace morale, sense of organizational purpose, productivity and overall experience of the organization.. it’s a gesture of comradery… as compared to management remaining in their specific office/ desk area, and scheduling formal worker meeting at specific time and place…

According to Adam Toporek; style of management characterized by ‘walking around’ or ‘wandering about’ (MBWA) the workplace is not about policing… At the heart of the MBWA concept is walking with an open mind, e.g.; it’s a casual time for management to communicate with workers– not asking specific work questions– but just to listen to what they have to say, let them know that they are doing important work, let them know that management cares… The most effective management gets to know workers, i.e.; know their frustrations, concerns, questions, beliefs, problems, dreams, goals, strengths, weaknesses…

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In the article Management by ‘Walking Around’ Vs. Management by ‘Gemba Walk’ by Jeff Roussel writes: There is a misconception that management by ‘walking around’ and management by ‘gemba walk’ are the same thing… and although they may be related because they both involve ‘walking’ that is where the similarly ends. The term ‘gemba’ originates from Japanese word for ‘real place’… It refers to the actual place where work is done, such as; factory shop floor, or nursing unit where care is delivered to patients, or product design station… The goal of a ‘gemba walk’ is to examine the current state of a particular process by observing it in action at the place where it occurs: The aim is narrow, focused, very specific… Whereas, management by ‘walking around’ (MBWA) involves seeing what’s going on more broadly (i.e., just say hello and visit workers at their location)… In other words, a ‘gemba walk’ takes management to specific place to observe a particular activity, which is planned ahead of time…

According to Dr. W. Edwards Deming; ‘management by walking around’ is hardly ever effective because when management is just ‘walking around’ they usually do not pause long enough at any one location to get any useful information– it’s a basic form of workplace socializing… and often, walking around is misinterpreted as management spying or interfering with workers activities, unnecessarily… Whereas, organizations that use ‘gemba walks’ create structure… management has specific questions for workers at each level, management spends time trying to learn and understand the work that is actually being done… there is nothing wrong with management taking stroll around workplace from time-to-time, but ‘management by walking around’ cannot take the place of– purposeful, well executed– ‘gemba walk’…

Studies show that 70% of workers are either; slightly or actively ‘disengaged’ in work… and it may be just coincidence that workers disengagement happened with the rise of so many ‘different’ styles of management… Management styles that can vary, in extremes, from– no management, to micro-management, to collaborative management, to participative management, to laissez-faire management, to autocratic management, to democratic management, to flexible management… Hence there is no wonder why workers’ sense of engagement is  very low…

However, it’s important to recognize that these many styles of management are all an invention of academia’s desired to publish and consult… using fantasized management theories rather than the realities of the– ‘actual’ real-time actions, reactions of managers and workers behaviors within each individual organization… Great management fully understands their workers individual– skills, capabilities, behavior, expectation … and they adopts their method for managing each particular organizational ensemble based on mutual and implied ‘contact’ with their workers… without trying to fit within some predefined style of management category…

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But most organizations are so indoctrinated by the management theory that styles of management are predefined categorizes and they must fit their management practices within one or more of a category: It’s a neurotic rational… Until management truly understand their workers, culture, expectations… and adopts to the realities of their ‘particular’ organization– at given time and circumstance– no style (or category) of management will work and organizations will continue with high rates of workers disengagement…

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Drugs in Workplace Cost Companies Over $US100 Billions: Drug Testing– Pee-in-Cup– It’s a Legal Mine Field…

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Drugs in workplace is $US100 billion problem and that does not include– all the pain, suffering, and human tragedy… According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 8.4% of full-time workers use illicit drugs and 8.8% admit heavy alcohol use… According to U.S. Department of Labor; workers who abuse substances are 25 to 30% less productive and miss work three times more often than their non-abusing workers… There’s no way around it; work is stressful, life is stressful… Many people go through points where their work is so taxing it feels as if it’s life consuming, and for some it can end-up with excessive drug abuse…

According to Working Partners’ Report; the costs of drugs in the workplace are mainly connected with: Workers Compensation; 38% to 50% of all Workers Compensation claims are related to substance abuse in the workplace, as substance abusers file three to five times as many Workers Compensation claims… Medical Costs: Substance abusers incur 300% higher medical costs than non-abusers… Absenteeism: Substance abusers are 2.5 times more likely to be absent eight or more days per year… Productivity:  Substance abusers are 1/3 less productive…

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Furthermore, studies have found the impact of worker substance use and abuse is an issue that extends beyond just the worker who uses drugs/substance (i.e., second-hand smoke effect)– there is evidence that their co-worker’s job performance and attitudes are also negatively affected. According to U.S. Census Bureau; small business are more vulnerable and particularly disadvantaged by workers substance use and abuse… Roughly half of all U.S. workers are employed at small/medium businesses (i.e., fewer than 500 workers), and according to ‘Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies, Programs’ Report; about nine-in-ten full-time workers that have– alcohol, or illicit drug dependence, or abuse… work for small/medium size firms…

Workers have reported being put in– danger, or injured, or work harder to re-do work, or cover for co-worker as a result of drug use… A study from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; revealed following information about substance use and abuse among U.S. workers: Of 17.4 million illicit drug users age 18 and over, 13.1 million (75.3%) were employed… Of 55.3 million adult binge drinkers, 44.0 million (79.4%) were employed… Of 16.4 million heavy alcohol users, 13.1 million (79.6%) were employed… Of the 20.4 million adults classified with substance dependence or abuse, 12.3 million (60.4%) were employed full-time…

In the article Substance Abuse in the Workplace by Buddy T writes: Alcohol and drug abuse by employees cause many expensive problems for business ranging from lost productivity, injuries, increase the health insurance claims… Research has shown that the culture of the workplace can play a large roll into whether drinking and drug use is accepted and encouraged, or discouraged and inhibited… Part of this culture can depend on gender mix of employees… In predominantly female occupations, research shows that both male and female employees are less likely to have substance abuse problems compared to employees of both genders in male-dominated occupations… Research shows that the type of work, itself, can contribute to higher rates of employee substance abuse, e.g.; work that is boring, stressful, isolating… also, lack of control over work conditions, verbal and physical aggression, disrespectful behavior… can all contribute to workers’ drinking…

Remarkably, research shows it’s the social drinkers– not the hard-core alcoholics or problem drinkers– that were more abusers in workplace… This study also found that it was managers, not hourly workers, who were most often drinking during the workday; 23% of upper managers and 11% of first-line supervisors reported having a drink during workday, compared with only 8% of hourly workers… Researchers also found that 21% of workers said their productivity had been affected because of a co-worker’s drinking…

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In the article Workplace Drug Testing–Pros and Cons by healthonline writes: A company survey of workers identified several increasing attitudes towards drug testing, e.g.; pre-employment testing, testing for cause, testing after accident… are all generally acceptable to most workers… However, many workers felt that random testing is not at all acceptable and unnecessary violation of privacy. There are valid arguments, both; ‘pro’ and ‘con’ drug testing in work place, e.g.: ‘Pro’ arguments suggest drug testing to increase the safety of workers, and general public should be encouraged, e.g.; transportation– pilots, truck drivers… medical– doctors, care givers… public safety– police, fire fighters…

Whereas, ‘Con’ arguments suggest that drug testing are not reliable tool for assessing worker’s impairment, e.g.; if a worker smoked marijuana on Friday night, evidence of this would still appear in urine on Monday morning… but the worker’s impairment, on same Monday morning, would have minimal (if any) effect on work performance… Although the most common cause of workplace impairment is ‘alcohol’, but using the ‘pee test’ (urine) to determine an impairment is not particularly accurate… Also, drug testing misses other factors that can also affect work performance, e.g.; lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, family problems, mental disease… can all create work impairment difficulties…

However, valid arguments exist ‘for and against’ drug testing, e.g.; pre-employment testing, or testing for cause, or testing after an accident… are generally acceptable to most workers in safety-sensitive positions… However, drug testing is often seen as an unnecessary violation of privacy. Drug testing does not necessarily measure impairment in the workplace, and it’s expensive and subject to both legal and worker’s rights concerns… However, business management is increasingly recognizing the negative consequences of drug and substance abuse on– productivity and sustainability of their business… and on the overall economy and well-being of the nation’s workforce… not to mentioned the critical health issues of the unfortunate abusers…

There are a number of reports and surveys that highlight the detrimental effects of drugs/ substance abuse in workplaces, e.g.; productivity and safety– increase risk of accidents, absenteeism, reduced work engagement… The majority of employers in the U. S. are ‘not’ required to drug test, and many state and local governments have statutes that limit or prohibit workplace testing, unless required by state or Federal regulations for certain jobs… Also, drug testing is ‘not’ required under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. On other hand, most private employers have the ‘right’ to test for a wide variety of substances…

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Hence, when employers decide to implement some type of drug testing (i.e.; presumably for valid workplace reasons); it’s very important that the employer fully understand all state and Federal drug-testing issues and regulations that apply to their organization… Also, it’s  important to consider the drug testing process itself, e.g.; purpose of test; type of test; how sample is collected; how to use the information collected; security of samples…But most important, when employer uncovers a drug/substance issue in their workplace; employer should take action, immediately; do not ignore the signs…

Often when these issues exists– it can be an indicator of a much more serious problem that exist within workplace, itself… Hence, first try to uncover the root cause, e.g.; is it a toxic workplace that is the cause of drug usage, or is it a worker’s personal issue? Employers must be prepared to completely review conditions in their workplace environment… also, employers must a policy that is fair to workers with drug issues. The worst thing employers can do: Ignore the problem and do nothing…     

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Shaping of e-Commerce, Globally — $US3.5 Trillion by 2019: Battle Ground for e-Retail Sales in 21st Century…

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Global e-Commerce sales are soaring: According to eMarketeer; global e-Commerce sales are projected to reach $US1.67 trillion representing 7.3% of overall global retail sales, in 2016… Another projection estimates global e-Commerce sales to eclipse $US3.5 trillion, which would account for about 12% of the global total retail sales of over $US28 trillion by 2019… According to Jaz Frederick; China e-Commerce market is the world largest with $US589.61 billion, in 2015… According to Matthew Brown; U.S. e-Commerce market is the second largest with $US341.7 billion, in 2015…

To put e-Commerce into perspective– the number of websites dedicated to some type of e-Commerce activity is increasing, but it’s still relatively small number as compared to the total website on the Internet… According to Netcraft; there are over 600 million websites on Internet and about 7.4 billion web pages referenced on the Internet… In comparison, it’s estimated that there are about 2 million e-Commerce sites worldwide; and about 500K in North America, and about 1 million in Europe, and about 500K in rest of world… With this growing consumer acceptance, many businesses are trying to figure out the best, most viable e-Commerce ‘business model’ for their enterprise…

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In the article e-Commerce Business Models by Richard Lazzera writes: e-Commerce business models are perhaps the most discussed and least understood aspect of the Internet. There is much talk that the Internet has changed traditional business models, but there is little clear-cut evidence of exactly what this means– in most basic sense, a business model is the method of doing business by which a company can sustain itself… The business model spells-out– how, what, why… a company makes money by specifying where it’s positioned in the value chain, e.g.; typically, business models are divided into several major types, including; Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B), Business-to-Administration (B2A), Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)… where ‘Administration’ is usually defined as–government, or institutions, or non-profits… 

In selecting an e-Commerce business model there are questions that must be asked and things that must be consider, e.g.; Who are the target customers? There are a million types of e-Commerce stores, all with subtle differences and nuances, and all presumably targeting some segment of an– industry, market… e.g.; consumers vs. businesses vs. government vs. institutions… What are the products or services being offered? There are different types of products, services… e.g.; physical goods, digital goods, services… What is the competitive strategy? Deciding how to compete is the critical decision and it shape the very structure of the business model, e.g.; is competitiveness based on– price, quality, value…? Moreover, a firm may combine several different business models as part of its overall Internet business strategy…

According to José Fernandes; main advantage of e-Commerce is its ability to reach a global market without necessarily requiring a large financial investment… Which means– limitations are not defined geographically– that targets markets are enabled to make global choices, or obtain the necessary information to compare ‘value’ from all potential suppliers, regardless of locations. By embracing direct interaction with targeted market groupings, e-Commerce shortens the engagement chain, and sometimes even eliminating it completely… However, e-Commerce businesses do have disadvantages, e.g.; strong dependence on information and communication technologies (ICT)… Lack of legislation that adequately regulates e-Commerce activities, nationally and globally. Also, there is always potential risks, e.g.; lack of security, loss of privacy… in conducting  transactions…

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In the article Business Model Innovation by Renee Hopkins writes: Although business leaders embrace the concept of e-Commerce business model innovation, many are finding it increasingly difficult to integrate an e-Commerce business model with their existing traditional operating model, e.g.:

  • Business models don’t last as long as they used to: Companies are increasingly vulnerable to being disrupted by new business models that plays by a completely different set of rules… Hence for a business model to endure it must be flexible enough to change and adapt to changing competitive environments…
  • Business models are the new strategic imperative: Create a strategic sandbox–connected to but stay autonomous from the core business– where you play around/ experiment by combine and recombine capabilities in ways that are not constrained by the existing business model…
  • Much of what leaders understand about business models is wrong: Business model innovation has evolved by using traditional ‘best practice’ approaches… But much of these so-called– ‘gospel’ or ‘best practice’ methodologies just don’t apply to the Internet business models…

e-Commerce business modeling must be an evolutionary process based on– leveraging human-centrics and storytelling, e.g.:

  • Shift: Look at the world through the eyes of customers and their work-to-be-done…
  • Create: Explore and imagine new experience for customers that creates value…
  • Deliver: Create a strategic sandbox that combine and recombine capabilities…
  • Capture: Develop adaptable resources– fuel, refresh, re-invent, grow…
  • Prototype and Test: Build low-fidelity version of the business model and test in the real world before deployment, i.e.; create, learn, evolve, test, test again– repeat…

In the article e-Commerce Fraud is Growing Trend by John Rampton writes: The true cost of dealing with e-Commerce fraud is growing– retailers are losing $3.08 for every dollar of fraud they incurred, in 2014. This is up from $2.79, in 2013… Also the increase use of mobile platforms is driving fraud even higher. In addition, e-Commerce has brought ‘friendly fraud’ to an all-new level, as customers seem to find it easier than ever to reverse transactions. Charge-backs are designed to protect customers from scams, but in recent years customers have begun using it in the place of refunds. The perception that ‘the customer is always right’ seems to extend to payment companies, who put the burden of proof on retailers when making decisions on a dispute. Unfortunately, an estimated 86% of charge-backs are fraudulent, which is bad news both for retailers and customers…

It’s important to understand that e-Commerce is ‘not just a website’– it’s building a business… The e-Commerce website is merely the commercial delivery channel… and an effective Internet website begins by understanding, defining– business strategy, goals, metrics… then, crafting a site that is tailored to meet those objectives… More important,   e-Commerce strategy is not business as usual, the Internet has a different set of rules– a different rulebook– to compete successfully… A sustainable Internet business requires the delivery of ‘real economic value’ and as important a ‘grand customer experience’…

Hence, when businesses don’t understand or embrace the basic Internet rules, then failure is the most likely outcome… According to Allen Burt; everyone has an opinion about what a business model should look like, and however its defined, created… it must be– re-evaluate, updated, changed, or even scrapped)… as often as necessary– its anticipation of a changing environment that the key to business sustainability… Markets, customers, competitors, resources… are in a constant state of flux and an Internet business model must change accordingly to be sustainable…

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According to Mark Hayes; first and foremost business venture must know its profit margins… and a business must deploy an effective and realistic pricing strategy, both from the perspective of the customer and the business… and to assume that the lowest price will always win is an assumption for failure… In fact, low pricing usually ends-up in pricing battles, where nobody wins… According to Evans and Wurster; e-Commerce companies (in fact, all companies) must ‘be prepared’ to repeatedly– rethink, revise, and sometimes radically change– the basic structure of their– organization, business model, strategy, talent pool…

Leadership must understand that an e-Commerce business model can be disrupted at any time… Hence, ‘be prepared’— is motto that every business must live by: Yes; ‘be prepared’ to completely re-think the existing business model… Yes; ‘be prepared’ to develop a completely different– strategy, value proposition, skill-set… Yes; ‘be prepared’ for any unanticipated market activities… According to Helen Thomas; the trend that is shaping e-Commerce: Go Local! Go Mobile! Go Cashless! Get Video-Share-Social Media! Get Relevant-Insightful-Original Content!

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Nasty Debate– Disruptive Innovation: Flawed or Misunderstood? Process or Formula for Success?

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‘Disruptive innovation’ is a theory which took the world by storm, seemingly explaining the evolution of companies and providing evidence to pro-innovation advocates that all companies must change or die… It also went fairly unchallenged over the past decades, until Jill Lepore and other pundits.. declared that the theory had no solid foundation and was built on shaky evidence… According to Jill Lepore; it’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence… Irrespective of this commentary– it’s always good to remember that– not all that disrupts is good and not all that is good disrupts… The term is now the rallying cry of every entrepreneur, venture capitalist, executive, consultant, government agency… promising to change things; disrupt or be disrupted…

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In fact disruptive innovation has become so embedded in the national psyche, such as; business, politics, social causes– as to be counter-productive… The concept of disruption has lost all meaning… This label gets slapped-on pretty much anything– new technology, new venture, new business model– that has revolutionary aspirations… But the real problem is more insidious; that’s because disruptiveness is not an inherent quality of a technology, or business model, or idea… it’s an outcome. It’s an observable and significant change to an industry’s; technological, organization, economic structure…

Moreover, some critics of the theory debunks the very idea of disruptive innovation– it’s become a buzzword taking on so many meanings that it’s essentially meaningless… According to Clayton Christensen, who originated theory of disruption innovation; the word has become ‘almost random’… used to justify whatever anybody wants to do. According to Kevin Roose; we all should just stop using the word– when everything is disruptive, then nothing is…

In the article What Is Disruptive Innovation? by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor, Rory McDonald write: For over 20 years, the theory of ‘disruptive innovation’ has been enormously influential in business. But unfortunately the theory is widely misunderstood and its basic tenets frequently misapplied, with a ‘disruptive’ label applied too liberally. Common mistakes include; failure to view disruption as a gradual process, which can lead market incumbents to ignore significant threats, or blindly accepting the mantra– ‘disrupt or be disrupted’… and incumbents can jeopardize their core business by making radical changes, in order to defend against a presumed disruptive challenger…

Admittedly the theory does have limitations, but it also has proven to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth… Since inception of the core concept there have been many refinements made to in the theory, but for the most part these have been overshadowed due to the popularity of the initial formulation. As a result the theory is sometimes criticized for shortcomings that have already been addressed… Further, many researchers, writers, consultants invoke concept of ‘disruptive innovation’ in support of whatever it is they wish to do– its become an important buzzword to attract attention. Also a key point of misunderstanding is that the theory does not apply– to every company, in every industry, in every shifting market… and whether it’s incremental improvement or sustaining innovation or disruptive innovation… all depends on dynamics of the market…

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In the article How Useful Is Theory Of Disruptive Innovation? by Steve Denning writes: Few academic management theories have had as much influence in the business world as theory of disruptive innovation… Disruption is real; it’s a perfect storm of technological innovation, e.g.; combining smartphones and other mobile devices, ubiquitous cameras and sensors, social media, cloud, ‘big data’ analytical tools… It means that more than $36 trillion of stock-market value is up for what some venture capitalists are calling– ‘re-imagination’ in the near future… Many industries are vulnerable to change over the next few years, e.g.; financials, consumer staples, information technology, energy, consumer goods, health care, industrials, materials, telecom, utilities… Incumbent companies will either do the– re-imagining and lay claim to the markets of the future, or they’ll be re-imagined out of existence…

There are many factors at play– shifting economies of scale, first-mover advantage, legacy costs, and so on… According to some pundits; main usefulness of the disruptive theory is to serve as ‘warning’– it’s a useful warning about managerial ‘myopia’, e.g.; managers who might overlook or misunderstood the importance of an emerging threat… it’s a useful reminder of the importance of– testing assumptions, seeking outside information, and other means of reducing myopic thinking…

Disruption theory is not a replacement for careful analysis and difficult choices… It’s not a replacement for asking the tough questions, such as: Should a company stay in a market and fight for market share, or should it exit the market and see revenues elsewhere? Should a company invest in profitable but declining business, or should it turn away? Is the best course to maximize returns by letting the business slowly die? These and many others issues, are heart-wrenching choices… but, they do not include a commitment to boldly innovate to establish a better, or different competitiveness…

A less heart-wrenching and more effective, choice is to stop running the company with defensive, inwardly-focused, hierarchical bureaucracy and commit to relevant customer-focused innovation… Once customer-focused innovation becomes the ‘raison d’etre’ of the organization, then ‘deciding to die’ becomes a less-obvious option. Disruption is real, whether or not it plays out exactly according to Christensen’s theory may be problematic. But surviving, thriving does not come by chance; it only comes by heeding ‘warnings’ or embracing ‘opportunities’… and engaging a different kind of strategy…

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In the article Disruption Debate– What’s Missing? by John Hagel writes: I’m mystified by the attacks on the theory of disruptive innovation… Not only does it have a meanness that isn’t warranted, but it leaves the reader with an unanswered question; if the theory is not helpful, how do you explain the cascading disruptions that are playing out in markets and industries around the world? Let’s step back and use this controversy to underscore some key points… First, while there might be issues with the concept of disruptive innovation, there is also an unwilling to acknowledge one basic fact of life; ‘disruption’ is occurring with increasing frequency in the business world… As Joseph Schumpeter observed; markets are a powerful engine for ‘creative destruction’ they invite competitors with a better/different idea or approach to challenge incumbents. It happens all the time, and the trend towards increasing disruption that are playing out on a global scale is a result of the convergence of two powerful forces:

First, the advent of digital technology as a disruptive force… Yes, there are major technology disruptions in the past– think of the steam engine, electricity, telephone… But digital technology is different, it’s one of the few technologies that has demonstrated sustained exponential improvement in price/performance over an extended period of time… But there’s more; this exponentially improving digital technology is spilling over into adjacent technologies, catalyzing similar waves of disruption in diverse arenas, such as; 3D printing of physical objects, biosynthesis of living tissue, robotics, health care, the environment, transportation… just to name a few…

Second, at work is a long-term shift in public policy on global basis towards freedom movement of– people, goods, money, ideas… across geographic, industry boundaries… These two forces– exponentially improving technology and economic liberalization— are combining to create environments that are increasingly vulnerable to disruption. In economic terms, they are doing two things: First, they are systematically and substantially reducing barriers to entry and barriers to movement on a global scale… Second, they are offering untapped capabilities that can be catalyst to fundamentally re-think business models, institutional arrangements…

These forces provide more opportunities for players to adopt new/different approaches that can be highly disruptive… Hence leadership must plan beyond the next quarter or next year and challenge, on a sustained basis, their key assumptions, which are often unstated– but the foundation for their business growth, sustainability… And perhaps most basic of all, leadership must acknowledge that ‘disruption’ is a growing force and resist the temptation to dismiss or deny that it exists…

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Executives around the world are redesigning processes, restructuring their firms to meet the challenges of operating in a more dynamic, hyper-competitive world, but many are ill-equipped to make the necessary changes… Successful business take new ideas (even old ideas) and turn them into opportunity by creating sustainable economic value for all stakeholders… Successful business search for opportunities that ‘unfreeze’ a stable industry that have grown stale and inject different value propositions. They recognize that they must listen to customers but also educate the marketplace to– different solutions… And as for the debate: There is no debate– Yes, ‘disruptive innovation’ is a very useful concept for thinking about change… Yes, ‘disruptive innovation’ has become buzzword that can mean just about anything…

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Free Speech– Collision in Workplace, Social Media: Boundaries of Freedom of Expression…

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Free speech is dead in the workplace– but, it’s never really been alive… It’s a common misconception among employees that the First Amendment rights of free speech carry over to the private workplace… The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies only to employees of the government in certain situations and all citizens when they are confronted by the government… According to Mark Trapp; freedom to speak your mind doesn’t really exist in work spaces… you would like to think that your rights are carved in granite, but instead it turns out they’re carved in sand… The Constitution operates as a restriction on government, not private employers… Employees would do well to keep this in mind before shooting off their mouth at the workplace…

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However, there are valid reasons when an employer would restrict speech– beyond assuring a productive work site or suppressing opinions contrary to management, and among them are, e.g.; fear of lawsuits alleging that an employer permitted a hostile work environment… According to Brian Wassom; in most U.S. states employment is ‘at-will’, and if an employer finds an employee’s speech to run counter to the company’s values and image, there’s nothing preventing them from terminating the employee… In fact, employees should think twice about what they– speak, email, post… during work hours…

In the article Where Free Speech Goes to Die: Workplace by Michael Dolgow writes: In the U.S. people can say pretty much whatever they want… unless they are at work. Simply put, there is no First Amendment right to ‘free speech’ in the workplace… Bosses and those who work under them are ‘not’ equal when it comes to free-speech… Employers have the right to take action against any employee who engages in speech, emails, posts… that company leaders find offensive. With a few narrow exceptions federal laws only protect a person’s right to expression from government interference, not from restrictions a private employer may impose… In fact, many employers take position that ‘freedom of speech’ is something you do after work, on your own time… Whereas, employers are not similarly restricted in expressing their views in– speech, emails, posts…

In the article Free Speech in the Workplace by Bruce Barry writes: An erosion of free expression in the workplace is weakening the very fabric of civic discourse… There are excessive and needless restrictions on employees… like much regulation that  involves workplace free expression often turn on interpretations of vague and shifting standards, and balancing tests designed to weigh competing interests that are inherently subjective, and the ever-changing stance of a court’s ideological composition at a given time… and since the First Amendment has little application in private settings, the conventional wisdom and accepted managerial practice gives business the ability to shut down speech that in their option is on the margins… 

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Hence, employers can then argue– that the ‘speech or expression’ is not related to the business; so do it on your own time… Of course employers need not tolerate abusive or harsh or insulting speech, but the problem is that often employment lawyers advise business to go– too far in restricting speech, in order to avoid risk of lawsuits… hence they restrict any speech that could be construed as– harassment, hostile, racial… potentially this creates collisions between laws that seek to avoid hostile environments and free speech… It’s a tough balance and some argue that on advice of lawyers many employers tolerate– too little freedom of speech…

In the article Social Media Free Speech Rights For Workers by Kirsti Marohn writes: Do employees have the right of free speech to publicly criticize their– organization, boss, workplace… especially when venting on social media age has replaced traditional complaining around the water cooler? Experts say it’s a complex and gray area of the law. There are protections in the law for employees to speak out on matters of public concern or the conditions of the workplace, but they are not absolute… In the wake of constantly changing technology and federal regulations, many organizations are scrambling to write or rewrite their social media policies…

According to Dorraine Larison; the question of employee rights and social media is a hot topic, and employers should have a policy that governs how employees use social media in their workplace… the policy should be specific enough to protect the employer and employees from any potential litigation, but also general enough to allow open and productive communication… It’s a good idea for employers to advise employees to refrain from sending, posting information, comments that they would not want their– bosses, or other employees, customers, partners, stakeholders… to see on social media or elsewhere…

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In the article Free Speech and Social Media by Sara Hawkins writes: You heard it said, and you have probably read it– someone saying; they can say whatever they want, or post whatever they want, or email whatever they want… and no-one can do anything about it… As if the First Amendment is their sword and shield… The three words, ‘freedom of speechgets thrown around and written about so often that its meaning is more about misinformation than truth… The First Amendment to U.S. Constitution is very specific and says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and petition Government for a redress of grievances…

Also in 1996, in the landmark case ‘Reno v. ACLU’, a unanimous Supreme Court specifically extended the First Amendment to include; written, visual, and spoken expression posted on the Internet… Of course, the First Amendment doesn’t give the right to say– whatever you want, or whenever you want, or to whomever you want– but,  that doesn’t stop people from thinking otherwise… In addition, in this era of digital technology, speech is more than written or spoken words, it also includes; different types of expression, visual interpretations, as well as; artistic forms of speech… Also, it covers– symbolic speech and  symbols that have meaning (e.g.; swastika or peace sign)– is covered by what is often refer to as freedom of speech… It’s nearly impossible to create a list of what types of speech are protected because there are many caveats… and of course, ‘free speech’ does not mean ‘free’ to say whatever comes to mind…

In the article Free Speech at Work by Heather Bussing writes: You know you can probably get fired for telling your boss to their face– ‘go to hell’… since free speech only applies when the government is trying to restrict it, but even then it’s not absolute… Hence, employers are generally free to restrict employee speech at least while in the workplace… However, some restrictions on speech are required by other laws, e.g.; laws prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, laws protecting confidential medical and financial information prohibit employees from saying all sorts of things at work…

Most workplaces openly endorse the concept of free speech, but often the rhetoric is not consistent in practice… Research suggests that although there may be much talk about free speech in the workplace, the talk does not matched the reality… Business must place a greater value on employees, and create a more open workplace environment that encourages all employees to freely express themselves… Free speech is very messy and sometimes violent– free speech to one person may not be acceptable to another person– and the motto; ‘free speech for me but not for thee’…

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Free speech is hated by the powerful and the powerless, and those who would suppress what is said in order to retain power, and those who would change what is said in order to alter the relations of power… Most employers allow free speech, but it’s important to realize that it’s a privilege that they can revoke at any time (each workplace, either; stated or implied have rules of what they consider to be– free or not free)… According to Deborah Marcuse; commitment to free speech is very important in the workplace, but there is a delicate and important balance that comes into play when the rights of one individual may impinge on rights of other individuals… hence seeking balance– where reasonable people can freely engage in discussion and share– ideas, concepts, opinions… without hurting each other, or the business…

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