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The New Business of Doing Business

The Sound of Ideas
Monday, June 1, 2009 at 9:00 am
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In this world where giant corporations go bankrupt or go on the government dole, maybe it's time to change the way the business leaders of tomorrow are prepared. Business schools on the cutting edge now tout management tools such as "managing by design" and "appreciative inquiry." Trendy jargon but what does it really mean and how would they change things? Are they the reform that capitalism needs? Some in Northeast Ohio think so. Monday on the Sound of Ideas, it's the new business of doing business and how it will affect the workplace. Join us at 9 on 90.3.

*Photo of Case Western University Classroom courtesy of Businessweek

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Interesting discussion, but:
As an employee of a large institution (I teach at Cuyahoga Community College) I'm VERY familiar with grand-sounding plans to listen to and "empower" people in the organization. In my experience these plans are always imposed top-down by someone in the administration who has apparently read a book or gone to a seminar about the current panacea - one year we heard about "appreciative inquiry" at Tri-C. Of course these "transformative" ideas generally fade in a year or two, to be replaced with the next transformative idea.
In my opinion this discussion would be much more valuable if the panel included people like line workers, truck drivers, etc. who have experienced the process described by the professors on your panel. How does it actually work on the shop floor?
Al Wasco, Tri-C

This socialist thinking is not new. It has been tried time and again around the world and it continues to fail. It is not sustainable over the long run.
If you know anything about business you know that ALL business have a beginning and an end. Nothing lives forever. The failure of GM was inevitable, especially because of the stakeholders that created a bureaucracy that could not be sustained. All this soft an feely stuff has to be practical and as a business guy if something benefits the business to help it survive then it will be put into practice. If not then it should be set aside. I have seen first hand the failure of communist business philosophies and why they failed and why they changed to a capitalistic system – because it works.
Skip, Chesterland

I worked at Case placing graduate students for 7 years: 3 at Case Law School and 4 at Weatherhead. During my time at Weatherhead I never met a student, (including those of your guests) who said they wanted to be an internal compliance officer or ensure businesses operated fairly as part of their career. At the law school I did occasianally see students who wanted to work for the SEC, enforce consumer laws or otherwise serve the public interest.
As FDR said when he appointed Joe Kennedy to chair the SEC after Kennedy shafted investors in the stock market, "It takes a thief to catch a thief." How do your guests explain the complete lack of interest by business students in catching the thieves in their own midst?
Sarah, Shaker Square

The stock market is supposed to provide capital for companies to help them grow and develop new products.
Selling short and trading options are all short-term oriented and provide NO capital for companies. If these devices were severely limited or eliminated, they would significantly reduce the urge to make everything short-term.
This would also eliminate the pressure on executives having to magic tricks to keep the stock markets happy. Then they can concentrate on planning for the future.
Karen Dumont, Broadview Heights

Guests

David Cooperrider, Faculty Director, Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, Case Western Reserve University
Fred Collopy, Department Chair, Information Systems, Case Western Reserve University
Holly Harlan, Founder & President, Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S)
Christina Vernon Ayers, Director, Office for a Healthy Environment, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Chuck Fowler, CEO and President of Fairmount Minerals

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