Management Decision

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Print ISSN: 0025-1747
Economic growth rates for South Africa between 1926 and 2005 Source: South African Statistics (1982) and South African Reserve Bank (2006)  
The causes of the poor white problem, first noted at a Dutch Reformed Church Synod in 1886, were unclear; many blamed the inadequate education system, urbanisation, cheap wages or cultural factors, while others argued that external events such as the rinderpest disease or the Anglo-Boer war added to the numbers of poor whites. Today, poverty is still at the heart of many policy debates in South Africa. A bad educational legacy, urbanisation, labour legislation, culture and tradition, and external factors are still amongst the factors said to be the causes of poverty. This paper assesses the similarities and differences between black poverty today and white poverty a century ago, and suggests possible policy lessons to learn from the past.
The different components of the IPM Framework  
In this paper, we argue that effective Integrated Performance Management (IPM) needs both strategic and maturity alignment. The management literature focuses on strategic alignment; in this paper we develop the concept of maturity alignment. Maturity alignment indicates that an organization must install the appropriate managerial and operational processes in accordance with the desired maturity level. We have identified four different maturity levels that indicate how well the organizational and managerial processes within an organization are defined and developed. We argue that insufficient maturity alignment is one of the major reasons why many performance management initiatives fail.
Purpose The purpose of this research is aimed at discussing the external and internal strategic fit in corporate ventures in Latin America. Design/methodology/approach This study is based on empirical investigation through semi‐structured interviews administered to the managers of multinational companies operating in Mexico. The success of the corporate ventures in Mexico has been evaluated from the perspectives of economic and relational attributes. The results of the study showed that the degree of fit between a corporate parent and venture affects the success of the venture. The success is associated with high levels of commitment, competitive skills and dynamics in the functional management of the venture. In this study the variables of economic and relational dimensions of external and internal fit have shown greater association with venture success. It has also been found that ventures opt for greater autonomy and less economic dependency with their parent ventures for leading success and these findings make an intuitive sense. Findings The study may have limitations on generalizing some of the findings because of the survey type study. Research limitations/implications Corporate venturing as a strategy for international business development has become significant in view of the process of globalization resulting in free trade and business development opportunities for multinational companies. This study provides an understanding of the venture managers to succeed in Latin American business environments in view of the organizational culture and employee behaviour. Practical implications This paper is based on the economic and behavioural indicators affecting strategic fit in the corporate venture. Originality/value This paper would contribute to important areas in Latin American business where such studies are scarce.
The author would like to thank Dieter Ernst (University of California, Berkeley), Sung‐Tack, Park (Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade), Mike Hobday and Keith Pavitt (University of Sussex), S. J. Nicholas (University of Melbourne), Ken Iijima and Dennis Tachiki (Sakura Institute of Research), Ian Vertinsky (University of British Columbia), C. A. Bartlett and D. J. Collis (Harvard Business School), John Cantwell (University of Reading) and Tetsuo Abo (University of Tokyo) for their helpful assistance and comments. Special thanks go to Peter Drysdale, Hal Hill and Mark Dodgson (The Australian National University) for their special guidance and kind support. The author is also grateful to Tack‐Myong Kim and Chang‐Sik Yoon for their assistance. The author is indebted to Samsung Economic Research Institute and Samsung managers interviewed in China, Korea and Southeast Asia. The views expressed, and any remaining errors, are solely the responsibility of the author.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to show that previous research about financial and non-financial causes of bankruptcy has neglected the time dimension of failure. The paper seeks to gain deeper insight into the failure process of a company, giving it a more grounded understanding of the relationship between the characteristics of a company, the underlying causes of failure and the financial effects. Design/methodollogy/approach - The findings are based on a literature overview and in-depth case study research. Findings - Four types of failure processes were observed: the failure process of unsuccessful startups, the failure process of ambitious growth companies, the failure process of dazzled growth companies, and the failure process of apathetic established companies. Between these four failure processes, there exist major distinctions in terms of the presence and the importance of specific causes of bankruptcy, i.e. errors made by management, errors in the corporate policy and the importance of external factors. Research limitations/implications - The results of the study are based on qualitative, case study research. No attempt is made to quantify the existence and the importance of the findings. The major constructs that emerged as important in the research are well-known concepts in the management literature. As a consequence, they should be further developed in order to quantify their effect in large-scale studies. Practical implications - Based on the findings, stakeholders of a company can have a clearer view of both the time dimension inherent in corporate failure and the impact of their own actions on bankruptcy. Originality/value - The paper lays the ground for understanding the process of company failure. Company failure does not happen overnight and therefore a longitudinal and holistic perspective is needed.
The concepts of the traditional theory of demand have not been found suitable for realistic studies of consumers' behaviour. Since 1954, however, new lines of exploration have evolved, of which that of Professor Jean Stoetzel has proved most fruitful. The idea that, since price served as a powerful indicator of quality, the consumer bent on a purchase will approach the market with two price limits in mind was verified and further developed by the Nottingham University Consumer Study Group. The theory has been successfully extended to the competition between leading brands and applied to the exploration of consumer behaviour during the decimalization period in the U.K. Advances have been made also in the quantitative study of other related problems, such as the price image of retail establishments and the relationship between pack size, price and purchasing behaviour.
Types of business groups
-Business groups in Italy (excluding agriculture), 2003
The Elica group-2008
-Operative relations between companies belonging to groups (1,271 groups)
-Groups by degree of autonomy in managing business functions
Purpose – This paper aims to show that the business group – i.e. the set of firms under common ownership and control – is the most appropriate unit to study the behavior and organization of firms and define their boundaries. Particular emphasis is given to notions such as unitary direction – i.e. the influence over strategic decisions – and administrative co‐ordination which allow owners to exercise supervision and authority over the controlled companies. Design/methodology/approach – Given these aims the paper adopts an interdisciplinary perspective that relies on economics, management and law. This multidisciplinary approach is necessary for analyzing the different aspects characterizing business groups in terms of ownership, control, economic synergies between firms and internal organizational mechanisms. To support the propositions, data and information from various sources are used, ranging from official statistics on the firm's population, to sample surveys, case studies and juridical evidence. The use of different sources is justified not only by the interdisciplinary nature of the problem but also by the lack of systematic statistical evidence on the phenomenon of business groups. Findings – The authors suggest that when a company is part of a group, the business group rather than the individual company is the most appropriate “unit” for analyzing the organization and behavior of firms. This does not deny that in some cases it can be worthwhile using the legal boundary as the appropriate unit; however, most of the empirical analyses about firms consider the legal boundary without considering whether companies are independent or part of a business group. Originality/value – The authors show that forms of unitary direction and administrative co‐ordination are common in business groups; these forms can be assimilated to the internal organization of firms. For this reason they propose that the group rather than the individual company is the appropriate unit to delimit the boundary of the firm. In this sense, their main conclusion is that not considering the business group underestimates the actual firm boundaries.
Purpose – The objective of this paper is to analyze whether the way that downsizing is implemented has any impact on the firm's performance. Design/methodology/approach – The sample under investigation consists of a set of Spanish companies, which downsized between 1995 and 2001. The paper includes downsizing announcements and combines information from two different datasets (BARATZ and SABI). The focus is placed on the size of downsizing and the use of disengagement incentives. Findings – A negative relationship between the size of downsizing and post‐downsizing corporate performance is found. In particular, firms which announced severe downsizing experience relatively lower performance in the year following the announcement. Originality/value – The analysis advances organizational research by reinforcing the concept that firm performance is not only contingent on strategies, but also influenced by the means through which these strategies are implemented.
This study examines the pattern by which retailers have adapted to recent changes in consumer markets. Information was obtained on the marketing strategies and financial structures of 88 of the leading U.K. retailers. The first section identifies the key environmental developments of the later 1970's and appraises their impact on retailers. In the second section, the methods by which retailers have sought to adapt to these changes are outlined. Finally, a model is developed which distinguishes successful from unsuccessful retailing strategies and provides a methodology for evaluating alternative approaches to market positioning.
Knowledge intensive services
The "core" and the "peripheral" network
Purpose The main purpose of this paper is to analyze knowledge management in service networks. It analyzes the knowledge management process and identifies related challenges. The authors take a strategic management approach instead of a more technology‐oriented approach, since it is believed that managerial problems still remain after technological problems are solved. Design/methodology/approach The paper explores the literature on the topic of knowledge management as well as the resource (or knowledge) based view of the firm. It offers conceptual insights and provides possible solutions for knowledge management problems. Findings The paper discusses several possible solutions for managing knowledge processes in knowledge‐intensive service networks. Solutions for knowledge identification/generation, knowledge application, knowledge combination/transfer and supporting the evolution of tacit network knowledge include personal and technological aspects, as well as organizational and cultural elements. Practical implications In a complex environment, knowledge management and network management become crucial for business success. It is the task of network management to establish routines, and to build and regularly refresh meta‐knowledge about the competencies and abilities that exist within the network. It is suggested that each network partner should be rated according to the contribution to the network knowledge base. Based on this rating, a particular network partner is a member of a certain knowledge club, meaning that the partner has access to a particular level of network knowledge. Such an established routine provides strong incentives to add knowledge to the network's knowledge base Originality/value This paper is a first attempt to outline the problems of knowledge management in knowledge‐intensive service networks and, by so doing, to introduce strategic management reasoning to the discussion.
Organizing new service development is an important topic for decision makers in service firms, since continuous innovation is expected to pay off. Although the literature on organizing new service development has grown rapidly over the last decade, the numerous publications are highly fragmented, each concentrating on a small piece of the complex innovation puzzle. This paper classifies current literature on organizing new service development (NSD) into two evolutionary stages: managing key activities in the NSD process, and creating a climate for continuous innovation. For both stages its consequences for the initiation and implementation of new services are discussed. The paper ends with limitations and suggestions for future research.
Stresses issues brought up inthe first World Wide Web conference on relationship marketing. Based on research on relationship marketing going back to the early 1970s which resulted in the definition of 30 relationships in marketing the 30R approach. Brings up inconsistencies in marketing, among them the mix-up between relationship marketing as a phenomenon and a term; values and ethics; practice versus theory and education; differences between Europe and the USA; and the ghosthunt for an unambiguous definition. Concludes that relationship marketing requires a dramatic change in marketing thinking and behaviour; it is a paradigm shift, not an add-on to traditional marketing management.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to follow the internationalisation of an Indian company, Bharat Forge Limited. It studies how a small company from India becomes one of the leading players in the global forging industry. Design/methodology/approach This is a case study approach for studying the process of internationalisation in one particular firm. Findings Bharat Forge Limited has followed the traditional stages model of internationalisation. It started global foray with exports and continued with that for more than three decades before going for acquisitions way. The company has gone for related‐diversified using its strengths in technology to diversify its products, markets and customers over the years and today has a global footprints in terms of sales and manufacturing locations. Practical implications It shows the way for companies even small ones and from developing countries, that how one can go for internationalisation and emerge as a leading global player. Originality/value India is one of the fastest emerging markets and there is growing interests in Indian economy and Indian firms. But there are few case studies on internationalisation of Indian firms and this study tries to fill that gap. Bharat Forge Limited is an Indian multinational company and has become a leading player in global forging industry.
This paper details an empirical pilot study that explores the development of several conceptual measures and models regarding intellectual capital and its impact on business performance. The objective of this pilot study is to explore the development of items and constructs through principal components analysis and partial least squares (PLS). The final retained, subjective measures and optimal structural specification show a valid, reliable, significant and substantive causal link between dimensions of intellectual capital and business performance. These results should help both academics and practitioners more readily understand the components of intellectual capital and provide insight into developing and increasing it within an organization. Suggestions are then made to advance and improve this research programme
THE history of design in manufacture over the last two hundred and fifty years could almost be compressed into three words—integration, disintegration, reintegration—for that broadly has been the sequence of development from the days of handcraftsmanship, through the mechanization of the first industrial revolution, to the present age of swiftly changing technology. In the pre-industrial era, integration between design and manufacture was complete since the designer and maker were one. In many cases, too, the maker was also the retailer or distributor, selling in his front room what he had made in his back room and knowing his customers as well as he knew himself.
This paper sets out to examine some of the performance characteristics of holding companies in the UK in the years 1964-1973. It is difficult to define precisely the unique characteristics of a holding company, but our concern in this article is with controlling British holding companies who own at least 51% of the equity of their principal subsidiaries and whose activities are primarily in manufacturing industry. All the companies in this study are registered as holding companies and as such attract particular tax advantages in such areas as group relief; asset transfer between parent or subsidiaries; and "rollover relief" for capital gains tax purposes.
The success or failure of a consultant's report is not determined by its ability to present data and solve problems but by its persuasiveness, its acceptability to the dominant organisational culture, its value for money as a performance and its ability to generate present and future agreement.
Introduction It is noticeable that most management training and education incorporates an element of marketing studies in one form or another. This is true for business studies degrees and diplomas, for post-graduate management degrees and diplomas, and for professional studies. It may be in need of particular justification, since it is often the case that it is easier to see the link between topics such as management accounting and functions such as production or personnel, than the relationship with marketing, which seems a rather different type of business discipline. In fact, this problem is complicated further by the changing nature of marketing itself, since views on the role of marketing in the company have changed radically in most companies in the last two decades.
I It may be instructive to examine the reaction of the accounting profession to the inflationary phenomenon in the ten countries in which tentative or final positions have been taken. The record is curious indeed.
At the present moment in this country, and it is inflation in this country that immediately concerns us, we are all aware of constantly increasing prices. There are two ways in which the change in prices is measured by the Government statisticians. The best known measure is the Index of Retail Prices which covers the main goods and services on which householders spend their money. Certain non measurable items are not included but the index does give the average change in prices of the items on which the index is based weighted according to their importance in household expenditure in the previous January. In calculating these weights the expenditure of householders where the main income is a retirement pension or where the income of the head of the household is above a certain limit (£70 a week at present) is excluded.
The knowledge and practice that are known as accounting are little more than a complex series of conventions. The accounting historian, or researcher, or practitioner, cannot turn to any original authoritative source for confirmation or clarification on basic points of principle. To the financially untrained observer all talk of an unstructured and flexible foundation to accounting must seem to be at odds with the precision and authority with which he sees financial statements being presented to the reader, be he shareholder, banker or manager. Profit and loss accounts and balance sheets look so beautifully cut and dried, so obviously "right". Well of course they are, but that is only because accountants have adopted and refined conventional procedures to produce such tidy statements. There is nothing unarguable or sacrosanct about accounts—absolutely nothing.
Introduction Knowledge about European accounting is becoming steadily more necessary and more useful to accountants and businessmen. One of the reasons for this is the growth of large multi-national companies and the prevalence of European subsidiaries even among fairly small British companies. Another reason is that the pace of change in accountancy has been rapid and accelerating over the last decade, and in such circumstances there is more scope for international influences on its development. Further, there are moves towards harmonisation that will affect all British companies. These reasons have, of course, been strengthened by Britain's entry into the EEC.
My objectives in this chapter are firstly to familiarise readers with the proposed methods by which human resources can be valued and secondly to summarise the benefits and objections to this concept of accounting. Finally, the significant effect of human resource accounting on annual accounts is demonstrated with regard to Liverpool Football Club.
Transfer pricing, although a relatively new area, is now a large and complex subject. In large diversified and integrated companies, the necessity to identify separate "profit centres" generates "internal" prices or transfer prices from one subsidiary to another, from one product line to another or even from one function to another. As the movements of funds generated by these transfer prices remain strictly within the company books, and therefore do not generate any profit for the whole enterprise, it appears that the mechanism of setting the level of transfer prices is purely an artificial accounting technique which should not deserve too much management time and should not influence real business decisions. An enormous amount of internal time is, however, spent by the management of most large companies in discussing and negotiating transfer prices. This seems to be a waste of time and effort but is a logical consequence of the definition of separate profit centres. The primary objective of the company should be to maximise overall profit, which means the addition of the financial results of each profit centre, and therefore the transfer price system should be designed to reach that objective.
The problems of implementation which bedevilled, and ultimately killed, the ambitious and comprehensive approach of ED 18 have been referred to earlier in this book and, in any case, are well documented in the financial and professional press.
The model described is a practical tool designed to improve managerial decision making about employees.
Entrepreneurship is crucial to corporate success and growth: how can it be encouraged? The idea of an Entrepreneurship Programme is put forward.
The latest in our series of Management Classics features an article by the founding father of action learning. Professor Reg Revans. It originally appeared in the Malaysian Management Review .
Office landscaping eliminates the numerous little boxes which often constitute an office system, saves duplication of numerous services and overcomes barriers to effective information and communication systems. In this article, T. A. Scrutton, Director and Secretary of Beecham Products, answers questions on why Beechams established several landscaped offices experimentally and what it has achieved so far.
The search for causal relationships.
The final Current Reality Tree.  
Problem and solution domains.  
Purpose - Problem-solving techniques for poorly structured problems have been the subject of recent academic research and popular press texts. The purpose of this paper is to explain the use of one of the Theory of Constraints thinking process (TP) tools — the Current Reality Tree (CRT). The purpose of the tool is to clearly identify the root problem or problems that cause the surface problems or undesirable effects occurring in an organization. Design/methodology/approach - One must fully understand the core problems in the environment before proposing a system solution to these core problems. Without this systems perspective, a proposed solution may create more problems than it solves. Through the use of an actual white-collar service case, the paper explains how the CRT is created. Findings - The overall objective of this research is not to propose solutions to the case but to demonstrate how the CRT might provide structure by identifying and logically linking the surface problems encountered in each area to the core problems. In this manner, the reader is introduced to the power of the CRT to address poorly structured problems. Research limitations/implications - The paper uses only one case as an example of the power of the TP tools. However, numerous testimonials from industry (many are cited in the text) provide evidence of the effectiveness of the TP tools. Practical implications - The paper provides evidence that the TP tools might be an effective method to provide structure to ill-structured problems which in many case have been addressed by management as if the problem were unstructured or, worse, unstructurable. Originality/value - The paper is the first (to the authors' knowledge) to specifically address the issue of ill-structured problems from the perspective that structure might be provided by the TP tools.
MEASURING the effectiveness of advertising is a complex problem. This review is concerned more with principles and underlying philosophy than with research methods. This is because I believe that in all consumer research it is not too difficult to work out the right methods once we have identified exactly what we want to find out and why; and also decided how we shall use the information when we have found it.
Editors' Note The following article reports an empirical study designed to find out whether products on which a great deal of money is spent in advertising are on the whole of a higher quality than products less heavily advertised. The results, whilst not absolutely conclusive, indicate that this is not the case. A heavily advertised product is just as likely to be poor quality as any other.
The manager responsible for making advertising budget decisions is assailed with a plethora of advice and aids from specialists. Of necessity, many of the methods advocated by such specialists are not universally applicable, so their use is qualified. Many actual circumstances a manager is faced with do not conform to textbook circumstances, and the skill required is that of appreciating significant differences, and modifying the "best course of action answer" accordingly. There are often several crucial imponderables associated with making an optimum or even appropriate advertising appropriation decision and, faced with this situation, the manager must be pragmatic.
One of the more difficult problems facing academic, business and government institutions is that of evaluating job and/or promotion candidates. A typical evaluation consists of several tasks. First, applications must be gathered. Then, they must be evaluated using a number of criteria such as education, experience, personality, etc. Finally, a weighted average of the various criteria must be developed for each applicant or promotion candidate which represents the individual's overall desirability. Two of the chief difficulties in the above process are: rating individuals for each of the criteria; and developing a logical and consistent set of weights for the various criteria. In this paper we will present Saaty's Analytical Hierarchy Process as a means of dealing with these difficulties. We will also discuss some of the practical problems encountered in applying the method.
During recent years a number of techniques have been developed to aid in the forecasting of corporate sales, individual product demand, economic indicators, and other related series. These techniques have included classical time series analysis, multiple regression and adaptive forecasting procedures. As a result of these developments, the individual company and decision maker is faced with the task of selecting the forecasting technique that is most appropriate for his situation. This article reports research conducted at INSEAD on how simulation can be used to compare and evaluate alternative forecasting techniques for a specific application.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a social exchange perspective of planned short‐term dyadic strategic alliances. Design/methodology/approach The article adopts a conceptual approach drawing on social exchange theory to elicit innovative conclusions about short‐term dyadic strategic alliances. Findings Finds that planned short‐term dyadic strategic alliances are difficult to manage, limit social control mechanisms, limit reciprocal activity and interrupt the development of trust. Practical implications The article can help managers and analysts working in investment banking to understand the underlying causes of alliance instability and/or failure in their industry. Originality/value The article offers practical insights into the functioning and management of short‐term dyadic alliances which will be of interest to both researchers and practising managers.
This article is concerned with the decision process and examines the relationships among information attributes, strategic alternatives’ evaluation and group decision support systems (GDSS) in the context of database management. The evaluation of strategic alternatives with multiple criteria is very useful for the management of enterprises and business organisations. The whole evaluation and comparison process includes two phases: the establishment and selection of basic strategic evaluation criteria and the appreciation of the ranking of the strategic alternatives. A GDSS has been developed and used to support the evaluation of strategic alternatives. The experimental results show that the proposed GDSS produces better results in evaluating strategic alternatives with multicriteria methods. The major findings are discussed and directions for future research are suggested according to the proposed model.
UNTIL this year my only distinction compared with other professors of management studies (or indeed heads of business schools) in this country, was that I had never been to the USA. When I did go in the Spring of 1968, I was able to compare the problems of British management education from a few years' experience, with the much longer established patterns in America. In these comments I hope to highlight and contrast some of the differences with the British system.
Recently, a great deal of interest has been shown in Britain and elsewhere to recruiting of MBAs and college qualified individuals to the firm. Older methods, such as advertising the positions and word of mouth advertising, have been supplemented by methods something like American recruiting practice. The Editors beleive it is of value to readers of Management Decision to learn of the results of some research which the author has completed on this topic, for if British firms do change to this system they might avoid some of the pitfalls that some U.S. firms have had to overcome.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the domain of security analysts' earnings forecasts as a valid measure of firm performance. Design/methodology/approach A survey instrument was developed and sent to 1,350 security analysts to ascertain the criteria they used in evaluating firm performance. Findings Factor analysis indicates strong support for organizational level variables, such as top management, CEO ability, corporate culture, size as opposed to environment and industry level variables. Research limitations/implications The domain of security analysts' earnings forecasts is broader than traditional accounting‐ and market‐based measures and more closely matches the realm of the strategic management field. Practical implications The study presents new evidence that key organizational variables influence security analysts' earnings forecasts. Originality/value The present study is the first to the best of one's knowledge that ascertains the factors that security analysts utilize in making earnings forecasts for the firms they follow.
One of the most difficult things in business is knowing what to do about the decisions which have already been made by other people. It is made even more difficult when the decisions have been made, not by a person, but by a computer. There is something so crushingly impersonal about such a decision that it paralyses action.
The first industrial revolution was born with the steam engine. It was the steam engine which changed, in a short period of time, almost every factory both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Historians tell us that the rapid uptake of the steam engine in Europe was made possible by British engineers. The installation and commissioning of each engine was accompanied by engineers who provided the necessary skills and knowledge needed by the purchasing company. In effect they acted as the bridge between the new technology of the day and the perhaps less technically able users of that technology.
Managerial finance has become a modern professional discipline with a coherent theory and a growing body of statistical research in support of the theory. Finance faculty in leading business schools around the world are now actively engaged in making the modern theory accessible to executive participants in post-experience educational programmes. What makes the modern theory of finance exciting is the simplicity and the authority with which issues of concern to management today can be resolved. One of the areas of interest where answers to old questions are being found is in the estimation of discount rates or required rates of return for capital projects.
Summary The increasing interest in aquaculture by corporate groups outside the industry and the rapid pace of technological change in culture techniques combine to cause longterm planning to be an increasingly important management function. A planning matrix is presented to assess identification of alternative strategy paths. Diversification is also discussed and examples provided of opportunities available for corporate expansion by this route.
Purpose - The aim of this paper is to investigate relationships between strategic planning practice, management participation and strategic planning effectiveness. Design/methodology/approach - A total of 87 questionnaires were collected from privately owned firms working in Egypt. Regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Findings - Strategic planning practice, but not management participation, is significantly associated with strategic planning effectiveness. Further, both strategic planning practice and management participation jointly enhance the effectiveness of strategic planning. Research limitations/implications - Longitudinal data would be needed in order to prove that causal relationships exist. The common method bias restricts the inferences that can be drawn from this study. It would be useful to explore whether the results hold when other integrative variables are taken into consideration. Practical implications - A wide use of strategic planning tools is one important element in organizational success. Originality/value - Little research has so far examined the use and worth of strategic planning tools in organizations. One function of this paper is to re-visit this area of research. It does so in one of the areas that have largely been neglected in past research in Arab countries.
Much attention has been focused recently on the increased overseas business of United States corporations, the growth of the multinational firm and similar international developments. Understandably, this has attracted marketers' interest in management policies and practices relating to overseas advertising, distribution channels, and product planning.
Times change and techniques change, but the essence of managing people, products, money and markets, and of the decisions which relate to them, remains the same. In May 1963, volume one issue one of the Journal of Scientific Business (which became Management Decision in 1967) was published. Its coverage dealt with many perennial issues of management: "A new look at the role of the specialist", "The role of the universities in management education", "The use and abuse of test market research". In the first of a series of management classics, we are pleased to reprint a short article in which Elizabeth Sidney, then Director of Studies of the Institute of Directors' Communication Training Programme, looks at the assessment interview and makes points which remain fresh and challenging for managers 23 years on.
BEFORE examining the major recommendations of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations it is perhaps useful to restate the brief to which the Commission worked. It was "to consider relations between managements and employees and the rôle of trade unions and employers' associations in promoting the interests of their members and in accelerating the social and economic advantage of the nation, with particular reference to the law affecting the activities of these bodies and report". This was the fifth Royal Commission to be set up to review the topic in the past hundred years, the first having been appointed in 1871 and the others in 1874, 1891 and 1903.
The past decade has witnessed a heated debate in the Western industrial nations about whether or not large companies should accept broader social obligations commensurate with their great power. This debate has been useful in highlighting the social pressures to which large companies are being subjected. It has also served to stimulate interest in the possibility of a wider, stakeholder ethos for guiding management decision-making. The restricted profit-making role historically assigned to business has been challenged in favour of a more radical alternative, which acknowledges that companies have responsibilities to all their stakeholders—employees, customers and the community—as well as shareholders. And as the debate has progressed, a whole new range of potential management functions have developed, concerned with monitoring social pressures, measuring company social performance by means of social audits and guiding management decision-making through codes of conduct.
Introduction The problem of establishing a price for a new product is typically related to one of a number of possible company pricing objectives. McCarthy and Shapiro, for example, divide possible pricing objectives into the categories "profit oriented", "sales oriented" and " status quo ", and then further subdivide them according to the diagram in Figure 1. The status quo objective of "meeting competition" translates itself directly into a new product price, while that of "nonprice competition" implies that price is to be de-emphasised—one is, nevertheless, left with a pricing decision. All the other pricing objectives require either an explicit or implicit knowledge of the relationship between the price of the product and the quantity of goods sold—i.e. the demand curve.
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