Recent Management Publications


For a list of past articles click here

Accommodating Disabilities in Grand Rapids
Seidman Business Review Vol. 13, pg. 17-18, Winter 2007
Suzanne M. Crampton, John W. Hodge, Kinfu Adisu
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to guarantee equal opportunity in employment, public accommodation, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications for individuals with physical or mental disabilities. The law applies to both public and private employers. An individual with a disability is defined as an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. In order to comply with the ADA, organizations are required to make reasonable accommodations unless making the accommodation results in an undue hardship
The Effect of Cultural Differences on ERP Implementation: A Comparative Analysis on U.S. and Indian Companies
Proceedings of the SAM International Business Conference, April 2006
Jaideep Motwani, Asli Yagmur Akbulut
The myriad challenges faced today by global businesses are expected to grow in intensity and complexity as we go further into this century. Expanded global competition has become the norm rather than the exception, with an unprecedented number and variety of products available to satisfy consumer needs and desires. In particular, many firms have implemented company-wide systems called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which are designed to integrate all enterprise transaction processing to balance demand and supply. Through cross-functional integration, businesses can improve their productivity and customer service while lowering costs and inventory. Hence, ERP systems hold the promise of providing companies with greater competitive advantage.
ERPS Overcome Limitations Of Legacy Information Systems
Grand Rapids Business Journal, pg. 40, October 23rd, 2006
Asli Akbulut, Jaideep Motwani
Over the last two decades companies have been implementing Enterprise Resource Planning systems to overcome the limitations of existing standalone and legacy information systems and utilize benefits of information integration across departmental boundaries. According to a recent study, the ERP market is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2010.
ERP Implementation: A Case Incident
Proceedings of the 2006 Annual MBAA International Conference, Operations Management and Entrepreneurship Association and Society for Case Research, March, 2006
Asli Y. Akbulut, Jaideep Motwani
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are comprehensive, packaged software applications that integrate key business processes and functions across departmental boundaries (Klaus et al. 2000). ERP systems overcome the limitations of fragmented and incompatible legacy systems by providing access to enterprise-wide data in a real-time environment (Markus et al. 2000, Sumner 2004). Rather than being stored in separate places throughout the organization, all relevant data to the organization and particular departments is stored in a centralized database.
Majoring In Information Systems: Examining the Factors Affecting Student Choice
Proceedings of the Twelfth Americas Conference on Information Systems, Acapulco, Mexico, August 4-6th, 2006
Asli Yagmur Akbulut, Clayton Arlen Looney, Jaideep Motwani
The demand for information technology (IT) professionals in the United States continues to accelerate despite major economic challenges (e.g., outsourcing). In fact, recent employment forecasts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics highlight IT-related jobs as the fastest growing job category through 2012. More specifically, the employment in the major IT job categories of computer software engineers, computer systems analysts, and computer and information systems managers is expected to grow 46 percent, 39 percent, and 36 percent, respectively, between 2002 and 2012 (Hecker, 2004).
Integrating ERP in the Curriculum
Encyclopedia of Information Technology Curriculum Integration
Jaideep Motwani, Asli Yagmur Akbulut
In today’s dynamic business environment; customer needs, competition, globalization, and technology have combined to produce a powerful effect on the process of delivering goods and services to the marketplace. According to Closs and Stank (1999, p. 59), businesses have abandoned the “vertical, functional organizational structure characteristic of traditional procurement, manufacturing and physical distribution operation in favor of a more horizontal, cross-functional structure that permits integration of knowledge across functional areas.” Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, by their multi-dimensional, integrative and normative nature, offer the depth of functionality and breadth of integration required for managing global operations of business organizations. Hammer (1999) concludes that the use of ERP software forces firms to become integrated enterprises that demand strong understanding of key business processes and very high level of teamwork. The effectiveness of ERP systems as an integrating mechanism in businesses suggests that ERP software can be used as an integrating mechanism in business school curricula too. As a result, an increasing number of universities have attempted or are planning to incorporate popular enterprise system software products such as SAP R/3 into the business school curricula (Bradford et al. 2003, Corbitt and Mensching 2000, Johnson et al. 2004). This paper attempts to provide a proactive approach to implementing ERP systems in a business school curriculum.
The Need To Integrate E-Government Into The Business Curriculum
Encyclopedia of Information Technology Curriculum Integration
Jaideep Motwani, Asli Yagmur Akbulut
Citizens around the globe are demanding better services and more responsiveness from their local, state and national governments. Governments are responding to this challenge by implementing a vast range of Information Technologies (IT) to reengineer government processes, deliver services, and manage resources more effectively. As such e-government (electronic government), which can be defined as the government’s use of IT to exchange information and services with citizens, businesses, and other government agencies, is increasingly becoming a crucial concept for practitioners, researchers and educators.
E-Government Integration and Information Sharing
Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations
Asli Yagmur Akbulut, Jaideept Motwani
Citizens around the globe are demanding better services and more responsiveness from their local, state and national governments. Governments are responding to this challenge by implementing a vast range of Information Technologies (IT) that crosses departmental and organizational boundaries.
Critical Factors for ERP Implementation Success
Asli Yagmur Akbulut, Jaideep Motwani
Companies of all sizes have been implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to overcome the limitations of existing legacy systems and utilize the benefits of cross-functional integration. The implementation of an ERP system is a complex process, which might tie up the resources of the organization for a long period of time. Moreover, ERP systems have a reputation of failing or not providing the pre-determined benefits. As such, understanding the factors that lead to a successful implementation is extremely important.
Using Instrumental Assistance to Increase the Number of Information Systems Majors
MBAA Conference: Educating Business Professionals for 2010 and Beyond, March 2007
Asli Yagmur Akbulut, Clayton Arlen Looney, Jaideep Motwani
In recent years there has been a sharp decline in the number of students pursuing Information Systems (IS) degrees. Anecdotal reports based on IS programs enrollments indicated declines of 60 percent or more during the period 2002-2004. This situation represents a substantial challenge not only for academic institutions offering these degrees, but also companies that are in need of hiring skilled employees (George, et al. 2005; Vegso, 2005). As such, it is vital for the IS community to understand the reasons behind declining enrollments, as well as to implement intervention strategies specifically targeted on increasing the number of IS graduates.
Advice Availability and Gender Differences in Risky Decision Making: A Study of Online Retirement Planning
Computer Society Press, Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, January 2007
Clayton Arlen Looney, Robin S. Poston, Asli Yagmur Akbulut
Online retirement planning systems are intended to help individual investors accumulate sufficient savings to support comfortable retirement lifestyles. Although it would seem intuitive that decision makers would choose investment alternatives that provide the highest payoffs over time, individuals tend to construct overly conservative portfolios that yield relatively meager returns. In this study, we explore whether a Web-based decision support system (DSS) that offers advice that can enhance decision making by increasing investors’ willingness to take calculated risks. Because women tend to me more risk averse when considering financial matters and interact
Implementation of Six-Sigma Approach to Quality Improvement in a Multinational Automotive Parts Manufacturer in India: A Case Study
International Journal of Services and Operations Management
Radha Krishna, Govind Sharan Dangayach, Jaideep Motwani
Manufacturing managers in Indian companies are faced with fierce global competitive strategies by the shift of many multinational companies to India. They are forced to excel in all the domains of manufacturing including quality, cost, delivery, and flexibility. In this paper, by means of a case study, we illustrate how a multinational Indian corporation was able to successfully implement six-sigma principles to improve its operations. The objective for presenting the case study is to assess the importance of six-sigma strategy in Indian manufacturing companies. 
Global Auto: The ERP Implementation Project
Journal of Information Technology Case and Application Research
Asli Yagmur Akbulut, Ram Subramanian, Jaideep Motwani
If successfully implemented and managed, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can provide important benefits to organizations. In this case study the implementation of an ERP system at global automotive supplier company (Global Auto) is discussed in detail. After successfully implementing the system at a major factory in the United State, Global Auto now has to decide how to proceed with the implementation in a totally different setting, the plant in Mexico. 
Women on Global Assignments
Suzanne Crampton, John Hodge, Jitendra Mishra
American women seeking to climb the corporate ladder via overseas assignments face steep odds. As of 1998, women represented 47 percent of the workforce, yet they comprised only 13 to 14 percent of employees on international assignments. This imbalance in male/female representation for international assignments has critical implications for organizational success, as well as for women’s careers. If women are not sent on international assignments as often as men, their chances of moving up the corporate ladder are limited, thus contributing to the glass ceiling. This paper examines some of the challenges and myths and proposes some solutions concerning women executive for global assignments.
Sleepless in Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids Business Journal, December 2006
Suzanne Crampton, John Hodge
Productivity is often defined as getting more from diminishing resources. There are a few limits to strategies managers will promote to enhance productivity. Creativity is the prerequisite. After all, we are trying to achieve more with less. 
Sending Smoke Signals
Grand Rapids Business Journal, October 2006
Suzeanne Crampton, John Hodge
The Grand Rapids City Commission recently announced that a public hearing would be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 to discuss a proposed smoking ban that would prohibit smoking in all public spaces and private work sites. Smoking would be prohibited within 10 feet of building doors, windows, or ventilation ducts. The ban would not apply to bars, restaurants, homes, tobacco shops, hotels, motels and assembly halls used for private purposes. 
Pre-Employment Background Checks
Proceedings of ASBBS, Vol 12 #1, pp. 782-788, February 2006
Suzeanne Crampton, John Hodge, Jitendra Mishra
The effective use of pre-employment background checks are essential if the organization seeks to hire the “best candidate.” Hiring managers need to understand problems involved when checking applicants’ references. Particular attention should be given to issues such as defamation. This paper reviews typical problems involved with reference checking. The paper concludes with recommendations hiring managers can follow to avoid these problems. 
The Supervisor and Generational Differences
Suzanne Crampton, John Hodge
The workforce in the U.S. continues to be challenged with diversity concerns and more attention is being given to diversity issues that evolve from generational differences. Four distinct generational groups have been identified. The focus of this paper is to discuss the uniqueness that exists among the four generational groups, with particular emphasis on the effect of generational differences on management. Recommendations are provided on additional research needed in this area. 
Napping in the Workplace
Suzeanne Crampton, John Hodge, Jitendra Mishra
Napping in the workplace has gained more attention due to an increasingly sleep deprived population. While sleep experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep a night, 33 percent of adults are getting only 6.5 hours or less. Over half of the American workforce reports that sleepiness on the job interferes with the amount of work they get done. Employees estimate that the quality and quantity of their work is diminished by about 30 percent. Workplace napping could be a natural way to increase worker productivity. Napping has been scientifically proven to boost alertness and creativity. This has interesting implications for the workplace. If managers were to let their employees take a short 20-30 minute nap during the afternoon, it could boost productivity. Traditionally many companies have been against letting their employees take a nap. While more companies are now allowing a short nap, they are a small priority. 
Accommodating Disabilities in Grand Rapids
Seidman Business Review, Vol 13, Winter 2007
Suzanne Crampton, John Hodge, Kinfu Adisu
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to guarantee equal opportunity in employment, public accommodation, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications for individuals with physical or mental disabilities. The law applies to both public and private employers. An individual with a disability is defined as an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. In order to comply with the ADA, organizations are required to make reasonable accommodations unless making the accommodation results in an undue hardship. 
Employees’ Need for Speed: Methamphetamine in the Workplace
Suzanne Crampton, Jitendra Mishra, David Zerfas
Methamphetamine is a profoundly addictive drug that seriously impacts health, families, businesses, social services and the environment. The nature of these hazards makes it prudent for every organization to update its current policies and emergency action plans. We recommend training employees to identify and react appropriately to the wide range of Methamphetamine hazards as a means of improving the management of other workplace hazards and emergencies. 
Smoking in Restaurants, Bars and other Work Environments
The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture & Change Management, Vol 6, 2006
Suzanne Crampton, John Hodge
A review of the published literature on smoking in the workplace was conducted with particular emphasis on the bar and restaurant industries. Several laws and policies have been enacted to limit smoking in the workplace. Evidence suggests that even in those environments where individuals typically smoked, non-smoking policies do not have negative impact on the business. Strategies organizations can follow in order to become smoke-free are discussed. 
Some Thoughts on Teaching Ethics in a Business Environment Course
81st Annual Conference St. Petersburg, Florida, August 2006
In recent years, we have all read of the scandals involving apparent dishonest and unethical conduct by senior executives at major U.S. corporations. Names like Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, and others, are frequently mentioned. What appears to have been the arrogance and greed of many business leaders, has in turn raised questions about the level of ethics education at our business schools. 
Creating a Broader Role for a Business Ethics Center
Tri-State Academy of Legal Studies in Business, Business Conference Cleveland, OH, November 2006
Robert Frey, James Sanford
The purpose of this paper is to present ideas on promoting the concept and value of a “Business Ethics Center” (or “BEC”) at the University, so that the teaching and learning ethics is enhanced for Students campus-wide and within the business community. Thoughts and experiences on how to make ethics relevant to students, and how to involve various university stakeholders, will also be discussed. 
What You Must Know About Sexual Harassment
Catherine Jones-Rikkers
Despite the best efforts of business leaders, despite meetings and trainings on diversity and sensitivity, sexual harassment issues continue to pervade the American workplace. In fiscal year 2005, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 12,679 charges of sexual harassment and paid out almost 48 millions dollars (excluding amounts awarded through litigation) to aggrieved individuals. Additionally, while the financial consequences of such cases are high, the emotional and mental costs an be even higher as illustrated by the outcome of one recent Michigan case in which the victim of the alleged harassment and the accused harasser ended up shooting and killing each other. With these sorts of odds at stake, what does today’s business leader need to know about sexual harassment and more importantly how does she stop it. 
Outsourcing Trends… What’s New in Human Resources
Catherine Jones-Rikkers
All businesses, regardless of size, have at one time or another struggled with the complex, administratively intensive area of human resource management. Cumbersome regulations related to the employment relationship are estimated to consume up to a quarter of a small or mid-size business owner’s time and energy. As one local business owner states, “I literally feel buried under an avalanche of employment related paperwork.” Such sentiments are understandable in light of a recent Small Business Administration (SBA) study which found that between 1980 and 2000 government laws and regulations regarding employment policies and practices increased by sixty percent. With no end in sight, and constant revisions of these laws taking place at the federal, state and local levels, one might ask, “What’s the modern entrepreneur to do?”
Using Active Learning to Cover Sexual Harassment Issues In the Legal Environment of Business Classroom
Catherine Jones-Rikkers
The Legal Environment of Business professor operates in surroundings where demands constantly change. Deans and department chairs require that we teach ethics, discuss international issues and utilize technology in the classroom. The fact of the matter is that the modern world requires that all professors utilize modern teaching techniques. Our students will enter a world that requires flexibility, tolerance and creativity; they must be prepared to face the challenges that await them. We have long realized that the traditional lecture format which pervades America’s classroom fails to adequately convey the skills our students need to meet these challenges. There is a paradigm shift taking place in the classrooms of America’s colleges and universities. A shift away from the traditional instruction paradigm and toward an emergent learning paradigm that emphasizes integrated knowledge with the student as co-producer of learning. This shift, in part, is taking place to help our students meet their future employers’ demands for employees with “real life” experiences. Students must learn theory, but they also must understand how to put theory into practice. In response, professors have been forced to become more creative, utilizing everything from comedy to guest speakers and field trips to add this vital dimension to their classrooms. 
Something to Think About…Succession Planning for Your Business
Catherine Jones-Rikkers
I know you’re young, healthy, and gorgeous. Life is good; it’s busy, full of, well, full of life and all it has to offer. But let’s face it, you’re not getting any younger, and one day, someone else is going to have to take-over your business, and you’ll be…dead. How morbid! What a downer! Now stop, it’s not like I’m telling you anything you didn’t already know, and while I don’t hold the formula for immortality, I can help make the transition from here to the great beyond, a little easier on your business and most importantly the ones you leave behind.
Cheating During the College Years: How do Business School Students Compare?
Journal of Business Ethics, 2006
Helen Klein, Nancy Levenburg, Marie McKendall, William Mothersell
When it comes to cheating in higher education, business school students have often been accused of being the worst offenders; if true, this may be a contributing factor in the kinds of fraud that have plagued the business community in recent years. We examined the issue of cheating in the business school by surveying 268 students in business and other professional schools on their attitudes about, and experiences with, cheating. We found that while business school students actually cheated no more than or less than students in other professional schools, their attitudes on what constitutes cheating are more lax than those of other professional students. Additionally, we found that serious cheaters across all professional schools were more likely to be younger and have a lower grade point average.
An Exploratory Investigation of Organizational Factors and e-Business Motivations Among SMFOEs in the US
Electronic Markets, Vol. 16 (1), pp. 70-84, 2006
Nancy Levenburg, Simha R. Magal, and Parag Kosalge
Recent work suggests that the Internet may be revolutionizing traditional small business practices (Daniel et al. 2002; Geiger and Martin 1999; Lee 2001; Siu 2002). By offering location and time independence, and ease of communication, the Internet can help small firms gain efficiencies and cost savings that previously only larger firms could enjoy (Iacovou et al. 1995; Longenecker et al. 1997; Weller 2000), thereby providing a more ‘level playing field’ (Gandon and Pearson 2004; Pflughoeft et al. 2003). An increasing number of small firms have turned to the Internet to promote and sell their wares on a 24/7 basis and to potentially worldwide markets (Pratt 2002).
Benchmarking customer service on the internet: best practices from family practices
Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, 2006
Nancy Levenburg
The importance of using the internet to achieve competitive advantage has been well-documented. An ever-expanding array of technologies exist that enable firms to accomplish customer service online. Yet for many firms, determining which applications to employ can be perplexing. This study purports to examine the practices of service sector market leaders and measure performance results of adopting selected customer service applications. The aim was to identify inspirational targets and internet applications benchmarks among family owned businesses since for them, importance of reputation may well hinge on providing outstanding customer service to the local community.
Delivering customer services online: identifying best practices of medium-sized enterprises
Information Systems Journal, Vol.16, pp. 135-155, 2006
Nancy Levenburg, Helen Klein
The importance of using the internet to achieve competitive advantage has been well documented. Many companies have benefited from capturing customers’ interest in buying via the web. Additionally, an ever-expanding of technologies exist that enable firms to provide additional customer services online. Yet for many firms, determining which customer service applications to use can be perplexing. This study examines the practices of small and medium-sized enterprises and analyses performance results of adopting selected customer service applications on the internet.
Women In Academia: An Analysis of Their Expectations, Performance and Pay
Forum on Public Policy, pp. 160-177.
Sonia Dalmia, Daniel Giedeman, Helen Klein, Nancy Levenburg
The authors of this paper are faculty members in the business school of a medium-sized (22,000) university in the mid-western United States. Over the last few years, informal discussions at the school brought forward a growing sense of disconnect that the faculty perceived between themselves and their students. A major source of disconnect highlighted was the difference in faculty and student priorities. While the faculty saw learning as the student’s principle objective in college, they fleet earning a credential was the primary motivating factor for students. To align this divide in expectations a faculty-led task force was created to examine student and faculty perceptions of undergraduate student’s performance. In pursuit of this effort, a 77-item survey was distributed to the business school faculty in the summer of 2003. The survey was designed to assess faculty member’s views about the general characteristics of the business school and its students, their classroom policies and practices, their general feelings as faculty members and their opinion about what motivates students.
 D&W: Still Spartan Stores’ “Jewel in the Crown”?
Grand Rapids Business Journal, July 2006
Some say that Wal-Mart’s “lowest-price” campaign and the proliferation of category-killer and deep-discount whole-sale/retail chains (e.g., Costco, Sam’s Club) have resulted in a heightened awareness and sensitivity to price in consumer buying. Sadly, in Michigan’s current economy, this has been exacerbated by bleak employment figures and a sagging housing market. Consequently, who can fault shoppers in search of a good bargain? Who can fault businesses that seek to serve price-conscious shoppers?
Understanding the patterns of market orientation among small businesses
Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 572-590, 2006
Charles Blankson, Jaideep Motwani, Nancy Levenburg
Over 40 years ago, Levitt (1960) introduced and espoused the concept of market orientation. Subsequently, management and marketing scholars have defined what it means to be a “market-oriented” company, and the subject of market orientation has been developed, tested, and refined using scales for measuring the degree of market orientation that organizations exhibit: see, amongst others, Kohli and Jaworski (1990), Narver and Slater (1990); Hart and Diamantopoulos (1993), Caruana et al. (1999) and Harris (2001). According to Becherer et al. (2003, p. 13), market orientation refers to “a culture in which organizations strive to create superior value for their customers (and superior performance for the business) by focusing on customer needs and long-term profitability.” The concept is significant since recent work demonstrates positive links to several areas of business strategy and performance, including return on assets (Narver and Slater, 1990), organizational learning and ability to rapidly respond to environmental changes (Dickson, 1992; Sinkula et al. 1997), and new product innovation and success (Pelham and Wilson, 1996; Lukas and Ferrell, 2000), to name only a few.
ERP Implementation By U.S., Indian, and Greek Companies: A Cross-Cultural Analysis
Proceedings of the International Conference on Global Manufacturing and Innovation – July 2006
Jaideep Motwani, Thomas Schwarz, Nancy Levenburg
In this study, we examine the generic and unique factors (both cultural and noncultural) that affect ERP implementation success in United States, Greece, and India. Data for the case examples will be collected primarily through interviews, observations, secondary and archival sources. We believe that the understanding of these factors will deepen the understanding of ERP implementations and will help avoid implementation mistakes, thereby increasing the rate of success in culturally different contexts.
Success Planning in SMEs: An Empirical Analysis
International Small Business Journal, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp.471-488, 2006
This study reports the results from a survey of 368 family-owned to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with regard to the importance, nature, and extent of succession planning. By categorizing SMEs according to their annual revenues, total number of employees, and number of family members employed within the firm, significant differences were found between larger and smaller firms. Consistent with extant literature, the findings reveal that most family members join the firm for altruistic reasons. Issues related to family relationships were rated as significantly more important in firms in which more family members were employed within the firm. Moreover, for firms with less than US$1 m in revenues, a high priority is placed on selecting a successor who possesses strong sales and marketing skills. The findings show that regardless of their size, it is important for family-owned businesses to develop a formal plan for succession, communicate the identity of the successor, and provide training/mentoring to the incumbent CEO.
Interdisciplinary Dimensions in Entrepreneurship
Journal of Education for Business, May/June 2006
Entrepreneurship programs and courses are offered by many business schools to support students who aspire to start, own, and operate businesses. Although these offerings are directed primarily toward business majors, based on data the authors collected from over 700 students, many nonbusiness majors also possess entrepreneurial characteristics and perceive the need for entrepreneurship curricula. The findings suggest that although business majors regard their traditional education as adequate preparation to start new business, the greatest need for entrepreneurship courses and curricula exists within academic disciplines outside of the business school.
Better Than Your Doctor?
Grand Rapids Business Journal, 2006
Nancy M. Levenburg
When you walk into McDonald’s you’re greeted with “Hi! What can I get for you today?” When you stroll through a department store, you’re frequently asked by sales associates, “What can I help you find?” In fact, anyone who has worked in a retail or service-oriented environment knows that greeting customers in a warm, friendly manner often lays the foundation for building a trusting, respectful relationship and, ultimately, getting the sale.
Easy Contrasts With West In Customer Service Ways
Grand Rapids Business Journal, December 26th, 2006
Nancy M. Levenburg
Recent reports have indicated that the 2006 holiday season could yield lackluster results for many retailers. Sales receipts on “Black Friday”, the Friday after Thanksgiving, were off the mark for many retailers, including The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pier 1 and Ann Taylor. According to one report, nearly 50 percent of retailers surveyed reported November results that fell shy of their forecasts. Overall, the National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday sales will grow by 5 percent to $457.4 billion this year, slower than last year’s 6.1 percent increase. Other estimates are lower, predicting growth in the 2.5 percent to 3 percent range.
Family Firms Keep The Economy Flowing
Grand Rapids Business Journal, April 1st, 2006
Nancy M. Levenburg
In 1975, Ngo Van Nguyen fled the communists of North Vietnam, eventually making his way to the Louisiana coastline. There, in Bayou Lafourche, he established a shrimping business. Starting with only one small boat, Nguyen built his business over the years into a fleet of 30 boats, along with a $1 million ice house and shrimp shed.
D&W: Still Spartan Stores’ “Jewel in the Crown”?
Grand Rapids Business Journal, July 3rd, 2006
Helen A. Klein and Nancy M. Levenburg
Some say that Wal-Mart’s “lowest-price” campaign and the proliferation of category-killer and deep-discount whole-sale/retail chains (e.g., Costco, Sam’s Club) have resulted in a heightened awareness and sensitivity to price in consumer buying. Sadly, in Michigan’s current economy, this has been exacerbated by bleak employment figures and a sagging housing market. Consequently, who can fault shoppers in search of a good bargain? Who can fault businesses that seek to serve price-conscious shoppers?
Ebony Department Stores: Achieving the Big India Dream
Vipin Gupta, Nancy Levenburg and Pankaj Saran
It was 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning, February 16, 2004, as Birinder Singh Narula and Neeta Narula, his wife, scanned the latest report on the Ebony’s business performance (see exhibit 1). Only a few weeks before, Neeta had been appointed as the Managing Director of the Ebony retail chain (see organizational chart in Exhibit 2) after Birinder had been asked to lead the Darshan Singh (DS) Group’s operations in Libya.
McKendall Farms: Breaking with Tradition to Meet Opportunity
Nancy M. Levenburg and Thomas L. Schwartz
‘Tom, what do you think? Should we move the Belding store to Greenville?” asked Janet, as she put away the last of the dinner dishes. “I think the farm store is just too inconvenient for people it’s too hard to find…down the dirt road and all…and I think our sales would be a whole lot higher if we moved the store off the farm to Greenville.”
Cheating During the College Years: How do Business School Students Compare?
Journal of Business Ethics
Helen A. Klein, Nancy M. Levenburg, Marie McKendall, and William Mothersell
When it comes to cheating in higher education, business school students have often been accused of being the worst offenders; if true, this may be a contributing factor in the kinds of fraud that have plagued the business community in recent years. We examined the issue of cheating in the business school by surveying 268 students in business and other professional schools on their attitudes about, and experiences with, cheating. We found that while business school students in other professional schools, their attitudes on what constitutes cheating are more lax than those of other professional school students. Additionally, we found that serious cheaters across all professional schools were more likely to be younger and have a lower grade point average.
Tools for Team Leadership: Delivering the X-Factor in Team excellence
Reviewer: William M. Mothersell
Tools for Team Leadership focuses the reader on the issue of leadership in creating and managing teams. It stresses the role of organizational leaders in creating superior team performance. Huszczo’s leadership for teams is based on a collaborative and participative approach to leadership that leaders in control oriented organizations would be best served by not pursuing teams. He suggests that this leadership approach will support self-directed teams, problem-solving committees, task forces, and executive teams. He argues that it is not a single heroic leader that drives team success, rather, multiple leaders throughout an organization help groups of individuals to learn to move forward together. That is, leaders help teams help themselves. This culture of collaboration and participation is a necessary ingredient for organizations to full benefit from teams. This theme is carried throughout the book as the author provides numerous tools and exercise arranged around ten strategies that support this theoretical underpinning.
Revitalizing Human Resource Management in State Government: Moving from Transactional to Transformational HR Professionals in the State of Michigan
International Public Management Association for Human Resources, 2006.
William Mothersell, Michael Moore, Kevin Ford, James Farrell
This paper illustrates how the State of Michigan transformed Human Resources (HR) in state government by developing HR leaders for the future. A transformational plan was developed in March of 2000 to enhance the effectiveness of HR programs and services, foster a consultative approach to delivering HR programs and services, develop HR as a strategic business partner and change agent with agency management, and create the capacity to incorporate HR best practices into state HR systems. This paper provides the HR vision for change, the training design to transform HR into a business partner and change agent, and the methodology and data that support this transformational plan. An innovative multi-year project-based learning design, featuring teams from state agencies, used workshop content to leverage system change across state departments. This paper documents the change projects designed and implemented by agency teams, reports participant reactions, communicates skill-set and mind-set enhancements, and ideas for future diffusion. 
Hoshin Kanri: A Strategic Planning and Execution Process
Scanlon Leadership Network Lean Progressive Tours, SGS Tool Company, Munroe Falls, Ohio, September 2006
Mike Moore, Bill Mothersell
Does Market Orientation Pay for Family Firms?
FFI Practitioner, Vol. 2 #1, pp. 7-10, April 2006
Ram Subramanian, Thomas Schwartz, Jaideep Motwani
The family owned firm, let’s call it the “Thompson Agency”, faced a crisis. Its ace salesman, responsible for the firm’s biggest account, had come back from a sales call with an alarming piece of news. The major client was going to join an alliance that interacted with their suppliers through a web-based interface. BY communicating directly with their far flung suppliers, alliance members saved costs by cutting out the middleman. The problem for Thompson was that it was the middleman. Thompson panicked on two fronts. The first was how to communicate this vital piece of information to everyone in he organization. The second, and probably more important from a strategic perspective, was how to fashion an organization-wide response to this threat. 
Knowledge Acquisition Behavior of U.S. and Indian Service Managers: An Empirical Analysis
Journal of Services Research, Vol. 6 Special Issue, pp.28-43, July 2006
Jaideep Motwani
The purpose of this study is to determine how U.S. and Indian service managers acquire knowledge of the external business environment to enhance competitive advantage, in the context of the emerging field of knowledge management. Questionnaire surveys of 148 U.S. managers and 135 Indian service managers are used to study differences in knowledge acquisition behaviors. The results of the study indicate important differences in information acquisition behavior between U.S. and Indian managers. In each of the four categories: sources of information, accessibility, uncertainty in the industry environment, and sharing information with others, we found certain factors that distinguished the two samples. Since information gathering is an integral part of the knowledge creation process, the findings of the study contributes to the field of knowledge management.
Examining Southwest Airlines’ strategic execution in 2005 – A Strategic Variance Analysis
Paul Mudde, Parvez Sopariwala
The domestic U.S. airline industry revealed improved performance metrics in 2005, as compared to 2004. For example, 2005 operating losses were about $2.1 billion on operating revenues of $111 billion as compared to 2004 operating losses of $3.5 billion on operating revenues $101 billion (TranStates Aviation DataBase, Schedule P-12). Consistent with the increase in 2005 operating revenues, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2006) reports improved domestic traffic statistics during 2005. For example, U.S. domestic airlines carried 4.1% more passengers, increased revenue passenger miles (RPMs) (i.e., a composite of the number of passengers flown and number of miles flown) by 4.5% but increased available seat miles (ASMs) (i.e., a composite of the number of available seats, empty or occupied, flown and number of miles flown) by only 0.9% resulting in an increase in the domestic industry passenger-load factor (i.e., # of passengers as a percentage of available seats) from 74.5% in 2004 to 77.2% in 2005. Hence, although domestic airlines increased their traffic, but used their capacity more efficiently, higher fuel prices adversely affected their progress towards more sustained profitability. 
Companies Should Prepare An International Strategy
Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 2007
Paul Mudde
As the effects of globalization and international competition continue to grow, many companies, particularly family-owned businesses and small or medium-sized companies, are challenged to respond to opportunities beyond their domestic markets. Research shows that these types of firms are less likely than larger companies to compete outside of their domestic markets. While this may seem a conservative strategy relative to the risks of globalization, it can severely constrain a business’s growth and open it to threats from foreign competitors. 
A Capability – Catalyst Model for Family-Owned Business Internationalization
7th Annual Hawaii International Conference of Business
Paul Mudde
This paper reviews the literature on family-owned businesses and internationalization processes. It examines the various models for internationalization that have developed and explores their relevance for family-owned businesses. Based on the limitations of existing models, this paper proposes a model for internationalization planning that addresses the resource constraints, lack of international knowledge and expertise, and disparate goals and attitudes toward risk that occur within FOBs and interfere with international expansion. The catalyst-capabilities model of FOB internationalization uses pre-internationalization planning to align family goals, to understand and manage risks, to develop internal capabilities, and source external capabilities. This early stage planning allows an FOB to respond to opportunities for foreign expansion. 
University Licensing vs. In-House R&D Strategies: The Importance of Patents
Carol Sanchez
An increasingly popular research and development (R&D) strategy among manufacturing firms is to buy rather than make technology, often through licensing agreement with a university. But how does a company determine if university licensing is more beneficial than developing the technology itself? This paper draws from transaction cost theory to discuss the two options: licensing, or when a company obtains or “buys” technology from a university, versus in-house development, of when it “makes” the technology within the firm’s hierarchy. We discuss the managerial aspects of the R&D decision-making process, examine variables that managers consider as they weigh the options, and compare costs and benefits of the two options. Finally, we present two short cases and suggest that if certain patent issues are resolved, it is more likely that companies will license off-the-shelf technology from university researchers than develop it in-house. 
Licensing vs. In-House R&D: What’s the Difference in Costs, Benefits, and Decision-Making?
Carol Sanchez
An interesting type of R&D collaboration is a licensing agreement between industry and a university. But how does a company determine if such a relationship is more beneficial than developing the technology itself? This paper discusses the two options—licensing, which is when a company obtains technology from outside the firm, versus in-house development, which is when a company develops the technology within the firm. We examine the variables that managers might consider, compare costs and benefits of the two options, examine two cases, and suggest that under certain circumstances it makes more sense for a company to license off-the-shelf technology from university researchers rather than develop it in-house.
Perceptions of Women as Mangers in Chile, China and the US: The Effect of Level of Socio-Economic Development
Robert Scherer, Carol Sanchez, Raj Javalgi, Lorena Pradenas Rojas, Victor Parada Daza
As the globalization of business organizations grows, the number of individuals on expatriate assignment grows as well. Increasingly, women have participated in these expatriate assignments, but not much research has been conducted to understand the potential differences in perceptions of women as managers among organizations in different countries. In the current study we review literature related to women as managers and conduct an empirical study to investigate potential affects of country and gender on perception of women as managers. Samples from Chile, China, and the United States were obtained. The results demonstrated that there are differences in perception of women as managers among the three countries. The results are discussed from a conceptual perspective. Managerial implications of the research are also provided.
University-Industry R&D Licensing: An Alternative Approach to Technology Transfer in Latin America
Carol Sanchez
More intellectual property found in Latin American countries is developed and patented by multinational or international companies. Intellectual property laws in many Latin American countries are quite strong, yet relatively little innovation and intellectual property creation occurs within national, Latin American firms. This is not to say that there are no sources of innovation in Latin America. However, the incentives, systems and institutions in place in most of Latin American do not seem to effectively promote local innovation. This may be due to historical and institutional factors that constrain Latin America firms making it difficult for most to innovate. This paper suggests that the university licensing model, which is quite popular in many Western countries, merits examination in the Latin American context. It could be a viable alternative to current innovation practices by providing a workable mechanism for Latin American firms to acquire research & development (R&D) from some of its most productive scientists and engineers.
Access China/India
Jeffrey Meyer, Carol Sanchez
Grand Valley State University (GVSU’s) ACCESS China/India (AC/I) project is a two-year effort that provides tools and resources for the West Michigan business community, and strengthens GVSU’s international education programming to China and India by strengthening existing and developing new student and faculty initiatives in those countries. This project is a collaboration between the GVSU units, West Michigan companies, and other regional organizations that support international trade. The GVSU units are the Seidman College of Business, the Modern Languages Department, the East Asian Studies unit, the Van Andel Global Trade Center, and the Padnos International Center. External collaborators include West Michigan companies who are clients of the VAGTC, the West Michigan District Export Council (MDEC-West), and other regional organizations providing service in international business. This collaboration creates a large support network designed to accomplish common objectives.
Hispanic Family-Owned Businesses in Kent County, Michigan: Characteristics and Success Factors
3rd Annual Family Firm Enterprise Conference, Monterrey, Mexico, April 2007
Carol Sanchez
Several Studies have examined the structure, development, and success of ethnic minority businesses (Fong & Anderson, 2005; Jithoo, 1985; Light, Bhachu & Karageorgis, 1993; Light & Sanchez, 1987; Portes, 1987). These studies looked at the behavior, growth patterns, longevity, networks, strategies, and barriers faced by owners of ethnic family businesses in several countries. Only a few have examined Hispanic-owned businesses, many of which are family owned, although Hispanic-owned businesses represent a significant percentage of U.S. nonfarm businesses. This paper will examine the characteristics of Hispanic-owned family businesses in the western area of Michigan, and identify their success factors.
M&A Update: Will the Rebound Stumble?
Wiley InterScience (, 2006
Carol Sanchez and Stephen Goldberg
After a multiyear lull, merger and acquisition activity has started again to pick up speed. In 2004, the value of global M&A activity grew 40 percent to just under $2 trillion, compared to $833 billion in 2003. This is the first time the market has seen such growth since 1998, when it increased 80 percent from 1997. M&A activity in the postmillennium years weakened because investors were jittery after the dot-com bust and September 11 attacks in the United States. By 2005, it seemed that much of that fear had abated, as M&A activity was strong through June. There were more large deals in 2004 as well, such as Sprint Corporation’s purchase of Nextel Communications Inc. for $46 billion and J.P. Morgan Chase’s acquisition of Bank One for nearly $60 billion.
Pushing Technology With University-Industry Licensing
Grand Rapids Business Review
Many Michigan manufacturing companies want to make and sell innovative products that create new value for customers, because sales in their traditional lines are either flat or in decline.
Motivations and the Intent to Study Abroad Among U.S., French, and Chinese Students
Journal of Teaching in International Business, Vol. 18(1), pp. 27-51, 2006
This paper analyzes the relationship between students’ motivations and their intention to participate in study abroad programs using a model based on expectancy theory. We surveyed U.S., Chinese and French business students who studied in their home countries. Results suggest that certain motivations are common among students from the three countries. We found that the direction of relationship between motivations and the intent to study abroad varied among the three countries, that nationality moderates all of the relationships, and that different levels of the barriers moderate the relationship between motivations and the intention to study abroad.
Some Thoughts on Teaching Ethics in a Business Environment Course
Academy of Legal Studies in Business 81st Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, Florida, August 2006
Robert Frey and Jim Sanford
The authors present ideas on teaching ethics in a business environment course based on their experiences. Thoughts on making ethics relevant and usable to students in the business world are discussed. Practical teaching strategies are explored.
 Creating a Broader Role for a Business Ethics Center
Tri-State Academy of Legal Studies in Business, 2005 Annual Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio, November 10-11 2006
Robert Frey and James Sanford
The purpose of this paper is to present ideas on promoting the concept and value of a “Business Ethics Center” (or BEC) at the University, so that the teaching and learning of ethics is enhanced for Students campus-wide and within the business community. Thoughts and experiences on how to make ethics relevant to students, and how to involve various university stakeholders, will also be discussed.
Museum Personnel Practices And The Use Of Arbitration
Art and Museum Law, Volume 1, Spring 2006
Maris Stella Swift and Timothy J. Chester
A number of years ago, the administrators of a large Midwestern museum received complaints from employees claiming that they had been sexually harassed by a supervisor. The allegations were sufficiently serious that the director of the museum contacted an attorney immediately and commenced an investigation. This paper will review the investigation, the discipline and subsequent arbitration.
GVSU and MSU Web Sites For Public Sector Labor And Arbitrators
Labor and Employment Lawnotes, Volume 16, No. 3, Fall 2006
Maris Stella (Star) Swift
Grand Valley State University has a new web site that was developed primarily for its students studying collective bargaining and labor law but the site is open to the public and many labor lawyers and arbitrators have already found it helpful. The site has numerous public sector grievance arbitration awards that were contributed by arbitrators, attorneys, public sector unions and employers. The awards are also summarized by the arbitrator’s name and by issue. The names of the parties in the award have been deleted or changed. Awards are identified by the last name of the arbitrator (i.e. Smith #1, Smith #2, etc).
How Do Public Employers Avoid Strikes in Michigan?
Grand Rapids Business Journal, Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 11, 2006
Star Swift
In Michigan, public employees such as bus drivers, police officers, firefighters, and teachers have the right to unionize and collectively bargain. But what happens when a public employer are unable to reach agreement? How do they resolve the conflict and avoid a strike? Resolution is important in light of the services public employees provide. If public strike, garbage may not be picked up, schools may not open, streets may not be plowed, and police and fire protection may not be provided.
MetalBenders Industries, Inc.: The Accidental Entrepreneur
Cases in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, Effective Small Business Management (An Entrepreneurial Approach), Eight Edition, 2003
Nancy M. Levenburg, Thomas D. Wolterink, and Ram Subramanian
“Darn it all! I never wanted to be a CEO,” Muttered Maria Brouwer, CEO of MetalBenders Industries, Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to herself as she maneuvered her Lincoln Town Car into the garage of her contemporary home. “I’ve been doing my best to run this company for the past six years… here it is May of 2002 and I haven’t even started weeding my perennials garden! Not only do I dislike going into the office before 11:00 in the morning, but I detest coming home this late at night. I we hadn’t scheduled that strategic planning meeting this week. But I know with Jose leaving on vacation in June, we just can’t wait any longer… things have to get resolved!”

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