By Steve Kelman
Managers do not always take disagreement well, research finds. (Stock image)
A lab experiment conducted by Ethan Burris, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, and published in a recent issue of the Academy of Management Journal indicates that leaders often react negatively to suggestions that their favored course of action might have problems. In the experiment, teams of four students were asked to solve a business problem involving a supply-chain decision. All the team members were given a set of facts that suggested a certain approach was best. One member of the team was given additional facts that, if explored properly, would clearly show that a different approach would work better. That member was also instructed to make his or her views known during the group discussion.
Posted on Jun 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM1 comments
Weather data from government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is but one example of federal spending that can be put to good commercial use. (NOAA photo)
The cover story in the June 1 issue of CIO magazine is called "Big Data from Above." The article is filled with fascinating examples of the various ways companies are using weather data to help conduct business – to time retail promotions, to direct stock to one region of the country rather than another or to plan for changes in demand. The manufacturer of Claritin, for example, used mid-range weather information to predict increased demand for allergy products.
There is even an example of an insurance company using weather information to detect fraud in insurance claims for hail damage.
Posted on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:09 PM0 comments
The rise of a global marketplace may make services much less expensive. Steve Kelman wonders if government can take advantage. (Stock image)
Last week's Economist tells a story, in an article entitled "The Workforce of the Cloud," about a private company that needed to hire somebody to translate a video.
"For translating a 22-minute video from English into Spanish at short notice, 7Brands Global Content, a professional translation firm based in New York, quoted 'approximately $1,500,'" a fee the article states is in line with the going rate for established translation companies.
The customer then decided to try two online "talent exchanges," Elance.com and (the largest of the firms in this space) oDesk.com. Both companies have a large stable of freelancers available to bid on various kinds of tasks (Elance has 2.5 million people registered, about a third in the United States and the rest abroad). The customer screened the bids to weed out those with little or no experience or without good customer ratings, and found quoted prices of as low as $22. (That's $22 as a fixed price for the whole job, not per hour.)
Posted on Jun 11, 2013 at 12:09 PM1 comments