November 13, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, more than 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout to protest the search giant’s handling of sexual harassment claims. Along with demands to improve the process for reporting harassment, the protesters also called for Google to end forced employee arbitration. This controversial tactic requires staffers to settle any legal disputes out of court, usually through an independent arbitrator rather than a judge and jury.

Critics of the policy say that this system protects serial harassers by Continue reading

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November 6, 2018

Today millions of Americans will head out to vote in the midterm elections, and hopefully you’ll be one of them. Of course, not everyone can easily find time during the day to perform this important civic duty. According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2014, 35 percent of respondents said they were registered to vote but couldn’t make it to the polls due to “work or school conflicts.” In that particular election year, only 37 percent of eligible voters Continue reading

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October 25, 2018

In today’s retail environment, the most successful companies aim to be one-stop shops where customers can purchase everything they need in a single trip. And while modern shoppers might associate this strategy with firms like Walmart and Amazon, experts agree that Sears was the first business to perfect the all-in-one retail plan. Starting out in the late 1800s as a mail-order catalog, the company eventually built thousands of department stores across the country. Consumers at the time had never before Continue reading

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October 4, 2018

Amazon’s market capitalization recently hit $1 trillion, placing the e-commerce giant on a level of success shared only with Apple. What’s more, last year the company’s revenue topped out at $178 billion, about a 40 percent increase from 2016. These factors allowed CEO Jeff Bezos to claim the title of world’s richest person as his net worth climbed past the $150 billion mark.

According to critics, though, Amazon’s workers have been largely left out of this bonanza of profit. Continue reading

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October 2, 2018

Over the next few weeks, a new crop of TV shows will premiere across the major networks. But not all of these shows will stay on the air for a full season. That’s because broadcasters have long used the fall as a testing ground for new programming. If a show premieres to high ratings and audience acclaim, network executives will likely order more episodes of it. If few people decide to tune in, however, a new show might last one Continue reading

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August 7, 2018

At the beginning of the year, we looked at how MoviePass planned to disrupt the multiplex by allowing subscribers to see as many movies as they liked for just $9.95 per month. Since the company paid theaters directly for every ticket obtained by its members, critics wondered how long MoviePass could operate before it ran out of money. In fact, the company was losing $45 million a month as it tried to amass a large user base. These losses unnerved Continue reading

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August 3, 2018

A few months ago, we looked at why our subject for the Chapter 8 profile in Understanding Business was leaving her position as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. As the video below shows, however, Campbell’s problems began long before Denise Morrison took the top job.

Questions:

  1. Why has Campbell’s struggled to grow steadily in recent years?
  2. What do you think Campbell’s should do to start winning over young consumers who don’t like canned soup?
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July 17, 2018

Amazon’s Prime Day has a bit of a misleading name: the e-commerce site’s annual offering of deals actually lasts 36 hours, starting yesterday afternoon and going until midnight tonight. One matter that isn’t up for debate, however, is the promotion’s ability to bring in a lot of money. Analysts expect that this year’s Prime Day will generate about $3.4 billion in sales for Amazon, which would beat 2017’s total by more than $1 billion. But despite this upcoming windfall, so Continue reading

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July 13, 2018

Since its 1997 founding, the Build-a-Bear Workshop has made more than 160 million teddy bears for kids who play a key part in their assembly. The process starts when a child picks an un-stuffed animal from a bin before heading to the stuffing machine to transform their creation into a friend they’ll treasure forever. But customers don’t stop there: they can also purchase a variety of costumes and accessories for their bears. By the time the Build-a-Bear experience is over, Continue reading

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June 26, 2018

The e-commerce site Etsy is almost entirely powered by millions of independent sellers who offer everything from vintage clothes to freshly made slime. A good number of these entrepreneurs make their living by selling stuff on the site, which explains the anger that many of them felt towards a recent policy change at the company. Instead of collecting a transaction fee of 3.5 percent of sales, Etsy now plans to take a 5 percent cut of both sales and Continue reading

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