August 24, 2020

In 2018, California’s Supreme Court ruled against a delivery company that classified its employees as independent contractors. This landmark decision was followed two years later by official legislation that required businesses throughout the state to turn contracted staff into full-time workers or else face legal action. The most prominent targets of this new law were Uber and Lyft, the rideshare giants that employ tens of thousands of people as independent contractors. 

According to consumer advocates, drivers for Uber and Continue reading

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August 20, 2020

As companies across all industries look for ways to reduce contact between employees during the pandemic, many are turning to automated labor as a way both to stay safe and trim costs. This video looks at how advanced robotic technology could change workplaces in the long term while also examining the potential limitations of automation. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies investing in automated labor during the pandemic?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of automation?
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August 11, 2020

For many Americans who have been working from home for six months, each day can seem like the same procession of Zoom meetings and email exchanges. As a result, some professionals have had trouble scheduling meetings with new clients who don’t want to add another video chat to their already packed calendars. For example, a Brooklyn-based ad executive named Lewis Smithingham tried for weeks to set up a meeting with an investment analyst only to receive a string of postponements Continue reading

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March 6, 2020

Last year, we looked at how open office plans can discourage communication between employees despite claims about their supposed collaborative benefits. This video explains the history of open offices and how modern workplaces often fail to live up to the standards of the past due to concerns about cost. 

Questions:

  1. How do modern open office plans tend to discourage communication and collaboration between employees? 
  2. Do you think more companies should create open office plans based on the principles Continue reading
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January 21, 2020

For many people in business, reaching the position of chief executive officer (CEO) means that they’ve finally made it to the top of their profession. And life is certainly sweet for most CEOs: Disney’s Bob Iger, for instance, took home nearly $50 million in compensation last year. But with all of that money and power comes great responsibility. If these top managers fail to live up to a company’s expectations, they might not get to enjoy their lofty positions for Continue reading

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October 25, 2019

In recent years, many companies have gotten rid of cubicles in favor of open office plans that place everyone in sight. The idea is that employees will be more available for communication when they aren’t constricted by barriers. According to a recent study published by Harvard Business Review, however, open office plans could actually be having the opposite effect. Researchers tracked the physical and digital interactions of employees at two Fortune 500 companies that were in the process of Continue reading

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October 3, 2019

This past summer, the startup WeWork heavily promoted what it promised would be a historic initial public offering (IPO). Analysts seemed to agree: Goldman Sachs estimated the office space leasing company could reach a valuation of $96 billion upon its stock market debut. When WeWork submitted the first documents for its IPO, though, the company settled on a potential valuation of $47 billion as it promised to change the world as well as the office leasing industry. Co-founder and CEO 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 20, 2018

Back in the pre-Internet days, companies would pay a fortune to set up services that allowed them to limit the number of phone lines used in the office. This meant that a company with 100 employees could use a single number with extensions rather than set up 100 seperate lines. Once caller ID came on the scene, these systems would display the same name to the receiver whether the call was coming from the mailroom or the C-suite.

This pricey Continue reading

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In the Understanding Business profile for Chapter 8, we looked at how Denise Morrison brought a lifetime of business experience to her role as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. She landed the job in 2011 just as the company was ready to undergo some major changes. Rather than continuing to use unhealthy, processed ingredients, under Morrison’s leadership Campbell’s began to focus on developing more organic options. “We believe we need to participate in this, so you can either lead Continue reading

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