Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stress of the Load

Ok, today, I am just giving it "off the cuff". No brilliant strategies, methods, theories, hypotheses, research questions.......just stuffy noses, diapers, potty training, house that needs cleaning, food that should be prepared for dinner. Yesterday, I just escaped to the movies and it was glorious. No phone calls, no yelling of mommy, commeeer!, no disciplining, no cleaning up, no feeding, no reading, no papers to write, no e-mails, nothing, just me with a big soda in a dark theatre. It was blissful!

I will confess, the stress as of late has been closing in on me!!!! We sold our home back in 2005 and never re-purchased. We just finished a lease and did not want to re-sign and so we have just packed up and moved to a temporary place while we put together a new game plan.....ok, I will say the word, strategy. We need a new strategy and I have drawn up a few different business plans to pursue. We have a contracting business in the construction industry, I am also a MonaVie distributor which I am working over a long-term plan to realize real financial success with this, however, the moving in the midst of kids and class was a HORRIBLE decision. It caused great distress and I am struggling with some internal turmoil and trying to exhale. It happens to the best of us I know......we can't have the rainbow without the rain.....

My way of dealing with this was to a) get away from it all for a couple of hours, which I did....b) pray and ask for peace and direction, keep praying......c) re-focus on the things that are truly important to me like the relationships with my children/family. I rank moving underneath the stress of losing someone you love. I once had a c-section in the midst of a class during my MBA and came back to finish the class with flying colors and that was easier than moving an entire household in the midst of a class and regular life activities and working etc.....

We all struggle, we all have difficulty adjusting, we all have stress. I am working to handle it with integrity, however, I do occasionally feel like the teapot with boiling water and there is a crack in the body of the teapot and the boiling water is leaking out and burning myself and others. Living in a place that is temporary and not knowing the direction in which we are going feels unsettling. So I must look inside myself to determine how being settled would help my mental and emotional state.

I am going to try to imagine and envision the perfect state of harmony in my life, what it looks like, what it feels like, and adjust my expectations and goals so that I may now pursue bringing those things into fruition.

Keeping it honest and keeping it real.

I will focus on the things I have completed and what I do well and remind myself to celebrate my personal wins and not to focus on the lack or chaos in my life. Work in progress.....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Research Methodologies: Quantitative or Qualitative?

There has been a long-time debate among researchers about the superiority of one method over another while many hold the opinion that one precedes the other and they work in concert. Poggenpoel, Myburgh, Van Der Linde (2001) compare and contrast the two methodologies. “The quantitative paradigm is based on positivism which takes scientific explanation to be nomothetic (i.e. based on universal laws.) Its main aims are to objectively measure the social world, to test hypotheses and to predict and control human behavior. In contrast, the qualitative paradigm stems from an antipositivistic, interpretive approach, is idiographic, thus holistic in nature, and the main aim is to understand social life and the meaning that people attach to everyday life” (Poggenpoel, 2001, p. 2). From this researcher’s view it seems that while both are important to the process of knowledge expansion and contribution, qualitative strikes more of an organic, grass-roots note while quantitative is more a result of hard facts rather than soft data, more mechanical, but that must first be rooted in the ground before numbers can be assigned. It seems rather like things cannot be quantified until they are first qualified. The end result of all research is the development of theories regardless of the process. Theories are extrapolated out of the data and the method whether qualitative or quantitative. “A theory refers to a set of concepts; definitions, assumptions and principles interrelated to each other” (Poggenpoel et. al., 2001, p. 4). The word “assumptions” is completely open to individual interpretation which seems to be some of the argument against qualitative methods because they are open to bias, assumptions, and interpretation. Clearly, when they are each taken apart and viewed by the sum of their parts, they each are open to the same potential hazards. The two methods are not in opposition of one another; instead they complement one another and become two parts of a whole, establishing a greater depth and breadth to results and findings establishing stronger theories for application and practice.

Poggenpoel, M., Myburgh, C.P.H., & Van Der Linde, C.H. (2001). Qualitative research strategies as prerequisite for quantitative strategies. Education; Winter 2001, Vol. 122, Iss. 2. Retrieved May 7, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Organizational Structures

While structural blends or hybrids tend to compose roughly a third of all organizational structures, there is still evidence within the whole to suggest pockets of centralization and decentralization or even hybrids within hybrids that exist. To centralize, decentralize, or perhaps create a hybrid. The following is quite a great analogy. “One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm” (Beckstrom and Brafman , 2008 as cited by Seeds & Khade, 2008).

Seeds and Khade (2008) displayed a chart breaking down the statistics on organizations that were centralized (31%) vs. decentralized (38%) vs. hybrids (31%), and the split was roughly thirds (, p. 4). They believe, however, that the best organizational structure lies in decentralization. When looking closely at hybrids, supposedly the best of both worlds, one could look at e-bay as an example operating with a centralized corporate hub where all major decisions and ideas occur and a decentralized customer approach for which they are famous (Seeds & Khade, 2008). The question of organizational structure is organization and industry-specific in that what works best for some does not create a “one-size-fits-all” to be extrapolated outward to all organizations.

Seeds. D. & Khade, A.S. (2008). Transforming a multi-national corporation from a centralized organization to a decentralized organization. International Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 8, No. 3. Retrieved March 20, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Integrity of Leadership Starts with the Individual

In attempts to answer why executives continue their bent path of organizational destruction even when there are strong leadership development programs in place points directly to individual character; their moral excellence. “The responsibility for organizational integrity must start with the organization’s framework and end with individual accountability” and although raider’s of the organizational ark should “swap their pin stripes for horizontal stripes….legislation alone will not correct corruption” (Barnett, 2002). There is no measure of character with which to grade potential employees and many times strength is determined (or evident to on-lookers) only when fully emerged in hot water. Many organizations have written ethics codes and comply with the legalese of the governmental policies without real “buy in” or understanding by those inside the organization. “We can’t be forced to choose between integrity and profits; rather we must strengthen the relationship between financial performance and social responsibility” (Barnett, 2002). Organizations are learning that their integrity is an evolutional process cultivated through leadership, culture, and values-driven programs. Bureaucratic compliance renders formal peripheral responses but meaningful change comes from within and it happens in informal ways that are organically grown from seed, carefully tended, fertilized, and nurtured. “Doing what is right always come down to the individual. It begins with the most basic leadership skills, supported by the organizational framework. It ends with no less than creating a new corporate culture, by communicating the fundamental principles that the company stands for through stories of leaders doing the right thing” (Barnett, 2002).

Barnett, R. (2002). Character-centered leadership. Leader Values. Retrieved March 25, 2009 from

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Politics of Crime and Corruption

The politics of crime and corruption are flourishing under the globalization regime creating greater landscapes in which to infiltrate and carry out vulpine efforts. If I may answer this generally speaking because as each of these constructs poses the potential for severe damage, it seems that crime and corruption is the most insidious of the three. The puppetmasters of crime and corruption attempt organizational takeovers internally and externally for the root purposes of greed and control and to increase the growing criminal economy. They launder money, evade taxes, practice rogue-banking, cover-up illegal profits and siphon the life out of every legal act. The headlining policy is “don’t ask, don’t tell”. “Law may often be part of the problem of corruption. Too many laws, often by excessive formalism, and vexatious procedures help create corruption (by forcing people to get around them) and weaken attempts to control it. Law diffuses responsibility; investigations and punishment over-dramatize; and the need to distinguish between the legal and illegal creates artificial dichotomies between behavior” (Fitzsimons, 2002). The perpetrators of corruption become trapped in the deviance of rationalization and denial, often capitalizing on “the inherent complexity, ambiguity, and dynamism that pervade organizations” (Anand et. al., 2005, p. 3). The corruption is organizationally generationalized by socializing newcomers into the corrupt practices so as to perpetuate the criminal/corrupt activities. As CEO, my stand to end these activities and behaviors would be simpler to close the organization and to begin again, however, to work with the existing issues at hand to thwart future attempts of corruption and dislodge the current foothold my focus would begin with prevention as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The first step would be to adopt and enforce a new code of ethics and the following four activities will be helpful in creating an environment of prevention: foster awareness among employees; use performance evaluations that go beyond numbers; nurture an ethical environment; and, top management needs to serve as ethical role models (Anand et. al., 2005). In addition to these prior actions, reversing deeply embedded rationalization and socialization is a hugely difficult challenge that may involve public exposure and the involvement of external change agents to be the impetus in recognizing the imperative of change.
Anand, V., Ashforth, B.E. & Joshi, M. (2005). Business as usual: the acceptance and perpetuation of corruption in organizations. Academy of Management Executive; Vol. 19, No. 4. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from
Fitzsimons, P. (2002). The politics of corruption in the 21st century. White paper. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from

Leadership Development Strategies

“Creating a global structure provides no benefit unless the team can take advantage of the synergies that exist” (Marr, 2007, p. 3). Organizational effectiveness is built through people and globalization is bringing together people of multiple cultures. Taking advantage of the best that each culture has to offer includes talent scouting for what each region already has at their disposal in regards to existing intellectual capital through its people. When globalization strategies are being put in place, there should be a talent development / leadership training program that can be pipelined out that is flexible enough to fit the needs of each culture and have the component of empowerment. Organization leaders who have already gone through cultural education and training for the region where they are to be deployed should go ahead of the companies infrastructure to begin forging relationships and looking for local talent. Talent development and leadership training should begin at this time to lay the foundation for the organization’s move and this then creates a structure whereby other locals can come in and become involved in the program designated by the organization where they can become involved in talent development and leadership training.
Marr, J.A. (2007). Globalizing the OD function – meeting global and regional needs. Organization Development Journal; Winter 2007, Vol. 25, Iss. 4. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Global Leadership Development

Creating a leadership development strategy: In regards to developing a global leadership pipeline, a study was done with a global Fortune 200 company where they were struggling to re-fill many global leadership positions and were in need of creating a systematic way to handle this need. They pulled together 20 senior managers and began to ask questions to understand the challenges involved in developing global leadership. The interviews with the senior managers centered around the following 3 questions: “(1) What are the experiences that will best prepare people for senior management positions?; (2) What skills and behaviors are needed to be successful in a global company?; (3) Is the current practice of leadership development working well, and how can it be changed to make it more effective?” (Connor, 2000, p. 2). The group agreed on several things such as, they needed a systematic way of development; they needed to plan career moves early; they needed to begin to groom people early and give them a multitude of different geographic assignments; they also needed to take more risks when selecting people for positions by pinpointing people early in their careers and begin making plans for development (Connor, 2000). “The executives thought that there was an over-reliance on the marketing department and expatriates as sources of future leaders” (Connor, 2000, p. 2). Their final agreements for leadership development included the agreement to broaden external hiring sources; look for internal talent regardless of the department they were working in currently; and recruit local talent outside of the U.S. (Connor, 2000). The resulting skill-set and capabilities gathered as a result of these interviews, necessary for successful global leadership culminate in the following: must be business savvy; know how to motivate; know how to use their personal influence; act like entrepreneurs; bring global perspective; and, have strong character (Connor, 2000). They then developed an individual development plan for those that were in the global talent pool with the following five sections: list strongest competencies; competencies that need to be developed; personal development actions planned and completed; short and long-term career options; and, willingness to relocate (Connor, 2000). “The final area of work important to a more proactive approach to developing global leaders was making sure that every senior executive and general manager around the world personally accepted responsibility for developing global leaders” (Connor, 2000, p. 7). “To remain competitive, companies must continually develop their people by identifying their very best and preparing them for tomorrow’s global challenges” (Connor, 2000, p. 10)
Connor, J. (2000). Developing the global leaders of tomorrow. Human Resource Management; Summer/Fall 200, Vol. 39, Nos. 2 & 3. Retrieved April 3, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Benefits of International Diversification

“An argument often heard is that correlations between international equity returns are higher during bear markets than during bull markets, and bear market moves are greater than bull market moves.1 This would suggest that the benefits of international diversification are less impressive than conventional wisdom predicts. This argument is potentially very important since it may help explain the “home bias puzzle,” arguably one of the most important puzzles in international finance. If the diversification benefits from international investing are not forthcoming at the time that investors need them the most (when their home market experiences a downturn), international investing may not be worth the trouble” (Ang & Bekaert, 2000, p. 3). Ang and Bekaert (2000) conclude that the volatility of the bear market does not “negate the benefits of international diversification” (p. 28). They offer three main results as evidence: “there are always large benefits to international diversification”; “the costs of ignoring regime switching may be small or large depending on the presence of a conditionally risk-free asset”; and, “intertemporal hedging demands under regime switches are economically negligible and statistically insignificant” (Ang & Bekaert, 2000, pp. 27-28).
Ang. A. and Bekaert, G. (2000). International asset allocation with regime shifts. White Paper. Retrieved January 27, 2009 from

Home Bias and IAS

It seems that home-bias is a repetitive buzz word within the discussion of international diversification and understandably so. Covrig et. al.(2007) conducted a study on home bias, foreign mutual fund holdings and the adoption of International Accounting Standards(IAS) and how these constructs or variables interact. One of the positives resulting from adopting the IAS is the “enhanced ability to attract foreign capital, consistent with IAS reducing foreign investors’ home bias” (Covrig et. al., 2007, p. 2). Home-bias exists when investors are hesitant to invest internationally due to the high cost of information regarding these transactions. It would benefit firms to take actions to reduce home bias and attract foreign investment to improve investor diversification, lower investor risk, and reduce cost of capital (Covrig et. al., 2007). Covrig et. al. (2007) also posits that greater foreign investment increases firms’ investor base and increases share liquidity. Covrig et. al. (2007) hypothesize that firms employing IAS have higher foreign ownership than those that only use local accounting standards. Their sample size is more than 25,000 observations across 29 countries from 1999-2002. Their analysis does in fact bolster their hypothesis that “firms adopting IAS in poorer information environments, or firms with lower investor visibility, have higher levels of foreign mutual fund investment” (Covrig et. al. , 2007, p. 4).
Covrig, V.M., Defond, M.L., and Hung, M. (2007). Home bias, foreign mutual fund holdings, and the voluntary adoption of international accounting standards. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Global Diversification: International Investing

Historically, the United States has been “narrow-minded when it came to investment opportunities” due to geographic isolation, dominant political and economic positions, and strong market returns (Financial Web, 2009). As a result of these culminating factors, diversification has not been highly sought, however, in our recent turn of events, there has been a dramatic shift in international markets outperforming. The contributing factors to the international transformation include “the widespread adoption of democracy, capitalism, and the rule of law among these nations” and as these “trends continue, the emerging markets will continue” on their upward trajectory (Financial Web, 2009). In addition to these preceding factors “overseas companies are typically subject to less government regulation” whereas “U.S.-based businesses face a formidable amount of government regulation” and while regulation is necessary and protective in some regard it can create competitive disadvantage relative to foreign competition (Financial Web, 2009). Foreign competitors with less governmental regulation benefit from lower operating costs and lower labor costs. Government regulation (i.e. trade embargos) for U.S. organizations prohibits them from playing in the field and leaves them sitting on the bench while the game is played by foreign competitors who step in, in their stead to reap the profits and score big.
Financial Web (2009). Global Diversification. Retrieved January 29, 2009 from

Purchasing Power Parity

Purchasing power parity affects the international financial environment because under ideal conditions, the exchange rate between currencies of different countries equalize, in other words, the purchasing power is equal. The foundation of PPP is the “law of one price” (Antweiler, 2008). Three caveats exist with this law of one price: transportation costs, barriers to trade, and other transaction costs, can be significant; there must be competitive markets for the goods and services in both countries; and, it only applies to tradeable goods (Antweiler, 2008). There are two versions of PPP: absolute PPP which is the equalization of price across countries and relative PPP where change rates of price levels is equal to inflation rates (Antweiler, 2008). Specifically, relative PPP “states that the rate of appreciation of a currency is equal to the difference in inflation rates between the foreign and the home country” for example, if Canada’s inflation rate was 1% and the U.S. inflation rate was 3%, the USD would depreciate against the Canadian dollar by 2% annually (Antweiler, 2008).
Antweiler, W. (2008). Purchasing Power Parity. The University of British Columbia. Retrieved February 1, 2009 from