Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editor's note From: Journal of Business Strategy, Volume 29, Issue 3.
Coincidentally, Stuart Jackson, our Reaching for Value columnist, and Holger Schiele, one of the contributors to this issue, both talk about the importance of geography in business success, especially from a “cluster” perspective. Jackson, in examining the success of both Starbucks and Staples, notes that both franchises started out by building strong brand awareness in local and regional areas before expanding nationally. They clustered their stores together to saturate the market.
Schiele talks about the importance of clusters from a very different vantage point. He examines the advantages that accrue when many different companies within one industry are all located within a single region. For example, a manufacturer of rail cars located near other similar manufacturers and near suppliers has a big advantage over a company in an isolated region where it may have to spend more to import parts and may have problems finding skilled employees. While there are hundreds of manufacturing clusters throughout the world (and to a lesser extent service clusters), many companies fail to take full advantage of their location. Many do not even know they are in a “cluster”.
Ian Mitroff has contributed this issue’s most provocative paper, “Knowing: how we know is as important as what we know”. The philosophical bent of this paper is hardly surprising given Mitroff’s long academic career exploring a wide variety of topics and issues. Author of over 250 papers and 25 books on matters as diverse as business policy and spirituality in the workplace, he founded the Center for Crisis Management at the University of Southern California more than 20 years ago. In his paper in this issue of JBS, he explores the most basic of questions: what knowledge do we rely on when making decisions? There are many traps in the decision-making process and Mitroff deconstructs them as he pares down to the essentials.
Three business executives who studied with James O’Rourke IV at Notre Dame teamed up to write a cutting edge paper on corporate blogging. Readers will never again dismiss the concept or practice of blogging as being of no interest in the serious world of business. Blogging is now a big time phenomenon in corporate America and will soon make inroads in other parts of the world. It is unregulated, largely uncontrolled, and can be very dangerous to corporate reputation. Messrs Cox, Martinez and Quinlan share not only an insider’s view of blogging but the actual policies of Yahoo, IBM and other major corporations on blogging. They offer invaluable guidelines on how to manage this growing communication medium.
Roberta Comunian harkens back to a special issue of JBS in 2005 that examined arts-based learning in the business world. In a related article she looks at a number of Italian companies that have made strategic investments in the arts or that have partnered with the arts to further their business goals as well as artistic goals.
Three partners from Accenture offer words of caution about merger and acquisition deals by pointing out that operational due diligence is too often neglected. Traditional due diligence can identify most financial aspects of a deal but pitfalls can hide in the back rooms. Key to avoiding these deal-breakers is knowing they can exist and then bringing in highly skilled teams to investigate operations such as IT integration and outsourcing.