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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editor’s note From: Journal of Business Strategy, Volume 33, Issue 2
As we were going to press, I received Joan Magretta’s book, Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy, in the mail. Although JBS no longer reviews books (because of the long lead time to publication), I am calling attention to Magretta’s work, which she wrote with the full cooperation of Michael Porter, because it is so clearly written and understandable, traits rarely found in academic writing about business. Her goal is to distill Porter’s prolific writings into a short guide for managers without being superficial. The point is that it is possible to write about big ideas in a straightforward manner, a lesson many authors of potential journal articles might consider. I look forward to refreshing my acquaintance with Michael Porter through Magretta’s book.
In this issue of JBS, two papers are especially timely, although (or perhaps because) both deal with crises of sorts. The paper on Greek small manufacturing firms and their losing low skills strategy reflects in microcosm the entire dilemma of Greece and other emerging economies in Europe. These countries, which include many eastern European nations, can no longer compete with Asian countries in the low wage low skill category. But to change that structure and their entire approach to productivity in manufacturing will take a long time, and it is far from clear that the desire to do so exists.
While recent events in Greece came as a surprise to many people in western Europe and the US, maybe even to most Greeks, we were struck by an article in the New York Times on November 29, 2011, where the reporters, Julie Creswell and Graham Bowley, noted:
The current crisis was years in the making. It was born of Greek leaders who misled the European Union with false economic statistics to gain entry to the Euro; of European policy makers who turned a blind eye to Greece’s deceptions; of banking regulators who deemed sovereign debt virtually risk-free; and of banks and other investors who, hungering for profits, joined in the groupthink that the Euro zone would never let a member default.
As far back as 2004:
Greek officials stunned European policy makers when they admitted that the country’s budget deficit had exceeded the European Union’s ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product in every year since 1997. The European Commission sued Greece for disguising its deficits and said it should never have joined the Euro.
Across the Atlantic, the US is also struggling with continued economic woes. Admittedly, Facebook is not one of them, but this social media site can have serious economic and reputational impacts on individual companies. The JBS paper on Facebook attacks, like the article on Greek manufacturing, shares the timeliness banner. The authors of the Facebook case study point out that companies now need crisis plans for potential disasters that may arise when outraged customers or activists use Facebook to post their accusations or allegations.
Balancing our two articles set precisely in the context of today’s environment are our other papers on more classic concerns. They deal with strategic issues that will be around for many years.
We hope our readers find this issue provocative and useful.