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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Eric G. Olson

Business leaders can apply key messages as early as today to build stronger operations that are less susceptible to risks of all types. Findings can be applied at all

Abstract

Purpose

Business leaders can apply key messages as early as today to build stronger operations that are less susceptible to risks of all types. Findings can be applied at all levels in any organization, from the entire enterprise down to discreet projects. The article emphasizes that today's strategic change initiatives should all consider their impact on holistically developed risk management strategies.

Approach

Hypotheses are explained, developed, and supported by a number of actual cases across several diverse industries. Case studies that illustrate both success and failure are explored. Once the hypotheses are developed and supported with specific cases, the findings are generalized and a series of well‐developed industry accepted practices for resolving the key issues are articulated.

Findings

The way a business approaches risk management in today's digital age can make the difference between success and failure. Risk management strategies should be developed with holistic, broad views of business operations, and tailored to accommodate the different types of exposure specific to an individual business or operation.

Originality/value

This article illustrates the importance of having holistic, well‐developed risk strategies with real‐world cases and industry‐accepted practices. Where information‐age risk management strategies were employed, companies succeeded. Other cases were not so fortunate. One especially counter‐intuitive notion is that businesses have traditionally developed external alliance networks to reduce risk and create differentiated business models that lock‐in customers and lock‐out competition. However, as many businesses are experiencing, integrating alliance partners into otherwise low‐risk value chains actually introduces new risks that have been largely ignored until recent years.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2010

Eric G. Olson

It is clear that the trend toward measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a global scale is not slowing, even though different countries and geographic…

Abstract

Purpose

It is clear that the trend toward measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a global scale is not slowing, even though different countries and geographic regions are approaching the issue with different points of view and different levels of vigor. Along with an increase in measuring and managing GHG emissions, enterprises around the world should expect to see a higher level of independent assurance and audit reporting needed. The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss the challenges and opportunities that accompany GHG emissions accounting and auditing, as well as the supply chain and operational dependencies that are different from traditional financial auditing.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores the challenges and opportunities from measuring and auditing GHG emissions, and contrasts audits of sustainability information with more traditional financial auditing. It also explores some of the issues in supply chain and operational dependencies that are important in measuring and auditing GHG emissions and are different from more traditional accounting practices.

Findings

With the importance of processes to independently audit GHG emissions and natural resource consumption expected to grow in the future, it is important to understand how past experience with financial accounting and auditing can play a role in shaping the future for environmental stewardship. This paper shows that there are a number of key differences between financial and carbon auditing, which must be considered as enterprises begin to consider how to best support increasingly important sustainability reporting. As more publicly traded firms voluntarily issue sustainability reports and new legislation drives a greater need for standardized carbon accounting, so too will the need for auditing GHG emissions grow. This paper explains that GHG auditing will require cross‐functional skills with operational and process knowledge, accounting capabilities and an understanding of how operational data correlates with estimates for GHG emissions.

Originality/value

Much existing work addresses why, where, how, and who should be measuring and managing GHG emissions, but little attention is being given to the unique challenges that must be overcome in order to achieve reporting transparency. Independent auditing of GHG emissions has maintained a low profile while reporting is voluntary and standards are not fully agreed upon. However, with the possibility of legally binding legislation on the horizon, enterprises that are prepared to audit their GHG emissions and resolve issues early will be well positioned from both a compliance and market‐competition perspective.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 25 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2009

Eric G. Olson

Business initiatives that improve environmental impact are increasing in number and the trend continues to accelerate. However, there is a growing consensus that

Abstract

Purpose

Business initiatives that improve environmental impact are increasing in number and the trend continues to accelerate. However, there is a growing consensus that transformations to protect the environment and conserve natural resources should be more pervasive and much larger steps than those already being taken are needed. Among the difficult challenges that business leaders and practitioners face today is to understand the driving forces that encourage environmental sustainability in the context of their own operation. This work articulates the key drivers of “green” activities that support environmental stewardship, and their relevance to business management.

Design/methodology/approach

Environmental stewardship is positioned as a growth area, business leaders are already taking action to apply environmental sustainability principles, and each key driver of environmental stewardship is discussed separately. A rationale for each driver is provided, business management implications are articulated, and real world cases for what businesses are actually doing in the marketplace are described.

Findings

This work defines the drivers of environmental stewardship for business leaders, and connects those drivers directly to management implications and real world, actual cases of business activity. With this approach and framework, businesses can easily use the same approach to identify which drivers they are responding to, and which others may have gaps that represent a competitive risk if no action is taken.

Originality/value

Business leaders and practitioners can use insights provided in this work to better understand the driving forces behind environmental improvement actions, and better align their own initiatives to achieve higher business value and environmental stewardship. Without understanding the driving forces behind their actions, businesses are likely to sub‐optimize their transformation initiatives and fail to realize the expected value.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2010

Eric G. Olson, Sara J. Moulton Reger and David S. Singer

The purpose of this paper is to present a structure for identifying complexity that is not needed in an enterprise, and describe a methodology for eliminating it. Whether

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a structure for identifying complexity that is not needed in an enterprise, and describe a methodology for eliminating it. Whether it is process complexity, product complexity, or organizational complexity, investments in managing higher levels of complexity often offer businesses significant value by enabling them to offer more and better products and services to a broader range of customers. However, along with higher levels of complexity has come an increased requirement to distinguish between that complexity which is needed and that which is needless.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper first presents a structure for categorizing different kinds of complexity, with a detailed focus on needless complexity that is categorized into four types. Next, specific factors are developed that can be used to identify needless complexity in an organization. Finally, a methodology is presented that organizations can utilize in order to eliminate needless complexity.

Findings

Needless complexity can be created where it never should have existed in the first place, and other times needless complexity exists as an historical relic left over from a time when it actually was needed. Using a structured approach, needless complexity can be identified and eliminated to yield significant business benefits.

Originality/value

This paper provides a framework for differentiating needless complexity from needed complexity, and assessing the landscape of needless complexity in an organization. It also provides an approach for identifying opportunities to reduce needless complexity using the needless complexity diagnostic.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Eric G. Olson

Over the past decade, concepts that focus on environmental stewardship have gripped the collective intellect of humankind, challenged our capacity to be self‐aware, and

Abstract

Purpose

Over the past decade, concepts that focus on environmental stewardship have gripped the collective intellect of humankind, challenged our capacity to be self‐aware, and established a common global imperative to respond to critical issues that arise from world‐wide climate change and natural resource conservation. Yet, while most enterprises have already undertaken some form of “green” initiative, very few have established an enterprise‐level “green” strategy that responds to the new global imperative. This paper aims to provide a methodology and tool‐set to help close that gap.

Design/methodology/approach

The article provides a methodology and tool set needed to assess an enterprise and formulate green strategy. The scope covers: a definition of “green” strategy and the guiding principles for its formulation; best practices and illustrations of how they are being adopted; a methodology for developing an enterprise‐level green strategy that integrates with all the other areas of strategy formulation in an enterprise (business, operating/organization/information/technology applications, and infrastructure).A “green” maturity model and maturity assessment framework are also developed to help business leaders determine what their current state of “green maturity” is, and guide decisions on where they would like their business to be in the future.

Findings

The paper finds that business leaders and decision makers increasingly miss‐out on significant benefits because they do not consider “green” opportunities in a strategic context.

Originality/value

The methodology and tool set provided in this article can help business leaders capture new value from green opportunities. It can also accelerate changes to existing methodologies for formulating strategy to include important “green” dimensions. Each area of an enterprise is discussed in the context of how it can be affected and improved by having a green strategy.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 September 2010

Eric G. Olson

The purpose of this article is to discuss opportunities that businesses have to grow their operations in a more scalable way with a higher level of investment in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to discuss opportunities that businesses have to grow their operations in a more scalable way with a higher level of investment in variable‐cost resources and assets. For most companies around the world, resources have been reduced, inventory drained, technology spending curtailed, and core processes scaled back in order to adjust to the current reality of reduced demand. In an uncertain recovery, supply chain operations need to be more scalable and flexible as they anticipate economic recovery and increase capacity. Moreover, this can be easier to achieve coming out of a severe recession.

Design/methodology/approach

This work first explains why scalability and flexibility benefits are potentially easier to achieve when rebuilding supply chain operations out of a severe downturn. Second, a rationale is provided to show how a scalable and flexible supply chain mitigates multiple risks from economic uncertainty during a recovery where a more traditional fixed‐cost approach does not. Third, a four‐step approach is described that businesses can follow to identify and capture supply chain opportunities where a scalable and flexible model might be most sensible to consider.

Findings

More scalable, variable cost supply chain operations have clear advantages over more traditional cost ones, especially when the economic recovery includes a high level of uncertainty and there is a risk of reentering a renewed recessionary period. There may be no better time than now for enterprises in any industry to consider adopting a more variable cost supply chain to limit risk and capture the most revenue growth opportunity.

Originality/value

The concepts of centralization, utilizing temporary and part‐time labor, and outsourcing are certainly not new ones and many companies have already benefited from adopting these ideas in their supply chains. However, it has not been widely recognized that these same concepts pose heightened and renewed opportunity for any business across industries because of how the global recession has changed their business landscape. Since companies have already downsized labor forces, drained inventory levels, closed facilities, and cut other costs dramatically, there is a tremendous opportunity to evaluate new, more variable‐cost business models as they grow operations to meet renewed demand.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2008

Eric G. Olson and Deepak Sharma

The purpose of this paper is to show that some of the critical questions that top executives from electronics companies ask are not unique to their industry and, in fact

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show that some of the critical questions that top executives from electronics companies ask are not unique to their industry and, in fact, are the same ones that confront executives across a variety of industries and virtually all company sizes. Questions that address issues of product complexity and the breadth of product offerings, how to respond to competitive forces, and how to meet the challenges that come from shortened product lifecycles and shrinking the time it takes for products to ultimately reach the marketplace are all relevant across multiple industries. Still, the electronics industry is one that is experiencing an especially unprecedented degree of change spurred by the increasing complexity of end products, higher competitive intensity, and shorter time to commoditization.

Design/methodology/approach

The article provides the methodology and tool set needed to develop and assess a product portfolio map, determine changes needed to marketing and sales focus as well as future actions to take in order to sustain higher profitability and return on investments. It includes: definition of the key dimensions and characteristics of the six key zones for product, sales, and marketing; summary of product, marketing and sales focus by zone; key challenges and actions that an organization can undertake for each zone; and methodology to apply the framework and develop an actionable transformation roadmap. This answers key questions such as: Does the current coverage align with existing core competencies? Which zone has the most profitable products? If playing in every zone which business should be divested? If there is heavy emphasis on one zone what does it mean for M&A strategy? Where do the top 100 customers map in the framework? What looking at product and technology roadmap going forward, which zones do we start entering?

Findings

This article provides a framework that enables businesses to ascertain their current state and identify actions appropriate to achieve a desired future state. It provides insights that lead to an actionable transformation plan.

Originality/value

Most companies in the electronics industry are executing multiple strategies based on acquisitions, sales transformations, new product introductions, and cost cutting measures to deal with the situation. However, the success rate of these strategies leaves significant room for improvement at many companies. So what is the answer? As is often the case when many variables need to be considered simultaneously and the competitive environment is complex such as this, it is important to establish a structured way to approach the challenges at hand. In this case, the key elements to consider are the customer experience, the product portfolios, and sales and marketing competencies. Achieving the right level of interaction and focus among these elements is critical to achieving success. This article provides a new and insightful framework to enable a structured analysis of the multi‐variable system.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Eric G. Olson

Business leaders can apply key messages as early as today to begin aligning business operations with business strategy to strengthen sustainability. Principles can be

Abstract

Purpose

Business leaders can apply key messages as early as today to begin aligning business operations with business strategy to strengthen sustainability. Principles can be applied at all levels in any organization, from the entire enterprise down to discreet product or service offerings. The article emphasizes that the enablers of profitable operations over long periods of time will be internally integrated and networked across industries.

Design/methodology/approach

Challenges with sustainability in many existing strategies are explained, and case studies that illustrate both success and failure are described to illustrate key principles. Once the viewpoints are developed and supported with specific cases and research findings, actionable recommendations are made in a prescription for change.

Findings

Achieving sustainable profitability and growth is increasingly difficult for many companies because of shorter product lifecycles, eroding intellectual property advantages, and other growing complexities from the broader business environment. When operations are integrated with business strategy, forces align to sustain profitability and the strategy is more difficult to imitate or leap‐frog. Organizational competencies, cross‐industry capabilities and stakeholder integration all play a role in integrated operations.

Originality/value

The importance of integrating operational capabilities with business strategy is explained and the rewards are articulated using real‐world cases, research and industry‐accepted practices. The prescription set forth for change is evident in some of the world's most successful companies that have successfully sustained profitability and growth. Enterprises that integrate their operations with strategy both across functions and throughout entire product lifecycles will increasingly be rewarded by investors, applauded by customers, and envied by competitors.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 September 2009

Nanci Healy

Abstract

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2017

Heejung Ro, Eric D. Olson and Youngsoo Choi

This exploratory study aims to examine gay travelers’ travel psychographics (allocentricity and psychocentricity) in relation to openness about sexual orientation…

Abstract

Purpose

This exploratory study aims to examine gay travelers’ travel psychographics (allocentricity and psychocentricity) in relation to openness about sexual orientation, collective self-esteem and socio-demographic variables.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey is developed and study participants are recruited from attendees at a large annual gay event. A total of 196 gay men were used as samples for correlation analysis and independent samples t-tests.

Findings

The findings suggest that collective self-esteem is positively correlated with allocentricity. Also, gay couples showed higher allocentricity than single gay men, and white/Caucasian gay men showed higher allocentricity than other ethnic minorities gay men. Yet, psychocentricity was higher for lower income gay men than higher income gay men.

Practical implications

Tourism marketers should recognize that the gay market is not as homogenous as it has been portrayed in the tourism literature. Hospitality service providers and destination marketers should be aware of the importance of the gay community, gay travelers’ psychographics and, more importantly, the diversity within the gay market to develop effective products and services to better position themselves in this niche market.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the tourism literature by enhancing the understanding of gay travelers’ socio-demographic profiles and their travel-related behaviors and perceptions.

Details

Tourism Review, vol. 72 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1660-5373

Keywords

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