Posts tagged `essays`

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Economic models of the traditional and well-known sense usually describe either manufactured physical goods or services performed, both of which are scarce resources: only so much grain can be grown, for instance—or widgets churned out of an industrial plant, or pipes plumbed by professionals. Short of espionage, even the market for Information was tied to the cost of materials and availability of produced goods such as printed books, pressed records, or spooled movies. In other words, though the Information was created once and itself remained unchanged, the marginal cost of creating copies of that Information was the sum of the materials, labor, and transportation costs used the produce, package, and ship the finished physical good to a store or warehouse.

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§5294 · April 27, 2010 · (No comments) · Tags: , ,

rev. 15 April 2009; get the PDF

The laws that protect the creation of content are manifold and complicated—even byzantine. America has copyright protection, which applies to concrete expressions of information, trademark protection, which protects distinctive symbols or verbiage associated with a legal entity, and patent protection, which protects “(1) processes, (2) machines, (3) manufactures or (4) compositions of matter” and is perhaps the least understood of all the various kinds of intellectual property protection (Guntersdorfer, 2003).

The explosion of the Internet in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has thrown into stark relief both the legal problems associated with protecting content in a digital age as well as the ethical issues inherent in the existing process for acquiring official intellectual property protection and the rights afforded involved parties in a redress of grievances. Copyright law specifically has come into public consciousness primarily due to the popularity of filesharing: for all intents and purposes, the advent of modern filesharing was the 1999 arrival of Napster, a program which allowed anyone to exchange digital copies of music online, for free. Legal problems eventually forced Napster to shut down (Ante, Brull, Herman , & France, 2000), but its legacy leaves not only alternative modes of filesharing, but a whole host of new web-based content creation engines that toe the lines of fair use.

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§3801 · April 21, 2009 · (No comments) · Tags: , , , ,

Last revised 6 December 2008; get the PDF

Though its origins wend all the way back to 1971, it was not until the 1990s, after a successfully IPO, that Starbucks became the household name. One can trace both its precipitous proliferation as well as its near-singlehanded revival of the gourmet coffee market over nearly fifteen years, but as of 2008, Starbucks’ business model and its brand have taken blows. Despite all this, Starbucks seems to continually rank in the top tier of admired companies, even improving its ranking in Fortune’s “Top 100 Companies to Work For” poll (Levering, 2005; Levering & Moskowitz, 2008; “Top 20,” 2008). Its story is a textbook case of clever marketing, opportune timing, and the ultimate consequences of market saturation and dilution of brand.

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§3412 · December 16, 2008 · (No comments) · Tags: ,

rev. 20 November 2008; get the PDF.

In the inchoate years of the 21st century, the nominal ideas behind Frederick Herzberg’s “Two-Factor Theory” have been largely cast aside in their want of experimental validation, but the late psychologist’s ultimate conclusion—that “job enrichment” is a good and necessary function of management—is certainly alive and well, albeit superseded by more complete theories about the idea (Miner, 2005, pp. 61, 73-74). In a period of a global “flattening” of cultures and economies (to borrow Thomas Friedman’s nomenclature), when fears about job security are on the rise, long-term career goals are sinking into the dusk latitudes, and cynicism about outsource-happy management and inequality is worse in the United States than it has been since the Gilded Age, how can organizations elicit more than a minimum of effort from their employees, short of threatening or scaring them into hyperkinesis?

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§3373 · December 7, 2008 · (No comments) · Tags: , ,

See this in PDF format; revised 28 October 2008.

As a professional working in Information Technology, I often encounter hesitation and trepidation on the part of functional users to engage my employer’s information system, an ERP system known as Banner. The engagement of technology—especially for older generations of users, in which was not inculcated the idea of information systems (i.e. the Internet) as pleasurable or entertaining—has been a focus of information systems and organizational behavior research for some time. In much the same way as MacGregor’s landmark work (Montana & Charnov, 2000, pp. 251-52) split the concept of innate employee behavior into two extremes—essentially wicked and lazy on one end, earnest and self-actualizing on the other (“Abrahamic,” to borrow Herzberg’s phrase)—so traditional IT adoption research has rather myopically divided all impetuses for system use into either endogenous or exogenous antecedents of behavior.

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§3020 · November 23, 2008 · (No comments) · Tags: , ,