Forming And Growing A Team

I was asked to give a one hour presentation for non-profit society, but the suggested time for the presentation was conflicting with my schedule. So I went for the next best thing which was video recording the lecture and then presenting it for the audience at their convenience. The lecture language was Arabic as requested by the audience. The video give brief history of team formation as introduction then describe the “forming, storming, norming and performing” steps of the team life cycle. The video is 22 minutes long and I assure you that it will not be boring.  Enjoy!

Is Marketing Ethical?

Listen to this postI think the biggest ethical challenge for marketers would be the fact of capturing the customer’s attention while being ethical. This is a big marketing challenge that most marketers avoid taking. Marketing a product required presenting the benefits and the advantages of the product but sometimes exaggerating these benefits. The customer would equate the products benefits and advantages with the amount of money paid for buying it. Another ethical challenge in marketing and advertisement would be transparency in telling the customers the side effect of the products. The marketers either neglect or fine print the side effect of their products. Sometimes the harmful effect of the products are displayed on the product, such as the cigarettes,  but the marketing campaign is so strong that the customer would go ahead and use the product anyway. Sundaram & Mitra (2007) found that cigarette manufacturers are advertizing in magazines and internet sites with considerable number of young reader. The advertisement in these locations use young models and display smoking as fun activity to attract large segment of the population.

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References:

Sundaram, D. S., & Mitra, K. (2007). Ethical evaluation of marketing practices in tobacco industry. [Article].International Journal of Business Research, 7(2), 194-204.

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At What Age We Can Work?

Listen to this postChildren under the age of 16 should not work, rather, they should be at school learning to be a better and effective community members. The sad fact is that children cannot afford schooling or at least have enough to feed themselves in the underdeveloped countries. Families in the underdeveloped countries teach their children  to read and write by sending them to the community educators, but they will be learning their parents crafts when they are strong enough to work (at the age of 8-12). The children would help their parents at the farm (or workshop) and then learn how to perfect the required skill to start supporting themselves and their families. Our parents went through the same 60 years ago, but when the oil was discover in Kuwait they went to night-school to educate themselves and work in better jobs. There is nothing wrong with children working instead of learning because working is educational activity also. The problem would be if the children work in harsh condition or got underpaid. Otherwise, working children are better off in a secured factory than attracted to do other illegitimate or criminal jobs. I would suggest that children should work for 8 hours then go through few hours of education provided by their multinational employer.

Information Literacy

Listen to this postInformation literacy is a concern in the information age and a life journey one has to take (Agosto, 2005).  The American Library Association‘s (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report stated “a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to find, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Even though most people acquire enough knowledge to survive the day, but almost everybody should be information literate. Information literacy is important because of the overall advancement in knowledge, and the need to synthesize knowledge to generate new solution to emergent problems. Read the full research …


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Multicultural Business Environment

Team Work

Multicultural Team Work

Listen to this postMost of the difficulties in managing multicultural teams are resided in the cultural diversities and time difference which mainly lead to miscommunication (Chitakornkijsil, 2009). Culture evolves with time as the workers integrate into an effective group and adapt to the external environment efficiently to carry on their work (Edewor & Aluko, 2007). Organization culture, according to Edewor and Aluko (2007), is the “assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization’s members and their behaviors” (p.189). Cultural diversity has two dimensions, the first consist of age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual affection orientation which molds the workers self-image and fundamental worldview. The second dimension influence the workers self-esteem and definition since it consists of “educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, religious belief” (Edewor & Aluko, 2007, p. 190).

Edewor and Aluko, (2007) suggest the following guidelines to overcome multicultural differences at workplace:

  1. Leaders should set themselves as a good example and address myths, stereotype and cultural differences.
  2. Communicate in writing the rules that forbid prejudice and discriminatory behaviors.
  3. Offer training courses, or embed training material in existing courses, that address multicultural differences and the benefits of these differences.
  4. Recognize individual differences and note that some people may view the following differently: authority, acceptance of power dissimilarity and desire for neatness and organization.
  5. Seek comments from minority groups to break the glass ceiling and show importance to the minority groups.
  6. Revamp reward systems to reinforce the importance of effective diversity management.
  7. Sponsor and encourage social events that mix teams together like cruise ship trips and getaways for global teams and picnics and Christmas parties for domestic teams.
  8. Maintain flexible work environment that enable people to work according to their needs.
  9. Monitor the organizations policies and practices to ensure good environment for all employees.

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References

Chitakornkijsil, P. (2009). Communication in global cultural teams and international communication challenge. International Journal of Organizational Innovation, 1(4), 102-112.

Edewor, P., & Aluko, Y. (2007). Diversity management, challenges and opportunities in multicultural organizations. International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities & Nations, 6(6), 189-195.

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Preparing the Survey

Listen to this postSocial values and belief systems influence individuals by shaping their attitudes and behavior (O’Donohue & Nelson, 2009). Beliefs must be rationalized and justified to be believed. Values are at the heart of the belief system and difficult to change. Attitude is a hypothetical structure that represents individual’s like or dislike (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999). The influence of values on attitudes and behavior occurs indirectly via other components in the cognitive hierarchy. For example, “basic beliefs serve to strengthen and give meaning to fundamental values” (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999, p. 525) . Read more …

See also in this blog:

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Self Development Programs are Like Ice Cream

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Robin Sharma and Me

Robin Sharma and Me

Yesterday I attended a nice full day workshop by the best-selling author Mr. Robin Sharma. His most popular book is “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari“. I enjoyed the workshop but there is a variety of self-development books which I read before made this workshop look similar. Once you read few of these self-development books you will find them repeat the same principles. They are like choosing a flavor at Baskin-Robbins, the color and taste might be different but the basic ingredient is Ice Cream. I distilled the presentation to the following important points:

  • All human are equal and anybody can be an amazing leader.
  • We all have equal opportunities which we should take advantage of before it is too late.
  • We need to set long-term personal targets (10-50 years) and then dissect them into smaller tasks.
  • Work everyday on 1% of the task (or goal). You will accomplish the goal withing the target date without being overloaded.
  • Ice Cream

    Baskin Robins Ice Cream

    Keep on focusing on your goals all the time.

  • Fall in love or be passionate about what you do. Keep your focus on that ultimate goal and neglect other distractions.
  • Do not make yourself a victim. Do not blame other people or circumstances for your failures.
  • Learn from you failures, they are a good opportunity to learn.
  • Do not be afraid of risk. Change will always bring the best in you.

Mr. Robin Sharma has a good presentation style that captivate the audience and has a talent for telling passionate stories that makes the audience want to cry. On my scale I would give Mr. Sharma 7/10 when compared with other motivational speakers.

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You Have to See Your Kids Dancing

Kindergarten in Frankfurt
Image via Wikipedia

Listen to this postBy the end of the school year, when I was eight years old, the teacher asked me to wait in the class and not to leave early with the other students. I was afraid that I have done something wrong, but I waited anyway with two classmates not knowing what is coming next. After half an hour he came back and asked us to go to the Principal office and wait in line for our gifts. I discovered later on that I was participating in a ceremony made special for students who scored high marks through out the year. That was my first and last time in the Principal office. They told me that my father was present at the Principal office when I got my gift, but I did not see him there. Back then,  if the student is called to the Principal office or his father was called to school thats mean one thing: TROUBLE! There is no other reason for the student parents to be in school other than that.

Now, the parents have to attend parents day, progress report day, social functions, “we want to show you what we are doing” day and so on. Not attending one of these days means that the parent is irresponsible. The kids are expecting their parents to be present on these days and will be sad if they did not. I have three kids and I can not be present on most of  these day because of my work commitments. I was thinking what if all the parents attended these functions, who will be at work? Once my wife was telling me that she is confused to either perform five  scheduled LASIK surgeries or to go to the kindergarten and watch our daughter sing and dance.  What do you think she did?

A Mathematical Queiz

Implicit plot

xy = x + y + 14 and (y - x = 2)

There are two numbers, the difference between them is two. Their multiplication equal their sum plus fourteen?

A similar questions was asked few days ago on facebook between teenagers. One of teenagers did not know the answer (or maybe the question). The other was able to answer it in few minutes. The time taken to answer the question was impressive. They might had help from an adult or a calculator but at least they have the motivation to answer it.

This questions represent a hyperbola and can be mathematically represented by:

xy = (x + y) + 14

y – x = 2

that can be reduced to

y = (x + 14) / (x – 1) where x – 1 ≠ 0

Hyperbola according to WolframAlfa definition is an open curve formed by a plane that cuts the base of a right circular cone. So to reach the desired answer for the question you may replace an integer in place of x and calculate the result. You should start by the number 2 because x -1  ≠ 0. You will reach the result when you set x = 4 and then y will equal 6.

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Is YouTube Educational?

Google - YouTube

Google - YouTube

Listen to this postYouTube was online five years ago in February 15, 2005. The site was designed by young and energetic programmers who sold it to Googlefor $1.6 billion after one year. YouTube platform had about 100 million videos and 72 million visitors daily when it was sold to Google. Now, about 350 million visitors view 5 billion pages every day. The latest internet site ranking according to Alexa are: 1- Google, 2- Facebook, 3- Yahoo, 4- YouTube and 5- Windows Live. The site host mixed videos that rage for plain stupid to scientific and educational videos. I have discussed this subject with my friends and they claim that YouTube is addictive because the moment you finish watching an interesting video you would be presented with two similar videos to watch. Since YouTube has advantages and disadvantage, the Question here is: Can YouTube be educational?

YouTube Headquarters in California

YouTube Headquarters in California

The researchers, Fralinger and Owens(2009),  selected 61 graduate students and 20 non graduate students to test the effectiveness of educational material made by the students and uploaded in YouTube. The qualitative study, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal two months ago, showed statistical significance on the benefits of using YouTube as an educational method. Students responded “Everything was very helpful for the exams and very good to view and use in a school classroom.” So next time you are caught watching YouTube at work or while studying you can argue that YouTube is entertaining and educational!

Reference:

Fralinger, B., & Owens, R. (2009). You tube as a learning tool. [Article]. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 6(8), 15-28.

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