Socialnomics: The Social Media Revolution

I recently read portions of a book called Socialnomics by Erik Qualman. In this book, Qualman discusses how social media has revolutionized how people interact with each other and how individuals receive and come across information in today’s world. He says that social media has become the most popular internet activity over the last three years because it helps people to avoid what he calls “information indigestion”. This is the idea that people can avoid coming across and reading useless information and stories that they do not care about on the internet. Continue reading

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Class versus Organizations in Society

In Chapter 13 of Organizations and Organizing, Scott and Davis propose different views on whether classes or organizations are the defining decision-making units in society. They say that this is an important distinction because it defines how social scientists tell history over time. So does the makeup of social classes create the rules of the game in society and also the distribution of wealth between individuals? Or is it the organizations that create the structure, which then leads to the way society functions? Continue reading

Are Professional Athletes Out of Control?

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Like it or not, professional sports have become a major part of our society and athletes have become worldwide icons and superstars. Many of these players are literally worshiped by millions of people and are allowed to get away with things that the typical person would not be able to. In the cities where they play, these athletes are regularly given free meals at the nicest restaurants, open access to the best golf courses and social clubs, and VIP treatment at all nightclubs and bars. So it is no surprise that players have let their popularity get to their heads. When everyone around you treats you like a celebrity, you will begin to act like one. In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend of star players getting arrested for anything from drunk driving and drug possession to sexual assault and rape. This is the case for almost every major sports league in the world, particularly the National Football League. Continue reading

Financial Innovations in the Banking Industry

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For this post, I wanted to look at the role that financial innovation played in the Great Recession. Financial innovations are ways in which banks foster investments and are able to create value (often times false value) through different methods. These new forms of investments have really only been developed since the 1970’s, and were formed in an effort to move the banking industry from a stale and constricted marketplace to a vibrant and accessible one. Continue reading

Richard Kinder: The Smartest Guy in the Room?

Richard Kinder is probably one of the forgotten names of Enron because he left the company long before things got out of control. Kinder was at one point next in line for the CEO throne, working as the company’s COO for six years and one of the main reasons for its success. Ken Lay himself had promised that he would step down as CEO when his contract expired at the end of 1996 and that Kinder would fill his position. However in 1996, Lay decided he was not ready to leave Enron and so Kinder left the company. This was a major turning point in Enron’s history. Although Kinder might have done some things that initially led Enron down in its road of financial fraud, nothing illegal happened on his watch. He was one of the few Enron executives who knew what the limits were and knew how to stay within them. Continue reading

Effective Research Techniques Taught by Dot Thompson

Over the past few years, I have been in multiple classes where Dot Thompson has come in to talk to us about effective research techniques. Although I was aware that Bucknell subscribed to online databases, I did not know how to access these pages and I certainly didn’t know which ones were better than others until I sat in on these sessions. Dot showed us where we could find these databases on the Bucknell website and went through step by step processes on how to get the most out of our research. Continue reading

Looking at Enron as a Loosely Coupled System

I think that Enron is a great example of a company as a loosely coupled system. There are a few main points that I got out of the section “Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems” (Scott and Davis, Pg. 93-94). First, rules do not always govern actions. This clearly applies to all aspects of Enron. The company itself did not comply with accounting regulations set forth by the government and reported consistent earnings when in fact the company was losing money. Also, employees themselves, such as the CFO Andrew Fastow, participated in illegal and fraudulent deals with people both inside and outside of the company. In addition, company members did not follow the rules and standards within Enron. There are numerous examples of this. For one, almost all of the company’s executives used Enron to pay for their own personal expenses with some spending millions of dollars. Also, different departments within the company made deals that were not approved by RAC, the company’s risk division in order to reach personal performance goals and earn bonuses. Continue reading