January 20, 2018

Who gets the Oscars?

It’s Oscar time again with the usual retinue of highly paid stars, glitz and glamour. But what really makes a successful film? Back in 1983 I read William Goldman’s book Adventures in the Screen Trade, which had a formative influence on my own thinking about strategy. Goldman is a highly influential screenwriter – for example, […]

Women as managers

There was an interesting article about whether women manage differently from men in the Economist of 6 June 2015. The research reported suggests that there is no real difference and it brings to mind a short scenario called ‘The New CEO’ which I have presented to MBA students and executives for many years. Briefly, the […]

The Why Axis

You are probably well aware that controlled experiments are carried out in laboratories where one sample, say of microbes, is given a treatment and another is given no treatment (the control) and the results are compared. The idea is to hold constant all influences other than the one you wish to test. The same approach […]

Email Scams

Have you ever wondered why so many email scams are so obviously false? They tend to be full of grammatical errors and misspellings and present a story so ridiculous and offering so much money in a ‘closed’ bank account that no sane person would respond. Or so you might think. Put yourself in the scammer’s […]

Business: an intellectual challenge

Many years ago I was a mainstream economics researcher immersed in econometrics and mathematics. Like many other academics I reckoned that the business disciplines were ‘Micky Mouse’ and of little interest to ‘real’ academics. But as I was drawn into management education through developing simulations of the economy and companies the realisation slowly dawned on […]

Another kind of peak oil

You will probably have heard of the idea of ‘peak oil’, that the supply of oil is finite and the time is approaching, or has passed, when oil production will fall as reserves are depleted. While the debate has raged on the other side of the equation has largely been ignored, i.e. what is likely […]

Clearing up the confusion about getting better off: GDP and GNP

When you read in the papers that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has increased over the past year you naturally conclude that we are all better off. But don’t be fooled. GDP is what is produced in the economy not the income earned by residents. Students of economics will know that national income is equal to […]

Tough competition among the few

Those of you who have studied economics will have run up against the strange word ‘oligopoly’. It means ‘competition among the few’ and textbooks are full of the potentially dire outcomes of price wars. You can now see oligopoly in action as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon start to slug it out. This excellent Economist […]