Friday, June 23, 2017

Giddy Up Cowboy!!! Rodeos

I had the pleasure of attending a rodeo last week and engaging in the country lifestyle. I grew up this way, not necessarily rodeos, but the country way of living. While I was bred in the lush landscape of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I have not frequented rodeos much. What was interesting was not only the skill of the riders but the social event that gets the community out and visiting.

A rodeo is much like a football or soccer game. It has its own favorites and cheering teams. While not large enough to do a rolling wave it does have its hard core country fans. Serving food, drinks and selling horse gear such rodeos are part marketplace, part social gathering, and part sport entertainment.

The events include lassoing a run away calf, trick riding, rodeo queen announcement, bull riding, dance and barrel racing. Typically activities go on for a few days and riders either camp on site or stay in nearby hotels. Horses are stabled right on the fairgrounds or local arena.

Most interesting is the skill of the youth of the participants. Sometimes being under the age of 10 and able to master the skill of horse riding while even in a full canter. If you have ever ridden a horse you will know that lots of balance and confidence are needed to keep yourself on the horse while it is moving at a fast pace.

The Arnolfini Portrait- Intrigued and Symbolism

The Arnolfini Portrait was painted in 1434 by Jan van Eyck using an early Netherlands style which is of the Northern Renaissance family. As a representation of the marriage of Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife. There has been some considerable discussion on whether this painting is a marriage contract, a depiction of a wedding or simply a brothel.

Regardless of the origincs the picture offers some insight into life during that time.

The picture is one of illusionism that was remarkable for its time. The author completed multiple layers of the painting to create a realist depiction of the couple. In addition, there was symbolism of wealth with the rich clothing, religiousness with candles, loyalty of the dog, and the way in which the hands are help. 

The picture has more meaning than what one actually first sees.

It can be argued that the dog depicts loyalty among the couple. While beds in waiting rooms are common the red curtains indicate a sensual nature of the union. The way in which the hands are portrayed between the couple also indicate similarity of marriage rank. 

Paintings had much more meaning than many of the paintings today. While I wouldn't call today's paintings "watered down" I would say they had a more prominent part of life for the wealthy. There were no cameras so the best way to create a scene was to paint one. This took lots of energy and artists were as much poets and philosophers as they were anything else. Symbolism was a method of saying things without actually having to "say" things so that the messages had depth and were dynamic.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

4th International Conference on Business, Economics, Management and Marketing

4th International Conference on Business, Economics, Management and Marketing
Call for Papers: 14th to 16th August 2017
Venue: University of Oxford

Planning is now in hand for 4th International Conference on Business, Economics, Management and Marketing - ICBEMM 2017(Oxford), which, as you may know, will be held in Oxford, United Kingdom on 14th to 16th August 2017. The overall objective of ICBEMM 2017 is to provide a platform and stimulate discussion on various issues affecting business,economics, marketing and management and interdisciplinary study between business, economics and management.

Conference Website:
Call for Papers Link:
Other FLE Events Link:

Research and discussion on any aspects of business, economic, management and marketing is welcome. The deadline for proposals is 17th July 2017 by which all interested participants are required to submit a provisional title, a short abstract (300-500 words) and an indication of your willingness to participate. We highly encourage doctorate (PhD) and postgraduate students to present their research proposal or literature review or findings or issues in this conference with a very special registration fees. Case studies, abstracts of research in progress, as well as full research papers will be considered for the conference program for presentation purposes.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding abstract/paper submission. Please forward this announcement to your colleagues and students who may be interested. We look forward to seeing you in Oxford.

With best wishes,

FLE Learning
Conference Division
T: 0044 131 463 7007
F: 0044 131 608 0239

The Life Cycles and Rejuvenation of Clusters

Clusters are not one time creations that grow and then burn out after a few decades. They can go on and on growing and transforming when properly managed. According to research in Competitiveness Review those clusters that have strong knowledge based, social capital and strong public policies can continue to grow and adjust through various life-cycles (Valdalio, Elola, & Franco, 2016).

While some aspects of the cluster may phase out there are often others that grow at the same time. A few die and a few grow making the cluster a living and vibrant organism. The entire cluster can die when there is not enough economic principles, such as knowledge, social and policy, are not in sufficient supply.

Knowledge: The innovative and skill level of organizations and employees.

Social Engagement: The social interaction that leads to shared knowledge and innovation.

Policy Management: The fiscal policies on a local, state, and national level.

Clusters are a lot like businesses that emerge, grow, sustain and eventually decline. With innovation and change they can continuously renew themselves. Some may adapt to the market while others renew their offerings to create additional growth. When multiple businesses are working together they transform the cluster.  

If we can understand the growth cycles of clusters we can start to understand how to manage them and sustain them over time. Attracting and training employees for greater knowledge, getting them to socialize in ways that share knowledge and spark opportunities, as well as providing proper policy development can go a long way. The environment and its management must meet the market demands to provide opportunities for growth.

Valdaliso, J., Elola, A. & Franco, S. (2016). Do clusters follow the industry life cycle?: Diversity of cluster evolution in old industrial regions. Competitiveness Review, 26 (1).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Empowerment and Motivation

Empowerment and Motivation


Susan Sasiadek, Ph.D.

June 12, 2017

Can empowerment motivate employees? Can motivation be enough for empowerment within a business? These two topics work hand in hand in creating an organization that thrives on employees that are valued and take ownership in what they do and how they represent the company. According to Sarkissian (2017) empowerment is about how an employee feels in terms of being effective, able to control situations and influential. On the other hand, motivation is defined as both internal and external elements that create a desire for individuals to continue to be interested and committed to their task at hand to attain a goal (Business Dictionary, 2017).

There is great value in having employees that are committed to the organization’s mission and vision. These employees not only take on an intrapreneurial sprit, but they create opportunity for the organization through creativity, productivity and appreciation for the environment (Sarkissian, 2017). Empowered employees develop a feeling of being valued, which according to Mooney (n.d.) “translates to good work habits and the willingness to do above and beyond what is required. Empowered employees frequently strive to excel in areas, including customer service, which is essential to your company's profits” (para 4). Without motivated employee’s companies will face higher levels of turnover, a low morale among employees and a division within the organization of working to achieve goals versus working for a paycheck.

Most organizations set out with a mission of what they wish to accomplish. The vision is shared with employees and over time a culture is created internally. However, for some companies they struggle with employee motivation. It is important to consider that “motivation is an ongoing relationship with employees (Sasiadek, 2006). Often this may take form with the leadership and management team working with the employees to build a level of trust and appreciation.

According to Sharafat (1997) there are ten steps in which managers work to build trust with their employees.

1. Communicate openly about the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and business challenges.

2. Encourage employees to speak openly about sensitive and difficult subjects regarding the company.

3. Provide employees the opportunity to share their feelings in open meetings.

4. Provide adequate amount of responsibility and authority.

5. Flexibility when establishing internal procedures

6. Take measures to help employees feel important and needed. Take advantage of their expertise and knowledge.

7. Allow employees to manage job processes from start to finish.

8. Create quality teams.

9. Survey employees on a regular basis to identify concerns and work environment.

10. Celebrate successes though recognition programs.

Knowledge of how motivation and empowerment work together can also have financial benefits to a company. According to John Hall, CEO and co-founder of Influence and Company (2015) the second most important factor in how to save your company money is to “instill an ownership mentality in your employees” (Para 5). Hall goes on to share that “If employees don't act like a cog in the wheel, they'll think about what's best for the company. When they feel trusted and empowered, they'll take ownership of their work. Though this might sound simple, it won't happen without trust. If you can't trust your employees to do what's best, you need to let them go” 2015, (para 5).

Understanding employees’ values are essential in knowing how to motivate and empower them. By understanding what motivates an individual; creates an opportunity for empowerment to have a greater impact on the overall quality of the organization. When employees take on additional responsibilities because they choose to and to benefit the good of the organization, this is when a company will see motivation and empowerment are working hand in hand.


Business Dictionary . (2017) . Motivation . Retrieved from

Hall, John . (2015, Jan 16) . 5 ways to you’re your company money in 2015 . Retrieved from

Mooney, Lisa . (n.d.) . How does empowerment affect an employee’s motivation and performance . Retrieved from

Sarkissian, Alfred . (2017) . How does empowerment affect an employee’s motivation & performance? Retrieved from

Sasiadek, Susan . (2006) . Individual influence factors that impact employee empowerement; a multicase study . Ann Arbor, MI, Proquest

Sharafat, K. (1997) . The key to being a leader company; Empowerment . Journal for Quality and Participation, 20:1, 44-50