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Eliminating GMOs would take toll on environment economies

yjyrjrjHigher food prices, a significant boost in greenhouse gas emissions due to land use change and major loss of forest and pasture land would be some results if genetically modified organisms in the United States were banned, according to a Purdue University study.

Wally Tyner, James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics; Farzad Taheripour, a research associate professor of agricultural economics; and Harry Mahaffey, an agricultural economics graduate student, wanted to know the significance of crop yield loss if genetically modified crops were banned from U.S. farm fields, as well as how that decision would trickle down to other parts of the economy. They presented their findings at the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research in Ravello, Italy, last year. The findings of the study, funded by the California Grain & Feed Association, will be published in the journal AgBioForum this spring.

“This is not an argument to keep or lose GMOs,” Tyner said. “It’s just a simple question: What happens if they go away?”

The economists gathered data and found that 18 million farmers in 28 countries planted about 181 million hectares

Business as plan B

hkhkIt turns out, the assistant professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara discovered, the circumstances that spur women to start their own businesses in the first place have a tremendous influence on the kinds of enterprises they establish.

Thébaud’s research appears in the current issue of the scholarly journal Administrative Science Quarterly. It also is highlighted in a briefing paper she prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to influence public discussion and debate around work-family issues.

“Some women see a business opportunity and want to capitalize on it — they have a particular product or service they want to bring to the market, and they want to grow a business and hire more employees,” Thébaud said. “In scholarship we refer to that as ‘opportunity-motivated entrepreneurship’.”

And then there are women who turn to self-employment out of need. That need may be additional family income, but more likely it’s a degree of work-family balance that a traditional wage or salaried job can’t provide — particularly in the U.S. “We don’t have much flexibility in the workplace and we don’t have

Antitrust laws may hinder socially responsible business collaboration

v fvsfA new study suggests that U.S. antitrust laws could hamper the efforts of companies to collaborate on sustainable and socially-responsible business practices, even as consumers and businesses increasingly value them.

Both the public and many businesses are worried about natural resource limitations and the threat of climate change. Current anti-trust laws don’t fit with today’s global concerns, said Inara Scott, an attorney and assistant professor in the College of Business at Oregon State University.

“When it comes to the environment, we’re used to thinking of companies as part of the problem,” said Scott, who studies environmental law issues. “But today a lot of companies want to be part of the solution. They want to become more socially-responsible and drive sustainability for themselves and the consumer.

“The question for them becomes ‘How do I promote better environmental practices without losing market share?’ “

Antitrust laws alone may not completely prevent businesses from collaborating, but the ways in which the laws have been interpreted and applied over time has had a chilling effect on businesses, said Scott, whose research on the issue was published

European business is willing but not equipped for low carbon transition

hfmhmhmResearch from Climate-KIC reveals that most European business leaders have prepared strategies to respond to climate change, but with a lack of focus on innovation, those strategies are likely to be ineffective for a 2°C trajectory.

The study from Climate-KIC, the EU’s principal knowledge and innovation community focused on climate change is entitled, Sparking an Innovation Step Change. It analyses the readiness of C-level European business leaders to deploy radical innovation to turn climate change from a threat into an opportunity.

Most European business leaders, (63%) acknowledge the regulatory and physical risks posed by climate change. 63% also believe responding to climate change would drive growth as demand for environmentally sound products and services increases. To address the identified risk and opportunity, most businesses (59%) said they have a strategy to respond to climate change.

However, despite the positive ambitions of European business, only 3 in 10 (29%) see a large amount of scope to respond to climate change using innovative technologies and ways of working. Even less (14%) believe there is a large amount of scope to evolve their business model to reduce

Trust a large factor in the emotional process of family business succession

fbfrgeqA new study from Family Process shows that passing down a family business is an emotional process, and key factors need to be in place in order for the transition to prove successful. The owner needs to trust other family members’ involvement in the long-term plan for the business, and nurture a healthy outlook and plan for their own retirement. In the United States alone there are an estimated 10.8 million family businesses. Only 30% of businesses stay in the family from the first to the second generation.

Beyond business-related decisions, such as managing organizational change, there are human factors at play in the transfer of ownership to an adult heir or family member. This research finds that the family business, in many cases, takes on its own personality, and can be seen almost to be a member of the family.

Ten active family business owners were asked to share their life stories in an effort to explore what constrains successful succession. The interviews were used to allow participants to tell the story of their business, thinking about pivotal chapters in its evolution. Researcher Dr.

Business groups

fbgnhkiBeing a part of a business group and participating in capital markets can have a significant positive impact on an Indian company’s performance in the stock market, according to a new study on Indian entrepreneurship by emerging-economy experts at Rice University, the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India, and the graduate business school INSEAD Singapore.

The findings contradict prior research that suggests business groups in developing economies act mainly as substitutes to poorly developed economic institutions in these countries. Business (or corporate) groups are entities that control and coordinate two or more distinct legal companies through commonly held ownership stakes, often complemented by social and familial ties. Business groups are ubiquitous in emerging markets and even in some developed economies.

The paper will be published in Strategic Management Journal.

The authors argue that although business groups may have initially emerged as alternatives to well-developed economic institutions, they are not necessarily substitutes for them.

“While the absence of well-developed capital markets may indeed have stimulated the emergence of business groups, we propose that business group affiliation and the scrutiny that maturing capital markets

Growing old can be risky business

gngnkiManaging money can be difficult at any age. For older adults, changes in physical condition and life circumstances can lead to changes for the worse in financial behavior, putting their well-being in danger. Now those changes have been given a name: age-associated financial vulnerability.

Two experts in elder abuse coin the term and explain the concept in an opinion article published in the Oct. 13 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. They also call for research to identify and help older adults at risk from age-associated financial vulnerability, or AAFV for short.

They define the condition as “a pattern of financial behavior that places an older adult at substantial risk for a considerable loss of resources such that dramatic changes in quality of life would result.” To be considered AAFV, this behavior also must be a marked change from the kind of financial decisions a person made in younger years.

“For example, if an older adult gives his or her neighbor $10,000, this many be a sign of AAFV. However, if the older adult has given large sums of money to those in

Better business is linked up

hgkjhjmLinkedIn is perhaps one of the most well-known of the online social networks and is commonly used by professionals hoping to make new and fruitful contacts with other professionals in their field and the organizations and businesses associated with them. Research published in the International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, suggests that LinkedIn users are well acquainted with and fairly happy with the technological performance of the network, but have mixed responses to its social benefits and raise concerns regarding privacy and professional authentication.

According to Eng Li Yap and Qiyun Wang of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the proliferation of online social networks has allowed communication and conversation to be carried out on an unprecedented scale across the globe. LinkedIn has almost 400 million members although fewer than 100 million are known to be active users. Nevertheless, 100 million individuals is a large network and one that has mutual benefits for those who are active. The team suggests, however, that theirs is the first examination of the network from the perspective of professional development taking into account social, technological and pedagogical affordances.

The real value of taking your business offshore

rgrgweOver the last two decades, an increasing number of companies have set up subsidiaries in offshore financial centres. So why don’t they move the entire business, and establish headquarters there too?

While it seems prestigious — and tax-savvy — to be based in the Cayman Islands or Luxembourg, companies that choose to do so aren’t actually worth more, according to a new study published in the Journal of Corporate Finance. It’s the companies whose subsidiaries are offshore that are reaping the financial benefits. However, there are hidden costs associated with this too.

“Offshore financial centres, or OFCs, are attractive to companies because of low taxation, flexible regulations and stringent secrecy policies,” says Concordia University accountancy professor Michel Magnan, who conducted the study with co-authors Tiemei Li from the University of Ottawa and Art Durnev from the University of Iowa.

“Market icons like Google, Apple and the General Electric Company have already established offshore subsidiaries to take advantage of those benefits. For example, Google’s offshore operations helped the company reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 per cent in 2009, the lowest tax rate compared

How does business debt affect firm value and consumer satisfaction

bjnkniFeeling less satisfied with the businesses you patronize? It might be because those businesses are in a lot of debt. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing, a company that has a lot of financial leverage–that is, a company that has a lot of debt in relation to its value–spends a lot less on advertising, which in turn decreases customer satisfaction.

“Surprisingly little research has been done on the effects of debt on marketing,” write the authors of the study, Ashwin Malshe (ESSEC Business School) and Manoj K. Agarwal (SUNY-Binghamton). “That’s surprising for a number of reasons, including the fact that companies with higher leverage tend to invest less in long-term, intangible assets–the very assets that have an impact on customer satisfaction.”

To investigate the relationship between leverage and marketing and the effect of that relationship on customer satisfaction, the authors used a sample of 171 firms surveyed in the American Customer Satisfaction Index over seventeen years. They estimated a system of five equations and found that higher leverage leads to less advertising, which in turn results in lower customer satisfaction. The

Women in business

fbrfbweUC Santa Barbara sociologist Sarah Thébaud didn’t doubt that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to establishing their own business enterprises — plenty of evidence proves that to be the case — but she wanted to find out whether or not people are systematically biased in favor of male-led businesses, and if so, why.

It turns out they are, and the reason comes down to stereotypical beliefs about men’s and women’s traits and abilities.

The assistant professor of sociology at UCSB conducted three experimental studies and found across the board that people are likely to systematically discount the competence of female entrepreneurs and the investment-worthiness of their enterprises. However, she also found that this bias is somewhat mitigated when women pitch a particularly novel business idea. Her research was recently published online in the journal Social Forces.

“I looked at two different types of businesses, one in what I’d call a gender-balanced retail industry and the other in a high-tech industry,” Thébaud said. She asked participants in the study to review and rate business plans for their investment-worthiness. The plans were identical, but she

Business leaders should re think how they treat team members

gngngnweNew findings from an international team of researchers suggest business leaders who oversee teams need to find a middle ground in how they treat team members — or risk hurting team performance. Specifically, the researchers found that treating some team members much better than others can adversely affect performance — as can treating all team members the same way.

“Existing research has generally shown that leaders treating team members differently, depending on factors such as how competent they believe each member is, can result in productive teams,” says Bradley Kirkman, co-author of a paper on the work, General Hugh Shelton Distinguished Professor of Leadership and head of the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management. “In fact, previous research points to a linear relationship between treating team members differently and team performance. But we didn’t find that to be true.

“Instead, we found that leaders can go too far. If a leader treats team members too differently from each other, performance suffers,” Kirkman says. “The relationship between ‘differentiation’ and team performance is more of a bell curve

Business Creativity and innovation need to talk more

nhnhmhmCreativity and innovation are not sufficiently integrated in either the business world or academic research, according to a new study by Rice University, the University of Edinburgh and Brunel University.

The findings are the result of the authors’ review of the rapidly growing body of research into creativity and innovation in the workplace, with particular attention to the period from 2002 to 2013.

“There are many of us who study employee creativity and many of us who study innovation and idea implementation, but we don’t talk to each other; we’re siloed,” said Jing Zhou, the Houston Endowment Professor of Management at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “The review’s goal is to integrate both.” Zhou co-authored the paper with Neil Anderson, a professor of human resource management at Brunel, and Kristina Potocnik, a lecturer in human resource management at Edinburgh. The paper will be published in the Journal of Management‘s annual review issue.

The authors said creativity and innovation are complex, multilevel phenomena that pan out over time and require skillful leadership to maximize the benefits of new ways of working. However, Zhou said,

Privacy policies good for big business not so good for consumers

bfthbergA doctoral student in information science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock presented research at Harvard University this week that indicates, among other things, privacy policies published by most businesses are not consumer-friendly.

Therese L. Williams, lead author of “Protecting Private Information: Current Attitudes Concerning Privacy Policies,” was invited to present at the sixth annual Academy of Science and Engineering International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk, and Trust at Harvard.

Using data from an online survey conducted in spring 2014, Williams’ research delves into whether attitudes concerning privacy have changed over the last decade.

She says that, as written, privacy policies published by the majority of businesses serve only to protect organizations from sharing or selling consumers’ private information to other organizations, but are not readable by the average consumer.

Williams’ research suggests that “a new social contract about individuals’ private, and supposedly confidential, information should be developed to protect this information, while still allowing the spread of technology and online commerce.”

For her research, survey respondents answered such questions as whether they had posted a photo on a social

Small start up businesses in rural areas must hustle for loans from far off banks

j,,uiliukiTo better their survival chances, entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses in rural areas must successfully pitch their ventures to “faraway, unknown banking officials” rather than relying on local lenders as in the past, according to a Baylor University study.

Increasingly, bank branches are headquartered in distant urban areas — and in some cases, financial “deserts” exist in towns with few or no traditional financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. That means that local lending to individuals based on “relational” banking — with lenders being aware of borrowers’ reputation, credit history and trustworthiness in the community — has dropped, according to a Baylor study published in the journals Rural Sociology and International Innovation.

Instead, more individuals launching small businesses are relying on relatives, remortgaging their homes and even drawing from their pensions — all of which are risky approaches, said lead researcher Charles M. Tolbert, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

But for the 30 percent who obtain loans through the traditional lending method, that approach also can be very challenging, according

How much does email cost a business

tnhtnnEmail use is a hidden cost for many businesses but a simple formula developed by researchers in the UK and Australia can help bosses work out how much of an employee’s salary is effectively paying for their email use. The formula, reported in the International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, estimates that email use costs anywhere between £5,000 and £10,000 per employee each year.

Thomas Jackson of the Department of Information Science, at Loughborough University, and colleague Sharman Lichtenstein at Deakin University in Burwood, report that many employees continue to disparage email, despite finding it essential in many respects. Problems such as ambiguous and unclear messages, email “overload,” security and privacy issues, and email interruptions all confound effective and efficient work practices for many working people.

The researchers have studied how email is used and abused at four organisations and determined how staff training and a well-defined email policy can help reduce the amount of time wasted on unnecessary email. The team has also developed a simple formula based on an average salary of almost £25k,

Business survival 101 Put a woman in charge

gdbftbeaThe key to long-term survival for many businesses is having a woman in charge, according to Cornell University researchers.

Many businesses survive longer under female ownership, according to research by Michele Williams, assistant professor of organizational behavior in the ILR School, and Arturs Kalnins, associate professor of strategy at the School of Hotel Administration.

“We find that female-owned businesses consistently out-survive male-owned businesses in many industries and areas,” said Michele Williams, assistant professor of organizational behavior in Cornell’s ILR School. “Our study contributes to the debate about gender and business ownership by going beyond typical questions asked by researchers and policymakers.

We explore the often-ignored third possibility — that female-owned businesses systematically out-survive male owned-business in specific industrial sectors and regions.” Williams co-authored the study with Arturs Kalnins, associate professor of strategy in Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. The study will be published this year in the Journal of Business Venturing.

The authors found that many of the largest industries in which survival rates of female-owned businesses outpaced those owned by men were related to four broad sectors: educational services and dance studios,

Businesses can help preserve endangered species with small landscape changes

wgvwrgweRaptors, or birds of prey, some of which are endangered species, typically live in environments that provide natural land cover, such as forests and grasslands. Protecting endangered raptor species helps maintain food chain balance and prevents overpopulation of common raptor prey, such as snakes and rodents. As more businesses are built on the edges of urban areas, land where raptors once lived becomes industrialized, which raises concerns about the consequences of habitat destruction on raptor populations. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that businesses can contribute to raptor preservation efforts by engaging in less development of lawn areas and increased planting or preservation of native grasslands and woodlots.

“Greater amounts of cleared and developed space, such as lawn and pavement, around these businesses have negative effects on raptor presence,” said Charles Nilon, professor of fisheries and wildlife at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “In areas with more natural land cover of tall grass, woodlands and tree cover, we saw a higher number of raptors. Simply adding certain trees and leaving tall grass can attract this wildlife.”

To determine raptor presence,

Businesses dont always get what they want but try to get what they need

fbftngngAlthough most citizens tend to believe that big business owns Washington D.C., a team of researchers suggests that business may have a less dominant and more complicated relationship with government than previously thought.

In a study of randomly selected federal policy decisions between 1998 and 2002, the researchers found that when citizen interest groups and other competitors opposed businesses on policies, businesses had roughly an equal chance of success as the citizen group. When the researchers examined a shorter time period, businesses were only successful about a quarter of the time.

“We were pretty convinced that we were going to find that business did have an advantage, but, when going head-to-head against these citizen groups, government officials and other groups that represent occupational interests, business has no inherent advantage,” said Marie Hojnacki, associate professor of political science, Penn State.

However, businesses may be better suited for certain types of legislative battles, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the forthcoming issue of Interest Groups and Advocacy, available online now.

For example, Hojnacki noted that when business interests back specific, more technical