Today’s Emerging Breed of Leaders: Billionaires in Jeans!

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Hello to all my followers and blog subscribers!

In this post, we are going to examine why today’s business leaders and billionaires are becoming younger and unorthodox in their ways as shown in the type of clothes they wear in public such as t-shirts and jeans or denims!

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GIF Credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/recap-mark-zuckerberg-w5XlA3zyqtv7q

The traditional dress code for business leaders is the corporate attire and not t-shirts and denim pants! So, what’s wrong with our current age that the new breed of CEOs just wear ordinary clothes reserved for the young or teenagers?

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Take note that with the advent of digital technology and the cyberspace, the locus of doing business has shifted from the ordinary physical space to the wired or electronic space of the Internet and the hyperreal! From the physical store to the online store! From face-to-face interaction to online interaction mediated by the computer or smart phone screen!

Those who lead and use the latest technologies and the emerging global trade based on intellectual property are now the emerging breed of business leaders—billionaires who wear t-shirts, jeans or denims. Yes! They literally wear denims and t-shirts because they are relatively young people who earn their money by creatively exploring the business opportunities offered by the current technological and intellectual property age!

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Wearing shirts and denims instead of the typical coat and tie for business leaders also indicates a new image and social status for today’s new breed of entrepreneurs. Research studies showed that deliberate deviations from convention had a powerful effect on others. It implies that people who deliberately break the norms are saying that they cannot be ruled by the current social rules because they are creators of a new set of laws!

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GIF Credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/character-belle-4yINQJ7fRU3Fm

The breaking of the traditional dress code for business leaders symbolically  conveys the message that the billionaires in jeans are not the traditional business heroes who just sit comfortably in their CEO offices and neatly dressed in their suits, but new type of leaders who can be present anywhere as long as they have the latest gadgets and technologies to create and manage their businesses. They are not afraid to get dirty to raise their next billion online! The jeans and t-shirts symbolize mobility and flexibility which is the spirit of global business characterized by fluidity and liquidity. The territory of their business is not primarily the temporal space of the physical store or office but the cyberspace where their online markets can be found.

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Younger people are generally curious and creative compared to older persons which would make them the suitable drivers of today’s digital technology, online interaction, and social media. They are technology savvy who love to tinker with the computer, create new apps or networks in the social media,  full of energy to surf and explore the electronic world using their latest gadgets for long hours. Older people are generally less tech-savvy and lack impatient in exploring the complex language and network of the computer world and cyberspace. And yet the new opportunities that create massive and instant wealth are available in the cyberspace and digital technology. They are now in one’s fingertips, in the high-tech and high-speed laptop and smartphones.

Doing business nowadays is now predominantly online. All one has to do is to connect to the cyberspace and be creative in exploring and using the different apps, sites, platforms,  social media, software, etc., to create wealth!

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GIF credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/empire-1z04xlf6oEVqg

The new breed of  leaders do business in the cyberspace where corporate attire is unnecessary as long as they are comfortable with the clothes they wear while using their latest high-tech smartphones and gadgets for their online business, totally different from the traditional leaders who primarily do business in the physical world where physical looks and attire matter!

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Why Culture is Important in Job Hiring

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Introduction

Culture matters in job recruitment. Hiring people to fill up vacant positions in the company requires that the new recruit does not only possess the necessary skill and talent for the job but also a “perfect fit” in the company’s organizational culture. Assuming that the applicant has all the qualifications, the primary question a recruiter should ask himself/herself before hiring an applicant must be this: “Can this person, if hired, persist in his/her job despite the negative traits of the company’s culture? Can his/her personality and value system tolerate if s/he discovers the most toxic trait or aspect of the company’s way of life? For instance, if s/he discovers that the company has strong power cliques or lacks career plan, can this new recruit capable of and willing to adjust and stay in the company? Will s/he be loyal in spite of….?

2 Dimensions of Hiring People

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There are basically two major dimensions of hiring new applicants into the company: the technical and the cultural. The technical dimension includes the educational background, talent, experience and expertise of the applicant for the job. The cultural includes the applicants’ personality, value system, beliefs, attitudes to rules, power and authority or work ethic.The technical aspect is easier to handle than the cultural one. The resume or CV can be an important guide with regard to the technical aspect of the job. But there seems to be no comprehensive guide or tool for the recruiter or interviewer to understand the applicant’s cultural orientation. A well-planned interview guide can probably handle this, revealing the applicant’s basic cultural attitude and value system vis-a-vis the hiring company’ core values. The psychological exams may reveal some aspects of the person’s cultural life but not enough to cover all about the person’s character, value system, disposition, interpersonal skills and attitude towards work: all these are important characteristics which can determine the recruit’s longevity in the company.

The Recruiter Must Have a Sufficient Knowledge of Company’s Culture

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It is difficult for a recruiter to know whether the applicant fits into the company’s culture if s/he is not part of the company or lacks an emic (insider’s knowledge) perspective of the organizational culture of the hiring company. Well, if the position is basically a technical one which doesn’t require much social networking or managing people, this internal knowledge of the corporate culture may not be that necessary. But people are not robots. They react to situations based on their cultural values and beliefs. Most failures in hiring–in a sense that recruits do not stay longer in the company–is probably due to lack of sufficient knowledge of the recruiter about the organizational culture of the hiring company. In this sense, the hiring company is accepting people who are technically capable but incompatible to its overall cultural mold. The result: fast turnovers due to cultural incompatibility between the new recruits’ cultural orientation and the cultural expectations of the hiring company.

Fast turnovers in the company’s hiring can therefore be an indicator of a mismatch between the recruit’s cultural values and the company’s organizational culture. And ultimately, the recruiting team can take the blame for hiring people whose cultural and mental frames as well as corporate values are in conflict with those of the company. The technical aspect of the job may be a perfect match but not the value system of the new employee and that of the hiring company.

Final Reminder

Remember: Hiring is like finding a missing spare part of a particular brand of car. The recruiter may find a spare part similar to the original one but not in design and brand; thus, it will never fit into the car system. It will only damage the car. Thus, if the cultural orientation and value system of the newly-hired employee do not jibe with that of the company’s culture, s/he never fit into the firm’s cultural system. S/he can only cause harm rather improve the brand and productivity of the company. It is therefore important that the recruiter knows the brand and make of the car in order that s/he can spot and buy the correct spare part for the car. The ideal recruiter is one who knows the “basic parts and their interdependence in the entire system” of the hiring company.

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Should a Leader be a Follower First?

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Introduction

To be a leader requires that one must be a good follower. But this requirement would depend on the circumstances on how the person becomes a leader in business. A person can become an instant leader of a business empire by succession.

There is basically two types of becoming a leader. One is by ascription or by birth and the other is by achievement. An ascribed leadership is acquired through inheritance or succession. Usually the heir is a child or spouse of a recognized leader in a particular business enterprise. After the business leader died or retired, the spouse or child becomes the heir of the established business and assumes the leadership of the business.

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For instance, the Norwegian heiress Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, who are 21 and 22 years respectively, became the youngest billionaires in the world for the third year in a row, after their father, Johan H. Andersen, transferred ownership of their family’s investment company, Ferd, to them in 2007. In such a young age, they instantly become the established leader in the investment business  of their country.

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Photo: Alexandra (21 years old) and Katharina (22 years old), world’s youngest billionaires (courtesy of businessinsider.com)

The other way of being a business leader is by achievement. This type of leadership is common in our current global and technological age. The candidate usually achieves success and leadership in a particular field of business by hard work, dedication,and achievement. This person usually does not come from a rich or landed class. Some come from humble beginnings. Others are even college dropouts such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg. Some studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between academic excellence in school and success in doing business. Not all billionaires  graduated with summa cum laude or with high honors in college, but they are usually creative people, smart and have a strong passion in actualizing their niches and goals in business. These people are usually  self-made billionaires.

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“The youngest self-made billionaire is John Collison of Stripe, age 27. He cofounded the payments startup with older brother Patrick Collison, who at 29 is also one of the youngest billionaires. Stripe’s most recent fundraising round in November 2016 valued the company at $9.2 billion; the brothers are each worth $1 billion. John Collison is just a few months younger than Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel.”

Leadership by ascription or succession does not necessarily requires to be a good follower before becoming a leader in  his/her business empire or firm. Without fully knowing the “rules of the game” or actual operations of the firm in the lower echelon of the company, s/he leads the business by succession.

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Photo: Enrique Razon, leader in port-handling business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Leadership by achievement requires the aspirant to be a good follower become s/he becomes the recognized leader of his/her chosen niche in business. One of the top 10 riches Filipino in the Philippines, Enrique Razon (Networth: $4.3 billion), started as a crane operator as a young man in his father’s port-handling business. He allegedly dropped out of school to study his father’s business operations. In a television interview, he attributed the expansion of the business to this experience of being an ordinary worker of the firm. He was literally a follower and servant and worked his way up in his father’s firm. He obeyed his managers and the rules of his own business. As a result, he learned the various aspects of the business. When his father died, Enrique Razon took over the business and went beyond. And because he was a faithful follower, he learned the “rules of the game” and became a new leader by achievement in port-handling business. His business has even become a multinational and engaged other forms of trade, such casino and resort business.

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Photo: Henry Sy, the richest Filipino businessman, leader in retail and mall business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Another great Filipino who became the leader in retail business in the Philippines by being a good follower is Henry Sy, the richest Filipino according to Forbes Magazine. he started his business by selling shoes as an ambulant vendor. Before becoming the leader in retail and mall business, he was a true disciple of retailing. Because of his dedication and persistence, he became the leader of his chosen business niche by achievement.

What type of business leader you want to be?

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Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Forbes.com, and businessinsider.com

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post! Cheers and best wishes! AMDG.

 

References

Au-Yeung, A. (6 March 2018). “The World’s Youngest Billionaires In 2018: Meet The 63 Under Age 40”. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2018/03/06/youngest-billionaires-under-40-2018/#60d61c86729a.

How to Deal with a Toxic Corporate Culture

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Introduction

When we feel harassed and intoxicated by the overall working environment of our company, we either wish to resign or want that company owners, top managers, or organized groups in the business firm would do something to change the corporate culture. Undesirable elements such as work overload, bullying, low company pay and benefits, intense rumor mongering and gossiping, poor leadership, or negative values sometimes force us to leave the company or do something to change the company culture. In her article, “7 Signs You’re working in a Toxic Workplace,” Bruna Matinuzzi (2013) mentioned seven (7) signs of a toxic company culture [1]:

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1. Lack of equality of rules. In a toxic culture, there is a double standard in the application of rules: one for those who are close with power holders and another for those who are powerless and with weak corporate connection. Power cliques are usually given a preferential treatment with regard to the enforcement of company rules in a toxic environment.

2. Negative cliques thrive. “A band of employees form a negative clique whose members behave like corporate teenagers. They put a negative spin on most company initiatives covertly.

3. Malice trumps kindness. Bad people in the company do their greatest damage by sabotaging anything that honest and good employees are trying to accomplish for the good of the business organization. They continuously create roadblocks to sabotage sincere efforts of some employees to help improve the company.

4. Managers play favorites.The manager spends more face time with these selected few than with others. The favorites are publicly praised by the manager for their work, while those who are not mentioned end up feeling bad.

5. Unqualified cronies are hired. Power cliques of employees and managers in the company lobby senior executives to hire friends who are clearly not a good fit for the job or the culture. They bypass the normal recruitment processes to enlist more cronies in their negative camp.The result: the company hires incompetent employees who are loyal not to the institution but the sponsoring power clique.

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6. One of the leaders is a poster boy for bad behavior. “This is an individual who is the antithesis of what a leader should be. He is looking out for number one—his prime motivation is the pursuit of power and money. He is untrustworthy, cheats his partners and every other stakeholder, flirts with female staff, and gossips about one team member to another.”

7. Lucrezia Borgia is on staff. Lucrezia Borgia is a metaphor for the bright, clever and evil employee “behind the throne” who drives many good people away from the company. In the eyes of management, this employee is considered a trusted and company cop who allegedly has the company’s best interest at heart. She has the ear of upper management who are oblivious to the harm she is causing and believe all the filtered information they receive from her. In a business, there are always senior employees who pretend to protect the company’s interest when, in fact, they are only promoting their own vested interests!

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Questions: Do you have any or all of these signs of a toxic culture in your workplace? If a corporate culture fuels the life of a business firm, are there ways to change it especially when it becomes toxic? How?

Understanding Corporate Culture

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Before we discuss whether a toxic corporate culture can be altered or not, let us first clarify the meaning of culture. Culture has various definitions. But the earliest modern definition of culture by the English anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1817) defines it as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” [2]. Culture in this sense refers to the entire way of life of people, both material and non-material aspects, in a given social organization or society and not just people’s knowledge of social etiquette or Western art.

In a business organization, culture is synonymous with corporate or company culture. It “refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature” [3]. It is somewhat like ‘the operating system’ of the organization. It guides how employees think, act and feel . As such, corporate culture is an essential component in any business’s ultimate success or failure [3].

Culture as a Socially-Learned System

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Despite the diversity of cultural perspectives, one thing is common with regard to culture: culture is a socially-learned system in society or social organization, not a natural and biologically-determined reality. Thus, if culture is a socially- learned system, then it can be changed and unlearned. It’s not fixed and immutable as many thought it to be. In fact, with the current globalization age, corporate cultures in the world are changing so fast because of cultural diffusion brought about by transnational operation of business, merger, acquisition, outsourcing, and networking of companies or multinational corporations. The major issue therefore is not whether a culture can be changed or not, but whether the person or group who wants to change it, particularly a toxic culture, has sufficient resource, influence and political will to effect the intended change.Take note that culture change in a business organization can originate from the top with business owners and top managers initiating the change, or from below with organized groups or workers initiating the change. In the case of merger, the change can come from an outside force especially if acquiring mother company is much bigger than the acquired firm.

How to Change Corporate Culture

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Whatever is the origin or the level of power and determination to change the company culture, the following areas or actions are undeniably crucial in changing culture, especially a toxic corporate culture.

1. Make a physical makeover of the company.

It would be better to make a significant makeover of the physical aspect of the company such as change in physical arrangement and structure of offices, architecture, logo, etc. Take note that culture has 2 components interacting with one another: the material and non-material.The material component affect people’s behavior in a company. We have to take remember that humans are closely connected with material things. The physical structure interacts with the social structure.

A toxic culture is facilitated by a material structure which encourages it. Thus, in company where working spaces are open and cramped in one area, divided only by low partitions, enabling people to easily see each other face-to-face and exchange information, a culture of rumors and gossip can easily be formed compared to a set-up where working spaces and offices are divided by closed partitions. In this case, employees cannot directly see and talk with each other and thus minimize unnecessary chatter. But a surveillance system would also lead to some negative effects to corporate culture. In working areas where CCTV cameras are installed, employees would tend to act like robots and become artificial in their behavior because they know that their actions are being continuously monitored by the management.

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Furthermore, the type of equipment used by employees in the company can also affect social behavior and performance. In one multinational jeans company in Southeast Asia, the management discovered in a research that the company’s productivity declined because they used imported sewing machines intended for Caucasian sewers which were too big and burdensome for Asians and thus employees weren’t able to reach the quotas set by the company because of stress and fatigue of operating over-sized equipment. Indeed, the material component of the company culture can affect the social structure of the organizational culture.

2. Evaluate the compensation and reward system. Make it fair and generous to everyone.

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Compensation and social benefits also constitute an important material component of the company’s culture that directly affect employees’ social behavior as well as the entire corporate culture. Evaluate the compensation, social benefit, and incentive systems of the company. Make them scalable based on performance, qualification, and merit. Personalism and cronyism can be avoid if the system is clear, efficient, rational, and based on merit. Moreover, a friendly and familial culture can be created if managers and employees feel that they are taken cared of fairly and generously by their own company like true members of a family through an efficient reward system.

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3. Examine the existing rules, policies and procedures. Make them fair, consistent and realistic.

Aside from the material aspect, the non-material realities such as the company’s core values, traditions, beliefs, customs, laws and policies also affect the company culture. If the company rules and law enforcement are too strict and rigid, for instance, people’s creativity and freedom are curtailed, employees would tend to be passive in their behavior, uncommitted to what they do, and/ or to engage in covert resistant acts such as spreading rumors and gossip. Or if the law enforcement is lax and selective, power elites would arise and control the company’s resources and reward system.Finally, company procedures, rules and regulations are sometimes unrealistic and unnecessary; and thus, promote red tape and increase employees’ work, stress, and burden in the company. Company rules, policies and procedures must be simplified to ease up the workload of the employees. A more relaxed environment can improve the personal disposition of employees and allow them to think more positive things for the company.

4. Appoint a new CEO and/or top managers who can actualize the intended corporate culture. Reshuffle people inside the company and retrench “troublemakers” if necessary.

The CEO and top managers of this new corporate culture must come a company whose mindset is similar to the intended culture. Thus, the Biblical saying that it is not good to place new wine in old wineskin is correct. New wineskin for new wine. Therefore it is desirable to appoint or hire new managers to replace those existing officers who perpetuate favoritism and toxic culture.In mergers or acquisition, the corporate culture of the dominant company usually overshadows the prevailing culture of the smaller company since the new crop managers would now assume leadership in the acquired business firm.

The power cliques in the company must be identified and members must be given different positions and assignments if possible to minimize their impact in the company. If the communication system is efficient, truthful, and transparent, Lucrezia Borgias in the company can be minimized or eliminated.

5. Change the hiring system. Hire only people with personality or character which The into the new culture intended by management to achieve.

People are agents of culture.The type of people or leaders determine the values and overall direction of the corporate culture. Thus, if owners or top managers of the toxic culture want to establish a new culture, the recruitment process must be changed. If the recruiters themselves are in alliance with power cliques inside the company, then the HRD must be revamped and new recruiters must be hired. The qualification, background and personality of the new recruits and employees must fit into the new corporate culture that the company wants.

6. Improve the compensation, perks and social benefits of employees.

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The key to a friendly corporate culture as well as to higher corporate productivity is generous employee compensation scheme, perks, and social benefits, especially if the company is earning more profit. If employees feel that they are loved by their own company, they too, in turn, would love their company and strive to increase the company’s productivity. Google is a company that is well-known for its employee-friendly corporate culture. It offers unconventional perks such as telecommuting, flex time, tuition reimbursement, free employee lunches, on-site doctors and, at its corporate headquarters in Moutain View, Calif., on-site services like oil changes, massages, fitness classes, car washes and a hair stylist. Because of these, Google has soared in productivity and becomes one of the the most-sought companies for job hunters. Google’s corporate culture has helped it to consistently earn a high ranking on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For “[4].

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GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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References

[1] Martinuzzi, Bruna (2013). “7 signs You’re Working in A Toxic Office” Retrieved from https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/7-signs-youre-working-in-a-toxic-office/

[2] http://varenne.tc.columbia.edu/hv/clt/and/culture_def.html

[3] http://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/corporate-culture.html

[4]http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corporate-culture.asp

Leadership in the Social Media: The Sociology of Followers

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To Expand or Not to Expand Connections

Users of social media often face the perennial issue of whether to add too many followers and connections or just maintain a few close business and professional connections in their accounts. On LinkedIn, your direct connections are also your followers. LinkedIn users with numerous connections and followers are usually honored by the network as thought leaders and influencers. On Facebook, your followers are your friends. On Twitter and other social media sites, your followers are those who follow you regardless of whether you follow them back or not. But aside from posting quality articles to attract many followers, there is no other effective way to expand one’s network except to send or accept invites. But how can one becomes an influencer if s/he is encouraged to just remain closely connected with his/her limited number of connections (around 500 on LinkedIn), discouraged to connect with the unfamiliar others or become open networkers (LIONs) or to go beyond the maximum limit of connections and friends? (e.g. 30,000 on LinkedIn or 5,000 friends on Facebook). Which is which: to limit one’s connections to maintain intimacy within the social network and to limit his/her social influence? Or expand one’s network to expand his/her social influence and to lessen his/her group intimacy in the network?

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The Dilemma

Users face a dilemma with regard to the ideal number of connections and followers in the social media. To gain too many connections and followers implies lesser time for the user to interact closely with each member the social network: The higher is the number of followers, the lesser is his/her available time to spend quality time with all of them in the social network. But If the user does not accept too many connections and followers, especially those who are unfamiliar or strangers to him/her in order to maintain a strong bonding in the network, s/he limits his/her range of social influence and possibility to connect with the right people who might help him/her in his/her business or professional career. Thus, a recruiter who connects only with people whom s/he personally knows in real or digital life is incapacitated to meet new people and connect with the right applicants who can fill up his/her wanted list. Moreover, a limited number of connections, friends or followers in the social media implies low social impact which can make one’s profile less attractive to people and to the business world.

The Sociological Significance of Connections and Followers

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There is a sociological basis why having many connections and followers is desirable than having only a few. There is a grain of truth to the idea that the number of followers or connection is the user’s “social” net worth in the social media and status scale. Sir Richard Branson who has more than 6 million followers on LinkedIn is obviously has a higher social net worth than anyone else in the world’s largest professional and business social networking site. Please take note that we are talking here of “social” not economic or monetary net worth which is the main criteria being used in identifying the richest people in the world. Some top influencers such as Branson or Gates, possess both a high social class (wealth) and social status (prestige). But there are others who are not be very rich and yet very high in social status because of their unique skills, level of achievement and high number of connections and followers in the social media Thus, a user with only 100 connections is obviously lesser in social status compared to somebody with 5,000 followers or more. The indicator of social class is primarily wealth, property and monetary net worth while social status is the person’s credential and level of prestige. In social media especially in LinkedIn where every user is presumed to belong to the middle or upper social classes, social status based on the user’s prestige (as reflected in the profile), popularity and number of connection and followers can be a strong differentiating factor among social media users.

The Power of Connection and Followers

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The power of having more connections and followers can be felt directly by the user through the power of his/her invites: The higher is his/her number connections and followers, the more powerful is his/her invites in the social media. The acceptance rate of his/her invites is directly correlated with his/her number of connections and followers: the higher is the number of followers, the higher is the rate of acceptance of the invites. Having more followers and connections can also have a bandwagon effect: Who can resist connecting with popular accounts in case they invite you? Can you turn down an invitation, for instance, if Richard Branson, President Obama, Guy Kawasaki or other influencers ask you to connect on LinkedIn? Being connected with someone with a big following has an advantage to the one who is invited. If that person mentions you in their posts and updates or likes or comments in your posts or updates, his/her thousands of followers can view them and see your profile picture and headline as well, thus expanding your personal brand.

Resolving the Dilemma: Maintain Bonding with Close Friends/Connections but Expand Network

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There is a third way to resolve the dilemma of whether to gain more followers or not:in the social media: Maintain and expand gradually one’s small group of intimate connections within one’s social network but continue to expand the number of connections and followers to increase social status and influence. Sociologically speaking, it is humanly impossible to maintain intimacy if one’s group or network is huge. In real life, when a person’s primary group increases in membership and becomes a secondary group, his/her personal bonding and intimacy with it declines, but his/her social status and influence in society climbs. And this is also true in online interaction in the social media.The increase of membership in a social network can decrease the level of intimacy between the user and all his/her followers. But it has an advantage. It also increases his/her social influence and marketability in the digital economy.

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In sum, there is really no serious problem between maintaining social bonding with a few close connections and expanding one’s social network in the social media. Indeed, life, whether real or virtual, is full of contradictions and paradoxes; one just needs to be creative, empirical and innovative in his/her journey in the world of the social media!

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What is the Church’s Teaching on Labor and Profit in Business?

The Centrality of Labor in Social Issues

One important teaching of the popes and Church councils in the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) which has been kept secret to many employers and entrepreneurs is the moral principle on the priority of labor over capital and the rights of workers in the workplace. Beyond the state’s view and material concern on labor and rights of workers, the CST considers above all the spiritual significance of labor in the divine plan and dignity of workers as created in the image and likeness of God.

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The modern CST as a set of documents has been existing in the Catholic tradition for more than one hundred years from now after Centesimus Annus (1998) commemorated the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first CST document Rerum Novarum (1898). Throughout these years and in almost all documents, the labor issue has always been central in the discussions of these documents. It is one of the recurring themes in the CST that the Pope and the Catholic bishops often discussed  the documents in response to the signs of the times. Work is the mark of a person operating within a community of persons (CCC 2427). Work is central in the Church’s social teachings. In relation to social justice, “[h]uman work is a key—probably the essential key—to the whole social question” (CFC 1181). It is the key to the solution … of the whole “social question.” To consider work is of decisive importance when trying to make life “more human.

The Spiritual Dimension of Work

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Prioritizing labor over capital has biblical foundation. In the CST, labor means participation in the divine call to subdue the earth. “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called up to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another (CCC, n. 2427). “The earth, by reason of its fruitfulness and its capacity to satisfy human needs, is God’s first gift for the sustenance of human life. But the earth does not yield his fruits without a particular response to God’s gift, that is to say, without work.. It is through work that man [or woman] using his [or her] intelligence and exercising his [or her] freedom, succeeds in dominating the earth and making it a fitting home” (CA, n. 31).

Role of Profit in Business

A business firm is not only a conglomeration of individuals with technical functions bonded together with the sole purpose of earning profit but a community of persons in the service of society. Profit in busines should not be the only regulator and purpose of business. “It is possible for the final accounts to be in order, and yet the people—who make up the firm’s most valuable asset—to be humiliated and their dignity offended…Profit is a regulator of the life of a business, but it is not the only one; other human and moral factors must also be considered which, in the long term, are at least equally important for the life of a business” (CA, n.35).

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/517984394621209003/?lp=true

In short, the social and moral welfare of people within the business firm, especially those of the workers, is equally important like profit in knowing whether the business is doing good in the long run. Workers will be well motivated to work if they are well remunerated and their rights are respected by the company, thereby increasing the productivity and profitability of the company. The Church would even go to the extent of proposing profit-sharing in business in order that each member of a company feels that he or she is stakeholder and part owner and thereby also increasing the firm’s productivity.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/380976449709910607/

The Priority of  Labor over Capital

Textbooks on business administration, management and entrepreneurship in business courses with their preoccupation with profit always imply that Capital is a priority over Labor. The common practice of some business to sacrifice the wage and benefits of workers to lower production cost and thus attain forecast and higher profit levels indicates this mentality of businessmen to give more importance of capital over labor. One unfair labor practice that shows this priority of the growth of capital rather than labor is the “casualization” of labor.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. - Jesus Christ

To lower labor cost to increase profit is the hiring of casuals with work contracts with less than six months to prevent employees to become regular or permanent under the Philippine Labor Code and thus save money by not spending for their social benefits. This practice indicates than businessmen/women are not really more concerned with the welfare of the workers by providing them permanent jobs but with the increase of profit or capital. The hiring of casual employees rather than permanent workers to minize the cost of labor and maximize profit is one example of this prioritization of capital over labor. Is capital really more important than labor in business?

Well, from the point of view of entrepreneurs and managers socialized and trained in business schools on capitalist values and on the art of profit-making, capital is always given higher priority over labor. But this is not so for the Church. In papal encyclical Laborem Exercens (Human labor), Pope John Paul II clarifies the principle of labor over capital: “In view of this situation we must first of all recall a principle that has always been taught by the Church: The principle of the priority of labor over capital. This principle directly concerns the process of production: in this process labor is always a primary efficient cause, while capital, the whole collection of means of production, remains a mere instrument or instrumental cause” (Laborem Exercens, n.52).

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On the one hand, labor consists of people or workers whom the Church views as the most important value in the production process. Workers are created in the image and likeness of God, and thus possess human dignity and human rights. Moreover, the work of employees in a business firm is seen by the Church as actualizing of the divine call in the Book of Genesis on subduing the earth. Work in a production is not only a mere exhaustion of physical energy but contains a spiritual meaning. That is why the Catholic Social teaching speaks on the spirituality of work.

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Capital, on the other hand, consists of material things. Money, stocks, machinery, equipment, land and all other forms of productive capital are created things. It’s true that capital is crucial in formation and maintenance of business. But it is definitely lower in spiritual values in comparison with labor in terms of spiritual and moral importance for the Church. Therefore, if a Catholic businessman/woman has to choose which one to prioritize between the two in case of conflict, he or she has to opt for labor as people posses human dignity while capital which consists only of material goods.

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Furthermore, if the business situation would force to him/her to choose which one to prioritize: High profit or welfare of the workers, a Catholic entrepreneur must let go of his/her higher profit margin or forecast than retrenching workers or reducing or removing their benefits and privileges. Christian or Catholic entrepreneurs are people with a spiritual mission. They build businesses to serve people in society by providing them quality products and services as a manifestation of their love for God and neighbor.

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? - Jesus Christ

Source: Jesus Christ  Quotes

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Reference

Jesus Christ Quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jesus_christ_414648

Why is Color Red Attractive to Business?

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net
First of all, the meaning of colors in society is cultural. Color goes beyond appearance, but generates a cultural experience. It reminds one of his/her experience and social upbringing in society. It offers an instantaneous visual way to associate meaning to a particular individual, company or industry. People from various cultures give different meaning and interpretation to colors. And the color red is one of the primary colors which can have different meanings to individuals in society. In urban societies, red is a dominant and attention-grabbing color. Just look around and you will see red in people’s clothes, billboards, cars, buildings, logos, etc. Red is an energetic and vivid influence within the business and romantic world. In general, people associate many positive things to color red. Let us cite some few things in business where red is highly valuable and desirable.
Color Red in Business
Red is generally a “warm” color. “Red” holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day are often associated with warmth, love, and giving. Some entrepreneurs capitalize on the popularity of red to improve their sales and business. Coca Cola is the most popular and biggest-selling soft drink in history, as well as one of the most recognizable brands in the world and the color of its name and logo is red. Created in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, by Dr. John S. Pemberton, Coca-Cola was first offered as a fountain beverage at Jacob’s Pharmacy by mixing Coca-Cola syrup with carbonated water. Coca-Cola was patented in 1887, registered as a trademark in 1893. In 1899, Coca-Cola began franchised bottling operations in the United States and in 1906 bottling operations for Coca-Cola began to expand internationally.
There is a popular theory about color in China. China’s emperor has a theory of the five elements to select a color. The color green stands for wood, red stands for fire, yellow for earth, white for metal and black for water. And the color red symbolizes luck and happiness. Chinese people believe that red can be a sign of joy and fortune. That is why the Chinese New Year and other official or traditional holidays are full of red. Also, any older people or people that have been married usually give red envelope as red is a sign of good luck.The choice of color in business logos can speak a lot about the company’s brand. Close your eyes and think about the color of the name Coca Cola or Coke is black, would you think that the company will reach its prestige today had it not been red in color? Or if McDonald’s famous golden arches were had been gray? Would the burger chain be the international success it is today? Color is a key part of any brand. “Whether your logo is red and intense, yellow and joyful or black and mysterious, its colors are announcing something to the customer. Take note that red, maroon, yellow, and orange are hot colors. Thus, McDonald’s use yellow-gold for its arches since they are selling hot burgers and meals. Products that need heat or suggesting something sexy or romantic must use hot colors; thus, red for Valentine’s day products such cards and ribbons. Blue, purple, and green are cool colors. Therefore, cool products such as drinks and refreshers or deodorant and related products must use cool colors to convey the nature of the firm’s goods. As a company creates the perfect logo, it must sure to pay attention to the color messages they’re sending.” Take a look at the following highly popular logos and you will notice that they mostly are in red:
Photo credit: qualityinternetsolutions.com
Reference:
https://www.fatrabbitcreative.com/blog/psychology-of-the-color-red-and-what-it-means-for-your-business2. Entrepreneur, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232401.
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Asia-Pacific: The Promised Land for U.S. Digital Business

Why should American digital business firms invest in the Asia-Pacific Region?

1. Asia-Pacific Region is the World’s Leading Regional Economy.

The Asia-Pacific Asia region is the largest and the fastest-growing economy in the world today. It is considered as the engine of global economic prosperity (Ming-Te & Ting-Liu, 2012), hosting the fastest-growing East Asian economies of China, Taiwan, Japan, North and South Korea and Mongolia as well as the vibrant Southeast Asian economies of Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Asia-Pacific region hosts nearly “60 percent of the global GDP, the world’s fast growing economies, half of world’s population, and an emerging class eager for American products and services”(USDC, 17 April, 2014). For the United States, the Asia-Pacific region will be the engine of global growth for the next decade with profound impact on American digital and Intellectual Property (IP) companies.

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, projected that by 2022, the Asia-Pacific will be home to 54 percent of the world’s middle class, and will account for 42 percent of global middle-class spending. China alone has a vibrant middle class–necessary for the growth of digital media consumption–of this region which currently reached 247 million, or 18.2% of its population and is expected to further increase to 607 million by 2020. At this point, its class spending will be on par with the US, after adjusting for inflation and purchasing power (Spotlight on China, 2012, p. 4).

With a vibrant and fast-rising middle class, the Asia-Pacific also has a very dynamic media landscape and a high appetite for digital media goods and services, whose content and products are mainly dominated by American high-tech companies. Asia-Pacific surpasses other regions such as Europe, for instance, in terms of television viewing, video consumption via the internet or even through mobile phones (Insights for Marketers, 2012). In 2013, it has the highest number of mobile-cellular subscriptions in the world with 3.5 billion out of 6.8 billion of the total subscribers. It ranks as the number one region in the world in terms of mobile broadband connection with 895 subscriptions (ITU, 2013). Nielsen’s global media consumption index also showed that Asia-Pacific surpasses Europe and western markets on television viewing and video consumption via internet or mobiles. Being the fastest-growing economy in the world with a huge emerging class of digital media consumers hooked online, it is not surprising that the U.S. is seeing the Asia-Pacific region with special interest to further expand its business presence in the world, more specifically in the area of copyright media. Its huge and rising middle class which heavily consumes digital media can accelerate American copyright export in coming years. The Asia-Pacific is therefore the “promise land” of the American digital and entertainment media.

2. China is the Biggest Potential Market for Digital Media in the World.

 

Of all the emerging digital markets in Asia Pacific, China offers the greatest potential as a market for American IP exports, more specifically for American digital media and services, offering the widest and fastest-growing digital copyright market in the world. If counterfeiting and media piracy of American products is controlled by Chinese authorities, it is projected that China would become the largest market for U.S. digital goods and services. At present, China is rapidly becoming the world’s largest digital media market (BIPR, January 2014). It is estimated that China’s media and entertainment market between 2000 and 2015, for instance, has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17%–significantly outpacing the nation’s economic growth. Virtually every Chinese home has a television. China’s film sector has the second-largest film market in the world after the US and is said to overtake the US box office by 2020. China also has the largest and fastest-growing Internet market for digital media in the world—it’s real significance to the American IP business—from multimedia, music, film, to online gaming (Spotlight on China, 20). Although the Chinese Internet penetration is slower compared to the U.S. and developed countries, its potential is however staggering. China already has the highest number of Internet users in the world and is expected to rise further with its more than 1.3 billion population. By the end of 2012 alone, China’s total number of Internet users already reached 564 million with an Internet penetration of 42.1 percent, rising 3.8 percent over the previous year (CNNIC 2013, p. 15). With this increasing Internet users, plus the ongoing convergence of networks and the government’s telecommunication infrastructure building which aim to combine telecom, broadcast and internet on a single platform to deliver voice, data and video content, China’s new digital and entertainment media is expected to reach unprecedented heights (Spotlight on China). And if the U.S can penetrate this huge digital media market in the near future and control China’s digital piracy, American global hegemony in IP, at least in the area of copyright, would then be fully realized given the population and market size of China. Thus, the U.S. through the USTR is zealously taking hegemonic steps to pressure China to agree and to comply to its own version of IPR protection in order to fully access the Chinese digital market and curb piracy of American music, films, software, online games, and other copyright products and services. The American hegemony in copyright aims to colonize China’s IPR regime through law in order to capture its biggest and the fastest-growing digital and entertainment media market in the world with minimal losses in sales and revenues caused by digital media piracy for American multinational IP companies.

2. ASEAN is a Fast-Growing Digital Market in the Region.

 

Aside from China, the ASEAN economies too constitute a great promise for the American digital media business. The ASEAN is significant for the growth of American IP dominance in the Asia-Pacific region. Besides its strategic military, security and political importance to American interest, the ASEAN region is a dynamic and fast-growing economy which hosts nearly 600 million people and lies at the crossroads of huge markets, straddles critical shipping lanes, and controls substantial agricultural, mineral, and energy resources (Petri & Plummer, 2014, p. 1). Above all, ASEAN is a region with a very high demand for American digital media exports; thus, a fertile ground for the establishment of the American IP domination in the Asia-Pacific. Like China, the ASEAN offers a great promise as a market for American copyright goods and services. Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and other ASEAN countries manifest a growing appetite for digital and entertainment media which corresponds to their rising middle class and Internet users. Their digital landscape is at a turning point. For many consumers in this region, digital media is ingrained in their everyday lives, and in some countries, Internet usage for digital and entertainment media is even surpassing time spent on traditional media such as television or print” (Nielsen, October 2011, p. 2). The Philippines, for instance, ranks as one of the top users of Facebook, the top American social networking site with more than a billion users. Indonesia also ranks among the top users of Twitter, another top American top micro blog site on the Internet. A study by comScore in March 2013, for instance, can provide us a glimpse as to what extent consumers of six ASEAN countries in the Asia-Pacific use digital and entertainment media such as music, movies, entertainment news or television shows on the Internet. According to this study, over 620 million people in the region spent their time online, primarily consuming American digital and entertainment media content supplied by top U.S. Internet companies such as Google, Microsoft or Yahoo.

It also showed that ASEAN countries have a very high consumption of digital entertainment media on the Internet, with content mostly provided by U.S. copyright companies (ComScore Media Metrix, March 2013, p. 41). The most popular type of entertainment media consumed by ASEAN web users is the multimedia. And in this aspect, Google’s YouTube ranked as the number provider of multimedia in these countries. Thailand is the highest with 94 percent, followed by Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. With regard to music, Vietnam has left behind other ASEAN countries with a high 80 percent of the Internet users consume music from the Web. In entertainment news, Vietnam too ranks the highest, followed by Singapore (41%), Indonesia, the Philippines (25%) and Malaysia (23%). Thailand is the lowest in entertainment news with 16 percent. In movies, Vietnam also ranks the highest with 59 percent, while the Indonesia is the lowest with 16 percent. But with regard to television programs on the Web, Vietnam is the lowest with 16 percent and Singapore as the highest with 44 percent. Vietnam, being a communist state, censors foreign TV shows on the Web and encourages its citizens to patronize only the government-controlled televisions programs, thus a low percentage of Internet users consume TV programs on the Web in this country.

Conclusion

All roads therefore point to the Asia-Pacific as the “promised land” for American digital and entertainment media products and services. China and the ASEAN offer the greatest potential market for U.S. digital and copyright business in the world. With their rising middle class coupled with their fastest and largest growing Internet penetration and rising appetite for American digital and entertainment media, the Asia-Pacific region is the ideal regional network for the U.S in extending its leadership in innovation and intellectual property. All digital and high-tech companies must therefore re-think their strategies on how to capture this regional market and become the leader of digital media business in the world!

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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Fatherhood at Home is the Foundation of Leadership

baby sleeping GIF by NBA

People think that leadership is something abstract and ideal that needs to be pursued and actualized by studying theories from management schools. But actually leadership begins at home. Fatherhood is the foundation of leadership. Who you are as a father can characterize your basic character as a leader in society. As a father in the family you become the first teacher of leadership to your children! How you deal with them at home is their first lesson of leadership.

fathers day dad GIF

Primary socialization begins in the family! Before your children learn theories on how to become leaders in the outside world, they first learn it from you as their father. Thus, your role as a dad in your family is crucial in determining what kind of leaders your children would become in the future.

Of course, you can argue that your children will learn great theories on leadership, anyway, when they study the best business schools in the world. You may be right somehow, but social scientists believe that the basic socialization of children on how to become human and leader begins during the formative years, i.e., from birth up to 13 years old. This period has a great impact to the child’s character and personality. Thus, the early social learning of the children on how to deal with people begins at home with the leadership of their parents, particularly that of their fathers as head of the household.

happy fathers day GIF

Sociologists discover that there is a basic pattern on how fathers form or socialize their children in society based on social class. Fathers coming from the lower classes tend to emphasize discipline and conformity in raising their children as many of them are workers in business firms who get used to being ordered or commanded by their supervisors and managers.

happy fathers day GIF by This Is Us

But fathers who come from the middle or upper classes tend to emphasize creativity and personal discretion on their children, as many of them are managers and decision makers. So, by social class, the professional and rich dads tend to socialize their children on how to deal or manage people, while poor dads tend instill discipline and obedience to their children. Of course, children from poor families when they get higher education and move up in the social class ladder can overcome the limitations of their family upbringing through formal education. Indeed, education is a great equalizer in life!

jennifer lopez business GIF by American Idol

Happy father’s day to all dads out there!

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