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Vertical Integration and the Mining Railroads of the Upper Midwest. Michael Crum, Northern Michigan University

Vertical integration occurs when a firm expands its activities vertically, and increases the number of value chain stages that it engages in (Barney, 2010). Firms may vertically integrate for a number of reasons, such as to reduce transaction costs or to leverage valuable, rare, and costly-to-imitate resources and capabilities (Barney, 2010). Vertical integration allows firms to reduce transaction costs by minimizing the threats of opportunism and allowing investments in transaction-specific assets to take place (Williamson, 1981). Mining railroads, commonly used to transport copper and iron ore in the Upper Midwest (King, 2003), are a clear example of a transaction-specific investment.

This paper examines the major mining railroads used to transport copper and iron ore in the Upper Midwest from the late 1800s to the present. These railroads are researched in order to determine how they were financed, and if they were built and operated by mining companies themselves that had vertically integrated, or if the railroads were independent entities. The data are compiled and analyzed, and a discussion is provided for how the results compare to what would be expected according to the transaction cost economics framework. Implications for other contexts in which transaction-specific investments are substantial are also discussed.

From Counting Credit Hours to Demonstrating Competency: What Employers Are Looking for in Today's Accounting Graduates. Gary Sanborn and Suzanne Siegle, Concordia University Ann Arbor

The world of higher education has become a dynamic and challenging one. The ways in which colleges and university prepare graduates for life, careers, and effective global citizenship are changing, as questions about the economic value of a four year degree continue. Along with educating students in grounded theories, philosophies, and principles, today's four year colleges and universities are rapidly moving to embrace applied and experiential models for teaching and learning. Empowering students with practical experiences and aligning workforce competencies are valued by employers. This study highlights the importance of mastering knowledge competencies over satisfying seat time or counting credit hours. Specifically, it takes a focused look at the profession of accounting and analyzes how feedback from accounting firms and hiring managers evidence the need for stronger competencies in the area of interpreting, presenting, and effectively communicating the four basic financial statements (balance sheets, income statements, statement of stockholder's equity, and statements of cash flow--with accompany notes to the financial statements) with other departments and managers within an organization. It then recommends current curriculum changes for accounting programs in order to align with industry demand and expectations, as well as better prepare accounting graduates for today's marketplace.

Servant Leadership and Shepherd Leadership: Complementary Components of a Holistic Leadership Principle. Gilbert Wari, Andrews University

Ever since Robert K. Greenleaf coined the concept of servant leadership in one of his papers in 1970, not only did it gain recognition but it also became very wide spread. As a matter of fact, Edward D. Hess (2013) states that he spent considerable time researching high performing companies in America, and he found that the leaders of those companies were practicing servant leadership (para. 1 and 3). This key leadership concept certainly can be traced to the ministry and leadership of the "Master Teacher and Leader" as Ellen G. White (1903) would refer to Christ Jesus in her writings. However, the same Jesus also presented "Shepherd leadership," though this other leadership concept appears to be completely ignored or left out. Perhaps that is why servant leadership has often been considered by some critics as weak and/or trivial (McCrimmon, 2010) because it seems to allow some "laisser aller, laisser faire" wherever it is practiced. To answer this ambiguous situation, a study of both servant leadership and shepherd leadership (SSL) as a holistic, two-faceted leadership principle that has been transforming so many lives, even today, may be the way out.

The Relationship of Employer of Choice Modeling to Organizational Sustainability and Successful Long Term Profitability. Jack D. Cichy, Davenport University

An Employer of Choice (EoC) organizational culture is one in which every employee, regardless of individual differences, knows they are respected and valued. Employees have the opportunity to learn, flourish, and contribute to their maximum potential. This makes the EoC organization able to successfully attract and retain talented, high performing employees while engaging stakeholders. Engagement can lead to innovative sustainable business practices whereby companies effectively manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. Innovation can lead to growth, and growth can lead to long term improvement of the organization's bottom line.

Radio Daze. Henry Balfanz, Alma College

Radio has been a part of the American advertising landscape since the 1920s. Many threats to the industry have been thwarted by the strength and effectiveness of the medium. Prior to the deregulation of the industry in the 1990s and the technological change of the 21st century, there were literally hundreds of small entrepreneurs, owning one or two stations, spread across the country. This is the mythical story of Gus Rowekamp, who owns two stations in a midsize Midwestern market. He hangs on as an owner/operator, putting most of his focus on the efforts of his advertising sales staff.

Merit Pay in the Public Sector: A Conceptual History and Operational Classification. Gregory K. Plagens, Eastern Michigan University

For as long as governments have existed, critics have sought to reform the way they operate. In the United States early pressure to reform focused on creating means to expand and control power. Later, as the size of government grew in the 19th and 20th centuries, reform efforts focused on fairness in acquiring government jobs. Today, one in six people employed in the United States works for government, and calls for reform continue in the name of greater efficiency and effectiveness from civil servants. One of the more recent reform efforts tries to link employee compensation to job performance as a means of maximizing efficiency. The idea is to create incentives for civil servants to perform their duties as well as possible. Many governments at the local, state and national levels are experimenting with compensation schemes under a variety of names, such as merit pay, performance pay, incentive pay and pay-for-performance. The goal of this research is to improve conceptual clarity in the area of merit pay by tracing its academic and applied roots, and by identifying and organizing the various forms it takes in national and state governments.

The Technology Committee's Identity Crisis. Steven Harrast and Amy Swaney, Central Michigan University

The technology committee (TC) is experiencing an identity crisis. In many companies the TC oversees both product side and operations side information technology (IT) risks, two very different domains. Recently, attention has been called to the TC, which brings to the table another alternative for IT governance and has shown promise in providing reassurance to markets by mitigating the negative effects of data breaches. This article analyzes and discusses the current composition and purpose of the TC based on a review of fifty TC charters. It shows how structure and purpose often diverge across companies. This information is helpful both to companies that have established a TC as well to companies that may wish to establish one. For a board looking for a better way to oversee the risks of IT, this is good place to start.

Extraordinary Items Still Exist in Financial Reporting by State and Local Governments. Philip Kintzele and Vernon Kwiatkowski, Central Michigan University

While reporting items as extraordinary is no longer a category in the annual financial reports of organizations that follow the standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, state and local governments may still use the extraordinary category in their annual financial reports. In addition, state and local governments can use a category called Special Items in the financial reports. This study will review the criteria for extraordinary items and special items and report on the uses of these categories by state and local governments in the state of Michigan.

How the Technology Revolution Is Changing the Accounting Profession and the Implications for Accounting Programs. Debra McGilsky and Lori Olsen, Central Michigan University

The accounting profession is expected to change more in the next five years than it did during the past 50 years largely in part to new and developing technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), Blockchain, data analytics, and cryptocurrencies. One "hit list" has predicted that accounting will be one of the top five professions to experience a need for significantly fewer workers over the next five years due to the technology revolution. This paper describes the new technologies and how they have already changed both how accountants work and the type of work they provide. It then discusses what skills the "accountant of the future" will need to be successful. This is followed by an examination of the impact the changes will have on accounting programs, including a discussion of the education and training that programs will need to offer students to remain relevant and to ensure their graduates are productive and successful in the rapidly changing accounting environment.

REM for Managers: A Spiral Model. Alison Jolliff and David C. Strubler, Oakland University

We propose the Resilience, Engagement and Motivation (REM) spiral, a meaningful visual metaphor for organizational leaders at all levels. Organizations are increasingly concerned about employee resilience, engagement, and longstanding motivation challenges. We believe that there is cause for interest in merging these three to produce a practical model for managers. The spiral metaphor offers organizations some antecedent principles and practices along with adaptive responses to maintain upward REM, even under changing conditions.

The abundance of research argues that managers do influence REM for themselves and their employees. There is support for the notion that leaders can make or change certain structures and systems (such as hiring practices, well-designed jobs with mastery and autonomy, intrinsic rewards, and the removal of fear) that foster thriving adaptive cultures. In short, to change company culture, we need to first influence such structures and systems. We argue that REM is really a function of the yin and yang of co-occurring REM practices and responsive agility to changing conditions.

Out of necessity, REM strategy has to take into account degrees of uncertainty and reasonably expected predictability. In other words, good managers learn to deal with the fluctuating levels of certainty and eschew the idea that things are either predictable or they are not. Both are true, meaning that managers need to execute well-grounded and informed REM practices (habituations) to ensure a sort of dynamic stability in their key professional relationships and thus, organizational culture. At the same time, they must adapt quickly to environmental and internal changes. Further, we assert that good managers anticipate and respond well to adversity, contribute to a culture of engagement, and provide a motivational work environment. They embrace the confluence of ideas and practices (not a single idea or practice) that can interactively and intentionally produce synergistic effects for their employees, organizations, and those they serve.

Installment Sales of Depreciable Assets. William Hood, Central Michigan University

The seller of depreciable assets (e.g., equipment and buildings) will often agree to accept a down payment on the date of sale, with the balance of the selling price to be paid in future installments. The tax law governing such sales is quite complex. This manuscript will not only explain the basic tax rules applicable to such sales, but it will also illustrate the tax advantages and pitfalls that the seller may encounter. Numerous examples and tax form references will be used to help the reader understand this important segment of the tax law.

Data Analytics: "Fad" or for Real and Here to Stay? Gary Hayes, Central Michigan University

The world has changed drastically in terms of the volume, variety, and velocity of data that have become available to everyone including businesses because of the internet and ERP type software that is being utilized by companies today. As companies face significant competition worldwide, using business analytics effectively becomes critical in forecasting and predicting future outcomes. Business information is usually historical, incomplete, and not always completely accurate. Managers can no longer be completely relied on to make decisions based solely on intuition and instinct. They need forward-looking perspectives using statistical and predictive modeling to see the influences from the external information. Information like customer tastes and habits will help support courses of action for a company. Business analytics takes statistics and uses it to simplify data to provide new information that is insightful for the future.

Data Analytics has also been used in the agriculture and health segments with amazing results. Data scientists are emerging as the experts to help companies navigate through data analytics. A data scientist has been identified as a data analyst, intelligence analyst, statistician, and computer programmer. The accounting profession is taking notice because accountants are the logical ones to embrace this data information revolution.

Debits vs. Credits: A Low-Tech Game with High Impact. Anthony Burdick, Aquinas College

A problem often encountered by instructors: students easily disengage in a traditional classroom setting. The centuries-old lecture format must now be replaced by one that is much more interactive. It is clear that interactivity promotes engagement, which promotes learning. While teaching a lackluster financial accounting class session in 2006, I improvised a game called "Debits vs. Credits"; it pitted one side of the classroom against the other in a competition to answer true/false questions read aloud. The game caught on, and I have played it over 200 times in accounting courses through second-semester intermediate--as a mid-class "energizer," an end-of-class recap, and as a warm-up exercise for exam review sessions. Debits vs. Credits appears to be popular among students because it changes the pace of classroom activities--and it engages their competitive spirit. The game also strengthens and tests students' ability to process aurally. Being able to listen to and understand technical language and complicated syntax are critical skills for the accounting profession. Non-accounting majors also seem to benefit from the game's focus on auditory processing. I believe that Debits vs. Credits can be used to promote engagement--and learning--in undergraduate and graduate courses in business and accounting.

Characteristics of Innovation Development as a Business Process.

Lawrence Navarre and Rasik Borkar, Kettering University

Innovation development is an unusual business process. Whereas most business processes are sequential and predictable, new product development violates many of the common characteristics of a business process. In this paper, six characteristics which make the process of innovation development different are discussed including Unpredictability, Cross-Functional, Concurrent, Multi-Part, Scalable, and Learning. These characteristics make it difficult to apply common approaches to process improvement. Understanding these characteristics has led to the observation that development is not a normal business process with typical cause-effect clarity. Rather, development is a dynamic system and application of System Dynamics principles can improve business performance. The resulting observation is that innovation development is not like a process that business leaders typically manage. Rather, innovation development is much more like an information system with system dynamics that make achieving innovation development excellence particularly challenging.
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Title Annotation:mining railroads' vertical integration, accounting graduates competency, leadership styles
Author:Crum, Michael
Publication:Michigan Academician
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2018
Previous Article:The Law of Confusion: An Examination of Misunderstanding, Mistake, and Ignorance in Contract Law.
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