Ontario Minimum Wage Increase: Good or a Bad Idea?

The flurry of news and commentary regarding Ontario’s wage increase has been dizzying not only because of the amount of commentary but because of how definitive people seem to be despite the stark contrast in arguments they are proposing. Those on the left like the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star tend to push back the view that increasing wages compromises business and the economy while those on the right like the National Post and The Fraser Institute push back on the view that increasing wages increases the spending of employees as consumers and thus improves the economy. Supporting both sides is a hodgepodge of shoddy evidence. At the same time we have such a conflicting set of testimon

Why are Consumers so Irrational?

In 1974, two economists published an article that has had profound implications for our understanding of how people make decisions in their everyday lives. Nobel Prize winners Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman presented strong evidence to suggest that when faced with a decision, people do not engage in what many believed to be a rational, calculated process where they collect all relevant information, evaluate that information, devise alternatives, evaluate those alternatives against criteria and then make a decision. Instead we use heuristics or mental shortcuts that supplant this time-consuming and arduous process. We use these shortcuts all the time without even knowing it. One of the m

Moral Licensing - The Dark Side of Philanthropy

There is a growing trend associated with the relationship between business and civil society that has sparked some interesting discussion. Consider the following: Growing Power is an NGO that works with youth to establish community food systems where local stakeholders grow and distribute food. Several years ago, Growing Power was offered a donation of $500,000 from Monsanto as part of Monsanto’s ambition at the time to help youth in need. The money would have been a boon for the struggling NGO to help expand their infrastructure of independent food communities for marginalized youth. In a seemingly unrelated story, Pfizer, this past year, offered to donate one million pneumonia vaccines t

Institutional Theory

Why do people behave the way they do in any given society? Better yet, why do organizations and the people within them behave the way they do? This is, no doubt, a complicated question, responded to by multiple theories that explore the complexity of human and organizational behaviour. One such theory that has gained tremendous traction in the study of organizational behaviour is institutional theory. Institutional theory draws from constructionism, which suggests that the outside world is not predetermined or objectively set but is instead constructed by the decisions, attitudes and behaviours of actors within it. Over time, what is considered normal and accepted in a given social reali

Coca-Cola: Eradicating or Exacerbating Poverty

I had the opportunity to read a very interesting case on Coca-Cola© and their efforts to assist in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, one of which is to eradicate poverty and hunger. The initiative they have in place has been touted by the World Bank and the United Nations as a leading 'Inclusive Business Model'. Here’s how it works. To get their produc ts into the far reaches of rural Africa, they created Manual Distribution Centres whereby a local community person purchases Coke products and sells them to retailers in these rural areas. Because these individuals know the terrain, culture, and access routes, they are well equipped to get the product to these once inaccessible locat

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