April 14, 2016

Naomi Klein's No Logo has become a rather influential book that discusses the growing presence of advertisements and branding in society and the corresponding effects it has on our daily lives. I had the pleasure of discussing some of the implications of her work with my students last week using the tobacco industry’s attempts to brand a cool and hip identity for their cigarettes.

Klein nicely chronicles the evolution of advertising over the past several decades where companies have sh...

March 9, 2016

A free market isn’t the same as “freedom.” In several blog posts, I’ve heavily criticized the conservative perspective that naively – and inaccurately – couples neoliberal economics with our broader concept of freedom.

Like economist Milton Friedman and his legion of followers, proponents of free markets argue that any governmental regulation that prevents a private enterprise from achieving its profit goals is a widespread and unlawful attack on the freedom of every man, woman, and ch...

February 5, 2016

Let’s talk about the academic publishing industry.  Or, as I like to refer to it, knowledge hoarders!

I’m an academic.  It is my job to publish research in reputable journals to contribute to knowledge, knowledge that tells us important things like causes of cancer, whether climate change is real and human driven, whether particular foods are more or less associated with diabetes and obesity, and, this is true, that Pacific herring farts, unlike human farts, are essential in...

January 9, 2016

A fundamental assumption underlying economic theory is that the market, through consumer choice, represents the most efficient mechanism through which to satisfy societal needs and interests.  The notion of a free market is often combined with the notion of freedom because consumers have the power to address social needs through their purchasing decisions.  But a fundamental assumption underlying this assertion is that consumers make choices rationally.

In 1974, two economists pub...

November 3, 2015

This week my students wrote their midterm exams.  The exams only take up half of the class, so I used the rest of the class to discuss the topic of stress in the workplace. No doubt the onslaught of exams and assignments due right now provided them with a way to personalize the key messages of the textbook.  I began the discussion with an alarming study done by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada where they found that of 30,000 post-secondary students surveyed:...

November 2, 2015

During my interview on the program (click here to watch), I was asked whether I was surprised by their behaviour. Although disappointed as a business professor, there have other egregious examples of this sort of behaviour, equally distasteful in their demonstration of disregard for moral principles and rule of law.  Big bank deliberate manipulation of the Libor interest rates in Europe that affected millions of people, HSBC’s money laundering for drug cartels and here at home SNC Lav...

October 16, 2015

Over the last few weeks, the topic of Gender Equality has been seen in a number of popular media outlets. It was the central theme of The Clinton Global Initiative in New York a couple of weeks ago and Ted.com had a couple of very powerful speakers on the topic. Although I’m not in any way an expert, I’m intrigued by the history and effects of gender inequality when understanding some of the behaviours of business today and the winds of change characterizing business.

A few management...

August 5, 2015

Suncor’s enthusiasm for the massive growth in the oil sands had been tempered lately by the government’s inability to address the social and ecological issues that, as a result of the oil sands, had emerged in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area. Like other Canadian oil and gas companies, Suncor is accustomed to looking over its shoulder for claims that could dramatically curtail its reputation as a legitimate and responsible company, regardless of the company’s direct role in thes...

April 9, 2015

Just the other day, I took my family to Menchie’s, a new frozen yogurt franchise, among a growing number of self-serve frozen dessert locations popping up in and around the greater Toronto area.  While eating my pure chocolate and cupcake frozen yogurt covered with an array of toppings, my wife and I scanned the store and were pleased to note the many health claims of the Menchie's brand:

“Menchie’s yogurt comes from ‘Happy Canadian Cows’”

“Our frozen yogurt contains live and active cul...

March 22, 2015

I sympathize with companies that do their best to demonstrate to society that they are good corporate citizens.  In the past, the norm was for companies to contribute to any possible charity to demonstrate that they have a conscience, despite heavy criticism for the negative impacts their business has on society.  But these companies have received a lot of slack for contributing to causes that have little or nothing to do with their business, claiming that they are doing so as a cover...

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