The world faces an environmental crisis. As we move into the 21st century, environmental issues will become paramount. If we are to resolve them, we need to transform our world view from an exploitative mode to a regenerative one in relation to people and the planet. The sustainability approach to change requires:
Covering all the bases in a rural management posting can be a source of valuable experiences seldom available to your city-based cousins. By James Dunn
Australians love their self-image as a laconic, self-reliant, decent people an image founded on a rural, pioneer archetype. Of course, Australia is one of the most urbanised societies on earth. Most of us live on the continent’s littoral strip, particularly in the Adelaide-Brisbane “boomerang”.
Most of us work there too; a fact that has made the nation’s managerial class a mainly metropolitan species. But the sub-species of regional manager is a surprisingly flexible beast. Now, liberated from isolation by communications advances, regional areas are mounting a case for providing management experience that head office cannot match.
Against the perceived isolation of a regional posting, younger managers are weighing the benefits of independence. Against leaving head office the centre of their universe and the seat of corporate power and dislocating
Quality Truck Australia produces parts for trucks, and it has been operating profitably in the domestic market. The business was established about 50 years ago and has been bought and sold several times by Australian conglomerates. It currently resides with the well-known Company A, which is in the top 50 Australian corporates. This latest acquisition occurred about five years ago. Before that the business was owned by the investment conglomerate Company B, which had it for eight years. During the time Company B owned the business little or no money was invested and it was milked of cash to pay for new investments or appease creditors in other businesses.
Production systems and shop-floor control were inefficient, outdated and poorly maintained when Company A bought the business. However, the business has a brand name well recognised across Australia and it has maintained a strong market share based on its reputation for quality and reliability. The threat of imports has been increasing over the past few years and market share has be
Perth Sportsworld has decided to set up a new operation in India. The project entails the design, procurement and manufacturing of sporting goods for European, Asian and Australian markets. This will be Sportsworld’s first international venture.
In 1997, the company had a turnover of about $10.2 million in Australia, and it employed about 200 people. With the new India venture, Sportsworld is looking to larger markets in Asia and Europe, and also extending its base in Australia. The company is hoping to market its products with a big promotional campaign, enlisting the support of high-profile sports personalities in the Asian region.
In India, Sportsworld would like to gain a foothold not only in selling its sporting goods but also in running training seminars for potential players, coaches and government officials.
William Brown, an Australian, has accepted the job of developing corporate strategy and operational plans for the India venture. He and his wife Jill have recently taken up residence in India. Brown ha
Bob Wilson is managing director of Classic Foods in Tasmania. He has worked in the dairy industry all his life. He worked in Australia’s first UHT (ultra high temperature) plant, then went on to advise on the use of UHT technology all over the world. He is a Fellow of AIM.
AIM: What is your management history?
WILSON: I grew up in the rural industry, on a dairy farm in the Huon Valley. I trained at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College in New South Wales, then went back to Tassie. In the early days I worked with a company that had invested in ultra high temperature (UHT) technology that pasteurised milk and packaged it in sterile conditions. The Launceston factory was the first plant equipped with it outside Europe. When we started it was quite revolutionary.
AIM: What happened?
WILSON: It proved to be uneconomic, and the company, Bakers Milk, closed it. But I was keen on the technology and decided to stay with it. The best opportunities were international, so I took on jobs in Africa: Zambia, Tanzania and Ke
CEOs in dissimilar organisations share a preoccupation with meeting the demands of stakeholders and budgets. By Christina Mowle
A decade or so ago small shareholders would have been hard pressed to recall the names of any senior management personnel in the businesses in which they held shares.
Nowadays, popular demand for transparency in management has made the names of chief executive officers more familiar. Because of the publicity surrounding big stockmarket floats such as Qantas, Commonwealth Bank and Teltra, and the proliferation of “mum and dad” shareholders, the spotlight has been put on senior people in organisations large or small that make, supply, process or manage the goods and services we depend on.
Even small investors in public or private companies have an opinion, in general terms at least, on executive salaries, accountability, and a perception of how they expect a company to perform. When we become aware that things have taken a turn for the worse, or when our dividend was not worth waiting
Asia Trade is a Queensland company aiming to promote export relationships between Queensland manufacturers and service companies and similar businesses in Asian countries. It is a subsidiary of International Trade Australia (ITA) which has branches throughout Australia.
Asia Trade is autonomous but takes its policies on human resource management from those developed by the parent company. In particular, it adheres to ITA’s equal employment opportunity and its policies and programs for combating sexual harassment. The main objectives of equal employment opportunity are to increase the number of women working in professional occupations, improve the career opportunities of all women in the company and effectively manage the cultural diversity of the company’s staff and clients.
There have been several problems relating to human resource management in the Queensland company, largely arising from the diverse cultural backgrounds of the staff. Many of the issues that have been raised have revolved around one senior mana
Diane McEwan is executive director of Centralian College, an integrated tertiary institution in Darwin. In 1997 she was the NT/Telstra Businesswoman of the Year (public sector), and in 1995 she won the NT Council for Education Administration Achievement Award. She was principal of Pitman Central College in London, principal of Consortium Institutions in Kuwait and chair of the NT Businesswomen’s Consultative Council. She is a Fellow of AIM.
AIM: You undertook management training in the 1960s. How much has it changed since then?
McEwan: It is much more focused on workplace relationships now. Then the management training looked more at the theoretical; now there is a greater focus on workplace applications.
AIM: How would you assess local managers?
McEwan: Only 30% of our managers have academic qualifications, whereas 90% of Asian managers do. We need a mixture of experience and academic skills. You have your entrepreneurs and people who specialise in areas like economics and financial planning, but there is
A future-oriented company seeks to change its industry as much as itself. By Vic Zbar
In general, only about 2.5% of senior management time is spent on the key task of building a corporate perspective of the future. This is not to suggest that executives are lazy or lack commitment. Rather, it reflects the fact that people are running harder than ever merely to stand still, and that confronting the future requires them to acknowledge that they may not be in full control of the present.
The consequence is that senior management gets so caught up in the restructuring and re-engineering required to manage the present, they pay insufficient heed to the regeneration of core strategies needed to shape the future.
If corporations are to become and remain internationally competitive, they are not merely required to get smaller (restructuring) and better (re-engineering), but they also must become different to meet the needs of customers ten years from now as well as today.
In other words, the corporation
Businesses can accept Milton Friedman’s view that the only justification for philanthropy is tax avoidance or not. By Crispin Wood
Companies have one primary group of stakeholders and at least two secondary groups. The first duty of care of directors is to the proprietors of the business. In a large public company this may mean thousands of individual shareholders, some with conflicting interests. The secondary stakeholders include customers and employees. But many companies and commentators now believe in, or pay lip service to, a social obligation to support the broader community, beyond simply complying with legislation and regulation.
If United States trends give a good indication of the future of Australia, then corporate philanthropy is going to attract increasing attention. US organisations have publicly ranked listed companies according to their level of charitable donations. Corporate largess may give the chairman a warm fuzzy glow and generate public relations mileage; but how can giving away money be reconcil