Personal Stories

Business Then and Now.

<a href="photo credit: mpujals via photopin

There was a time when work was done in triplicate carbon copies, there was no internet (gasp!) or cell phones (double gasp!) and one could smoke in the office.  Yes, smoking in the office.  The business world has truly changed since that time.

Now there is telecommuting, tower computers (standing on your feet), no cubicles, tablets, smart phones, and applications on the smart phone to conduct business or purchase a product.  If a corporation does not embrace the digital growth of technology, then a company can truly suffer the consequences.  Borders originally gave Amazon the rights to sell books online for them because Borders didn’t believe it was a “priority.”  In 2011, Borders filed for Chapter 11.  (Collak, 2014)

Many companies are looking to the “Lean” or “Just Do It (JIT)” model for business operations.  Both have the theory of creating high quality services to a customer.  A once and done mentality of management which creates the “Speed, Ease and Knowledge” to the customer.  Lean has benefits such as a reducing “waste” or inventory, increases productivity, and improves the quality of services given to the customer.  It gives the employee a sense of empowerment as well. (McCubbrey, 2009)

The workforce is diverse now than in the past two decades.  Women are now half of the workforce in the United States.  (Sorensen, 2009) The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) states that “the female labor force will continue to outpace the growth of the male labor force.”  (Sorensen, 2009)  Women now earn more bachelor degrees than men and “60% of all new college-educated hires are female.” (Sorensen, 2009) A decade or so ago, a person would not have known what a diversity program was.  Now, most corporations have diversity initiatives in hiring.  According to the DOE, 80% of foreign students stayed in the United States once their degrees are complete.  The figure now is 50% due to other competing countries such as China, India and Singapore.  (Sorensen, 2009)

Outsourcing has been a way of doing business since the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1994.  The Economic Policy Institute states that over 682,000 U.S. jobs have been lost due to NAFTA. (Strachan, 2011) Outsourcing is a contract between a corporation and an external organization to perform tasks for said corporation.  An example would be a call center.  Clearly there are cost savings to the corporation in labor costs, higher productivity which equates to higher profit margins.  (McCubbrey, 2009)

A disadvantage of using outsourcing is loss of control since part of the operation is held in another country.  Another thought to consider is the American perception of businesses using outsourcing.  80% of Americans are concerned that outsourcing is hurtful to our economy as shown by a Gallop poll in 2007.   Other concerns are that the Customer Service Representatives cannot be understood or clearly communicate information.  (Gallup Business Journal, 2007)  Clearly, outsourcing will be a hot topic for several years to come.


Collak, V. (2014, February). Tech Savvy Survival. Retrieved from Fuel Marketer News:

Gallup Business Journal. (2007, August 9). Beware: Your Customers Oppose Outsourcing. Retrieved from Business Journal : Gallup: outsourcing.aspx#1

McCubbrey, D. (2009). Business Fundamentals. The Global Text Project.

Sorensen, S. (2009, December 1). The Diverse and Digital Workforce. Retrieved from Forbes:

Strachan, M. (2011, May 12). U.S. Economy Lost Nearly 700,000 Jobs Because of NAFTA. Retrieved from The Huffington Post :

*Original post, Business class – 2014*