Friday, December 15, 2006

UOW "Commonwealth University of the Year" 2006

Wollongong triumphs as inaugural Commonwealth University of the Year
Nov 16, 2006

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has won the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) inaugural award as "Commonwealth University of the Year".

The announcement was made at a glittering awards night ceremony held in London. UOW was the only short-listed Australian university.

The "Commonwealth University of Year" award 2006 was being run for the first time in liaison with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The award, open to all higher education institutions in the Commonwealth excluding those from the UK, was focused on how universities achieved community engagement. There were 18 THES awards in total, with the "Commonwealth University of the Year" award being the only one open to universities outside of the UK.

UOW's Manager of Community and Partnerships, Ms Monique Harper-Richardson, was in London representing the University at the awards ceremony.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong, Professor Gerard Sutton, said the announcement was "fantastic news" and clear recognition of the University's remarkable community engagement achievements, particularly its contribution to regional development.
"It's tremendous to be recognised for our commitment to a mutually beneficial relationship valued by the University and the community," Professor Sutton said.

The Vice-Chancellor stressed that the award was not just recognition for the University but for the city and region.

"Our whole community should be congratulated," Professor Sutton.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Notes: Positioning School

Positioning School

Originator: Michael Porter
Book: Competitive Strategy (1980)
Idiom: “Nothing but the facts, madam.”

The positioning school emphasizes the importance of strategies themselves without observing the processes alone which are used to produce them. In addition it brings a focus to the actual content of strategies and a prescriptive method of investigation of options. The positioning school is the basis of much research and an entire strategic management industry in the world today.

Michael Porter was able to focus dissatisfaction with the design and planning school process methods upon a need for substantial content of strategy itself which makes it the most dominant school. His research was derived from a concern for industrial organization and military strategies which had never before been focused upon individual firms or business units before. Such militaria includes Sun Tsu’s The Art of War (500 B.C.) and von Clausewitz's On War (1873).

Limits are placed on the usefulness of strategies in the positioning school. Those key factors of competitiveness are related to the economic marketplace relevant to a particular business in areas of strengths easily defended and maintained against competitors. Firms with key competencies in particular products or services can then consolidate their positions and expand from them. Thus a few key strategies are dominant, for example, product differentiation and focused market scopes.

Thus the positioning school matches the most useful strategies with the conditions at the time by using fairly standard analytical models which are considered generic methods overall. Thus useful analysis is based within specific data collection sets relevant to particular circumstances. So while this process of strategy formation continues to run parallel to the design and planning schools in controlled and conscious, deliberate and completely formed strategies there is a great focus on calculation and closely defined generic strategic positioning with an added emphasis on industrial structure which drives strategic structure which drives organizational structure. Here the CEO remains dominantly in control however the planner is reduced to analyst who rather than planning strategy reviews data sets to select optimum generic selection.

Intended Maxims

1. Generic strategies are common and easily identifiable in the marketplace.
2. The context is the economic and competitive marketplace.
3. Analytical calculations allow generic positioning to be strategically chosen.
4. Managers control choices and are fed calculations and data from analysts.
5. Market determines positional strategies ready to be implemented.
Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, Lampel (1998) The Strategy Process, Free Press, New York.
A Strategy Lecture
A Dissertation on Strategy
Small business development and the “learning organisation"

Notes: Planning School

Notes: Planning School

Originator: Igor Ansoff
book: Corporate Strategy (1965)
Idiom: “A stitch in time saves nine.”

The planning school grew out of the growth in business strategic planning research of the 1970s. The idea of process of strategy became important to managers as a modern and progressive step to business management. It encouraged the growth of formal procedures, practices, and analysis methods with trained planners with close contact with CEOs.

Basic Model

1. Objectives Setting
2. External Audit
3. Internal Audit
4. Strategy Evaluation
5. Strategy Operationalization
6. Scheduling Entire Process

Intended Precepts

1. Strategies are consciously formed and formalized plans, with steps, checklists, and techniques.
2. CEO is responsible only in principle while execution of plans responsibility of staff planners.
3. Strategies are revealed as complete and explicit to be implemented according close attention to schedules and details.


Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn

Lecture notes from Helsinki University of Technology

Conceptualizing and Integrated Planning System

Notes: Design School

Design School

Originators: Philip Selznick & Alfred. D. Chandler
Books: Leadership in Administration (1957) Strategy and Structure (1962)
Idiom: “Look before you leap.”

Best Fit

Most key concepts of strategy courses rely on the design school to attempt to match or fit internal abilities with external opportunities. Generation of strategy is seen to be a creative act (Andrews). Alternative strategies are selected and evaluated for best fit with a series of tests (Rumelt).
Overall Strategic Requirements

Consistency: All goals and policies must be mutually agreeable.

Consonance: Choice of strategy must be adaptable to internal and external conditions.

Advantage: Competitive advantage must be realized by the strategy.

Feasibility: Must not exceed current abilities or create new problems.

The SWOT model is a standard approach to external and internal modeling.

Intended Premises
  1. Strategy formation should come from conscious thought.
  2. CEO has responsibility as chief strategist.
  3. Keep model simple and easy to understand.
  4. Strategies should be unique and individually designed.
  5. Design of perspective formulation indicates completeness.
  6. Must be explicit and simple.
  7. Must be fully formulated to be implemented.


Strategy Theory: A Short Review of Literature

Wren Network: Chapter 3 Strategy

Uncertain Economists: Futurity in Strategic Decisions

Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, Lampel (1998) The Strategy Process, Free Press, New York.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Negotiating Mintzberg's Strategy Safari

Negotiating Mintzberg's Strategy Safari

"A number of disciples went to the Buddha and said, "Sir, there are living here in Savatthi many wandering hermits and scholars who indulge in constant dispute, some saying that the world is infinite and eternal and others that it is finite and not eternal, some saying that the soul dies with the body and others that it lives on forever, and so forth. What, Sir, would you say concerning them?"

The Buddha answered, "Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, 'Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind... and show them an elephant.' 'Very good, sire,' replied the servant, and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, 'Here is an elephant,' and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant.

"When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, 'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'
"Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, 'Sire, an elephant is like a pot.' And the men who had observed the ear replied, 'An elephant is like a winnowing basket.' Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a grainery; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush.
"Then they began to quarrel, shouting, 'Yes it is!' 'No, it is not!' 'An elephant is not that!' 'Yes, it's like that!' and so on, till they came to blows over the matter.
"Brethren, the raja was delighted with the scene.
"Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing.... In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus."

Then the Exalted One rendered this meaning by uttering this verse of uplift,

O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing.

Jainism and Buddhism. Udana 68-69:

Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant
Udana 68-69: We give a version of this well-known Indian tale from the Buddhist canon, but some assert it is of Jain origin. It does illustrate well the Jain doctrine of Anekanta, the manysidedness of things. Cf. Tattvarthaslokavartika 116, p. 806. Mihir Yast 10.2: Cf. Analects 15.5, p. 1020.

Links of variable usefulness to elephantine examiners:

Ten Schools of Thought

I'll See It When I Believe It - A Simple Model of Cognitive Consistency

If you have the clams...

A tasty tidbit of Chandler's "Strategy and Structure"

A powerpoint on strategic schools of thought,10,About%20the%20strategy%20task

An OMG look at that syllabus...

Free (first thing I ever saw free there) at Acadia

Extremely helpful case study page at SFU

Thursday, November 23, 2006

XII:When I do count the clock that tells the time


When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.


When I do count the clock that tells the time,

My professor used to say this one so clearly defined the passage of time...even the sound of the clock...

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;

...the passage of life, from life to death and light to darkness...

When I behold the violet past prime,

...the dying of youth and beauty, the maturing of innocence to experience...

And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;

...Shakespeare wrote of the dark lady here, never named with her hair turning white...

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,

...seasons symbolizing life and death...

Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, image of pastural beauty turning again to death...

And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,

...the end of harvest time, the kimchang...

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,

...the bier is a coffin's carrier, Shakespeare speaks of his own death and his own age...

Then of thy beauty do I question make,

...he questions the beauty of the dark lady, remembered only by him as in age it is gone...

That thou among the wastes of time must go,

...that she also will die old and sick and worn down...

Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake eventually abandons the body even of the beautiful young lover...

And die as fast as they see others grow;

...dying in a second of time as time passes on always...

And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence

...a scythe is a large harvesting tool often shown carried by the reaper who is death and no one escapes it...

Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

...the only thing a man or woman may do to make any part of themselves immortal is to make a the hopes that some part may live on beyond...except for the greatest of arts...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Review Five: Credible New Ideas, Anyone?

Review Five of Beyond Machiavelli: Credible New Ideas, Anyone?

Roger Fisher (et. al.) Penguin Books (1996)

There can be no definition but that of paradox which illustrates the current state of bureaucratic decision-making in developed nations of the world today other than that of the excessively competitive setting within which conflict seems to perpetuate itself and or derives itself from an endless cycle of missed opportunities for conflict resolution. Globally the politics of government and business so clearly define the interests of a series of majorities that the luxury of individual reason or independent thought are almost solely dependent on the fact that the best ideas are often never formulated, contemplated, or tabled. While the tenets of post-modernism almost always suggest that there is nothing new to be found in the minds of present day intellect and that all thought has been perpetually thought through, muddled, and withered once before then inevitably true must the thought be that the best ideas, those often the source of group concepts of innovation in a historical perspective on progress and perhaps that which has self-mollified a character of progress especially in the field of heterodox humanism are merely the luke-warm outcomes resultant to staying the course of the aims of the many which often ill-resource the complaints and conflicts of the world's perpetually unresolved current post-modernist issues.
Fisher et. al. suggest there are often too many men in the tub, that the water is too sparingly dispersed, that the tub itself is often too well defined and yet the scrub is equally as elusive, while the singular points of acclaimed eurekas are if ever even uttered are then thus inaudible, quelched, suppressed, denied, forced down or back, stifled and or filed under the interests of the precept of self-censorship. As well defined in the recent presentation of Ranjini Philip at the Fourteenth Annual Korea TESOL International Conference one cannot teach others freedom of expression without attempting the same expression and even under the bitter realities of state instituted censorship; self-censorship is as powerful a cultural factor in the definition of any concept of individuality as it may touched upon as filtered reality as a concept only of culture and not of individual realisation of self as defined by Edward T. Hall.
So too often the debates are ill-attended, as a concept of self is so equally ill-grasped, the representatives are often under-visited by undecided individuals. Where one would assume a majority would have insufficent information to affect judgements on a topic the opposite is often literally the case where too little research or too little observation of a topic might quickly decide one's views, particularly if they are of a fit or flavour of this or that particularly peer group of such use to the principle agents of marketing, advertising, and sales. So those who might render aid or even progress to an issue of the day are uniquely silent. Where if at first one were to choose to investigate a particular conflict even if the purposes were there to non-align and thus feed the intelligences with singularly self-defined realisations as nearly as impossible as they seem, one might seek to brave the concepts of epiphanies or divine interventions to approach such enlightenment and equally those especially able to reach the public in the vocalisation or discussion of any portion of approach to a professed individual opinion so humbly expressed and yet equally impossible to define. One which might neither qualify nor conclude as being of any other interest than to that of the widening of viewpoints, the building of conceptual bridges between disparately aligned parties where concepts of self unaligned to any particular politic, pragmatism, or debate might appreciate and thus to flower over a perspective of new, untried, still ever possible successful resolutions and not those of the often clarified polarisations of viewpoint so easily communciated through the media of our day. It would be hard to define such viewpoints as realistically achievable under the terms of cultural filtering of individual consciousness.
So in review five, one must applaud the concept of problem solving, if need be the unearthing of new ideas even out of the old, those that which many may have thought of and sprung before while observing the historical relevancy of old versus new ideas, and how their measure may only be seen in the past, while their future may yet be forecast but never so precisely as to be flawlessly executed in the present. If one were to equate new ideas with profit then we would most nearly all seek to share them. It is in Fisher et. al. a fitting description of the possible limits of negotiation analysis where best perhaps their pedigree is well coiffed and pranced upon a sack of thinly shackled human bones.
Four Step Analysis to Problem Solving
1. What is the matter?
2. Possible reasons and causes.
3. Possible strategies to turn problems into solutions to problems.
4. What and who might designate what should be done.
Fisher et. al. are quick to jump to the conclusion that people too often jump from deciding too quickly what is the problem to designating who should decide what should be done. So too fairly easily a conclusion can be made that far too often the wrong people are deciding what is the matter of the ways of the world and this great group defined as humanity and what should or should not be done about them. Thus one must conclude that the leaders of government and business are not well enough prepared for the resolution of conflict, nor are those experts who seek to support their quick-fix measures. Fisher et. al. also imply that an over-arching penchant
for steps two and three academically stratify knowledge bases and illegitamize pure research itself which would indicate a certain bias against academic pursuit of conflict reasons, causes, and possible strategies to turn such biases into solutions to problems. Especially if those solutions were to attempt to redress the bias against such academic pursuit. There is definitely a conundrum in such an outlook.
While the difficulties in generating new ideas out of the likes of tired or old brains are similarly nothing new or special in the field of theoretical approaches to resolutions to other peoples problems one often never reminds oneself of spiritualists to some and saints to others such as Mother Theresa who stipulated that one could never bring love or hope or joy to strangers without first settling those compassions within one's own house or family. So one must joust only with this best thinkers to tinker and salvage what remains of one's own proverbial castle in Spain? So it is problematic that race starters and finishers would heckle and joust with those very centralist runners and plodders ruminating about in the middle of the pact by virtue of contextuality having never been provisioned with the marketable skills of even ever starting or even ever finishing the race to solve problems.
It is such a diagramatic example of the utter lunacy intrinsic to assuming that such a four step process could be uniquely sold, consumed, or welded to the group cultural processes of many of the world's essentially non-linear cultural groups or that any one individual or group could claim singular defintion of the aims and thus steps to resolve even a simple process to analyze problem solving itself.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkin Time

Someday I hope to see Koreans competing for giant pumpkin thanks to a local Nova Scotian who first put the pumpkin giant into Halloween jack o'lanterns for many Maritimers.

It is funny but Kentville continues to go with the "pumpkin people" theme at this time of year decorating the entire town with clumps of these seeming scarecrows but they have yet to produce mammoth pumpkin totems out of Dill's Atlantic Giants. They could perhaps construct some sort of strawman-type display and top it off with Atlantic Giant heads.

Sadly not everyone ascribes to the pumpkin people festival. But it seems to remain a crowd pleaser.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Relevant, complex, useful articles

Relevant, complex, useful articles

Working Paper: Finding A New Way For Business Schools

Teaching Business Across Cultures: A First Person Experience

Teaching Business Communication to Native and Non-Native Speakers

Teaching Entrepreneurship to Engineers

The Value of Mentoring Can We

Succeed In Teaching Business Students To Write Effectively?

Literary Models for Teaching Business Ethics: Shakespeare's Henry V

Distance Learning Across Borders: Cultural Imperialism or Intellectual Independence?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Latitude Zero: Satisfying Armchair Travel Guide

Latitude Zero: Satisfying Armchair Travel Guide

Latitude Zero: Tales of the Equator by Gianni Guadalupi, Anthony Shugaar, Carroll & Graf, new York (2001)

This title is a thoroughly enjoyable compendium of equatorial travels sourced by the authors almost entirely from the original accounts and documents of the explorers made famous for their exploits. Thus it is truly an example of how much more wildly entertaining and educational is non-fiction under such unbelievable circumstances as the diaries and meanderings of global explorers often are in the realm of fantastic fiction while honestly, foolheartily gallavanting through pestilence, plague, and the lands of the nyam-nyams more often than not for greedy aims. Their goals were just as often likely attributable to some intrisically valorious purposes such as presuming to measure the Andes mountains or claim this or that mythical lake for a could not care less royal monarch at home.

For obvious reasons, such as heat, scorch, malarial swamps, war-like locals and the odd sea-monster myth, the far reaches of much of the world were left for intrepid Portuguese to discover, perhaps northern tribes of Europe excluding the Vikings really initially preferred to let the flat world belief system keep them home among the ice floes and bitter salt fish. However as the authors note the promise of easy gold pickings among the South Americans drew the most despiciable of first European entrants alone to the field of greed-inspired exploration if early rape and pillage of the realms of the conquistators could really be considered exploration at all even with Raleigh among them. So it is hard to ameliorate the likes of these Southern Europeans with the happy, go-lucky image which the northern tribes attributed their lack of get up and go concerning global trade and exploration. While the English cannot claim Atahualpa on their notches of global conquest, they could explain the likes of Aquitaine and their rather wretched management of the Gascons during The Hundred Years War with similar covetous aims.

So the sections of this title are broken into manageable, digestable morsels to crumb the armchair reader with the diverse characters and stories relating to this man-made zone of demarcation, this proverbial equator of science and geography, which credits Amazons, government surveyors, lovelorn lost wives, and nude German baronesses for adding their acts to the vast play of historical accounting of South American discoveries over the last few centuries. The section on Africa is truly alarming and gives some context to the state of chaos which seems to delicately reign over that continent which must be linked to the actions and activities of explorers like Burton, Speke, Baker, Grant, Henry Morton Stanley and Dr. Livingstone as well as the incessant slave trade recounted of through their stories which repeatedly pitted one opportunistic tribe against another in endless displays of the root of human evil. It seemed then as it often seems now, that exploration was and is always about some purposes imposed from afar on local issues and intrigues which seem to take no account of the people milling around yet another discovery.

The final section of this book is a look at Asian equatorial events including Magellan, Sir James Brooke, Krakatoa and Robert Lewis Stevenson among the Gilbert Islands all written in an engaging and colourful style which gives tribute to these stories with intelligent narrative. It is nice to see them so collected, well drawn and arranged to entice the reader to pick up the book with an interest in short story cycles. There are various means and methods to enjoy this book. Simply turning to a chapter of interest will suffice and by no means would this book require a linear procession from front to back. It makes it much more interesting to read it randomly. Leave straight line learning to those with a real interest in where the equator truly lies. This book re-establishes the realm of the equator in those who sought out its dominion so often at the very cost of their lives, fortunes, and infamy. Latitude Zero holds all to the light of high noon and unwaveringly shares their stories as the present so often improves with such accounts of the past.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

EDC Announces Online Training in Export Management

EDC Announces Online Training in Export Management

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Introduction to International Trade
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Trade Distribution and Logistics
Cultural Aspects of International Trade

Become a member of FITT and benefit from reduced pricing.

The Small Business Management Certification (SBM Certificate – PDF format) covers:
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Become a member of CFIB and benefit from reduced pricing.

The Clock of Time Analysis


When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

Shakespeare's Sonnets


When I do count the clock that tells the time,

My professor used to say this one so clearly defined the passage of time...even the sound of the clock...

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;

...the passage of life, from life to death and light to darkness...

When I behold the violet past prime,

...the curdling of youth and beauty, the maturing of innocence to experience...

And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;

...Shakespeare wrote of the dark lady here, never named with her hair turning white...

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,

...seasons symbolizing life and death...

Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, image of pastural beauty turning again to the warmth removed from the herd...

And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,

...the end of harvest time, the kimchang...

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,

...the bier is a coffin's carrier, Shakespeare speaks of his own death and his own age...

Then of thy beauty do I question make,

...he questions the beauty of the dark lady, remembered only by him as in age it is gone...

That thou among the wastes of time must go,

...that she also will die old and sick and worn down...

Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake eventually abandons the body even of the beautiful youn

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

-- John Masefield

UOW Makes THES Top 200

The University of Wollongong has been listed in the Times Higher Education Supplement Top 200 World University Rankings.The THES-QS World University Rankings list the Top 500 universities from an estimated 15,000 institutions across the globe. UOW was placed in the Top 200 list, ranked 196.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Review Four: Beyond Machiavelli

Review Four: Beyond Machiavelli: The Chaotic World of Choices

There are indeed glorious individualists who stubbornly insist on telling the truth as they see it, but most give in to the majority opinion, obey the atmosphere.When put as baldly, as unflatteringly, as this, reactions tend to be incredulous:"I certainly wouldn't give in, I speak my mind. . . " But would you? People who have experienced a lot of groups, who perhaps have observed their own behavior, may agree that the hardest thing in the world is to stand out against one's group, a group of one's peers. Doris Lessing (b. 1919) (From a lecture in 1985)
This quote begins my little review as it appears obvious that negotiation strategists themselves operate within a limited scope of understanding the subtle differences attributed to the sense of self possessed by individuals in its host of cultural influences and the tendancy of strategists to project a western-defined sense of self on their conflicting competitors more often than not of incompatibly diverse cultural values. Thus Fisher et. al. contend with global conflict in a context which never fully realizes a group understanding of the historical vertical or horizontal integrations of perspective on previous attempts of remedial action, response, proposals, or compromises in terms of comparative values theories and research. They charge the topic of raising an examination of choices to conclude that conflicts continue to remain unresolved as the necessary steps to the present have not raised a working model of peaceful coexistence between parties. First, past events are tagged for analysis in terms of interpreting the message that has been sent and as it has been received while second, analysis of decision-based processes that have resulted due to the analyzed messages are discussed. However nowhere are comparative or dualistic values discussed other than their effects in the obscuring of the message rather bureaucacies and governments are similarly depicted as being merely images of each other while vastly differentiated cultural structures.
Three basic elements of communication are considered useful for analyzing the message.
1. Demands: What we are heard asking for;
2. Threats: What we are heard as threatening as a result of demands not being met;
3. Offers: What we are heard as offering if our demands are met.
Demands are described as requests for action involving elements of unstated wishes as well as the legitmacy or reasonableness of the objectives required. Threats are described as the results of not meeting demands such as warnings about consequences which are considered only as effective as the clarity, credibility, and thus probability of actions determined by the quality of the message. Good results are considered the benefits of accepting an offer and are also considered determinant on the quality of the message.
The first example illustrated makes clear the illogic and simply emphasizes the flaw in US policy regarding North Vietnam and a bombing campaign of direct threat without clear options or results of offers or demands and is perhaps problematically an example of the flaws in this cookie-cutter approach to international negotation. Considering what successive US administrations knew regarding the unwinnable aspects of that conflict leads a reader to suspect that resolution was never an outstanding issue among US policy makers. However to emphasize a respect for such process review, the near impossiblity of sending a clarified message in the world of today is made clearer by the fact that no forms of media can precisely excise the transmission of accurate messaging between parties from great gulfs of cultural, linguistic, and interpretative differences, especially those most relevant to an understanding of the values associated with or between individual versus group senses of consciousness. It is intrinsically difficult to anticipate the processes of individual versus group cultural values as they exist in variances across cultures. It is thus difficult to anticipate the choices available between conflicting parties under states of analysis which themselves are often inaccurately depicting the status or state of individual versus group cultural conditioning. While Fisher et. al. observe this clearly they do not focus themselves on how to make their model more palatable to such realities.
As Fisher et. al. note the key decision makers are often difficult to identify, the decisions which are most favourable to both parties are equally difficult to at times justify, while consequences of any decisions are observable only under conditional forecasting theory and prediction of outcomes or results which do not exist in vacuums but are continually effected by the passage of time from present to future. Therefore charts which make clear distinctions of currently perceived choices may be totally inaccurate when measured under the assumption that individuals outside a select group of western nations might actually perceive individual choices in such a manner. While description of measurements of choices available to Saddam Hussein prior to the Gulf War are given as evidence of their usefulness it must be assumed that such processes were equally incorrectly utilized to predict Iraqi cultural behaviour and reaction and thus inaccurately predicted their response to US led and long-term occupation which appears to have changed in the interim passing of the years.
Furthermore, if it is the responsibility of decision-makers and negotiators to effectively influence their conflicting competitors through perceptively altering their views of their own choices it is already fairly common knowledge that effective choices are not only the most discretely difficult to change even among western educated and highly individual adults, even those simply ploddingly attending bazaars in their own companies training programs. The results of such efforts are equally as difficult to measure and or evaluate in terms of success or failure. For one to assume that one size fits all in terms of negotation strategy or that one size subverts all in terms of intercultural negotiation would be fairly imperialistic in terms of perception of choices in the past, present, or future. While it appears to work to some extent for multi-national companies it has yet to prove itself among many global conflicts. It is dramatically clear that many conflicts exist boldly along cultural divides well and beyond the local hotel ballroom seminar group, thus attempting to construct future choices for peoples and decision-makers who never fit the mold of past or present choices as perceived by western academics must be a possible factor implicating negotiational failures when observing some conflicts which never seem to be resolved yet flare and linger again like viral plague upon various parts of the global hotel.
These notes would indicate an overall skepticism suggesting neither party may successfully estimate the past, present, or future choices made particularly in the cases of non-western entities, nor the persuasive abilities of western mindsets to accurately predict the future concerns of foreign cultural entities among their conflicting competitors may triumph without perhaps increasing the unsatisfied quotident of intercultural understanding first. Again my conclusion would be that one must assume a benchmark of rational thinking over the last few decades in many terms and cases absent from several western-inspired negotiations, Vietnam included as Fisher et. al. suggest. This leads at least one individual mind to surmise that application of such ready-made methods to inter-party influence is often too purpose led rather than peaceably inclined and might explain again why such conflicts remain unresolved. There is always a suspicion as in the case of Vietnam that purposes often rule out resolution due to the interests of both parties. Too often one appears to desire to dominate and the other often simply resists through spite. However better some form of cookie-cutter than none at all? It certainly appears to cut more corners than are available.

Link to Tragically Hip

Link to Tragically Hip

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A little halloween fun

[Received from Lori]
A little halloween fun to cut and paste.
[Sent to Lori]
Dear Lori:

Yet another snub to English Majors and Yorick's skull? An appropriate game for us teachers hanging around S.Korea though.

Wish some Lebanese-hyphenated and loud Canadians moved over here for the next little while. There are only about 7000-8000 Canadians here about 30% of them legally. At last count we will not be hitching any rides with the US military. We are like Mexican migrants to them somehow.

On a more sombre note, ugh, midterm exams are coming around again, always too soon. I love dithering over exams so! So they blew up a hole in a mountain; big deal. Please note in the event of imminent attack I will fry up like a pork steak - send some cannibals with seasoning - it will be a great roast.

I guess I would rather that then crawling around the Seoul subways which already are quite stinky by the way. My fried ghost will gloat over the fact that the fall-out will blow right back in their faces.

Staying until the end of my contract and I will not leave unless forced out by the blast shockwaves. CNN really meatens up the bone - I am sick of the news reporting that passes for credible it sticks in my craw.

Cheers, Danny

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Korean Harvest Festival: Chuseok 2006

Dear Bex:

Well I am glad to hear from you especially because you are heading out this way but also because you are a kindred English major which always helps catch my attention as I believe in most countries it is a dying humanity. You are just the nobody who might appreciate my little story and I am in a PC Bang, one of dozens of internet enabled games rooms where it costs as little as a dollar an hour for internet service.

Today is the second to last day of the longest annual Chuseok Harvest Festival Holiday held for two days usually over the harvest moon and a third day added to give the millions of recent city dwellers time to visit their hometowns. This year it coincided with another annual holiday so most people took the middle working day off as well making it five days straight. I guess you could say the first Korean friends might generally be the ones you keep the longest as I still have a few in the little fishing port town far down on the south coast.

Two guys who were students in my first adult class ten years ago both called and asked me to eat with their families this holiday. It is not the first time, but it was the longest trip I had to make by bus so far, I left at 8:00 at night from my home and arrived at 3:30 in the morning there. Twenty dollars paid for a simple yogwan/inn room and then around noon I crawled out of bed and picked up some bottles of honey and raspberry wine to bring as gifts. But my friend wasn't home; I arrived at a little traditional farmer's home and slid the little door open and slipped my gifts inside while a little chihwawa yapped and growled in the yard.

I then went to the bus terminal and had a "jung-shik" or standard meal which includes rice bowl, local vegetables in a brothy stew, and various preserved vegetable side dishes including a small dish of halved cockles in spicy garlic sauce. A whole small fried tilapia was also there for all lookers, head and all at a price of about four fifty. Reserving a more comfortable room costs about forty dollars so I took one close to my first apartment building near the sea shore.

My friend called just as I was stepping out of the shower around two o'clock and I went back to his place to meet him, his wife, and two daughters. I was at his wedding in 1999 and his daughters are now four and seven. His parents are farmers and in their mid-seventies both quite bent in the back. The first thing I did was go to his father's room and pay my respect and accept his welcome. Then we were free to go and have some specially prepared festival foods, dried fishes, fried fishes, small snacks, candied sweet potatos, and the season fruits, thick skinned grapes and large cold sliced "stone pears."

Then we met two women, one I worked with at hagwon also ten years ago and the sister of my old boss. Went out for tea at a special shop next to a brand new eight kilometre bridge, then took a ride over to an island where we used to ride bikes, and stood on the dock watching the full moon glow over the sea coast and surrounding islands.

Afterwards my friend Seong Cheol had to meet his brother's family just arriving so he left me with the ladies and i went o my boss's mother's house where we had often gone in the two years I lived there. We ate a dinner of similar prepared foods and fish stew again finishing off the meal with stone pears, and since Kyung Hee's mother was passed out from cooking we snuck a small dram of Chilean wine out from under the stove.

That evening I slept until 3:00 but the moon was calling so I walked the ten minutes down to the large harbour with about a hundred and fifty fishing boats again to look at the moon over the water. Slipping back into bed at dawn I slept until 8:30 and then returned to Seong Cheol's for breakfast at his mother in law's house and met his in laws and played a little with his kids.

Around eleven I received a call from Kang Jeong Hwan, now Vice Principal of his school (he was a Chemistry teacher when I taught him) After knocking at a few wrong gates in his mother's village we arrived at his family home. I met his son who was also my student and whom I had not seen in eight years. He is now a design student.

One Mr. Kang left me with another Mr. Kang and he and his wife took me deep into the countryside in an area called Hadong where I almost worked. It took an hour and a half to make it up a steep and rutter small track of road to a hillside valley full of agricultural industries. We arrived at a traditional bee keeper's house who sells a special honey and plum concentrate which is very refreshing when mixed with water and ice.

Then we took a short detour and climbed again to a green tea master's house who grows and sells his fermented and dry green teas exclusively to Buddhist temples. It was the first time I have met a master tea maker and also the first time I have seen a man make and pour a cup of green tea. So I bought some for my friends as well as myself and on the way back to the Jinju City, I thanked them so much for their warm welcome yet again, and let them know the reason I came after all.

My friends, "I come to see you because I miss you and love you."

So that's my story. Korea can be a pretty amazing place sometimes. It is the right people and not always the right job that makes all the difference.

Cheers, Danny

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Review Three: Beyond Machiavelli

Review Three: Beyond Machiavelli (Beyond another man's moccasin)
Fisher et. al.
Penguin (1994)

The point of good negotiations strategy is not ultimately outdoing the competition which may be so much harder for developed world advocates of multi-party talks and Harvard-inspired negotiators to realize than they think. The whole purpose of resolving conflict must then be an ability to reach beneath the skin of an argument and find a better one, perhaps one that not only suits a combatant more discretely, but reflects the kind of knowledge and resepect for cultural differences than often meets the media pin hole but usually only penetrates global consciousness in bouts of fire, mayhem, or spectacular misfortune.
Fisher et. al. advocate an openess to partisan perceptions in some attempts to understand them in the hopes of discovering some aspects of a perception or patterns of perception which may be addressed or met through dialogue. However increasingly, as the pervasiveness of technologies and media demands portray perceptions in phantasmagorias of increasingly oblique, increasingly obtuse, increasingly polarized views of the world thus an entrenched opposition to dialogue only becomes more non-constructive. It is the sway of the media which often outlines the abusive reorientation of values through the same marketing formats which mostly finance news today.
Television has taken us to the brink of mindlessness as one negotiator said something to the effect recently on CNN that in reference to one of many global crises, "more brainstorming is required with stronger emphasis on brain..." However too truly television stimulates only a soma-like induced wave-length in the human brain, not useful for framing horizons of future forecasting or even permitting scant access to long-term memory. Television excites only a very small portion of the frontal cortex, that associated with short-term memory. The reading mind, in the converse, makes the brain fire the likes of spark-like waves, which makes me think of flint tools, which links the mind not only to a currency of thought in the short-term but constantly encourages a referencing to long-term memory and forges the diverse interconnections between symbols, patterns, significances, necessary for a conscious driven control, interaction, and evaluation of inputted data.
Fisher et. al. remind the reader that the mind is learned and taught how to process new information, what to consider relevant, what constitutes constructive thought, what constitutes destructive thought, what is deconstructionist (as some reviews may appear to be) and what in fact consititutes no thought at all. Which is the point in view, feelings and not thought often drive a higher number of decisions made due to conflict than reason alone. So attempting to put on those moccasins is not necessarily abstracting or distracting the mind but perhaps engaging the feelings required for amelioration or the challenge of righting a wrong. As none feels the feelings of another then trying to draw the perceptions of competitors is not a pointless exercise. It takes the same amount of creative ingenuity to compile a SWOT analysis. Fisher et. al. exemplify the concurrent and divergent perceptions of Syrians and Israelis dredged out of thirty years of unresolved, simmering conflict to make this point.
Such drafts are often then presented to parties involved to try to gauge accuracy and try to assess the quality of the excercise itself, which in itself may provoke a dialogue to make diverse positions even clearer. This is termed an essential step toward building credibility between parties. However, the current state of global media appears to encourage the opposite effect among people. There is the mistaken perception so easily, confidently made upon the face value of events and situations, through a desire for easily understood messages, to implicate with interpretation rather than to address competitors directly. Indirectly many stereotypical tendencies are fed by a desire to paint a picture rather as one sees it rather than as another would prefer. As Fisher implies these attempts at understanding the viewpoint of a competitor will encourage empathy, in many cases, while often it seems knowledge of others is often treated more as a weapon than as a bridge building exercise. At the same time, deep knowledge is often so rare, it is often never attributed with credibility. It might even seem many individuals might seek to refute credible knowledge rather than put it to prosperous usage in the possible resolution of conflicts when the net benefit is often continued conflict to avoid other possible resolutions or concessions.
Fisher et. al. suggest exactly that, basically that the surface elements, those most easily known, easily transmitted to the satellites and media of the world are often merely a veneer on deeper issues, just as the past twenty years have seen the largest outflow of FDI from developed to undeveloped countries, these same unresolved seemingly perpetual conflicts might simply indicate some deeper, effective flaws and disadvantages to the free flight of capital and global exchange policies. How far and how long can the moccasin serve if the direct effect of global media has served to unlearn the brain from the storm?

Review Two: Beyond Machiavelli

Review Two: Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping With Conflict
Fisher, Kopelman and Schneider
Penguin (1994)

This triumverate details well the necessities of defining the tools described in this book. First of all they reiterate the perpetually refashioned adage that the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place therefore we must all attempt to get along better than we have in the past. However true this may be it has nearly always been said, at least as far as conflicts are concerned. H.G. Wells detailed the eminent threat in flavour at the turn of the last century in his introduction upon the super-gun, one capable of propelling its projectiles further and faster than any gun coming before it with a dread and fin de siecle grace which always appears to accompany such of the latest prophecies of doom.
So it leaves a reader positing that mankind (reserving the right to include womankind and even itkind in this proverbial discourse reference to a singular aspect of humanity and thus if humans are someday discovered on other planets I will then so refer to mankinds) has developed increasingly complex communications, technologies, logistics systems, investment, and global trading vehicles to the greater benefit of spurring yet further innovations but at the same time has not yet provoked or even balked at a similar adaptation between warring or conflicting folk which stabilizes and can be universally applied to suit all competitors. However it might be overly simplistic to assume that since there is no way of actually evaluating how many of these tools are already in common use, it would stand to logic that many of them are as more and more cultural groups meld and interact in any network of affiliations further and further to the benefit of a globalized framework set to enshrine such tools as the phalnax of standard worldly negotiations strategies.

Perhaps the writers are not in fact claiming any great properietary interest over the formation of these tools or seek to profit from their suggested assembly yet it could be possible that through the wisdom of their experience they have simply and considerately dragged and sedged over a useful trove through their experiences or searches for what works and seek to gather them together to differentiate them from those that do not do the job. In so doing they are holding them up each to the light of a reading mind hoping that this alone may impart the spark to action which many seeming negotatiors may need to retool in keeping with categorisation of what not only currently works but perhaps what has nearly always worked to define mutually self-interested parties. In effect, mutual profit for conflictors must not only be implied but tangibly real. Ploughshares must not only be deeemed preferred there must be a demonstrable winnowing of reapable furrows.
So the first chapter is necessarily that of defining a purpose and as in a paint by numbers, oil or gouache one must purposefully plan first by setting the horizon, looking to the future, and painting in the details to reach it or achieve it over the long term. These writers seek to generate advice in the theme of The Prince. However this example might not necessarily be the best one, advice is almost always rarely asked for and even more rarely followed. One must agree however that any hopes for resolving a conflict must include:
  • Forming a means of analyzing a particular conflict.
  • Using an agreed upon set of useful tools for deciding why the conflict exists and what are new steps available to approach a solution.
  • Persuasive evidence and material to suggest, predict, or forecast the effects of any of a number of courses of action.
  • Immediate actions as defined from end purposes to begin the trek from unresolved to resolved.

As far as on paper planning goes this all looks and feels logical. However as the authors reveal later in this book the hurdle is immediate, personal, and often unassailable. Are conflicts resolved because Harvard strategists put forth a plan for resolution? Hardly and as their examples will illustrate some of the world's most pervasive, polemical, and downright perpetual conflicts illustrate resistive and irresolute natures or apparently implacable cases of global conflict which seem to evade every enlightened, or thus educated (as I will assume educated to mean in the enlightened sense) attempt to reign them in sooth them and pacify them.

It is obvious then that some players in the field of conflict, thus competitors insist that resolution is not the purpose of conflict. Such would be the case perhaps where one feels another set of tools, perhaps guns and bombs, might be more useful or another set of horizons would be preferred, perhaps that of perpetual unrest. As one may divine from several history books, there are pockets and parcels of the global world where one may argue peace has never in fact reigned. So thus is the question, "Under certain cases, and certain conditions, to what degree are global cultures capable of establishing conflict resolutions which have perhaps global origins yet are provoked from no past precedents and are thus completely alien to local concerns?" Under such cases the arguments against perceived imperialist influences might be justified. One man's solution is almost as often another man's cause for further or renewed conflict. While many agree doing nothing is not a solution, does the world not only grow smaller because fewer and fewer people appear to play pivotal roles in deciding not only the horizons and tools for conflict resolution, but also the particular conflicts to attempt to address and those others to neglect?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Review One: Beyond Machiavelli

Review One: Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping with Conflict
Roger Fisher, Elizabeth Kopelman, Andrea Kupfer Schneider
Penguin Books (1994)

In lieu of personal rehydrating liquids this book accompanied me back and forth across the Pacific and the North American continent twice withering my attempts to complete a reading of it. Early on I am forced to conceed that the precepts written of in the form and shape of this rare glimpse at the mindsets of those engaged in the goings on of the seeming twilight of backroom negotations and strategic compromises (or lack thereof) present in the amalgam of globally unresolved, perpetually reframing crises contextualized in this book leads me to suspect that the formula on concrete resolutions is still not fully realized or that fully too few people have read or completed reading it. So I am not the only one.
If one gave such conceptual tools to apes perhaps they might swing about forcefully, perhaps even vocally lauding its contents, and after successive fumblings or half-hearted attempts they might even strike a few bunches of grapes into some localized hollow stump and thus begin the fermentation process to produce a wine of palatable universal taste. So too it seems the application of these tools to conflict resolution be it in the sphere of international trade or even political intrigue. The question must be answered as it rarely is in this book, "Who or what is this Machiavelli we should seek to exceed or outdo under a contemporary framework of conflict?"

A deep description of this character is not here required as the purpose of his relationship to "Beyond Machiavelli" is just as cunningly vague. Machiavelli is the perpetual shadow of reputation versus the concreteness of actions ascribed to individuals, where the mere depiction of abuse of authority or knowledge to the benefit of backroom advantages distills an aversion to respectful dialogue between two negotiating entities to the rightful inclusion or exclusion of said reputational shadow or shadows. That figures of popular political authority attempt only to maintain some semblance of impartiality real or imagined to impart an ability to represent and enact accordances, agreements, contractual arrangments, and subsequent amendments with the interests not only of nepotistic totalitarians, but with a flavour of the greater portion or thus majority of parties concerned. This beyondness is uniquely the timeless maneuvering of competitors in the realms of business and government. Fisher et al appear to seek to define the tools as the ultimate advantages to resolution rather and not the skillfulness of the tool bearers then themselves? As one may read, even a poor tool can be made great by a skilled artisan. However at what point do the ascribed tools then become outmoded, outdated, or even in beyondness refashioned or redefined to the reach or capacity of the common man to envision, grapple upon and then utilize effectively?

These may be described as the aims of this book, namely, to set about the scales and measures of accomplishing compromise solutions among fairly resolute competitors engaged in zero sum game eventual outcomes. However there is a bitterness to the reader to realize that the pains and jostling of carrying such tools into seeming battle itself mirrors the trends and trackings and even the perpetually unfinished business of retooling endlessly retooling entire swaths of cultural combatants on the global stage. As the lessons encapsulated within this book are only ever bitterly learned there in themselves are the teachings of Machiavelli unfully learned or read widely enough to ascribe the true nature of character to reputation and thus resolution to bitter compromise.

Monday, October 02, 2006



When I have ceased to break my wings
Against the faultiness of things,
And learned that compromises wait
Behind each hardly opened gate,
When I have looked Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange -- my youth.
Sara Teasdale

Monday, September 25, 2006

Poem In October

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels
And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.
-- Dylan Thomas

PhD's and Master's by Distance Education

A friend sent these links on PhD's and Master's by Distance Education
Last update: 8/3/2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Short Review: The Seven Sisters

Short Review of, "The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Made" by Anthony Sampson, Hodder and Stoughton, 1975, ISBN 0 340 19427 8
This book came into my hands quite by fluke while pawing through the stacks at The Odd Book. It came out of there at a price of $2.oo which was a rare find considering the usual prices there are somewhat higher.
The book details lots of interesting historical accounts of the global oil-catting industry.
However having followed a Harvard educated Ph.D. candidate through the streets and narrows of Baku in 2001 I did feel that Sampson has missed some of the marks that led to the explosive growth attributed to Shell Oil Company and the Noble brothers. His book suggests few instances of completely non-Russian influenced dealings on the Caspian Sea which would preclude the two known take-overs nationalisations of the fields under the Russian yolk according to local experts. Thus no periods of non-governmental control over either production, process, or profits are noted in The Seven Sisters. However Baku natives will tell the stories, and the local barons and catters who emerged as millionaires from the murky oil soaked mires are well remembered, as are their vast architectural legacies all produced during a brief period of wild-west inspired independence prior to and between the world wars.
A few bio-fuel enthusiasts thought this title so important that they have published Chapters 8-14 in their entirety.
Wikipedia also includes some ready reference.
It would be hoped readers might remind their government representatives of the day that alternatives to oil must be the priority of all business futures. Reading "The Seven Sisters" will surely relate that much of the current past century of conflict has revolved around oil and through the nations that:
  • possess it
  • process it
  • buy and sell it
  • exist merely on paper as border areas through which it is piped

Global business might prove the term innovation by doing without oil sooner rather than later. It is said business processes only ever change out of necessity. So the hope that it runs dry before humanity does is fairly wishful thinking but perhaps the only reality through which such monopolies will have had their day.

C is for Containers

Nicely illustrated container

All containers too- as long as they are plastic?
Worst case scenario- insurance nightmare.
Shit happens.
Good Insurance Process Illustration in English- Courtesy of The Chinese
Growing Chinese Logistics Provider (Seeks US Strategic Partnerships)

Shipment: Worst Case Scenarios

Shipment: Documentation Samples

Letter of Credit Diagrams

Getting Results From Credit and Collection Letters

Getting Results From Credit and Collection Letters

T HE AREA OF CREDIT AND COLLECTION IS a delicate one in which all dealings require the gentle touch. Each letter you send should be designed for a specific function, and, regardless of what that function is, each letter should fulfill it with dignity. You will notice as you read the letters in this chapter that dignity is never sacrificed for effect.

One of your most important needs in this area is a definite policy for extension of credit and for collection of overdue bills. You probably have already established such a policy, and it includes the practice of checking the ratings and references of your potential credit customers. This gives rise to the need for the credit investigation letter. After the results of this letter are in, you will need either a letter granting credit or one refusing credit. Another widely needed and used letter is one inviting charge accounts. Occasionally you may have to use a letter of suggestion that tells a customer to change his type of credit account to one better suited to his situation.

You will no doubt find that quite a few of your customers, business as well as individuals, have to be prodded into paying their bills. Some of them need but a gentle reminder; some must have several reminders; others won't pay until they receive an ultimatum. You will need collection letters for all these contingencies. When to send these letters is a matter of company policy. But as to the letters them­selves, those included in this chapter should cover most situations you will have confronting you. All you need do is turn to the page with the appropriate letter and use it exactly as is or adapt it to your particular need. The difficult work of writing the letter has already been done for you.


Credit Investigation Letter. With only minor adjustments you can use the same letter to investigate either the credit rating of an individual consumer or the financial standing of a company. When writing to an applicant for financial reports, use the paragraphs marked "to applicant."

General rules.

Don't waste time; come right to the point.

State what the information is you are looking for and why you need it. Make clear that you will keep such information confidential. Always enclose a self-addressed, stamped reply envelope.

Alternate phrases.

(a) Mr. _______, who resides at ___________________, has applied for a
credit account with our company and has given your name as a reference.

(To applicant) Please send us at your earliest convenience copies of your latest balance sheet and profit and loss statement. These reports will help us decide on the amount of credit we can extend to you.

We are in the process of gathering information about the financial respon­sibility of_______________ .

(b) If you would be kind enough to supply us with any information that will help
us evaluate Mr._____________ as a credit risk, both we and Mr._____________
would appreciate it. Information such as his standing in the community, his reputation for reliability, and his financial standing will be of utmost interest to us.

(To applicant) I'm sure you realize how helpful financial reports are for com­panies that work primarily on a credit basis. In your case, the terms you ask require a careful analysis of your financial standing before we can properly decide on the course of action suitable to both of us.
It is our understanding that they have an account with your bank. Would you please send us whatever information you have relative to their ability to enterinto a $________ transaction.

(c) (To applicant) Any information that you send us—and the fact that you seatus information—will, of course, be held confidential. We enclose a reply en­velope for your convenience.

Your financial reports will be held in the strictest confidence and used only to help us make our decision. We are enclosing a reply envelope for your use.

We appreciate your courtesy in supplying us with information, and will, off course, keep everything strictly confidential. We are enclosing a reply envelope for your convenience.
Adapted from: The Editorial Staff (1965) Director's and Officer's Complete Letter Book, Prentice Hall, N.J.