ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - September 2002


What’s Up?
A Quick Review of Issues and Events Involving People at Work

Interesting Ideas to Ponder

Sexes Handle Emotions Differently

Scientists have come up with a theory to explain why men and women seem to deal with emotion in different ways. They believe that the sexes use different networks in their brains to remember emotional events. This may explain why women are more likely to be emotional and to remember emotionally charged occasions.

Researchers from Stanford University used scan technology to measure the brain activity of 12 men and 12 women who were shown a range of images. These varied from neutral images such as fire hydrants, to highly disturbing images of mutilated bodies designed to trigger an emotional response. The brain scans also revealed that exposure to emotive images stimulated more areas in the women’s brains than they did in the men.

Colleges Use Recreation Centers to Draw Students

Climbing walls, racquetball courts, or a cool swimming pool with a water slide may be among the student perks that colleges keep behind their ivy-covered walls. A building boom in recreation centers has been under way since the early 1990s, according to the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association. The college trade group’s 725 member institutions have 1,546 recreation centers, nearly half built since 1995, including 25% built since 2000.

New Report Sheds Light on Trends and Patterns in Marriage, Divorce, and Cohabitation

By age 30, three-quarters of women in the United States have been married and about half have cohabited outside of marriage, according to a comprehensive new report on cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics, focuses on not only individual factors but also community conditions associated with long-term marriages, as well as divorce and separation. Based on interviews with nearly 11,000 women 15 to 44 years of age, the study also examines conditions associated with cohabitation, including the impact that premarital cohabitation has on marriage and marital stability.

Among the findings in the report: Unmarried cohabitations overall are less stable than marriages. The probability of a first marriage ending in separation or divorce within five years is 20%, but the probability of a premarital cohabitation breaking up within five years is 49%. After 10 years, the probability of a first marriage ending is 33%, compared with 62% for cohabitations.

The study suggests that both cohabitations and marriages tend to last longer under certain conditions, such as: a woman’s age at the time cohabitation or marriage began; whether she was raised throughout childhood in an intact two-parent family; whether religion plays an important role in her life; and whether she had a higher family income or lived in a community with high median family income, low male unemployment, and low poverty.

Briefing Book: Collaboration

In recent months, has chronicled all manner of electronic collaboration: from sharing of engineering drawing and specs; to working with partners in order to set, enforce, and execute a procurement strategy aimed at improving the corporate bottom line; to managing the execution of contracts between business partners; to collaborating on inventory requirements across a supply chain.

Interesting Articles to Read

Fast Company
August 2002

She’s a Paper Tiger
Is your office a mess? Is your company cluttered? Then don’t mourn—organize! Barbara Hemphill teaches companies and their executives how to do more with less paper.

In a Word, Toyota Drives for Innovation
“Oobeya” is Japanese for “big, open office,” and it’s Toyota’s system for cutting costs and boosting quality. It’s also the secret behind the redesign of one of history’s best-selling cars.

Handle With Care
How UPS handles packages starts with how it handles its people. Learn the five lessons on the art of delivering for your people.

Forbes Magazine
August 12, 2002

Removing the Scarlet A; Age-Discrimination Laws Can Backfire on Older Job Seekers
Age suits are now the fastest growing category of discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They’re also the most expensive. The median court award in age-discrimination suits, a majority of them brought by high-paid white males, is $269,000. But before all you aging, well-paid boomers applaud, consider this: Age-discrimination laws, which generally cover workers 40 and older, can backfire—namely, on those looking for jobs. Yes, it’s dangerous to fire an older worker. But in the real world, that’s a big incentive not to take a chance by hiring one.

Forbes ASAP Magazine
June 24, 2002

The Smother of Invention
After 200 years of lumbering down the tracks, the intellectual-property process in the United States is beginning to go off the rails. Branches of the government are intervening where they never have before. Opposing camps, many with money and influence, are forming. Small inventors are diverted from where they can make the greatest contributions. And a culture of litigation, circumvention, and secrecy has evolved from an area where openness and law had long ruled.

Fortune Magazine
August 12, 2002

Wonder Women of Whistle-Blowing
Is it significant that the prominent heroes to emerge from the two great business scandals of recent years were women? Enron and WorldCom have become America’s twin symbols of business malfeasance, but here’s a different kind of similarity: In each case the public learned the extent of the scandal in large part through the actions of a brave woman who did the right thing by going over her boss’ head.

HR Magazine
August 2002

Paying the Price: Learning From Talley’s Mistakes
Former Rent-A-Center CEO J. Ernest Talley’s everyone-does-everything business model still may be optimal for the rent-to-own industry, but experts agree that his disdain for human resources (HR) cost Rent-A-Center dearly.

“HR can be valuable to a company’s return on investment—it’s not just useful for avoiding lawsuits,” says Keith Carrico, PHR, formerly HR director at rent-to-own chain Rent One and now an industry consultant in St. Louis. “It can be a valuable component to your bottom line if you use it properly.”

One lesson, says Jerry Schlichter, senior partner of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton in St. Louis and one of the attorneys representing employees in the case of Wilfong et al. and EEOC v. Rent-A-Center, is that businesses formed by self-starters have to be aware of the importance of HR. “When a company ignores the law or tries to avoid the influence of HR professionals, disaster can come. When a Talley wants to ramrod policies, the perspective of HR may temper his inclinations and be a source of information and knowledge that’s very important to running a successful organization.”

Inc. Magazine
August 1, 2002

Hook, Line, and Sinker
“Disciples of Fish” are bringing the happiness revolution to corporate America. Maybe you’ve heard of the “Fish thing”—or more precisely, the Fish! thing. It’s a management phenomenon that started out quietly. In 1998, ChartHouse Learning, a small company in Burnsville, MN, produced a videotape extolling the happy work environment of Pike Place Fish, an even smaller outfit doing business in Seattle’s famous Pike Place open-air market. The video Fish! led to a book (same title).

The Innovation Factor: Built to Invent
This is part one of a three-installment series on hyper-creative organizations and the strategies behind them. The series explores innovation as it applies to organizations, leaders, and markets. In this issue, the focus is on continuously inventing organizations designed expressly to churn out ideas.

Time Magazine
July 21, 2002

Everyone, Back in the Labor Pool
Eroding pension benefits, longer life spans, and a major meltdown in stocks adds up to this: Most of us will have to work well into our 70s.

T+D Magazine
August 2002

Built To Be Great: An Interview With Jim Collins
T+D interviewed Jim Collins, researcher and author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. Collins’s team found the following common threads among good to great companies:

  • Level Five Leadership: Self-effacing, reserved leaders run the company instead of semi-celebrities.
  • First who, then what—the right people are brought onboard before the vision is set.
  • Confront the brutal facts (yet never lose faith). Leaders see the reality but believe firmly in the company’s success.
  • The Hedgehog Concept—the organization is the best in the world at its core business.
  • Culture of Discipline—the company doesn’t need hierarchy, bureaucracy, or excessive controls.
  • Technology Accelerators—good to great companies pioneer technologies but don’t use them as a means of igniting a transformation.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop—transformations at good to greats happen little by little.

Online Learning Centers
Online learning centers blend powerful new technology such as the Internet, intranets, and e-learning courses with traditional learning media, including audiotapes, videotapes, instructor-led courses, books, and articles.

W.R. Grace, a global specialty chemicals company, launched its global learning center in 2001. Surveys had indicated a widespread desire for professional and personal development support employees could use on their own.

Available 24/7 to the company’s 6,000 employees in Europe, Asia, and Africa, the center is organized around core competencies, with lists of approved internal and external training programs; recommended reading lists; a rental library for audiocassettes, videotapes, and CDs; strategy guides; and more.

Some of Grace’s tips for developing an online learning center:

  • Line up senior management support.
  • Build gradually.
  • Invite involvement.
  • Provide a variety of learning tools.
  • Make the learning center a focal point.
  • Make it part of the whole organizational system.
  • Keep it visible.
  • Ensure that the content is fresh.

Interesting Places to Go

2002 Baldrige Regional Conference
California Council for Excellence
October 10, 2002 in Freemont, CA.
October 23, 2002 in Dearborn, MI.

Learn about the best practices and performance strategies of these role model organizations when senior leaders and representatives present on all seven Baldrige criteria categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer/student, stakeholder, and market focus; information and analysis; human resource/faculty and staff focus; process management; and results. Take home valuable tips for applying the Baldrige criteria to your whole organization to improve your performance and strengthen your results.

Conference on Teleworking for Business, Education, Research, and e-Commerce
Association of Information Technologies, Telecommunications, and Office Equipment of Lithuania
October 22-23, 2002
Vilnius, Lithuania

This conference aims at strengthening the scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union and the Newly Associated States (NAS), in particular the Baltic countries in the field of IT application to new methods of work, business, education, research, e-commerce, medicine, regional development, and social integration using IT. Topics of interest include:

  • Teleworking, telecommuting, e-work history, and review.
  • Teleworking pros and cons, advantages, benefits and disadvantages, barriers, and pitfalls in business.
  • Teleworking social, cultural, psychological, ethic, and legal issues.
  • Teleworking and culture.
  • Teleworking and social integration for disabled people.
  • Teamwork groupware.
  • Learning organization.


Return to top

September 2002 News for a Change Homepage

 In This Issue...
Looking Back a Year Later—How Americans Have Dealt With the Changes

Journal of a Visitor to Tragedy

Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?

Tribute to America:
How Our Lives Have Changed Since September 11

Book Nook

From Our Perspective

What's Up?


  Return to NFC Index

  • Print this page
  • Save this page

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this item

View comments
Add comments
Comments FAQ

ASQ News