abdos world

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Columbia/HCA and the Medicare Fraud scandal:

This Scandal is one of the biggest Non market issues across all time beings. But before starting to talk about this huge Fraud let us start with Columbia/HCA background. HCA was the largest health care company in the world, with more than 340 hospitals under management and ownership that excludes hundreds of health care programs, surgery centers and rehabilitation centers. In 1996 alone the company brought about $20 billion in revenue which represent 36% of all Medicare reimbursement. Not only that but it had over 285000 employees.

When we talk about Fraud scandals one name directly hits the mind. Baron who in his study “market and non-market environment” clearly talks about these kind of issues “the non market issues”. There was more than one issue in this case which were. Basically that Columbia was encouraging its managers to “defraud Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled”. The second issue is that they use to inflate the seriousness of patients’ illness to increase reimbursement and shifted costs to programs that were more generously compensated by Medicare. Finally Columbia has further paid commissions to doctors to refer patients to its hospital as the article suggest.

Interest in this case is mostly patients because they were the main victims, Doctors who participated in this fraud, Columbia itself which was the main target of other interest groups and institutions and finally the management of Columbia/HCA who played a major role of the Fraud. There are many Institutions that wanted to deal with this issue each in their field. There was the press (media) which played a major role in delivering the facts about this issue. Not only that but better yet they took part in the investigations. Moreover there were the governmental agencies represented by the FBI, the criminal investigative units of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) , State Medicated agencies and U.S. Postal Services. These enormous amounts of institutions shows clearly how important and crucial were these issues.

The information in this case was clearly delivered by the media to the public which were going through the investigation step by step with the government. However this article does not provide much information that could be sort out here.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Microsoft's New Features

Microsoft as we all now is one of the most successful corporations that were ever created. With billions and billions of dollars, it’s still leading its way through the top. Microsoft continues to be a role model to most of today’s existing corporations. However its control of the software market was a major issue that lawyers were making a job out of attacking the corporation monopoly ; nevertheless, Microsoft was and still to be the strongest survivor of all times. We should ask ourselves then: What makes Microsoft that special and that strong to lead all of the computer business industry.

If we take a look at the humongous resources that Microsoft holds as a major reason for its success. We should start with the most important one. Its owner and the man behind all this success , the one who created this corporation and made his fortune to be the richest human being of all times. (Bill gates) who dropped out of college just to start his own corporation (Microsoft). Gates along with thousands of employees who were chosen carefully represent the most important resources that Microsoft holds (human resources). Gates brilliant ideas and skilled leadership made the rest of resources weather financial, physical or organizational all available to lead the company through its success.

If we apply Barney study into the article in hand we could find that: organizational capital as Barney explains is an attribute of single individuals which in this case is Gates and his workers. Physical resources on the other hand represent company’s physical technology which is highly effective in Microsoft. There’s absolutely no need to clarify Microsoft’s financial resources, its just enough to say that its revenue during the year exceeded 41 billion dollars.

The article talks about a new feature that Microsoft is planning to launch which is( as the article suggests) “The integrated search is provided through the addition of a beta feature to the consumer-centric MSN Search Toolbar launched in May, which IT departments are expected to download to corporate machines. The beta feature enables users to consolidate search results inside their Office Outlook clients. According to Microsoft, the toolbar enables users to switch between desktop, web or intranet searches”

Applying the VRIO analysis to our article we could find that Microsoft resources are Valuable. Because when answering Do firm’s recourses and capabilities enable the firm to respond to environmental threats or opportunities? the answer with no doubt is yes because the feature that Microsoft is providing adds more value to Microsoft because it gives it a cost advantage due to the simple approach that users could follow.

Moreover this feature is rare or actually it does not exist because Microsoft was the first to create it in order to differentiate itself from its rivals. In addition, this feature is not difficult to imitate. It would however take other corporations some time to imitate it due to the lack of resources Microsoft has.

Finally, when it comes to the question of organization we could simply say that Microsoft is fully organized to exploit the full competitive potential of its resources and capabilities using their long experience which is led by the most important resource Gates.

As a result of the analysis we recognize that Microsoft has a temporary competitive advantage because its resources are valuable , rare , not too difficult to imitate and well organized.

Link : http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2005/11/16/microsoft_google_search/

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Shell and Nigeria

Shell is considered to be one of the leaders in the field of oil industry; however, they were accused of many unethical acts in the 1990’s and continue to be a main target for human rights organizations and activists.

Shell began exploring oil in Nigeria since the 1930’s until they discovered it in the 1950’s. The Royal Dutch/Shell Group then participated in a joint venture with Nigerian Government and two other private firms. The best type of oil discovered in Nigeria was coming from a place called Ogoniland which used to be the place where a very famous ethnic group called Saro-Wiwa ethnic group is living. The problem was that this land used to be the one of the nation’s poorest places. So they were asking for funds from the government to develop their land. However, Shell was criticized for spending less to no effort in deciding how development funds of its community should be spent

Baron’s concepts of Non-market issues could be highly applied into this case. The issue here is that these very poor people were looking for a payback for allowing Shell and the government dig into their lands generating millions of dollars. They were asking for no more than 10 percent of revenues to develop their poor land.

Another issue was that Oil exploration as Saro-Wiwa states “ has turned Ongoni into a waste land: lands, streams, and creeks are totally and continually polluted; the atmosphere has been poisoned, charged with hydrocarbon vapors, methane, carbon monoxide….the results of such unchecked environmental pollution and degradation include the complete destruction of the ecosystem.

In addition, Interest here represents in large Shell who were socially irresponsible for their acts that cause pollution and made a lot of Ongoni’s leave their homes. Ogoni activists such as Saro-Wiwa who was born and raised in Ogoniland were also attacking Shell unethical acts.

Moreover, there are a lot of Institutions that are involved into this case such as: The Nigerian Government itself which had a big impact in this issue because it was a main shareholder in Nigerian Shell. Some of other organizations were: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) which could also be considered as an interest group.

Finally the information here were clearly represented by Saro-Wiwa’s speech which he clarified most of the issued being held against Shell. However Shell disputed these charges arguing that it has acquired a land for operations comprised only of .3 percent of Niger Delta.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Link: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/900risbm.asp?pg=1

Dubai World, A state owned company, has the best growing record in the UAE. This huge corporation proposed a deal with major United States ports in order to be able to manage these ports; however, this deal was not approved by United States policy makers, so they decided that they should cut off the deal even if Dubai World Corporation has every legal right to own these ports.

This dilemma that has arisen from United States policy makers is clearly a non-market issue if we look at it from Baron’s perspective. The issue created several public and political controversies because U.S policy makers think that this deal will make it easier for Al-Qaeda to launch future attacks.

Dan Darling, however; argues that the UAE is far from being supportive to this terrorist group. As a matter of fact they were threatened by Al-Qaeda which gave them several demands and if the UAE won’t response they will launch attacks and bomb many important locations in UAE but UAE officials never responded to their demand. More and more they captured one of their senior leaders, Abdulrahim AL-Nashiri “the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing” not to mention the severe threat from AL-Qaeda that UAE should stand against US and should never cooperate with them. All of these three defenses are enough to prove that the UAE has no connection what so ever with Al-Qaeda terrorist group.

Dubai World Corporation, US Ports, US policymakers, and the UAE Government all represent the interest group as Baron States in his study “Interests include those who have an economic stake in an issue” Dubai World being the one with the highest interest because they want to manage these ports. US policy makers hold a political issue on the deal because they are afraid that this deal might yield awful consequences. Finally UAE Government who own the Dubai World Corporation. We can then classify both governments and the media as institutions who are involved in this issue as well.

Finally, defending themselves, UAE has proven that the information that US government holds about UAE are largely incorrect as a matter of fact AL-Qaeda now think of UAE as one of their enemies. US Government has generalized what two Emaraties who were involved in the 9/11 attacks to make the whole UAE a nation of terrorism.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

In the article “Notebooks replace desktops as price gap narrows” , Saifur Rahman talks about how notebooks are replacing desktops as the price gap between them is shrinking. That is beside how practical notebooks are. You can use then anywhere anytime, so whenever you feel like surfing the internet or working on a project , these notebooks makes your life much easier.

The question of value

Toshiba has been there in the market of notebooks before most of the other big brands and they have been always ahead of them. A main reason of that is that they efficiently use their recourses to face market threats and to get the best of its opportunities, for example Toshiba was the first brand to start using the Centrino technology when it first came out.

The question of rareness

Its obvious that what Toshiba are trying to do is a very rare technology, as a matter of fact it does not exist in any other brands as Rahman mentions in his article “Toshiba notebooks will soon come with TV tuners that will allow them to tune into any local TV station without an antenna”.

The question of imitability

I think this technology is so complicated that even Toshiba the founder of this technology are having a hard time before launching it, so I think its really hard to imitate such a technology which worth tens of million of dollars in developing and more than a year before launching.

The question of organization

Toshiba has been ahead for a very long time; however, with all this advancement and technology it took them a very long time to launch their new product, which I think means that they were unable to exploit the full competitive potential of its resources and capabilities.

So with applying the VRIO framework I think Toshiba is valuable, rare, difficult to imitate but not as much as organized it should be, given the resources it has which makes it lie under strength and distinctive competence category.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

In the article "Effect of Danish Boycott Patchy" Roger Harrison & Maha Akeel focus on how the anger of muslims toward the Draws of the prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) was translated into the boycotting of the Danish products. Its clear here that diplomatic issues between countries are becoming a main concern to many global and nationwide corporations. These corporations were highly damaged as they lost millions and millions of dollars as a reason of the boycott.

In his Article “not on the structural analysis of industries” porter states that “as the factors creating buyer power change with time or as a result of a company’s strategic decisions, naturally the power of buyers rises or falls. In the article here Saudi Dairy and Foodstuff Companies (SADAFCO) was trying to lower buyers’ power by stating that “its products have nothing to do with Denmark anymore, not even its raw material” and that “company’s nationality is Saudi 100 percent and that all its shareholders, partners and individuals including the founding investors, are citizens of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. The administration also assures that it does not import or sell any products from Denmark or Norway as all its products are produced in its factories in Jeddah and Dammam and the raw material used in its production lines are from local markets or Gulf or New Zealand” .This attempt by SADAFCO was important because its sales and stock price was continuing to drop; however they should have focused on the buyers that have the least power in order to influence the others as porters mentions in his article.

In addition with regard to “Strategic Resources” I think SADAFCO are using the Core competencies strategy because as Hamel mentions that we should ask our selves what do we know that is unique, valuable to customers and transferable to new opportunities? And that what SADAFCO used to give their customers information’s that could help them understand the nature of the company’s products.

Finally if we look into “customer Interface” as I see it SADAFCO has used Information and Insight to extract insights and give her customers correct information that they have mistakenly absorbed in the past.