Faculty

The much-touted "new employee relationship" model, in which workplace dynamics stress hyper-productivity at the expense of commitment among workers and management, is re-examined in a new book, "The Future of HR: 50 Thought Leaders Call for Change." Anne Tsui, professor of management at W. P. Carey School of Business, wrote a chapter in which she analyzes the prevalent styles of today's employer-employee relationships.

A marketing professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business examines the client-supplier relationship in a recent research survey. Her discovery: In order for the dance of the business-to-business deal to be successful, employees' individual relationships with clients must play a part and communication is key.

"It's you!" How many times have shoppers heard heard that expression? While shopping online, however, customers are pretty much alone in the store. The tools currently available to retailers are limited in their ability to speak to individual consumers. One day soon, however, your computer could become your personal shopper. A W. P. Carey School of Business marketing professor is working with engineering faculty to develop a system of software that will match products available for sale to the tastes of individual shoppers. The Customer Centric Order Management System (CCOMS) now under development would match your buying pattern with the stock available, allowing the website or telephone salesperson to offer you merchandise that you are likely to buy - just like the clerks in a brick and mortar store.

When Wharton professor Karl Ulrich began thinking about ways to compensate for the pollution he caused in everyday life — including auto emissions — he came up with a novel idea, which he eventually pitched to the 41 students in his "Problem Solving, Design and System Improvement" class. The result is a new company called TerraPass. It works by selling memberships to people based on how much carbon dioxide their cars emit over the course of a year. The revenues from those sales are then invested in clean power and pollution reduction. So far, the company has negotiated three pollution-cutting deals and sold more than 300 memberships. If Terrapass starts to build momentum, Ulrich says, "It could have a huge impact" on the environment.

In April 2004, Wal-Mart announced a pilot program that would require its top 100 suppliers to be RFID compliant — attaching Radio Frequency Identification tags on cases and pallets destined for Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area — by January 2005. Showing just how much clout Wal-Mart has, the retailer is boasting 100% compliance. So, is RFID here to stay? Can suppliers benefit from it? How worried should consumers be about invasion-of-privacy issues? A recent Wharton Emerging Technologies conference looked at these issues.