Faculty

As globalization moves into ever more culturally diverse locations, the question of business and culture – "the Lexus and the olive tree" in the lexicon of Thomas Friedman's bestseller of the same name — becomes increasingly germane. For Western businesses that want to operate in culturally-different countries, how do they maintain their own management practices while successfully doing business away from home? The answer is integration. A management professor at the W. P. Carey School suggests that a decision point arises when local cultural practices are inconsistent with the company's policies. In these cases, companies can make successful decisions by compromising a bit on both sides — and introducing a bit of creative thinking.

The auditing and reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act — effective since 2004 for larger and midsize corporations and yet to take hold for the smallest companies — have triggered complaints about the costs and questions about the effectiveness of the law. Accommodating Sarbanes-Oxley (a.k.a. SOX) has cost corporations millions as executives and employees undergo special training in compliance. Its requirements for accounting oversight and independence, and its checks on conflicts of interest and fraud, have resulted in a mixed verdict on its effectiveness so far, say experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

In the wake of spectacular corporate collapses, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act established new rules on a scale not seen since those meant to ameliorate the economic calamities of the 1930s. But three experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business argue that although many of the law's provisions are sound, it may overreach in others. The researchers disagree with the common perception that the pre-SOX consulting fees paid by companies to their auditing firms were actually veiled bribes or leverage to ensure positive audit opinions. They also concluded that, despite growing skepticism, businesses believe that information technology is more than a simple commodity and can indeed produce value and competitive advantage.

The CANAMEX Corridor of Innovation initiative has been working in recent years to plan improvements to public and private shipping, rail, highway and inspection facilities through a multistate cooperative of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Idaho. Now, most truck and freight train traffic in Arizona goes east and west. CANAMEX (aka "Smart Corridor") has the potential to free up north-south trade in North America and more efficiently reach out to the Far East. CANAMEX can expand trade to more markets by easing bottlenecks, according to experts at Arizona State University and the W. P. Carey School of Business. Stepped-up trade with China, Japan and other Asian nations has made Los Angeles-area ports so busy that CANAMEX planners are looking south for easier access to the Pacific trade routes.

U.S. sales of notebook PCs outpaced desktop computers for the first time in 2005, garnering 53.3 percent of the total PC retail market, according to research firm Current Analysis. Behind the notebook industry's success lies a flexible, time-sensitive supply chain that straddles the globe in the design, manufacturing, configuring, and delivery of merchandise to customers. Top-selling brands such as Dell, HP, Apple, and Compaq are all based in the United States, but the computers themselves (like most consumer electronics these days) are manufactured half a world away in China. What's interesting about the notebook supply chain is the fact that many of the players for these high-tech products rely not on technology at all, but rather on personal relationships, to get the job done.