NHL owners feeling market chill

Despite heavy government subsidies, a quasi-monopoly and billions in revenues, NHL owners are crying poor, but a York University researcher who studies pro sports says they’ve got no one to blame but themselves, reported The Ottawa Sun Sept. 23. “They’ve priced themselves out of the market. Thirty teams is too much,” said political science PhD candidate Julian Ammirante, who for the last five years has been studying the subject of the political economy and business of major league sports in the age of globalization. “This is the market correcting itself.” Bad management – not greedy players – is to blame for the NHL’s current financial woes, he said.

Care crisis awaits boomers

Conditions in Ontario nursing homes and long-term care facilities will only improve with new, enforceable standards for care and more staff, says the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Sid Ryan, reported Canadian Press in a story picked up by major print, TV and radio media across Canada Sept. 23.

“It isn’t just about putting the dollars in, they also have to give us the regulations,” Ryan said as the union released a survey of nursing-home workers that warns of critical staff shortages in every job category. The survey, conducted by York University researchers, also found staff members often have to contend with violence at the hands of residents, many of whom are living with forms of dementia that make them difficult to manage. “I think that the levels of violence are surprising,” said Pat Armstrong, a sociology professor with York’s Faculty of Arts and co-author of the report, entitled There Are Not Enough Hands: Conditions in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Facilities. “A lot of attention is paid to violence towards residents, [but] I think we forget that the people who provide care are often harmed” by the residents they care for, Armstrong said. “And this is even more likely [in future] as we have growing numbers of people with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.”

The CP story was printed in Hamilton’s The Spectator, the National Post, The Kingston Whig-Standard and The Review in Niagara Falls. Armstrong discussed the report on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” in Toronto, and CBC TV’s “Canada Now” Sept. 22. The report’s co-author Tamara Daly, researcher with York’s Institute for Health Research, was interviewed the same day by “OMNI News: Cantonese Edition” on OMNI.2 in Toronto. Broadcast News also distributed the story.

Story on business ethics leads education supplement

The front page of a business education supplement in the Sept. 23 Toronto Star featured a story on teaching business ethics in the post-Enron era and quoted James Gillies, founding dean of York’s Schulich School of Business. Gillies pointed out that no amount of training can prevent individuals from operating on the margins of malfeasance. But, he added, determined efforts are being made to change mindsets about what is permissible in free market capitalism. Gillies told the Star the strategy is to imbue business students with a sensibility that factors moral considerations into management decisions – and to relentlessly remind the rising stars of commerce that choosing the wrong path will almost certainly carry damning consequences. “I’ve always told students that they should never do anything that they are not prepared to read about in the newspapers.” In his book, Boardroom Renaissance Power, Morality and Performance in the Modern Corporation (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1992), Gillies argues that the secret to effective corporate governance lies in eschewing cronyism and choosing engaged directors with cross-disciplinary skills and a reputation for integrity. He says the same philosophy is being applied to business education.

Schulich programs were mentioned throughout the supplement in stories on real-world experience and hands-on training, global perspectives through field trips, and specialized MBA programs.

Schulich ranks 14th in international survey

The Wall Street Journal‘s ranking of top business schools does little to settle the question of which is the best MBA program in Canada, reported The Globe and Mail Sept. 23. York’s Schulich School of Business nabbed 14th spot among international schools which draw a global pool of recruiters. No other Canadian school made the list of North American and European schools. The survey of 2,849 corporate recruiters, undertaken with Harris Interactive, also put University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School as No. 35 among regional MBA schools in North America, ahead of University of Toronto’s Rotman School (No. 42) and Schulich (No. 43). 

Archbishop is courageous critic, says prof

One of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s most outspoken critics, Pius Ncube, the Zimbabwean Archbishop of Bulawayo, has been branded a rapist, HIV-positive, gay and unholy, reported The Globe and Mail Sept. 23. He says he has received death threats, his phones are tapped, he is followed by intelligence officers and he has been told his passport may be seized. Pablo Idahosa, a social science professor and coordinator of the African Studies Program in York University’s Faculty of Arts, called the prelate a “very courageous person” who speaks for Zimbabweans unable or unwilling to voice dissent. “His influence has been as a catalyst,” Idahosa said.

Ad agencies could lose in rush to brand

With companies clamouring for the enviable “brand” status, they are less inclined to knock on the door of a simple ad agency, suggests Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, reported Strategy, The Canadian Marketing Report Sept. 17. “There’s been a loss in belief that [agencies] have the intellectual power to really advise.” Ouch. “[Companies] are asking: where can we go for advice on [branding]? The ad agencies only deal with bits of the communication and that’s not what a brand is.”

The future looks gloomy for agencies that fail to react, said Middleton. “They’ll disappear. The industry will fall into two groups: those that provide professional added value and a whole bunch of freelancers. Why would I go to an organization with all the overhead when I can buy creative from that brilliant person who is freelancing?” Middleton said the industry has already taken notice “of the need for more education about how communications works,” he said, adding that agencies could restructure within three to five years. “[Agencies] have got to step up,” he said. “That’s their challenge.”

On air

  • Bernie Frolic, director of York’s Asia Business Management Program and political science professor emeritus, discussed China state television’s surprise announcement that President Hu Jintao was replacing the older, former president Jiang Zemin as military boss, on CBC Radio’s “Radio Noon” in St. John’s, Nfld., Sept. 22.
  • Moshe Milevsky, finance professor with York’s Schulich School of Business, explained why the Ontario Securities Commission may be investigating up to two dozen Canadian mutual fund management firms for suspicious trading activities, in an interview aired on CBC Radio’s national “The World at Six” and local programs in Windsor, Thunder Bay and Quebec Sept. 22.
  • Carol Anderson, dance professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, joined FM 98.5 “Monday Night With The Arts” contributor Alannah Hegedus Sept. 20 to talk about her book, Lunch with Lady Eaton: Inside the Dining Rooms of the Nation.