Management Today

Articles from May

A Protected Species
A PROTECTED SPECIES In the great debate on takeovers Sir James Goldsmith and Sir John Harvey-Jones stand on opposite sides of the fence. 'I've never seen a really good company taken over,' says Goldsmith. 'I've only seen bad ones.' He pours scorn on...
Business in Europe Awards 1989
BUSINESS IN EUROPE AWARDS 1989 The first Management Today Business in Europe Awards reveal the broad spread of strategies companies can adopt to succeed in the European market. The two firms vying for Best Overall Company in particular, sum up the range...
Clean Sweep at the Council
CLEAN SWEEP AT THE COUNCIL Local government managers aren't known for their audacity or for their innovative ideas, but when necessity demands it, even they can be persuaded into action. Last month, senior employees of Bath City Council launched the...
Compaq's Personnel Solution
COMPAQ'S PERSONNEL SOLUTION How is your company going to compete for bright graduates and skilled young workers in the next decade? Every employer must, by now, be aware of the shrinking labour pool predicted by demographers as Europe's population...
Good Behaviour
BACK SEAT GOOD BEHAVIOUR 'Of course, the point of business ethics is to prevent good men from going bad.' The comment was made to me in Washington recently by the director of a business ethics centre there, and I found it intriguing. I was inclined...
Grounds for Change
GROUNDS FOR CHANGE The last few years have seen a growing number of companies decamping from the centre of London. What the Location of Offices Bureau did for the '60s, cramped office accomodation, rocketing rents and increasing computerisation are...
Home Front PEPs Up
HOME FRONT PEPS UP As far as investment in offshore funds is concerned, the recent past has been erased and the future has been brought forward to the present. The past, of course, focused on overseas vehicles such as Barlow Clowes International, which...
Labour Costs and Benefits
LABOUR COSTS AND BENEFITS If we hear that a new factory is to be opened which will 'create' 500 new jobs, is that good news? If we hear that a new technical advance will 'cost' 1000 jobs, is that bad news? In general, is the use of labour a cost or...
Laying Down the Lines
LAYING DOWN THE LINES Since the Telecommunications Act 1984 received Royal Assent, change in the UK telecoms industry has been continuous: private networks, mobile phones and the convergence of communications and computers have all let business users...
Levelling the Field
LEVELLING THE FIELD Sir Isaac Wolfson, founder of Great Universal Stores and one of the earliest of the modern acquisitors, did not believe in mergers: he believed in takeovers. 'When we have made a successful bid for a company,' he said, 'I send along...
Making It for Modern Times
MAKING IT FOR MODERN TIMES In recent years, British companies have displayed a marked interest in design. But this conversion to the visual image, encouraged by government propaganda and the undoubted success experienced by retailers who exploited design,...
Moving Stories
MOVING STORIES It's been said that solicitors in new towns such as Milton Keynes do well on two accounts -- conveyancing and divorce. Material here for a television series called MK Law, perhaps? But the pressures of relocating from A to B aren't...
Mrs. T Waives the Rules
MRS T WAIVES THE RULES It is easy to forget how remarkable the past 10 years have been. They have taken in an island war thousands of miles away and a year-long industrial civil war with the miners. Mass unemployment has become a fact of life, as has...
New Forms for a New Age
NEW FORMS FOR A NEW AGE There is today widespread consensus that information technology offers enormous promise for improving the way we do business. Managers appreciate that the role of information systems is changing from being a secondary, supportive...
Not So Majestic
NOT SO MAJESTIC Tales of British companies bungling acquisitions on the other side of the Atlantic are not exactly a rarity. The exercise of buying into the US market is a demanding one, even for a large group with broad experience of making acquisitions...
Soapworks' Good Works
SOAPWORKS GOOD WORKS Just east of Glasgow, on the main road to Edinburgh, lies a great sprawl of grey council blocks, thrown up on bare fields. This is Easterhouse and it houses 55,000 people. Supported by a handful of churches, boarded-up pubs, barricaded...
Taking a New Course
TAKING A NEW COURSE Kenneth Baker's Education Reform Act (ERA) 1988 is likely to be judged one of the major legislative items of the third Thatcher administration. Certainly it would score heavily on quantitative factors, weighing in at two kilograms,...
Tooth and Claw versus Law
TOOTH AND CLAW VERSUS LAW In politics perceived realities and half truths often triumph over the facts. Which is why Ronald Reagan quit the White House to a media fanfare that he'd got Big Government to stop interfering with the rights and freedoms...
Trust That Can Go Too Far
TRUST THAT CAN GO TOO FAR Sooner or later most people will put their lives in the hands of a computer system. Although many of these people will not want to know the probabilities that govern their chances of survival, the computer industry is waking...
U.K. Unions Down but Not Out
UK UNIONS DOWN BUT NOT OUT Since the days when Margaret Thatcher waded into battle with Arthur Scargill and the miners, the point has been reached where even the most traditional unionist must acknowledge the harsh realities of industry in the 1980s....
Voice of the Other Europe
VOICE OF THE OTHER EUROPE The relentless pressure imposed by the European Community's dynamic to create a free internal market by 1992 has forced a rapprochement among the six nations of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), in order to work out...
Weekend of PC Plod
WEEKEND OF PC PLOD I've got a confession to make. Up until a few weeks ago, I had little idea of what you could do with a personal computer and even less idea of how to go about using one. Like almost everyone else, I've absorbed much of the jargon...
Why DAF Went Dutch
WHY DAF WENT DUTCH 'In matters of commerce the fault of the Dutch/Is offering too little and asking too much.' Canning's famous judgment of 160-odd years ago has, on the face of it, some relevance to the 1987 merger of the main part of Leyland Vehicles...