Category Archives: Business

COMM 292: Types of Power and Motivation in Professional Sports

Every coach and authoritative figure in every sports league must have the ability to properly motivate their players. After a strong win or a depressing and dramatic loss, players feel an extreme bipolarity of emotions. It is the coaches, and team captains job to guide them back to the balanced middle ground, such that they stay focused and motivated. They are the leaders that the players look up to and because of this dependence, they withhold many different types of power and great influence over them. However, with younger athletes in the new Generation Z becoming a bigger part of professional sports, player deviance and arrogance are rising. Coaches must adjust their style of motivation accordingly, in order to extract the highest quality results that they can. This is not only an internal problem, but also external in the sense that many people look up to athletes and will mimic their behaviour. For example, showboating in the National Football League (NFL) has become a subject of extreme controversy and it has shown to have a correlation with ratings dropping (Mushnick, 2016).

In order to resolve this issue of “pre-madonna syndrome” among certain players, coaches and team captains must create a stern environment of discipline and simply state that that kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. Upon examining the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid, they actually should have high concern for product and low concern for people in these specific situations, placing themselves in the authoritative category. Generally, concern for both should be high, placing themselves in the team category. 

In my classmates blog post on the subject, Noah Woogman stated that hierarchy is at the pinnacle of success in professional sports franchises, and I fully agree. I found this blog post to be useful as it highlights that stern authority is often a proper managerial solution in some instances like this.

Bibliography (APA):

[Professional Sports Leagues]. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Mushnick, P. (2016, October 21). NFL’s sinking ratings tied to shameless showboating. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from

Pumerantz, Z. (2017, January 26). The 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from

Woogman, N. (2017, March 27). Noah Woogman’s Blog – Gettin’ Woogie with it. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

COMM 292: Organizational Culture of Zappos

Zappos is an ever growing and extremely successful footwear distribution company. Recently, they have gained a lot of public exposure due to their relatively unorthodox working culture. In the early stages of the mandatory introduction to commerce course, COMM 101, last semester, we discussed the source of their vast success: their organizational culture and working atmosphere. Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh, is simply an expert at using proper motivational theories, and other organizational behaviour concepts to balance output efficiency and job satisfaction of his employees.

According to Zappos’ own website (Zappos, n.d.), their 10 core values are:

  1. “Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble”

The company truly strives to create a culture where everyone is welcomed as family. However, the true genius lies in the fact that output goals are still met. As mentioned in my classmates blog, Matheson Kroeker, “The equality in the company is another factor that creates a healthy environment for everyone, the CEO’s office is a normal cubicle the same as every other, and the technical support staff is situated in the middle of the cafeteria so that they are easily accessible and able to connect with everyone in the company,” (Kroeker, 2017). This post was very useful as it highlights another aspect of Zappos’ success.

Before employees are hired, they are offered a sum of money to quit (Kroeker, 2017). This reinforces and ensures the Theory Y standard of employees, where they enjoy their work and are not fully extrinsically motivated. Zappos organizational culture is innovatively based, as they pertain to the organic model. This has enabled them to creatively continue to be one of the leading footwear distributors. In summary, upon correctly identifying an organizations goals, the application of correct organizational structures can lead to vast success. Zappos is a prime example of this fact.

Bibliography (APA):

[Zappos Culture]. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

About Zappos Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Heathfield, S. M. (2016, June 28). Want to Know How Zappos Reinforces Its Company Culture? Here Are 20 Ways. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Kroeker, M. (2017, March 29). Matheson (Matt) Kroeker’s Blog. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Zappos [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

COMM 292: The 2008 Recession from an Organizational Behaviour Viewpoint

In late September 2008, a major financial crisis emerged, causing a recession of paralleled magnitude to that of the great depression in the 1930’s, and the crash of the stock market. It was largely caused by a massive housing bubble built over time due to greed and ineffective organizational behaviour of banks and rating agencies. In short, as banks attempted to sell as many grouped mortgage bonds (called “CDO’s” or Collateralized Debt Obligations) as they possibly could, in order to collect commission, they eventually ran out of higher quality loans to group together. As a result, they started giving out subprime loans to fill up their CDO’s, which were extremely low quality and given to people with a high risk of defaulting (Kosakowski, 2017). For example, strippers would own two to three houses! Rating agencies wrongly still rated these lower quality CDO’s with AAA ratings, in fear that banks would take their business to other agencies if they refused to give them what they wanted. Eventually, as default rates on these subprime loans began to rise, these bonds failed, which created the crash. Although this is a simplified explanation, it still highlights the vastly flawed organizational behaviour of banks and rating agencies.

Stevan Noronha stated in his blog post about how he “lost everything in 2008,” that “it was a painful period for me; personally, as I had saved this capital for my business and was hoping the investments in stock would provide the cushion” (Noronha, 2013). I found this blog to be extremely helpful, as it provides a first person insight into the suffering that amassed as a result of the crash. Many other people also more dramatically lost their jobs and their homes, all due to simple and avoidable greed.

Due to the fact that bankers and employees at rating agencies were very extrinsically motivated, pertained to Theory X (people naturally dislike work), and likely withheld high pressure to perform from their superiors, they took shortcuts that had drastic implications. In hindsight, a proper solution to this issue would include the Lewin’s Model of unfreezing the current situation, altering the management style of the organizations to be held to a higher ethical standard, and refreezing with the change locked in place.

The effects of the 2008 recession are still felt today, and the underlying issue to the problem is widely applicable to the theories and models of organizational behaviour. In the future, these tools can be used to prevent such a substantial downfall of the economy from occurring again.

Bibliography (APA):

[A Perfect Storm: 2008 Financial Crisis]. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Kosakowski, P. (2017, March 13). The Fall Of The Market In The Fall Of 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Noronha, S. (2013, October 27). How I lost everything in 2008 stock market crash – Three lessons learnt. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

The Origins of the Financial Crisis – Crash Course. (2013, September 07). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

COMM 292: The Importance of Communication Channels in Business

Communication is a vital component of success in modern society. It is the most basic building block of relationships and teams, and as such, is of paramount importance in business. Different businesses use many informal and formal means of communication in order to distribute necessary information, and in organizational behaviour, the relative strength of each is described as channel richness. As the title suggests, informal methods are less rich than their formal equivalents. The most used informal channel is the grapevine, which is essentially word of mouth among friendly employees. This type is usually the most valued, yet is also the most skewed, as it includes perceptions and emotions whilst formal channels are simple and direct. A common example of a formal channel is the conjunction of vertical and horizontal communication, in which information is distributed down among and all across each organizational hierarchical division via email, websites, and news as a few examples.

Every major successful business has their own individual communication channel that is suited to their field. What this enables them to do is remove the chance of selective perception of its employees, enabling work to be carried out in a timely and organized fashion. According to this Australian Institute of Business Blog post, proper communication channels also facilitates innovation, stimulates productivity and adds a sense of transparency. I fully agree with these points, as clear and statistically unbiased information and the distribution of said information simply creates a superior business.

All in all, establishing proper communication methods is needed for companies to reach their full potential. The ramifications without it include having orders and information being skewed, created a flawed teamwork setting that only leads to poor performance as a company.

Bibliography (APA):

[Communication]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2017, from×0/filters:no_upscale()/about/iStock_000049266740_Medium-56b097713df78cf772cfe49f.jpg

Hutton, L. (2016, November 21). 6 Reasons Why Effective Communication Should Be a Focus in Your Business | AIB Official Blog. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from

COMM 292: Motivation and Reward Systems in Business

Motivating employees to ensure that the quality of their work is at its optimal level is not an easy task to accomplish. It has directly spawned an age old question in organizational behaviour: how to best inspire people to produce quality output, efficiently and effectively. One method to answer this that many businesses are striving to incorporate into their philosophies are reward systems. They are quickly becoming an extremely important aspect of businesses as we are currently in a generation of lazy millenials, who can be tough to make complete assigned tasks. They are also vital in showing appreciation to already high performing employees, so that they continue their constructive behaviour.

This form of positive reinforcement has grown in popularity significantly in modern society, especially when contrasted to the past where negative reinforcement was abundant. Quite largely, this is true because negative motivational techniques such as fear-mongering and threatening may aid performance in the short run, yet in the long run resentment will arise and tarnish a companies image in the minds of potential customers and future employees. Positive techniques, on the other hand, stimulate job satisfaction and intrinsically motivate employees for the long term.

There are some major systems that are quite common in business, such as commission based pay, breaks and low-cost health insurance. On the other hand, many reward systems that businesses use are indeed quite unique. Using Google as an example, its systems include an aggregate of 100000 massage hours served, designated nap pods, special luncheons and personalized notes (Bradt, 2014).

In conclusion, motivation is imperative to the success of a business, especially in large corporations with relatively uninteresting and monotonous work. Not only will this increase employee performance, satisfaction and loyalty, but it can also strengthen a companies brand image.

Bibliography (APA):

[Motivation in Business]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2017, from

Bradt, G. (2014, March 12). How The Best Big Companies To Work For Drive Appreciation, Access And Rewards. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from

COMM 292: Examining the Halo Effect in Apple

Over the past 15 or so years, Apple has grown into one of the most renown and known companies in the world due to their innovative and applicable products. Their most popular product, the iPhone has sold upwards of 590 million units worldwide from 2007-2014 (from Statista), making it the most used line of cellular phones ever. This has created a crazed stigma in which everyone feels the need to own the newest upgraded iteration, without much regard to the lack of improvements that Apple puts into each successive product. What is happening here is an organizational behaviour and marketing effect deemed the “Halo Effect,” in which consumers feel inclined to buy other products from a brand based on the merit of their previously purchased products. In this case, Apple is riding the success of the revolutionary iPhone 3Gs as an example, in order to sell their new products. This halo effect is a massive strength of Apple, but it has also landed them massive amounts of criticism based on how they essentially resell the same base product, with few upgrades to ream as much revenue as possible. A commonly used phrase to describe each new models features is “having a new camera, and being thinner and lighter.” This trend has continued in their Macbook Pro and Air laptop product lines as well, but not to the extent of the iPhone. At the UBC Sauder School of Business, mandatory classes make owning a laptop of paramount importance, so almost everyone owns an internet enabled device of some sort. The majority of these devices are Macbooks, and every time a new iteration is unveiled people feel inclined to upgrade. Whether or not people will realize the power of the Halo effect within Apple will determine how long they can keep the charade up before having to return to their creative and innovative roots in order to sell their products.

Bibliography (APA):

[iPhone sizes/colors]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2017, from

Apple iPhone sales 2007-2017. (n.d.). Retrieved February 05, 2017, from

Dear iPhone 6 users: Welcome to 2012! [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2017, from

Vacant Homes in Vancouver, BC

On September 14th 2016, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announced that owners of vacant homes would be facing a staggering extra 0.5 to 2% on their property tax, based on the properties valuation. His justification for this action, you might ask, is as follows: “Vancouver’s dangerously low vacancy rate is putting our renters in crisis. Our proposed empty homes tax is first and foremost about bringing rental homes back into the market,” (Laanela, 2016). Personally, I agree with him. In the current real estate market in Vancouver, many struggle with trying to find a proper living space as purchasing homes for example, is extremely expensive. This is not to mention the fact that there is a rather large shortage of available space. Robertson is attempting to tackle the latter in this endeavour. The tax is set to come into place next year, in 2017.

How will this tax be implemented? It will require proof of residency to be added in the property tax process. If property owners can prove it is their primary residence, they will not have to pay the tax, and vice versa. Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, who is Vancouver’s GM of community services, stressed that “Penalties for non-compliance are still being worked out, but they would have to be significant enough to ensure it made financial sense to pay the tax instead,” (Laanela, 2016). This is extremely important to note, as it ensures owners will properly self-declare their empty property.

Generally speaking, the people of Vancouver are mostly on board with this proposed tax. Citizen Tsur Somerville stated in an On the Coast interview: “The rental market here is so tight that even working a little bit is a big plus. If all of a sudden, just by taxing people who are making things more expensive, you can help out the people who are most affected — even if it’s just 200 households — that strikes me as a really good thing” (Laanela, 2016). He went on to comically suggest “If what we’re talking about is making Vancouver affordable, it’s not going to make Vancouver affordable at all.” On the other hand, those who do in fact own the estimated 10,000 vacant homes in Vancouver are obviously not pleased.

Perplexingly enough, 25 vacant homes have been set on fire in 2016, which is four times the number of that in 2015 (Slattery, 2016). In more recent news, 8 of these fires has occurred since October 23rd, well after the tax had been announced. Potential motives for these events are currently unknown, but it is possible that they may be linked to this tax proposal.

This photograph illustrates a fire crew at a vacant home on 41st Avenue and Cambie Street, in Vancouver.

Word Count: 432

References (APA):

[Fire crews attend a fire inside a vacant home on 41st Ave. and Cambie Street.]. (2016, November 10). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

Laanela, M. (2016, September 14). Vancouver mayor promises new vacant home tax by 2017 – British Columbia – CBC News. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

Slattery, J. (2016, November 10). Another vacant home burns down in Vancouver. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

Virtual Reality – Sony’s New Cutting-Edge Product

For those who do not know exactly what Virtual Reality is or what it means: essentially, it attempts to place participants in the body of someone else, in different locations and scenarios, with all the accommodating sights and sounds in their full glory.

On October 13th, Sony released its new Virtual Reality headset, entitled “Playstation VR.” It will set you back $399 USD, if you do not already own the Playstation 4 Console, Camera, Move Controllers and VR worlds (currently the only available game). Including these four necessities, the cost totals to a whopping $799 USD. Standalone, this is the cheapest way to experience VR to date. Its only two competitors available for purchase are the Oculus Rift and and HTC Vive, costing $599 and $799 respectively (Kain, 2016). Reviews for Playstation VR have been incredibly positive thus far. I found this particular blog post on TechRadar to be useful and interesting because it made an all-encompassing and thorough argument for Playstation VR.

The whole VR craze began with the release of the Oculus rift back in March, and in the months leading up to the release of Playstation VR, demand for VR was beginning to slow. As Thomas Westerman stated in his blog post on the subject, many critics throughout that period labeled VR as “an over-priced gimmick,” due to its lack of content and immersion, and its nausea-inducing, inconsistent control schemes. Thomas Westerman is right in his sentiment that it is not a fad. Now, excitement is rising once again as Playstation VR has managed to build off of the mistakes of the two attempts preceding it. Having spent many hours playing as an expert diamond thief, a deep sea diver, and professional luge rider on the Playstation VR personally, I can say that Sony did a great job in that respect. It is fun, engaging, and easy to control. This is not to mention that after playing for long periods of time, I have not felt nauseous at all. In fact, the headset is extremely comfortable. You also do not need much space to set up the system and play.

In terms of sales to date (October 30th), the Playstation VR has done exceedingly well. Operations management definitely projected sales to be lower than what they are, as the product has sold out on US and UK Amazon with shortages in Best Buy, Walmart and Target as well (Brooke, 2016). This is, of course, great news for Sony.

All in all, I will definitely be picking up my own Playstation VR bundle once it is restocked. Sony has really broke new ground in making Virtual Reality accessible in the home.

Word Count: 443

References (APA):

[Playstation VR Bundle (Including PS4)]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

Brooke, S. (2016, October 25). PlayStation VR Has Sold Out on Amazon in UK and US. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

Kain, E. (2016, October 15). Virtual Reality Is Just An Over-Priced Gimmick, Nothing More. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

Pino, N. (2016, October 24). PlayStation VR review. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

Westerman, T. (2016, October 15). There’s Nothing Virtual About This Reality. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Exploding Batteries

Samsung electronics has recently fallen under heavy criticism due to exploding batteries in their defective Galaxy Note 7 products. Before they issued a much-warranted 2.5 million unit recall, there were “35 reported incidents of overheating smartphones worldwide,” with one explosion in a young boys hand (Hollister, 2016). Even since this recall, the number of known explosive devices has risen to 140.


How does this affect where people that are still keeping their phones can go? Definitely not airplanes. A southwestern airlines flight was evacuated 10 minutes before it was set to take off as a phone began to smoke up the entire cabin. As of October 15th, Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation have announced that these phones will not be allowed to be carried on board, shipped as cargo, or in checked bags regardless of whether they are turned off (Lowy, 2016). Australia, Asia and Europe have all followed suit in enforcing this law as well (BBC, 2016).

We discussed in our tutorial how it is extremely important to examine how a company reacts to an issue rather than just look at the issue itself. Samsung’s overall response to the problem was far less than stellar. They created a quick fix by artificially limiting maximum battery charge to 60% (in order to maintain their projected profits), yet this did not guarantee that the battery would not explode (Orf, 2016). Their customer service in dealing with refunds within the recall has also been atrocious, described by many as slow and inefficient.

Clearly, the negative implications of this issue are massive (to almost all stakeholders) and have dealt a severe blow to Samsung’s brand image. This is not to mention the barrier it has created in their revenue streams, with their opportunity costs amounting to 17 Billion Dollars by some analysts calculations. These losses originate mainly from a decrease in the market value of their shares and decrease to 0 in sales. In other words, their fixed and variable costs in production all ended up yielding minimal revenue.

As Mike Schellenberg stated in his blog post, this entire issue is amplified by the fact that Apple has just launched their iPhone 7. This means that “if Android users decide to make the switch to the iPhone 7, they may never go back.” I completely and utterly agree with Mike Schellenberg’s insightful commentary.

Samsung’s lack of product testing and care in production both created an easily avoidable problem which would have saved their profits and their marketability.

Word Count: 417

References (APA):

[Exploded Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

Hollister, S. (2016, October 10). Here’s why Samsung Note 7 phones are catching fire. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

Lowy, J. (2016, October 15). Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones banned from Canadian, U.S. airlines over fire concerns. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

Orf, D. (2016, September 13). Samsung Is Limiting Note 7 Batteries to 60 Percent to Avoid More Explosions. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 banned by more airlines over fire risk. (2016, October 16). Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

Schellenberg, M. (2016, October 15). Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

Elon Musk and his Vision for Planet Mars

On Septemeber 27th, Visionary and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk, publicly announced his legendary plan to begin a human colony eventually amounting to 1 million people, on Mars. His thoughts are as follows “What I really want to do here is to make Mars seem possible — make it seem as though it’s something that we could do in our lifetimes, and that you can go,” (Wall, 2016). Clearly, this is a massive undertaking that will require meticulous planning and a lot of money, which Musk states will total to approximately 10 Billion USD (Wall, 2016).

The Interplanetary Transport System model works as shown in the image, which also shows the targeted re-use per vehicle (an aspect which will shed billions in costs).

untitled-article-1475007670-body-image-1475008040The ticket to board the repeated ITS trips, set to undergo their first journey in the next 10 years will cost you anywhere from $100,000 – $200,000. This is not to mention the fact that losing your life is a possibility and a probability to some extent. One of the most important factors of the project to take into account is the fact that it will not be a one way trip. “The ITS spaceships will be refueled on Mars and will launch back to Earth from there, meaning prospective colonists don’t have to stay on the Red Planet forever if they don’t want to.”

martian-20th-century-foxIn  his statement, Musk only touched upon the first step towards colonization after transportation. This is the plan to build a Solar powered factory, which will use both carbon dioxide in the air and ice beneath the surface to create methane and oxygen.

Personally, I am a huge fan of this endeavour and commend Musk and SpaceX for their efforts which will eventually benefit us all. Yet in terms of the logistics and feasibility, the plan is a hollow shell which needs to be filled. The 10 year goal is basically impossible due to current technological constraints on the size of ships, and the massive amounts of undiscovered variables that will require additional time, money and planning. In other words, more and more unforeseen problems will arise throughout planning, and they will not require simple solutions. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said: “One, it is very expensive. Two, it is very dangerous to do it first. Three, there is essentially no return on that investment that you’ve put in for having done it first” (Plenke, 2016).

The plan has many critics, and only time will tell how Musk and SpaceX will respond and resolve tribulations that will arise.

“The objective is to become a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanet species,” (Wall, 2016) Musk stated.

Word Count: 440

References (APA):

[Mars]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2016, from

[System Architecture]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2016, from*:1400

Plenke, M. (2016, September 29). Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars. “Good luck,” say critics. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from

Wall, M. D. (2016, September 27). SpaceX’s Elon Musk Unveils Interplanetary Spaceship to Colonize Mars. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from