GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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Location: Washington, D.C., United States

A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Walter Reed

Sorry for the delayed post, I'm on travel.

Here's a simple one. Compare and contrast two approaches the issue of the poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital. One reaction is by Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, chief of the Army Medical Command. The other by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Who managed the issue better and why.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Labor and Management Unite

As you know, this Thursday, our guest speakers will discuss how labor and management manage issues. In most instances, their issues are opposed to one another, although the principles for managing them are the same.

In a rare exception to the division that normally marks labor management relations, an ad hoc coalition called Americans for Healthcare has been formed to confront the problem of healthcare affordability and access that includes very significant representatives from both labor and management. Review the site and educate yourselves on this coalition. Is this as big a breakthrough as it seems? What can this coalition reasonably accomplish? What is beyond its reach, what are its limitations? Please comment.

I expect this development will be a topic of discussion on Thursday. SEIU was a leader in this effort. The National Association of Manufacturers was not involved. Wonder why. Let's ask Pat.

As a reminder, these are the two reading assignments for the class, Pat Cleary's blog at NAM and the biography kit of SEIU President Andrew Stern.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Yeah Wal-Mart!

As I mentioned in the last class, ten years in this business has taught me that no company is all good or all bad. Companies are run by human beings, with all their flaws and foibles. But most human beings believe they, themselves, are fundamentally good and are able to convince themselves that their employer is fundamentally good. Wal-Mart, its executives and employees are no different.

Our assigned reading for this class, The Wal-Mart Effect, while balanced, does end up being, at best, skeptical of Wal-Mart, as a positive force. The Frontline piece we will see this Thursday is decidedly negative toward Wal-Mart. So, I think we need to give attention to the pro-Wal-Mart perspective. One way to start is to give a fair hearing to their public affairs website, Wal-Mart Facts. Look over this site as though you'd just been hired to conduct a speaking tour on behalf of Wal-Mart. What do you find persuasive about the site? What facts surprised you favorably? Leave your innate cynicism at the door. Be a believer.

On Thursday, we're going divide ourselves into pro and anti Wal-Mart groups, randomly assigned. So, be prepared to argue either side. But for now, for purposes of commenting on this post, be pro-Wal-Mart, either by commenting on their website or by bringing in other relevant facts or issues.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

What Kind of Green is Wal-Mart

The color green is a metaphor for two things, environmental senstivity and money. Which describes Wal-Mart? Are they about true environmentalism? Or is their environmentalism a PR stunt? Or is it another excuse for squeezing the life blood out of their suppliers so they can make more money?

Check out this story from the The Guardian in Great Britain. I describes a speech delivered by Wal-Mart's CEO, Lee Scott, outlining the company's Sustainability 360 campaign designed to make Wal-Mart, and, importantly, its suppliers, more environmentally senstive. Is this campaign real? Or is it just an exercize in issues management?

I'd like to make this post an exercize in message development and delivery. Please read this article and comment.

But here's the twist. When you go to the comments section to post your comment, take the opposite view of the last post. If that post supports the company's sincerity and effectiveness in protecting the environment, take the view of a cynical skeptic...and vice versa.

Have fun with it. Back up your position with whatever facts you can assemble, either from the article itself or other sources, such as the book we are reading. But feel free to go over the top. This is the blogosphere. Provocative is good. And short is good, took. You only really need to make one solid point.

And thank you, Bradley, for bringing the article to my attention.