University News
For Immediate Release: 
Nov 18 2002

Concord Business Professors Present at the Southern Management Association Meeting

Athens, W.Va. - Dr. Rick Crandall and Dr. Chris Ziemnowicz of Concord College recently presented research papers at the Southern Management Association Meeting in Atlanta, GA. The meeting was held from November 6-9, 2002. The annual meeting brings together management educators from colleges and universities across the country. The SMA includes workshops and seminars, in addition to the research articles. Only 50% of the submitted papers are accepted to the conference.

Dr. Crandall’s first presentation: Alternate sources of information gathering in management research: Towards an Industrial Archeological perspective, challenged scholars to look for different and unusual sources for research information. The paper presented new ways for analyzing business heritage. Particular attention was focused on the effectiveness of using Industrial Archeological (IA) methods in teaching students. The IA perspective involves examining industrial ruins, photographs, old documents, and artifacts in order to gain a more balanced knowledge of the subject under study. Participants at the meeting discussed the increased understanding gained by visual and tangible representations of management history. For example, Dr. Crandall displayed to the audience old postcards of factories showing multi-story buildings and black smoke rising from numerous smoke stacks. These environmental breaches represent the standards of the past. Tall factory buildings and belching smoke were indicative in the culture of business success, rather than the view today seeking efficiency and environmental protection.

Dr. Chris Ziemnowicz presented his paper: Going further with less: A historic overview of American Motors Corporation (AMC). His presentation overviewed the strategic management problems and successes the company faced during its existence from 1954 to 1987. AMC was the result of a carefully crafted strategic merger of two independent automakers. The paper traces its management and strategy changes to illustrate decision-making. The turbulent history of AMC provides current decision-makers with many lessons. For example, Chrysler Corporation—the purchaser of AMC—subsequently experienced similar challenges as AMC faced. Furthermore, the legacies of AMC’s strategy successes and marketing innovations continue to be apparent in the current competitive landscape. For example, DaimlerChrysler—the result of Daimler Benz taking over Chrysler—adopted AMC management operating behavior when faced with challenges. The AMC legacy also continues at General Motors. AM General is now part of GM and their existing and new models are based upon AMC designs. The value of this paper is that it can be used in the college and university classroom as a case study in management.

Crandall and Ziemnowicz also presented a third paper, “On the evolution and management of crisis events: Insights from chaos theory.” This work focused on the complexity involved in understanding catastrophic occurrences in the life of an organization. While most people like simple answers as to why things go wrong, the reality is that many factors work together to produce a catastrophic event. The authors illustrated this point by noting that fog related traffic accidents can have multiple factors involved that lead up to the final accident. Most people can recognize what is commonly called a “trigger event,” i.e. the last event that occurs before the final accident unfolds. However, chaos theory stresses that identifying trigger events is insufficient in understanding why crisis occurs. What is most important is that we understand the events that led up to the trigger event. When these events are identified, then preventing future catastrophic occurrences is possible.

Both Crandall and Ziemnowicz teach in the division of business and economics at Concord College.

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