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Case Summary

The paper discusses the commendable business and strategic management of eBay Inc. under the leadership of Meg Whitman, president and CEO that made the organization the leading online auction and shopping website in the world.

The company was initially started by Pierre Omidyar in 1995 under the name Auction Web; but the real success story started with the association of Meg Whitman with the company. Omidyar decided to build an acquisition of a joint venture firm Kruse International to build a strong position in the auction market. Meg best matched the criteria; she had adequate experience of brand building and joined the company as the CEO in 1997.

The very first task she undertook at the company was to set priorities. She believed in defining short term priorities that would eventually decide the fate in the long run. These priorities included defining the capacity intake for investment purpose, paying consideration towards the IPO sector, marketing strategy of the company etc. An important point of consideration that Meg realized was increasing the technical capacity of the company’s website: eBay is an online business firm and so the system capacity and technical aspects including emergency operations and back-up plans are indispensable.

Another key aspect was building community relationships. EBay deals with a wide variety of products and user friendly applications and services are most important. Interest specific communities and subcommunities not only helped in the business expansion but also provided its users a sense of comfort and trust in the organization. The next important consideration was to target the heavy users of the website. It started the Power Sellers Program, which aimed at providing additional benefits to its heavy users. She also ensured the company has a pool of learned and experienced executives who can benefit the company by their experiences and suggestions. She was herself an experienced manager ad realized the importance of experience in making business strategies, and so even ensued the presence of an experienced legal consultant in the organization. A healthy internal culture was always her priority and she instilled the company’s vision and mission in the mind of every working individual of eBay. Community safety issues were also given high priority as adequate planning and care was taken for cyber security, illegal products, identity issues etc.

By March 1998, there were several potential competitors for eBay in the Internet auction market, the greatest being Amazon.com. So the prime strategy implemented by eBay was to introduce novel services and facilities that keep the users loyal and contented.

Joint ventures, collaborations and partnerships were tactfully done for business expansion. The biggest venture worth mention is the acquisition of Kruse International. There were several positive outcomes of this venture; with a dramatic increase in the Gross Merchandise Sales and number of internet users of eBay.

There were several changes introduced in the human resource alignment/ organizational chart as well. The company was headed by the founder and chairman, followed by the President and CEO. This was followed by several individual divisions or communities. The paper also mentions the list of eBay’s Executive Officers and Directors in chronological orders. EBay’s Stock Price also showed an ascending pattern in the 1997 to 1999 span.

Many modifications in the user access and controls were also made and they were collectively presents as the user agreement. Some key points mentioned in this agreement included eligibility criteria, fees, information about the company, norms on buying and bidding and listing and selling, anticipated action against breach and illegal work, liability etc.

Leadership perspective

The decision of Meg Whitman to join eBay as CEO was in itself, an explicit example of her vision and far sightedness. Initially she was reluctant to join the company, but one her first visit she realized the novelty in Pierre’s venture and rightly estimated the future of the company. As in the words of Whitman: “It was clear to me that eBay had the makings of a really great brand. Finally, I really liked Pierre, Jeff, and Bob. I liked the values they were trying to embed in the company, and I thought their intuition was great” (pp 4).

The true spirit of leadership is in giving respect to the organization, the cultures and the workforce. Meg did exactly the same. Another great quality of a true leader is team building; Meg was an ardent believer of the fact that the more time the team members spend together, the more they become familiar with each other personally and professionally. She thus initiated long meeting sessions that lasted 2-3 hours each.

The outcomes from the past experiences should always be taken into account when a key decision is taken. Whitman used her past experience at P&G and Bain and took an off-site analysis. A team of experienced executives as formed by her ensured the company gets the right guidance in times of need.

The most requisite condition is effective decision making in any management operation. The greatest challenge before Meg was her decision on the acquisition of Kruse International. She was of the firm opinion that since the company is receiving a percentage of the sale price of goods sold online; high priced products would result in higher benefits. And that was the reason why she supported the acquisition of Kruse since it was auctioneer of collector automobiles.

Meg showed all signs of a true leader: she had a vision and communicated that vision to the organization workforce also, an effective leader who knew the importance of team building and healthy community growths. She was far sighted and realized the value of experience in business management.

Business challenges and their resolutions

Since eBay is an online working organization, there were a number of technical issues that were to be taken care of. A very common example is when in the very first week of her joining, Whitman realized how system capacity was limiting the business working. She examined how the overall benefits of having limited capacity was negligible compared to the expected business profits with increased capacity. She thus planned to increase the system capacity by 10 folds. The technical structure of the company had no specialization and Meg ensured she made significant changes in the structure of engineering.

An important topic of concern was the addressing of safety norms. Seldom there were reports of selling of illegal games on the website, or a fraud etc. Though it accounted for a mere 0.003% of the total business transactions on the website, yet it could have serious repercussions on the branding of eBay where buyers and sellers are communicating only through website communication. The strategy solution was implemented in January 1999 which provided new optional protection services for users, including identity verification by Equifax Inc. and special norms for the sale of firearms.

With the rapid growth of online systems and communication, Internet auction services became a hot preference of both buyers and sellers. There emerged several potent competitors of eBay in the market. EBay, under the leadership of Meg Whitman, involved a series of strategic changes and new ventures to make their position unscathed in the market. User friendly steps for online ventures were introduced, including a 24/7 customer support helpline.

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The strategic management theory supports the development of healthy partnerships and collaborations to help the business expand. Some key ventures in this direction were joint partnership agreement of eBay and AOL in 1999 and acquiring Butterfield & Butterfield. The greatest and key decision taken in this context was the acquisition of Kruse International. Pierre on this had said: On the organizational side, we have to be sure we are hiring quality employees who fit with the culture; we can’t afford to let that slip. On the external side, at the rate we are growing, we have more new people using the service in a quarter than the total number of people who had been using the service in the previous quarter” (pp 17).

Several questions emerged with this acquisition that was to be pondered over. Firstly, the appropriate integration of Kruse with eBay: to what extent should the Kruse be allowed to conduct their every day operations etc. The acquisition lead to significant increase in eBay’s Gross Merchandise Sales by each Quarter from 1997 to 1999 ($604 million in 1997-Q1 and $34010 in 1999-Q4, pp 19). The number of registered users also showed an unprecedented growth (88,000 in 1997-Q1 to 3,825,000 in 1999-Q4, pp 19).

Thus the study of Meg Whitman at eBay Inc. (A) is a classic example of efficient management and effective decision making. The statistics of the period 1997 to 1999 reveal enough about how the company that initially started as a small auction house became the leading online functioning company of the world.

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                                                                     ESSAY

Trace the development of American politics from the debate over the Constitution through the Civil War Era. What were the major issues around which political parties (Federalists, Jeffersonians, National Republicans/Whigs, Democrats and Republicans formed? What did they stand for in both domestic and foreign policy? Also what sections of the country were particular parties strongest in? Who were some of the prominent members of each party? Which do you think had the best vision for the future of America and why?

            The development of American politics from the debate over the constitution through the civil war era included a lot of issues regarding the system of governance, nature of union, role of states and people, powers, privileges, duties and responsibilities given to each etc. These issues have been very important in almost the two century old history of American constitution (Richard E. Berg, Andersson, 2001). They played an important role in the social, economic and political development of the country. The American government was most suited for the federal system of governance since the time of ratification of constitution. It also contributed in establishing the union of states.

There were situations of chaos before the Civil war because of the deficiencies in the confederation. There was a system of federal government of the national government and states in which the roles were not well defined which led to conflicts and questions over the sovereignty and superiority of the federal government which was also said to be one of the cause of the Civil war. A large portion of history from late seventies to early nineties was called as the era of Dual Federalism (Brown.A.R., Chibnall, Majorie, 1980). The era after that has improvised on the understanding of the issues and thus it was the era of cooperation and collaboration (.Woods K., 2002) Although this era faced the economic and social crisis as well, so peace and wellness came only in the late nineties.

There were issues on the topics such as the African Americans, invasion of Iraq, Anti – Irish racism, black supremacy, anarchism, capitalism, capital punishment, Korean war, liberalism in USA, multiculturalism, issues of morality and ethics, neo-conservatism, terrorism etc. There were influences from different times over a period of many decades but the political system which was always the part of American constitution was federalism (Richard E. Berg, Andersson, 2001). There were eras in the development of the country which were called as pre – federalism, dual federalism, cooperative federalism, creative federalism and contemporary federalism.

The various political parties like the Federalists, Jeffersonians, National Republicans/Whigs, Democrats and Republicans had their separate views on the issues as they have different ideas and approaches on the topics. Jeffersonians were named after the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and they propagated his beliefs. He believed in the federal government but he proposed a very strict and constraining interpretation of the constitution (Kaye, 1995). They have strict rules for the republicans as well, that they should be self reliant, and fulfilling the basic needs of the people by keeping them well fed and humble.

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Another party which played a part in the American history was the Whig party which was more concerned with the issues of internal improvements like constructing, railroads, canals, roads, and path of rivers. One of the most popular president of United States Abraham Lincoln, wasa Whig for most of the period of his governance. The issues they cater were of interest to the Westerners which were looking for the markets to do business. The Whig party was also known for keeping check over the king in the times of anarchy through the parliament. They took interest in most of the important, productive and constructive issues of the country.

Democrats were more concerned with the social liberalization and their main issue was progress in the various fields. In history the democrats were evolved from the anti – federalist fractions of the government (Woods K., 2002). They give importance to citizenship and individuality, they were concerned with the general issues which can make a country progress and were ready to compromise on any regressive behavior which was presented by some of the federalists in history. Their strategy is more of the campaign and organizational type rather than public and policy development. They are known to pick issues which support the young leaders and thus can bring a fresh approach to politics.

The Republicans were used to be the anti – slavery activist from the past and are one of the two active parties today along with the democrats. Republicans are the followers of the classical principles of the conservatism (Richard E. Berg, Andersson, 2001). The formation of the party was because of the Kansas – Nebraska act which kept slavery out of the northern domains as they treat slavery as great evil. The common agenda of the party was free land, free men, free labor as in opposition of slavery and plantation system. In history, they also saved union, and propagated the equal rights to all men in America. The issues were more concerned with the importance of people which also shows a hint of federalism.

The Federalist Party supports various political beliefs and thus it is the most flexible approaches so far. The various ideologies discussed in the essay were in some way or the other propagated by federalism. In federalism the constitution is followed by all the statesmen and public figures which give importance to the constitution (Brown.A.R., Chibnall, Majorie, 1980). The provisions of the constitution were practiced by all the important people and thus were propagated and known to the common masses as well. The federalism supports the states and the citizens which was the common form of governance in all the eras.

There is government’s role to achieve socially desirable results in federal government and thus it affects the efficiency of the working people. There can be clash between the state and the government and this was the approach of the anti federalist while federalist believe that the local state government should manage their issues separately which should be well integrated by the central federal government which has three divisions in the current system of working in America (Brown.A.R., Chibnall, Majorie, 1980). There are intergovernmental relations which should be maintained by the government in regard with the constitution of the country.

References:

  • 1) Richard E. Berg, Andersson, 2001, A brief history of American “major parties”, Vol 8, Issue 2, pg 1 – 4.
  • 2) Woods K., 2002, American Federalism 1776 to 1997: Significant events, Vol 4, Issue 2.
  • 3) A.R., Chibnall, Majorie, 1980, The American Constitution, Vol 14, Issue 1, pg 231 – 237.
  • 4) Kaye, 1995, The Jeffersonians: This is our America, Vol 2, Issue 1, pg 106 – 110.

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Drug Enforcement Administration

Proposal

The objective of this paper is to create awareness among the students about the devastating impacts of drug addiction. This proposal is based on the idea that it will provide means for students to manage their thrust for trying drugs under peer pressure. This proposal will consist of the solutions to the problem of drug addiction among teens. This proposal will provide with examples set by the senior students and will consist of their surveys and results. This proposal will be supported by valid evidences such as videos from eminent psychologists. These will be placed to resort the difficulties of the students and also their parents and guardians. This proposal will not only cater to the needs of the addicts but will also provide help to guardians to provide support and affection to the addicts so that they can overcome their craving for it (Robinson, Smith & Saisan, 2013).

This proposal is based on the findings of DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) which is a United States Federal Law Enforcement Agency. It combats the drug smuggling and its use in United States. Due to the problems of funding, it is not able to provide new task forces and this is putting a lot of pressure on the present counties. The cases of drug smuggling are increasing and students are among the major who are affected (Drug Enforcement Administration, 2007).

My consideration is towards the students of high school level as well as the college students. This proposal is meant to create awareness among them so that they can immune themselves with the use of drugs and also stop others from doing so. This proposal will demonstrate the survey conducted by various scholars to show the impact of drug addiction. It will also consist of surveys conducted by various college students who demonstrate the statistics regarding the percentage of students trapping in the circle of drug addiction. The most probable reason for this goes out for peer pressure of just for fun. Drug addiction leads them to isolation and causes various physiological disorders and can also lead to death. It also causes nausea, anxiety, increases aggressive behavior and increased heart palpitations. (Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction, 2013).

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With the help of this assignment, the problems of the students will be identified. Once these are identified, the solutions to them can be provided. The long lasting adverse effects will also be attended to make the students realize of their actions. The impact will be prolonged to the addicts’ social as well as personal circle. Symptoms pertaining to addiction will be discussed so as to allow students to understand the changed attitudes of their friends (Drugs and their effects, 2004).

The basis of this search is based on the varied sources such as the drug addiction videos of eminent psychologists. The references include the works cited from organizations which work for solving the problems of the drug addicts. The references used give us the idea how drug intake leads to variety of consequences which not only affects the addict but also affects his/her family (The consequences of drug abuse!, 2010). These references outlines the actual origination of these problems as well as their increased spread.

Reference:

Drug Enforcement Administration: Drug Abuse Prevention Service Award. (2007). Learning for Life.

Robinson, L., Smith, M. & Saisan, J. (2013). Drug Abuse and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drug Problems and Substance Abuse.

Drugs and their effects. (2004). Health & Well- Being.

Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction. (2013). Gateway Foundation. Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

The consequences of drug abuse! (2010).

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Part A

Question 1)

This is the most basic method for determining the appropriate grade. The only thing that needs to be done is to divide the total points earned by the total points possible. For the case of Student 1, this is given by

299 / 334 = 0.8952.

This is the percentage in decimal form, and should be multiplied by 100% to give

0.8952 * 100% = 89.52%

Proper rounding techniques require that the number be rounded up if the decimal is greater than one half, as in this case. As such, Student 1 would be given an A.
Part A Question 2)

Truncation, on the other hand, merely removes the decimal and keeps the integer portion of the answer. For example, truncating 4.99 would give 4. In the case of Student 1, the percentage in decimal form is 89.52%. Truncation would involve the removal of all digits after the decimal place, leaving Student 1 with a percentage of 89. This would result in Student 1 receiving a B.

Part A Question 3)

The government takes a portion of every worker’s salary as a tax on income. This is done so that the government will be able to fund various programs for the benefit of the country. Most workers will benefit from being able to keep as much of their income as they can, and as a result would like to pay as little as possible in income tax.

Workers pay different percentages (or rates) based on the total amount of income they have. Consider a person whose income tax rate is 27.8%. Do you think that this person would prefer to use the rounding method or the truncation method? For simplicity, remember that truncation can only make a number smaller, it can’t make it larger. Because of this, it is safe to assume that a worker would always want the government to truncate the tax rate. In the example here, truncation would result in a rate of 27%.

The government, however, requires that the rate be rounded. This maximizes the amount that the government will collect. For the example given, the rate is listed as 27.8%. Rounding this would mean that anyone in this bracket would pay a tax rate of 28%. Truncating it, however, would mean they would be paying 27%. Since the government wishes to bring in as much revenue as possible, they would desire (and require) the taxpayers to round.

A real world example of truncation would be in determining the total number of a given item you could purchase based on its cost and how much money you have available. Let’s say you have $10 to spend, and you want to buy packs of collectible game cards for $2.75 each. Consider the following table of cost for a given number of items:

Purchase 1 pack                                  $2.75
Purchase 2 packs                                $5.50
Purchase 3 packs                                $8.25
Purchase 4 packs                                $11.00

Obviously you only have enough money to purchase three packs, but why is this truncation? You are $1.00 short on the fourth pack, which means you have $1.75 available. The amount you have available compared with the price of the pack can be considered as
$1.75 / $2.75 = 0.6364,
or you can afford to buy 3.6364 packs. Since the store won’t sell you a portion of a pack, you must truncate your answer to three packs. A very similar example would be weight limits on an elevator. If an elevator is 150 pounds from its certified limit and a 165 pound person wanted to get on the elevator, the limit would be exceeded. Even though the elevator would be able to support most of the additional weight, it would not be rated for all of the weight. Thus the number of people allowed in the elevator for this example would be truncated.

An example of rounding would be “how many hours will it take for you to drive from point A to point B?” If the answer is three hours and ten minutes, then the best answer would be three hours. However, if the answer is three hours and 55 minutes, then the best answer is obviously four hours. In this case, the information is more accurately portrayed by rounding. Another very similar question would be “how many miles is it from point A to point B?” If the true distance is 3.1 miles, then the best answer is 3 miles. However, if the true answer is 3.85 miles, then the best answer is four miles.
Part B Question 1)

The first step would be for the teacher to find a list of factors for both numbers:

Factors of 20:              1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20
Factors of 24:              1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24

In order for each group to have the same number of boys and the same number of girls, the number of groups created must be a common factor of both numbers. From the list of factors above, the only non-trivial possibilities is for the teacher to create two cooperative groups or four cooperative groups. The results are summarized by

Number of Boys Number of Girls
20 24
Two Cooperative Groups Four Cooperative Groups
Number of Boys 20 / 2 = 10 20 / 4 = 5
Number of Girls 24 / 2 = 12 24 / 4 = 6

Part B Question 2)

The largest number of students that can be placed in a group is 44 with 20 boys and 24 girls, but that is a trivial solution. Remember that multiple group solutions have to be created using a common factor for both the number of boys and the number of girls. The only two cases where this is possible is the creation of two groups or the creation of four groups.

If two groups are created, then we take the aforementioned numbers and divide them by two. This means that each group would have 44/2 = 22 students. The number of boys is this group would be 20/2 = 10 while the number of girls in this group would be 24/2 = 12. If, however, the teacher breaks the class into four cooperative groups, then each group would have 44/4 = 11 students, with 20/4 = 5 boys and 24/4 = 6 girls.

Part B Question 4)

Consider a finite set of prime numbers. For simplicity, let’s say we have a set of 5 prime numbers. We’ll let this set be given by

{A} = {3, 7, 11, 29, 53}.

Now define a variable to be the product of all members of our finite set. For the simple example given this variable would be

B = 3 * 7 * 11 * 29 * 53 = 355047

The number B + 1 must itself be prime or contain at least one prime number that is not in the original set {A}. To see this, find all the prime factors of B:

Prime factors of B = 2 * 2 * 2 * 44381

Now we have found two more prime numbers, namely 2 and 44381. To continue the process, add these to {A} and repeat the process. It’s not very efficient, but it will always give you at least one new prime.

Part C Question 1)

In order to add numbers using modulo arithmetic, the first step is to find the remainder for each. Let’s say that we want to add 11 and 23 modulo 8. Subtracting 8 from 11 gives us a remainder of 3, while subtracting 8 from 23 repeatedly first gives us 15 and then 7. In other words, 11 modulo 8 has a value of 3 while 23 modulo 8 has a value of 7. When these remainders are added together, we have 7 + 3 = 10. The final step is to subtract 8 from the final remainder as needed. In this case, we find 10 – 8 = 2. This means that the sum of 11 and 23 modulo 8 has a value of 2.

Negative numbers require a bit of care. In the modulo 8 system, the available remainders are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. This means that a negative number modulo 8 would require you to repeatedly add 8 until the remainder was one of these possibilities. Starting with -11, adding 8 would give -3 and then adding 8 again would be 5. This means that -11 modulo 8 equals 5. Similarly, starting with -23 and repeatedly adding 8 results in -15 then -7 and then 1. This means that the sum of -11 and -23 modulo 8 is given by 5 + 1 = 6.

Multiplication works the same way. 11 * 23 = 253. In modulo 8 this is 253 – 8(31) = 5. Using just the modulo values, instead of 11 * 23 we begin with 3 * 7 = 21 and 21 – 8(2) = 5. With negative numbers, we find (-11 * -23) = 253 which has been shown to have the value 5 in modulo 8. If we begin with modulo values, the becomes 5 * 1 = 5, which makes sense because 253 = 253 must have the same modulo value.

Modulo arithmetic may seem difficult at first, but once you become accustomed to the process it is not difficult. A very good example is the standard picture of a clock. Consider the following picture showing the face of a normal clock:

.
Well, almost normal. Notice that the number 12 at the top of the clock has been replaced by a zero. Now consider the hour hand as it moves its way around the clock. Every time it returns to the vertically upward position, it has completed another revolution about the clock face. Think of this as the number of revolutions for the hour hand is an integer number, so there is no remainder, and we say that the value mod 12 is zero. When the hour hand is pointing to the right, it has previously completed some integer number of revolutions plus one fourth of a revolution. This gives us

(1/4) * 12 = 3.

You can think of the value mod 12 of the time when the hour hand is pointing to the right is 3. This same process is used around the entire clock, so the value of the time mod 12 is simply the number to which the hour hand is pointing.

Now let’s generalize this. For any situation B mod A, what is really being asked is “after we subtract off as many integer multiples of A as possible from B, how many units do we have left?” For example, 10 mod 6 would be equal to 4. Why? Subtract off 6 from 10, that leaves us with 4. Since 4 < 6, this means that we are unable to subtract 6 units another time, and are left with 4 units. Another example would be 31 mod 5. Repeatedly subtracting 5 yields:

31 – 5 = 26
26 – 5 = 21
21 – 5 = 16
16 – 5 = 11
11 – 5 = 6
6 – 5 = 1

Now we have reached the point where we are unable to subtract five units, and our remainder is one unit. This means that the value of 31 mod 5 is 1.

To add or multiply mod 7, simply deal with the remainders. For example, if I wanted to add

700 + 502 = 1202

in mod 7, this would become

(700 mod 7) + (502 mod 7) = (1202 mod 7)
0 + 5 = 5

Similarly, multiplying in mod 7 would look like
18 * 44 = 792
(18 mod 7) * (44 mod 7) = (792 mod 7)
4 * 2 = 8 mod 7 = 1

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Reference for clock: http://www.gpg4win.org/doc/en/gpg4win-compendium_31.html

 

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