August 13, 2012 |
ATLANTA — Many American companies that had adopted a much-vaunted employee evaluation system have lately been turning away from it. Known as "stacked ranking" or "forced ranking," the process made famous by General Electric Co. is really just a version of what teachers call grading on the curve: a few people at the top, a few at the bottom and the rest clumped in the middle. The practice leaped into the spotlight — at least for people who study how companies perform — when Vanity Fair published in its August issue a profile of technology icon Microsoft Corp.
September 1, 2011
WASHINGTON Nine companies are recalling about 2 million bottles and jugs of the gel fuel used in outdoor patio decorations known as firepots because of the risk of serious burns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the gel fuel has been linked to several dozen cases in which people were burned when they couldn't tell whether the flame was out. Pouring more gel on a burning pot can lead to dangerous flares or burns. The companies are: Bird Brain Inc. of Ypsilanti, Mich.; Bond Manufacturing of Antioch, Calif.; Sunjel Company of Milwaukee; Fuel Barons Inc. of Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Lamplight Farms Inc. of Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Luminosities Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.; Pacific Decor Ltd. of Woodinville, Wash.; Real Flame of Racine, Wis.; Smart Solar USA of Oldsmar, Fla. The commission says Marshall Group of Elkhart, Ind., pulled out of the public announcement at the last minute.
March 20, 2013 |
NEW YORK -- The economy may be improving, but many U.S. companies are still hanging on to record amounts of cash, something they usually do in times of economic turmoil. U.S. companies held $1.45 trillion in cash in 2012, up 10% from the $1.32 trillion they held in 2011 -- which at that time was a record level, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service. Apple is sitting on $137 billion in cash, a fact not lost on investors, who have sued in an effort to get Apple to give some of that cash to shareholders.
May 31, 2013 |
Frustrated by their inability to stem an onslaught of computer hackers, some companies are considering adopting the standards of the Wild West to fight back against online bandits. In taking an eye-for-an-eye approach, some of the companies that have been attacked are looking at retaliating against the attackers, covertly shutting down computers behind the cyber assaults or even spreading a new virus to stymie the hackers. Such retaliation is illegal in the United States, but companies see it as a way to curtail the breaches, particularly if the attack is originating from another country, where the legality of retaliatory attacks is unclear.
January 13, 2013 |
American companies are ready to write bigger checks for business travel this year. The Global Business Travel Assn. is expecting companies to spend $266.7 billion in 2013. That's a 4.6% increase over last year, when the “fiscal cliff” and Superstorm Sandy put a crimp in travel. Still, the group predicted that companies will trim back 1.1% on the number of trips. The rise in spending and the drop in trips means more travelers will stay longer, perhaps scheduling more meetings per outing, said Rebecca Carriero, a spokeswoman for the trade group representing business travel managers.
April 18, 2014 |
Just as consumers make their preferences for cereal flavors or pizzas known with dollars, they can choose to patronize companies that they believe do good in the world. And companies are competing for consumer attention with labels calling out their causes. But a product's claims to be providing clean drinking water to desert villages or saving an endangered species doesn't answer all the important questions. How much is donated? How reliable is the cause? The nonprofit organization B Lab gives companies a "B Corp" certification and icon that it says is a litmus test that gives shoppers confidence they're supporting more than good marketing.