BACK TO BUSINESS
To The Editor:
Your roundtable, “B-Schools Under Fire” (CE: April 1993), was a source of encouragement. It appears enlightened academic administrators finally have realized that their product has not been meeting the needs of their customers, and that some of their programs have become obsolete. Current programs fall short in preparing leaders who are ethical and capable of empowering their employees and focusing corporate resources on meeting customer needs. Research similar to that done by Rensis Likert on leadership and organizational performance during the late 1940s and 1950s should be pursued. We cannot afford another decade of preparing business students for the corporate environment of the 1970s.
DELIVERING THE MALE
To The Editor:
A reader need only look at your roundtable, “B-Schools Under Fire” (CE: April 1993), to see why business schools are considered out of touch with changes in the business world. Over 20 photos accompany the article, each portraying a white male from the group of deans and CEOs invited to discuss the evolving skill needs of future managers.
The lead photo (pp. 50-1, and reprinted on p. 2) is a classic. One can’t help but wonder if the 21 white men at the table are discussing the challenges of managing a diverse work force, one of the key issues for managers as we move into the 21st century. The frank discussion would, no doubt, be enriched by adding some women and people of color. Patricia M. Flynn
Dean and Professor of
HOLD THE VIDEOPHONE
To The Editor: Marc Gobe’s recent article, “The 10 Best And 10 Worst Industrial Designs” (CE: June 1993), designated AT&T’s VideoPhone 2500 as one of the 10 worst industrial designs. I believe he missed the point about our product and its role in telecommunications.
This is clearly evident in his offhand, almost flippant reference to the phone being OK for “doting grandparents.” I must point out that doting grandparents, and other family members, comprise one of the biggest segments of our Videophone market. The concept that drives this product is that families separated by great distances can see and hear each other for the price of a regular telephone call. These doting grandparents and their families are proving Gobe’s final assertion wrong: He suggests people won’t “pay top dollar for this latest state-of-the art contraption.” I can tell you that they are.
While Gob& is correct in that the Videophone does not allow simultaneous calls or modem connections, he should recognize the reason: The market segment I described has told us repeatedly through extensive research and practical experience that it does not need or want to pay for this capability. In addition, as I understand it, no modem technology exists today that allows simultaneous connections, so the Videophone cannot be called lacking in this respect.
Finally, I would like to clarify one other assertion made by GobÃª. Pressing the video button does prevent the two parties from talking to each other for 15 to 20 seconds, but in most instances, the two parties work this into their conversation, warning each other before hitting the button. I don’t see how this one-time, 20-second modem connection “promises to make life more complicated” as the author suggests.
AT&T Global VideoPhone Systems