Alison's Writing Portfolio · On People & Co.

Alison’s Portfolio: Business Stories

Here are some stories I’ve written on business over the years:

75_tn_incfeb05cover_1 The Morality Play. Inc. February 2005. Values are in vogue these days, with so-called moral values credited by many pollsters as having played a key role in the reelection of President Bush. Of course, moral values didn’t first appear on the scene on Election Day, nor are they just about politics. Consumers have long said that they buy products and services with values in mind — whether those values are religious, spiritual, environmental, or political.  […] If you’re in business and you’ve got morals, then it would seem there’s been no better time to flaunt them. But you’ve got to wonder: In our current polarized times, is there a downside to all of this talk about morals and values, whatever they happen to be? Will playing the morality card drive your business? Or does it run the risk of driving it away? To read, click image at left.


Playing Well with Others. Inc. January 2005. It’s tempting to dismiss cliquishness as a relic from high school, along with midterms, lockers, and prom dates. But the fact is, adult workers often behave much more like teenagers than they care to admit. Put people together in any group and it won’t be long before they coalesce into subgroups. […] That’s not a problem if groups remain reasonably inclusive. But […] a benign subgroup can rapidly become a malignant clique. And the issue is much larger than simply wanting your employees to be nice to one another. To read, click image at left.

Are You Paying Yourself Enough? Inc. Magazine, cover story, November 2004. Finally the time had come for Smart Furniture’s lowest-paid employee to get a raise. Stephen A. Culp, 35, founder and CEO, had launched his Chattanooga-based modular furniture company in 2001, and for three years he had made sure that every one of his employees was paid well and on time. Everyone, that is, except for himself. For all his efforts to make his company a success, through the long days and nights, Culp had been working for slave wages, literally. Every month, for going on 36 months, he took home the princely salary of precisely nothing. To read, click image at left.



A Perfect Brainstorm Inc. October 2003. What cutting-edge science tells us about mastering the art of the brainstorm. Plus: Why do the best ideas always seem to happen in the shower?  To read, click image at left.

Look Who’s Watching  Continental, April 2003 One sunny day late last summer, Tracey Lovejoy boarded a plane in Europe for an international flight, settled into her business class aisle seat, and immediately got down to work. She turned to the man sitting next to her. When he set up his laptop, she carefully watched to see exactly how he arrange it on the tray table. As he clicked through his email, she peered discreetly over his shoulder to see what was on the screen.  When he rifled through papers, she followed his eye movements and noted his facial expressions.  Appearances to the contrary, Lovejoy isn’t the world’s biggest busybody–at least when she’s off the clock. As an anthropologist and an employee of Microsoft, Lovejoy is a highly trained professional observer of people –an ethnographer.Download ContEthnoFinal.pdf



The Health Care Crisis   BusinessWeek. It was almost like reading her own obituary. One morning last October, as Rochelle Balch, owner of a computer programming company in Glendale, Ariz., perused the front page of her local newspaper, she was shocked to learn that her health insurer was going bankrupt. To read, click image at left.

75_tn_csm_cover_1 The Latest Trend at the Mall. The Christian Science Monitor.
Armani. Versace. Coach. Louis Vuitton. Hermes. Some of the toniest retailers in the world peddle their wares at the largest mall in the Northeast, in suburban King of Prussia, Penn.Not exactly where you’d expect to find free educational opportunities for inner-city Philadelphia residents. Yet the King of Prussia Mall is home to the first mall-based Retail Skills Center, which over the last two years has trained and placed prospective employees at retail stores throughout the mall. To read, click image at left.


75_tn_fcciver Your Space is the Place. Fast Company. How will geographic trends influence business growth and employee management? To read, click image at left.


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