Spring 2001
Vol 18 No. 1

Making Samford a Better Place

An Exceptional Gift

Working for the Common Good

New Business Leadership

Opening the Free Market

Trucking with Computers

Other Stories
Bellas Created 'Climate of Achievement' in Samford School of Business

Community Banking Stresses New Technology, Personal Touch

Faculty Compendium

Early Greek Influence on Jordan Strikes Jan Term Class Members

A Cappella Choir Invited to Sing in Russia

Wind Ensemble Performs at MENC Conference

Samford Students Out-Perform Peers in 'Engagement' with Learning: NSSE

Student Accolades

Samford History Prof's Book on King Jail Letter Examines Complexities of '60s Racial Scene

Humphreys Writes on Baptists and Calvinism

Book Edited by George, Smith Examines Racial Reconciliation

George Authors Doctrine Study

Tillette's Team Makes It Interesting During Seventh Straight Winner

Pharmacies Could Hold a Key to Effective Disaster Response

Cochran and Moore Write the Samford Record Book

Baseball Alumni: Send Your Name

Kenny Morgan Scholarship Winners



Reed Talks Entrepreneurship Where It's Not So Simple

Dr. Marlene Reed is taking the case for entrepreneurship into some former Soviet nations only recently touched by the free-market approach. And she's bringing back some important lessons for students in the form of textbook case studies.

Reed spoke last fall in Yerevan, Armenia, on strategic planning and entrepreneurship. Her audience was a group of professionals in the process of privatizing companies in the former Soviet nation. One of their goals was to keep young people from leaving the country. This spring, she visited Kharvov, Ukraine, and Kiev, Russia, to lecture on the same topics. She returns to Armenia this fall.

The Samford business professor, who teaches entrepreneurship and economics, stresses strategic planning and the value of competition. She shares a five-step plan for helping businesses develop in former Soviet areas.

She tells audiences to (1) identify the business and the product or service, (2) identify customers and competition, (3) plan a marketing strategy using "the four Ps"-product, place, price and promotion, (4) identify management team members and their expertise and (5) project revenues and expenses to see if the venture is viable.

While the plan is simple and direct, it's not always easy to implement in areas dominated until recently by the Soviet approach.

"Simple things like marketing research and customer service issues that most Americans have some knowledge of are unknown to many businesses in the former Soviet Union countries," she said.

Budding entrepreneurs there are keenly interested in establishing sound businesses, but they still face restraints, she said.

"One constraint has been the inability of their governments to act quickly enough in establishing laws to assist new businesses," she said. "An example of this is the absence of contract law and bankruptcy law in the Czech Republic until recently."

Too, she added, national banks are just now being privatized, making it difficult for businesses to secure a checking account, much less a loan.

"Another debilitating problem is the lack of sound ethics as guiding principles in decision making," she reported. "Most entrepreneurs believe it isn"t in one's best interest to try to live by the golden rule when no one else is."

Reed has traveled extensively studying European businesses, including spending a sabbatical in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the spring of 2000. Her research has produced at least five case studies that have made their way into U.S. textbooks and journals.

"Textbook authors love international cases," said Reed. "They want their students to understand the struggles of going from a Soviet-based economy to a free-market economy."

Each study requires months to complete. After an initial examination, she will pursue a complete study of a business case if it deals with a central problem, if it provides educational content and "if it's not boring to students."

Reed became interested in studying how businesses would cope with the change to a free market during a trip to Germany 11 years ago, not long after the fall of Communism. Since 1997, she has presented case studies at such meetings as the International Decision Sciences Institute in Athens, Greece, and the North American Case Research Association.

Marlene Reed's European case studies are finding their way into American business textbooks and journals.