Author: Notre Dame Magazine

Smart waste

Corn cobs and other throwaway biomass material can rid contaminated wastewater of toxic metals, according to a study by Notre Dame’s Center for Environmental Science and Technology.

A team of investigators found that cobs left over from the production of animal feed and spillage remaining from the manufacture of ethanol from corn can effectively remove copper, lead, zinc and other potentially toxic metals from contaminated water, even in the presence of other metals.

Their findings made the cover of the September 25, 2001, issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

It pays to be green

Contrary to conventional wisdom, big multinational companies that adopt strict environmental standards are rewarded with a better stock performance than other multinationals, according to a study co-authored by Glen Dowell, assistant professor of management.

The researchers found that companies which applied their own strict global environmental standards abroad were worth billions more in market capitalization than those using less-stringent U.S. standards.

Published in the journal Management Study, the report noted a “significant and positive relationship” between the market value of a company and its environmental standards.

Antidotes for freeloading

Social loafing. It’s a term management experts use to describe members of work teams who take a free ride on the labor of their colleagues, knowing everyone will earn the same reward in the end. So how does a boss keep employees from getting away with this?

Kevin Bradford, an assistant professor of marketing, suggests supervisors assign each team member a specific task, with no redundancy among the jobs. That way the boss can assess each member’s performance.

In an article written with Barton A. Weitz, a management professor at the University of Florida, Bradford also says that when separating tasks is not possible — as is often the case — provide an all-or-nothing incentive, a bonus the team will receive only if it realizes an announced goal. Another idea is to split up the bonus among team members based on their individual effort and performance. But the authors acknowledge that it’s not easy to satisfy everyone that the allocations are being made fairly.

Weitz and Bradford’s article, “Personal Selling and Sales Management: A Relationship Marketing Perspective,” which appeared in the spring 1999 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, won the American Marketing Association’s Excellence in Sales Scholarship Award.