Glimmers of hope? Thoughts on the shape and feel of economic recovery

Recent news articles have stated that Germany and France have formally/statisticly exited recession (such as the BBC, on 13 August 2009 “France and Germany exit recession“). During the first half of 2009 equity market swings caused talk of ‘green shoots’ and whether they might be sustainable (Martin Wolf, Financial Times ft.com/economistsforum). Talk of ‘green shoots’ has now been replaced by discussion of economic growth, albeit most projections showing it to be relatively small in the near-term.

For the last 18 months many people have talked about turnaround/recovery possibly occurring in 2010.  As we near 2009 year-end there is clearly hope, and some cautious optimism in the market that this might hold true, even if most seem to agree that there is still a lot of hard work to come and the pace of recovery might be slow (for example, the UK Treasury recently announced, here, that independent forecasts for FY10 have UK GDP growth at an average of 1.4%).

Market commentators are now talking about ‘the shape of the recovery‘, and using terms like ‘the new normal‘ to discuss how a looming economic recovery might present itself.  Can we have confidence that things are changing for the better?

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Three stages of economic decline within an organization/network (3 C’s)

iStock_000006191862XSmallAs we have progressed through the deterioration in the economic climate I observed a trend in how people and stakeholders in different organisations and networks respond.  My comments here are principally based on observations from the media, in particular business newspapers such as the Financial Times and the Handelsblatt (a German newspaper) and discussions with friends about what they were seeing in their businesses and through their contacts.

The stages of economic decline could be summarised into three ‘C’s: Cooperation, Competition, and Corruption.

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Should MBA programs share blame for the adverse economic development?

[or looking at it differently, can future MBA programs protect us from the economic turmoil that we are now suffering?]

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The majority of my MBA was undertaken during booming economic times, however with a constant uncertainty hanging over our heads at that time: “What do global trade imbalances mean?”.

Now, in the midst of a global economic crisis numerous commentators are asking the question “Did MBA programs develop greedy managers, who put growth ahead of stability?”, or variants on this theme.  Global trade imbalances still exist (with no clearer insight into how these will be resolved), but discussion of these seems to be parked while we work our way out of the recession.

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