1. “Management by Stress” as it is coined by Parker and Slaughter (480) is the concept of effective management that includes the use of technology to eliminate or at least minimize indirect labor, systematic speed-up, the resort to the outside contracting and “just-in-time” inventory control (Parker & Slaughter 1988). The title of the concept reflects the force that drives that kind of management. Indeed, it is the stress coming out from declining profit margins, growing competition, and increasing labor costs. All these phenomena make managers think of how to produce more, using fewer resources. In a word, one may observe that the increasing cost of production, declining profits and fierce competition may, in fact, boost the effective management and the use of technology. To go further, these, at the first glance, pessimistic developments actually make our economy more technologically advanced. “Just-in-time” production is described by Parker and Slaughter (482) as a concept of production focused on demand (Parker & Slaughter 1988). According to this concept, products are made only if they are needed for the operation. Such an approach allows avoiding excessive stocks.
2. Despite the fact that the Businessweek article has been written more than fourteen years ago, some of the aspects of companies’ operation may still be considered as creating a competitive edge. In my opinion, technology and innovation remains one of the most important sources of competitive advantage. Technology makes business operation more effective, less time consuming and less costly. Today, for every corporation, which desire to be competitive, it is still important to implement technologies and innovations. Also other aspects discussed still seem relevant. Networking is still important because we live in a network economy. In a globalized economy networking is especially important. Globalization only increases, and, therefore, networking is still an important source of the competitive advantage. However, I would say that there is some downside to the personal touch concept. Technology leaves lesser room for the personal touch. Indeed, one may observe that for cost saving reasons, even some interviews with potential employees are conducted via phones, video conferencing and so on.
3. In general, I see a trend towards more effective management. This trend is driven by growing competition. Every company, which wishes not only to survive, but also to succeed, must find its competitive edges.