Harvard Business Review 2007 Green Book Report

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 1
  • Subject: Transportation - Environmental Issues
  • Type: Book Report
  • Paper: #83729821

Excerpt from Book Report :

By the same token, an American citizen, say of Iranian decent has very little choice in self-defining their "ethnicity" since there is not a category for Arab-American -- instead, they must be White/Caucasian, which in some cases, is how they self-view, in other cases, not at all accurate for a political "count." The task then, for political leaders, is to ensure that numbers, used for judgment, dividing, and even balancing, do not become the ends to the means -- but more fundamentally utilitarian -- a way towards a goal (text; see also: Bell and Cohen, eds. 2009).

#3. Give an example of the types of Casual Theories.

Causal decision theory holds that the expected outcome of any action should be evaluated based on the potential causes of that action -- as opposed to the outcome of the action (evidential decision theory). When thinking about political theory, we tend to see causation in two major ways: 1) nature interacting without intent, part of a natural process (e.g. weather, seasonality, etc.); and 2) as part of a set of actions that have a purpose (e.g. If a occurs, B is the result = a is the cause).

Politically, this has a variety of effects. Causal theory may influence policy (this happened, we think because of that, so we will change that which caused the effect), and control -- if machine a malfunctions and kills or harms we must find (and sometimes punish) the cause, but change the law so machines can no longer harm (mechanical causality). Of course, this is very complex and has wide ranging consequences socially and fiscally. There are also inadvertent causes; something defined yet not necessary controlled. Poverty, for example, has inadvertent individual and societal consequences, and causes things to happen that are unintended, but predictable. Recklessness in the health and safety of individuals causes harm, fiscal spending, and requirements of new policy. Institutional causality holds that social issues tend to be caused by more grand behavioral patterns. This might be epitomized in taking a specification on a governmental project to such an extreme that, when using a cost accounting model, indicates that design and development results in things like $50 bolts or $800 door frames -- all in line with maintaining standards. Politically, causality theory stretches back to Aristotle and is almost ingrained within human psyche. However, as society becomes more and more sophisticated technologically, we find that relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos theory forces scientists to abandon causality as an exact and measured science in certain areas -- whereas they remain valid at the level of human experience (Sowa, 2000).

#4. Explain the decision-analysis strategies of problem definition.

Within the political unit, decisions must be made on a regular basis that often define the very nature of that organization. Since part of the political process revolves around the ability to decide -- the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few -- the fundamentally the process of decision analysis is at the very heart of the group's ability to define and construct the appropriate problem. Action, therefore, cannot occur unless the appropriate decision-analysis is made prior to implementation of any program to address a problem.

Strategies, then, within decision analysis include a number of assumptions. There is, for instance, an overall assumption that analysis will determine the right path towards a decision. Goal orientation -- what is the actual problem or path that needs a decision is also part of the analysis mix. Intentionality, too, is important in that the more ambiguous the frame of reference, the less likely an appropriate decision will be made that will address the actual issue. Alternatives must also be addressed in decision-analysis since there are likely many paths to the definition, but not all of equal value or appropriateness. Often alternatives must be controlled in order to be action oriented -- after all, in most any problem the number of "possibilities" could be endless, and the political unit could take years to debate issues and still come up with no clear consensus of opinion (e.g. The Great multi-decade health care debate) (Goodwin and Wright, 2004).

#5. Explain the reasoning of the informal rules of thumb.

Within the political organization, rules are often written and formal. This allows a sense of organization and time saving -- it is not necessary to redebate or reformulate something that is a regular occurrence. However, because every situation is not exactly the same in every occurrence, if we take the example of rules as law, for instance, we find that laws are used to organize society for the greater good -- do not kill, do not steal, etc. As society became more complex, the list of rules/laws also became more complex, and lengthy. Typically, there existed a reason for that rule that may or may not be currently relevant.

Therefore, for society to not allow itself to be mired in a never-ending sea of bureaucracy and overzealous debate or enforcement, society typically tends to use a rule of thumb as a gauge to the seriousness of rule enforcement. Taking into account community values, cultural normal, typical practices, and overall belief systems, a rule of thumb allows a rule to be interpreted in context. For example, when filing a tax return, one is asked if they gave to a charity. The current rule of thumb is that anyone can answer "Yes" and x$ are deducted without audit or penalty. The rule of thumb holds that in the course of a year, most people will give x$, whether they do or not. Thus, in the political organization, the rule of thumb is more of a guiding principle that is not intended to be 100% accurate or reliable within every situation -- it is an approximate calculation that has some value, and results in general agreement (See also: "The Rule of Thumb," 2010).


Bell, R. And M. Cohen, eds. (2009). Coverage measurement in the 2010 Census. National Academies Press.

Goodwin, P. And Wright, G. (2004). Decision Analysis for Management. Wiley.

Martinez, M. (2009). The Myth of the Free Market: The Role of the State in a Capitalistic

Economy. Kumarian Press.

Sowa, J. (2000). "Processes and Causality." Cited in:


"The Rule of Thumb." (2010). The Phrase Finder. Cited in:


The history of sustainable development and environmentally sound policies is long and complex. It can, however, be broken down into five major components, all a reflection of the culture of the time: 1960-70 as Industrial Environmentalism. Industries resisted pressures for regulations and environmentalists were not viewed as credible sources; 1970-1982 as Regulatory Environmentalism. The EPA becomes mediator between industry and science; environmental protection was considered at best a necessary evil, at worst a temporary nuisance; 1982-1988 as Environmentalism as a Social Responsibility. By 1982 the EPA had lost credibility, but activism was up; industry finally became aware that cooperation was cheaper than adversarial legal suits; 1988-1993 as Strategic Environmentalism. Industry progressed into a proactive stance, still wary on spending to protect the environment; 1993 to Present Day as Environmental Management as an Opportunity. Business schools are now teaching that environmental protection is not a threat, but an opportunity to increase competitive advantage. Going green can save money and glean customers. See: Hoffman, 2001; Senge, 2010.

"Copenhagen Pork," in…

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