By Chris Stone Contact Chris
Before we take a closer look at the Conference Board's research and the indicators it provides, we need to have an understanding of its purpose, structure and various undertakings.
The CB was created in 1916 by industry leaders attempting to address the decline in public confidence toward business and the growing unrest among America's labor force. This growing sentiment became so prevalent that it threatened the stability and growth of the economy. CB organizers wished to create a not-for-profit cooperative of executives - free of propaganda and partisanship - that could objectively address issues impacting their various industries and society as a whole. Here are some things the Conference Board says about their mission on their website:
"The Conference Board creates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society.From the seed planted in 1916, the Conference Board has grown into a global resource with offices in 12 nations, representing 2,000 companies in 60 countries (as of 2005). U.S. member companies include such behemoths as Microsoft, Verizon Communications, Wal-Mart Stores and Boeing.
"Working as a global, independent membership organization in the public interest, we conduct research, convene conferences, make forecasts, assess trends, publish information and analysis, and bring executives together to learn from one another."
Companies - both large and small - can apply to join, and if accepted have access to a myriad of exclusive resources concerning a wide range of business issues. There are six main areas of research, each of which, under the leadership of a director who is an expert in his or her field, focuses on conducting research, organizing conferences, publishing reports as well as convenes working groups and councils. These are its six areas of research: corporate citizenship, corporate governance, economics, human resources, marketing/communications and strategy/planning.
Corporate citizenship deals with the relations between companies and the general public. According to its website, the CB "has been studying the interaction of corporations with their communities - areas such as environment, health and safety, community relations, corporate contributions and sustainability - since 1916".
No less than eleven CB-organized councils deal with areas involving corporate citizenship such as health and safety and environment management. Special initiatives in the corporate citizenship area are the 'Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership' - a bi-annual award - and the 'Townley Global Management Center for Environment, Health and Safety'.
Conferences on topics relating to corporate citizenship that the CB organizes include the 'Leadership Conference on Global Corporate Citizenship and Managing Diversity', an online seminar.
The CB conducts an annual survey on corporate contributions, and publishes the findings in an annual research report. Other publications on corporate citizenship include, Strategic Energy Management and Driving Toward Zero, a report on raising safety performance.
To learn about current initiatives/events in corporate citizenship, and to find out who the CB's current research director for corporate citizenship is, see this section of the CB website.
Corporate governance refers to the relationship between a company's shareholders, directors and management. CB conferences in this area include the 'Conference on Executive Coaching', and the 'Enterprise Learning Strategies Conference'.
Some of the corporate-governance research reports include, Improving Communications Between Companies and Investors, and Ethics Programs, The Role of the Board: A Global Study. Other projects are the 'Global Corporate Governance Research Center', the 'Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise', and the 'Directors' Institute'.
To learn about CB's current initiatives/events in corporate governance, and who the current research director in this area is, see this section of the CB website.
Of all resources provided by the CB, that which is of most interest to traders is the economic research and consumer-survey data. Some of these releases include the Business Cycle Indicators, the Consumer Confidence Index, the Help-Wanted Advertising Index and the CEO Confidence Index, to name a few.
CB economic publications include Straight Talk, a monthly publication of economic analysis geared toward business executives, and Business Executives' Expectations.
To learn about CB's current initiatives/events in economics, and who this research center's current director is, see this section of the CB website.
Human Resources (HR) / Organization
The concerns of the CB's research on human resources (as outlined in the CB's website) are "compensation, benefits, diversity, leadership, organization structure, productivity, performance measurement, recruitment, retention, training, development and work-life".
Some examples of other projects include the 'Conference on Executive Coaching', a research report titled, Measuring More Than Efficiency and a working group called 'Aligning Performance Measures with Business Objectives'. One of the more interesting features of the CB's resources on HR is its collection of more than 300 corporate organization charts available for purchase via their website.
To learn about CB's current initiatives/events in human resources, and who the principle researcher in this area is, see this section of the CB website.
On this topic, the CB offers material on marketing, corporate communication, sales, customer management and branding. Some examples of conferences and publication include the 'Customer Experience Management Conference' and a research report entitled Managing Customer Data for Strategic Advantage.
To learn about CB's current initiatives/events in marketing/communications, and who the principle researcher in this area is, see this section of the CB website.
According to their website, "The Conference Board's offerings in strategy and planning will help you manage your costs, knowledge and supply chain, and provide you with the latest information on mergers, quality, security, outsourcing, finance, taxation, and legal affairs."
Examples of strategy and planning resources include, the 'Enterprise Learning Strategies Conference', a research report titled, CEO Challenge 2004: Top Ten Challenges (Executive Summary), and the 'Strategic Workforce Planning' working group.
Special initiatives consist of the 'Corporate Preparedness, Security and Response Network', dedicated to disaster preparedness, and the Conference Board Europe's 'Value Chain Network', dedicated to improving efficiency along the supply chain.
To learn about CB's current initiatives/events in marketing/communications, see this section of the CB website.
The resources provided by the Conference Board have become essential to conducting business in the global marketplace. An executive would be remiss to ignore the timely research and resources the CB provides - for, undoubtedly, his or her competition is paying close attention.
The same is true for financial traders, who would be foolish not to study the lessons of the CB's widely followed research. Fortunately for traders, most of the economic publications from the CB are made available free of charge via press releases.
TradingLearn to put the CB data sets to trading use. Each chapter takes you through one of the board's benchmark indicators or surveys, their significance and their applications.
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