Jan 092014

Steve McGuire has an excellent, concise piece in Mediate.com showing how the “hidden” costs of workplace conflict can, in fact, be helpfully quantified.

Various indirect factors go into calculating the real (hidden) costs of workplace conflict. In addition to wasted time and opportunity costs, employees impacted by conflict have lowered job performance, motivation and productivity. Conflict can lead to absenteeism, vandalism, degraded decisional quality and often, a loss of investment in a skilled employee that suffers from the “I don’t care anymore” attitude. Often, conflict can lead to false whistleblowing allegations, lawsuits and of course, employees leaving the organization for other opportunities.

In addition, the direct costs of conflict are generally observable, measurable and accrue over time. Let’s take the following example of the cost of losing a single mid-level employee due to conflict within a hypothetical organization, applying the Dana Cost Calculator from figures generated by HR Magazine in February 2003:  1) employee’s annual salary: $80,000; 2) multiply by 1.4 (140%) as the investment you have in the employee: $112,000; 3) multiply by 1.5 (150%) as the cost of replacing the employee: $168,000; 4) multiply by .6 (60%) average role of conflict in voluntary terminations: $100,800. Now, multiply times the number of voluntary terminations in your organization annually. Say you have a 10% turnover rate in a company of 100 employees that’s 10 employees. 10 X $100,800 = $1,008,000.

Conflict in the above hypothetical organization of 100 employees is costing the organization over a million dollars a year! What other line-item loss in an essential corporate process would be treated so cavalierly by management?

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Jan 022014

The United States Copyright Office has recommended to the U.S. Congress that it reconsider its copyright laws so that visual artists can benefit from the resale of their work.

Visual artists typically do not share in the long-term financial success of their works because works of visual art are produced singularly and valued for their scarcity, unlike books, films, and songs, which are produced and distributed in multiple copies to consumers. Consequently, in many, if not most instances, only the initial sale of a work of visual art inures to the benefit of the artist and it is collectors and other purchasers who reap any increase in that work’s value over time. Today more than seventy foreign countries – twice as many as in 1992 – have enacted a resale royalty provision of some sort to address this perceived inequity.


That said, the issues are as complex as the art market itself. We believe that Congress may want to consider a resale royalty, as well as a number of possible alternative or complementary options for supporting visual artists, within the broader context of industry norms, market practices, and other pertinent data. …

Although the Internet has provided artists with greater opportunities to exploit derivative images and/or sell mass-produced copies of their works, stakeholders agree that “for most visual artists . . . the amounts involved in reproduction or representation are generally insignificant.” Indeed, it appears to be common ground that reproduction rights represent a “very minor aspect of [most artists’] careers” and that the first sale of a work is “the main or exclusive source of income for almost all American artists.”

(Image by Bob Basil)