Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Economics of E Commerce or Excellence By Design

The Economics of E-Commerce: A Strategic Guide to Understanding and Designing the Online Marketplace

Author: Nir Vulkan

Despite the recent misfortunes of many dotcoms, e-commerce will have major and lasting effects on economic activity. But the rise and fall in the valuations of the first wave of e-commerce companies show that vague promises of distant profits are insufficient. Only business models based on sound economic propositions will survive. This book provides professionals, investors, and MBA students the tools they need to evaluate the wide range of actual and potential e-commerce businesses at the microeconomic level. It demonstrates how these tools can be used to assess a variety of existing applications.

Advances in web-based technology--particularly automation and delegation technologies such as smart agents, shopping bots, and bidding elves--support the further growth of e-commerce. In addition to enabling consumers to conduct automated comparisons and sellers to access visitors' background information in real time, such software programs can make decisions for individuals, negotiate with other programs, and participate in online markets. Much of e-commerce's economic value arises from this kind of automation, which not only reduces operating costs but adds value by generating new market interactions.

This text teaches how to analyze the added value of such applications, considering consumer behavior, pricing strategies, incentives, and other critical factors. It discusses added value in several e-commerce arenas: online shopping, business-to-business e-commerce, application design, online negotiation (one-to-one trading), online auctions (one-to-many trading), and many-to-many electronic exchanges. Combining insights from several years of microeconomic research as well as fromgame theory and computer science, it stresses the importance of economic engineering in application design as well as the need for business models to take into account the "total game."

As the only serious treatment of the microeconomics of e-commerce, this book should be read by anyone seeking e-commerce solutions or planning to work in the field.

Publishers Weekly

Picture the Internet-to-be as a vast bazaar where all the buyers and sellers are intelligent software agents. Naturally, these hustlers of the virtual marketplace will need economists to help them optimize their strategies, and that's where this engrossing primer on applied microeconomics comes in. Oxford economist Vulkan develops an analytical apparatus featuring the assumption of rationality, the concept of equilibrium, and lots and lots of game theory to help readers understand how e-commerce will play out. As consumers deploy their ShopBots to search for the lowest prices, on-line retailers will respond with personalized products and prices, and surreptitiously compile databases on individual customers to help anticipate and manipulate their purchasing decisions. Meanwhile, online traders will use complex bidding strategies to outwit each other at eBay auctions and Internet exchanges. Vulkan intends the volume as a textbook for MBA students, but although there are graphs and some simple equations, the material is not beyond the grasp of a patient layperson. Such readers will find an engaging and lucid discussion of basic principles in micro-economics, covering the ways in which competition, collusion, transaction costs and incomplete information affect prices and profits, and illuminating such mysteries as why no one trusts used-car salesmen. While providing a useful overview for consultants and Web designers, the insights here are as applicable to real life as they are to the on-line world. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Vulkan, a university lecturer at the Said Business School and a fellow of Worcester College, here draws on research he has conducted over the past four years to present a unique and scholarly work on the microeconomics of e-commerce. As he states, "The book is essentially a textbook and should be read as such," and he recommends that students using it should have already taken a basic course in microeconomics. The book is divided into two major parts, the first on the evaluation of existing e-commerce applications and the second on designing better applications. The second part also shows how economic analysis, particularly game theory, can be used to design better applications. Case studies are provided throughout. Vulkan concludes that "e-commerce, particularly automated e-commerce, creates new value not only by making business procedures easier, but also by opening up new possibilities for market interactions." A highly original study that will complement other works on the market; recommended for academic libraries.-Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents:
Ch. 1Introduction and Overview1
Pt. IEvaluating E-commerce Applications
Ch. 2E-commerce and the Tools of Economic Analysis11
Ch. 3E-commerce for Consumers22
Ch. 4Business-to-business E-commerce59
Pt. IIDesigning E-commerce Applications
Ch. 5E-commerce and the Principles of Economic Engineering93
Ch. 6One-to-one Trading: Direct Negotiations in E-commerce115
Ch. 7One-to-many Trading: Online Auctions149
Ch. 8Many-to-many Electronic Exchanges179

New interesting textbook: Global Civil Society or Slaves to Fashion

Excellence By Design: Transforming Workplace and Work Practice, Vol. 1

Author: Turid H Horgen

A Groundbreaking Look at One of the Most Important Issues Facing Businesses Today Often overlooked, yet vital to an organization’s overall operations and productivity, how work space is used is becoming an increasingly critical issue for businesses to address. Based on a four-year research project conducted by members of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning’s Space Planning and Organization Research Group (SPORG), Excellence by Design examines this important issue. The book explores how the workplace interacts with work practices, introducing proven strategies and providing a sound framework for creating the workplace of the future. Covering a wide range of essential topics, from the interpersonal and political dimensions of workplace making to the art of using tools for workplace and organizational transformation, Excellence by Design introduces the "process architecture" approach to creating workplaces.


Based on a four-year project by a research group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Architecture, describes how redesigning the workplace can improve the quality of production and the lives of workers. Introduces the Process Architecture framework and shows through examples how it can be applied in a wide variety of organizations and industries. Accessible to managers and others with no background in architecture or space planning. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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