Exercise: Selecting the Winner of the "Corporate/Organizational Geographic Information Award"


Due: Tuesday, May 28 (in class) [Online submissions: Wednesday, Noon] [Thursday submissions will -- as always -- be "late" unless they was excused before Tuesday or submitted online on time.]

Observers of large commercial and industrial corporations have long been fascinated by the tight-rope balancing act inherent in corporate information strategies. While competition tends to favor corporate secrecy, public & government relations tend to favor openness and disclosure. Geographers have long been frustrated by the lack of geographically explicit information revealed by annual reports and similar (non-?) information packages distributed at corporate "photo opportunities". Regulatory requirements for geographic segmentation of corporate operations and performance measures are limited to highly aggregate regions which tend to be of little use for geographic analyses. References to corporate activities at particular locations with possibly significant effects on the social, economic, political and physical environment of surrounding localities, regional economies, jurisdictions and ecosystems can occasionally be found in corporate news releases and reports, yet their geographic information content tend to be small due to lack of continuity and comparability, and due to overwhelming measurement ambiguities.

Yet, economic geographers are often interested in the activities of individual organizations or corporations at particular locations and are unable to glean relevant information from government statistics. The dependence on corporate disclosures leads us right back to the annual reports and similar publications. The Internet has added not only a means of circulating such information to a much wider audience, but has added incentives (and public expectations) for the disclosure of new kinds of information. Thus, I finally come to the core of the exercise:

As a starting point, you may want to use the following Internet page: [which, however, contains only "corporations"]

Note: Transportation companies such as airlines may be easy targets of your research, since they are likely to be very "geographic", i.e. connect distinct locations and wish to let everybody know about it. However, to be fair in the context of this "award selection process", I would suggest that you give all companies or organizations (which you can connect to your area of interests) equal treatment. In other words, while advertizing their route as a product (similarly to the way other companies advertize their products), airlines may not provide particularly useful information for economic-geographic analyses other than "network analysis".

You may -- but you do not have to -- use THIS FORM to select or develop (an equivalent number of) your own criteria and provide your responses.

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