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Summer 2003
Chairs of Distinction
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It has been believed that the service sector was protected from global competition because services are hard to transport and export. But more and more service tasks, such as financial transaction, customer response and retail sales, can be conducted on Web sites or via computer, fax and phone. It used to be, Karmarkar says, that one had to be physically present at a location to access some services, such as a library to conduct research or a theater to see a movie. “That’s not true today, and it is beginning to change society,” he says.

Focusing on such changes will help businesses to prepare for them. “It gives managers an opportunity to learn what is happening in other firms, industries and countries, and to determine the best business practices,” he explains. “We can start to strategize to see what the best approach is to survive and do well. At the individual level, we ask what jobs are affected, and prepare for the changes.”

The music business, he says, is a good example of how an industry can be caught off guard by the shifts in technology. “Peer-to-peer file exchange and barter created a situation no one had prepared for,” Karmarkar says. “They will have to come up with a different business model, where music is distributed and sold in different ways. But the industry will never be the same.”

Since 1962, the Times Mirror Foundation, an affiliate of Tribune Co., has given more than $90 million in grants, says Executive Director Michelle Williams. “Education,” she says, “has always been an important part of the Times Mirror Foundation’s giving.”

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