Encyclopedia of Business and Finance, 2 Volume Set
Business is the backbone of American society and is one of the keys to making our system work as well as it has for more than two hundred years. Yet as a body of knowledge, business is much younger. There has been, to this point, no organized work that has attempted to present the discipline of business in a single place. The major purpose of the Encyclopedia of Business and Finance is to summarize the body of knowledge that we know as business in a single place and in language accessible to the layperson.
This two-volume collection of more than three hundred entries presents a wealth of information about the major functional areas of business: accounting, economics, finance, information systems, law, management, and marketing. The articles vary in length and in depth, in bibliographic support, and in writing style. Thus, the reader will encounter a variety of approaches and discern a number of perspectives about business. Some articles are quantitative, since some aspects of business are numerically based. Other articles tend more toward the qualitative, to accommodate the more descriptive aspects of business. Some of the articles present a historical perspective, incorporating long-proven knowledge, while others focus more on current concepts and newer data. All entries have the same goal: to provide useful knowledge about the business and financial world.
Because of their importance, we have given special treatment to two topics: careers and ethics. In each case, a lead entry is followed by an article about that topic in each of the functional areas of business. Thus, there are articles about careers in accounting, economics, finance, information systems, law, management, and marketing, as well as a similar series of articles for ethics.
There is also a strong emphasis on organizations in the field of business and government. Wherever an organization is discussed, the article provides a Web site for further information. Relevant federal legislation is also featured in this work. All acts that have had a major impact on business are included in the Encyclopedia.
The entries are arranged in the usual alphabetical order, with extensive cross referencing of three types. First, there are “See” references, referring the reader to an entry by another name. For example, under Bait and Switch Advertising one finds the line “See Advertising.” The second type of cross-referencing is the “See Also” reference. At the conclusion of the article on Insurance, for example, one reads “See Also Personal Financial Planning.” The third type of cross-referencing is the Related Articles listing. At the conclusion of most articles, there is a list of other articles that may shed more light on the topic just discussed.
Is the knowledge contained in this work the definitive and final word on each topic? The answer is “most certainly not.” In this day and age of dynamic and rapidly growing knowledge, a positive answer would be quite inappropriate. However, this is not necessarily a negative. The information contained in this Encyclopedia is valid and reliable and enables readers to do further research by going easily accessible sources. Today’s technological environment thus offers a unique opportunity that was not available to previous generations: to extend one’s knowledge on every topic presented.
This work was designed for different types of users. The middle school student may be looking for a starting point for a paper on careers. The high school student may be seeking background on a major research topic, such as the corporate form of organization. The businessperson may be seeking a summary of antitrust laws. The business teacher may be preparing a lesson on the history of computers. The interested layperson may simply want to learn about something new, such as government accounting standards or matrix organization.
The Encyclopedia of Business and Finance can serve as a survey document for the many aspects of business or as a guide to those aspects. It can be the beginning point of lengthy secondary research, the background for primary research, or the ending point for research on a specific item covered within its pages. It can be used to help ask questions or to find answers. It can be used as a summary of existing knowledge or the basis for acquiring new knowledge.
A number of individuals deserve to be mentioned for their contributions to this project. First, I must thank the five associate editors on this project: Roger Luft, Dorothy Maxwell, Jim Maxwell, Mary Ellen Oliverio, and Allen Truell. Without their tireless efforts at securing contributors of quality, we would have a very small work. Second, great appreciation goes to Elly Dickason, Publisher of Macmillan Reference USA, for her inspiration in conceiving of this project and getting it off the ground. Third, I want to express my indebtedness to Allison Marion, Editor at the Gale Group, for her professional work in keeping this project running to its conclusion. Fourth, I must thank all the contributors for the best efforts that each put forth. Writing for an encyclopedia is not a financially rewarding activity; however, it is a contribution to posterity, so what each contributor has written is of great intangible value to knowledge and to future scholars. Finally, I speak for all of the people involved in what has been a lengthy project when I thank our families for their encouragement and support.
BURTON S. KALISKI
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