Business Dictionary – C

Cafeteria Plan

    A system which allows employees to choose from a selection of benefits which may be tax-advantaged, such as retirement plan contributions, health benefits, etc., in addition to their salary.

Calculated Risk

    A risk which has been undertaken after careful consideration has been given to the likely outcome.

Call Account

    A bank account, which usually pays a higher rate of interest, from which investors can make instant withdrawals.

Carbon Credit

    Allows the right to emit a measured amount of harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the air, and can be traded between businesses and countries.


    A shipment of goods which, typically by weight, qualifies for a lower shipping rate. The term ‘Less than carload’ refers to a shipment which is below the given size/weight necessary to qualify for such a rate. The term originated from USA railway freight car transportation and also applies to other methods of freight transport, notably shipping containers, hence similar terms containerload and ‘less than containerload’.


    An international official permit which allows you to take certain goods, e.g. for display or demonstration, into another country, duty free, for a specific period – usually 12 months.

Casting Vote

    The deciding vote cast by the presiding officer to resolve a deadlock when there are an equal number of votes on both sides.


    Much misused expression, it refers properly only to a problem whose solution is inherently self-defeating. Wrongly it is used to describe any insurmountable or difficult problem.

Category Killer

    Large companies that put smaller and less efficient competing companies out of business.

Caveat Emptor

    When the buyer takes the risks and is responsible for checking the condition or quality of the item purchased.
    (Latin – Let the buyer beware)

C E Mark

    Conformite Europeenne (European Conformity). A symbol on many products sold in the European Union indicating that they have met health, safety and/or environmental requirements, ensuring consumer and workplace safety.


    1. General: Official counting of a region’s or nation’s people and compilation of economic, social and other data, usually for formulation of development policies and plans and demarcating constituencies for elections.

    2. Statistics: Survey of an entire population, as opposed to a sample survey.

Central Counterparty

    Acts on behalf of both parties in a transaction, so that the buyer and seller do not have to deal with each other directly.

Chain Of Command

    A system in a business, or in the military, in which authority is wielded and delegated from top management down through every level of employee. In a chain of command instructions flow downwards and accountability flows upwards.

Change Management

    Administration of major and minor changes in organization the coordination of a structured period of transition from situation A to situation B in order to achieve lasting change within an organization. Change management can be of varying scope, from continuous improvement, which involves small ongoing changes to existing processes, to radical and substantial change involving organizational strategy. Change management can be reactive or proactive.

    It can be instigated in reaction to something in an organization’s external environment, for example, in the realms of economics, politics, legislation, or competition, or in reaction to something within the processes, structures, people, and events of the organization’s internal environment. It may also be instigated as a proactive measure, for example, in anticipation of unfavorable economic conditions in the future.

    Change management usually follows five steps: recognition of a trigger indicating that change is needed; clarification of the end point, or "where we want to be"; planning how to achieve the change; accomplishment of the transition; and maintenance to ensure the change is lasting.

    Effective change management involves alterations on a personal level, for example, a shift in attitudes or work routines, and thus personnel management skills such as motivation are vital to successful change. Other important influences on the success of change management include leadership style, communication, and a unified positive attitude to the change among the workforce. Business process reengineering is one type of change management, involving the redesign of processes within an organization to raise performance. With the accelerating pace of change in the business environment in the 1990s and 2000s, change has become accepted as a fact of business life and is the subject of books on management.

Channel Of Distribution

    Also known as Distribution Channel. A means of distributing a product from the manufacturer to the customer/end user via warehouses, wholesalers, retailers, etc.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

    Executive ultimately responsible for firm’s management the person with overall responsibility for ensuring that the daily operations of an organization run efficiently and for carrying out strategic plans. The chief executive of an organization normally sits on the board of directors. In a limited company, he or she is usually known as a managing director.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

    Executive responsible for firm’s financial management the officer in an organization responsible for handling funds, signing checks, the keeping of financial records, and financial planning for the company.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

    Executive responsible for firm’s day-to-day operations the officer in a corporation responsible for its day-to-day management, usually reporting to the chief executive officer.

Circular File

    Office wastebasket a wastebasket in an office.

Class Action

    A lawsuit in which one person makes a claim and sues on behalf of a large group of people who have similar legal claims, usually against a company or organisation.

Class A Spot

    In the media, commercials which are run on a prime time network.


    Stipulation, subdivision, or a numbered part or section of a document, that clarifies, defines, or explains the subject matter. Clauses are the ‘ifs,’ ‘buts,’ and ‘ands’ of a contract, proposal, or statute.


    Ironic computing slang for a user’s tendency to double-click on items when a single click is required, often causing the window or utility to open twice.

Clicks And Mortar

    Also known as Clicks and Bricks. Refers to businesses which trade on the Internet as well as having traditional retail outlets, such as shops.


    A record of an internet user, including every web site and web page which have been visited, and e-mails sent and received.


    When a person clicks on an advertisement on a web page which takes them to the advertisers website.


    Ready made pictures of computerised graphic art which can be copied by computer users to add to their own documents.

Code of Conduct

    Standard of ethical and social behavior and responsibility a statement and description of required behaviors, responsibilities, and actions expected of employees of an organization or of members of a professional body. A code of conduct usually focuses on ethical and socially responsible issues and applies to individuals, providing guidance on how to act in cases of doubt or confusion.


    Forcing someone, by some method or other, to do something or abstain from doing something against their will.


    Psychological processes involved in acquisition and understanding of knowledge, formation of beliefs and attitudes, and decision making and problem solving. They are distinct from emotional and volitional processes involved in wanting and intending. Cognitive capacity is measured generally with intelligence quotient (IQ) tests.


    1. Secondary, subordinate, or supplementary item accompanying a primary item.

    2. Specific asset (such as land or building) pledged as a secondary (and subordinate) security by a borrower or guarantor. The principal security is usually the borrower’s personal guaranty, or the cash flow of a business.

Combined Ratio

    In insurance, a way of measuring how much profit has been made by comparing the amount of money received from customers to the amount paid out in claims and expenses.

Commercial Monopoly

    The control of a commodity or service by one provider in a particular market, virtually eliminating competition.

Commercial Paper

    An unsecured and unregistered short-term agreement in which organizations can borrow money from investors who cannot take the assets from the organization if the loan is not repaid.


    In finance, a payment based on percentage of transaction value, according to the local interpretation of value (e.g., based on total revenue, or gross profit, etc).

Commission Broker

    A person who buys and sells shares, bonds, etc., on a commission basis on behalf of their clients.

Company Limited by Guarantee

    Incorporated organization whose members have pre-agreed liability a type of organization, normally formed for nonprofit purposes, in which each member of the company agrees to be liable for a specific sum in the event of liquidation.

Comparative Advantage

    See definition for Competitive Advantage.

Compensation Fund

    A fund set up by a company or organisation from which to pay people who have suffered loss or hardship which has been caused employees or members of the company or organisation.

Competition Law

    Known as Antitrust law in the US, regulates fair competition between companies, including the control of monopolies and cartels.

Competitive Advantage

    A position a business gains over its competitors.


    A business rival, usually one who manufactures or sells similar goods and/or services.

Competitor Analysis

    Also called Competitive Analysis. A company’s marketing strategy which involves assessing the performance of competitors in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Compliance Officer

    A corporate official whose job is to ensure that a company is complying with regulations, and that its employees are complying with internal policies and procedures.

Compound Interest

    Interest which is calculated on not only the the initial loan, but also on the accumulated interest.

Compulsory Purchase

    When an organisation has the legal right to force the sale of land, property, etc., usually to build motorways or railways.


    A thought or notion. An idea for a new product, advertising campaign, etc.


    To bring two disputing sides together to discuss the problem with the aim of reaching an agreement.

Conditional Sale

    A purchasing arrangement, usually where the buyer pays in instalments but does not become the legal owner of the goods until the full purchase price has been paid.

Conference Call

    A telephone call which allows three or more people to take part at the same time.

Confidentiality Agreement

    Agreement to treat information as private and confidential an agreement whereby an organization that has access to information about the affairs of another organization makes an undertaking to treat the information as private and confidential. A potential buyer of a company who requires further information in the process of due diligence may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that the information will only be used for the purpose of deciding whether to go ahead with the deal and will only be disclosed to employees involved in the negotiations. Such agreements are also used where information is shared in the context of a partnership or benchmarking program.

Conflict Management

    Discovering and controlling conflict within organization the identification and control of conflict within an organization. There are three main philosophies of conflict management: all conflict is bad and potentially destructive; conflict is inevitable and managers should attempt to harness it positively; conflict is essential to the survival of an organization and should be encouraged.

Conflict of Interest

    A much overlooked, under-estimated, yet highly prevalent factor in the execution of any responsibility or activity, where an organization/group/individual is subject to incompatible demands, opportunities, incentives, or responsibilities, etc., and especially where there is potential for one demand to distort the proper honest diligent execution of responsibility in achieving the second demand, i.e.., the incompatibility is competing and mutually unhelpful.

    A conflict of interest produces divided loyalties, for example where a person represents two different competing businesses, or an employee is responsible for managing family members or personal friends. Nepotism unavoidably involves a conflict of interest, regardless of intent. Politicians being paid to give advice to corporations also unavoidably involves a conflict of interest, even where there appears to be no direct connection between the politician’s political responsibilities and the nature of the advice and corporate ‘client’.

    In this respect, and elsewhere, denial of conflict of interest generally ignores the value and influence of indirect connections, obligations, ‘quid-pro-quos’, especially via friends and associates. Any form of organizational
    self-regulation or self-investigation almost always entails a conflict of interest. Common commercial conflicts of interest arise where a provider is able to benefit in the supply of one service as a direct result from the provision of another related service and whose overall effect is typically to the disadvantage of the ‘client’ organization.

    Common examples of corporate or organizational conflict of interest may arise where a group/organization seeks to combine provision from the two lists below, where the second activity concerns the first. The lists are not exhaustive and offer merely very broad examples to illustrate the principle. Be sure to clarify context before making firm judgments.


    A corporation which consists of several smaller companies with different business activities.


    Middle ground in decision making, between total assent and total disagreement. Consensus depends on participants having shared values and goals, and on having broad agreement on specific issues and overall direction.


    In law, a guardian or protector appointed by a court to manage the affairs, finances, etc., of someone who is too ill or incapable of doing so themselves.


    Goods to be sold or returned a quantity of goods given to somebody for sale, with the provision that any unsold goods will be returned.


    A group of businesses, investors or financial institutions working together on a joint venture.


    An entity that acts as a principal in authorizing another party (such as an elected official) to act as its agent.

Constructive Spending

    Helping the local economy by buying home produced goods, holidaying in your own country, etc., rather than buying imported goods and holidaying abroad.


    An expert who is paid by a company, individual, etc., to give advice on developing plans and achieving goals.

Consumer Credit

    Also called Personal Credit or Retail Credit. Loans given to consumers by financial institutions for household or personal use.

Consumer Debt

    Money owed by people in the form of loans from banks or purchase agreements from retailers, such as ‘buy now pay later’.

Consumer Panel

    A group of selected people, usually a cross-section of a population, whose purchasing habits are monitored by an organization, in order to provide feedback on products, services, etc., which are used.

Consumer Protection

    Laws which protect consumers against unsafe or defective products, deceptive marketing techniques, dishonest businesses, etc.

Consumer Watchdog

    An independent organization that protects the rights of individual customers and monitors companies to check for illegal practices.

Consumption Tax

    Tax paid which is based on the price of services or goods, e.g. value added tax.


    A situation in which the price of a commodity to be delivered in the future exceeds the immediate delivery price, often due to storage and insurance costs.


    1.Text matter of a document or publication in any form. Content is both information and communication: the sum total of the freshness, readability, relevancy, and usefulness of the information presented, and the manner in which it is presented.

    2.Essence of a communicated message or discourse, as comprehended or received by its intended audience.

    3.Glue’ that makes a website ‘sticky’ makes visitors return, and keeps them from leaving.

Contested Takeover Bid

    A takeover bid where the board of the target company does not recommend it to the stockholders and tries to fight it.

Contingency Fee

    In law, a fee that is payable to the lawyer out of any damages which have been awarded to the client by a court. There is no payment if the case is unsuccessful.

Contingent Liability

    This is recorded as a debt on a company’s accounts which may or may not be incurred, depending on the outcome of a future event, such as a court case.


    Goods prohibited by law from being exported or imported. Smuggling.

Contract Of Employment

    A contract between an employee and an employer which specifies terms and conditions of employment, such as hours to be worked, duties to perform, etc., in return for a salary, paid benefits, paid holiday, etc., from the employer.

Contract Of Purchase

    Also called Purchase Agreement. A legal document which states the terms and conditions, including price, of the sale of an item..


    An individual, company, etc., who agrees to provide goods and/or services to another individual or company under the terms specified in the contract.

Contractual Liability

    Legal responsibility stated in contract a legal responsibility for something as set out formally in a written agreement.

Contractual Obligation

    Course of action required by contract the legal duty to take a specific course of action, as imposed by a commercial contract or a contract of employment.

Contract Worker

    A person who is hired by a company (but not as an employee), often through an employment agency, for a specific period of time to work on a particular project.

Contra Entry

    In accounting, an amount entered which is offset by another entry of the same value, i.e., a debit is offset by a credit.

Control Account

    An account which a company keeps in addition to its official accounts, in order to cross-check balances, etc., to ensure that the official accounts are accurate.

Control Group

    1. A group of subjects or conditions that is matched as closely as possible with an experimental group, but is not exposed to any experimental treatment. The results are then compared to determine the changes that may occur due to the experimental treatment.

    2. The people in an organization who have the power to make and implement decisions.

Controlling Interest

    The ownership of more than 50% of the voting shares in a company, which enables the owner of these shares to make decisions, direct operations, etc..


    A complex or perplexing problem that generally has no clear solution. For example, a failing company can find itself in a conundrum as it tries to figure out a solution to generate profits again.


    To gather together for an official or formal meeting.


    A large formal meeting of politicians, members, delegates, sales people, etc.


    Refers to a security (bonds or shares) which can be exchanged for another type of security in the same company.


    Transfer of title to real estate the legal transfer of real estate from the seller to the buyer.


    A specialist lawyer who is an expert in conveyancing, i.e., legal work carried out connected to the selling and buying of property.


    On a computer, coded information that an Internet website you have visited sends to your computer which contains personal information, such as identification code, pages visited, etc., so that the website can remember you at a later time.


    An organisation or business which is owned and run by its employees, customers and/or tenants, who share the profits.

Cooperative Marketing

    Also known as Cooperative Advertising. When two companies work together to promote and sell each others products. A manufacturer or distributor who supports, and often pays for, a retailers advertising.


    Legal Monopoly that protects published or unpublished original work (for the duration of its author’s life plus 50 years) from unauthorized duplication without due credit and compensation. Copyright covers not only books but also advertisements, articles, graphic designs, labels, letters (including emails), lyrics, maps, musical compositions, product designs, etc

Core Business

    Firm’s most important activities the central, and usually the original, focus of an organization’s activities which differentiates it from others and makes a vital contribution to its success. The concept of core business became prominent in the 1980s when diversification by large companies failed to generate the anticipated degree of commercial success. It was later suggested that organizations should avoid diversifying into areas beyond their field of expertise. An organization’s core business should be defined by its core competences.

Core Competence

    Firm’s important ability that makes it different a key ability or strength that an organization has acquired that differentiates it from others, gives it competitive advantage, and contributes to its long-term success. Core competence is a resource-based approach to corporate strategy. The terms core competence and core capability are often used interchangeably, but some writers make distinctions between the two concepts.

Core Earnings

    A company’s revenue which is earned from its main operations or activities minus expenses, such as financing costs, asset sales, etc.

Core Values

    Firm’s important guiding principles the guiding principles of an organization, espoused by senior management, and accepted by employees, often reflected in the mission statement of the organization. Core values often influence the culture of an organization and are usually long-standing beliefs.

Corporate Advertising

    Also called Institutional Advertising. Advertising that promotes a company’s image, rather than marketing its products or services.

Corporate Culture

    Shared values of organization the combined beliefs, values, ethics, procedures, and atmosphere of an organization. The culture of an organization consists of largely unspoken values, norms, and behaviors that become the natural way of doing things. An organization’s culture may be more apparent to an external observer than an internal practitioner.

    There can be several subcultures within an organization, for example, defined by hierarchy, e.g. shop floor or executive, or by function, e.g. sales, design, or production. Changing or renewing corporate culture in order to achieve the organization’s strategy is considered one of the major tasks of organization leadership, as it is recognized that such a change is hard to achieve without the will of the leader.

Corporate Governance

    The framework of rules and practices by which a board of directors ensures accountability, fairness, and transparency in a company’s relationship with its all stakeholders (financiers, customers, management, employees, government, and the community).

Corporate Ladder

    The order of rank, position, etc., in a company from junior to senior, which can be progressed or ‘climbed’ by employees.

Corporate Raider

    A term used for an individual or company who purchases large numbers of shares in other companies, against their wishes, in order to gain a controlling interest in the other companies, or to resell the shares for a large profit.

Corporate Social Responsibility

    CSR. An obligation of a company to adhere to legal guidelines in order to meet the needs of its employees, shareholders and customers, and also to be concerned about social and environmental issues.

Corporate Veil

    A term which refers to the fact that a company’s shareholders are not liable for the company’s debts, and are immune from lawsuits concerning contracts, etc.


    Firm that meets certain legal requirements to be recognized as having a legal existence, as an entity separate and distinct from its owners. Corporations are owned by their stockholders (shareholders) who share in profits and losses generated through the firm’s operations, and have three distinct characteristics (1) Legal existence: a firm can (like a person) buy, sell, own, enter into a contract, and sue other persons and firms, and be sued by them.

    It can do good and be rewarded, and can commit offence and be punished. (2) Limited liability: a firm and its owners are limited in their liability to the creditors and other obligors only up to the resources of the firm, unless the owners give personal-guaranties. (3) Continuity of existence: a firm can live beyond the life spans and capacity of its owners, because its ownership can be transferred through a sale or gift of shares.

Cost Accounting

    Managerial accounting which calculates, records and controls the operating costs of producing goods or services.


    Part of a business or organisation such as a marketing department, or quality assurance department, which is a cost to operations and does not produce external customer revenues or profit through trading. See Profit-centre, which trades with external customers and is responsible for producing profit.

Cost Control

    A management process which ensures that departments within a company or organisation do not exceed their budget.

Cost Cutting

    Actions to reduce organization’s expenses the reduction of the amount of money spent on the operations of an organization or on the provision of products and services. Cost-cutting measures such as budget reductions, salary freezes, and layoffs may be taken by an organization at a time of recession or financial difficulty or in situations where inefficiency has been identified. Alternative approaches to cost cutting include modifying organizational structures and redesigning organizational processes for greater efficiency. Excessive cost cutting may affect productivity and quality or the organization’s ability to add value.

Cost Effective

    Producing a product, offering a service, etc., in the most economical way to the benefit of the company and the customer.

Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)

    Including product, shipping, and insurance costs indicates that a quoted price includes the costs of the merchandise, transportation, and insurance.

Cost Leader

    A company which has a competitive advantage by producing goods or offering services at a lower cost than its competitors.

Cost of Appraisal

    Money spent to check quality of products the costs incurred in order to ensure that outputs produced meet required quality standards.

Cost Of Living

    The standard cost of basic necessities which people need to live, such as food, housing and clothes.

Cost Of Living Allowance

    COLA. A salary supplement which a company pays to employees because of an increase in the cost of living.

Cost Of Sales

    Also known as Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS). The cost of providing a service or manufacturing a product, including labour, materials and overheads.

Cost Overrun

    The amount by which the actual cost of a project, etc., exceeds the original budget.

Cost Per Click

    CPC. The amount of money an advertiser pays to a website publisher every time a visitor clicks on an advert displayed on the publisher’s website which links to the advertisers website.

Cottage Industry

    A small business in which production of goods or services are based in the home rather than in a factory or on business premises.


    To make a higher offer than someone else in a bid to buy something.


    In a court of law, a claim made against you (plaintiff) by the person (defendant) you are making a claim against.


    Illegally produced imitations used to describe goods or money illegally produced but appearing authentic.


    A person or position which has a corresponding function in a different organization, country, etc. The corresponding function naturally is also a counterpart. Also a copy of a legal document.


    To add a second signature, where required, to a document or cheque, in order to make it valid.

Countervailing Duty

    An additional tax imposed on certain imported goods which have been produced very cheaply in their country of origin, in order to bring the price of the goods up to the true market price to protect the importing country’s producers.


    Computer software designed to be used in teaching or for self-learning.


    A written promise, sometimes part of a contract, to perform, or not to perform, a particular action.


    A dishonest, often unqualified, business person, especially one who overcharges for bad quality work.


    Items of little importance or poor quality. Rubbish.

Crawling Peg

    A system of frequently adjusting a country’s exchange rate by marginal amounts, because of inflation, etc.

Credit Crunch

    Also known as Credit Squeeze. This usually precedes a recession. A situation in which loans for businesses and individuals are difficult to obtain, when a government is trying to control inflation, because of the fear of bankruptcy and unemployment.

    The term ‘Credit Crunch’ also became a specific informal name for the 2008 global financial crisis and subsequent prolonged recession, which affected western economies particularly, mainly because of their highly leveraged and indebted nature, and the convoluted inter-dependent chains of credit arrangements between banks, some of which failed completely resulting in their effective nationalization or absorption into larger competitors.

Credit History

    A record of an individual’s or company’s debt repayment, used by lenders to asses a borrowers ability to repay a loan, mortgage, etc.

Credit Rating

    Information (based on interpretation by an official credit rating agency or similar financial services data provider) of a person’s or company’s or other entity’s financial history and circumstances, which assesses and indicates their ability to repay debts, loans, etc. Lenders use this information when making a decision regarding a loan approval, and in larger cases will adjust levels of interest and other financial credit terms according to the perceived risk of the loan situation and client, which may be an individual or a whole country or international federation.

Credit Rating Agency

    A credit rating agency is a company which analyses and issues an official recognized assessment of the quality of a debt or debtor, including corporate, institutional or state debt or debt/credit products (specifically the reliability of repayment/recoverability), such as bonds and tradable securities (debts, equities, mortgages, and derivative complex financial credit contracts), and significantly also of organizations, bodies, and entire countries, by virtue of their credit-worthiness (ability to repay their debts). Ratings are visible, published and officially/internationally recognized, especially for countries.

    Ratings strongly influence interest rates applied to rated organizations, i.e., poor ratings mean that the low-rated organizations/bodies/nations are charged higher rates of interest by lenders, due to the higher perceived level of risk, and the overall market’s response to the rating/risk.

    Conversely, positively-rated organizations/countries enjoy the lowest possible interest rates when borrowing. The same principle applies to debt products, mindful that many debt products are sold from one lender to another, commonly entailing seriously vast sums of money. Ratings are typically expressed on a scale of AAA (‘triple A’) as the top/best, which equates to the most reliable and secure debt/debtor, down through AA, A, BBB, BB, etc., to CCC with the lowest being C, although there are variations, including lower case letters, numbers, and + and – symbols.

    This is a highly significant, pivotal, and controversial area of corporate/global finance, economic management, extending to life and society, because:
    The sums of money involved/affected by these ratings are extremely big (multi-billions) so there is a lot at stake, for corporations, countries, bankers, brokers, and for societies too.
    While there are hundreds of small credit rating agencies, historically the market is dominated by just three of them, namely Standard and Poor; Moody’s, and Fitch (‘The Big Three’), which between them control (at 2013) c.95% of the global market (in ratings and related services, significantly at the highest levels of national and corporate debt/credit).

    The credit rating industry is inherently and worryingly liable to major conflict of interest because agencies provide important and high-value advisory services to the same organizations whose products the agencies assess, along with rating the client organizations themselves.

    There is also huge potential for conflict of interest and corruption on a vast scale because credit ratings affect interest rates and transactions entailing monumental sums of money, and so there is unlimited temptation and opportunity for incestuous deals between the rate-fixers and those who trade in credit and debt, and financial investments and speculation generally.

    Sadly, as with much else that happens in the financial sector across the globe, combinations of conflict of interest, extreme ‘product’ complexity, corporate and personal incentive and greed, together with a lack of sufficient regulation and transparency, tend to produce very big outcomes, trends and economical effects that can be arbitrary, distorted, extremely polarized, so that a few powerful people/organizations/entities achieve massive gains and advantages, while others, especially those in weak positions, suffer massive disadvantages.

    It is an interesting point of note that despite enormous reliance on credit ratings agencies at the level of global corporations and national governments, credit rating agencies can make large misjudgments, as when for example very positive ratings were given to highly toxic derivative mortgages/debts products whose collapse and virtual irrecoverable value led mainly or substantially to the 2008 global financial disintegration and following recesssion.

    As at 2013 at least one of the ‘big three’ credit agencies is subject to legal action by the US authorities in this connection. Along with banking and accountancy the credit ratings sector is likely to undergo major changes during the first quarter of the 21st century.

Credit Rationing

    When a bank or money lender limits the amount of funds available to borrowers, or interest rates are very high.

Credit Repair

    The process of helping to improve a person or company’s credit rating, sometimes by disputing or correcting credit history discrepancies.

Credit Union

    A financial institution, similar to a bank, whose members create the funds from which they can obtain loans at low rates of interest.


    Plagiarism. To copy someone else’s written work and pass it off as your own.

Crisis Management

    Actions taken by a company to deal with an unexpected event which threatens to harm the organisation, such as a loss of a major customer, bad publicity, etc.


    A principal or standard by which other things or people may be compared, or a decision may be based.

Critical Mass

    The minimum amount of customers, resources, etc., needed to maintain or start a business, venture, etc. The point at which change occurs e.g., when a company is able to continue in business and make a profit without any outside help.


    In business and politics, showing favouritism to friends and associates by giving them jobs or appointments with no regard to their qualifications or abilities.


    Immediately matching items between incoming and outgoing shipments a procedure used in logistics to reduce handling and warehousing costs by immediately matching items from incoming shipments on the loading dock with outgoing shipment requirements and transferring them to the outgoing vehicles.


    A method of funding and underpinning a project or business venture which became increasingly popular and visible in the 21st century, whereby users or other interested people are involved as investors at project inception, and therefore agree and commit to support a development of one sort or another. A good example of crowdfunding is the raising capital and support from a local community for the construction of nearby wind turbines, which generally otherwise encounter local hostility instead of support. The concept of crowdfunding provides a clear illustration of the benefit of involving people as stakeholders, rather than positioning people as ‘reluctant customers’ or obstacles to be confronted and overcome. See ‘Crowdsourcing’, which like ‘Crowdfunding’ embodies similar progressive, open, inclusive, non-authoritarian management philosophy.

Cross Guarantee

    Also known as Inter Company Guarantee. A guarantee by a group of companies to be responsible for the debts, etc., of another company in the group if it fails to repay them. The group also use the guarantee to raise capital or take out multiple loans.

Cross Merchandising

    Also known as Add-On Sales. In retailing, the practice of putting related products together on display in order to encourage customers to purchase several items.


    Term first coined by Jeff Howe in 2006 in Wired magazine. Crowdsourcing refers to an organisation, group or individual delegating a task to a large number of people via the internet, thereby using the general public or a community of followers, users, experts, etc., to do research, make suggestions, solve a problem, etc., usually without being paid. Their reward is mainly a sense of ownership and real involvement, which is proven to be a very powerful and meaningful force for motivation. (See the theories of Herzberg and McGregor, or at a glance the diagram illustrating XY-Theory.) Crowdsourced projects can be very big indeed. Wikipedia is effectively built and maintained using crowdsourcing. The term is a ‘semi-portmanteau’ in that it combines the words crowd and outsourcing.

Crown Jewel

    The most valuable and profitable asset of a company or business.


    The Chief Officers or most senior executives in a business or organisation.

Cube Farm

    An open office which is divided into cubicles.


    Blame or liability for harm or damage to others, from Latin culpa meaning fault.


    Broadly, social heritage of a group (organized community or society). It is a pattern of responses discovered, developed, or invented during the group’s history of handling problems which arise from interactions among its members, and between them and their environment. Culture determines what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable.

Currency Bloc

    A group of countries that use the same currency, for example the Euro.

Curriculum Vitae

    CV. A summary of a job applicant’s professional experience and educational background, along with other relevant information regarding the candidate’s qualifications. The curriculum vitae is similar to a resume, but is used more frequently by candidates who have published works in journals, such as scientists or academic professionals.


    Changing products for individual customers the process of modifying products or services to meet the requirements of individual customers.

Customs Clearance

    1. Passage granted to imports or exports by customs the act of passing goods through customs so that they can enter or leave the country.

    2. Document proving payment of customs duty a document given by customs to a shipper to show that customs duty has been paid and the goods can be shipped.

Customs Duty

    A tax which must be paid on imported, and sometimes exported, goods, to raise a country’s revenue and to protect domestic industries from cheaper foreign competition.

Customs Entry Point

    Border point for declaring goods to customs a place at a border between two countries where goods are declared to customs.

Customs Seal

    Seal showing contents not examined by customs officials a seal attached by a customs officer to a box, to show that the contents have not passed through customs.

Customs Union

    A group of nations which have agreed to promote free trade, for example, not to charge tax on goods which they trade with one another, and to set taxes for nations which are not members of the group.


    Technologically advanced at the forefront of new technologies or markets.


    Also known as ‘Going Live’. The point in time a company or organisation, etc., replaces an old program or system with a new one.


    Ruthless and intense competition. An unprincipled, ruthless person.


    Term credited to author William Gibson in 1984 which describes the imaginary place where e-mails, web pages, etc., go to while they are being sent between computers.


    The illegal activity of buying and registering a domain name which is a well-known brand or someone’s name, with the intent of selling it to its rightful owner in order to make a profit.