Business Dictionary – I

Idea Showers

    Usually called Brainstorming. A method of problem solving involving members of a group meeting and sharing ideas.

Identity Theft

    A crime in which someone obtains another person’s personal information, such as passport, credit card details, etc., and poses as that person in order to steal money, get benefits, make purchases, etc.

Idle Time

    The time that a piece of equipment or a machine, such a as computer, is available, but is not being used.


    To charge somebody, usually a government official, with serious misconduct. To cast somebody out of public office, for example a president or courtroom judge because of a serious crime or misdemeanor.


    Absolutely necessary or crucial or an order or command.

Imperfect Market

    A market in which buyers do not have access to enough information about prices and products, and where buyers or sellers can have an influence over the quantity and price of goods sold.

Import Duty

    A tax charged on certain goods which are brought into a country.

Import Penetration

    The degree to which one country’s imports dominate the market share of those from other industrialized countries.

Import Quota

    A fixed quantity of a particular type of goods, which the government allows to be brought into the country from another country.

Import Surcharge

    An extra duty levied on imported goods in an attempt to limit imports in general and to encourage local manufacture.

Improvement Curve

    The proportional decrease in effort when production is doubled.


    To seize and hold property, funds, etc., in custody (typically by a state-empowered authority), often during legal dispute.

Incentive Marketing

    The offering of rewards or gifts to sales people as an incentive to get more orders from dealers or customers. To offer customers rewards for buying products or services.

Incentive Plan

    A program set up to give benefits to employees to reward them for improved commitment and performance and as a means of motivation. An incentive plan is designed to supplement base pay and fringe benefits. A financial incentive plan may offer stock options or a cash bonus, whereas a nonfinancial incentive plan offers benefits such as additional paid vacations. Awards from incentive plans may be made on an individual or team basis.

Inchoate Instrument

    A negotiable instrument that is incomplete because, for example, the date or amount is missing. The person to whom it is delivered has the authority to complete it in any way he or she considers fit.

Income Fund

    An investment fund with high returns which pays the owners a regular income.


    The legal process of creating a corporation or company. Incorporated entities have a legal status distinct from that of their owners, and limited liability.

Incorporeal Chattels

    Intangible properties such as patents or copyrights.

Incremental Scale

    A scale that includes standard increases, especially a salary scale that increases by regular annual amounts.


    An organisation or company which provides support to new businesses to help them develop and grow.


    To insure and offer financial protection against loss, damage or liability.

Independent Authenticator

    A company that has the authority, either from the government or a controlling body, to issue certificates of authentication when they are sure that a company is who it claims to be.


    Concerning salaries, pensions, investments, etc. If they are Index-Linked it means that the payments or income from these may vary according to the rate of inflation.


    To formally charge someone with a crime.


    The introduction and training of a member of staff in a new job or position in a company.


    A person who owns or runs a large industrial enterprise. They are often referred to as a Business Magnate.


    1. The process by which traditionally nonindustrial sectors (such as agriculture, education, health) of an economy become increasingly similar to the manufacturing sector of the economy.

    2. Sustained economic development based on factory production, division of labor, concentration of industries and population in certain geographical areas, and urbanization.

Industrial Relations

    Relations between the management and the workers, especially those in unions, in industry.

Industrial Tribunal

    An independent judicial body which deals with disputes between employers and employees.

Infant Industry

    An industry in the early stages of development.

Inferior Good

    A good that a consumer buys in decreasing quantities as his or her income rises.

Infinite Capacity Plan

    A plan produced where capacity requirements planning does not take account of the capacity constraints of each workstation.


    Normally referring to the economy of a country, inflation is the gradual increase in the price of goods and/or services, and the consequential devaluing of the national currency. Inflation is typically up to 10%, or more unusually approaching 20% per year. Minimising inflation is normally a high priority within national fiscal policy since higher levels of inflation cause a variety of economic and business problems. See also deflation and hyperinflation.

Inflection Point

    In business, when important significant changes take place in an organisation. (Andrew S. Grove – Intel)


    An agent who works on behalf of a business, collecting information on, and developing profiles of, individual customers.


    Information Commercial. A long television commercial presented in the form of a documentary or TV program. This format is used so that it does not appear to be selling a product or service.

Information Management

    The acquisition, recording, organizing, storage, dissemination, and retrieval of information. Good information management has been described as getting the right information to the right person in the right format at the right time.

Information Superhighway

    Communications network, notably the Internet, which provides high speed access to information in the form of sound, text, images, etc.

Information Technology (IT)

    Set of tools, processes, and methodologies (such as coding/programming, data communications, data conversion, storage and retrieval, systems analysis and design, systems control) and associated equipment employed to collect, process, and present information. In broad terms, IT also includes office automation, multimedia, and telecommunications.


    1.Basic and usually permanent framework which supports a superstructure and is supported by a substructure.

    2.Relatively permanent and foundational capital investment of a country, firm, or project that underlies and makes possible all its economic activity. It includes administrative, telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and waste removal and processing facilities. Some definitions also include education, health care, research and development, and training facilities.

Inheritance Tax

    Also called Death Duty in the UK. Known as Death Tax in the US. A tax imposed by the government which much be paid on the total value of the estate of a deceased person.

Initial Capital

    The money that is used to start a business. Sources of initial capital might include personal funds, bank loans, grants, or credit from suppliers.

Initial Sales

    The sales of a new product or service immediately after its introduction to the market.


    An official court order which demands that someone must refrain from carrying out certain actions.


    The introduction of new ideas, goods, etc., or new methods of production. A new way of doing something.


    A term used to describe the growth of a business from mergers or takeovers, rather than from the increase in productivity or activity of the company’s own business.

Inside Information

    Information about a company which is known only by the owners, management and/or employees, and not the general public. The use of Inside Information for the buying and selling of shares is usually illegal.

Inside Track

    An advantageous position in a company or organisation. To know about something before others get to hear about it.


    Not having enough finances or assets available to pay all your debts.


    The use of in-house personnel or an internal department to meet an organization’s need for specific services. Insourcing is seen as a reaction to the growing popularity of outsourcing, a practice that has not always met expectations.

Instant Access Account

    A bank or building society account which allows you have instant access to your money without any penalties.

Institutional Buyout

    The takeover of a company by a financial institution that backs a group of managers who will run it.

Insurance Adjuster

    Also known as a Claims Adjuster. An independent person who investigates insurance claims for an insurance company and evaluates the damage caused and decides whether the claims are valid, and if they are, how much should be paid in settlement to the insured party.

Integrated Implementation Model

    A model of new product development that strives to achieve both flexibility and acceleration of development. All activities such as design, production planning, and test marketing are performed in parallel rather than going through a sequential linear progression.


    1. General: process of attaining close and seamless coordination between several departments, groups, organizations, systems, etc.

    2. Companies: merger of two or more firms resulting in a new legal entity.

    3. Contracts: amalgamation of two or more agreements into one contract that serves as a full expression of the intent of the contracting parties.

Intellectual Assets

    The knowledge, experience, and skills of its staff that an organization can make use of.

Intellectual Capital

    The skills and knowledge of a company’s employees, which can be used to make the company more successful than its competitors.

Intellectual Property

    Commonly abbreviated to IP, an idea or creation, e.g., artwork, writing, etc., that belongs to an individual or organisation, which has commercial value and therefore cannot be copied or sold without the owner’s permission.

Interactive Planning

    A process that promotes participation in both the design of a desirable future and the developments that enable this future to be achieved rather than waiting for it to happen. Interactive planning is associated with Russell Ackoff, and was outlined in Creating the Corporate Future (1981).

Inter Alia

    Latin for ‘among other things’ – a traditional term which typically precedes a list of examples, and is found in official or formal text or various sorts. Inter alios means ‘among other people’, but is much less used.

Interfirm Cooperation

    A formal or informal agreement between organizations to collaborate in achieving common or new goals more efficiently or effectively. Interfirm cooperation may take the form of a joint venture.

Interim Certificate

    A certificate of deposit certifying partial ownership of stock that is not totally paid for at one time.


    A mediator or agent who negotiates between two parties who are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement by themselves.

Intermediate Goods

    Goods bought for use in the production of other products.

Internal Differentiation Analysis

    An examination of processes in the value chain to determine which of them create differentiation of the product or service in the customer’s eyes, and thus enhance its value. Internal differentiation analysis enables an organization to focus on improving the identified processes to maximize competitive advantage. Steps involve identification of value-creating activities, evaluation of strategies that can enhance value for the customer, and assessment of which differentiation strategies are the most sustainable.

Internal Equity

    In a company or organisation, ensures the pay each employee receives is determined fairly by the type of job they do.

International Organisation For Standardization – ISO.

    A non-government organisation with over 150 member nations, which promotes international standards in trade, technology, science, economy, etc.


    Relating to the Internet. Being unable to locate a particular website which you found interesting or on which you saw a useful piece of information.


    The policy of a government to intervene and manipulate a country’s (often its own) affairs and/or economy.

Intervention Price

    A guaranteed minimum price set by a government for a product, usually farm produce. If the price falls below this then the government, or agency, will buy the produce at the Intervention Price.


    Without leaving a will, as used in the phrase, ‘to die intestate’.


    A person employed by a large company to work independently to develop new projects and business within the company.

Intrinsic Value

    The actual or real value of a business, commodity, asset, etc., rather than the market value or share price.

Investment Boutique

    A small company which offers specialist advice about investments and business.


    ‘Invisible’ services of a country, such as banking, tourism, insurance, etc, of which the buying and selling are from international trade.

Involuntary Liquidation

    When a company is forced into bankruptcy by its creditors, so that its debts can be paid.

Inward Bill

    A bill of lading for goods arriving in a country from a foreign country.

Island Position

    An advertisement or commercial which is surrounded by text, or placed between TV programs, with no other advertisements, so it has no competition.

Issues Management

    The anticipation and assessment of key trends and themes of the next decade, and the relation of these to the organization. Issues management is informed by futures research in order to formulate strategic plans and actions.