"Perestroika" is a Russian word, meaning "restructuring" or "reconstruction." It refers to the series of political, economic, and social reforms and foreign policy changes undertaken by the Soviet Communist Party in the years 1985 to 1991. During this period the Soviet Union was transformed from a tightly controlled communist state to a fledgling parliamentary democracy with a developing free-market economy.

Performance Appraisal and Standards

Performance appraisal is a process by which organizations evaluate employee performance based on preset standards. The main purpose of appraisals is to help managers effectively staff companies and use human resources, and, ultimately, to improve productivity.

Personal Income Tax

A tax is a compulsory payment levied by a government for its support and services. There are various kinds of taxes, such as taxes on the sale of goods, taxes on imported products (known as tariffs), and income taxes.

Personal Selling

Personal entails the face-to-face pitching of a product or service to a prospective buyer. The main thing that sets personal selling apart from other methods of commerce is the intensive inter-personal skills required, given that that the salesperson conducts his or her business with the customer in person.

Peter Principle

Co-written in 1969 by Dr. Laurence J.

Physical Distribution Management (Transportation)

Part of logistics management, physical distribution is concerned with the transporting of merchandise, raw materials, or by-products, such as hazardous waste, from the source to the customer. A manager of physical distribution must also assess and control the cost of transporting these goods and materials, as well as to determine the most efficient way to store them, which usually involves some form of warehousing.

Poison Pills

A poison pill is a type of financial or structural maneuver that a company may make to frustrate an attempted takeover by a hostile bidder. The poison pill affords directors of a company sufficient latitude to restructure or acquire debt or sometimes sell assets, specifically to make the company a much less attractive takeover target.

Policies and Policy Making

Policy at one time was the term used to describe top-level decision making in organizations. In recent years, however, this managerial function has been extended and refined in both the academic and practitioner literature and taken on more elegant designations, such as strategy formulation and implementation or strategic management.

Ponzi Schemes

A Ponzi scheme is an investment swindle whereby some early investors are paid returns from the money acquired from new investors; eventually the scheme collapses when there is not enough new investment to continue the payouts. Each year in the United States several such fraudulent schemes are uncovered and prosecuted by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

Portfolio Management Theory

The theory of portfolio management describes the resulting risk and return of a combination of individual assets. A primary objective of the theory is to identify asset combinations that are efficient.

Preferred Stock

Preferred stock is a form of corporate hybrid financing having characteristics of both debt and common stock. The financial markets view it as a form of debt, but accountants typically place it on the balance sheet as an equity account.

Present Value

Price/Earnings (P/E) Ratio

The price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a comparison of the current market price of a share of stock and that stock's earnings per share, or EPS (which is figured by dividing a company's net income by its number of shares of common stock outstanding). For example, if a company's stock sold for $30 per share and it posted earnings per share of $1.50, that company would have a P/E ratio of 15.

Price Indexes

Price indexes are used to measure the rate of inflation in the economy. There are three key price indexes that are routinely calculated and reported to the public by government agencies in the United States.

Prime Rate

The prime rate has different meanings in different contexts. It most commonly refers to a commercial bank's prime lending rate, or the interest rate charged by banks for short-term commercial loans to their most creditworthy customers.

Prisoner's Dilemma

The prisoner's dilemma is only one of many illustrative examples of the logical reasoning and complex decisions involved in game theory. The prisoner's dilemma takes the form of a situation or game where two people must separately make decisions that will have consequences not only for their own self, but also for each other.

Privately Held Company

A company may be publicly owned or privately owned. In the case of a privately owned, or closely held, company, all of the stock is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals.

Privately Placed Securities

Privately placed securities are those that are sold directly to institutional investors instead of being offered for sale to the general public. Privately placed securities are usually bond issues, including corporate bonds; they also include other debt instruments as well as equity securities.


The term "privatization" describes a shift in the ownership of assets or the provision of services from the government or public sector to the private sector. The scope of privatization, however, varies greatly in different parts of the world.

Pro Forma Statement

Pro forma, a Latin term meaning "as a matter of form," is applied to the process of presenting financial projections for a specific period in a standardized format. Businesses use pro forma statements for decision making in planning and control, and for external reporting to owners, investors, and creditors.

Problem-Solving Styles

Problem-solving styles are the different ways companies and individuals attempt to solve problems. The various problem-solving styles can help alleviate deviations from what is expected or planned, including anything from technical problems to employee-relations problems.

Product Liability

Product liability issues have become increasingly important to manufacturers and marketing managers. In the last 20 years the liability of a manufacturer has been greatly expanded as a result of the spread of the doctrine of strict liability and the adoption of new theories that permit recovery in so-called "delayed manifestation" cases.

Product Safety

Product safety is part of a broad consumer movement commonly referred to as consumerism. Consumerism refers to a number of activities designed to protect consumers from a wide range of practices that can infringe on their rights and in some cases their safety in the marketplace.

Professional and Trade Organizations

Professional associations have the additional objectives of expanding the knowledge or skills of its members and providing professional standards. The definition of a profession is an occupation that requires considerable education and specialized training, such as medicine, law, accounting, and engineering.

Profit Margin

The profit margin is an accounting measure designed to gauge the financial health of a business, firm, or industry. In general, it is defined as the proportion of profit, or revenue leftover after the firm's expenses are deducted, to total sales receipts over some defined period.

Profit Sharing

Profit sharing refers to the process whereby companies distribute a portion of their profits to their employees. Profit-sharing plans are well established in American business.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is a scheduling method originally designed to plan a manufacturing project by employing a network of interrelated activities, coordinating optimum cost and time criteria. PERT emphasizes the relationship between the time each activity takes, the costs associated with each phase, and the resulting time and cost for the anticipated completion of the entire project.

Project Management

Many times a business must implement a systematic change, such as constructing a building, installing a new computer system, merging with another company, developing a new product, entering a new market, etc. These changes are the results of projects.