An oligopoly is a market condition in which the production of identical or similar products is concentrated in a few large firms. Examples of oligopolies in the United States include the steel, aluminum, automobile, gypsum, petroleum, tire, and beer industries.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training focuses on the acquisition of skills within the work environment generally under normal working conditions. Through on-the-job training, workers acquire both general skills that they can transfer from one job to another and specific skills that are unique to a particular job.

Open Economy

An open economy is the opposite of a managed economy. It is one that is characteristically market-oriented, with free market policies rather than government-imposed price controls.

Operations Management

Do you drive a car, write checks, have a savings accounts, or get medical treatment? If so, you are directly affected by operations and operations management.

Opportunity Cost

Simply stated, an opportunity cost is the cost of a missed opportunity. Applied to a business decision, opportunity cost might refer to the profit a company could have earned from its capital, equipment, and real estate if these assets had been used in a different way.

Optical Character Recognition Devices (OCR)

Optical character recognition (OCR) refers to a computer's ability to recognize printed letters, numerals, or symbols (optical characters) as discrete entities rather than as simply an image containing lines, curves, and shading. Useful for document management, form processing, and a host of other commercial applications, this powerful tool allows businesses to convert paper documents into electronic files that can then be manipulated and retrieved at will.

Options Clearing Corporation

Established in 1973, the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) is an options clearinghouse that is owned by the four securities exchanges that make markets in listed stock options. These exchanges are the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX), and the Pacific Stock Exchange (PSE).

Options/Options Contracts

An option is the right to choose a particular action among alternatives. A financial option contract is the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specified amount of an asset at a specified price, for a specified time period.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began in 1948 as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC). The OEEC was established by 16 Western European nations to coordinate policy, make recommendations, and manage aid received through the Marshall Plan.

Organization of African Unity (OAU)

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established on May 25, 1963, by representatives of 30 African nations meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference was held at the invitation of Haile Selassie I, then emperor of Ethiopia.

Organization of American States (OAS)

The charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) was signed in Bogota, Colombia, in 1948 and went into force in December 1951. The purpose of the OAS is to strengthen the peace and security of the Western Hemisphere; promote and strengthen democratic governments; prevent and resolve conflict between member states while respecting principles of nonintervention; and prevent aggression against member states.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was established on September 14, 1960, at a conference in Baghdad, Iraq. The aims of the new organization were to prevent fluctuations in the price of oil, to raise the price of oil to its pre-1960 level, to make the multinational oil companies more accountable when determining the price they pay for oil, to ensure a steady income from oil for OPEC members and a steady supply of oil for their customers, and to remain steadfast and united should oil companies seek to sanction individual OPEC countries for any role they might play in implementing OPEC policies.

Organization Theory

An organization, by its most basic definition, is an assembly of people working together to achieve common objectives through a division of labor. People form organizations because individuals have limited abilities.

Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior is an academic discipline concerned with describing, understanding, predicting, and controlling human behavior in an organizational environment. The field is particularly concerned with group dynamics, how individuals relate to and participate in groups, how leadership is exercised, how organizations function, and how change is effected in organizational settings.

Organizational Development

Organizational development (OD) is an application of behavioral science to organizational change. It encompasses a wide array of theories, processes, and activities, all of which are oriented toward the goal of improving individual organizations.

Organizational Growth

Growth is something for which most companies, large or small, strive. Small firms want to get big, big firms want to get bigger.

Organizational Life Cycle

Organizational life cycle (OLC) is a model that proposes that businesses, over time, progress through a fairly predictable sequence of developmental stages. This model is linked to the study of organizational growth and development.

Original Issue Discount (OID)

Original issue discount (OID) refers to a debt instrument initially issued at a price substantially below its face amount (i.e., at a deep discount). OlDs can also be bonds issued as zero coupon bonds.


A company is outsourcing when it purchases products or services from an outside supplier, rather than performing the same work within its own facilities, in order to cut costs. The decision to outsource is a major strategic one for most companies, since it involves weighing the potential cost savings against the consequences of a loss in control over the product or service.

Over-the-Counter Securities Markets

An over-the-counter (OTC) securities market is a secondary market through which buyers and sellers of securities (or their agents or brokers) consummate transactions. Secondary markets (securities markets where previously issued securities are re-traded) are mainly organized in two ways.

Overhead Expense

Although other types exist as discussed below, overhead expenses can be easily explained in terms of indirect manufacturing costs-that is, costs not associated with direct materials or direct labor. Overhead expenses—also called indirect manufacturing costs and factory overhead—encompass three general kinds of costs: those for indirect materials, indirect labor, and all other miscellaneous production expenses such as taxes, insurance, depreciation, supplies, utilities, and repairs.


Packaging is the container or wrapper that holds a product or group of products. Types of commercial packaging include shipping cartons, containers for industrial goods, and holders for consumer products.


In the United States, the partnership is one of the three most commonly used types of business organizations; the other two are the corporation and the sole proprietorship. The sole proprietorship is the oldest and simplest business organization.

Passive Management (Fixed Income)

The simplest approach to creating a bond index fund is to buy a market-weighted random selection of bonds in each of the major bond categories in the domestic bond market: Treasury bonds, federal agency bonds, corporate bonds, state and municipal bonds, and mortgage-backed bonds. This portfolio, with proper rebalancing, will provide the investor with the bond market rate of return.

Patent Law/Patents

A patent is a grant of property right issued by the federal government that grants an inventor the exclusive right to manufacture and sell his or her invention for a period of 20 years. Any infringement of this right is punishable by law.

Pay-per-Call Telephone Service (900 Numbers)

Calls to 900 telephone numbers, or pay-per-call services, are paid for by the caller. T charge is greater than, or added to, the carrier's charge for the transmission of the call.

Pensions/Pension Funds

A pension plan is an agreement calling for an employer or an employee organization such as a labor union to contribute benefits to retired employees or retired members of the organization. These benefits usually come from an annuity, which is an investment program that yields fixed payments.

Per Capita Income

Per capita income is the average amount of money each person in a nation makes during the course of a year. It is calculated by dividing national income, which is the sum of all the individual and corporate income arising from a nation's production of goods and services, by the total population of the nation.