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This New Articles Channel contents the latest articles published in Inderscience's distinguished academic, scientific and professional journals.



 



Improved secure RSA cryptosystem for data confidentiality in cloud
Technologies like cloud computing provide a generous storage service to outsource the business and personal data. The major research challenge of data outsourcing is ensuring data confidentiality. Public key cryptography (PKC) is used in an open networking environment like the internet, for secure communication without depending on a secure channel, even for key exchange. One of the common and well known PKC is RSA cryptosystem. In this paper, an improved secure RSA cryptosystem (ISRSAC) has been proposed to increase the complexity in factorising the value of modulus 'n'. In ISRSAC, due to the complexity of computation in 'n', it is computationally difficult to factorise and perform cryptanalysis. A comparison is done with RSA, MREA and ESRKGS cryptosystems to show that ISRSAC is efficient. The experimental results prove that ISRSAC consumes more time for cryptanalysis compared to ESRKGS, MREA and RSA cryptosystems and provides security for data outsourcing in the cloud.



The effect of an information ethics course on the students' information ethics values: a Kohlberg's CMD model's perspective
Students' information ethics values (IEVs) are critical and of radical importance in achieving the above title's goal. Based on the Mason four issues of information ethics which are privacy, accessibility, intellectual property, and accuracy, (PAPA), the present study utilises Kohlberg's cognitive moral development (CMD) model to measure the improvement in the students' IEVs through an information ethics course (IEC). Therefore, this paper uses the ethical reasoning of 655 students, to recognise the power of a scenario-based survey. Meanwhile, this study employed non-parametric analytical methods to test the outcome of two groups of students that have/not have IEC training being two independent groups. This study finds that while the course improves students' 'privacy', 'accuracy' and 'intellectual property' values, however, it decreases their 'respect rules' and 'accessibility' values. Moreover, these results are analysed from learning theories (models) and from a Confucian ethics perspective (CEP). In light of these results, educators should take account of such improvements when designing effective teaching methods, and incentives, whilst considering the CEP.



What determines work motivation of IT professionals: an integrated model
This study proposes an integrated model of the relationships among supervisory leadership style, employee achievement motivation, job characteristic perception, and work motivation of information technology (IT) professionals in China. LISREL is applied to test and analyse the proposed model. The results demonstrate that leadership style and employee personal achievement motivation positively influence job characteristic perception for IT professionals. However, leadership style only weakly influences job characteristic perception. Additionally, job characteristic perception positively influence work motivation. Thus, employee personalities should be considered, specifically their achievement motivation before inspiring their positive perception on job characteristics when attempting to recruit IT professionals or improve the quality of existing IT staff.



Heuristic-based time-aware multi-criteria test case prioritisation technique
Regression testing is a costly process used to validate the changed software code. Test case prioritisation (TCP) techniques enhance the cost-adequacy of regression testing by ordering the test cases such that more imperative test case runs earlier in the testing process. This paper proposes a heuristic time aware multi-criteria test case prioritisation (HTMCTCP). It considers various targets simultaneously and chooses the best test cases within the stipulated time budget. This technique swaps between the neighbourhood search and the global search in the huge search space of the problem to avoid getting stuck in local optima and also it guarantees fast convergence to the best solution. When the effectiveness of the technique is compared with the existing prioritisation approach like genetic algorithm (GA) and simulated annealing algorithm (SA), it is inferred that the proposed HTMCTCP technique indicates noteworthy change over those systems.



Citizens' perceptions on benefits of e-governance services
The paper presents a framework for categorising the benefits of e-governance in the Indian context, wherein four dimensions of benefits are proposed i.e., economic benefits, quality of service (QoS) benefits, quality of governance (QoG) benefits and personal development. To test the proposed framework, the study has selected e-governance services offered by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). Primary data has been collected from 515 users of NDMC's e-governance services to study their perceptions regarding the proposed dimensions of e-governance benefits. The factor analysis technique has been used to identify the dimensions of e-governance benefits. The study also examines how the citizens' perceptions regarding the realisation of e-governance benefits differ according to their demographic characteristics (gender, age, education, occupation and income). The findings of the study indicate that e-governance services are most beneficial in terms of economic benefits, followed by benefits in terms of QoS and QoG.



Mobile communication and political participation: unravelling the effects of mobile phones on political expression and offline participation among young people
In recent years, mobile devices have dramatically transformed the landscape of political communication by expanding individuals' access to political information and their opportunities to express their own opinions among network ties. Previous research has already established a connection between informational uses of the mobile phone and the engagement in the civic and political spheres of social life. Consistent with this line of research, this study examined how various patterns of cell phone use affect the levels of political expression as well as offline participation, presenting a portrait of a new type of mobile political communication in the context of China. Hierarchical regression analysis reveals that reading news and tweeting via mobile phones were positively associated with political expression. Moreover, results indicate that mobile-based political expression had direct effects on offline political participation. Furthermore, results validate political expression as a mediator between certain mobile phone use and offline political participation. Finally, the study discusses the implications and limitation for future research.



Electronic governance platform: towards overcoming the challenges of non-inclusion of citizens in public policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria
This paper examined electronic governance platform's ability to mitigate the hitherto non-inclusion of citizens in policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria. To achieve the objective of the study, secondary data collected from books, journals and government websites of 20 states were analysed to ascertain whether there are avenues for citizens to interact with governments in policy formulation as a way of promoting participatory governance. The study revealed that while electronic governance is a possible solution to overcoming the challenges of non-inclusion of citizens in the formulation of public policy; but its adoption is yet to be achieved due to the low level of literacy rate and government inability to provide the necessary infrastructure. It, therefore, recommends the need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to involve a sound and clear guideline on how to adopt electronic governance in policy formulation through an increase in budgetary allocation towards infrastructural development and mass education of citizens.



The dynamics of e-government enactment in a developing country public sector organisation: evidence from Ghana
The demand for accountability, transparency and efficient service delivery by citizens in many countries is pushing many governments to adopt e-government initiatives in achieving timely and efficient information dissemination. However, research shows that many public organisations in developing countries have been slow in responding to these developments. This study investigates how organisational level factors shape e-government implementation in public organisations in a developing country. Participants were purposively selected and one-on-one in-depth interviews were used to collect data. The study identified inadequate financial and human resources, leadership support, low information communication technology (ICT) literacy as well as inadequate ICT equipment and low internet connectivity to be the factors militating against the effective implementation of the computer based technology (CBT) program at the driver and vehicle licensing authority (DVLA). The study concludes that e-government has the potential to enhance the delivery of services in public organisations if these challenges are addressed.



Knowledge transfer practices in Japanese-affiliated manufacturers in Malaysia
This paper examines the perceived influence of knowledge characteristics (KCs) and knowledge types (KTs) on knowledge transfer practices (KTPs) among two types of Japanese-affiliated manufacturers in Peninsular Malaysia: wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOSs) and joint ventures (JVs). Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire with 141 top, middle and technical staff respondents. Data were then analysed using multiple regression analysis. In the case of WOSs, the results suggest the effects of KCs, Ambiguity and Cultural Distance have the most significant influence on KTPs. Additionally, systematic knowledge has the most significant impact on KTPs in comparison with Strategic and Technical knowledge which are not significant. On the contrary, the findings of JVs suggest the effects of KCs, Ambiguity, Complexity and Partner Protectiveness have significant influence on KTPs. Similarly, systematic knowledge shows significant impact but in negative direction on KTPs among JVs while strategic and technical knowledge has no significant on KTPs.



Role of organisational culture, leadership and organisational citizenship behaviour on knowledge management
The purpose of this paper is to examine linkages amongst Organisational leadership, organisational structure, organisational culture and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) provide a framework that helps to understand, predict, and control factors affecting firm's knowledge management architecture. The paper examines the researchers conducted in the domain of knowledge management and proposes a framework to be used by the organisations to increase organisational growth and sustainability. Here, we propose a framework wherein four propositions concerning the inclination of organisations using different cultural styles, organisational structures, and organisational leadership and OCB have for the key KM processes in the organisation. However, an empirical study should be carried out to ascertain the effect of the proposed framework on knowledge management across organisations. The study incorporates the linkages among relevant organisational and individual level variables for developing a knowledge management architecture for organisations.



Performance management and justice in knowledge management: a theoretical framework
The extant literature has attributed effective knowledge transfer to the attributes of the sender and the receiver, the relationship between the actors, and the attributes of the knowledge per se. However, contextual influences have been relatively under-studied. This paper integrates three under-explored but inter-related perspectives - the design of knowledge appropriation regime, the use of performance management strategies and the presence of justice climate - for better promotion and implementation of knowledge management practices within organisations. Specifically, we propose that the appropriate use of key performance indicators contributes to the construction of a well-designed knowledge appropriation scheme, which in turn helps develop a justice climate within the organisation that is able to enhance effective knowledge transfer among organisational members. The theoretical propositions offer insights to theory buildings in both knowledge and justice literatures.



Knowledge management and performance improvement in Indian organisations
This paper evaluates the important knowledge management (KM) constructs between Indian manufacturing and service industries. A literature review supplemented with focus group discussion and personal interviews were used to design the questionnaire. 313 respondents selected through convenience sampling filled the survey. The instrument was tested for its reliability and validity. The study showed that the average scores of all KM constructs are higher for service industry than manufacturing industry. A significant difference between manufacturing and service industries using t-test is found in KM culture and structure; KM technology and the remaining constructs at 1%, 5% and 10% level respectively. The results also show that there is a significant difference in the average scores of performance. Further, results reveal that KM practices and performance improvements are different for the two industries. Besides KM processes, technology, culture and structure are central to KM performance.



Assessing the efficiency of knowledge management system and its impact on GDP growth in Kazakhstan
The paper demonstrates trends in Kazakhstan knowledge management system (KMS) development with regard to the relevant internal and external factors. The effect of the investment, codified and uncodified knowledge capital exerted on the gross domestic product (GDP) of Kazakhstan has been studied. Knowledge formalisation through the above model criteria enabled to determine the correlation between the KMS efficiency and the GDP of Kazakhstan. The Kazakh sector of knowledge generation fails to function at the level of the post-industrial countries and generate a high quality knowledge-intensive product massively. Low efficiency of knowledge generation system does not allow creating the appropriate technologies of the world level in this country to modernise production and turn out high-quality innovative products. The low capacity of the macroeconomic system in the perception and use of already existing knowledge restricts exploiting global knowledge market opportunities. The paper outlines the proposals for improving KMS in Kazakhstan.



Robust Q-parametrisation control for nonlinear magnetic bearing systems with imbalance based on TSK fuzzy model
This paper presents a methodology for designing a robust gain scheduled Takagi-Sugeno-Kang (TSK) fuzzy Q-parametrisation controller for nonlinear magnetic bearing systems subjected to imbalance sinusoidal disturbance. First, the mathematical model of nonlinear magnetic bearing is presented. Second, a set of Q-parametrisation observer based stabilising controllers is obtained based on linearisation of the nonlinear system at different operating points. Third, the structure that combines the Q-parametrisation observer based controller (OBC) with TSK fuzzy modelling to overcome the model nonlinearity and expand the operating envelopes is explained. Fourth, the proposed controller is applied to a nonlinear magnetic bearing system. Finally, the simulation results are presented. The results clearly show that the proposed controller is able to merge the intelligence of fuzzy systems with robustness of Q-parametrisation control to extend operating range up to more than 80% of gap length and reject imbalance sinusoidal disturbances at different operating speeds.



A sentiment analysis approach based on exploiting Chinese linguistic features and classification
This paper proposes a novel approach to exploiting linguistic features and SVMperf algorithm based semantic classification, and this approach is applied into sentiment analysis. It uses the dependency relationship to do the linguistic feature extraction. This paper adopts χ2 (chi-square) and pointwise mutual information (PMI) metrics for feature selection. Furthermore, as for the approach on sentiment analysis, this paper uses the SVMperf algorithm to implement the alternative structural formulation of the SVM optimisation problem for classification. E-commerce datasets are used to evaluate the experiment performance. Experiment results show the feasibility of the approach. Existing problems and further works are also presented.



Enhanced receding horizon optimal performance for online tuning of PID controller parameters
In this paper, a new online proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller parameter optimisation method is proposed by incorporating the philosophy of the model predictive control (MPC) algorithm. The future system predictive output and control sequence are first written as a function of the controller parameters. Then PID controller design is realised through optimising the cost function under the constraints on the system input and output. The MPC based PID online tuning easily handles the constraints and time delay. Simulation results in three situations, changing the control weight, adding constraints on the overshoot and control signal and changing the reference value, confirm that the proposed method is capable of producing good tracking performance with low energy consumption and short settling time.



Estimation of the order and the memory of Volterra model from input/output observations
This paper proposes a new method to estimate, from input/output measurements, the structure parameters (order and memory) of Volterra models used for describing nonlinear systems. For each structure parameter (order and memory), the identification method is based on the definition, for increasing values of such parameter, of a specific matrix the components of which are lagged inputs and lagged outputs. This matrix becomes singular once the parameter value exceeds its exact value. The proposed method is tested in numerical examples, then it is used for modelling a chemical reactor and the results were successful.



Prescribed performance control for MDF continuous hot pressing hydraulic system
In this paper, a prescribed performance control scheme is proposed for medium density fibreboard (MDF) continuous hot pressing hydraulic system. The performance issues regarding transient and steady state behaviours are explicitly considered in the control design and analysis. Firstly, a special error transformation is introduced into the first subsystem to transform original system with performance constraints into an equivalent 'output constrained' one to achieve prescribed performance guarantees. Subsequently, based on an appropriately designed barrier Lyapunov function (BLF), a controller is designed to stabilise the transformed system. Meanwhile, the novel error transformation effectively facilitates the control law derivation. It is proven that the proposed controller is capable of guaranteeing the satisfaction of the specific constraints on the transformed error and hence the prescribed performance specifications on the position tracking error, as well as the bounds of all closed-loop signals. In particular, in the second step of controller design, a first-order filter is used in conjunction with the traditional backstepping control to eliminate the differential term expansion caused by the derivative of virtual control input. Finally, numerical simulation results are presented to authenticate and validate the effectiveness of the proposed control scheme.



Intensity-curvature highlight of human brain magnetic resonance imaging vasculature
This paper uses the concept of intensity-curvature to highlight human brain vasculature imaged through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Two model functions are fitted to the MRI data. The model functions are: 1) the bivariate cubic polynomial (B32D), 2) the bivariate cubic Lagrange polynomial (G42D). The concept of intensity-curvature entails the calculation of the classic-curvature and the two intensity-curvature terms (ICTs): before and after interpolation. When the two intensity-curvature terms are calculated on a pixel-by-pixel basis across the image, they become two additional images. Through the use of the aforementioned ICT images it is possible to highlight and filter the human brain vasculature imaged with MRI. Moreover, the inverse Fourier transformation of the difference between the k-space of the MRI and the k-space of the ICT provides vessels identification. In essence, this research presents evidence that MRI images of the human brain can be studied through two additional domains: the intensity-curvature terms.



Stabilisation of a class of non-minimum phase switched nonlinear systems based on backstepping method
This paper addresses the formalism of the input-output feedback linearisation applied to a certain class of switched nonlinear systems where each mode may be non-minimum phase, to design state feedback controllers and a switching law based on multi-Lyapunov functions. The performed developments are largely on backstepping approach and multiple Lyapunov functions. The state feedback controllers and the switching law are developed to stabilise the transitions between the stability regions associated with each mode with non-minimum phase. Finally, simulation results of a non-minimum phase Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) show the effectiveness of the method.



Whole body motion generation of 18-DOF biped robot on flat surface during SSP & DSP
The present work explains the dynamically balanced gait generation of an 18-DOF biped robot on a flat surface during both double support phase (DSP) and single support phase (SSP). To generate the said gaits, cubic polynomial trajectories are assumed to be followed by the swing foot and wrist end of the hand. Further, the hip joint is assumed to follow a straight line and cubic polynomial trajectories in the sagittal and frontal planes, respectively. A closed form solution methodology based on inverse kinematics is used for determining the joint angles made by various links of the biped robot. Once the gait related to upper and lower limbs of the two legged robot is generated, the balance of the generated gait is decided by finding the position of zero moment point (ZMP). Moreover, Lagrange-Euler formulation is used for calculating the dynamics of the biped robot. Further, the effectiveness of the developed algorithm in terms of generating dynamically balanced gaits on flat surface has been verified in computer simulations. Further, the generated gait has been tested on a real biped robot.



A chattering-free adaptive second-order non-singular fast terminal sliding mode control scheme for a class of nonlinear uncertain systems
In this paper, an adaptive second-order non-singular fast terminal sliding mode (SONFTSM) control scheme is proposed so as to achieve finite-time stability with chattering-free control inputs for a class of nonlinear uncertain systems. Instead of the traditional control input in primitive sliding mode switching control design, the real control input is the time integration of the designed derivation of control input with discontinuous terms such that the chattering phenomenon can be reduced. An integral terminal sliding mode (ITSM) and a non-singular fast terminal sliding mode (NFTSM) are applied into the equivalent control design such that finite-time convergence of system states can be guaranteed when it moves on a sliding surface. Then, an adaptive method is utilised to estimate the unknown upper bound of the lumped uncertainty caused by modelling error and external disturbance. The stability analysis of closed-loop system can be demonstrated by constructing Lyapunov candidate function. Finally, the simulation results verify the effectiveness of proposed control scheme.



Intermodal transportation of modular structure units
With the rapid development of international cooperation in the construction industry, modular construction has been widely promoted in recent years especially for apartments, social housing and schools. This paper aims to address the intermodal transportation plan for modular structure units (MSUs). An overview of MSUs is provided followed by a discussion on different transportation modes. To prevent damages to modules, containers are typically used for maritime shipping. Comparative results show that the 12.1 m (40 ft) hicube container is most suited for transporting MSUs. With containerisation, an optimal urban transportation plan is proposed consisting of four major steps: identifying the feasible transportation network, establishing the transport cost function, solving the K-shortest paths problem, and assigning MSUs using the logit model.



Mitigating the break-of-gauge problem in international transportation corridors
The purpose of this study is to investigate technologies for mitigating the break-of-gauge problem at the border crossing points in international transportation corridors. This issue has been examined through a literature review. The research revealed three technologies for mitigating the break-of-gauge problem, including trans-shipment operations, removable coach bogies and variable bogie axles. The medium-term solution would be more rapid trans-shipment operations in the railway container terminals while the long-term solution would be adjustable bogie axles. This could reduce lead-time and improve the overall productivity and competitiveness of international corridors and in turn lead to reduced logistics costs for companies using this transportation alternative.



SWOT analysis of specialised and transport facilities in the logistics infrastructure of Mexico 2013-2018
Mexico obtained best score in geographical aspects, from a geo-strategic comparative study between Mexico and Panama; next step is to identify if the country has a strengthened or weak facilities in terms of transport and logistics, necessary to improve competitiveness with respect to the mentioned items. The objective of this work is to identify, through the SWOT matrix, positive and negative aspects of the nation's logistics infrastructure and, using the confrontation matrix, identify the critical aspects that require design of strategies that will contribute to the improvement of the country's competitiveness. Results show that although nation has logistics infrastructure around the country (including development and construction projects), its biggest disadvantage is the saturation concentrated in the central region, evidencing a low development of these in northern and southern regions of the nation. Finally, improvement strategies for the equitable distribution of logistics facilities by region, according to their specialty, are proposed.



Reliability analysis and growth curves modelling of fielded road systems
The instantaneous and cumulative effect of failure rate for repairable fielded systems depletes the reliability of road network systems. This paper bridges the rationale and statistical techniques employed in the reliability analysis and growth curve modelling for application to road assets with defects/failure events obtained from fielded systems. Real-time user operational data is analysed to enable preventive and predictive maintenance insight be adapted from its growth trends and curves. Samples from carriageway fielded population are analysed, and models are developed using statistical assessment of goodness of fit for Poisson, right censored parametric distribution analysis and parametric growth trend. The reliability behaviour of the samples is evaluated using reliability estimates of its mean time to failure (MTTF) for instantaneous failure time of event and mean time between failure (MTBF) for cumulative times of events. The growth trend and parametric growth curves of the homogeneous Poisson process (HPP) and non-homogeneous Poisson process (NHPP) power law are presented using maximum likelihood and least square estimation as well as the mean cumulative function (MCF) of failure time of events.



Customer perceptions of product assortment leading to store patronage: a study of small retailers
The review of the literature reveals the role of product variety, product availability, price perceptions, assortment organisation and product quality constructs in terms of customer perceptions but such results lead to questioning the nature of the conceptual structure that would include these constructs as well as their interrelationships in a structural model. Moreover, the earlier studies are typically focused on organised stores. From this perspective, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of these constructs in evolving customer perceptions towards the store using data collected from 230 customers who visited small retailers in rural areas. The results reflect the importance of these identified variables towards the customer perceptions. Also the relationship between customer store perceptions and store patronage has been derived.



Employee participation in corporate volunteering
Corporate volunteering (CV) is on the rise with several firms actively supporting and sponsoring social/community development activities, investing their key asset: employees, beyond mere donations. Most often, volunteering activities do need high levels of commitment and involvement of their employees to realise the purpose of volunteering activities. Although, employee's involvement is fundamental for CV, attraction, and sustenance of their participation is a long-standing challenge for the organisations. Hence, a systematic inquiry into the dynamic nature of drivers of employee participation in corporate volunteering is necessitated to understand the phenomenon of employee volunteering. We seek to explore and propose some of the key drivers of employee support for CV. Further, we inquire some of the volunteering experiences/challenges and organisational outcomes aiding insights into employee sustained involvement and support for volunteering initiatives. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications.



Do stringent corporate governance practices ensure diligent corporate social responsibility among organisations: investigating the link therein
We establish the relationship between corporate governance and corporate social responsibility in India. We design a corporate governance scorecard to capture the financial and accounting aspects of firms which help us in classifying them into high risk (poor governance) and low risk (good governance) bins. We then categorise the firms according to their level of risk to examine the level of corporate social responsibility activities carried out by them to assess their social conscientiousness. Probing whether the firms ranked in corporate governance scorecard carry out corporate social responsibility voluntarily or under compulsion in the light of Section 135 of the company's Act 2013 brings out whether the firms in question are carrying out corporate social responsibility willingly or are being forced to do so. The data reveals that high-risk firms are the ones carrying out high levels of corporate social responsibility after it has been made a compulsory practice by the company's Act 2013. It indicates the possibility that corporate social responsibility may complement corporate governance to help create a socially cognisant corporate sector sometime soon.



Evolution of stakeholder management approach in business: a literature review
Stakeholder management approach gained ground after R. Edward Freeman popularised the term and concept as a strategic management tool for business. Later, business ethics literature described stakeholder approach from a normative theory perspective and CSR theorists used the concept as a basis to describe a firm's social responsibility. Hence, we review the existing literature in the development of stakeholder management approach as a strategy for business and also as a normative concept. The paper reviews corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature to explore linkages between CSR and stakeholder management approach. CSR literature points to a direct link between stakeholder-oriented thinking and a firm's commitment to CSR programs. Contemporary scholarly work highlights the omnipresence of stakeholder management approach. Stakeholder approach continues to inspire businesses to behave responsibly and contribute towards welfare of communities however, theoretical inadequacy and lack of consensus among business and ethics scholars limit a wider adoption of the concept.



Employees' participation in CSR initiatives and job outcomes - affective commitment, job satisfaction, organisational attractiveness, organisational performance and turnover intention
The quest for equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth is a visible need. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic issue which permeates departmental boundaries and influences the way organisation does its business and relates with its stakeholders. An important stakeholder group forms the 'employees', upon whom the interest now rests. This study focuses on employees' participation in CSR initiatives leading to the job related outcomes such as organisational attractiveness, job satisfaction, affective commitment, turnover intentions and job performance. In this study, 'pro-social values' is explored to understand the influence. The study draws its research and inputs from Schwartz value theory (1992, 1994, 1996, 2006, 2009 and 2012) and social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1986). Out of the 500 questionnaire distributed only 293 response sheets could be utilised. The results revealed were insightful between the constructs of pro-social values, employees' participation in CSR initiatives and job outcomes.



Audit committee characteristics, board ethnic diversity and earnings management: evidence from Kenya and Tanzania
This paper investigates the relationship between audit committee characteristics, board ethnic diversity and earnings management in Eastern Africa. We attempt to determine whether compliance with audit committee guidelines has constrained earnings management in companies operating in an environment where control of corruption is considered weak. We include firm performance to the modified Jones model to measure discretionary accruals. The data are collected from annual reports over the period 2005-2014 resulting to a total of 480 firm-year observations. Panel data models are employed in the analyses. The results show that absolute discretionary accruals average about 11.5%, while the independence of the audit committee, the presence of a financial expert on the audit committee and board ethnic diversity were negatively and significantly related to earnings management. We also find that audit committee structures are not country specific.



Corporate governance and postcolonialism: the experience of Sri Lanka
This paper explores the perceived adequacy of Anglo-American corporate governance reforms in an emerging market. Using a perception survey of Sri Lanka's corporate governance stakeholders, 277 questionnaire survey responses from five stakeholder groups in Sri Lanka are used in factor and regression analyses. This empirical study finds that adoption of best practice Anglo-American policies and regulations do not result in the perception of good corporate governance by stakeholders. The application of postcolonial theory offers an insight into this discrepancy. Current technical modes of investigation only replicate the modernity narrative. Policy setters and regulators should consider corporate governance as a cultural practice as well as a technical practice, to better serve stakeholder perceptions. This study introduces postcolonial theory as a means of cultural evaluation of corporate governance practices.



Agency costs in US banks - have the factors changed post crisis?
This study analyses the effectiveness of the series of post-2008 regulatory reforms in the banking industry. The paper aims to identify and classify new measures of agency costs. The results suggest that agency costs have increased in the post economic recession period. Agency costs have increased for all banks irrespective of sizes. A new theoretical framework on behavioural lines is proposed for the manifestation of agency costs. The study suggests that four types of behavioural factors result in agency costs - self-enrichment, complacency, cover-up and risk affinity. Agency costs originate due to the self-enrichment behavioural nature of managers. The study provides insights to the fact that management behaviour may adapt to both the external and internal environment to facilitate agency costs. The study suggests that the new regulatory measures may not have worked well on expected lines or may have provided adverse incentives which would have increased agency costs.



Transparency and microfinance institutions' risk in Sub-Saharan Africa
Using a sample of 151 MFIs from 21 countries over the 2005-2014 period, we examine the impact of transparency on MFIs' risk in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We use a three-stage least squares method to address the issue of reverse causality between transparency and risk. Our results indicate that SSA MFIs have low levels of failure risk and operate in a moderate business disclosure environment. We find that higher MFI transparency reduces Not-for-profit MFIs (NFP MFIs') financial and insolvency risk. However, greater transparency is associated with higher credit risk for both for-profit (FP) and NFP MFIs and increases FP MFIs' failure risk. Country-level business disclosure does not influence MFI risk. Overall, our results provide new empirical evidence identifying the difference between for-profit and not-for-profit MFIs' risk behaviour and highlight the impact of transparency on MFI risk.



Sound pollution: a source of social health inequality for people living near fixed and intermittent sources of pollution in Burkina Faso
This article relies on a Poisson modelling framework to examine the impact of constant and intermittent sound pollution on social health inequalities in Burkina Faso from the angle of hearing impairments. Using a random sample of 838 people in 200 household living nearby the international airport of Ouagadougou, and the National Electricity Company's (SONABEL) thermal power plants, the empirical results show that noise intensity is a significant determinant of hearing loss and a source of environmental inequity. In fact, constant exposure to high-intensity noise doubles the probability of developing hearing loss compared to temporary exposure. Consequently, to protect themselves, people tend to choose areas less exposed to noise but relatively more expensive, and hence supporting Charles Tiebout's theory of voting by the feet. The results also points out the problems of poor urban planning in developing countries, and suggest that prevention and promotion policies targeting the poorest are possible ways of reducing social health inequalities.



Workplace spirituality and burnout
In the contemporary corporate and management world, the concept of 'spirituality at workplace' or popularly known as 'workplace spirituality' has received a global attention as a positive organisational phenomenon. The extant literature related to this concept indicates that there could be several consequences of infusing spirituality at workplace like organisational commitment, enhanced performance, increased productivity, managerial effectiveness, employee well-being, stress resiliency, and others. However, literature is silent on explaining the linkage of workplace spirituality with employee's burnout which is emerging as a vital organisational issue. This was the key motivation which energised us to empirically examine the role of workplace spirituality in handling burnout (excessive stressful situations) which is generally raised out of increasing complexities in our professional and personal life. We collected the data through questionnaire-based surveys in a sample of 132 employees working in service sector organisations across North India and carried out further statistical analyses with the help of SPSS software. The findings of the study divulge the fact that the concept of 'workplace spirituality' could be recognised as an important predictor of organisational outcomes which are affected by employee's burnout. Implications, limitations, further research directions, and conclusions have been discussed.



Reduction of agitation and anxiety observed in a case study of people with dementia using TimeSlips™ creative expression program
TimeSlips™ is a group storytelling program encouraging creative expression among people with dementia. A case study was conducted to evaluate whether TimeSlips could decrease symptoms of agitation and anxiety, in people with dementia, utilising the overt agitation severity scale (OASS). Participants included 42 residents diagnosed with dementia and impaired by anxiety and/or agitation. Despite a rigorous enrolment process, consent for only 15 residents was attained; 12, who routinely participated in TimeSlips and control sessions, which were conducted twice weekly for six weeks. OASS ratings were conducted before and after all sessions. When pre- and post-OASS ratings were compared for, all study participants showed clear reductions in agitation and anxiety as measured by changes in OASS scores (p < .001). The TimeSlips group was as effective as the control group and consistently had lower OASS scores, showing promise for care of persons with dementia, expressing symptoms of anxiety and agitation.



An analysis of the mediating effect of emotional intelligence between self-evaluation traits with emotional and spiritual well-being
This study contributes to our understanding of the role performed by emotional intelligence in between self-evaluative traits and emotional well-being. We developed and tested a mediation model linking self-evaluative traits through emotional intelligence on predicting emotional and spiritual well-being. Drawing on our model posits that the effects of self-evaluative such as self-esteem, self-efficacy and locus of control are mediated by emotional intelligence on generating emotional and spiritual well-being. Overall data from 262 nurses from various government hospitals in Pondicherry Union territory support this model. This suggests that incorporation of emotional intelligence with self-evaluative traits on generating emotional and spiritual well-being is essential. Implication, directions of future research or discussed.



An empirical investigation of pan, tobacco and intoxicants consumption at household level in India
The present paper estimates the responsiveness of prices and household expenditure on consumption of three broad categories, i.e., pan, tobacco and intoxicants at household level in rural and urban areas of all India. Household level elasticities are estimated for the various deciles class (economic status) of families. The pattern shows that the rural household spending is proportionally more on pan than that of their urban counterparts. The expenditure on pan, tobacco and intoxicants at household level is inelastic. The marginal propensity to consume at household level for pan, tobacco and intoxicants is low in India. One rupee increase in the per capita expenditure will increase consumption of pan in rural region while for tobacco and intoxicants in urban region.



People process excellence and business outcomes - a structural equation modelling-based analysis
People capability maturity model (PCMM) developed by Carnegie Mellon is one of the foremost business excellence models in the people management area and this model has been extensively applied in the technology services industry. This paper attempts to link through a conceptual framework the various people process excellence variables of PCMM to the state of organisational maturity attained as well as the consequent business outcomes. The framework has been validated empirically with data from 521 participants in the technology services industry in an emerging market context. Confirmatory factor analysis techniques have been used to validate and develop a measurement model. Such a model is further refined using basic structural equation modelling (SEM) techniques to make it more robust. The results of SEM are critically evaluated in comparison with corresponding regression modelling results. The findings of this research study validate that people excellence variables positively influence organisational maturity and this further leads to beneficial business outcomes across staff, firm and customer dimensions.



Study on liquidity of Indian banks: an empirical analysis of scheduled commercial banks
We study the impact of profitability, net interest margin, non-performing assets, capital adequacy ratio, bank size, deposits and cost of funding on liquidity of Indian banks. To examine this relationship, we have taken annual data pertaining to 64 Indian banks from the period 2000 to 2014. Banks considered include all private, foreign and public sector banks operating in India from 2000 to 2014. Using fixed effect estimates, we find that capital adequacy ratio, deposits and profitability influence Indian bank liquidity positively while bank size, non-performing assets and net interest margin affect Indian bank liquidity negatively. Cost of funding does not affect liquidity of Indian banks significantly. Findings of our study have significant implications for bankers, policy makers and researchers advocating the relationship of liquidity and factors such as bank size, profitability, net interest margin, non-performing assets, capital adequacy ratio, cost of funding and deposits and highlighting the possible reason behind that. The study would help in appropriate policy formulation, decision making and maintaining adequate liquidity in the banking system.



Investigation and analysis of public speaking skills of engineers using DMAIC path
Literature suggests clear need to work on the public speaking skills of engineers. In such pursuance, teaching methodologies involving active experimentation and reflective observation have been valued. In this endeavour, an effort was made to design such an andragogy. DMAIC principles (define, measure, analyse, improve and control) were used to reduce the variations in associated human abilities. Quality circles were created to establish benchmarks, accurate goals, and reduce variations in human fallibilities in public speaking. Association between treatment and performances of engineers were determined using non-parametric tests. Against 1,320 total opportunities given to 55 engineers, percentage yield was found to be 38.71% at process sigma of 1.21.



A study on performance of telecom service market: case of Karnataka, India
The purpose of this study is to develop a performance model for telecom service providers to evaluate their performance in the telecom service market using non-financial indicators such as customer perceived network quality, service quality perception, customer care services, customer satisfaction and overall brand equity. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the data collected from respondents of Karnataka telecom circle. The main findings of the study indicate that customer satisfaction, customer perceived network quality, service quality perception and customer care services positively influences performance of the telecom service market. There are few related studies with the non-financial indicators and their influences on the performance of telecom industry. In this paper, attention is paid to construct a performance measurement model using non-financial performance measures in the Indian telecom service market. This study offers insights for telecom service providers to understand the non-financial determinants of performance.



Comparing the life-cycles of service sales between buyers and sellers in business relationships through a teleological lens
To compare the life-cycles of service sales between buyers and sellers in business relationships by means of teleological approaches: transformative - ad hoc and present-based actions; formative - pre-determined and past-based actions; and rationalist - goal-directed and future-based actions. A quantitative case study approach was applied; based on 57 service. Teleological approaches enable a framing of the different life-cycles of service sales between buyers and sellers in business relationships. They also stress the need to be aligned, so as to maintain a prosperous business relationship. The teleological stage of both negotiators affects individual interest in achieving the best potential deal for their respective organisations, as well as the quality of the negotiation. The companies must know what teleological approach their employees are following, in order to achieve the best results. This study adds a complementary theoretical perspective on the life-cycles of service sales between buyers and sellers in business relationships.



The effect of human resource management practices on organisational effectiveness (case study: Isfahan Petrochemical Company)
The main objective of the present survey is to study the effect of human resource management practices on organisational effectiveness. It is applicable from the objective aspect and descriptive field correlational from methodological aspect. The statistical population included all experts and managers of the Isfahan Petrochemical Company. The stratified random sampling method was employed for sampling and the sample size was estimated equal to 140. The required information on research literature was collected using historical study (academic books and journals) and the data required to confirm or reject the hypotheses was collected via researcher's self-made questionnaire with acceptable reliability and validity. The calculated Cronbach's alpha for HRM effectiveness (0.85) and organisational effectiveness (0.88) indicated adequate reliability of the questionnaires. The results disclosed that there is a positive and significant relationship between effectiveness of human resource management actions in various fields of training, selection and recruitment, compensation and performance evaluation with organisational effectiveness.



Population-based variable neighbourhood search algorithm applied to unconstrained continuous optimisation
This work presents a population-based variable neighbourhood search approach for unconstrained continuous optimisation, called PRVNS. The main contributions of the proposed algorithm are to evolve a population of individuals (i.e., candidate solutions) and to allow each individual adapts its own neighbourhood search area accordingly to its performance. The adaptive amplitude control allows individuals to autonomously exploit and explore promising regions in the search space. Several unconstrained continuous benchmark functions with a high number of dimensions (d = 250) are used to evaluate the algorithm's performance. The PRVNS results are compared with the results obtained by some well known population-based approaches: differential evolution (DE), particle swarm optimisation (PSO) and artificial bee colony (ABC). Also, the standard VNS algorithm is considered in the experiments. The results and analyses suggest that the PRVNS approach is a promising and competitive algorithm for unconstrained continuous optimisation.



An alternative approach for particle swarm optimisation using serendipity
In the study of metaheuristic techniques, it is very common to deal with a problem known as premature convergence. This problem is widely studied in swarm intelligence algorithms such as particle swarm optimisation (PSO). Most approaches to the problem consider the generation and/or positioning of individuals in the search space randomly. This paper approaches the issue using the concept of serendipity and its adaptation in this new context. Several strategies that implement serendipity were evaluated in order to develop a PSO variant based on this concept. The results were compared with the traditional PSO considering the quality of the solutions and the ability to find global optimum. The new algorithm was also compared with a PSO variant of the literature. The experiments showed promising results related to the criteria mentioned above, but there is the need for additional adjustments to decrease the runtime.



Feature selection based on binary particle swarm optimisation and neural networks for pathological voice detection
In this work, 52 Haralick texture features, extracted from two-dimensional wavelet coefficients of speech signals from recurrence plots (RPs) pathologies are used for pathological voice discrimination. Here, three pathologies are considered for analysis: vocal fold paralysis, edema and nodules. For feature selection, a binary particle swarm optimisation (PSO) algorithm using multilayer perceptron (MLP) neural network with cross validation is employed. The adopted fitness function is based on the maxima average accuracy rate. Statistical tests for individual measures were made and their results show statistical significance for several employed measures. The measures were combined and the more relevant ones based on the highest accuracy were selected by the PSO. The comparison with and without PSO by applying the statistical test of mean difference showed that the PSO use increased the accuracy rates. Furthermore, the PSO use reduced the amount of features for almost half of all initially used.



A memetic algorithm for power system damping controllers design
This paper presents a hybrid algorithm for robust and coordinated design of power system stabilisers. Power system stabilisers are controllers installed on synchronous generators for excitation control in order to damp power system oscillations. The tuning procedure (gain and phase compensation stage) is cast as an optimisation problem which aims at maximising the damping coefficients in closed-loop operation. Robustness is dealt with by using multiple operating scenarios. For the optimisation problem solution, the bio-inspired Bat Algorithm is combined with the steepest descent method for local search capability enhancement. The proposed algorithm is applied to benchmark systems for validation.