This New Articles Channel contents the latest articles published in Inderscience's distinguished academic, scientific and professional journals.
Identifying the agents and drivers of deforestation: an examination around Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
In preparing for the REDD+ activities, identification of agents and drivers of deforestation and forest degradation is expected, especially in broad areas with multiple agents and drivers. This study aims to examine an appropriate way of identifying and integrating various agents, drivers, and underlying causes by using combined statistical analysis with data gathered through household surveys near Gunung Palung National Park in Indonesia. Based on an overview of socio-economic characteristics, uses of the national park for farming and forest garden were estimated as potential drivers and evaluated by means of a multiple regression analysis. The combined methods also make it possible to estimate underlying causes such as inadequate land for farming inside the village. The principal component analysis with the scatter diagrams helped in recognising the socio-economic structure of sample households. These results can contribute to the design of appropriate REDD+ activities, like various capacity building and policy reforms, as readiness for the phased approach.
Assessment of soil erosion and sediment yield changes using erosion potential model: case study of Sangcharak catchment in Fars, Iran
The sediments resulting from the erosion of basins lead to the squandering of the soil, reduction of its infertility and decreasing of the quality of the water, and that is why the lifespan of the dams would be endangered because of the accumulation of the sediments. The goal of this research is to estimate erosion and sediment yield in Sangcharak basin by Erosion Potential Method (EPM), using GIS. For the purposes of quantifying the erosion intensity change has been done with the soil erosion maps from 2005 and recent state of erosion in 2014. Result of this paper showed that specific annual gross erosion on the Sangcharak territory was 775.34 (m³.km−2.y−1) in 2005 while in 2014 it was 914.24 (m³.km−2.y−1). Therefore, due to changes in intensity of erosion processes the specific annual gross erosion in catchment areas was increased by 138.89 (m³.km−2.y−1). Specific sediment yield in this area was 300.18 (m³.km−2.y−1) in 2005, while in 2014 was 349.01 (m³.km−2.y−1).
Growing under the common agricultural policy: the institutional development of organic farming in Central and Eastern European countries from 2004 to 2012
This paper analyses the institutional development of organic food and farming from 2004 to 2012 in six European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Romania. Based on document analysis and expert interviews with key informants on organic farming development in each country, similarities and differences in the development of the organic sector were analysed to evaluate if countries gaining accession to the EU at different times undergo similar organic sector development. Furthermore, the development of the organic sector was explored against the background of increasing involvement of the mainstream agricultural sector in organic farming development. To conclude, the uptake and support of organic farming by mainstream agriculture resulted in a change in the nature of the organic farming community. Rather than influencing the mainstream agricultural system, the organic farming community is increasingly reacting to changes in mainstream agricultural institutions. There has been a loss of influence by the organic farming community over the development of the organic sector. Organic farming is rather seen by the mainstream agricultural sector as a way to address current problems the regime is dealing with, rather than providing a role model for future farming development.
Forest conservation versus indigenous forest territory rights in the Peruvian Amazon: the case of the Kechwa-Lamas village Alto Huaja and the roles of external actors
The current competition for land in the Peruvian Amazon is a challenge to indigenous communities without legal ownership of their customary lands. This study analyses the strategies of Alto Huaja, a Kechwa-Lamas village in the region of San Martín, to gain possession over a forest area which they consider their ancestral territory. It explores how this struggle is influenced by external actors and ideas of how indigenous territories should be governed. Through a governmentality lens, we explore two tenure arrangements under discussion in San Martín - conservation concession and title - their rationales and their possible consequences for Alto Huaja. Data were collected through observation in Alto Huaja and interviews with nine organisations (governmental, non-governmental and indigenous), connected to Alto Huaja. Findings suggest that Kechwa-Lamas' control over their ancestral lands is becoming more tied to doing conservation than gaining rights as indigenous peoples. This could turn them from farmers to conservationists.
From Arturo Escobar's development theory to Antony Giddens's structuration theory: a social constructionist analysis of rural entrepreneurship and multifunctional agriculture
Many research papers in the field of entrepreneurship have gained from a positivistic analytical approach, both in epistemology and methodology. Also there are very limited enquires concerning entrepreneurship in rural areas, or rural entrepreneurship in a new way. Through this paper, using social constructionism as a big paradigm, Antony Giddens's Structuration Theory and Arturo Escobar's Three Component Theory in development deployment, we try to present an explanation of rural entrepreneurship and multifunctional agriculture, as two main discourses in rural regions. The main claim is that it is necessary to shift from positivistic and hegemonic discourse of rural entrepreneurship to socially constructed discourse of agriculture's multifunctionality, through an analytical reversion of Escobar's theory, and using Structuration Theory as a theoretical context.
Balanced scorecard edge over memorandum of understanding for public enterprises in India
This paper unfolds two objectives; first, assesses the impact of memorandum of understanding (MoU, a socio-economic performance measurement technique) on the performance of public sector enterprises (PSEs) in India and identifies the gaps under MoU system. Second, enumerates how balanced scorecard (BSC) bridged these gaps and proposes broadly a generic model of BSC (for performance evaluation and assessment) for PSEs in India. BSC is an instrument, takes into consideration multiple indicators and includes financial and non-financial parameters. The study has used ratios to examine the performance of MoU opted PSEs over a period of more than one and half decade. The paper further explains the perspectives and importance of BSC. How BSC has an edge over MoU? The findings reveal that the extent of MoU is limited to the pre-specified objectives determined by the top management of a PSE and government, non-allocation of task linked incentives and limited involvement of all the stakeholders. Whereas, the BSC comprehensively covers all the gaps identified under MoU to meet the organisational vision strategically through set of objectives; it allows the participation of all the stakeholders, global practices to accomplish corporate objectives.
Performance of direct mail in building customer loyalty in Greek automotive sector during the financial crisis
This paper focuses on the performance of direct mail as a key marketing communication tool in customer retention and a loyalty building instrument during the financial crisis in Greek automotive sector. The major transnational car brand Toyota in Greece is selected to investigate the performance of direct mail in enticing customer loyalty during a financial crisis. Athens and Salonica, the two largest cities in Greece, were chosen as the study locations because they comprise the largest segment of the automotive market and have been the main stage for the conflicts and reactions to the crisis between 2010 and 2015. In partnership with a major research agency and Toyota Hellas, a questionnaire was distributed, and 383 completed questionnaires were returned. The results were analysed through analysis of variance with covariates (ANCOVA) and mediated regression analysis. It was found that direct mail has a direct effect on customer attitudinal loyalty, and behavioural loyalty is dependent on customer satisfaction related to direct mail. This paper provides new insights on the effect of direct mail on customer loyalty during economic crises. Showing the performance and role of direct mail in crisis environment is likely to help managers better understand their customers and enhance loyalty.
Workplace context and its effect on individual competencies and performance in work teams
The purpose of this study was to understand the effect of workplace context on competencies and performance in work (project) teams. This study was conducted at seven technology-based companies in Hong Kong and China. The results of the study provide companies with important knowledge on how to encourage the right competencies to achieve high performance in a workplace. This paper attempts to propose a holistic approach on improving individual and team performance in companies. The empirical evidence obtained confirms the importance of the contextual factors as predictors of individual competencies and performance level of team members. Specifically, the study conducted for industry integrated the concepts of organisational culture, team climate and managing skills into one model that allowed the prediction of the level of competencies and the performance of team members in work teams.
Managing workforce diversity from the perspective of two higher education institutions
While a growing number of research studies on diversity in higher educational institutions provide a broad evidence for the positive influence that workforce diversity has on performance, this study drawn from one American (n = 539) and one Middle Eastern (n = 145) university revealed that cultural diversity and equality and diversity were positively related to organisational performance in both universities. Our hypothesised relationship between multicultural diversity and performance was not supported in the Middle Eastern university; this is due to the fact that even when non-western universities use the US model, they still confront many challenges resulting from the lack of completely not partially integrating the US model in the whole strategy of the university.
Improving performance of lock assembly line using lean and simulation approach
Assembly line optimisation is an important process. When the system is complex, mathematical modelling and design of experiments becomes difficult. Hence process simulation approach is adopted here. Contribution of this research is improvement of performance of assembly line by maximising the measurement of performances like cycle time, throughput, resource utilisation and also by reducing cost. Key features of this research are development of eight different models for different input variables without disturbing existing set up. This what-if analysis is done using Arena process simulation software. Effect of layout, resource distribution, combination of operations, time study, Maynard operation sequencing techniques (MOST) has been studied here. Combinational effect of all these parameters are difficult to analyse analytically, hence unique simulation approach is selected. MOST is useful to find value added and non-value added activities. Lean techniques like kaizen, total productive maintenance, line balancing, low cost automation are used for different scenarios.
Perceived and measured climate variability and change in semi-arid environments in Tanzania: experiences from Iramba and Meatu Districts
This paper combines farmers' perceptions of climate variability and change and meteorological data trends to generate empirical evidence to broaden an understanding of the phenomena. The results show an agreement on changing rainfall patterns. Bad years described by drought frequencies, temperature, and dry spell have increased since the 1970s. Crop growing period has decreased by one month in Meatu and by more than a month in Iramba. As hypothesised, the Mann-Whitney U test shows similar men and women's perceptions at 5% level of significance (P value = 0.701). Similarly, the Kruskal-Wallis H test indicates that the poor, not so poor and the rich have the same perceptions (P value = 0.281). These results have implications on crop and livestock production systems and on livelihoods more generally. We conclude that climate variability and change manifestations overlap, making it a complex phenomena perceived equally by men, women, the poor and non-poor. This is understood holistically by combining farmers' perceptions and meteorological data trends to inform adaptation strategies related decision making.
Bioindicators assessing water quality and environmental impacts of water treatment plant sludge
This study had as objectives to assess water quality using macroinvertebrate communities in Gaviao artificial reservoir (Brazil), used to supply potable water to 2.5 million people, and to evaluate how these organisms responded to the discharge of water treatment sludge into a natural wetland. A total of 1,621 specimens across 23 taxa were identified. Mollusca were the dominant and most frequent group while Insecta presented the most richness. Based on feeding mode, there were more predator organisms than scrapers. The Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWP') method showed to be more sensible to water quality variations than ASPT index, going from polluted to questionable water quality more frequently. The chemical parameters analysed showed no significant variations and were not a sensitive method for assessing water quality. No organisms could be found downstream of the sludge discharge point, indicating a high impact of sludge disposal on local biota.
Do climate changes lead to income inequality? Empirical study on the farming community in Malaysia
Changes in climatic factors have different impacts on different social groups. Farmers are considered to be the most vulnerable group because of their direct and indirect dependency on climatic factors. This study aims to understand the nature of socioeconomic impacts of climatic changes on the farmers in Malaysia. A questionnaire survey was conducted on a sample of 198 paddy farmers in the Integrated Agricultural Development Area at North-West Selangor of Malaysia in 2009. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, ordinal scale, and percentile. The study reveals that climatic changes have adverse impacts on agricultural productivity, profitability, income equality, employment, farmer's health, and government subsidy policy. The study also finds considerable unequal income distribution among farmers. The study suggests that climatic changes contribute to the widening of income inequality, because poor farmers are affected more by the adverse effects of climatic changes. The paper ends up with recommending some policy guidelines to counter adverse effects of climate change on income of paddy farmers in Malaysia.
Designing a sustainable recovery network for waste from electrical and electronic equipment using a genetic algorithm
In recent years, reverse logistic and closed-loop supply chain issues have became more important due to environmental, social and economic reasons. Product recovery which comprises recycling, remanufacturing, repairing and disposing requires an efficient reverse logistic network. Among used products, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become a major problem for developing countries due to its harmful effects. WEEE contains hazardous materials that may have an impact on both environment and human health if it is properly managed. On the contrary, valuable materials can be extracted if it is controlled properly. Therefore, decision makers should give consideration to design an efficient reverse logistic network to manage WEEE. In this paper, a mathematical model of two-stage RL network has been developed based on sustainable development objectives in which economic, environmental and social objectives are considered simultaneously. A multi objective genetic algorithm (MOGA) is developed to determine the best locations of collection centres and recycling plants. In result, the decision makers can make the trade-off between environmental issues and economic and social impacts. The proposed model is examined through a real case from Iran's WEEE current situation.
Do students view environmental sustainability as important in their job search? Differences and similarities across culture
Organisations are increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability; yet, there is little international research on how ecological values influence job-seekers' attraction to organisations and intentions to pursue a job. This study examines the influence of environmental sustainability in recruiting by exploring variances in perceptions between students from the USA, India, and China. This study identifies overall differences in respondents from these countries. A distinct difference in how students view environmental values and where responsibility for the environment is placed is noted across different cultures. Despite the differences, findings support a consistent relationship among respondents from all three countries: students who perceive ecological values as being important also view organisations with environmental sustainability values as more attractive and as someplace they would be more likely to pursue employment. Therefore, organisations with environmental sustainability values may have more ability to hire individuals who will help support their organisational efforts.
Non-market strategies that affect industry conditions
This paper investigates how resources internal to the firm are used to influence the external political environment regarding the adoption of new technology. Drawing from the non-market strategies literature, this study investigates if lobbying efforts, through corporate political activities, are affective at changing legislation involving the approval of wind farms. Using the US wind industry as the context, empirical tests are performed to determine if campaign contributions lead to favourable policy changes which subsequently increase the probability of wind farm adoption. This study confirms extant research by empirically illustrating that corporate political activities do not directly lead to beneficial legislative policy creation but can hasten the innovation adoption cycle in renewable energy via other mechanisms.
The new approach to developing store brand strategy: a case from China
The significant growth of store brands in grocery retailing has encouraged extensive studies of Western grocery markets, while similar studies of emerging markets like Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe are limited. This qualitative study investigates how a store brand strategy may lead to store loyalty in Chinese grocery sector. The theoretical foundation of the study is derived from various concepts of competitive advantage, including the classic differentiation concept, Hunt's resource-advantage theory and Aaker's brand relevance model. The findings reveal that a new approach that combines brand relevance, differentiation and resource advantage can develop qualitatively differentiated Chinese store brands. The study concludes that the store brands built through such a strategic approach drastically enhance store loyalty in China's retail grocery market. This study provides guidance for Chinese and international retailers who are engaging in Chinese store brand development. The limitations of the study are also presented, together with suggestions for future research.
Co-building brand equity and customer equity through marketing capabilities: impact on competitive advantage
This research aims to analyse the potential overlap of brand and customer management decisions in terms of their outcomes. We work with a sample of 201 service companies. We combine survey and accounting data. Our research analyses empirically the relationship between brand equity and customer equity and connect them with marketing capabilities and competitive advantages under the same framework. According to our results, brand equity and customer equity are related assets that are built upon the same marketing capabilities; these assets - together with industry level factors - strongly affect competitive advantage formation. Particularly, brand equity mainly allows companies to increase their prices. In turn, customer equity leads to a higher loyalty of the customer base of firms. Our results indicate that brand equity and customer equity need to be jointly managed, in order to correctly evaluate how brand equity and customer equity contribute to profitability.
Exploring the link between brand love and engagement through a qualitative approach
Notions related to brand attachment have recently received significant attention in academic research under a variety of paradigms. This study gathers different concepts from a literature review and constructs a three-phase process that consists of likeability, love and engagement. Based on information derived from four focus groups, the results obtained from empirical analyses are contrasted with concrete concepts and linkages derived from the literature review. A pattern emerged from this discourse that differs from the results of previous research. First, consumers rarely expressed feelings of love/engagement. Second, consumers' relationships with brands were mainly utilitarian in nature; finally, expressions of deep affection typically referred to aspirational indicators of a dream lifestyle.
The moral decision-making process of unauthorised downloading
Unauthorised downloading has become an established behaviour in today's digital society, but the stages of individuals' decision-making processes guiding unauthorised downloading have been examined only fragmentarily. Comparing the different decision processes of intended downloaders and non-downloaders highlights aspects of the processes that can be modified for the benefit of digital society. The issue-contingent model of ethical decision-making in organisations (Jones, 1991) is applied to compare the decision-making process for the unauthorised downloading of digital leisure goods. Additionally, the impact of subfactors of moral intensity on the decision process is compared. Respondent groups differ in the effect of social consensus on the decision-making process. Additionally, the entire issue-contingent model is important in internet piracy research. From a practical view and based on social consensus results, it is essential for companies to establish sentiments that unauthorised downloading is an unacceptable behaviour within a specific social group that is highly relevant to downloaders.
Real-time non-intrusive monitoring and prediction of driver distraction
This paper presents a non-intrusive algorithm for monitoring and predicting driver vigilance in real time. The proposed technique is applied to a truck driving simulator by monitoring the driver response through steering wheel and accelerator pedal. The simulation results of the truck simulator are validated with a commercial TruckSim® software using identical parameters of a given tractor semitrailer during similar driving conditions. Several distraction indicators are proposed in order to predict the driver distraction, namely the jerk profile, spikiness index and the rate of change for both the steering wheel angle and the accelerator pedal position. The results of several driving experiments emphasise the effectiveness of using steering wheel rate to estimate driver distraction. Moreover, in comparison to other techniques for predicting driver vigilance, the presented work requires low computational power and has a great potential for developing a real-time simple system that can be affordable and reliable.
Design and development of a road profile generator
This work aims to develop a method of generating a random road profile in three-dimensional space based on existing road design and classification standards and parameters, such examples being the Volvo Global Transport Application (GTA) and the International Organization of Standards (ISO). This is done by combining probability models, statistical distributions and mathematical methods of defining road curves, elevation and surface roughness through the use of MATLAB code. The proposed road profile generator code creates a road in three-dimensional space independent of vehicle characteristics and behaviour. The ultimate goal of this work is to contribute to the capabilities of modern virtual vehicle simulation systems by incorporating more random environments with respect to a wide range of established national standards to better simulate real driving loads.
The dynamic rolling radius of a pneumatic tyre on hard terrains
Extensive research was done on the rolling radius of a tyre from the 1960s to the 1980s, specifically looking at the tractive performance of tractors and agricultural vehicles. The research was limited to investigating slip conditions at low vehicle speed where it was safe to assume that the rolling radius is static or quasi-static. This paper revisits some of these investigations, and looks at the validity of the static or quasi-static rolling radius assumption on hard, high friction and uneven surfaces at higher speeds. The aim is to establish whether the rolling radius defined under static conditions can be used to estimate tyre contact patch velocity, a state needed to determine longitudinal tyre slip. Longitudinal tyre slip plays a crucial role in the performance of advanced driver assist systems. It is known that these systems' performance decreases on rough roads when the static rolling radius assumption may become inaccurate.
Robustness study of a hat profile beam made of boron steel subjected to three point bending
It is essential to account for variations in the manufacturing process and in loading conditions when improving the robustness and reliability of a products design. A finite element study of the robustness of a hat profile beam made from boron steel subjected to a three point bending load is presented, and an approach to incorporate the variations investigated is demonstrated. Fracture risk factors and the maximum deflection of the beam are the measured responses. Spatial variation of the sheet thickness is considered in the forming simulations, along with other input variations. Stress-strain relations from tensile tests have been used in the robustness analyses to represent the variation in material properties. Furthermore, validations of four metamodels have been performed. Both the responses measured were found to be sensitive to input variations. Separate metamodels were created for each risk prone zone in order to improve the performance of the metamodels for risk factor responses.
Modelling and implementing modularised BDI agents with capability relationships
The BDI model is the foundation for one of the most widely used architectures to develop autonomous agents. Such model provides the concepts of beliefs, desires and intentions, which comprise the internal agent structure. Although much work has been done to support BDI agent development, there is lack of approaches that focus on modularisation of intra-agent software components. Given that agents often present a complex behaviour and, consequently, complex design and implementation, modularisation is a key to make the development of large-scale enterprise applications feasible. In this paper, we extend the concept of capability, which emerged to model BDI agent modules, by adding different types of relationships between them, namely association, composition and generalisation. Such relationships allow the development of BDI agent building blocks that can be combined so as to form agents, while hiding capability information as needed. Moreover, we present a modelling tool and implementation of the proposed relationships to not only provide the conceptual foundation of our approach but also enable its practical use. We show the effectiveness of our approach by refactoring an existing software product line implemented with BDI agents using our capability relationships.
Integrating interaction with agents, environment, and organisation in JaCaMo
Interaction is a subject widely investigated in multi-agent systems (MASs), but some issues are still open. While most of current approaches of interaction in MAS just consider the interaction among agents, some problems are better modelled when the interaction exploits the synergy with agents, environment, and organisation. In this paper, the interaction is conceived as a first-class abstraction considering the other MAS components, like the organisation and the environment. The main aim is to exploit the synergy among the interaction and the other MAS components, where a MAS developer benefits from the advantages of specifying, developing, and executing the interaction component as a first-class abstraction. The paper presents a conceptual model for the interaction component, a language to define the interaction, the integration of the interaction component into the JaCaMo platform, and an evaluation of its benefits and drawbacks.
A stepwise refinement-based development of self-organising multi-agent systems: application to the foraging ants
This paper proposes a formal modelling for self-organising multi-agent systems (SOMAS) based on stepwise refinements, with the Event-B language and the temporal logic of actions (TLA). This modelling allows to develop this kind of systems in a more structured manner. In addition, it enables to reason, in a rigorous way, about the correctness of the derived models both at the local level and the global level. Our work is illustrated by the foraging ants case study.
Process-oriented modelling, creation, and interpretation of multi-agent systems
In the past, different ways of integrating business processes and multi-agent systems have been proposed. Often, those approaches use restricted process models or target only single agents, and are thus not making full use of the expressive power of modern process modelling notations. Nevertheless, business processes have many notions in common with agents, giving them great potential for modelling complex multi-agent systems. In this article, we combine concepts from several existing approaches to a mapping from business process diagrams to readily executable agent components. That mapping has been implemented in two ways: as a transformation, producing well-structured and extensible agent code, and as an interpreter, accounting for nearly the entire expressiveness of the process modelling notation.
Design patterns for multi-agent programming
Various agent-based programming languages and frameworks have been proposed to support the development of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems. They have provided a valuable contribution to the identification and operationalisation of agent concepts and abstractions by proposing specific programming constructs. Unfortunately, these contributions have not yet been widely adopted by industry. In this paper, we follow the argument that multi-agent programming technology can find its way to industry by providing a methodology that guides the development of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems in standard programming technology. The proposed methodology explains how some characteristic concepts and abstractions related to autonomous agents and multi-agent systems can be implemented in object-oriented technology. This is done by initiating a Java library of object-oriented design patterns for some characteristic but established programming constructs that have been developed in some agent-based programming languages.
An architecture for scalable simulation of systems of cognitive agents
Using purely agent-based platforms for any kind of simulation requires to address the following challenges: 1) scalability; 2) efficient memory management; 3) modelling. While dedicated professional simulation tools usually provide rich domain libraries and advanced visualisation techniques, and support the simulation of large scenarios, they do not allow for 'agentisation' of single components. We are trying to bridge this gap by developing a distributed, scalable multi-agent simulation platform, MASeRaTi, addressing the three problems mentioned above. It allows to plug-in both dedicated simulation tools as well as the agentisation of certain components of the system. We describe the system architecture, which consists of a lightweight kernel and an agent-modelling layer, on top of which applications reside. An evaluation of the platform is provided by: 1) a proof-of-concept implementation of the well-known cow scenario used in the multi-agent programming contest; 2) experimentally investigating scalability in comparison to the Jason platform.
The perceptions of using instant interaction applications for enhancing peer discussion in a flipped classroom
This study attempted to use the application software installed on students' smartphones as an instant interactive tool in the classroom in a university course on basic computer science concepts. This study compared two different systems. One instant interaction application provided the students with multimedia feedback in time sequence, while the other showed the students' responses ranked by the number of students who 'liked' them. The students were divided into verbalisers and visualisers using a learning style questionnaire for comparison of students with different learning styles using the two systems. The results showed no significant difference between the two systems in terms of perceived usefulness, ease-of-use or enjoyment. The average frequency of the messages produced by the students using the multimedia-oriented system was higher than that for the like-ranking system on average at the beginning. However, the average frequency of messages produced by the students using the multimedia-oriented system decreased considerably week by week, and was fewer than those produced by the students using the like-ranking system in the fourth week. The results also showed that the visualisers perceived higher enjoyment than the verbalisers when using the interactive system showing responses in like-ranking sequence.
Summer training programs: a practical and collaborative approach in technical education through mobile education kit
Mobile Architecture & Programming (MAP) is one of the emerging technologies therefore it is becoming increasingly popular. Prior research reveals that learning Mobile Architecture & Programming from several perspectives like web-based portals, personalised learning environment and workshops focused on simulation-based exercises but lacked in real-world environment. In India, many colleges and universities are either at the beginning of introducing MAP as a course or they don't provide practical aspects with theory. To evaluate the need and to explore different options, a series of summer training programs (STP) has been started for six-week duration each year in June-July, since 2010 at IGDTUW, Delhi. These STPs include set of classes, practical sessions, special demos from experts, analysis sessions as well as real-time project development. This paper focuses on various training outcomes like increase in students-trainer interaction, encouraging team work, provision of H/W & S/W; following methodology etc. thereby evaluating their effects on student's learning experience. The analysis is carried out through a case study presenting six STPs in six consecutive sessions from 2010 to 2015. The findings reveal that these STPs enhance the learning experience of students and introduce various courses such as Mobile Computing, MAP and System on Chip etc.
The influence of service quality in information system success model as an antecedent of mobile learning in education organisations: case study in Jordan
Mobile learning refers to obtainment or provision of educational curriculum through personal pocket devices online. In the present study, a service quality model based on the Information System (IS) Success Model is proposed for university m-learning in Jordan, a developing country. This study was conducted through three phases; first, information concerning the students' perception of m-learning services was obtained through a questionnaire distributed to 360 students hailing from different colleges of the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). The second phase involved the measurement of Service Quality (SQ) through Interface Design, Reliability, Responsiveness, Trust and Personalisation, and the measurement of the causal relationship between the learners' perceived service quality and Learner's Satisfaction. Finally, in the third phase, the m-learning system prototype (MLSP) was developed with the help of Rapid Application Development (RAD) technique and object-oriented (OO) approach. The prototype was developed, tested and employed in JUST at Jordan.
Potential of SoundCloud for mobile learning in music education: a pilot study
This article considers a mobile application known as SoundCloud in light of its potential for use in music education contexts. In relation to four affordances of effective mobile learning tools, and situated learning theory, the benefits of making learning mobile, contextual, and visible are explored. A survey of 19 music students provides a window into their experience of mobile learning within the context of a high school music course. The purpose of this pilot study is to consider whether a specific application of mobile learning, i.e. SoundCloud, is appropriate for use in high school music education.
A proposal to develop a guided-inquiry mobile learning with a mastery learning mechanism for improving students' learning performance and attitudes in Physics
With the benefits of personalised learning environment in providing individual learning guidance and of guided-inquiry approach for driving students to inquire knowledge in procedural way, this study developed a personalised learning support system, which was based on conceptual learning problems, learning styles, and current understanding information, to provide guided-inquiry learning activities for individual students. The effects of the developed system on secondary school students Physics learning performance and learning attitudes were investigated. It was found that the students significantly outperformed on the developed system and their learning attitudes were positive. While, they showed the need of learning Physics in real context by basing on the developed system. In light of the aforesaid, this paper extends the proposed instructional strategy and addresses the application proposal by using the mobile device through authentic Physics laboratory activities.
Analysis of suppliers' preferences to a manufacturer using Kano model and performance value analysis
The approaches to achieve competitive advantages have not been actively extended along the manufacturing supply chains, as most of them are practiced in competitively putting efforts to achieve the customer satisfaction alone. Conventionally, the suppliers' outlook has been mostly ignored by the supply chains without imparting the essential emphasis what it aptly deserves. Moreover, majority of the manufacturers along the supply chains have feeble supply bases and are seriously struggling to put forth a healthy competition. This is due to negligence in accounting the extraneous influence of supplier satisfaction construct which can eventually position a manufacturer as a preferred customer. Considering the above discussed issues, there are no specific studies available in the published literature to systematically capture, plan and manage supplier's perceptions, expectations and attractions which lead to supplier satisfaction. Thus, the current study is an attempt to resolute through an approach using Kano model and performance value analysis.
Mentoring, social media, and Gen Y employees' intention to stay: towards a conceptual model
In the present competitive business environment, organisations are far more focusing on their employees. The workforce is undergoing tremendous transformation characterised by the influx of Gen Y employees, making them the significant segment of the workforce. However, they are inherently different in attitude and work ethics from their predecessors, and have a strong tendency to switch jobs frequently. Thus, it is imperative to effectively retain this generation for organisational sustainability. Therefore, this study aims to explore certain human resource interventions for the retention of Gen Y employees. Furthermore, consistent with the extant literature, this study presents a conceptual model integrating mentoring and social media to retain Gen Y employees. The conceptual model is significant for scholars as well as professionals. It provides useful insights to assist management in bolstering the retention rates among Gen Y employees. Future avenues of research are also recommended thereafter.
The importance of information technology as a strategic resource for hospital management process and the management skills required for managers
The developed research debates which is the perception of the administrators and hospital area managers about the ideal professional competency profile that the leadership occupants must have had in front of the available IT resources. The general objective, therefore, consisted in uplevel the inquired ones perception regarding the ideal professional competency to fulfill management tasks within hospital environment. The research with descriptive nature consisted of a survey that has involved 900 professionals from 36 hospital institutions both public and private from the health sector, and composed by two steps (discussion and questionnaire). The results pointed out that the professional competency profile considered ideal would have been the attributes related to the knowledge and ability to strategic and operational planning, leadership ability and ethics attitude.
Identify and prioritise the critical factors in implementing the reverse logistics practices: a case of Indian auto component manufacturer
In recent years, reverse logistics (RL) practices have been perceived a great recognition among researchers/practitioners. In this paper, we intend to identify and prioritise the critical factors (CFs) in implementing the RL practices, from the industrial viewpoint. There are 13 CFs crucial in accomplishing the RL practices were recognised on the basis of critical review of literature and experts opinion. These finalised 13 CFs were then analysed to determine their priority by means of analytical hierarchy process (AHP) technique. The AHP technique assists in determining the relative importance of the identified RL implementation critical factors. The findings of the work may help managers to address the related issues in RL implementation. Inputs needed to carry out this research work are taken from an Indian automotive components manufacturing company. The results of the study may help researchers/practitioners to prioritise their efforts to implement RL practices in effective manner. In the end, sensitivity analysis is carried out to examine the proposed RL implementation CFs stability.
Optimal selection of multi-criteria unequal area facility layout problem: an integer linear program and Borda-Kendall-based method
The paper attempts to solve multi-criteria unequal area facility layout problem. Six criteria viz. distance, adjacency, shape ratio, flexibility, accessibility and maintenance are considered here. The unequal area facility layout is solved using a software SPIRAL where the data is taken from published literature. Several alternatives are generated by varying quantitative parameters but keeping the same objective function value. The optimal decision to select the best facility layout is decided based on six qualitative criteria. Multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) techniques AHP and IRP are applied on all alternative layouts and the ranking of alternatives are obtained. In addition, weighted IRP method is also proposed to rank the available layouts. AHP-IRP and weighted IRP provide independent ranking. For optimal selection of multi-criteria unequal area facility layout, an integer linear program (ILP) and Borda-Kendall (BK) method are applied. Integer linear program and Borda-Kendall method are applied to aggregate the various rankings of facility layouts for final decision.
Integrated SA-DEA-TOPSIS-based solution approach for multi objective stochastic dynamic facility layout problem
Layout design often has a significant impact on the performance of a manufacturing industry. In the real world, a facility layout is subjected to various quantitative and qualitative conditions or criteria such as, total material handling cost, flow distance, closeness factor, maintenance etc. Researchers have devised various algorithmic and procedural methodologies for finding a layout that is applicable for practical scenarios. The paper proposes an integrated methodology of combining algorithmic (meta-heuristic) and procedural (decision-making) techniques to identify a layout that has the highest degree of satisfaction for all the criteria. A computer program was developed for simulated annealing. It was used to generate a set of layouts based on qualitative and quantitative aspect of facility layout problem for multiple time periods and uncertain product demand. DEA was applied to identify a subset of efficient layouts. TOPSIS was used to rank these layouts based on criteria and their weights as per expert's opinion.
The impact of psychological pricing strategy on consumers' buying behaviour: a qualitative study
The recognition of consumers' behaviour is crucial for effective marketing plans. Evidences explain that the psychological pricing communicates meaning to consumers. This study theoretically examines the impact of psychological pricing on consumers' buying behaviour. The study has used secondary data from research papers, monographs, theses, popular articles, and newspapers. Findings show that socio demographic factors like age, income, education, gender, lifestyle, family size, reference groups, social roles and status and the psychological patterns like representativeness, availability of products and the anchoring heuristics are key factors which influence consumers' buying behaviour. Additionally, the consumers, who are more price cognisant are more probable to select nine-ending prices. Indeed, low involved customers, those with a small hedonic and symbolic attachment profile, low educated, low income and younger customers are prone to select the nine-ending priced products and services. The findings can have implications for retailers, pricing managers, researchers, academicians, society and government.
Long tail vs. blockbusters - a data-driven approach
Business revenue generation can be typically represented as a power law distribution curve where the head of the distribution represents the 'blockbusters' (maximum revenue generation) and a 'tail' that represents products that account for a small percentage of total revenue. Traditionally, brick-and-mortar businesses have allocated their sizeable resources and attention to the blockbusters and have largely ignored the tail. In the present internet-driven era and markets, the concept of 'long tail' has emerged that, effectively demonstrates that companies can make the products, in the niche segment, profitable as well however, in practice, this concept is still limited to the digital products marketed online, and in the academic literature, this concept has received little attention. The aim of this paper is to highlight the relevance and importance of a data-driven strategy to manage both the 'blockbusters' and 'long tail', through illustrative cases drawn from the Indian SME food sector. It, then, proposes a conceptual framework that the practitioners can utilise effectively to make informed decisions, driven by data, to maintain a wide product portfolio.
Applying risk-focused e-CAM model for m-commerce: a study of Metro-India
M-commerce today is increasingly used from building better consumers association, cutting down cost, achieving new revenue stream, connecting with the new consumers sectors, and build up customer relationships to improve loyalty, and create new ways to generate lead in the process of prospecting. The present study is designed to study the changing perceptions of consumers in the electronic age. The study is quantitative as well as qualitative in nature. In this research, we attempt to identify factors that predict a consumer's online purchasing behaviour in a developing economy such as India. The results of this study suggest that perceived risk of is the most favoured factor by the consumers followed by perceived convenience. Perceived convenience is followed by perceived technology advantage and then the least preferred is perceived risk with product or services.
Scale efficiency with fuzzy data
This paper measures the scale efficiency of decision-making units (DMUs) with fuzzy input and output data using fuzzy data envelopment analysis (FDEA) model. FDEA is used to measure the relative efficiencies of a set of DMUs under fuzzy environment in which the input and output data can be represented as linguistic variable characterised by fuzzy variables. The FDEA is solved using the concept of chance-constrained programming and credibility approach. In a special case, when fuzzy inputs and fuzzy outputs are independent trapezoidal or triangular fuzzy variables, the model can be transformed into crisp linear programming. Finally, numerical illustration is presented to illustrate the FDEA model to measure the scale efficiency of DMUs with fuzzy data as well as the effectiveness of the presented method.
Enhancing the effectiveness of marketing a tourist destination using satisfaction analysis
The heart of effective marketing is consumer orientation. Tourism services are unique in that they need the consumers to come to the destination for experiencing them. The destination attributes that lure tourists are the product features which play a vital role in strategic tourism development. A tourist revisits/recommends a destination if satisfied with the earlier visit. Due to severe competition between destinations offering alike attributes, it is of utmost importance for service providers to offer services that create a delightful experience. Our study focus is identification of destination attributes that are important in choice of destination, leading to building expectations. We assessed tourist satisfaction on these important attributes post-tourist experience in the popular beach destination of India: Goa. Our findings can help to enhance the marketing effectiveness of tourism services in general and propose improvements in service features that can increase the attractiveness of Goa in particular.
A dynamic routing system for short sea shipping following ship immobilisation
There are many uncertainty factors within a decision-support system for maritime transport that dynamically affect such a system. The scope of this paper is to investigate the impact of such factors on the system operation and terms enabling alternative route scenarios to effectively treat the impact of the respective uncertainty factors. The case that we consider is that of a ship experiencing insurmountable problems (e.g., damage) during operation and being forced to stop; it cannot then serve subsequent ports on its route. We attempt to find alternatives provided by the system to support decisions by presenting an algorithm for the optimal dynamic rearrangement of schedules of other ships to meet the demand after a vessel's immobilisation.
Stock market volatility prediction using possibilistic fuzzy modelling
This paper suggests a recursive possibilistic modelling approach (rPFM) for assets return volatility forecasting with jumps. The model employs memberships and typicalities to cluster data, and affine functions in the fuzzy rule consequents. The possibilistic idea provides model robustness to noisy and outlier data, essential for financial markets volatility modelling, which is affected by news, expectations and investors psychology. Computational experiments include actual intraday data from the main equity market indexes in global markets, namely, S&P 500 and Nasdaq (USA), FTSE (UK), DAX (Germany), IBEX (Spain) and Ibovespa (Brazil). Performance of rPFM is compared with well established recursive fuzzy and neural fuzzy modelling. The results show that rPFM produces parsimonious models with better accuracy than the alternative approaches.
Evolutionary computation methods for the schedule optimisation of pipeline networks
Two evolutionary computation methods are presented in this paper, both variants of the differential evolution (DE) algorithm. Their main difference is the encoding process (binary and continuous) and both methods were successfully applied to the pipeline network schedule problem. A binary mathematical model is proposed to represent the flow of oil products in a 48 hours horizon period. This paper introduces new benchmarks of the pipeline scheduling problem for testing the proposed evolutionary algorithms on a specific network topology, but with different products and demands. Although computationally expensive, a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) approach is used to obtain optimal solutions so as to compare results with the evolutionary methods. MILP results achieved optimal solutions for nine out of the 15 benchmarks proposed, but it requires far more computational effort than the DE-variants. Even though it is a real-parameter algorithm, the DE can be considered as a good heuristic, which is an alternative for the discrete problem studied. The overall comparison of results between the proposed DE-variants and MILP supports the efficiency, robustness and convergence speed of DE algorithm suggesting its usefulness to real-world problems of limited complexity.
Modified firefly algorithm applied to image vector quantisation codebook design
Vector quantisation (VQ) has been used in signal processing applications, such as steganography, watermarking and signal compression. The performance of signal processing systems based on VQ depends on the designed codebooks. In the present work, modifications are introduced in the firefly algorithm - Linde-Buzo-Gray (FA-LBG) for the purpose of VQ codebook design. The modified version differs from the original one mainly for attempting to assure a stronger influence of the training set in codebook design. In the scenario of image vector quantisation, simulation results show that the modified algorithm outperforms both the original one as well as the traditional LBG algorithm in terms of codebook quality, assessed by the peak signal to noise ratio of the reconstructed images. Additionally, alternatives are presented to accelerate the proposed algorithm, which lead to execution time savings up to 90%.