This New Articles Channel contents the latest articles published in Inderscience's distinguished academic, scientific and professional journals.
How to improve the regulatory performance of the provincial administrations of coal mine safety in China: a grey clustering assessment based on centre-point mixed triangular whitenisation weight function
The vertical-management system of coal mine safety regulation in China has played an important role in improving coal mine safety. In this study, the performances of coal mine safety regulation in the provincial Administrations of Coal Mine Safety (ACMS) are evaluated and analysed by a grey clustering method using centre-point mixed triangular whitenisation weight function. The results show that the provincial ACMS could be divided into four categories, and the clustering results are highly consistent with the actual situation. Overall, regulatory performance of provincial ACMS is on the low side since 21 provincial ACMS belong to the lowest and lower grey performance classes. Causes of diversified performances could be attributed to the number of per capita regulatory times, rather than per capita working days. From a policy perspective, it is essential for the State ACMS to strengthen regulation and management.
The impact of expectations of returns and investment time scales on carbon price: findings from EU ETS
Carbon price fluctuations affect the carbon market's efficiency and CO2 emission reductions. In this paper, Zipf analysis technology is used to analyse the impact of expectations of returns and time scales on carbon price in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Results show the probability of prices declining becomes greater than the probability of prices increasing at longer time scales. Traders with different expectations of returns have different price perceptions. For traders with low expectations of returns, carbon prices are affected by market mechanisms, seasonal weather variations and other heterogeneous events, and carbon price fluctuations are relatively well perceived. Carbon prices are more volatile and higher risks and uncertainties are more characteristic for high expectations of returns.
Nuclear power: irreplaceable before and after Fukushima
This paper analyses nuclear safety, monetary and energy economics of the nuclear power industry. We review and analyse economic, scientific, political, and regulatory environments in the broader energy sector. Competing economic and environmental interests are found as the world tries to deal with climate change and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. From cradle to grave, nuclear power is found to be safer and less carbon intensive than coal and gas. The longest-term outlook is still uncertain, but nuclear power is found to be more sustainable than fossil fuel energy. Increased technological R&D spending, government subsidies, and international cooperation to on safety compliance are suggested to spur growth in nuclear power as a replacement for coal.
India revamps green energy sector: what lies for domestic biogas technology?
Present study, in the wake of India revamping its green energy sector, revisits long established rural-based energy technology domestic biogas plants (DBPs). To this end, we present its status-policy design, nature of diffusion and factors that determine their adoption. While more than 60% of the biogas plant potential are still left untapped, their installation declined steadily across all the states in the last decade. While only three of 1000 rural households use DBPs, half of them find it inadequate. Increment in the financial assistance to the state, presence of educated woman in the household, and ideal physical conditions enhance the households' chances to adopt DBP. On the contrary, improvement in the status of alternative energy sources (firewood), belonging to backward social community and being a poor household reduces the odds to adopt biogas plants. Characterised by fractured support system, biogas plants still has long way to go before emerging as reliable and sustainable source of energy in rural India.
Decomposition of carbon dioxide emission from highway transportation in Tunisia
We have adopted the Divisia index approach to study the effects of five factors on the total emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) arising from highway vehicles in Tunisia during the period ranging from 1980 to 2011. CO2 emissions have been decomposed into five factors, namely emission coefficient, vehicle fuel intensity, vehicle ownership, population intensity and economic growth. We show that fast-paced economic growth and vehicle ownership have been the most important factors which have participated in the augmentation of CO2 emissions, while population intensity has contributed significantly to the decrease of emissions.
A modelling framework for the forecasting of energy consumption and CO2 emissions at local/regional level
Building appropriate scenarios for the elaboration of Sustainable Energy Action Plans, within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, is a complex task. One major question to be addressed is whether the selected combination of examined measures and actions is considered enough for the local authorities to achieve their long-term target of CO2 emissions reduction. The proposed decision support model aims to address this issue, by enabling the elaboration of long-term scenarios of energy consumption and CO2 emissions at local/regional level. The Delphi method is appropriately applied for embracing experts' judgements. Moreover, an overall algorithm for the future scenarios ('BAU Scenario', 'Economic Prosperity Scenario' and 'Economic Recession Scenario') is introduced, along with a corresponding computerised software. The system's pilot application to a Greek community is presented and discussed. The proposed approach could support the decision-making process for the elaboration of Sustainable Energy Action Plan within the Covenant of Mayors.
Voluntary CSR disclosure on company's website: an empirical evidence from Pakistan
Corporate social responsibility (CSD) disclosure is an emerging trend among businesses. Companies pursue CSR practices and disclose them to stakeholders to gain competitive edge in marketplace along with various other benefits. The present study examines the CSD practices of Pakistani companies which were awarded by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) in 2012 for their best corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. This research intended to find whether these companies disclose their CSR data on their websites? Furthermore, what is the extent and quality of this data? Analysis revealed that 24 companies disclosed CSR data by focusing three main dimensions: environment, social and economic. Eight out of twenty four companies issued standalone CSR reports. However, 12 companies do not have CSR data and even national websites. It was also witnessed that the websites were seriously lacking the level of interactivity in terms of CSR-related contact person's name, contact numbers and addresses. This is a highlighter study inviting the attention of scholars to investigate their country's perspective through detailed exploratory tools.
The relationship between intellectual capital and earnings quality: evidence from listed firms in Bahrain Bourse
This paper examines the relationship between the intellectual capital and earnings quality for the listed firms in Bahrain Bourse. This paper is applying the modified Jones model (Jones, 1991) in order to examine the relationship between the intellectual capital and earnings quality. The outcomes of this paper conclude to have high level of intellectual capital and earnings quality as well as a positive relationship between them in all listed firms at Bahrain Bourse. The findings show significant support for the current debate regarding the relationship between the intellectual capital and earnings quality in the Bahraini market. This research is expected to serve as a guide for the regulatory bodies such as Bahrain Bourse, financial institutions management as well as academic researchers in Bahrain.
Intellectual capital and earnings quality: a comprehensive investigation
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship among intellectual capital (IC) and its components and earnings quality for non-financial companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE). Moreover, we examined the role of financial performance as a mediator effect on the impact of IC and its components on earnings quality. Our findings show that IC and its components have significant impact on earnings quality. Also, financial performance mediates the effect of IC and its components on earnings quality. Therefore, it is concluded that IC and its components affect earnings quality through improving financial performance. As the existing studies on the relationship between IC and earnings quality have not used comprehensive measure of earnings quality, and they did not consider the financial performance as a mediator factor, this study contributes to the literature by filling these gaps in the literature.
Intellectual capital components in Indian microfinance sector: scale development and an empirical study
The purpose of this paper is to develop a scale to analyse different components and sub-components of intellectual capital (IC) with special reference to microfinance sector. The data has taken from 252 microfinance institutions (MFIs) providing microfinance service irrespective of their legal status. Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory analysis used to develop the scale. This supports the classification given by many researchers and confirms the three dimensions of IC are human capital, structural capital and relational capital. But the sub-dimensions seems to be are industry specific with 36 items with nine factors being extracted. The nine sub-dimensions or factors includes client related competencies, decision-making competencies, value driven competencies, processual competencies, infrastructural competencies, MFI-client relationship, MFI-stakeholder relationship, client feedback, and stakeholder dignity. The proposed metrics are a useful benchmarking tool for microfinance practitioners, managers to use to monitor and improve their organisational intellectual capital.
An appraisal of the impact of organisational career management practices across generations from a Malaysian oil and gas industry perspective
Managing a multigenerational workforce requires just as much science as there is to art. Generations are moulded by a set of experiences that are unique to each, thereby the differences in preferences and expectations. Consequently, each generation presents different strategic impacts to the organisation. Organisational career management has long been recognised as an important and prominent component of strategic human resource management. This study therefore seeks to assess the present state of organisational career management practices (CMP) within the oil and gas industry in Malaysia to identify patterns that may exist across generations and determine the influence of CMP on behavioural outcomes such as organisational commitment. It looks into two hypothesis; the first proposing that a distinct trend is present across the three generations' perceptions of CMP where Baby Boomers and Gen Y will be at opposite ends of agreement and Gen X in between, signifying the effect of the generational gap; and the second proposing a correlation between career management and organisational commitment. An online survey was conducted involving 37 respondents to gather data to test out the two hypotheses.
Relationship between intellectual capital and corporate performance of top Pakistani companies: an empirical evidence
The aim of this study is to empirically ascertain the intellectual capital (IC) performance of top 100 companies on the Karachi stock exchange of Pakistan and to examine the effect of different IC elements on corporate performance. This study uses PLS-SEM to develop a path model between IC and corporate performance. The results of this study conclude that the human capital efficiency plays an important role in forming IC in relationship with corporate performance. Structural capital efficiency is a very poor contributor in making IC as its impact is non-significant. However, the capital employed efficiency is contributing significantly towards IC. The relationship between IC and corporate performance is significantly positive which shows that IC performance in top companies of Pakistan is promisingly contributing towards corporate performance. The study offers empirical evidence that a company with better IC resources produces more return on investment, return on equity and productivity.
The challenge of globalisation: a world-wide investigation of public attitudes on individual vs. government responsibility
In this article we explore the link between economic globalisation and individual attitudes toward government responsibility for provision of its citizens. Two opposing views on the effect of globalisation is presented, along with a third where the argument is that the direction is different for developed and developing countries. The hypotheses are tested using individual-level data from the World Values Survey, together with a measure of economic globalisation taken from the KOF Index. Our sample is drawn from 79 countries from all continents. The results show that there is a general rightist effect of globalisation on individual vs. government responsibility. However, the findings also revealed a curvilinear effect: the slope changes from leftist to rightist after a certain turning point has been reached. The evidence indicates that economic globalisation has an effect on public attitudes on economic questions. When people realise their country is competitive in the global market, they shift their attitudes to the right.
Travel agency referral and retailer competition
Tourists are one of the main market segments for service providers such as parks, museums, restaurants, and retailers. Travel agencies expose tourists in their package tours to service providers for a referral fee. This paper studies the competitive effects of travel agency referral in a setting where differentiated products are sold by two competing service providers. Using a simple spatial competition model, a non-cooperative game is analysed with informed tourists where duopolistic service providers compete on price, focusing on equilibrium prices and the profit of each service provider. This paper shows that referral is beneficial except where the cost of referral is too high. Service providers employ travel agency referral in order to mitigate the intensity of price competition by committing to higher prices.
Privatisation, stakeholder power, and weak institutions: the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Privatisation is often suggested as means to improve efficiency of state-owned companies and to increase involvement of developing countries in globalisation. This paper examines the economic and social impact of the privatisation of large resource companies in the context of weak institutional environments. The key stakeholders involved in the process of privatisation are identified: national and international governments; private corporations; civil society; and local communities. The complexities of interplay and power relationships among them are described. The main outcome is improved production and increased government revenues. But the marginalisation of the local community during the process and the negative impact on the well-being of its members calls for changes in the process. Privatisation in response to globalisation did not improve stakeholder circumstances. Overall, this development model does not seem sustainable. Suggestions are made for its improvement for a long-term and shared prosperity.
Authentic transformational leadership and its role in driving strategic corporate social responsibility: a contextual framework
This paper addresses the role transformational leadership can play in effectively driving corporate social responsibility activities of an organisation. The paper starts with an overview of the evolution of the definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR), advocating for a definition that links firm profit directly with a stakeholder view of CSR. A contextual framework is presented that seeks to provide a practical link between firm strategic CSR practices and leadership style. The paper argues that authentic transformational leadership is the best mechanism to drive strategic CSR activities within the firm. An in depth analysis of the components of transformational leadership is undertaken, with a view towards how those components assist in driving strategic CSR.
Market orientation in a non-profit organisation
This paper investigates how a non-profit, interest-free bank applies market orientation to provide superior value to customers. A theoretical framework integrating market orientation, trust, organisational networking and superior customer value has been developed. A qualitative method was used for data collection and analysis. E-mails, printed booklets, bank newsletters, member surveys and other studies on the bank provided additional information. This research offers an understanding of how networking and trust are developed to ensure effective market orientation for value creation. As a theoretical contribution, three value categories, i.e. product-led, customer-led and market-led, were identified in the non-profit organisational context.
A study on financial inclusion: excluded segments of Dhaka city experience
The financial inclusion (FI) is a very concerned issue all over the world where Bangladesh is also trying to include people under the financial services. The paper has highlighted the current status of FI and also identifies the barriers faced by the unprivileged segments to be included in the formal financial services with special reference to the Dhaka city. Research methodology is exploratory by nature. A field survey through a structured and extended open ended questionnaire (mixed questionnaire) has been conducted conveniently over 220 respondents from the financially excluded populations under the Dhaka metropolitan area to collect relevant data. The findings of the study reveal that the progress of FI is in infancy stage and it can be even better by paying more hid to four levels of barriers namely: social, personal, economic and market-based/systemic faced by the unprivileged segments of the society. Besides the existing business models and financial products/services, it is the right time to introduce innovative channel of distribution of financial product/services, those are best served the demand of the different segments of urban underserved population. The outcomes are expected to guide regulators, when formulate financial products/services to include more people in the endeavor of economic development.
Social self-defence: where grievances, opportunities and protests collide
Twenty-one years into democracy has transformed South Africa into a protest nation, mirroring the social self's aspirations for development and equality. The voice of the poor remains marginalised, resulting in weakened democratic institutions that threaten grassroots' quality of life. As a newly created concept, social self-defence materialises when a significant part of a desperate community takes counter measures to secure their socio-economic well-being. Theoretically, this article connects social self-defence with the individual-institutional basis of grassroots' protests, as underpinned by the theories of grievance and political opportunity structure. A qualitative survey investigated the reasoning behind political protests within two diverse South African communities affected by unequal economic growth and violent protests. From the findings, the article concludes that relative deprivation and ineffective participatory democracy re-ignite the social self. By not strengthening democratic mechanisms, social self-defence will continue to challenge ineffective local governments, demanding improved opportunities.
A bi-objective model for wireless sensor deployment considering coverage and tracking applications
In recent years, wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have become very attractive for surveillance applications and particularly for target tracking. When a target has to be located by a WSN, accuracy is an important constraint. Most of the studies made in the WSNs problems deal with either coverage or tracking focus objectives. In this paper, we study a bi-objective sensor placement problem taking into account both coverage and accuracy. The objectives are the minimisation of the number of deployed sensors and the minimisation of the imprecision, under the coverage constraints. The non sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) and multi objective evolutionary algorithm based on decomposition (MOEA/D) have been implemented to solve the problem. The performances of these algorithms are checked with integer programming results for small size instances, and they are compared on large size instances by multi-objective metrics. Results have shown that both implemented algorithms provide optimal solutions for almost small size instances. NSGA-II results are better than MOEA/D on the small size instance set, while MOEA/D outperforms NSGA-II on the large size instance set.
What does quality-aware data collection really achieve in energy harvesting wireless sensor networks?
Energy is the major bottleneck for wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Although energy harvesting sensor nodes have emerged as a solution, new challenges in energy management arise due to the intermittently available energy. We also observe that many applications can tolerate certain levels of data inaccuracies. Here, we exploit the application's tolerance for data inaccuracy to achieve an equilibrium between energy consumption and availability while satisfying application's accuracy needs, thereby improving network lifetime. Performance studies indicate that our method outperforms other data collection methods. Moreover, our comprehensive energy consumption analysis of quality-aware data collection on different sensor node arrangements reveals the limitations on energy savings when quality-aware data collection is used. We show that a tighter cooperation between MAC layer and Application layer, that is achieved through an Application-driven control mechanism can unlock the full potential of quality-aware data collection.
A joint data transmission and queue management for emergency application in delay-tolerant mobile sensor networks
A joint data transmission and queue management is proposed for emergency application in delay-tolerant mobile sensor networks (DT-MSNs). Based on AHP method, data queue can be prioritised in an organised way via structuring hierarchy, comparing weight metrics and then making decision. With the joint transfers of control and initiate data it can achieve fast response to emergency and deal with the urgent case timely. Evaluation results show that the proposal outperforms the conventional schemes with more effective data management and lower transmission delay for urgent data.
Performance evaluation of applied Alamouti scheme on IEEE 802.15.4 network
This study evaluated the performance of IEEE 802.15.4 network in the case of applying Alamouti scheme using both 2 × 1 multiple-input single-output (MISO) and 2 × 2 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna configurations. The modulation curves, i.e., bit error rate (BER) vs. signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the conventional IEEE 802.15.4, switching diversity, Alamouti scheme are obtained first. Using the modulation curves, performance of IEEE 802.15.4 network is investigated. Throughput, probability of successful transmission and energy efficiency are used as measures of performance. Simulations are performed to prove the effectiveness of applied Alamouti scheme in the viewpoint of IEEE 802.15.4 network.
Energy efficient aggregate monitoring for sensor fields with time-varying statistics
Monitoring in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) has been considered an issue of important value in research community. Reactive monitoring mechanisms are important in WSNs because of their low energy consumption. The energy efficiency of such mechanisms is relying on setting proper thresholds that act as the parameters of distributed local filters. In this paper, we address how to appropriately design local filters for reactive aggregate monitoring scenarios in random sensor fields with dynamic statistics. Since previous optimal local filter designs are proposed for stationary fields, they cannot work efficiently in the presence of statistical variations in the sensor field. We propose dynamic sigmoid approximated threshold assignment (D-SATA) algorithm, which is a distributed algorithm that adapts the optimal local filter design to the variation of statistics of sensor field. Simulation experiments confirm that the offered monitoring mechanism of D-SATA is efficient in terms of overhead burden to the network.
Efficient RSS-based collaborative localisation in wireless sensor networks
This paper presents a new collaborative location estimation method for wireless sensor networks (WSN), referred to as an iterative tree search algorithm (I-TSA). The proposed method is based on the grid search least square estimator (LSE), which provides efficient estimation in the presence of noisy received signal strength (RSS) range measurements. The complexity analysis of the I-TSA algorithm showed that the computational requirement by each unknown-location sensor node scales linearly with the number of its neighbouring nodes, and that only a small communication overhead is required until its location estimate converges. This, in contrast to centralised methods, such as maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) and multidimensional scaling (MDS), provides a feasible solution for distributed computation in large scale WSN. Furthermore, the performance of I-TSA, is evaluated with reference to the Cramér-Rao bound (CRB) and compared with MLE, MDS and MDS-MLE methods. The results showed that I-TSA achieves lower standard deviations and biases for various simulation scenarios.
Energy-efficient sensor selection strategies based on sensing model clustering
It can effectively save and balance energy consumption by sensor selection technology. This paper had studied the relationship between the similarity of sensing model and the system state evaluation, and proposed a sensor selection strategy based on sensing model clustering. This strategy has taken full account of the sensing model sensitivity and the residual energy of sensor, so it can quickly solve the energy-efficient sensor selection problem. The sensor selection objective function has been established by using the Fisher information matrix (FIM), and it is proved that the covariance of error would be smaller when the similarity between any two sensors' sensing model in the selection subset was larger. Finally, by taking the target tracking as the simulation scenarios, the experimental results show that the proposed strategy can maintain high efficiency under the premise of providing a more accurate system state estimation.
Viral marketing analysis and evaluation: the case of the Greek consumer market
The aim of the present study is to focus on the evaluation of viral marketing as a means of promoting goods and services within the Greek consumer market. The study focuses on consumer attitudes and reactions towards viral marketing practices in order to contribute to a better understanding of consumers' behaviour. The major findings indicate that viral marketing is on the rise among Greek companies due to technology development, low cost and its immediacy in transmitting the message. All three explored media of viral marketing, i.e., email, social media and audio-visual means, are of equal importance and equal use among viral marketers and users.
Green marketing as a strategic tool for the sustainable development of less favoured areas of Greece: women's agro-tourism cooperatives
Sustainable development and green marketing are two terms that dominate in the modern era. The aim of this paper is to examine how green marketing can contribute as a strategic tool to the sustainable development of less favoured areas, focusing on women's agro-tourism cooperatives and their impact on local and national level. Women's agro-tourism cooperatives, whose number has considerably increased in Greece in the past 20 years, are a perfect example for the application of green economy. Despite certain obstacles, they fulfil the principles of sustainable development, taking under consideration the three pillars of sustainability: economic growth, environmental protection and social equity. The future of women's cooperatives in Greece is very promising; the vast majority has already survived the economic crisis and there is room for further improvement regarding product, price, place and promotion.
Determinants of consumers' behaviour toward alcohol drinks: the case of Greek millennials
An issue that often engages researchers in recent years is the study of consumer behaviour. Due to the economic crisis in Greece, consumers' preferences and habits are constantly changing. More specifically, with regard to alcohol drinks, consumers tend to decrease alcohol drinks consumption. The alcohol drinks is a highly growing sector of the Greek economy, as there are too many firms operating in the field of imported and domestic products. As time goes by, competition intensifies more and more due to the entry of new brands in the market. There is a wide variety of products, so that even the most 'demanding' consumers can satisfy their preferences. The purpose of this paper is to analyse Greek millennials behaviour towards alcohol drinks. The research tool is a questionnaire distributed to Greek millennial consumers in the area of Athens. The main conclusions drawn from the survey is that Greek millennials despite the economic crisis which has led to a decrease in purchases, they tend to consume alcohol drinks about 1-2 times a week. Therefore, this tendency shows that the evolution of the alcohol drinks industry is possible.
The relationships among information systems, knowledge sharing, and customer relationship management in banking industry
Knowledge sharing continues to be an important research topic because it is a prerequisite to good customer relationship management (CRM). Knowledge sharing will lead to higher profitability through increasing CRM capability. This idea seems to have been ignored by other researchers. Previous research has focused on individuals' belief, attitudes, and behaviours that affect knowledge sharing and CRM but had paid little attention to the fact that technology is a mechanism that fosters knowledge sharing and hence increases CRM profitability. Applying the technology acceptance model (TAM) and Delone and McLean (D&M), the article presents a synthesis framework linking technology characteristics, beliefs of users, knowledge sharing, CRM capabilities, and profitability. We test the framework thorough the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach. The data consist of 325 questionnaires for the banking industry in Vietnam. The study reveals that technology characteristics have a significant impact on knowledge sharing but not on CRM. Moreover, the research found that knowledge sharing contributes to improving CRM capability and profitability.
The impact of leadership type, employee motivation and job satisfaction on the performance of Greek Lifelong Learning Training
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the impact of job satisfaction, motivation and leadership type on the performance of Greek Lifelong Learning Trainers and particularly the relationship between motivation and job satisfaction; the relationship between motivation, job satisfaction, leadership and performance; and the relationship between motivation and job satisfaction and performance and the demographic characteristics of the trainers. The research sample consisted of 112 Lifelong Learning Trainers. The research results among others indicate that the higher the motivation the higher the job satisfaction of Lifelong Learning Trainers. Moreover, regarding the existence of a relationship between job satisfaction, motivation, leadership and performance, it was found that there are positive relationships among the three factors and the performance of the trainer. Specifically, the higher the levels of job satisfaction, motivation and leadership, the higher the performance of the trainers.
Business process automation in Greek telecommunications companies and marketing strategies
The multiple strategic options and their evaluation are part of the management process of a telecommunication company, which aims to maximise the effectiveness of the organisation. Additional resources can be the outcome of this process, while the automation of the activities can also enhance the overall effectiveness of the organisational strategy. Furthermore, marketing operations are also important for the successful presence of an organisation in the market place and their development and automation can lead to multiple benefits and higher profitability. The different perspectives of higher and middle management employees regarding the use and the usefulness of such strategies have to be taken into account and an extra effort should be made to align those perspectives and increase the consistency of the organisational practices. This study, which is part of a larger research, aims to detect any possible gaps and issues on the perceptions of higher and middle management employees and suggest possible and necessary actions that can ensure the effectiveness of the application of management strategies and their effect on marketing operations.
Using the industry as a model for better learning experience in higher education
The aim of this study is to evaluate how industrial approaches to learning can be introduced into logistics/supply chain management (SCM) education programs in a university setting. This issue has been examined through two case studies. The first case study outlines the current state of a bachelor education program in logistics/SCM at the University of Borås in Sweden. The second case study illustrates two education programs for practitioners in an international electronics company from Sweden. The investigated university education program has several practical goals, but few practical learning situations. The industrial case study illustrates how practical learning situations can be incorporated into the education program and this may help to improve skills and confidence of the students. Practical learning situations seem positive, but need consideration to when they are to be included in the education program.
Empirical illustrations of undergraduate students' goal pursuit dynamics
A body of extensive literature has compellingly emphasised that goals play an important role in influencing and directing consumer behaviour. However, Baumgartner and Pieters in 2008 posit that systematic research on goal directed behaviour is still lacking. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to expand on previous studies and take the discussion a step further by providing empirical evidence that (a) illustrate how goals at different levels impact on each other as students' progress through the various stages of consumption; and (b) examines the interaction and integration of resources in goal formation. A quasi-longitudinal qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews was employed in this study. The results suggest a shifting pattern in the goals as students' progress in their undergraduate degree. The implications of these results for theory, practice and future research are discussed.
Evidences of service quality from an emerging educational hub, Qatar
This study examined service quality at a university in a unique context, Qatar, utilising the SERVQUAL model. The universities in the Middle-East region are staffed by expatriates from all over the world on contractual terms. There is no tenure system, which can have possible impact on job commitment and job satisfaction of these expatriates. As such, service quality at universities as perceived by students and the consequent student satisfaction with university services can be affected. A sample of over 200 students assessed service quality along the dimensions of tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. Results indicated students' perceptions of all the five dimensions of service quality were lower than their expectations. The biggest discrepancy was observed in the dimension of reliability followed by responsiveness and the lowest was found in tangibility. Implications are discussed.
The value of theorising
from a student-stakeholder perspective
We apply data from two related surveys to an exploratory study centred on 'what is the value' that academic theory creates for its main stakeholders. We begin to address questions of whether and how and to whom we, as strategy researchers, add new value through our published theoretical propositions. Our preliminary results reveal that the majority of our top-tier theoretical published causal relationships are obvious to business school students. That said, we provide several paths for increasing our added and appropriable value, including an identification of the audiences that need it most.
Effective factors for recruitment and retention in Malaysian private universities
The number of private universities has grown rapidly and is considered to be a key component of the Malaysian Higher Educational System, and, accordingly, the recruitment and retention of academic staff has taken on unprecedented importance. This study was designed to examine the recruitment and retention of academic staff at six private universities. The total number of academic staff in the selected universities was found to be 1986 of which 455 participated in this study for the purpose of data analysis. The statistical results suggest there should be a greater focus on the strategies and policies of recruitment and retention of academic staff to overcome the challenges these institutions are facing. This study contributes to the related literature, makes a practical contribution to private universities' leadership strategies and informs and comments on policies which will enable academic talent to succeed.
Performance evaluation of education system with human capital approach by data envelopment analysis and TOPSIS - with a case study
In recent years, the economic crisis has increased competition among organisations. For this reason, organisations seek to achieve competitive advantage for themselves in this condition. In each organisation, the intangible asset is an important factor that organisations try to increment it and lead toward others through it. Increasing the level of human capital and managing it correctly will enhance personnel's organisational commitment and lead organisation to obtain their goals easily. Due to significance of human capital management, in this study, departments of Malek-Ashtar University of Technology are evaluated using data envelopment analysis (DEA). For this purpose, the drivers of human capital management and the organisational commitment are considered as input and output respectively, and the departments are evaluated via BCC input-oriented model. Then, they are evaluated considering each driver of human capital and its' enforcement actions; results are analysed via statistical analysis. Eventually, the departments are ranked by TOPSIS. The results indicate that the Department of Electrical Engineering, Material Engineering and Sciences are efficient and the Department of Sciences is the best department based on TOPSIS results. In addition, correlation analysis shows the direct correlation between the results of performance evaluation and each human capital management approach.
Customer orientation: a social rich multifaceted complex phenomenon
The whole body of literature linking employee customer oriented attitudes with desirable customer outcomes can be seen as lending support to the argument that customer orientation matters to organisations (Liao and Subramony, 2008). But as well as from literature as from my own experiences, it becomes clear that it is difficult to develop customer oriented thinking. My argument is that there are other ways of understanding what is needed to consider the customer more important in the work we do. This paper presents a sense making exploration of prerequisites and obstacles for a customer oriented practice, where a perspective is used that acknowledges customer orientation as a social, rich, multifaceted complex phenomenon. The attention is focused towards an understanding in action, which is quite distinct from the kind of cognitive and intellectual understanding that has dominated modern organisational thought.
Our Kafkaesque world
Kafka's book The Castle remains a brilliant and chilling allegory of the modern bureaucratic world. That world is generally associated with rules, hierarchy and rational organisation, but another typical feature of bureaucracy is copious documentation. A close reading of The Castle reveals numerous instances of the written word being used to block genuine communication, and Kafka's story evokes the situation of many organisations today, especially in the public sector. My aim, drawing on complexity thinking, is to show how bureaucratic cultures are perpetuated in specific interactions between people. I reflect on how the written word is used in organisational life, arguing that we need to start thinking of writing as process rather than just creation of written products. Finally, I suggest that an understanding of complexity and emergence can open a small door into how we can each contribute to resisting bureaucratic domination. This is important because bureaucracy, although useful in many respects, can also be time-wasting, demoralising and even dehumanising.
Routine innovation: complex processes from policy development to implementation
Routines of working relationships inhibit the noticing of group norms, behaviours and assumptions (Alvesson and Spicer, 2012). Changing those routines, with the formation of temporary organisational relationships such as a policy group, creates a social noticing whereby propositional themes are interpreted and new ways of working can be imagined. The paradox of stability/instability of such groupings enables an innovating process to develop leading to new routines and power relations. Complex responsive processes of relating (Stacey et al., 2000) draws attention to these processes in ways that are helpful for the policymaker. For example, in addition to the policymaker's work in drafting policy, it encourages attention to be paid to the ongoing social interactions as policy is made and interpreted in different groups and in different contexts. Heightened awareness enables greater individual and social reflexivity and increases the potential for successful innovation.
Powerful individuals and their dominant role in organisations: time for reflexivity
When we look how managers discuss strategy, we discover that they are interested in making better choices on future strategic issues than before. Most theories focus on decisions about the content of strategy or describe the social processes involved in making decisions in daily practice. What is often not talked about regarding the outcome of these processes is the dominant role of the powerful individual. The outcome pursued by the powerful individual can lead to great success, but also to undeniable disaster. If the strategy is successful, there is appraisal. If the strategy fails, then who is to blame? In this paper, the author proposes that the powerful individual should develop a better reflexive understanding how to deal with own strategic mishaps, using a reflective narrative approach. Talking about these reflective experiences with others can be helpful to better understand the (repetitive) consequences of one's own strategic choices and social interdependencies.
Reflexions on an improved method of gaining scientific insights - why we should take uncertainties seriously
With the help of Boulding (1956) and Taleb (2007, 2012) the inadequacy of cybernetic reduction, on which many managers' and directors' ideas and actions are based, is demonstrated. A more-encompassing reduction of synergetics and theoretical genetics is introduced and illustrated with a description of the complex adaptive system (CAS): a reduction that offers a new insight into the creation of order by means of released synergy, as well as new insights into the evolution of life, in particular the nervous system, and the way in which this evolution leads to organisations of animals and human beings. This is followed by some critical observations about the way Ralph Stacey et al. have developed such a novel approach to human and organisational behaviour from the point of view of complex dynamics. My intention is to widen their approach and to try and connect it to other, more traditional approaches, thus offering anyone who feels actively involved in the survival of people, organisations and society a considerable expansion of scientific insight into organisational processes.
Phronetic judgement, an essential competence for a project manager in a complex project environment!
In this paper, we invite the reader to rethink project management from the perspective of phrónêsis, or practical wisdom, a central notion in Aristotle's philosophy. The turn to Aristotle has been in vogue ever since Martin Heidegger (2009) pointed out the importance of phrónêsis for the humanities and philosophy. Contemporary critical project management literature argues for a rich set of reflections, ones that phrónêsis could provide. This paper is one of the first to illustrate how a reflection based on phrónêsis could inform project management practices. The illustration comes from an inquiry into the practice of the first author in his role as a senior project manager for a large infrastructural project.
The ritualisation of change in the public sector: a discourse - complexity approach
From a 'complex-processes perspective', organisations are not seen as systems but as ongoing local interactions between people, leading to global patterns without any plan or blueprint. The main question for managers becomes then not 'What can I do to make the organisation become what I want it to become?' but 'What am I doing and experiencing while this organisation is becoming what it becomes?' In this paper, we argue that where the management of an organisation is stuck in a discourse that reflects goal rationality, they are unable to let go of the idea that they shape the organisation according to their ideas. And we can see how this leads to an inability to solve wicked problems, with their innate complexity, resulting in a ritualisation of change, where there is no real change but a semblance of change.
Locating complex responsive process research in the approaches of theorising about organisations
Both in the UK (University of Hertfordshire) and the Netherlands (Open University) research is undertaken based on the complex responsive process perspective. In this perspective organisations are understood as population-wide patterns that emerge in daily interaction between people. This way of understanding life and work in organisations has clear implications for the way research in organisations is carried out. The kind of research which is implied by the complex responsive process perspective is focused on experiences in daily practice, which are represented in reflective narratives and reflected upon in so called learning sets. In this paper this research approach is discussed and related to existing approaches of theorising about organisations. What are the basic elements of the research which the complex responsive process perspective implies? And how can this research approach be related to broader traditions of theorising about organisations?
Comparison of muscle activation patterns among healthy males and females during different lower limb movements
Motion abilities and lifestyle of an individual is highly affected by neuromuscular, musculoskeletal disorders and injuries to the lower limbs. Gender differences in kinematics during running have been speculated to be a contributing factor to the lower extremity injury rate showing disparity between men and women (Farahani and Gunjan, 2015; Chumanov et al., 2008). The purpose of this study was to examine the difference in non-sagittal motion of males and females in four prominent lower limb muscles namely, tibialis anterior (TA), soleus (SOL), hamstrings (biceps femoris) (HM) and quadriceps (rectus femoris) (QUAD) during different locomotion tasks involving knee flexion and extension, ankle plantar flexion and dorsiflexion. Time domain parameters of EMG were used for the quantification of EMG activity of muscles due to its implementation and computation simplicity. Statistical analysis of results demonstrated greater TA, SOL and HM activity in males but greater QUAD activity in females than males.
Wavelet analysis-based evaluation of electromyogram signal using human machine cooperation
The human body is a combination of interacting systems that can be analysed using engineering principles. It is well known that surface electromyogram signals easily acquired from surface of skin of the body using non-invasive electrodes are composed with variety of noises. Hence methods to remove noise become most significant for surface electromyogram (sEMG) signal before performing processing and analysis. In this study, wavelet analysis has been used to analyse quality of effectiveness of surface electromyogram signal. The surface electromyogram signals were estimated with the following steps: first, the obtained signal was decomposed using wavelet transform; then, decomposed coefficients were analysed by threshold methods. Daubechies wavelets (db2-db14) family for efficiently removing noise from the recorded surface electromyogram signals has been used. However, the most essential wavelet for surface electromyogram denoising is chosen by calculating the root mean square value and signal power values from different voluntary contraction motions. The combined results of root mean square value and signal power shows that wavelet db4 performs denoising best among the wavelets. Furthermore, the statistical technique of analysis of variance (ANOVA) for experimental and best wavelet coefficient was analysed to investigate the effect of muscle-force relationship for ensuring class separability.
Feasibility of e-health services through the smart TV: a prototype demonstrator
Public institutions worldwide are moving a number of services targeted to citizens from traditional data infrastructures to cloud based technologies, with the aim of improving the quality offered, and reducing costs. This phenomenon is particularly relevant in the field of health-related public services. Among the technological devices and media enabling users' access to such services, the emerging smart TV platform represents a promising and valid means of interaction. In many countries, where population ageing is becoming the leading welfare concern, information and communication technologies are expected to play a basic role in alleviating the pressure on public healthcare services. In this scenario, the paper discusses the feasibility of an e-health service delivered through the smart TV, by the design and implementation of a prototype application that enables the remote consultation of personal medical reports. Users can access their personal health records, and visualise the outcomes of medical examinations performed at a specific laboratory by interacting with the smart TV through its remote controller.
An improved lossy and lossless combined ECG data compression using ASCII character encoding
Electrocardiogram (ECG) compression can significantly reduce the storage and transmission burden in telemedicine applications. In this paper, an improved ECG data compression method using ASCII character encoding is proposed. A QRS detection algorithm firstly applied to separate QRS and non-QRS region. Then, the QRS regions of ECG signal are compressed using lossless method and non-QRS regions are compressed using lossy method, which improves the compression ratio and minimise the reconstruction error between original and reconstructed ECG signal. All tested ECG records are selected from the PTB database. Statistical results show that the compression performance of the proposed method is better than both lossless and lossy ECG data compression technique. The average compression ratio (CR) and percent root mean square difference (PRD) obtained using proposed ECG data compression method are 27.40 and 4.753 respectively, which is better than other existing ECG data compression method.