The Business Review Journal
Vol. 18 * Number 1 * Summer. 2011
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC * ISSN 1553 - 5827
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Design and Implementation Issues in Integrating e-learning: Lessons Learned From a Fortune 1000 Firm
Dr. Kathryn J. Ready, Winona State University, Winona, MN
Ben Johnson, Fastenal School of Business, Winona, MN
Dr. Marzie Astani, Winona State University, Winona, MN
In this paper, we examine the process that a Fortune 1000 firm used in transitioning from a traditional face-to-face training system to that of a blended and synchronous training program through the adoption of a learning management system. The advantages to e-learning are reviewed and discussed as relevant to organizations considering adopting e-learning programs. Fastenal’s organizational culture is highlighted as it encompasses ongoing learning, critical to the adoption and integration of e-learning programs. The six stage development process utilized by Fastenal, team responsibilities administered through its Fastenal School of Business, and delivery systems utilized including software simulation (with audio closed captioning), real world case studies, information or procedural based courses, and scenario based training systems are discussed. Fastenal’s e-learning experiences and its development process can serve as a model for other organizations undertaking the integration of e-learning programs for employee development purposes. Employee training is key to organizational effectiveness and competitiveness in a global marketplace. The American Society of Training and Development estimates that U.S. organizations spent $125.88 billion on employee learning and development in 2009. Nearly two thirds of the totaled ($78.61 billion) was spent on the internal learning function, and the remainder ($47.27 billion) was allocated to external services (ASTD 2009). In order to train employees in a cost efficient manner, organizations are incorporating e-learning practices which have been estimated to reduce training costs by up to 50 percent (Zeidner, 2005).
Factors Affecting Consumer Perceptions of Brand Name Food in Japan: An Ordered Probit Analysis
Miao Li, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Dr. Milton Boyd, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Dr. Jeffrey Pai, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
This study examined consumers’ perceptions of brand name food in Japan. A model was developed using a number of factors to explain consumers’ perceptions of the importance of brand name food in Japan. Consumer survey data from 140 respondents in Japan was used, and the model was estimated using an ordered probit model. Socio-demographics appear to impact consumers’ perceptions on brand name food in Japan, and results show that young Japanese consumers prefer brand name food products, and one reason is because they are more brand conscious and trust brands more. Food attribute results show that taste/flavor is important in explaining desire for brand name food, indicating that consumers placing more importance on taste/flavor also favored brand name food. Also, Japanese consumers desire high quality food, and are often willing to pay a higher price for brand name food products, and results indicate that consumers who are willing to pay a high price for food also have a high preference for brand name food. In addition, the labeling attribute of traceability shows a negative relationship with brand name food. This result shows that consumers who prefer brand name food have a less explicit desire for traceability, likely because much of the important product details such as traceability may already be implied in the brand name. These results should be helpful for food marketing firms in Japan in order to better understand the complex role of brand name food in consumer purchasing decisions. Japanese Food Market Profile.
A Soft Computing Environment for Data Mining
Dr. Shamsul Chowdhury, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL
Data mining also known as knowledge discovery in databases (KDD) is an attractive multi-disciplinary field of research and applications in business today. Data mining encompasses statistics, machine learning, artificial neural networks, databases, expert systems, data visualizations and other related tools and technologies. The main goal of data mining projects is to analyze and eventually predict future behavior in order to gain competitive advantages. Data mining could start with a hypothesis by the user, who then seeks to validate or justify the reliability and truthfulness of the hypothesis. This type of data mining usually use a model-driven approach and broadly known as hypothesis-driven data mining. The other form of data mining is to find patterns, associations, and relationships among the data in order to uncover facts that were previously hidden or not even contemplated by an organization. This category uses a data driven approach to data mining and is broadly known as discovery-driven data mining. However, a good data mining tool should accommodate both these approaches. With increased sophistication in data collection and storage facilities, data driven form of data mining is becoming more and more common world wide. This work focuses mainly on the uses of Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) and related tools and technologies in Predictive Analytics (PA), which is a subfield of data mining dealing with the prediction of future probabilities and trends. The most common PA techniques are Decision trees, Artificial Neural Networks, Genetic algorithms, Regression analysis, Bayesian belief networks, Fuzzy logic, Case-based Reasoning (CBR), etc. ANNs have broad applicability to real world business problems.
A Conceptual Framework for the Design and Evaluation of Online Learning Modules in
Professional Training and Academic Education in Business
Dr. Wray E. Bradley, University of Tulsa, OK
There is increasing interest in academic research concerning online learning. To date there is no unified theory of online learning. A developing theory of online learning posits that online learning is based on interactions between student and instructor, student and other students, and student and course content (Anderson, 2003). This theory suggests that learning takes place as long as one of the interactions is operative at a high level. This article seeks to contribute to online learning theory by presenting a conceptual framework that, 1) discusses online learning module design that integrates empirically sound learning theory research from the behaviorists, cognitive, and constructivist points of view and, 2) suggests a research agenda that might be used in the continuing development of a separate theory of online learning. There is much empirical evidence that suggests that student performance in online courses is not significantly different from performance using other delivery methods (Merrill and Galbraith, 2010). However, there is little research that has compared the effectiveness of online learning modules that have different characteristics. The proposed framework adopts the perspective that, meaningful development of an online theory of learning requires research that compares learning module configuration, instructional methodology, presentation enhancements (Cook, 2005), and interaction weighting, and application of key principles from previous empirical learning theory research.
Extrapolating the Price to Performance Frontier for Computer System Components: Processing, Storage, Memory, and Network Interface
Dr. G. Kent Webb, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
As new computer hardware becomes available offering better performance at a lower price, computer accessibility rapidly improves resulting in dramatic changes to society. Planners in business and other organizations need an estimate of future prices and performance to help design their systems or to anticipate the effect of these changes. This paper presents a new set of historical annual data from 1987 to 2010 defining basic price to performance measurements for computer components including processors, hard drives, random access memory, and network interface cards. Two approaches to extrapolating price to performance are evaluated, the industry learning curve and a constant rate of increase implied by Moore’s Law. Regression analysis of this new dataset shows long-term, stable improvements in price to performance consistent with Moore’s Law provide a very good fit of historical data and a better approach to extrapolating futre price to performance than a learning cuve approach. Practioners can apply basic percentage changes to make reasonable forecasts that may be modified by short-term market fluctuations. Over the past 25 years, computers that were once large and expensive with limited availability have become widely available as smaller, cheaper devices. How long will this trend continue and at what speed? Improvements in the manufacturing of computer hardware combined with an expanding market resulting from lower prices are key factors determining the trend. In the semiconductor and disk drive industries, the most important feature of each new generation of hardware results from manufacturers learning to work at smaller and smaller scales. The result is a long-term average total cost curve for the industries that is steeply downward sloping, a reflection of the manufacturer’s learning curve.
The Impact of the Teacher-Made Online Learning Resources
Sha Li, Delores Price, Yujian Fu, Alabama A & M University
The Internet-aided learning environment has revamped situated learning and also impacted social learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Teacher-made online learning resources provide course content anchored resources that focus on specific real world tasks in class, and a supportive authentic learning environment to learners. Teacher-made online learning supportive resources could meet the students’ instant learning needs and facilitate them with just-in-time help. Alabama A & M University is innovating the teaching and learning strategies in the networked environment by incorporating the teacher-made online scaffolding to the learners. Students in classes are motivated and effectively involved in scaffolded learning activities. This research is a case study on the students’ attitude and perspectives on the effectiveness of the online scaffolding in a graduate computer literacy class. This study used qualitative and quantitative mixed methods. The findings show that the online scaffolding is an effective approach to integrate Internet technology in computer project-based learning. This instructional approach is beneficial for both learning and teaching because online scaffolding provides a framework for teacher students to effectively use internet technology for learning purposes. Situated learning is regarded as a pedagogical strategy. Learning would be most effective when learning takes place in an authentic context (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Hands-on learning situated in an authentic context is meaningful and motivating (Rogers & Freiberg, 1994). Authentic instruction uses teaching strategies such as: structuring learning around genuine tasks, employing scaffolding, engaging students in inquiry and social discourse, and providing ample resources for the learners (Donovan & Smolkin, 2002).
Australia: Impact of Tax Review Report and the Henry Review on Self-Managed Superannuation Funds
Sylvia Villios, The University of Adelaide, Australia
On 13 May 2008, the Australian government announced a review into its taxation system (the ‘Henry Review’). The review was to look at the current system and make recommendations to deal with the demographic, social, economic and environmental changes of the 21st century. In 2009, the Tax Review report on the retirement incomes system was also handed down. The Government's recommendations made in the Tax Review report and the possible outcomes of the Henry Review are evoking significant discussion and consideration by Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) industry participants. There are currently 394,996 SMSFs in Australia accounting for 30.9% of the total Australian superannuation pool1. SMSFs facilitate participation which can and does play an important role in encouraging individuals to save for their own retirement and in addressing issues of adequacy and longevity. The recommendations made in the Tax Review report and the possible outcomes from the Henry Review are likely to further complicate the administration and operation of SMSF for participants, including trustees, accountants, auditors, tax agents, actuaries, and administrators. Accordingly, participants will struggle to keep up to date understanding the myriad of changes and there will be a need for specialists who have professional knowledge in the SMSF sector, a sector which requires a strong knowledge of the tax strategies and administrative details that are peculiar to SMSFs. Further, SMSFs participants will need to adapt to any new pension products that are introduced as well as provide a means for various strategies based on these products in order to prevent members switching from SMSFs back to large funds at the point of retirement.
Can Functional Performances of HRM Be Improved With the Adoption of IT?
Dr. Razali Mat Zin, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Nehari Amine Talat, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia
This research examined the relationships among the use of IT by organizations, HRM performances on its functional tasks on productivity, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, organizational performances, the IT implementation gap, HRM transformation gap, and organizational performances gap. The HRM practitioners who are registered as members of Arabian Society of Human Resource Management (ASHRM) were randomly selected as respondents to response to the questions in the questionnaire. All the four hypotheses were statistically supported. The use of IT had significant correlations with the HRM functional performances based on productivity, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Also, the IT implementation gap proved to be significant to the overall performances of HRM functional task. Several practical implications from the research findings and future research agenda were discussed at the end of the report. Researchers and industry experts from both IT and HRM universally agree that nothing is certain for the future of e-HR system, the first wave of innovations is likely to be seen (and already emerging) as an integration of various systems involved in different functional aspect of the HRM (Kehoe, Dickter, Russell & Sacco, 2005); it is of critical importance because integration usually allow for more convenient, faster and cost-effective service delivery, thus, can maximize the value of an e-HR system for the organizations. Cardy and Miller (2005) report that as the technology has made important strides in allocating human resources to strategic direction or new projects nowadays, separate HRM functions have seen application of software and the development of web-based applications; however, it is “at a more macro level, a level that cuts across and integrates various management functions, where development and corporate funds seem to be focused”.
Teams in Organization
Dr. Michael Ba Banutu-Gomez, Professor, William G. Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University, NJ
This paper addresses the importance of teams in an organization. The paper discusses the relevant role of team responsibility, team discipline, team achievement and pride, team success, team socialization process, team social stratification, team activity, team culture, team mentoring, team effectiveness, team efficiency, and team leadership. The paper concludes that team leader interpersonal skill is critical for any team success in an organization. In today’s organization that wants to succeed, it has to realize that teamwork is very important because it is the way the employees value and respect each other. Teamwork enables employees of all skills and ages to have an important role to play in organization, and it is an important aspect of maintaining the self-sustainability of organizational performance. From a very early stage, members take on responsibility for performing certain tasks. Organizations that socialize employees to grow up within a system of teamwork, employees quickly learn how to work with other employees in a positive way. The result is that they will soon begin to value their own potential as individuals and as a member of a team. New employees soon learn that they can join their efforts with those of others to create something to benefit the whole organization rather than individual interest. This requires us to answer the following question: What is a team? A team is a contingent of two or more people who interact and positively influence each other and coordinate their work to accomplish a meaningful shared goal or purpose for the success of organization. The next question to ask and answer is: What does TEAM mean? It means Together Each Achieve More. This is why being in a team helps individuals to pave the way to a positive future in their lives that will bring them self-respect and dignity. There are three primary reasons why teams present a dilemma for people.
Employees’ Perception of Organisational Culture in a Multi-national Construction Company
Prof. J. C. Visagie, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Dr. H. M. Linde, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Organisational culture can be viewed, among other aspects, as the embodiment of the relationship between the employer and the employee as influenced and regulated by workplace regulations within a framework of legislation. A positive organisational culture is likely to ensure a high level of employee loyalty, good organisational citizenship and more productivity. A positive and supportive culture would therefore promote correct application of workplace regulations and encourages a positive employee perception of the application thereof.. A random sample of 50 participants was drawn from the population (N=180) of permanent staff or staff classified as administration, qualified tradesman or management, as authorised by the management of the organisation. The questionnaire used to gather the data was the “Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument’’ developed and adapted by Cameron and Quinn. The results show that all four cultures in the organisation had meaningful support with the Clan and Adhocracy culture type as the stronger, with the Clan culture type as the dominant culture in the organisation. After the industrial revolution, a fascination with organisational dynamics developed and traditional systems and structures in organisations as well as the role of individuals and groups changed (Venter, 2004). As a result, a need arose for research attempting to understand why some organisations function in certain ways and why differences between organisations exist; still a relevant question today (Robbins, Odendaal & Roodt, 2004). According to Schein (2004), the way individuals and groups within organisations interact has a significant influence on organisational behaviour and the focus shifted to organisational behaviour as process towards organisational effectiveness (Robbins et al., 2004). One of the aspects that forms part of organisational behaviour is the interactions of individuals and groups within the organisation.
How do Learning Focus and Strategic Choice Influence Innovativeness?
Meral Dulger, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Dr. Guven Alpay, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Dr. Muzaffer Bodur, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Dr. Cengiz Yılmaz, Middle East Technical University
This paper explores the role of learning focus of companies and their choice of Porter’s cost, differentiation and focus generic strategy types on innovativeness. Data were collected from a random sample of 121 firms operating in Turkey through structured questionnaires. Findings of hierarchic regressions indicate that internally-focused learning, market-focused learning and differentiation strategy has significant effects on innovativeness. As the marketplace is surrounded by uncertainty, heightened competition, and constant change, a perpetual tendency towards innovativeness is called for. To be innovative, information and knowledge are of critical value. This means that businesses should extend ways to learn more about their customers, stakeholders, competitors and the marketplace to realize higher levels of innovativeness so that they can compete, survive, flourish. Besides, such activities must be consistent with an overarching organizational strategy where management takes mindful judgments regarding innovation goals (Sundbo 1997). Therefore, the strategic preferences of businesses become relevant with their innovativeness levels as well as their organizational learning activities per se. On top of this, we suppose that studies on innovativeness operationalized in emerging economies are noteworthy. Such markets nevertheless have to compete with domestic and international players while dealing with the faults of their developing business milieu. Also, numerous mild or strong world crises does not make this quest an easy one. From this point of view, Turkey is a good example. Although the Turkish marketplace is regarded as emerging, it attracts fierce competition from developed and emerging markets in the majority of its sectors especially from the EU firms as Turkey is the first and only country that entered Customs Union with the European Union in 1996 without becoming a full member.
Student Performance in Their First Accounting Course: Accounting 101 is the Key to Future Success in the Classroom
Dr. William E. Bealing, Jr., Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
Dr. Richard L. Baker, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
This study examines the relationship between performance in the initial accounting course taken by accounting majors and performance, as measured by course grades, in their other required business courses. Students’ performance in their initial accounting course was found to have a statistically significant relationship to their performance in subsequent courses. This was found to be true even after accounting for the impact of student SAT scores. The results held for both accounting and non-accounting courses, as well as quantitative and non-quantitative courses. Subsequent analysis revealed that performance in a student’s initial accounting course proved to be a significant indicator of whether a student would successfully graduate from the program, as well as what final GPA they would achieve. Two theories are presented to explain these research findings. First, students’ performance in their initial accounting course could simply serve as a proxy for their work ethic. Second, the introductory accounting course content could require students to think critically and, therefore, students’ performance in this course could be a proxy for their critical thinking abilities. The implications for student success are discussed as a result of student performance in their initial accounting course serving as a proxy for unobservable work ethic and/or critical thinking skills. Future research is needed to determine if the results of this study are generalizable to other institutions and whether the proposed work ethic and/or critical thinking explanations are valid.
Globalization and Entrepreneurial Education; An American Perspective
Dr. Chris Ehiobuche, Berkeley College, NJ
Dr. Chizoba Zee Madueke, University of Phoenix. Phoenix, AZ
Dr. Lawrence Obokoh Ogechukwu, University of Wales, Penglais. Aberystwyth
Globalization has made entrepreneurship an indispensible resource for any country’s completive advantage, hence the need for its development and enrichment. This paper presents the findings from an exploratory study of the dynamics of entrepreneurial education, based on American perspectives, changes in student body, faculty, and college environment. Delivering methods and general trends in business education are the major study dimensions. Seventy teaching and research professors in leading business schools responded to open ended inquiries, probing their insight on the topic. An extensive review of related literature were used in validating and justifying the empirical observations in this research. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight into the dynamics of today’s entrepreneurial education. Explore the nature of changes in the teaching and scholarship of entrepreneurship as an academic discipline. Discuss some of the characteristics of today’s students and college learning environment. Provide ideas for faculty to supplement their traditional teaching tools with options that are more consistent with the learning styles of today students. Contribute to literature and scholarship of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship has been continuously evolving in content, context, scope and complexity as a discipline and career path. Educators, scholars and practitioners are faced with the challenges of how to improve on their global competitiveness and productivity. As a result they search for knowledge and new ways of producing future business, and social leaders. This paper explores conceptually and developmentally, the dynamics of teaching/learning, and development of entrepreneurship as an academic discipline. Entrepreneurship education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to increase entrepreneurial success in a variety of settings. Variations of entrepreneurship education are offered at all levels of schooling from high school through Doctorial.
A Comparison of the Financial Holding Company Moderating Effect on Diversification Strategy and Performance: Evidence from Taiwan
Dr. Hou Ou-Yang, Kun Shan University, Tainan, Taiwan
This paper investigates the impact of a diversified strategy on the market performance of firms in the financial industry. It also discusses the moderating effect of financial holding companies on the relationship between diversified strategy and performance. Financial firm data covered the years of 2003 through 2008 was acquired from the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) and Taiwan’s over-the-counter market. The regression results revealed that an insignificantly positive association exists between firm performance and diversified strategy. A significantly positive and negative effect of related and unrelated diversification on market performance, respectively, also exists. The moderating effect of a financial holding company on the relationship between total and related diversification and performance were weak, while the moderating effect of a financial holding company on the relationship between unrelated diversification and performance was extensive. The primary purpose of the diversification activity of large firms is to reduce risk, while the diversification activity of small firms will increase a firm’s risk. The benefits of related diversification often occur in the non-financial holdings company's organization, while the benefit of unrelated diversification often occurs in the financial holdings company's organization. In recent years, alongside technological development, the new economic tide taking over the entire world is knowledge. In this knowledge-based economy era, business economic value and the wealth originating from it are no longer solely dependent on the entity of production, but instead also come from intangible asset creation and the utilization of such assets. An analysis of the statistical data from the Executive Yuan Planning headquarters in Taiwan illustrates that the industry proportion dropped from 35.90% to 35.44% between 2004 and 2009, while the service industry proportion rose from 57.54% to 59.25% during that same time period.
A Conceptual Model of the Authentic Leader’s Positive Psychological Capacities in the Context of Financial Crisis
Nigar Cagla Mutlucan, Bogazici University, Ph.D. Program in Management, Istanbul, Turkey
The organizational life of our era is marked by financial crises and adversity. Therefore, the behaviors of an authentic leader with positive psychological capacities play an important role in the development of trust and affective commitment of the followers as well as of their perceived effectiveness of the leader. In the context of financial crisis, the present paper analyzes two subdimensions of trust, affective trust and cognitive trust, which are, besides being criterion variables, also mediators between the positive psychological capacities of the leader and the affective commitment of financial crisis survivors. Additionally, the type of social contract between the organization and the followers, that is, transactional or relational contracts, complete this picture as moderators. More specifically, relational contracts moderate the relationship between the positive psychological capacities of the leader and the affective trust of the survivors and transactional contracts moderate the relationship between the psychological capacities of the leader and the cognitive trust of the survivors. Finally, conclusions, limitations, and suggestions for future research based on the model are presented. In recent decades, scholars interested in leadership research have focused to a great extent on inspirational styles of leadership, including visionary (Westley & Mintzberg, 1989), charismatic (Gardner & Avolio, 1998; Shamir, 1995), and transformational (Avolio, Zhu, Koh, & Puja, 2004-a; Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). However, this evolution of leadership research has been criticized.
A Cross-Cultural research on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Behaviors: A Case of American and Korean Financial Service
Dr. Sung Jip Nam, Hannam University, S. Korea
The objective of current research aims to examine the relationships between customer satisfaction and loyalty behaviors in cross-cultural financial setting. Generally accepted wisdom is positive correlations between satisfaction and loyalty activity. However, cross-cultural research on customer satisfaction and loyalty relationships is hard to find. Cultural research suggests that scholarly findings in one culture may not be validated in the other culture due to cultural effects. It is well known that the cultural distance between the Western and the Eastern is pronounced. America and South Korea is selected to represent to one of the cultures. International consumers’ behavioral differences are based upon cultural research. It is widely understood that individuals’ behavior differs from culture to culture. Because of these cultural differences, research findings from one culture may not hold true in another culture (Money, Gilly, & Graham, 1998). Researchers have proposed that culture may take a moderating role in determining individuals’ value priorities, since cultural values are shared inside the region and the values are passed on to subsequent generations (Smith & Schwartz, 1997; Hofstede, 1980; McCort & Malhotra, 1993). Necessity of understanding different culture is raised from both academies and practitioners as business expands their territory to other countries and continents. Recent service and relationship literature stresses the importance of variables of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty relationships to profitability.
Strategic Training Program to Resolve Customer Service Problems
Dr. Weng Kun Liu, Feng Chia University, Taiwan
Training program is a vital factor to improve the future employee’s performance and reach the corporate goals of fulfilling customers’ service needs. Managers should carry out a needs assessment to help them decide what kind of training programs is needed for the corporation or organization. The corporation should enact training goals to evaluate whether the training programs should be implemented. Selection criteria are suggested to select the proper trainers and trainees required to participate in the training programs. Learning principles are introduced to enhance the efficiency of trainee’s training. Three training models are applied to enhance training performance: (1) role playing model, (2) on-the-job training model, and (3) off-the-job training model. By conducting performance appraisals, managers should confirm whether the trainees are applying their knowledge and skills to their work situations. The employee’s past experiences and capabilities with problem-solving could influence the employee’s temporary performance in resolving customer service problems. Developing training programs to address various strategic issues has become increasingly important for contemporary managers and leaders. Managers are constantly required to improve their skills in resolving customer service problems through mentoring and coaching employees effectively and efficiently. Customer service is a vital factor for a leading corporation to gain competitive advantage in today’s service-oriented business arena. Many customer service problems result, however, from inappropriate employee behaviors and attitudes.
Comparison of the Quality of Enterprises in the Tourism Industry and
Enterprises from other Sectors in the Czech Republic
Dr. Petr Suchanek, Hotel and Commerce Academy, Czech Republic
Dr. Jiri Spalek, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Milan Sedlacek, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
The subject of this paper is to analyze the quality of enterprises with an emphasis on tourism in the Czech Republic and its influence on enterprise competitiveness. The aim is to analyze the quality of tourism enterprises and to compare that to the quality of firms from other sector in the Czech Republic. This article is the result of research conducted by questionnaire, which was conducted during 2009 and in early 2010 at MU ESF and VSOH Brno. Quality can be defined as the degree of compliance with a set of inherent characteristics (Nenadál et al., 2001, s. 11). The quality of a product is meant not only as a technical one (in terms of a production technology event, the manner and level of services and technical maturity and sophistication of the product), but particularly the ability to meet customer's requirements. Thus the more the product conforms to the customer's requirements, the better it is. The World Tourism Organization (hereinafter WTO) defines product quality in the tourism industry as the sum of the benefits and the procedures, which come from various stakeholders (both private and public). This term actually includes two basic factors (ensuring reliability and security) and a professional approach, i.e. always do the right things and to meet the legitimate expectations of customers then help implement the basic principles of the Global Code of Ethics of Tourism (http://www.unwto.org/quality/index.php). Both concepts of quality are at first glance different but on closer examination we can find the same character. Reliability and safety is the foundation of customer satisfaction both in tourism and in the production of goods and if someone is doing the right things correctly, they are capable of well (excellently) meeting customer needs and achieving high quality. The definition of quality services by WTO is thus only slightly more specific than the definition of quality according to ISO standards, such as reliability and safety are two specific characteristics affecting the inherent quality.
Selection of Suppliers in Retailer Companies: An Application in Consumer
Co-operatives in Eskisehir, Kastamonu, and Kocaeli, Turkey
Dr. Nurcan Turan, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey
Developments in production and information systems and increasing competition have directed the purchasing activities of companies. The most important purpose of purchasing is to obtain products needed at the right time, in the quantity and of the quality required at the best price, and from the best supplier. This can only be achieved by first selecting the most appropriate supplier. While cost has been the main issue in initial studies related to supplier selection, certain factors, such as quality and the performance of suppliers, have also been included in investigations of supplier selection in recent research. After retailers ascertain consumer demands, they provide for commodities from suppliers in accordance with these demands. The goods that would be supplied should both guarantee customer satisfaction and also reach the customer in a short notice. For that reason supplier selection in retailer companies are extremely important. In this study, the supplier selection of consumer co-operatives was investigated using a questionnaire. that was designed to identify criteria used by other consumer co-operatives when selecting suppliers. Questionnaire was applied to co-operatives operating in the cities of Eskisehir, Kocaeli, and Kastomonu, Turkey. Its aim was to clarify whether or not the co-operatives’ criteria were appropriate and relevant in selecting the best supplier. Supplier selection and evaluation in competitive environments have become vital strategic issues. To survive in an increasingly competitive world, companies have to operate at higher quality levels with lower costs. To do so, they have to work with the best suppliers. For the matter of which suppliers to work with, the size of the retailer companies are a determining factor.
Factors Affecting One’s Ethical Beliefs and Decision Making:An Exploratory Study in Kuwait
Dr. Muath M. Eleswed, New York Institute of Technology, Kingdom of Bahrain
An exploratory study was conducting in a private hospital in Kuwait to examine the degree of influence of individual and situational factors on one’s ethical beliefs and decision making. The study included one hundred and eighty one subjects, and took place between the months of May and July of 2008. The results of this study indicate that individual and situational factors positively influence one’s behavior with a variation in the degree of influence. Based on these results, implications and recommendations for further study were made. As the quest for building the ethical organization is on the rise, it becomes apparent that organizations ought to ethically behave while conducting their daily practices. This is essential simply because, employees tend to act in the same manner as their organizational leaders when it comes to ethical conducts (Erondu, Sharland, & Okpara, 2004). According to Morgan (1993), ethical conduct is perceived as an important element of leadership. Because of that, when leaders create ethical practices they become more effective, efficient, innovative, and successful. While achieving their organizations’ goals, leaders are often challenged to compromise their personal ethics (Weeks & Nantel, 1992). Consequently, many ethical failures have occurred all over the world (Beyer & Nino, 1999) as evidenced by “scandals at Enron, Worldcom, Parmalat, Allied Irish Bank, and National Irish Bank” (Knights & O'Leary, 2006, p. 125). Recently, the issue of ethics of leadership has been greatly emphasized (Knights & O'Leary, 2006), to include all types of organizations.
Factors Affecting the Adoption of Online Travel Websites in Taiwan
Dr. Feng-Cheng Tung, Kun Shan University, Tainan, Taiwan
With the popularization of the Internet, e-commerce market is rapidly growing over the world. According to the estimate of Taiwan Institute for Information Industry, in 2008, Taiwan's online shopping market B2C size is 136 billion dollars, and the tourism product sales accounts for 52.5%, so online travel has become the most important industry in Taiwan's B2C e-commerce market. Therefore, the research combines the innovation diffusion theory ,perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and adds two research variables, perceived system quality and computer self-efficacy to propose a new hybrid technology acceptance model to study users’ behavioral intentions to use the online travel websites. The structural equation modeling technique was used to evaluate the causal model and confirmatory factor analysis was performed to examine the reliability and validity of the measurement model. A survey was distributed to 400 users resulting in a total of 306 usable responses. The results of the study show perceived system quality, computer self-efficacy, compatibility, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use has a great positive effect upon the behavioral intentions to use the online travel websites. The research finds that studies strongly support this new hybrid technology acceptance model in predicting users’ behavioral intentions to use the online travel websites. Owing to the rapid development of the Internet, the number of Internet users continues to rapidly increase. According to the survey of the U.S. market research agency, Internet World Stats, until 2009 June, the population of global Internet users is more than 1.66 billion people.
Model of Development for Regions Towards a Post Conflict Period. The case of the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley
Dr. Ilan Bijaoui, Ashkelon Academic College, Israel
Dr. Suhail Sultan, UNU-MERIT, Jordan
Dr. Shlomo Yedidia Tarba, College of Management – Academic Studies, Rishon LeZion, Israel
The chief purpose of this paper is to propose the most suitable development model preparing countries to enter in a post conflict period. The FEZ-Cluster hybrid model neutralizes the weaknesses of FEZ and Cluster models and cumulates their advantages, attract investment and generate development based on human capital and knowledge. This hybrid model is able to create new sustainable cross border economic interests between countries still in conflict. The researchers checked its feasibility in two regions at the borders of Israel, Palestinian Authority, and Jordan; namely, the Dead Sea (chemicals) and the Jordan Valley (agribusiness). Regional economies have in recent years become the core of social life and policy making (Storper,1995). Each model of regional development takes advantage of the geographic (Scott, 1988; Storper and Walker, 1989), social (Becattini, 1990), resources (Madani, 1999), technology and market conditions of a region (Porter 1998). The Free Economic Zone (FEZ) creates a new economic entity operating under rules independent of the host country. The main objective is to attract export-oriented foreign manufacturing firms by fiscal and trade incentives. Porter’s cluster model (Porter 1990) takes advantage of technology and market conditions and generates a spatial process of vertical and horizontal integration (Porter 1998). Porter places emphasis on market and competition. The purpose of this research is to determine the most suitable model that is able to generate sustainable economic interests common to the countries of a region in a post conflict period.
What is the Connection between Dividend Policy and Future Earnings? Evidence from Taiwan’s Stock Market
Dr. Tzu-Chun Sheng, Ling Tung University, Taichung, Taiwan
Dr. Shu-Hui Lan, Ling Tung University, Taichung, Taiwan
Hai-Shan Chang, Ling Tung University, Taichung, Taiwan
The authors has implemented returns-future earnings regression mode that was brought by Hanlon et al. (2008) and Hussainey (2009) to be a study basis and choose stock market in Taiwan for an example, moreover, the authors also discuss the relationship between release policy of company dividends and future earnings. The authors discuss whether company dividends of stock market have been released or not and the method of dividend release – cash dividend or stock dividend is whether the method can disclosure the change from company profit in an annuity and in the future or not. The real evidence from result has showed that the release policy of the stock listed company and the over-the-counter (OTC) company has surely disclosure information of future earning change from some companies. In Taiwan, the stock return from the companies that have allocated dividends have more ability to react the earning change of companies in the same year and continuing 2 years than companies that have not allocated stocks. The stock return from the companies that have released cash dividend can react more about the future earning change of companies than stock return from companies that have released stock dividend. After further evidence, the dividend release policy of releasing stock dividend can disclose the information of company earning change in performance year; the releasing cash dividend will react the earning change in further two years. In stock market, if investors can successfully predict the future earnings from various companies, and purchase and hold some stocks from the companies which have good capacities to earn profits in near future; then, the stock holders can earn remunerations that are generated from the differentiated stock prices. While situated in information asymmetry environment, general investors are more difficult to reach the internal information from corporations, or receive company information not at right timing.
Consumer Behavior in Recession: Evidence from Finland
Dr. Huu Le Nguyen, Hanken School of Economics, Vaasa, Finland
This paper attempts to investigate consumer behavior during the economic recession period from early 2009 to the early year of 2010 in Finland. In more specific, it is to find out how the recession has influenced shopping behavior of Finnish consumers on different groups of products in retail business. The focus groups of products in this study are divided into 1) Non-food products; 2) food products, 3) alcohol products; 4) and cigarette. In food product, it also divided to two group including local product and foreign imported product. The data was collected from the sales of the retail store which has average of 1450 customers daily for the period of 15 months from January 2009 up to the end of March 2010. The result shows that the recession does influence shopping behavior of Finnish consumers differently depending on different groups of products. In terms of Non food products, consumers buy much less pleasure products, but still maintain buying practical used ones. In term of food products, consumers buy significantly less vegetable, fruit, and milk. Other basic food product such as scan products, and cool products, the consumptions are just slightly reduced. However, the consumption of coffee, cigarette and alcohol are fairly increased. The result also reveal that in terms of vegetable, fruit, and fresh meat product, consumers do not switch to cheaper foreign imported products but they remain loyalty with local and national products. In spite of several studies having focus on consumer behavior on specific industry and specific markets, little is known about of how consumers react to rapid changing environment of economic recession. The paper is of interest to managers, policy makers, and also researchers.
Cultural Influences on Perceptions of Teaching Effectiveness of Thai Lecturers Among MBA International Students
Roy Ramos Avecilla, Webster University Thailand, Thailand
Dr. Maria Belen Vergara, Webster University Thailand, Thailand
This study explored the cultural influences on graduate students’ perception of teaching effectiveness. Specifically, the study investigated the possible differences in the perception of three groups of graduate students (Thais, Asians and Africans, Americans and Europeans) in terms of teaching effectiveness of Thai lecturers in international programs in Masters of Business Administration in Bangkok, Thailand. There were 168 participants who completed the Teacher Effectiveness Scale (Rico, 1971) and a questionnaire that inquired into the reasons behind student ratings of teacher effectiveness. Results showed that the three groups of graduate students rated Thai lecturers as effective teachers. However, Thai, Asian, and African students reported significantly lower ratings in the affective, disciplinary, and overall aspects of teaching effectiveness as compared to American, Canadian, and British students. Implications on internationalization of higher education and recommendations for future research are discussed. Global trends point to a steady growth in the number of international students who are persons who leave their country of origin and move to another to study. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the number of international students in higher education grew nearly four-fold since 1975, and was estimated to have reached 2.8 million in 2007 (van der Pol, 2009). Apart from the United States and other member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which host 71% of internationals students, some countries in Asia have become emerging destinations.
Stock Indices Return Forecast: Efficient Method of Moments Estimation of A Stochastic Volatility Model
Dr. H. Saduman Okumus, Professor, Istanbul Commerce University, Turkey
Dr. Elif Guneren Genc, Istanbul Commerce University, Turkey
The volatility of returns on financial assets tends to change over time. Especially emerging markets, as compared to developed markets, show higher volatility due to relatively shallow financial markets, economic and political instability and regulatory changes. In such financial markets, sudden shifts in market portfolio proxied by stock indices returns are to be empirically forecasted in this study by applying stochastic volatility (SV) model with implementing Efficient Method of Moments (EMM). In order to carry out the empirical analysis, we used the daily returns of the ISE-100, FTSE-100, S&P-500, NIKKEI-225 and BOVESPA over the period of 2005-2009. It is empirically suggested that SV model with implementing the EMM is compliant with ISE-100 and NIKKEI-225 Indices Returns, and such it can be used for forecasting purposes, however it is not complaint with S&P-500, FTSE-100 and BOVESPA Indices Returns. As a result it cannot be used to forecast the movements in the given stock markets. The financial markets where savings are not transferred to entrepreneurs via financial institutions do not operate actively. As such this situation prevents the savings from being used for productive aim. It is claimed that growth of the financial markets or of the economy cannot be achieved unless the savings are used in a productive manner. Given the fact that the development of financial markets is the key element for countries’ economic welfare, the countries with more developed financial markets show more rapid economic growth (Rajan and Zingales, 2004). The performance of stock markets depends on two kinds of risk. Firstly, the risk emerges from the performance of the firm that can be observed by firm’s stock price movements in the market.
Theorization in Economics: A Necessity for Development
Dr. Mohsen Zayanderoody, Islamic Azad University-Kerman Branch, Kerman, I.R of Iran
We the necessity of in economics which can demonstrate itself in macro programming in society and representing appropriate political packages and the importance of theoretic frames in other human sciences. The macro goals of a system represent the models of economic development. We begin by identifying the factors of weak economic performance resulting from poor economic training, especially in developing countries. One factor is considering economics research beyond economic behaviors and phenomena. Another is disregarding the limitation between economic behaviors and economics. A third factor is considering the concept of development as a quantitative. We examine the problems of economic development programs given that no theory of government interference represents public goods. There is a lack of knowledge of economics. We assume that economics is a sociological and non-axiomatic science. In terms of weakness of theoretical bases, we are involved in different social taste and special trends which keep us away from the macro goals of society that include the general benefits and interest. One of our country’s economic professor words have been written in the preface of his book: "I believe that as the economy trains that the value of every thing is for its rareness and I think that there is a few subjects and scientific in this country, but this contradiction has not become clear for me yet that why this rare subject is so much cheap here”.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine – a Survey of the Top 25 U.S. Health Plans
Dr. William Martin and Justin Henderson, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Funded primarily by out-of-pocket (cash) payments, the utilization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services have steadily increased in recent years. Yet, for a variety of reasons, the prevalence of coverage by private insurance companies is largely unknown. This exploratory investigation seeks to replicate and expand on the regional findings reported by Cleary-Guida et al. in 2001. The largest 25 insurance companies in the United States in 2008 were identified and surveyed to determine current CAM coverage practices. Data was primarily obtained from these companies’ websites in medical and coverage policy statements. Findings reveal that a) most companies (76%) cover some form of CAM, b) chiropractic and acupuncture services are the most commonly covered CAM services, c) nearly all companies offer a discount program for out-of-pocket payments for CAM services, and d) large insurance companies remain secretive about general reimbursement practices. The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread in the United States. In 2007, almost 4 out of 10 adults (38.3%) used some type of CAM in the past 12 months. In another study, nearly 50 percent of the 31,044 adults in the survey had used a variety of CAM therapies, excluding prayer for health (Barnes et al., 2004). In 2007, the CAM therapies most commonly used by U.S. adults in the past 12 months were natural products (17.7%) other than vitamins and minerals, deep breathing exercises (12.7%), meditation (9.4%), chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (8.6%), massage (8.3%), and yoga (6.1%) (Barnes, et al., 2007).
Development of the Hospitality Quality Management Culture Scale: A Pilot Study
Dr. Wei-Jaw Deng, Chung Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, R.O.C.
This research describes the development and validation of a 19-item instrument (hospitality quality management culture scale, HQMCS) for assessing corporate quality management culture in hospitality organizations. Two studies were conducted to develop the final scale items, and to evaluate the scale’s reliability and validity. Two core dimensions of quality management culture are identified. The HQMCS has a variety of potential applications and can serve as a framework for further empirical research in service management or organization management. The more special difference between service industry and others industry is the compact intricate relationship between employee and customer. Employee completes service delivering that is part of service product. Customers consume such service product and finally assess the service quality and consuming values. Some time customers even are participators of service production. In such circumstance, there is no chance that employee can correct service failures without customer’s awareness. Therefore, by source management viewpoint, every service enterprise really needs to make endeavor of employee management in service system to pursue the competitive advantage of excellent service quality and customer satisfaction.
Gender and Management Across Boundaries
Dr. Julie Jie Wen, School of Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Australia
Issues facing women managers may involve a rethinking of debates around work and gender to new ways of managing the boundaries between self, work and life. This research attempts to enlist these promising new directions and explore the contemporary experiences of women in management in both Australia and China. In the process the new gender directions in organisational cultures characterised by the information technology revolution and interdependence with global markets is chartered. The paper acknowledges both individual difference but also looks at how class, gender and ethnicity are mediated by power. The absence of power from the post structuralist and the neo liberal approaches does a major disservice to both positions by seriously constraining the analysis. A focus on gender interest advances the business case for women managers wishing to achieve equal pay with men and gain equal access to senior and executive positions but may also want their distinctive contribution to management to be acknowledged and re-evaluated. This apparent ambiguity leads to a paradoxical gender identity of the Chinese women managers in the research, how they treat themselves, and how they are treated in and outside of the workplace. The Australian experience is similar and yet different, different due to the role of women’s organizations, women in the bureaucracy promoting an equity agenda and women’s growing participation in paid employment. Liberal feminism, often equated with equal opportunity feminist initiatives, appears to have ‘run out of steam’. As a consequence, gender equity is problematic in terms of being treated as human resource problem or an issue that can be resolved by better management.
Macroeconomic and Country Specific Determinants of FDI
Dr. Catherine S. F. Ho, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Ahmad Husni Mohd Rashid, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
This paper investigates significant relation between potential macroeconomic and country specific determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) in five ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand from 1975 to 2009. The findings reveal two key macroeconomic determinants: rate of economic growth and degree of openness significantly affect FDI flows in most of the countries. Inflation rate plays a significant role on FDI flows for Thailand. The Malaysian exchange rate drives FDI into the country while manufacturing output drives FDI in the Philippines. The model for country specific factors indicates that different factors are more important for counties in differing stages of development. Employment negatively affects investments in Indonesia and the Philippines, while tourism positively affects FDI in the Philippines and Malaysia. Other significant country specific factors include skill and knowledge, infrastructure and the level of consumer income. A considerable amount of foreign direct investments flows into developing and transitional economies and this has helped to stimulate economic development and reduce poverty of these nations. The potential benefits of knowledge and innovation spillovers on firms of the host country are critical. FDI is capable to provide and stimulates economic growth; increases employment by creating new production capacity and jobs; infrastructure development; enterprise restructuring; and capital account relief by adding to the stock of capital in the host country as these shall lead to linkages to the global marketplace (Bevan and Estri, 2000).
The Relative Efficiency of Service Firms’ Innovative Activities
Dr. Moon-Soo Kim, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), Republic of Korea
Yongyoon Suh, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Although it is essential to boost service firm’s technological innovativeness, most of studies have focused on the industry level analysis to provide policy implication for the service sector, and consequently, few studies have been conducted on the performance evaluation of the service firms. This paper assesses the relative efficiency of technologically innovative activities using the data envelopment analysis (DEA). DEA is a useful tool for the firm level analysis since it is capable of evaluating the relative efficiency and reflecting service firms’ unique characteristics by assigning high weights to technologically innovative activities in which each service firm has strength. The results are expected to enable service firms to increase their efficiency of technologically innovative activities. Technological innovativeness in the service sector has been recently treated as a matter of grave concern in global economies and economic growth. In fact, the value-added from service sectors accounts for above 70% of total value-added in developed countries (Howells and Barefoot, 2007). Simultaneously, many service firms have strived to survive in rapid change of the economic structure towards service sectors. Above all, with such an economic structure, the importance of technologically innovative activities for improving service productivity and quality is increasing. Technological innovation in services is an ongoing interest according to technological change and the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) into service sectors (Motonashi, 1997; Evangelista, 2000). In particular, technologically innovative activities can enhance the competitive edge of service firms such as the efficiency, productivity, and cost leadership.
Long and Short Run Dynamics of the U.S. Macroeconomy: The Economic Importance of the Labor Force Participation Rate
Carlos Galindo, The City College of New York & American Economic Association SPSR [at Duke University]
Dr. Oscar J. Galindo Tijerina, Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Mexico
Marina Chernyak, Moore Capital Management, LP*
This research paper offers short, medium and long term forecasts of the U.S. economy and the labor force participation rate (LFPR), a measure of the participating portion of an economy's labor force. It explicitly models the forces of economic cycles, as well as a set of demographic factors that affect the LFPR. We use publicly available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED); fifty one years of quarterly economic data (1959Q1-2010Q4) are used to fit statistical models. We estimate a collection of unrestricted vector autoregressions (VARs), closely related to a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model. Our results show that the LFPR will continue its downward trend, but such trend will be attenuated by its procyclical behavior. Our estimates show that the LPFR will be at 63.7% by the first quarter of 2015. These results coincide with Aaronson, Fallick, et al., (2006). The attenuation is a product of the dynamics inherent in the age cohort data (which themselves are a function of the business cycle). The 16-24 cohort is forecast to continue slightly declining, but in a less accelerated fashion than in the previous quarters, in accordance with procyclicality. On the other hand, the prime-age men (25-54) will experience a rebound (exhibiting stronger procyclicality); the workers over 55 will continue their upward trend. The behavior of the participation rate of females of prime age may turn out to be a key factor to watch out for; the procyclicality of this cohort could to be strong enough so that the sum total of the cohort effects could imply a rebound of the LFPR in the next few years.
Analysis of Variation in HIT Privacy & Security Laws
Dr. Jude E. Edwards, Professor. Washington Adventist University, Takoma Park, MD
Dr. Leila A. Halawi, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Across the United States, the question of patient privacy and security issues continue to present challenges for states as they seek to implement patient Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Health Information Technology (HIT) programs. While the Federal government has provided an overarching framework to ensure this privacy and security, each state across country is realizing mixed results as it seeks to bring its respective privacy and security laws in line with the HIPAA requirements. This paper examines and analyzes the variation in Health Information Technology Privacy &Security Laws, the role of the government in ensuring that these laws are enforced, the challenges or barriers organizations face and the recommendations to implement changes so adoption of HIT is more readily. The ideas discussed in this paper will contribute the growing literature in this area. Even though the implementation and adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) is slower in the healthcare industry compared to other industries, guidelines on a state and federal level that are in place must be adhered to ensure patient privacy and security of these vital information. However, HIT Privacy and Security challenges are encountered on a Federal and also on a State level but nevertheless organizations have to find ways to embrace these challenges and construct recommendations to remain in compliances with the law. The Health Administration Informaticists (HAI) in any organization is in a leadership capacity to provide guidance and educate those organizations so they are able to maintain compliance with these guidelines. In this paper, we will examine a number of key topics that are related to patient information privacy and security.
Improving the Functionality and Attractiveness of Beach Touristic Destination Websites in Mexico
Ana M. Ramirez-Herrera, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico
Prof. Celestino Robles-Estrada, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico
This document introduces the reader to the generals of tourism in Mexico. The text provides a review of the official Web sites of the five main touristic destinations in Mexico (Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, and Cozumel) based on a modified balanced scorecard proposed by Feng et al. (2002). After the analysis, we present several strategies to improve the functionality and attractiveness of these Web sites, by improving their contents and making them more appealing to the consumer at the same time; these improvements offers a better value proposition to accomplish their purpose as promotional agents for the economical development of their regions. México is located on the south side of North America, between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The country has an approximate extension of 2 million square km, with around 107 million inhabitants, according to the last census by the National Institute of Geography, Statistics and Information (INEGI, 2009). Mexico is the biggest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Because of the net volume of its GDP, Mexico is the 14th largest world economy, and in 2001 was even higher, at the ninth largest. It is the second biggest economy of Latin America, only behind Brazil, and the fourth biggest on the continent. For the majority of the past century, the main income source for Mexico was the oil industry, even when there was an industrialization process that allowed the diversification of its economy. Mexico also has one of the largest diversity of climates in the world. This allows the country to be one of the 12 most mega-diverse countries in the world, since it possesses 10% to 12% of the world’s biodiversity and hosts more than 12,000 species.
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