The Business Review Journal
Vol. 19 * Number 1 * December 2011
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC * ISSN 1553 - 5827
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Financial Valuation Using CLV Metrics: A Study of Online Brokers
Dr. Neeraj Gupta, Elon University, Elon, NC
High growth service firms, such as online brokerage firms, are difficult to value because traditional financial metrics such as net income or cash-flow are expected to be negative for a considerable period of time. To better value firms based on its current and prospective customers, we examine how customer retention and acquisition rates relate to firms’ spending on these activities. We develop hypotheses to explain how these metrics, identified from customer lifetime value (CLV) studies in the marketing literature, affect stock returns. Our model is tested on a sample of online brokerage firms with a particular emphasis on the market leader – Charles Schwab. We confirm that our critical findings hold up to scrutiny for the full sample of firms. Traditional discounted cash-flow valuation models, and financial markets, struggle to correctly value high-growth stocks because these firms have no dividend or earnings, and often very low book value or sales. Consequently, prices of these firms may be much more volatile than those of firms with more stable cash-flows. Some researchers, such as Damodaran (2001), have advocated the use of non-traditional methods. However, even these still rely on projections of future firm cash-flows, sales, earnings or book value, which tend to be inaccurate over longer horizons. Prior research suggests significant relations between firm value and non-traditional measures of a firm’s performance. Demers and Lev (2001), studying Internet firms during and after the Nasdaq “bubble”, find that their stock prices have a positive relation with the number of new customers (reach) and retained customers (stickiness). Trueman, Wong, and Zhang (2000) find that unique visitors and page views better explain market value of Internet firms than does its net income.
Evaluating Enterprise Systems Solutions: A Holistic View
Dr. Zehai Zhou, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, TX
As the complexity of managing the data across entire business processes is ever increasing in an organization, it is not efficient nor feasible to rely mainly on manually connecting functional information systems. Therefore, in addition to moving from silos to processes, an organization must move from functionally focused information systems to integrated Enterprise Systems (ESs). As organizations continue to expand their operations regionally or globally and view organizations from a process view rather than a functional view as a way to adjust and reorient operations around business processes in order to better manage and control the regionally or globally distributed organizations, multiple types of Enterprise Systems are increasing adopted and used by all kinds of orgnizations to gain and sustain competitive advantages. The major Enterpise Systems, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Supply Chain management (SCM) systems, Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) systems, are increasingly connected/integrated. In the past, research focus has been on the evalauating and selecting of the most appropriate Enterpise Resource Planning Systems (ERP). We argue that an holistic apprach may be a more appropriate way of or necessary in evaulating and selecting of Enterprise Systems. Furthermore, while an application suite (i.e., the collection of these systems mentioned above) may be availabe and thus can be purchased from a suite vendor, it is not clear that if this is the best stragegy an organization shouldd take. Alternatively, an organization could select different systems from a selected group of vendors based on a varity of criteria inclduing the relative strenths/weaknesses, cost, etc. This study focuses on the ESs evaulation and selection using an holistic or integrated approach.
Integrating Product Platform Decisions With Supply Chain Design Decisions: A Review
Dr. Bimal Nepal, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Dineshkumar Muniyandi, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
The benefits of integrating platform based product development and supply chain decisions are well documented in the existing engineering management literature. While ample works have been done in the areas of both product platform design and supply chain design, very little effort has been made in the past in terms of providing an integrated review of the both areas in one place. The objective of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the prior works in these areas to facilitate the further research. The review is done from two perspectives: i) scope of the papers like platform design, supply chain design, or both; and ii) modeling techniques used such as empirical research, mathematical modeling, or other methodologies. Next, few areas are identified as a potential extension of the current literature. Lastly, a conceptual framework is presented to optimize the product platform design and supply chain design simultaneously using a game-theoretic approach. Global competition and heterogeneous customer demands are forcing the organizations to offer diverse products leading to product proliferation. Product proliferation often results in difficulty in handling the supply chain due to complexity, which ultimately results in high production and inventory cost for companies and often causes the delays in products to market at the right time. On the other hand, product lifecycle is ever shrinking due to advancement in the information technology and highly globalized marketplace. Thus shorter life cycle of products coupled with heterogeneous markets urges the organizations to concentrate on product, process and supply chain decisions simultaneously.
Dynamic Impact Analysis of Floating Currencies in Mixed Exchange Rate Arrangements: Another Look at Interest Rate Parity (IRP)
Dr. Sung Chul No, Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA
This study revisits the classical model of interest rate parity to capture short term dynamic equilibrium paths of five major floating currencies followed by a series of revaluations of a pegged currency, Chinese yuan. Based on the estimates of co-integrating equations and the impulse response functions of the VECMs, the study found that the dynamic paths of spot and forward exchange rates to a new equilibrium are qualitatively similar across nations with few exceptions; their responses to an unexpected interest rate shock are much more prolonged than what the IRP suggests, indicating that there exists an arbitrage profit opportunity in the foreign exchange; and the arbitrage profit opportunity is more likely and often to occur in the recent months. The foreign exchange market is the most unregulated financial market; it operates in the mixture of various exchange rate arrangements: Pegged, crawling pegs, manipulated float, independently floating. This alone renders the exchange market a research laboratory for international finance. In recent years, the market has gotten political spotlights as well. The most current one was a currency dispute between the U.S. and China (April 20, 2011, the WSJ). The main focal point was China’s unwillingness (crawling pegs) to allow its currency to rise quickly. The opposite spectrum of Chinese currency arrangement is an independent floating exchange rate scheme in which market forces alone drive spot exchange rates. Various theories offer the elements of the market forces that dictate static long-run equilibrium exchange rates.
Strategic Positioning of Burkina Faso Agricultural Products on the Agricultural World Market
Dr. Hamadoun Sidibe, University of Moncton, Canada
In response to the opening and access to markets that encourage the less developed countries (LDC) of the world, that was agreed on during the negotiations of the WTO, the IMF reported in 2010 that one of these LDCs Burkina Faso seeks to support export further diversification opportunities, notably in the agriculture and mining sectors. Focusing on the agriculture sector because of its vital role in development, this research addresses the following question: What products should Burkina Faso - one of the poorest countries of the world - choose to export to the world market? Using the strategic management perspective, particularly the BCG tool, the results of this study show that world markets for the exports of Burkina are growing, except for its principal export of cotton lint. The country should diversify its exports and reduce its dependence on cotton lint. Indeed, Burkina Faso should increase its relative market share to become competitive and an important player in the world agricultural markets, and/or form solid alliances with other countries. The opening of markets to the world trade has always interested businessmen, managers of enterprises, governments, and all kind of organizations because it would paves the way for positive development gains. So, it was one of the main points of the negotiations for the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting held in Hong Kong in December 2005. The Financial Times – in the December 13, 2005 article titled, “Poor nations the priority in Doha talks,” - reported that “The US, the European Union and Japan all regard early agreement on a combination of cash and unrestricted access for poor countries' exports as essential to clear the way for negotiations at this week's WTO meeting on how to break the deadlock in the Doha trade round.” (p. 8).
Lead-Lag Relationships Between Commodity Prices and Corresponding Company Stock Prices
Alan Stevenson, Former Graduate Student, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Dr. Milton Boyd, Professor, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
This study analyzed lead-lag relationships between commodity prices and corresponding company stock prices. This may be of interest to investments funds and analysts, as they may want to better understand the price relationships between these markets. Lead-lag relationships between markets refer to the tendency of prices to be determined in one market, such as oil futures market, and with information then passed to a corresponding market price over period of time, such as Exxon stock price. The well known Granger causality method is used to analyze the lead-lag price relationships in this study. Data are from a variety of commodity futures markets such as lumber, copper, gold, and oil. Stock prices are included for thirty-five companies that produce these commodities. Results showed that for seventeen out of the thirty-five firms in the study, that the underlying commodity futures price led the stock price. This indicates that the commodity futures markets were a lead source of information for the corresponding commodity producing companies traded on the stock markets. In contrast, only three of thirty-five firms showed that the stock price led the underlying commodity futures price. These firms were Georgia-Pacific in the lumber sector, and both Barrick Gold and Placer Dome in the metals sector. Nine of the thirty-five firms showed feedback between the stock market and the underlying commodity futures market. This indicates that the commodity futures market and the stock market each pass information back to the other in relatively simultaneous fashion. Only six of the thirty-five firms did not show a significant lead-lag relationship in either market.
Credit Risk Models By Type of Business
Seda Durguner, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Dr. Ani L. Katchova, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
This empirical study focuses on credit risk models for small businesses in the U.S. and tests if different models are needed based on the type of business. The application is specifically for small farm businesses (dairy, beef, grain, and hog farm businesses) in Illinois from 1995 to 2006. The results show that the effect of financial ratios on repayment capacity, and thus on credit risk, differ for farm businesses based on their business types. These findings show that working with aggregated models across business types in the U.S. may lead to misleading results and that lenders should take into consideration the type of business when evaluating the credit worthiness and repayment capacity of small businesses. Since the 1990s, credit risk models have received much attention in the literature. Lenders’ decisions about giving credit to borrowers are influenced by both subjective and quantitative methods. Subjective methods rely on lenders’ knowledge and their past experiences with borrowers and how well the borrowers have paid back previous loans with them. Quantitative methods rely on credit scoring models. Credit scoring models are statistical models and are derived from borrowers’ characteristics, which have the most effect on determining credit risk levels. Several of previous studies focused on significance of financial ratios in derivation of the credit scoring models (Barry et al., 2002; Miller and LaDue, 1989).
Understanding the Factors Contributing to Inter-Partner Trust in Joint Ventures
Samson Ekanayake, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, Victoria, Australia
Forming an international joint venture (IJV) with a local partner in a host country is one of the popular ways available for an overseas investor to do business in any foreign country. A joint venture is commonly viewed as a cooperative, rather than a competitive, business relationship between two or more partners. Further, it is widely acknowledged that inter-partner trust as a key prerequisite for genuine cooperation between joint venture partners. Although the importance of trust in the context of joint ventures is well recognized, the question of how interpartner trust is formed has received only scant attention in academic as well as professional literatures. Drawing from diverse academic literature bearing on the formation of trust between partner firms, this paper explores the factors that may contribute to inter-partner trust in the context of joint ventures. The primary argument in this paper is that trust between IJV partners is determined by observable and objective social, economic and structural factors. In other words, it is argued that interpartner trust is rational and it does not require a ‘leap of faith’. When a foreign firm (for example, a US firm) which pursues global strategies is convinced that there are potential benefits to be gained from forming an international joint venture (IJV) in a particular host country (for example, China), one of the first steps it seems to take is search for a suitable local partner (i.e., a Chinese firm) in the host country (i.e., China). A joint-venture being a close business relationship based on cooperation, as opposed to an arm’s length transaction, the foreign firm will be keen to join hands with a trustworthy local partner. More specifically, the foreign firm would look for a competent partner who is unlikely to behave opportunistically.
A Comparative Study of Airlines Operating in Turkish Domestic Market:
Low-Cost Business Model Perspective
Dr. Ferhan Kuyucak, Anadolu University, School of Civil Aviation, Turkey
Dr. Yusuf Sengur, Anadolu University, School of Civil Aviation, Turkey
The low-cost airline business model has been one of the most striking phenomena of the airline industry. The model that started in the United States has been applied around the globe for about 40 years. Followers of the model in Europe succeeded and gave momentum to its spread all over the world. This study investigates what type of low-cost airline business model is prevailing in Turkey and what characteristics are similar to characteristics in the original low-cost business model. Low-cost airline or low-cost carrier (here after LCC) business models have been discussed since they became an important issue in the global airline industry. Actually there is no single business model for this, and there are important differences in the business models of airlines who are all commonly referred to as “low cost carriers” (Mason and Morrison, 2008). However, there are some successful operating characteristics of low-cost airlines that are widely accepted as a model (Lawton 2002). Many LCCs have benefited from the benchmarks of the low-cost business model. Slightly different low-cost airline business models emerged depending on the particular industry environment. Low-cost airlines’ features have been investigated since the model came into scene by its success (Franke, 2004; Button and Ison, 2008; Brüggen and Klose, 2010).
To What Extent Should All The Attributes Be Transformed to One Comparable
Unit When Evaluating Safety Measures?
Dr. Eirik Bjorheim Abrahamsen, University of Stavanger, Norway
Dr. Frank Asche, University of Stavanger, Norway
Dr. Terje Aven, University of Stavanger, Norway
In evaluation of safety measures there are a number of methods to use, including cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis and multi-attribute analysis. All these methods have in common that they are systematic approaches for organizing the pros and cons of a decision alternative, but they differ with respect to what extent one is willing to make the factors in the problem explicitly comparable. Among experts there are different views related to which of these analyses that should be adopted when evaluating safety measures. Many safety experts prefer multi-attribute analyses and cost-effectiveness analyses, while many economists prefer to transform all the attributes to one comparable unit by using a traditional cost-benefit analysis. This raises the question to what extent all the attributes should be transformed to one comparable unit when evaluating safety measures. In this paper we look closer into this issue by discussing to what extent the different methods will meet generally known and accepted principles of good decision-making. We show that the decision-making can neither be ‘consistent’ nor ‘transparent’ if one is not willing to transfer all attributes to one comparable unit. There are, however, many weaknesses and limitations of traditional cost-benefit analyses. We then conclude that a more pragmatic view of a traditional cost-benefit analysis is the most appropriate approach for evaluation of safety measures.
Managing Hidden Illnesses That Impact on Performance and Absenteeism
Dr. Mirella S. De Lorenzo-Romanella, Lecturer, Swinburne University, Victoria, Australia
Under-performance and absenteeism are issues that all organisations seek to reduce, often devoting substantial resources to the establishment of performance management policies, extensive training programs and a host of complementary policies. However, while most contributory factors to these unwelcome workplace issues are known and tackled, one factor stands alone as a key contributor to sub-optimal performance and poor attendance, namely mental illness. This paper oultines the extent of mental illness in western countries, why it is hidden, and how the use of additional policies can be adopted to assist employees who choose not to divulge to their employer that they have a mental illness. Under-performance and absenteeism are issues that all organisations seek to reduce, often devoting substantial resources to the establishment of performance management policies, extensive training programs and a host of complementary policies. However, while most contributory factors to these unwelcome workplace issues are known and tackled, one factor stands alone as a key contributor to sub-optimal performance and poor attendance, namely mental illness. This factor, while acknowledged is seriously under-valued in size and breadth of coverage in the workplace with few operational managers knowing that in any calendar year somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of their staff will have a mental illness.
Assessment Standards in the Technology Transfer of Long-distance Steep Turn
Pipe Impelling Construction Method
Dr. Yeong-Bin Lee, Ling Tung University, Taiwan
In recent years, the rapid urban development and increasing demands for a higher quality of living have geared up large-scale construction of infrastructures such as underground power, underground sewage works, gas piping system, telecommunications lines, tap water lines, and optical fiber Network. The construction must be well planned and managed to have minimal impact to residents on neighborhoods and traffic above the ground. The underground space utilization will offer chances to help ease these issues while the techniques used become more sophisticated and complex. To meet the demand of underground construction, there have been several new techniques. Long-distance Steep Turn Pipe Impelling Construction Method(LDSTPICM) is a new construction technique that is being actively introduced in Taiwan. The study first conducted an interview with a Japanese company that owns the technique to understand the key technology, major benefits and advantages of the construction method, followed by a discussion with professionals from Japan, researchers in Taiwan, other experts about technology transfer of Long-distance Steep Turn Pipe Impelling Construction Method. By organizing into hierarchies and utilizing Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), an evaluating framework of assessment standards was finalized for the analysis, examination and investigation of assessment standards in technology transfer of Long-distance Steep Turn Pipe Impelling Construction Method.
On Using Post Purchase Behavior to Assess Service Innovations:
A Multi - Method Multi Criterion Approach
Dr. Chaim Ehrman, Jerusalem College of Technology, Israel
In the area of Service Innovation, the producer often is unsure which particular innovative feature is the one that may offer maximum want satisfaction for the user. Typically, innovations are multiattribute in nature, and the innovation addresses several features concurrently. If the provider of the innovation could pinpoint which feature was "best," this can become the Unique Selling Proposition1 that the provider can use in promoting the new innovative service. In this paper, we focus on an innovative service that several Universities have introduced in Israel, known as English Speaking Programs or ESP. This service is designed, to accommodate students who do not know Hebrew well. The attitudes of students who attend these ESP at Israeli Universities are analyzed and are used to evaluate these innovative programs, using a multi method – multi criterion approach. The procedures described in this paper can be used by firms who introduce innovative services to consumers. Evaluating product or service innovations is fairly complex. Consumers have a lot of conflicting attitudes and the true attitude is hard to measure. For instance a "High" price can be viewed as a good thing, since it signifies high product quality. On the other hand, a "high" price can be an impediment to purchase, since the demand curve for products and services is a downward sloping curve: As price increases, quantity sold decreases. In this paper, the measuring of attitudes is focused on the users of the new service.
Self – Marketing for Graduates and Professionals as a Strategic Career Management Tool
Ezgi Merdin, Bogazici University, Istanbul
Within the relatively quick transformation of the Industrial Age into the Information Age, career management has not only gained increased importance but also its content and domain changed very much accordingly. As Drucker (1994) argues, we are in the middle of a great social transformation where the primary resource is knowledge and the new class of post-capitalist society is made up of knowledge workers and service workers. Due to these major transformations, in career management we witness much interdisciplinary collaboration with psychology, economics or marketing. This work is also built upon the foundations of such collaboration, the possible uses and benefits of marketing and product management theory and practice within the domain of career management. The transition to Information Age and the accompanying paradigm shift have been put forward as environmental changes and the statement of a current problem. One of the strategies to advance a career in such an environment is self-marketing which has been theoretically explained and supported by a realistic self-marketing plan example in this paper. Overall, this study is aiming to provide an explanation of how self-marketing changes the perspective to career management as well as a practical guide. As there have been major definitions of “career” in the Information Age and many alternative roads of advancing it have occurred, also the ways to manage career have varied. Let alone the management of a career, also ways of even starting it have been topics of thought and discussion.
Knowledge Creation Mechanisms: Factors Influencing The Knowledge Creation Process
Dr. Wei-Li Wu, Ching Yun University, Taiwan
Dr. Yi-Chih Lee, Ching Yun University, Taiwan
Based on the view of knowledge-based theory, firms can be seen as the main venue of enhanced knowledge creation, while external knowledge acquisition is an important source of knowledge creation. Basically, whether companies can properly use their strategic alliance partners’ resources for the activities of knowledge creation has become a key factor of gaining a sustainable competitive advantage. If firms are the main venue of enhanced knowledge creation, different organizational designs should have various impacts on the processes of knowledge creation. However, researchers do not yet realize how organizational designs influence their output of knowledge creation within firms. Therefore, in order to recognize the importance of organization designs for knowledge creation, three types of organizational mechanism are proposed (“knowledge creation mechanisms”), which will be good for promoting knowledge creation. Based on the perspective of a knowledge creating firm, this study will explain how firms perform knowledge creation effectively, through acquiring knowledge from their strategic alliance partners, and will explore the impact of knowledge creation mechanisms on the relationship between knowledge transfer and knowledge creation. Finally, this study will conclude with suggestions for future research and practical implications on knowledge creation in strategic alliances. In the age of the knowledge economy, organizations that have been under good management and the application of knowledge maintain advantages in competition (Nonaka and Takeucji, 1995).
Clustering Chinese Visitors Based on Chinese Cultural Values
Mei-Hsia Chiang, National Central University and Hsing Wu Institute of Technology, Taiwan , R.O.C.
Dr. Yi-Wen Fan, National Central University, Jhongli City, Taoyuan County, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Charles W. M. Chiang, Applied Films Taiwan Co., Ltd., Tainan City, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Dr. Eric T. G. Wang, National Central University, Jhongli City, Taoyuan County, Taiwan, R.O.C.
This study is to investigate the most relevant Chinese cultural values that may affect Chinese tourists’ perceptions regarding the services received during their stay in UK Bed-and-Breakfasts (B&Bs) and to identify various visitor clusters based on their different emphases on these relevant values and to explore differences among these various visitor groups. Self-administered questionnaires and e-mail surveys were distributed to cross-strait Chinese visitors with accommodation experience in UK B&Bs. Factor analysis confirmed the relevance of three Chinese cultural values – Li (Propriety), Face, and Interpersonal relationships – in the UK B&B context. Using a factor-cluster segmentation approach, three distinctive visitor segments were identified: practical, polite/socializing, and save-face groups. Hospitality and tourism managers and marketers can adopt culturally customized management and develop segmentation-based marketing strategies for each Chinese visitor segment to cultivate positive word-of-mouth and win customer loyalty. Relevant Chinese cultural values have been confirmed in the UK B&B context, especially the rarely-mentioned cultural value of Li. Although this is demonstrated in a UK B&B setting, it can be generalized to other similar contexts. Moreover, this study represents an initial attempt to segment Chinese visitors based on the importance ratings of these relevant values.
Organizational Climate and its Effects on the Employees’ Commitment
Dr. Abdul-Nasser El-Kassar, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Nour Chams, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Dr. Sylvia Karkoulian, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
This study investigates the effects of the seven dimensions of organizational climate (Structure, Responsibility, Risk, Reward, Warmth and Support, Conflict, and Expect Approval) on the three types of organizational commitment (Affective, Continuance and Normative). The purpose of this paper is to examine if a relationship exists between each aspect of organizational climate and each type of employee commitment. The research reports the results of 214 survey questionnaires. Participants were individuals working in medium and large sized organizations located in Lebanon. Results indicate that the affective commitment is highly correlated with five components of organizational climates: structure, responsibility, warmth and support, conflict and expect approval. Also, continuance commitment is impacted by three organizational climates: rewards, warmth and support, and structure. Moreover, normative commitment is significantly related with three organizational climates: rewards, warmth and support, and expect approval. To improve productivity and performance of an organization, managers should understand the human resources, attitude and behaviors of the workforce. Organizational commitment can be one of many aspects that can be studied in order to measure workforce attachment to an organization within a certain climate. Nowadays, firms tend to create comfortable atmosphere and suitable working environment to enhance performance, increase job satisfaction, decrease employees’ turnover and absenteeism and to improve workers’ involvement and attachment to the organization as a whole entity.
Firm and Economic Factors and Performance: Croatian Composite Insurers
Dr. Marijana Curak, University of Split, Split, Croatia
Sandra Pepur, University of Split, Split, Croatia
Dr. Klime Poposki, Insurance Supervision Agency, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
The paper investigates key factors that determine the financial performance of composite insurance companies in Croatia during the period 2004 to 2009. The chosen explanatory variables, taken into account as determinants of the insurers’ profitability, include both firm-specific (internal) and economic (external) characteristics. The results of the panel data analysis applied indicate that size, underwriting risk, inflation and equity returns have significant impact on the insurers’ ROA as a profitability measure. The paper extends prior research and contributes to the literature in two ways. First, to the best of authors’ knowledge, it is the first research performed on the composite (both life and non life) insurance companies that represent the largest segment among total insurers in Croatia. Second, the study provides insight into the impact of the several firm and economic specific characteristics that have not yet been examined in the context of the insurers’ profitability in Croatia. The successful performance of a company’s activities contributes not only to an increase of its market value, but also leads towards the growth of the particular industry and towards the overall prosperity of the economy. Insurance companies gain the importance due to the number of functions of financial system they perform. Not only do they provide mechanisms of risk management, but they also collect funds through selling policies and channelize them to deficit economic units.
Business Intelligence and Competitive Intelligence: Separate Activities or Parts of Integrated Process?
Dr. Rimvydas Skyrius, University of Vilnius, Lithuania
Dr. Vytautas Bujauskas, University of Vilnius, Lithuania
The field of business intelligence (BI) maintains a number of conflicting views as to what is encompassed by the term, and what the boundaries of the function are. The growing diffusion of BI processes raises high user community expectations which have to be supported by adequate understanding of BI function and the potential sources of its value. In particular, the presentation of BI as being mostly inward-oriented may misguide the user community away from some potential sources of BI value. The goal of this paper is to challenge the current definitions of BI and, using the results of a survey of business users, justify the positioning of the BI function regarding inward and outward orientation. The paper concludes that intelligence issues need an integrated view of a business environment, both for common monitoring or special problem solving functions. The field of business intelligence is an active and still growing area of computer applications in business and economy (Gartner 2009). The term has been used to describe processes and systems dedicated to the systematic and in-depth analysis of an organization and its competitive environment (Bucher, Gericke 2009). BI has largely taken over the functions of decision support systems (DSS) as an approach to strive for thorough understanding of business activities and related problems. The numerous definitions and types of BI applications have spurred debates regarding both the core understanding of BI and the value it creates. Although much has been said about what constitutes the field of business intelligence, the views are still conflicting on issues such as goals and boundaries of BI, structure of the BI process, key BI features and some others.
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.
Earthquake Disaster Risk Control in Tourism Industry Via Probability Analysis
Dr. Chung-Hung Tsai, Taiwan Hospitality & Tourism College, Hualien, Taiwan
The Taiwan government is aggressively promoting projects, such as the so-called “Double Tourist Plan", encouraging the development of the sightseeing business. Operators in the tourist industry naturally want to construct facilities at or near scenic areas, which in Taiwan are often adjacent to the mountains or the ocean. Unfortunately these are the areas that most often experience natural disasters. This has a negative impact on the tourism industry. The centralization of touring regions, leading to the gathering of large numbers of tourists during the holiday seasons places people in danger. In other words tourism operators in the Taiwan region face a high risk of natural disasters. This paper describes how earthquake risk-based risk control allocation model works. We begin by discussing the economic rational for allocating risk control in a Tourism Industry. Considering a probability model for risk control decision making under uncertainty and risk, we propose a model involving stochastic total loss amount constraints with respect to various tolerable default level. Our main objective is to develop a method that would allow shaping the risk associated with risk control outcomes. The direct and indirect losses caused by the simulated disasters can be estimated using the engineering and financial analysis model. Basing on the model, we can generate exceeding probability (EP) curve and then calculate how much loss will be ceased or transferred to other entities, if somehow spending budgets on risk control actions. Optimal natural disasters risk control arrangement with probabilistic formulation is explained in this paper.
What can Higher Education learn from the Business World in term of Customer Satisfaction?
Dr. Rassem Amash, Royal University for Women, Riffa, Kingdom of Bahrain
Evidence drawn from many non for profit organizations and governmental agencies including Department of International Education and Student Exchange in Washington D.C show that the enrollment of international students in United States is declining in the past decade. One million international student and twenty billion dollar business in late nineties to less than four hundred thousand student in 2010, it’s a major decline. This research examines the phenomena of the decline, satisfaction of international students, and the alternatives of international students. This study was designed to examine the challenge, difficulties facing international students in the United States and the quality of student services provided by one of the most culturally diverse postsecondary institutions in the United States. The longer term goal of the study is to identify strategies that can be used for the improvement of international student services, increase international student enrollments, decrease the negative challenges these students, and come closer to fulfilling the expectations of international students attending American Colleges and Universities. To date, however, very few research study findings are available that highlight available programs and strategies employed to minimize international students’ concerns and attract or retain students in higher education. The study is focusing on the needs of international students and marketing strategies to attract international students to American educational institutions. "International education is big business for all of the Anglophone countries, one million international student and twenty billion dollar business, American universities traditionally has dominated the market without having to try very hard," said Tim O'Brien, international development director at Nottingham Trent University in England.
Product Market Competition and CEO Entrenchment
Dr. Anwar Boumosleh, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
This paper examines the effect of product market competition on the CEO pay gap and job stability. We find that the pay gap between the CEO and other top executives in the firm increases as competition in the market increases. We also find that CEO pay over the pay of the second top executive in the firm is positively associated with the level of competition in the market. Overall the results of the paper suggest that on the one hand higher competition comes with greater responsibilities and allows the CEO to negotiate higher pay relative to other executives in the firm; on the other hand, it provides the CEO with the ability to eliminate the position of an immediate replacement. Competitive markets are relatively efficient; characterized by transparent operations, thin profit margins, and high accessibility of resources. Indeed, the firm’s operating strategy and the strengths and weaknesses of this strategy are easily transmitted to outside markets. Obviously, operating in highly competitive environments puts immense pressure on firms to function efficiently and subsequently develop optimal organizational hierarchies in order to maximize value. Optimal organizational structure in corporations is bound by the struggle of power between the CEO and the board of directors. Basically, the CEO negotiates larger compensation packages and greater job stability whereas the board prefers less pay and greater control over the CEO (Hermalin and Weisbach (1998)). Finkelstein (1992) suggests that pay differentials could be a reflection of the distribution of power within the firm.
Measuring Performance By Means of Income and Cash Flows and the Life-Cycle Theory
Dr. Leonie Jooste, University of Wollongong in Dubai, Dubai, UAE and
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SA
The purpose of this article is to study the life-cycle theory and investigate income and cash flow patterns during the different life-cycles of an entity as performance measures. There is a general agreement that an entity passes through four life-cycles stages. These stages in the life-cycle of an entity reflect a set of financial characteristics that leads to different information on income and cash flows. The cash flow statement supplies information about both income and cash flows. Combining the life-cycle theory with an analysis of the cash flow statement may be useful as a performance measure and how the entity is managing their flow of funds. The product life-cycle theory is a familiar concept in business and marketing. It describes the stages of a product's acceptance or idea for developing a new invention, from introduction (birth) to its decline (death). Similar to a product life-cycle, an entity moves through more or less the same stages as individual products, which are the introduction, growth, maturity and decline stages (McDaniel, Lamb & Hair 2006). Each stage in the life-cycle theory has a set of financial characteristics that will lead to different information on income and cash flows that may be used as a measure to value performance (Black 1998; Hertenstein & McKinnon 1997). The income of an entity provides information about future cash flows and future growth opportunities, whereas cash flow information provides information about the ability to generate cash flows and the need of an entity to utilise the cash flows. Therefore, to make economic decisions about an entity requires an evaluation of the ability, timing and certainty to generate income and cash flows.
Dr. Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan
Dr. Safdar Ali Butt, Professor, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University Islamabad, Pakistan
This study investigates with the influence of leverage on the financial performance of the firms, using security turnover rate and size of the companies as control variables. By using cluster analysis, piece wise linear regression and descriptive statistics following results appear. Firstly, the results obtained from a sample of Pakistani companies indicated that Leverage is negatively related to the performance of firms. Secondly, control variables, including size and stock-turnover, appear to be positively related to performance. These findings are consistent with Eric Severin (2001) and (Opler and Titman, 1994), who also found that debt level negatively influences performance, and Charreaux, 1997 who found that security turnover has a positive impact on performance. Finally, amongst internal variables, size of the firm is also positively related with the firm’s performance but only to the extent of Marris and return on equity. In brief, we find that ownership structure as well as internal and external variables affects the performance of firms in Pakistan. Company is type of business in which funds are provided by set of persons (called financiers, fund providers or investors) but actually utilized by another set of persons (called managers). Financiers can be further classified into two broad groups: shareholders and lenders. Investors require a return on their investments which a company can provide only out of profits earned by its operations. In countries like Pakistan, the management of companies is often in the hands of the group that holds a controlling interest in the equity of the company.
A Study of the Relationships among Political Perception, Organizational Culture, and Job
Performance in the International Tourist Hotel Industry
Dr. Chu Wu, National Penghu University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Wei-Fang Chen, Ling Tung University, Taiwan
Labor is the most important asset in the international tourist hotel industry. To create competitive strength, the international tourist hotel industry needs strong labor management. This study examines the question of whether the political perception and culture of an organization will affect its employees’ organizational commitment, work attitude, and job performance. This study used the questionnaire survey procedure to collect the empirical data. Seven hundred and fifty questionnaires were distributed, and 614 questionnaires were collected with 594 being valid—making the valid return rate 79.2％. SPSS statistic software was used to carry out descriptive statistical analysis, factor analysis, reliability analysis, t-test, one-way ANOVA, subsequent multiple comparisons. Correlation analysis was used to explore the relationships among the variables. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to explore the impact of various variables between the models. Due to the implementation of the policies of the Taiwan government and the open door to mainland Chinese tourists to travel to Taiwan, the Tourism Bureau has predicted that the hotel industry will need to build another 15,100 guest rooms. Therefore, the hotel has to upgrade the quality of the manpower and service in order to enhance the mission of the value of product (Tourism Bureau, 2009). The international tourist hotels in the world try to enhance quality service as a marketing niche to attract visitors; however, the key to quality service of the hotels depends on the employees’ commitment and professionalism.
Factors Influencing Portfolio Flow in Malaysia
Dr. Tajul Ariffin Masron, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
Dr. Haslindar Ibrahim, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
Anuar Abd Wahhab, University Teknologi Mara (Kedah), Malaysia
One of the most important developments in the area of international capital market in recent years has been the rapid growth of cross-border portfolio investment and became the hallmark of the 21st century’s global economy. Malaysia began to liberalize its economy in 1973 by introducing floating exchange rate regime and thus, attracting further large private capital investment. However, the 1997 economic crisis that swept through the ASEAN region caught many people off guard and challenges the country’s economic policy in dealing with the flow of foreign capital, especially portfolio investment. Thus, created much interest in the study of the behavior of portfolio investment and this is the focus of this study. One of the most important developments in the area of international capital market in recent years has been the rapid growth of international private investment. It has happened together with the process of liberalization in many emerging markets. Before the 1990’s, most countries in the Asian region imposed restrictions on international capital flows. However, in the last 20 years, many of these restrictions have been removed. This has caused global capital to flow to emerging markets, including Malaysia, in search for higher returns. The super bull run of 1993 pushed the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) to its all-time-high level of 1334 points in January 1994. The ups and downs of the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index are nothing short of a phenomenon. The rapid movement of portfolio investment is a hallmark of the 21st Century’s global economy (IMF, 2005).
Factors Influencing Demand for Medical Care Among Urban Dwellers in Sarawak
Dr. Jamal Ali, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
Dr. Tan Phoi Tsze, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
Dr. K. Kuperan Viswanathan, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
Increase in income, changing role of women and family characteristics, rising life expectancy and the availability of health insurance have exerted significant impact on demand for medical care. The objective of the study is to examine the characteristics of demand for medical care services in Sarawak, Malaysia. Demand for medical care services is determined by (a) price of medical care (b) opportunity cost of time (c) price of home care (d) externalities (e) health status (f) age (g) education and (h) income of the head of family. The medical care equations are estimated separately since outpatient and hospital care demand differs systematically. The units of the study consist of 394 families in the urban towns of Sarawak, namely Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu which are undergoing rapid urbanization. The results indicate that the changing role of women has resulted in married men not being able to substitute home care for market care as readily as before. Increase in price of home care has lead to an increase in demand for market care. The number of children under six years old exert significant impact on the mother’s use of medical care rather than men. It is evidenced that a loss in women’s health is likely to have a greater impact on the family compared with the loss of the health of men. The study provides support to the believe that medical care is a necessity good. It also shows that insurance coverage often fails to include those who are poor and sick. Since medical demand is triggered by poor health status, public involvement is essential for the health of the population.
The Effect of Country Characteristics and Fiscal Variables on Economic Growth in the Asian and the Pacific Countries
Dr. Hussin Abdullah, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
Dr. Fauzi Hussin, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
Prof. Dr. Muzafar Shah Habibullah, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia
This paper examines the effect of country characteristics and fiscal variables on economic growth using panel data of 45 selected countries in the Asian and the Pacific countries. Fiscal positions vary significantly across countries and sub-regions. Large fiscal deficits and public debts are relatively new phenomena for most Asian and Pacific economies. However, with expenditure growth outpacing revenue growth, many of these economies face persistent budget deficits and high indebtedness. Weak fiscal positions had left little room for further fiscal expansion in most of the Asian and the Pacific economies during the economic slowdown. Moreover, measuring fiscal policy has always posed a difficult challenge. The resulting country characteristics and fiscal variables can be interpreted as a means to finance additional government expenditure. If this expenditure is growth enhancing, then a government deficit would contribute positively to the country’s long-run economic growth. Thus, this study attempts to analyse the impact of fiscal policy instruments on economic growth, in order to provide a synthesis of recent literature on growth and fiscal policy. Fiscal policies have a benign role for economic growth in the Asian region, namely to provide a stable macro-environment for investment. The changed environment of liquidity constraints on external borrowing and the slowdown in output growth has led to new attention being directed towards the role and contribution of fiscal policies in reviving growth in the region (Gangopadhyay and Chatterji, 2005).
The Dynamics of Consumption Patterns and Preferences of Comfort Foods in the UAE
Dr. Rubeena Cetin, Ajman University of Science and Technology Network, United Arab Emirates
The present study provides an in-depth analysis and understanding of comfort food consumption in the UAE related to demographic variables such as: gender, age, nationality (can connote culture) compared to their preferences and consumption of comfort foods. Further, comfort foods consumption related to physiological and emotional eating is examined. Consumption timings are analyzed for these respondents as to when comfort foods are mostly preferred during which activities. Correspondingly, preferences of the consumption of comfort foods are also tested related to the variety of branded and unbranded comfort products available in the market. Statistical analysis are performed to test the hypotheses related to the consumption of comfort foods in relation to the reasons of consumption and the types of comfort foods preferred by the 250 respondents according to age, gender and nationality. The results give evidence and input to the marketing, branding, distribution and availing of media for companies to market comfort foods in the UAE. The present paper provides insights into food marketing specially related to “comfort foods.” Food marketing relates to how traditional marketing strategies are implemented to influence consumer’s attitudes, preferences and behaviors towards consumers’ consumption of foods. Though the world comprises of different kinds of cuisines and foods that are primarily influenced by culture, this study concentrates on the universal understanding of comfort foods that comprises of ice creams, chocolates, cookies, chips, nuts, cakes, popcorn, crepes, doughnut, nachos and others. The significance of this study is that the market related to these above comfort foods comprises of billions of dollars and is generally has a universal liking, demand and consumption of these products. Due marketing of these products are relied on traditional marketing mix variables of product and brand management, pricing strategies, intensive distribution, shelf management, along with appropriate communication and promotion.
The Quality of Credit Rating and Bankruptcy Probability: Evidence from Post-SOX Restatements
Prof. Ya-Fang Wang, Providence University, Republic of China
After a series of scandals (e.g., Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing), the creditability and responsibilities of credit raters are openly challenged because the rating failure led many to question the competence of credit rating agencies and the value of their ratings. And, the consequences of the resultant regulatory changes on credit ratings agencies are yet to be systematically studied. Thus, this study examines whether rating agencies became more careful in their rating assessments after SOX. Based on my empirical results, credit raters in the post-SOX period are more likely to investigate and take into account companies’ restatement content before assigning credit ratings. My findings imply that SOX and public criticism have made a substantial positive impact on raters’ perception of accounting information, and have led raters to view the accounting information of financial restatements more discerningly. A number of high-profile accounting scandals were brought to light during late 2001 and 2002, and caused many to question the integrity of accounting information provided to investors. Significant falls in investor confidence were reported. For example, the Enron scandal shook investors’ confidence and caused a downturn in the market. And, the Enron collapse alone accounted for $32 billion in lost stock market capitalization. These financial failures were highly publicized and ultimately led to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (hereafter called SOX) and other reforms.
The Impact of Non-Oil Foreign Trade on Economic Growth in UAE
Dr. Rubeena Cetin, Ajman University of Science and Technology Network, United Arab Emirates
Dr. Srinivas Inguva, Ajman University of Science and Technology Network, United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is a rapidly diversifying, highly developed economy, based on various socioeconomic indicators. There are various deviating estimates regarding the actual growth rate of the nation’s GDP 859.881 billion AED during 2010, however all available statistics indicate that the UAE currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In the oil based economies although the economic growth is fully based on the oil exports but they have some important contribution from non-oil foreign trade also. The main objective of the present work is to study the impact of non-oil trade on the economic growth of UAE during and after recent recession on the basis of the given economic and policy variables. The imports, non-oil exports and re-exports of UAE are analyzed in order to determine the sustainable trade balance of UAE. The data for the study is collected from the National Bureau of Statistics, UAE. The results of the study would be useful for policy making decisions and further research. The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization has prompted extensive diplomatic and commercial relations with other countries. Regionally, the UAE has a very close relationship with other GCC members as well as most of the Arab countries. The UAE has an open economy with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and a sizable annual trade surplus. In 2009, its GDP, as measured by purchasing power parity, stood at US$400.4 billion.
Loan Loss Provisioning Methodology on Non-Performing Loans of Malaysia’s Commercial Banks:
A Longitudinal Panel Data Analysis Using Econometric Modelling
Mohd Yaziz bin Mohd Isa, University Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
The purpose of this paper is to research to come up with factors that determine loan loss provisions of non-performing loans of commercial banks in Malaysia, that is, factors reflecting the collectability of defaulted loans so that financial statements of banks reflect their true underlying risk conditions. The results of research show among explanatory variables, bad debt recoveries as a factor to determine loan loss provisions that reflect the collectability of the defaulted loan, is rejected. The variable is a biased and inconsistent estimator. In the context of perceived credit risk - an estimate of recoveries has not fulfilled a perception of credit risk in the collectability of defaulted loans. On the other hand, non-performing loans as a factor to determine loan loss provisions that reflect the collectability of the defaulted loan, is not rejected. It is proven that it is not a biased estimator. In giving out borrowings to borrowers, there is a chance that banks not able to collect back the loans as the borrowers may default in repayment. If it happens, part or full amount of the loans may not be able to be recovered. Therefore, banks are required by banking regulators to make appropriate provisions for losses from the defaulted loans. This is when not likelihood banks would be able to collect part or all amounts due - principal and interest - according to contractual terms of loan agreement. Loan loss provisions (LLP) is defined as “a method that banks use to recognise a reduction in the realizable value of their loans” Podder and Al Mamun (2004).
Understanding Credit Rating Surrounding a Financial Restatement:
Evidence from Industry Membership and Auditor Switch
Cathy Zishang Liu, Louisiana Tech University and University of Houston Downtown, TX
Ya-Fang Wang, Providence University, Republic of China
A financial restatement indicates a joint failure of a firm and its auditors in presenting the true financial position. It may consequently oblige a firm to commit in improving its governance and financial reporting quality under the spotlight, especially in the post-SOX era. Using a propensity-score match procedure and controlling firm characteristics, we find that industry membership and auditor switch play important roles in credit ratings. Restating firms experience downgrade, and those in the energy industry are assigned much lower ratings. Auditor switch marginally lowers the credit rating pre-SOX but not post-SOX. Further, auditor switch for restating firms in the energy industry is associated with more favorable credit ratings post-SOX, consistent with rating agencies view auditor switch as a more positive step in improving reporting integrity post-SOX. We examine how industry membership and auditor switch contribute to actions of rating agencies to restating firms, and how Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) influences rating agencies’ interpretations of these two factors for financial reporting. Restatement of past inaccurate, incomplete, and/or misleading disclosures usually wreaks havoc on a public company, which casts doubts on the financial and operational health and stability of the firm. Yet on the positive side, the wide variety of market responses due to restatements (e.g., negative publicity, difficulty in accessing capital markets, decrease in stock price, lawsuits, and potential investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission) may cause the restating firm to improve corporate governance, reporting quality, and performance thereafter, all of which prior studies suggest reduce firms’ default risk.
Effect of Employee Stock Ownership Satisfaction on OCB
Dr. Ann Lin, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Taoyuan, Taiwan
As organizations world-wide implement strategies with the expectation that they will motivate employees and improve performance to sustain competitive advantage globally; there is an extensive interest of practice and research upon issue regarding employee stock ownership and positive organizational outcome in the recent decade. The study is anticipated to foster a greater understanding of employee ownership satisfaction influences formation of organizational citizenship behavior through moderation of individual’s need of achievement, affiliation and autonomy. The research is based on data derive from multinational high-tech firms with all-employee stock option program. The results indicated need of affiliation does have moderating effect between employee ownership satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior (ΔR2 =.08, p>0.05). In response to the newly emerged workplace, the concepts of employee ownership were undertaken by the organizations as it provides a frame work for a nontraditional paradigm of work motivation. The ability to motivate workers and retain talents is largely influenced by reward and compensation scheme deliberated by organizations’ human resource practices. The idea to motivate employee though compensation has founded on the basis that worker motivation will be improved though financial participation which would eventually link compensation more closely to employee performance. Contrasting from the traditional fix rate compensation, alternative compensation schemes include profit and value added sharing, employee share ownership, and productivity gain sharing.
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