The Business Review, Cambridge

Vol. 19 * Number 2 * Summer. 2012

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC   *   ISSN 1553 - 5827 

Most Trusted.  Most Cited.  Most Read.

All submissions are subject to a double blind review process

Main Page   *   Home   *   Scholarly Journals   *     Academic Conferences   *   Previous Issues   *   Journal Subscription

 

Submit Paper   *     Editorial Team   *    Tracks   *   Guideline   *   Sample Page   *   Standards for Authors / Editors

Members / Participating Universities   *   Editorial Policies   *   Jaabc Library   *   Publication Ethics

The primary goal of the journal will be to provide opportunities for business related academicians and professionals from various business related fields in a global realm to publish their paper in one source. The Business Review, Cambridge will bring together academicians and professionals from all areas related business fields and related fields to interact with members inside and outside their own particular disciplines. The journal will provide opportunities for publishing researcher's paper as well as providing opportunities to view other's work.  All submissions are subject to a double blind peer review process. The Business Review, Cambridge is a refereed academic journal which  publishes the  scientific research findings in its field with the ISSN 1553-5827 issued by the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.  No Manuscript Will Be Accepted Without the Required Format.  All Manuscripts Should Be Professionally Proofread Before the Submission.  You can use www.editavenue.com for professional proofreading / editing etc...The journal will meet the quality and integrity requirements of applicable accreditation agencies (AACSB, regional) and journal evaluation organizations to insure our publications provide our authors publication venues that are recognized by their institutions for academic advancement and academically qualified statue. 

The Business Review, Cambridge is published two times a year, December and Summer. The e-mail: jaabc1@aol.com; Website: BRC  Requests for subscriptions, back issues, and changes of address, as well as advertising can be made via our e-mail address.. Manuscripts and other materials of an editorial nature should be directed to the Journal's e-mail address above. Address advertising inquiries to Advertising Manager.

Copyright 2000-2017. All Rights Reserved

Labor Productivity Analysis for Picking Operations

Dr. John E. Knight, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, TN

Dr. Daniel L. Tracy, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD

 

ABSTRACT

 Labor productivity estimation for order picking operations is critical given that order picking is one of the more labor-intensive operations in our increasingly supply chain and distribution oriented society. The academic literature discusses the order picking operation and its importance by focusing on different algorithms that seek to maximize productivity by changing the shapes of picking lines or by changing the line to multiple picking zones. However, the literature seldom discusses the basic question of labor productivity at its elemental level of basic work - gathering multiple items from various locations and developing an algorithm for that activity. Traditionally, order picking quotas have resulted in distortions in employee piece rate payments as well as the cooperative level through which employees process orders. In this paper, the general case of labor productivity in order picking with m locations and n items per location is mathematically formulated and examined. Case study data is then used to demonstrate the applicability of the theory to practical operations. The methodology chosen examines the non linear nature of the relationship between order size and number of locations as well as the sensitivity of potential variable changes in labor productivity improvement strategies. Non-linear regression analysis and multivariate regression analysis was used to model the relationships. Finally, implementation of the results is discussed as they relate to continuous improvement activities. As the service economy grows many retail and service chains with a multitude of different outlets are discovering that labor intensive warehousing operations have become a critical success factor. Warehousing involves all activities related to the movement of goods. “Among these activities, order picking is the most costly process because its operations are labor-intensive and repetitive”. (Liou, 2008) It is noteworthy that about 28% of all logistics costs were warehousing operations (Aichlmahr, 2001) while the actual order picking labor accounts for as much as 55% of all warehousing operations expenses. (Tompkins, 2003) Given these figures, the establishment of productivity baselines and improvement strategies in the area of order picking labor is critical. Although some sophisticated operations have computerized the picking problem with robotic warehouses, the normal practice is still to have order pickers manually pick and assemble each order from various picking locations within the warehouse either on foot or with motorized vehicles.  The pervasiveness of these order picking operations can be visualized by realizing that nearly all major retail chains utilize regional warehouses to supply a large number of retail outlets. For example, retail outlets such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Autozone, Lowe’s, etc. have regional warehouses that utilize picking lines to build orders to restock retail inventory at different retail outlets spread throughout their service region. Labor productivity of picking operations is a widespread and important problem to be examined.

 

The Impact of Demographic Workforce Change on Corporate Career Websites

Dr. Michael Albert, Professor of Management, San Francisco State University

Daniela Hernandez, Process & Capabilities Mgr., Hewlett-Packard Corp.

 

ABSTRACT

 During the past decade, corporate career websites have begun to transform their content and appearance to respond to demographic changes in the workforce to respond to Millennials, who will comprise more than half of the workforce by 2014. This paper focuses on: changes in the workplace expectations of Millennials, changes in the content of corporate career websites, and describes the career websites of five select companies: Microsoft, Cisco, American Express, Intel and Publix Super Markets.  During the past decade, corporate career websites have begun to transform their content and appearance to respond to demographic changes in the workforce (Bingham & Conner, 2010; Cappelli, 2001, Dychtwald, Ericson, & Morrison, 2006; Espinoza, Ukleja, & Rusch, 2010; Hira, 2007; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2009, Mauer & Liu, 2007; and Meister & Willyerd, 2010). There is widespread agreement among researchers and business writers that shifting workforce demographics point to Millennials, workers born between 1977 and 1997, as becoming the dominate segment of the workplace during this decade. As of 2010, they comprised 88 million; baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 number 78 million, and Generation X, born between 1965 and 1976 number 50 million (Meister & Willyerd, 2010). Bingham & Conner (2010) state that by 2014, more than half the workforce will be Millennials.  The focus of this paper is threefold: 1) to describe changes in the workplace expectations of Millennials; 2) to describe changes in the content of corporate career websites to respond to the emerging demographic workforce change; and 3) to analyze and describe the career websites of five select companies: Microsoft, Cisco, American Express, Intel and Publix Super Markets.  Millennials have unique values, job aspirations, and preferences for technology as a communication tool that will require changes in the way companies brand themselves as a potential place for future employees to work. One of the most significant changes affecting Millennials have been the emergence of The World Wide Web, the variety of associated digital technologies, including video games, smart phones, texting, blogging, tweeting, Googling, YouTubing, and becoming members of social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Since this segment of the workforce had used technology from an early age as part of their every day life – they have grown up digital - they will expect companies to provide them with the same tools at work – to network, collaborate, and brainstorm – they have used in their personal lives. In this regard Meister & Willyer (2010) state, “Millennials are likely to select an employer based on ability to access the latest tools and technologies at work (p.59). Dychtwald, Ericson, & Morrison (2006) state that “technology, including the vast resources and undefined possibilities of the Internet, shapes how they approach and solve problems Where an older generation tends to observe, analyze, plan and act, the younger one tends to experiment from the start, to try things and learn what works.” (p.102). For millennials, a stimulating, content-loaded website is an expected as part of their every day Web experience (Walker, 2010).  Millennials also believe that technology is not an occasional tool to use, but a constant extension of themselves. Their distinct expectations for work reflect their upbringing.

 

Mapping Global Virtual Team Leadership Actions to Organizational Roles

Jeff Zivick, University of Maryland, University College, Adelphi, MD

 

ABSTRACT

 The rise of globalization and the nee for organizations to become more efficient and competitive is driving a steady increase in the use of global virtual teams (GVTs) that span time zones, organizational boundaries and cultures (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001, p. 8; Lurey & Raisinghani, 2001, p. 523). Virtual teams have the potential to transform a global enterprise by maximizing the use of all its resources and increase its ability to respond quickly in a dynamic global marketplace. Global virtual teams can be organized independently of employees’ locations allowing the best set of skills and knowledge to be assembled and applied to the task at hand(Trzcieliński & WypychŻółtowska, 2008, p. 501). GVTs can also be a source of immediate costs savings as evidenced in a study by Volvo which found a 50% reduction in its travel expenses by implementing virtual teams(Adamson, 2009). This paper examines the relationship between the virtual team and all levels of the encompassing organization through the lens of the team leadership. Identifying actions of effective global virtual team (GVT) leaders and mapping them to the appropriate entity in the organizational can provide a better understanding of how virtual teams function and integrate within a global enterprise. Effective GVT leaders can use this knowledge to propagate and deepen this understanding within the organization through their actions.  Virtual teams have the potential to transform the way a global enterprise works because of their ability to maximally use all of the firm’s human resources regardless of their physical location. Specifically, global virtual teams (GVTs) have the ability to work across internal and external organization boundaries. GVTs can quickly assemble staff with the exact skills and knowledge needed to address the current issue or project (Lee-Kelley & Sankey, 2008, p. 51). The GVT can also be quickly disassembled and the individuals reassigned to new GVTs to address new issues and tasks wherever they may arise. Global virtual teams have the potential for cost savings that can benefit the long-term sustainability of the firm in the competitive global marketplace(Snyder, 2003, p. 1).  Lastly, GVTs can be augmented with “virtual employees” regardless where the required talent is located, often at lower labor costs, with no long-term employment commitment and no relocation expenses. Viewed collectively, these attributes give global virtual teams a transformative ability that cannot be matched by traditional team structures.  For these reasons, global virtual teams are becoming commonplace, if not essential, for firms competing in the global market. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers regularly uses GVTs to bring employees together to work on client solutions from across their 45,000 employees located in 120 countries. Similarly, TRW has employees in over 27 countries and more than 200 facilities where working in global virtual teams is not only commonplace but expected(Duckworth, 2008, p. 11). In one year, Hewlett-Packard used virtual teams to save the company $800,000 in reduced product compliance costs in Argentina and another $200,000 in faster cycle times in Korea.  However, simply making the technology investments and assigning staff is not sufficient for global virtual teams to perform effectively. GVTs need leadership with skills and temperaments that are different from those required for leading traditional, co-located teams(Bell & Kozlowski, 2002, p. 15; Kayworth & Leidner, 2001, p. 9). One example of how GVT leaders differ from traditional team leaders is that GVT leaders must project their presence using media that may not effectively communicate subtleties such as facial expressions, body gestures or voice inflections(Zigurs, 2003, pp. 341-347). How does one give a team member a ‘slap on the back’ or a ‘kick in the pants’ from 1000 miles and 6 time zones away? Common team issues such as trust, conflict resolution, task clarity, motivation and performance monitoring become more difficult for leaders of global virtual teams. Leadership is often viewed as being directed downward, in the sense of an organizational hierarchy, towards the team or team members.

 

The Disconnect Between Workplace and Graduate School Motivation - Exploring the Life Motivation Continuum

Dr. Niall Hegarty and Dr. Rosalba Del Vecchio, St. John’s University, New York

 

ABSTRACT

 Individuals exhibit levels of motivation in almost all facets of life.  The difference in motivation applied to various aspects of one’s life oftentimes depends on the priority that particular area has for an individual.  This article provides a framework for understanding motivation in individuals from a career building viewpoint by reviewing workplace and graduate school motivation along the Life Motivation Continuum.  The authors examine available theories in both workplace and educational domains as well as instruments utilized in the measurement of motivation in an effort to better understand the interplay between workplace and graduate school motivation.  The impact of various types of leadership on levels of motivation is also discussed. These authors have previously conducted extensive research on the motivation of graduate students.  With a firm understanding of these students’ levels of motivation the next step in research inquiry is to now examine the available theories in workplace, or professional, motivation in order to determine if these realms of motivation are connected or if they are to be treated as separate areas if inquiry.  The seed of this direction of research stems from the idea that one pursues graduate school in order to develop one’s professional career, therefore motivation theories in these areas should display interconnectivity.  A basic tenet is that a person chooses a career path which holds interest to them either from an intellectual or personality perspective.  The level of interest and motivation an individual then has can serve as an indicator of their professional success levels. Various theories have been developed, tested, and reviewed covering different aspects of motivation inherent in people both in workplace and educational settings.  These theories and the research produced tend to focus on niche areas in the examination of motivation.  Motivation research in the work environment has examined such areas as success, stress, leadership, and employee retention among others while educational research has focused on motivation at various grade and collegiate levels.  This current research seeks to examine production from both fields to gauge any cross-discipline relevancy which would help us understand the motivational connection, if any, between graduate school and professional employment.  Motivational theories provide the basic structure in assisting us in the evaluation and understanding of individual’s behavior.  From as far back as Freud in 1925, we have been relentless in seeking ways to understand what moves people to act in certain ways.  Of obvious importance is Malsow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs which has relevance to individuals across all disciplines.  This hierarchy, with physiological needs at its base, builds incrementally through security needs, social needs, and self esteem needs, culminates in self actualization whereupon an individual has achieved their full potential.  This theory illustrates that inherent individual motivation in its basic form is universal; that is, motivation has relevance and commonality across all disciplines because it is founded on basic human needs.

 

The Food Recall Crisis at Maple Leaf Foods

Dr. Peter A. Stanwick and Dr. Sarah D. Stanwick, Auburn University, AL

 

ABSTRACT

 Coming from the prominent McCain family in New Brunswick, Michael McCain seemed to have it all. He was being groomed to take over the family’s food operations as he fast tracked up the organization. However, in 1995 his uncle led a “coup” in which he and his father were forced to leave McCain Foods. Unfortunately, for Michael, this was not his first crisis. After his father took control of Maple Leaf Foods in 1995, he became the CEO in 1999 after his father retired. In the summer of 2008, Maple Leaf Foods had been linked to 20 deaths to listeriosis a disease based on the listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This case presents the challenges Michael faced first with his forced departure from McCain’s and his effective resolution of the food crisis at Maple Leaf Foods. McCain’s honest and companionate approach in address the listeria outbreak has been considered a textbook example of how a CEO should address a crisis of this magnitude.  Established in 1956 in Florenceville, New Brunswick, McCain foods became a dominant player in the food processing industry in Canada and around the world. It is estimated by McCain’s that they are the world’s largest producer of French Fries (between 500 and 600 million pounds per hour) and have products in a number of categories including Pizzas, frozen vegetables, desserts and juices. McCain is a privately held company controlled by the McCain family with Wallace McCain and Harrison McCain’s family each controlling one third of the company and the other third being split between the families of two other McCain brothers who are both deceased. Michael had briefly attended his father alma mater, Mount Allison University but transferred to the University of Western Ontario, Honors of Business Administration program, and graduated in 1979. He returned to McCain Foods and moved up in the corporate ladder until he became the CEO of McCain United States division in 1990 (Pitts, 2008)   However, by October 1994, Michael McCain was in for the fight of his professional career. The McCain board had fired Wallace who had been the co-CEO for 38 years. By getting the support of the board of directors, Harrison had successfully forced out his brother and nephew Michael. Wallace’s comment of the firing was “Given that this is a termination without cause based solely on family politics…not only do I consider this poor business judgment but a flagrant display of ingratitude and disrespect” (Steed, 1995). The political coup by Harrison had resulted in both Wallace and Michael serving all management ties with McCain Foods. One family friend of the McCain has commented, “when it became apparent Harrison’s children weren’t ‘executive material’, and Wallace’s were”, the rivalry between Harrison and Wallace escalated (Steed, 1995). When Michael was promoted to the president of the United States division by Wallace, “Harrison hit the roof. He opposed Michael getting all that experience” (Steed, 1995). It has become apparent that Harrison wanted one of his sons to eventually take over control of McCain. However, Wallace had already started grooming Michael for that position by giving him the CEO position for the US operations. Harrison made sure the ties remained served by changing the locks on many of the office doors so that Harrison and Michael could not return to McCain headquarters. Harrison had claimed that Michael was insubordinate and has a conflict of interest by being involved in the potential takeover of Maple Leaf Foods (Waldie, 1995a). In his dismissal letter to Michael, Harrison wrote, “since Wallace McCain was removed as president and co-CEO of McCain Foods Ltd. You have engaged in, and continue to engage in, acts of insubordination which caused the board to place you on probation (in December 1994)”. In his justification of the potential conflict of interest, Harrison wrote in a memo to a senior employee at McCain USA “I believe Michael was treated exactly the same as if an executive of McDonald’s decided he was going to invest, and probably help run a KFC franchise…it just won’t fly”. (Wadlie, 1995).

 

Is the Community Better Off?  An Assessment of Outcomes Based Performance Management

Dr. Veronica Hampson, Professor Peter Best, and Professor Marie Kavanagh

University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

 

ABSTRACT

 This research investigates the application of a change-based approach to outcomes based performance management (OBPM) in an Australian State Government.  The extent to which this approach is adopted and applied by the case study agency is examined. A mixed-method research approach was used, incorporating document analysis and case study interviews, to assess the effectiveness of implementation of OBPM in the agency. Concerns are raised about the degree to which OBPM is adequate, in the current state of implementation, for enabling the agency to know whether or not it is contributing to the long term outcomes desired by the Government.   The public sector in Australia remains very clear about the importance of an outcomes based performance management (OBPM) approach to the management of government. Agencies are increasingly being asked to establish strategic objectives and to determine the outputs needed to ensure the outcomes that government is pursuing are achieved. The aim of this research is to investigate the application of a change-based approach to OBPM in an Australian State Government.  The extent to which this approach is adopted and applied by the case study agency is examined. Literature in this area has tended to fall into two categories: the pessimistic literature and the more optimistic literature (Moynihan, 2005: p. 214).  Pessimistic literature suggests little or no success in achieving an outcomes focus for managing government (Lonti & Gregory, 2007; Kasdin, 2010).  More optimistic literature cites the possibility of success from case studies (Ho & Ni, 2005; Hoque, 2008). This research contributes to the more pessimistic literature by delving into why there has been limited success in the adoption of OBPM principles by the case study agency. This research, however, also contributes to the optimistic literature as it provides opportunities for practitioners to adopt sound principles to successfully implement OBPM.  This paper is organized into six sections. The next section provides an overview of the literature and commentaries on the OBPM approach to managing government. Section 3 identifies the research questions and discusses the research methodology. The final two sections provide the results and discussions of the study followed by the conclusion and implications.  A concentration on outcomes is a central element (Wholey, 1999) in what is widely referred to as new pubic management (Kettl, 2000). It is suggested that an increased focus on outcomes enables agencies to determine the effectiveness of government programs in meeting community needs and to find ways to improve public sector service delivery (Wholey, 1999; Roberts 2002).  Prior studies have generally concluded that the OBPM process must focus on outputs and outcomes rather than on inputs and procedures (Wholey, 1999; Mayne 2004). The centerpiece of OBPM is the development of outcomes-based objectives (Medina-Borja and Triantis, 2001). If these objectives are not well articulated and the pathway to achieving them is not clearly outlined, it is impossible to understand the agency’s program (Stinchcomb, 2001: p. 392). Behn (2008) argues that OBPM efforts require a clear strategic logic of how operational activities relates to outcomes.   At a broad conceptual level it does not appear difficult to select outcome categories. Most people, for example, want children to grow up in stable and safe family homes and be able to function as productive members of the community. While agreement is more easily reached at the general level of the desires of the citizens of a community, the concerns of particular audiences differ as the process of defining outcomes becomes more specific. It is suggested that since agencies have multiple stakeholders with multiple goals, hence multiple accountabilities, a considerable element of judgment or implicit bargaining between conflicting interests inhibits the ability to identify and measure outcomes adequately. Thus OBPM quickly becomes impaired by complexity (Kasdin, 2010).

 

Toward a General Holistic Taxonomy of Risks

Dr. David R. Borker, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY

Dr. Valery N. Vyatkin, Saint Peters College, Jersey City, NJ

 

ABSTRACT

 In a previous paper, the authors addressed the development of a general comprehensive, synergistic theory of holistic risk encompassing all the multiple dimensions of risk phenomena. (Borker & Vyatkin, 2012) This paper develops the concept of a general holistic taxonomy of risk that can ultimately be applied to any risk situation.  Existing scientific standard setting processes for a possible direction in establishing a robust taxonomy of risk categories, classifications and methodologies that could serve as a theoretical and methodological underpinning for future applied risk research and management are examined.  Risks are classified in based upon a general formula for taxonomy of risks.  In their previous collaboration, the authors proposed three general risk formulas as a starting point for establishing a general holistic theory of risk incorporating the concept of the multidimensionality (Borker & Vyatkin, 2012) .  The goal was to set a more holistic direction for risk planning and management of organizations.  The major task cited as essential to the achievement of this goal and the focus of the current paper is the development of a robust general holistic taxonomy of risk. Taxonomy can be broadly defined as the theory and practice of grouping individuals into species, arranging species into larger groups, and giving those groups names to produce a classification. (Judd, 2007) It is also defined as a field of science (and major component of systematics) that encompasses description, identification, nomenclature, and classification. (Simpson, 2010)  Although taxonomy is most closely associated with the biological sciences for the classification of living organisms, the methodology has been applied to the identification and classification of other phenomena, including, in a limited way, risk identification in software development projects.    In this paper, we discuss as a possible model for developing taxonomy of risks, the new branch of science called biological systematics that uses a form of taxonomy based on cladistics. A format is presented for the exposition of the multidimensional taxonomy of risks as well as a proposed general formula consisting of four parameters on which this taxonomy can be based.   An example of a summary taxonomy of risks based on the general formula is developed in the form of a table using a 100-point quantitative scale for each parameter. This is followed by an explanation of the grouping of risks in such a taxonomy arising from the stability of risk parameter subclasses. The goal of this work is to demonstrate that a structurally stable taxonomy of multidimensional and diverse objects is possible on the basis of the proposed general formula of risk.  From the perspective of preventative risk management, it is practical to identify classes of risks on the basis of temporal dynamics, that is, to analyze risks with stable parameters and regular (systematic) variation.  It is also essential to divide risks into two fundamentally different groups. The first is risks emanating from active goal-setting entities -- individuals, groups, organizations and communities.  This first group can be called “active-intellectual.”   The second group consists of risks emanating from impersonal objects not possessing their own goals or ability to take intellectual action. This second group can be called “unconscious.”  It is clear that the properties of risks for each of these two groups may differ radically from one another in many respects.   Developing a detailed list of risks of proactive entities applicable to the realities of decision making is a process that is case-specific and pragmatic. Only a concrete and detailed study of an organization can, for example, provide a list of the specific risks of that entity.   However, conducting such a study requires a theoretical base and stable and internally consistent risk classifiers.   Commonly accepted and standardized classifiers of risks for an entity do not as yet exist, but are in the process of being developed. 

 

A Proposed Business Process Management Model for SMEs

Seda Cansiz, Directorate General for Productivity, Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, Turkey

Dr. Fatma Pakdil, Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey

 

ABSTRACT

 Although large-scaled organizations are familiar with Business Process Management (BPM) applications, it has been difficult raising the awareness of small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) in order to implement BPM in their own organizations. This study proposes a BPM roadmap, a more detailed structured approach than currently exists, to be practical and beneficial especially for all manufacturing and services-based SMEs that start BPM. After extensive study of existing literature, the proposed model was constructed in 5 main phases. The model also was tested in a manufacturing SME that did not have any BPM experience.   Ever changing conditions that create the need for high-speed decision making have forced enterprises to adopt much more flexible, lean, and transformational management approaches. Leading factors of the 2000s that have made a difference in the business world are speed, flexibility and innovation. In this sense, Business Process Management (BPM) bringing flexibility and competitive capacity to organizations seems a vital issue in keeping up with these requirements. In today’s dynamic business environment, the capability of performance improvement is a vital requirement for business organizations. Therefore, organizations adapt various BPM methodologies into their own management systems. From the management point of view, BPM can be seen as a collection of methodologies, techniques, and tools supporting the analysis and improvement of business processes (Melao and Pidd, 2000).   Chopra et al., (2004) and Little (2004) suggested that managerial practices endeavor to identify clear pathways for operational improvement. However, some studies in existing literature are presented at a conceptual level. Clearly, there is a need to link theory in process management with practical diagnosis and improvement activities for the organizations. Although there is no universal theory of process management, there is a general acknowledgement of it in both academe and the practice of the impact of variability on process management (Klassen and Menor, 2007). As an example of this important link between theory and practice, we proposed a model for the BPM activities for SMEs. Although large-scaled organizations are familiar with BPM applications, it has been difficult raising the awareness of SMEs in order to implement BPM in their organizations. This study proposes a BPM roadmap for all manufacturing and services-based SMEs.  To successfully implement improvements, organizations need to follow a systematic approach. BPM is an alternative way to succeed in any improvement project. Although there is no set formula for BPM, several different methods have been proposed in recent decades. BPM was defined by Zairi (1997) as “a structured approach to analyze and continually improve fundamental activities such as manufacturing, marketing, communications and other major elements of an organization’s operations.” BPM is the identification, understanding, and management of business processes linked with people and systems and across organizations (Debevoise, 2005). According to Klassen and Menor (2007), process management involves the understanding, design, and improvement of processes. Additionally, Evans (1993) proposed a four-stage model: (1) defining vision, (2) outlining the current business process, (3) creating a plan for the redefined process, and (4) implementing the plan. Even though this model seems productive, it gives little insight into how the new process should be designed.  Fitzgerald and Murphy (1996) outlined a six-step model with interactive feedback loops.

 

Testing the Significance of Core Components of Online Education

Dr. Mary K. Cook-Wallace, University of Tennessee Martin, Martin, TN

 

ABSTRACT

 The importance of teaching online for higher education institutions is in the forefront of pedagogical research. Rarely is a scholarly educational peer reviewed journal without online teaching and learning topics. This study statistically examines the validity of important and effective core components that pertain to online education programs. The four significant core components examined and proposed were teaching online policy, educational technology standards, full-time equivalency (FTE), and technical support. Teaching online policies are designed to guide administrators and managers of distance education programs. Issues such as technologies, accessibility, copyright, best practices, quality assurance, student and staff training and support, and information management (ensuring information is up-to-date) fall under the policy umbrella. Educational technology standards set by distance education organizations, the second core component, is so important that it has been seen as a marketing strategy for “the higher education product” (Morley & Aynsley, 2007, p. 235). Online teaching program administrators hope online students experience similar learning as face-to-face students. FTE of online courses compared to face-to-face FTE courses is the third component. Technical support, the final significant component, is foundational for online programs as long as it runs smoothly. However, technology can become the source of frustration for both the student and instructor when it fails. The literature review expands on and verifies the significance of these important components. “Policymakers and practitioners debate the merits of different technologies for delivering educational programs to various audiences” (Ludlow & Brannan, 2010, p. 4). Policies for full online, hybrid and web-enhanced course instructors should be included on the checklist. In this study, administrators of online teaching programs believe having a teaching online policy is important, and those that do have it, believe it is effective at their institutions. However, policy that works well for traditional, face-to-face courses do not work the same for online courses. Haber and Mills (2008) found that online teaching policies frequently do not address the concerns of distance education. The need for better information on the impact of teaching online is revealed in much of literature. Also, teaching online policy that protects intellectual property has raised to such a high level of importance for administrators of online education that policy issues are at the forefront of strategic planning committees. Mallon (2004) responds to early researchers who “argued that policy recommendations tend to be those that happen to be current occurrences in teaching online rather than those that are chosen through comprehensive analysis of alternatives” (p. 62). Of the 56 percent of U. S. higher education institutions in which online courses are offered, faculty prefer that policies be in place to support online teaching efforts (Bolliger & Wasilik, 2009).  Those administrators charged with subjective and objective decision making, such as choice of technology, may fall short of expected outcomes if getting courses online quickly is important. Furthermore, those who have had to choose from an array of potential problems such as disappointed students, overwhelmed faculty, financial matters, and technical issues, tend to feel overwhelmed. Many of the issues are based upon policies intended to guide desired outcomes. However, the trend to get courses online hurriedly has to some degree impeded the quality of outcomes (Pina, 2008; Levy, 2003; Taylor 2001).  One of the four significant core components in this study, educational technology standards set by distance education administrators, is so important that it has been seen as a marketing strategy for “the higher education product” (Morley & Aynsley, 2007, p. 235).

 

Stock Spams: A New Business to Make Money

Dr. Taoufik Bouraoui, ESC Rennes School of Business, France

 

ABSTRACT

 This paper discusses the impact of stock spams on share prices while taking into account the evolution of volatility over time. We use the methodology of event studies on a sample of hundred ten firms of penny stocks over the period from February 2006 to October 2008. Our results show that sending stock spams has generated significant increase in returns on the 1st day followed by a significant decrease during the next days. Investors, having reacted favourably to requests of the spammer the 1st day, realize that these messages to which they answered positively are wrong information. Hence, they liquidate all their securities.  Stock spam is a new technique used by the creators of undesirable mails. These messages, also called «pump and dump» are widely distributed and take the shape of non justified stock advices. In these e-mails, spammers raise the level of false financial analysts in order to encourage potential investors to invest in some securities. Unlike classic spam which has the subject of meetings, diet products, services of tourism…etc, stock spam permits to his author to win a lot of money in a short time, with a totally illegal way. Thus, the spammer wishing to become rich, buys the stocks whose prices is very low and will endeavor then to make it climb. In order to push up the value of a stock, lies and manipulation are processes that have already proved his worth. Finally, he has only to pocket a comfortable increment.  A multiform phenomenon, stock spam has experienced these recent years an unprecedented development. According to Sophos, one of the biggest publisher’s worldwide security solutions and computer control, this type of messages represents between 15% and 20% of all spam sent, against hardly 1% in 2005 (1).  It is henceforth interesting to wonder what’s their impact on share prices. To do this, we will use the methodology of event studies. It is a method that permits to analyze the reactions of a market to a given event. In the words of Rival (2006), event studies, originally, were implemented in motion to verify the theory of the efficiency of financial markets, and more precisely in its semi strong form. Then, they were quickly used for other purposes; today, this methodology is fluently used to test informational impact of different events, notably announcements of alliances or mergers and acquisitions [Hubler and Meschi (2000), Guards (2003), Woolridge and Snow (1990)], announcements of results [Walrus (1981), Bamber and Cheon (1995)], stock repurchase [May, Tchemeni (2000)], etc…Recently, a new event is added to the list: it’s the event of stock spams. To our knowledge, only two studies have been conducted on this topic: Bohme and Holz (2006) and Frieder and Zitterain (2007). In this last study, authors have focused on how this phenomenon can bring benefits and losses respectively for spammers and investors. Bohme and Holz (2006) tested the effect of this event on the market, but as while considering that the variance is constant over time. In other words, the arrival of new information does not modify the risk of the security in question. However, some works notably those of Brown and Warners (1985) and Ohlson and Penman (1985) show that the variance of the mean abnormal returns can be influenced by several factors such as the modification of stock’s rhythm of transactions following the event. In order to remove this assumption, we propose to implement a cross-sectional Student test that takes into account this fact and permits thus to calculate a variance for every day of the event window.  The object of this paper is to study the impact of stock spams on returns while taking into account the evolution of volatility during the time. To this end, this article unfolds as follows. Section 2 examines the origin as well as the working of stock spams. In section 3, we present the methodology of event studies. In the fourth section, we set our data. Empirical results are reported and discussed in section 5. Finally, section 6 concludes.

 

The Blame Game for United States’ Soaring Consumer Debt

Ryan Murphy, Sam Houston State University, TX

Tamer Rady, Ain Shams University

Dr. Balasundram Maniam, Sam Houston State University, TX

 

Abstract

 As a result of the financial crisis following a period of national generous lending practices, the mounting consumer debt has received a deluge of attention. The purpose of this paper is to focus on what/who caused the consumer debt debacle in the United States. The main focus of this paper will be the multiple ways that consumers, regulators, and institutions contributed to the rise in consumer debt.  The staggering amount of consumer debt has gained attention from policy makers, academics, and the media in recent years. Consumer debt includes mortgage debt, revolving debt, non-revolving debt, and home equity loans (Watson, 1998).  First from a macro standpoint, the total U.S. consumer debt had climbed to $2.43 trillion as of May 2011 (Credit Card Statistics 2011), an increase of 150% in just three years. (Amar, et. al, 2011).  The U.S. economy has been relying on its debt to sustain itself and this has been increasing at an alarming rate. The most recent recession of 2008 has proven to be a catalyst in the U.S account deficit because the U.S. is borrowing at an increasing rate to compensate for the crisis it is experiencing.  For instance, in order to bailout the corporations such as the automotive and financial industries the U.S. must incur more debt.  Because of this and other reasons, the economy must fund the U.S. federal government’s endeavors by either raising taxes or borrowing more.  The U.S. trade deficit is being funded by foreign countries and investors, where countries such as China buying up U.S. debt.  The U.S. is experiencing debt that is much more unbalanced then many countries such as Sweden and Finland.  The external debt and trade deficit are also growing because of the increasing international interest rates.  The U.S. current economic state is not going unnoticed and many countries that have seen the U.S. as a solid investment are beginning to question their thoughts and looking at other market places.  In the long-run as inflation and debt increase with the recession, the amount borrowed also rises in order to pay off the payments for that fiscal year.  As the U.S. dollar continues to decrease in value and until faith is restored in the U.S. economy, debt will continue to increase at an accelerating rate.  Pro-active steps must be taken to reduce overall spending and tackle the economies problems, if they keep pushing the deficit forward it will continue to make the future situation for the oncoming generations disastrous.  The question is who is to be blamed for the increasing debt. The objective of this paper is to focus on what/who caused the consumer debt debacle in the U.S. by first discussing what others have concluded about whom is to blame for the high level of consumer debt. Next an examination of how financial institutions, consumers, and regulators have each contributed to the rise in consumer debt will be made. Finally, opportunities for future research and a brief summary will be provided.

 

Analysis on Manpower Forecasting of New and Renewable Energy Industry in Korea

Dr. Namchul Lee, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training, Seoul, Korea

 

ABSTRACT

 The primary focus of this paper analyzes the green industry and forecast for manpower demand of new and renewable energy sector in Korea. The total industry size of the new and renewable energy sector is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 26.6 percent from KRW 4 trillion in 2010 (estimation) to KRW 45 trillion in 2020. (1) The results of manpower demand forecast in the new and renewable energy industry show that the number of employees in the industry, which reached 12,000 in 2010, is forecasted to grow at an annual average rate of 21.2 percent to reach 81,000 in 2020.  Green growth initiatives and stimulus packages inevitably lead to restructuring of economy and industries, which in turn bring about changes in employment and jobs. Since the scope of green industries is no unified definition yet, this definition might become a basic initial step toward a more unified definition. Green industries were defined 185 sub-groups by the Korea Employment Information Service (hereafter called “KEIS”), referring to both United Nations Environment Programme and Green Growth Committee definitions. Meanwhile, the Science and Technology Policy Institute developed a new version of a green industry classification system, based on green technology patent citations and taking into consideration the previous green industry classification done by the KEIS and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute. Green industries classify five areas such as energy source, energy efficiency, green infrastructure, environment protection/recycling, and non-pollution economic activities (Presidential Committee on Green Growth, 2009). This study was conducted to suggest policies to proceed human resources development and green growth of Korea. It intended to perform multifaced analysis of effects on manpower demand and supply in new and renewable energy sector. The contribution of this paper is to suggest implications on the government's policy for manpower forecasting of new and renewable energy sector.   Since the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training (hereafter called “KRIVET”) demand and supply forecasts model developed in 1998. (2) It has developed continuously through reflection of the virtues and faults that results of previous domestic and foreign studies have. But there are many limitations and structural problems with utilizing the previous model to establish the policies.  The divided models of demand and supply forecasts was developed by considering still-usable data, basic statistics data-building, the structure of the labor market, and obtaining improvements from analysis of possible problems in the process of forecasting. Mid and long-term manpower forecasting on the period of 2011 to 2020 based on the manpower demand and supply forecasts model was conducted on 28 sections that confined to industries, jobs, and education levels in Korea. (3) Although overall supply forecasts couldn't be carried out by statistics infrastructure inadequate. The further study will improve this model by revising and supplementing based on this study and carry out forecasts by majors of manpower demand and supply by adding supply forecasts.   This paper is organized as follows: Section II states the green energy industry in Korea. Section III explains that the human resources development in Korea in terms of green energy industry. Section IV analyzes the manpower forecasting of new and renewable energy industry. Section V presents conclusion of the research.  Korea's Green Growth Committee classified green growth activities into 5 areas (energy source, energy high-efficiency, greenization of industry/space, environmental protection/ resource recycle, support for non-pollutant economic activities. The green energy industry is defined as all industries for accomplishing low-carbon green growth through production of fortune and provision of services capable of increasing efficiency of energy and resources and improving the environment across economic activities such as economy, finance, construction, transportation logistics, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and tourism. For these green energy technologies, the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy defined those as one of 15 technologies, and the green energy industry refers to the energy industry defined by the Green Committee so that it has a more comprehensive meaning. Traditional green energy technology meant technologies for utilizing environmentally friendly resources such as renewable energy, clean energy, etc., but recently its concept is being expanded from convergence green technology oriented to convergence among technologies such as IT, BT, NT, etc.

 

Interdependence of Accounting Provisions and Company's Financial Performance

Dr. Zeljana Aljinovic Barac and Katica Reljanovic, University of Split, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 The provision is a liability of uncertain timing and amount, and as such it offers considerable latitude of discretion with regard to measurement. Thus, the accounting provisions could be used as earnings management tool or to enhance the company’s financial performance. The aim of our research is to provide empirical evidence concerning the level of provisions with regard to company’s financial performance (liquidity, solvency and profitability ratios) as well as its characteristics (size, ownership and industry), based on a study of 92 Croatian listed companies in 2009. The results indicate that the provisions’ recognition and measurement pattern is related to cash flow ratio, debt ratio, return on assets and cash return on sales, as well as size and industry. Also, the comparison of Croatian results and a similar study on a sample of European Union countries has been done in order to explore matching national accounting cultures and the recognition of provisions.  The accounting provision is a liability of uncertain timing and amount and they should be recognized if a present obligation has arisen as a result of a past event, if payment is probable and if the amount of provision can be estimated reliably. The amount recognized as a provision should be the best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the present obligation at the end of the reporting period. The estimates are determined by the judgment of the management of the entity, supplemented by experience of similar transactions or independent experts. Because of this, measurement of provisions offers significant level of discretion and could be used as earnings management tool or to enhance the company’s financial performance.  The aim of our research is to provide empirical evidence concerning the level of provisions with regard to company’s financial performance (liquidity, solvency and profitability ratios) as well as its characteristics (size, ownership and industry), based on a study of 92 Croatian listed companies in 2009. The results indicate that the provisions’ recognition and measurement pattern is related to cash flow ratio, debt ratio, return on assets and cash return on sales, as well as size and industry. This paper contributes to the existing literature by providing evidence on use of accounting provisions outside the US or other micro-oriented accounting system countries. Also, the comparison of Croatian results and a similar study on a sample of European Union countries has been done in order to explore matching national accounting cultures and the recognition of provisions.  The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In the second part, relevant accounting standards for provisions are described. After that, in research design section, hypotheses are developed and sample and variable selection are described. Next section addresses to empirical results and discussion. Concluding remarks appear in last section.  Although there is a number of accounting standards that deals with recognition and measurement of provisions, like provisions for the employee benefits (International Accounting Standard 19), construction contracts (International Accounting Standard 11), income taxes (International Accounting Standard 12), leases (International Accounting Standard 17) or property, plant and equipment (International Accounting Standard 16), all of them are invoke to the International Accounting Standard 37 – Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets. Hence, this standard will be explained in more details.  Generally, there are two types of provisions: provisions for one-off events (e.g. restructuring, environmental clean-up, settlement of a lawsuit) and provisions for large populations of events (e.g. warranties, customer refunds). According to IAS 37.14, a provision should be recognized if a present obligation (legal or constructive) has arisen as a result of a past event (the obligating event), payment is probable ('more likely than not'), and the amount of provision can be estimated reliably.

 

Leadership and Managing Change…Does Gender Make a Real Difference in Egypt?

Dr. Dina Metwally, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt

 

ABSTRACT

 Success in organizational change is not only related to developing the best strategic and tactical plans, but it is also related to the ability of organizational leaders to understand and lead the people implementing change. Accordingly, differences in the way male and female leaders manage change is expected to have an impact on the successful implementation of change as well as organizational performance. This study aims to explore gender differences in leading the change process in a public sector organization. Focus is given to the impact of cultural factors (organizational and national) on leadership styles of Egyptian males and females. Case study analysis was chosen to achieve the four research objectives. Data collection methods included studying archival data, conducting interviews at different levels of the organization and analysing observational data. The study concludes that differences in leadership styles in the Egyptian culture are not solely related to gender. Leadership styles differ among female leaders as well as among male leaders. Differences in leadership styles are related to a number of interrelated factors that reflect the nature of the Arab culture such as; managerial level, age, previous work experience and family commitments. Further, transformational leaders are found to be more effective in managing change than transactional leaders.  Success in organizational change is not only related to developing the best strategic and tactical plans, but it is also related to the ability of organizational leaders to understand and lead the people implementing change. To succeed, organizational change must align with organizational culture, values, people and behaviour to encourage desired outcome. This alignment is not easy as most leaders focus on the development of action plans and ignore the individuals responsible for designing, being immersed and executing the change.  The management of change has received tremendous attention from both academics and practitioners. Research has been concerned with studying change models, tools, guidelines and factors that enhance successful change implementation (e.g. Wilson, 1992; Kotter, 1996; Paton & McCalman, 2000; Hiatt & Creasey, 2003; Burnes, 2009; Cameron & Green, 2009; Hayes, 2010). A considerable amount of change research has been concerned with studying the relationship between change management and leadership. This research focused on exploring leaders’ roles in implementing change programs successfully, as well as leadership characteristics needed for bringing about change effectively (e.g. Kotter, 1990a; MacBeath, 1998; Beck & Cowan, 2005; Rowland & Higgs, 2008; Beerel, 2009; Andler, 2012; Todnem & Burnes, 2012). Likewise, gender issues in the workplace have faced a great deal of scrutiny (e.g.Williams, 1992; Rowe & Snizek, 1995; Gefen, 1997; Dempster, 1998; Gambrell, 2008; Martinengo, 2009; Tripathi & Nag, 2010). Although not to the same degree as the research studying leadership and managing change, there is a considerable amount of research that has studied the impact of gender differences in handling change (e.g. Itzen & Newman, 1995; Venkatesh et al, 2000; Paton & Dempster, 2002; Tietze & Cohen, 2003; Mullinge, 2009 ). However, there has been a little, or no research that combines gender, leadership and management of change (Dempster, 1998; Paton & Dempster, 2002).  Researches in this field may be justified by the argument that identifying, managing and exploiting change scenarios are key factors for corporate success. This in order to anticipate and manage the transition successfully (Handy, 1996; Pascale et al, 1997; Drucker, 1998; Paton & Dempster, 2002). Given the increasing complexity and pace of change, as well as leaders’ significant roles in managing change, any difference in the way people manage change is expected to have an impact upon organizational performance (Paton & Dempster, 2002). As Handy (1994) explains, organisations are looking for people who can multitask, are more interested in making achievements and are more concerned with their positive influence on the business than their status in the organization.

 

Analysis of Auditors’ Going Concern Judgment

Dr. Tina Vuko and Nikola Berket, University of Split, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 The main objective of this study is to investigate association between going concern audit qualifications and different company characteristics, including audit firm size. The research applies logistic regression analysis on the sample of 332 firm-year observations for companies that are listed on Croatian capital market. Data necessary for the research are collected from published financial statements and auditor reports for the period of two years (2008 and 2009), available on FINA database. Results of the research indicate that problems caused by liquidity shortage have the most significant effects against the issuance of going concern audit report.  The going concern assumption is a basic principle in the preparation of financial statements. Under this assumption, an entity is viewed as continuing in business for the foreseeable future. The assessment of an ability to continue as a going concern is the responsibility of the entity’s management. Management’s assessment of the going concern assumption involves making a judgment, at a particular point of time, about future outcome of events and conditions that are inherently uncertain. When management is aware of material uncertainties related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt upon the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the entity shall disclose those uncertainties. Furthermore, the appropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption is a matter for the auditor’s consideration. International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 570 – Going Concern deals with the auditor’s responsibilities in the audit of financial statements relating to management’s use of the going concern assumption. According to the ISA 570 (para. 6) the auditor’s responsibility is to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about the appropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption in the preparation of the financial statements and to conclude whether there is a material uncertainty about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.  This topic is especially interesting in the context of contemporary financial crisis, as it furthermore emphasizes the importance of the management’s going concern assumption and the auditors’ responsibility to verify this assumption. Problems surrounding liquidity and credit risk create greater business uncertainty, even for those entities with a history of profitable operations. The 2009 IAASB Staff Audit Practice Alert: “Audit Considerations in Respect of Going Concern in the Current Economic Environment”, accentuates different issues relevant to the consideration of the going concern assumption. Likewise, Prof. Arnold Schilder, Chairman of the IAASB, comments: “Difficult economic conditions give rise to many important audit considerations, but none more important - or more difficult - than evaluating management’s assessment of an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and determining the appropriate auditor reporting in the circumstances.”   According to the research conducted by Audit Analytics (2011) for the period of 2000 to 2009, an average of 18.5% of all audit reports included a going concern modification, which represents nearly 2,950 modifications each year for SEC fillers. The highest number of going concern reports (3,328) was documented for year 2008. Also, a study by Xu et al. (2011) indicates that there is a significant increase the occurrence of going concern qualifications in the period of global financial crisis, from 12% in 2005-2007 to 18-22% in 2008-2009 in Australia. Going-concern qualifications are also very costly to firms, as they are generally accompanied by significant negative market reactions (Loudder et al., 1992; Blay and Geiger, 2001) and increased difficulty in doing business with suppliers, customers and resource providers (Mutchler 1984).

 

Building a Data Warehouse to Analyze Entrance Exams

Dr. Kornelije Rabuzin, University of Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 This paper demonstrates how Business Intelligence and Data Warehouses could be used for educational purposes in order to analyze entrance exams (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Croatia). In order to enroll, students have to pass an entrance exam that consists of several groups of questions. Before the solution described in the paper was developed, we intuitively knew something about the students and the entrance exam results, but information we got by analyzing the data in the developed data warehouse changed our point of view (some results confirmed our expectations and some were surprising and require further analysis).  In the last decade Data Warehouses (DW) and Business Intelligence (BI) have been used in many different areas to support, guide and improve the decision-making process (Kimball et al., 2008), (Inmon, 2002). There is a well known fact that several decades ago people spent up to 90% of time gathering the data they needed and only 10% of time analyzing the gathered data. Because of the DW and BI these numbers have changed (switched) their places; if one loads all the data into a special kind of database that is not designed according to well-known normal forms, but uses a star schema and is called a data warehouse, end users are capable of analyzing data by themselves (they use different OLAP tools for that purpose). In such a way end users can pose queries, generate reports, and use different OLAP capabilities without any help from IT experts.  In many companies many applications and/or information systems were built and used during the years (including many databases), but as it turns out this was done without any planning; those developed and applied systems were (mainly) incompatible and moreover, although they contained interesting information, it was (is) almost impossible to get something useful out. Since SQL is a dominant language that is used to work with databases, and because end users are (usually) not familiar with SQL (although it was supposed to be simple, SQL became quite complex during the years), some solution had to be found. Namely, databases became larger and queries became complex, even for professionals, and some other features like triggers and stored procedures required IT expertise and knowledge. On the other hand many reports were needed, and many IT experts were hired in companies just to produce reports for managers. The author of this paper has visited a company that still has an IT department whose main purpose is to generate reports for managers (and other users). The number of reports to be generated (many of them being quite similar) is so big that they even use a special application developed just to track the requests for reports (about 100 reports are on the list to be generated, and some of them will be out in 3-4 weeks). We may agree that a one-month waiting period to get a report is not acceptable.  Because of all that, a new solution had to be found to resolve these issues; reports should be available (almost) immediately (in a few seconds or minutes, eventually hours), and end users should be able to produce them on their own. In that way IT departments should become un-ballasted in a way that they don’t have to prepare reports (for managers and other users) any more, but should have time to do other things as well. One of the solutions that emerged is based on data warehouses and business intelligence. Although we say a few words on data warehouses, in this paper we assume that readers are familiar with terms such as dimensions, keys, star schema, drill down and some other technical details. Further reading is available in (Ballard et al., 1998), (Kimball and Ross, 2002), (Ponniah, 2001) and (Silvers 2008).

 

The Frequency of Implementing Diversification Strategy in Croatia

Dr. Darko Tipuric and Maja Darabos, University of Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 Diversification is a corporate strategy that introduces the company into new businesses or industries that can be related or unrelated to its core business and thus increases the diversity of businesses that are monitored by managers. This paper is focused on the analysis of the diversification strategy through macro level factors, especially the industry as the determinant of implementing the diversification strategy in Croatian companies. The main objective of the paper is to determine whether companies in Croatia are more frequently applying related or unrelated diversification and are there any correlations depending on the industry in which firm operates. The research has been made on a sample of 78 large companies in Croatia.  The diversification strategy is common research field and topic of many researches in the world. In Croatia, despite the growing use of diversification strategies, researches on the frequency of its application and the reasons for diversification are limited. Diversification strategy is corporate growth strategy in which the company is expanding its activities and entering into new business activities, to disseminate rank areas in which they can successfully invest for the purpose of profit and growth, generate consistent and stable growth due to participate in more activities, the potential for faster growth with less risk and the greater number of middle management positions in the company.  Diversification strategy has two mayor types: related and unrelated diversification. Related diversification represents a strategy when firm operates in multiple industries, or businesses, which have some linkages with the firm’s existing business. However, there are several reasons when the implementation of related diversification strategy can be problematic. First, the time and cost involved in top management at the corporate level who seeks to assure that the benefits of connectivity are created through the sharing or transferring between business units. Second, it is difficult to share resources with other business units, or more difficult to adjust managers to corporate policies, especially when they are motivated and rewarded for independent performance of their business units (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2005).  On the other hand, it is possible for firms to pursue numerous different businesses or industries with no linkages between them. The reasons for unrelated diversification strategy are varied: support to some divisions with cash flow of other firm divisions in the periods of development or temporary difficulties, the use of a division's profits to cover costs of other division; encourage growth, taking advantage of development opportunities; distribution of risk by serving several completely different and separate markets; improving profitability and flexibility; achieving better access to capital markets and better stability and earnings growth; increase in firms’ stock prices; or  realizing the benefits of synergy..Potential benefits can be achieved from vertical (hierarchical) relation through the creation of synergies by the interaction of a corporate center with individual business units. First, in a way that the corporate centers takes care of certain business or restructure it, while another way to create a synergy is that the corporate center adds value by monitoring the entire corporation as a whole and allocate resources to optimize the corporate objectives of profitability, cash flow and growth. In addition, the corporate center adds value by specifying an appropriate system of control of human resources and financial controls for each business unit (Dess, Lumpkin and Taylor, 2005).

 

Performance Measurement System for Process-Oriented Companies

Ljubica Milanovic Glavan, Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 During the past few years many organizations have adopted a concept of a process oriented company. In this context, assessing process performance is essential because it enables individuals and groups to assess where they stand in comparison to their competitors.  This paper provides a conceptual model of Process Performance Measurement System (PPMS) which was built on a literature review that involves the major sources of the performance measurement area. To understand PPMS it was crucial to explain concepts of business process management, business performance measurement and Performance Measurement System (PMS) which are well known and used in the literature and practice. PPMS is a special type of PMS that should be used in process oriented organizations.  Every organization should measure, monitor and analyze its performance. Performance is defined as an accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed (Bierbusse & Siesfeld, 1997). Performance measurement is a complex issue that normally incorporates at least four disciplines: economics, management, accounting and information technology (Tagen, 2004). Performance Measurement Systems (PMS) have been at the top of the research and business agenda over the last few years. Businesses realized the importance of a PMS as a tool that would enable them to drive the company forward (Najmi, Fan & Rigas, 2005). It is now widely accepted that the use of appropriately defined measures can ensure the strategic alignment of the organization and communication of the strategy throughout the business. Companies are at various stages of implementing and refining their Performance Measurement Systems, and they are finding solutions for many practical and conceptual challenges. In order to design and implement a suitable PMS for a particular organization a number of factors must be considered. Robson (2004) stated that before trying to identify all possible factors it is crucial to understand that the main reason for implementing PMS is to give the greatest opportunity of increasing the overall effectiveness of the business processes.  In this case measurable entities are business processes, since they represent a core of the functioning of the organization, while the organization primarily consists of processes, not products or services (Škrinjar, Štemberger Indihar & Hernaus, 2007). That is why companies today become process oriented and they abandon functional and product oriented perspective. Johnson (2001) showed that business process orientation has positive impact on process performance.  Concepts business process, business process management and process orientation are used as a theoretical background to give relevance to business processes in performance measurement. Organizations are continually under competitive pressures and forced to re-evaluate their business models and underline business processes (Škrinjar, Štemberger Indihar & Hernaus, 2007). Zairi (1997) defines a process as an approach for converting inputs into outputs. It is the way in which all the resources of an organization are used in a reliable, repeatable and consistent way to achieve its goals. A business process is a coordinated chain of activities intended to produce a business result or a repeating cycle that reaches a business goal (Pourshahid, 2008). Essentially, there are four key features to any process. A process has to have (Zairi, 1997):

 

Unravelling the Behaviour of Knowledge Markets in Nigeria

Dr. Constantine Imafidon Tongo, Pan African University, Lagos, Nigeria

 

ABSTRACT

 

With the advent of the knowledge economy, modern organizations have recently been conceptualized as knowledge markets. Yet there is no known empirical study that attempts at unravelling the behaviour of these markets. Consequently, using responses from sample of Nigerian managers belonging to different walks of industrial life; this article revealed that the motives that shape the behaviour of knowledge buyers and sellers within Nigerian organizations are diametrically opposed to each other. While the behaviour of knowledge sellers would likely stem from their altruistic needs that only community based organizations can satisfy; the knowledge acquisitive behaviour of buyers predisposes the gratification of the extrinsic needs of knowledge sellers. These findings deviate from the general behaviour of organizations in Nigeria. The implication is that within a given societal context, the behaviour that underlies the functioning of organizational internal labour markets may never have any bearing on the behaviour of its knowledge markets. Throughout the World’s history, knowledge has always played a central role in the development of economies. However, the dawning of the twenty first century ushered the global business economy into an era in which knowledge has become one of the most strategic resources needed for organizational longevity and competitiveness (Chang and Lee, 2007; Hsu, 2009). This occurrence has led to a situation in which a wide variety of organizations now heavily depends on the skillful deployment of knowledge in order to be at the cutting edge of business.  Therefore, given that knowledge has become sacrosanct in the operations of today’s organizations; it is therefore primarily the means through which they now compete in the marketplace (Swap, et. al., 2001). Albeit, numerous scholars and practitioners have noted that a large proportion of knowledge- perhaps the most critical parts of knowledge exist in their tacit forms (Lytras and Ordonez, 2009). According to De Long and Fahey (2000), tacit knowledge is what we know but may not want to explain. In line with this thinking, recent research on knowledge management has demonstrated that individuals often resist sharing their unique tacit knowledge with others (Ciborra and Patriota, 1998) and that this knowledge does not flow easily even when concerted effort is made to facilitate knowledge sharing (Szulanski, 1996). A major barrier to knowledge sharing that has been well cited in the literature is people’s selfish attempts to hoard knowledge (Ardichvili et. al., 2003). Consequently, some scholars posit that knowing the reasons which motivate individuals to share knowledge for the benefit of others can even be more important than the more technical issues related to knowledge capture and storage (Boisot and Griffiths, 1999). This is because if no one is motivated to share knowledge, it becomes extremely difficult to create new knowledge required to gain organizational competitiveness (Hew and Hara, 2007).

 

The Competitive Analyses and Development Strategy of the Turkish Automotive Cluster

Ana Bulic, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Economics and Business, Croatia

Giorgi Muchaidze, Atlantic Council of Georgia, Georgia

Caner Sannav, Ministry of Economy, Turkey

 

ABSTRACT

 The paper deals with competitive analyses and development strategy of the Turkish automotive cluster. This cluster is composed of automobile sub-cluster and auto parts sub-cluster, which have made Turkey the 16th largest automotive manufacturer in the world by 2010. Today, Turkey is Europe’s leading bus manufacturer, 3rdlargest light commercial vehicle manufacturer, 6thlargest truck manufacturer, 3rdlargest truck market and 7thlargest car manufacturer. The main purpose of this paper is to give an insight into how the Turkish automotive cluster will achieve its potential to meet growing domestic and foreign demand, develop further its production and increase the skill level of labor force in order to attract more FDI and keep its competitiveness.   Global auto industry consists of smaller industry groups and organized in 6 major value chain components. Production starts with low value-added input of 10 raw materials. Production of approximately 5000 different auto parts has medium value added. This phase is followed by assembly, another medium value added industry.  Assembly process should ensure maximum safety and security, design and competitive price of the final product. Most developing countries concentrate in these low and medium value added industry. The highest value added phases are design, marketing, distribution and sales. These phases are the most sophisticated with highest intellectual inputs and R&D expenditures, therefore with the leading presence of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea and USA. Targeting of different market niches is important because of increasing customer differentiation and sophistication: buyers of SUV-s, luxury cars, sport cars, small city cars, energy efficiency concerns, etc. Distribution and sales requires wide network of dealerships by countries and regions. (Duke University, Global Value Chain) Turkey’s comparative advantage in the global value chain lies in the raw materials, parts and assembly stages, but has to improve in the design, marketing and distribution and sales in order to become competitive along the entire value chain.  World’s auto production is concentrated as follows: 32% Europe, 25% North America, 37% Asia, 4% South America, 2% other. The major trend in the European automotive industry is the outsourcing to Eastern Europe of the production of low and medium value added activities mainly because of cheaper and skilled workforce. Furthermore, following the collapse of communism and opening of economies, the Eastern Europe has developed high domestic demand for cars. (Automotive News Europe, 2005).  Most Central and Eastern European countries have attracted FDI to set up assembly plants of major automobile producing companies. Turkey, who started modestly, has surpassed two major car producers Poland and Czech Republic in 2003. Since then, it has the highest production and assembly growth rates and the highest absolute number of produced vehicles in the region.

 

Utilization of Accounting Information for Decision Making in Croatian SME: Preliminary Findings

Dr. Ivica Pervan, University of Split, Split, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 Utilization of accounting information for decision making in SME might be limited since this kind of enterprises might have smaller scale of operations and limited workforce for sophisticated financial analyses. However, in order to smoothly operate and survive, SME must generate and use some type of accounting information in managerial decision making. In order to measure the extent of production and usage of historical and future oriented accounting information, two indices are developed and evaluated on the sample of SMEs from Split-Dalmatia County in Croatia. Pilot research findings revealed that both indices (Historical Accounting Information Index – HAI Index & Budgeting Accounting Information Index - BAI Index) are positively related with certain SME characteristics (size, age and decision to organize accounting within the SME). Also, correlation analysis has shown that HAI-Index and BAI-Index are highly positively correlated. Such a finding indicates that SME involved in more comprehensive utilization of historical accounting information are also more involved in comprehensive production and usage of future oriented accounting information. However, since conducted research is only pilot research, previously presented findings are not representative for the entire sector of Croatian SME  and therefore should not be generalized. Financial reporting practice in small businesses (hereinafter Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises-SME) is a very interesting issue, since these business subjects make up a large percentage of total business subjects in almost every country. Thus for example, in 2010 Croatian SME sector comprised 99.61% of total number of registered business subjects. According to the official statistics from Financial Agency - FINA SME sector was employing 66.58% of Croatian employees and recorded 51.63% of total reported revenue. Also, Croatian SME sector paid 52.38% of total corporate income tax and reported 52.31% share in reported net earnings (FINA, 2010). On the basis of previously presented numbers, one can conclude that Croatian SME sector plays an important role in the economy system.  Small business in Croatia is often organized in the form of legal entity (Private Limited Liability Company-PLLC or Joint Stock Company-JSC) or craft. According to the legislative (Income Tax Act and Accounting Act) SME in the form of PLLC/JSC must use double entry bookkeeping and generate basic financial statements annually. Financial statements are publicly published through the information service of FINA, which is called "RGFI - javna objava" (http://rgfi.fina.hr/JavnaObjava-web/jsp/prijavaKorisnika.jsp).  Besides previously mentioned statements, medium sized enterprises must also generate and report cash flow statement and statement of owners' equity changes. Currently, financial statements of Croatian SME are not required to be generated by certified accountant (CPA) or audited. Small crafts (which do not exceed certain amounts of assets, income or employees as defined by Income Tax Act) are taxed by personal income tax. Therefore, small crafts use simple model of bookkeeping and do not generate and publish financial statements. Contrary to that, large crafts follow the same tax and accounting rules like SME in the legal form of company (PLLC/JSC). It is useful to mention that Croatian SME for the external financial reporting purposes use Croatian Financial Reporting Standards - CFRS, which are based on 2003 version of International Financial Reporting Standards - IFRS and Fourth EU Directive.  Generally speaking, accounting function in SME can be organized in two ways, within the organization or outsourced. If outsourced, accounting in Croatia is often realized through the so called "accounting services enterprises", which are often small private enterprises specialized in bookkeeping, financial reporting and tax advising. But, besides mandatory financial reporting, SME may also use accounting information for internal purposes, i.e. for managerial decision making. This branch of accounting in literature is often called managerial/management accounting.

 

Highly Skilled Human Resources Development in the Financial Sector for the Strength of the Global Competitiveness

Dr. Miyeong Lee, Professor, Korea Tourism College

Dr. Namchul Lee, Senior Fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training

 

ABSTRACT

 As securing highly skilled human resources emerges as a core factor of national and business competitiveness, the competition among nations to attract them is intensifying. GNP needs to be grown by attracting highly skilled human resources to meet international demands and safeguard revolutionary sustained economic growth. The present government articulates the vision of national growth through the highest talents but Korea lacks national attention and political efforts. The study proposed policies on attracting highly skilled human resources overseas to improve the global competitiveness through analyses of the current status and problems of attracting them in domestic financial sector In the era of global competition, the war for talent among nations to secure highly skilled human resources (1) is deepening. According to the World Bank, Among migrants of OECD countries, highly educated people grew from 31.2 percent in 1990 to 35.4 percent in 2000 (OECD, 2008). While many countries restrict bringing in simple labor, they authorize the right of permanent residence and propel diverse strategies forward. OECD considers matters of foreign human resources a social issue of international migration. Especially highly skilled migrants continue to accelerate further by the change on the FTA and the market opening (Namchul Lee et al, 2008). As of the end of 2007, highly skilled human resources of a total of 476,000 foreign employees accounted for 6.1 percent (29,000 people), which was at 2.4, the low proportion of highly skilled human resources in Korea as excluding foreign language lecturers from 6.1 percent. The imbalance between highly skilled human resource supply and demand and brain efflux cause a shortage in highly skilled human resources which industries require. Korea has had an emphasis on bringing in simply labor. And national attention and political efforts have been insufficient so far. The precedent studies on attracting and using skilled human resources overseas have been of science and technology. This research made strategic proposals for attracting highly skilled human resources of the financial service industry which the Korean government has been promoting to establish 'the economy of the active market' and 'the talented human resource powers'. The paper is composed as follows. The second chapter presents change of the global financial environment and highly skilled human resources. The third chapter reveals globalization of domestic banks by analyzing the current status and employment forecasts of the financial service industry in Korea and presents problems and measures to improve utilization of foreign highly skilled human resources of domestic banks. The fourth chapter presented the global human resource development policy of major countries. And the fifth chapter suggests implications on highly skilled human resources development.   Domestic and non-domestic change of the financial environment includes the emergence of the new technologies, intensification of globalization, the advent of the knowledge-based economy, and the chase of the developed countries like China and India. Domestic change has the enhancement of the service industry, increasing the significance of knowledge and human resources, especially the regional human resources development for the balanced national development and the regional innovation, a deepening gulf between the various classes and the interzonal polarization, and the aging society. There is competition between companies and nations that is becoming fierce to secure highly skilled human resources in big non-domestic change.

 

Level of Concentration in Insurance Markets and Length of EU Membership

Dr. Tomislava Pavic Kramaric, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Fran Galetic, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Dr. Ivan Pavic, University of Split, Split, Croatia

 

Abstract

 The purpose of this article is to analyze the degree of concentration in the insurance market in EU member states as well as to determine the impact of the length of EU membership on the degree of concentration in insurance markets of EU member states. In that sense regression analyses of the impact of the length of EU membership on the degree of concentration were conducted separately for life and non-life insurance markets. Using the regression analysis for investigation of the influence of the length of EU membership on the level of concentration in the insurance sector in a particular country, the results reveal that there is a negative effect of the length in EU membership on market concentration in both life and non-life insurance segments, although it is more evident in non-life insurance markets.  In 1957, when the EU, i.e. the association which preceded it, was found, there were six member countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany). Those six countries signed the Treaty of Rome which led to the founding of the European Economic Community (Gilles, Kegan, 2003). Since then, five successive enlargements have followed, taking it from six to 27 member states in its 54-year-long history. In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Union. In 1981, Greece became a member state, while in 1986 Spain and Portugal joined the EU. In 1995 the EU expanded to three additional countries: Austria, Finland and Sweden. The year 2004 saw the accession of Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia (mainly former socialist countries of the Central and Eastern Europe) joined. It was a historic enlargement which signified the reunification of Europe after decades of division. In 2007, the fifth enlargement was completed with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria on 1 January 2007.  The emergence of the EU, as well as every later expansion, provided a new framework for market entities encouraging them to various adjustments. In this sense it is considered that many economic entities have taken advantage of the possibility of expanding their operations to countries that have recently become EU members.  The entry of new members should be equally interesting for different economic sectors or markets in different goods and services, including the insurance sector as well.  Therefore, we have decided to analyze the linkage between level of concentration in insurance markets and length of EU membership starting from the premise that there is a negative relationship between the level of concentration in the insurance market and number of years spent as an EU member country. In other words, the hypothesis that higher concentration level should be expected in both life and non-life insurance markets in new EU member states is tested.  There are several reasons why we have decided to conduct the analysis of the relation between level of concentration in insurance markets and length of EU membership for the 2004-2009 period. Firstly, somewhat similar analysis has been already taken for the period from 2001 to 2008 by Pavic, Galetic and Pavic Kramaric (2012) for the banking market. Secondly, since the role of insurance, though growing in importance in retail financial services, has received less attention than banks and investment funds, this analysis relates to the insurance market. Furthermore, we wanted to take advantage of data availability and consequently to parallel the results of the analysis obtained for banking and insurance markets although different concentration indicators were employed.

 

Business Intelligence in Croatian Textile Industry

Darko Skvorc and Dr. Kornelije Rabuzin, University of Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 Business intelligence (BI) and data warehouses are used in many different business areas, but mostly in those that earn more money and that are more profitable (insurance companies, telecommunication companies, etc.). Although BI is not a new technology, and is (in fact) quite mature, in some business areas, however, it is not used at all. In this paper we try to identify and analyze the main reasons why BI is not used in textile industry in Croatia. For that purpose we have built two questionnaires (one for managers and one for IT specialists in textile industry) and the results we have obtained are quite interesting. Further on, we show that a BI system (and a belonging data warehouse) can be successfully implemented after all, although managers and IT experts do not share the enthusiasm about such a project.  In the last decade of the past millennium many companies and teams started to work on data warehouses very extensively; R. Kimball and W. Inmon are the most known researchers that wrote many influential and important books ( [Inmon, 2005] and [Kimbal and Ross, 2004]) on the subject, but many other can be found (for example [Howson, 2004]). At that point of time business intelligence was somehow connected to the concept of data warehousing, but today we know that BI systems include much more; although BI systems rely on data warehouses, they support report creation, analytical processing, and data mining as well. BI systems make it possible to make decisions based on (unified) data (collected and transformed from different sources), and not on intuition or unreliable information.  In recent years many articles were published on BI and different aspects of implementation of BI systems. Articles that can be found usually describe what we would call “the best practice” from the areas where business intelligence has been applied successfully, such as telecommunication sector, financial sector, etc. ([Business Week, 2006], [Khan, 2010], [SAS Institute, 2007]). There are only a few studies which present implementations in other business areas like industry, tourism, etc. In most of those papers business intelligence is analyzed only from the perspective of IT professionals (specialists) and deals with technical aspects of implementation (methods of data mining and data warehousing, analytical tools for data processing, etc.). A small number of papers deals with issues related to organizational aspects of business intelligence implementation like project management, critical success factors, etc. [Hwang, 2009]. In [Jourdan, Rainer and Marshall, 2008] authors show that theoretical research dominates among published articles. In [Olzak and Ziemba, 2007] authors point out the insufficient number of papers which contain a comprehensive, empirically validated and generally applicable methodologies and guidelines for implementation of BI systems, although a few can be found. In [Moss and Atre, 2003] authors propose Business Intelligence Roadmap, in [Thieruf, 2001] a methodology that puts accent on high quality artificial intelligence tools is proposed, and in [Yeoh, Koronios and Gao, 2008] authors put accent on critical success factors to implement a BI system. In 2007. SAS conducted a research in order to determine the main problems that a company may run into when implementing a BI system [14];

 

Factors That Influence Firm Performance: A Dynamic Panel Data Analysis for Croatian Insurance Industry

Dr. Maja Pervan and Dr. Tomislava Pavic Kramaric, University of Split, Croatia

 

Abstract

 Although banks profitability has received broad attention and has been extensively studied, there has not been a great deal of analysis in the academic literature on the influence of insurers’ characteristics, market and macro conditions on insurers’ financial success. Therefore, the main objective of this paper was to ascertain whether and which factors in particular are associated with life and composite insurers’ profitability. In order to achieve this objective we used dynamic panel data model and applied GMM estimator proposed by Arellano and Bond. The analysis was conducted for the 1999-2010 period and the results revealed that past performance has significant positive influence on current profitability. Additionally, all analyzed variables (i.e. market share, claims ratio, firm growth, concentration ratio, market growth and inflation) statistically significantly influence insurers’ performance. The exception was variable firm’s age that didn’t prove to be an important explanatory factor. For many years long-established domestic monopolies barred foreign entry to most emerging insurance markets. Opening the door to healthy competition allowing the entry of foreign capital, many insurance companies have entered the Croatian insurance market. It has experienced strong growth over the past decade, which is especially true for life insurance segment. Consequently, the demand for life insurance products increased as well.  The analysis in this paper is conducted on the sample of Croatian life insurance market although its level of development is well below EU average. Based on the data from CEA publications for the year 2009, life insurance premiums per capita in EU 27 totaled 908 EUR; share of life insurance premium in GDP in EU27 amounted to 3.4%; while life insurance premium to total premium ratio was 62%. In the same year, life insurance premiums per capita in Croatia amounted to 76.4 EUR, while the share of life insurance premiums in GDP was 0.74%. Non-life insurance business dominated the Croatian insurance market, accordingly the share of life insurance premium in total premium amounted to 26.5%.  In today's turbulent and dynamic environment, every company must take account of market requirements, changes in the business surroundings, activities of competitors and some other relevant issue that are essential not only for the survival of the company but also for its further growth and development. In a view of that, we wanted to investigate the factors that influence profitability of Croatian life insurance companies. Identifying and understanding internal and external factors that may affect firm performance is important not only to insurers, but also to regulators, managers of insurance companies as well as to consumers.  The paper is organized in a following manner. The next section presents brief description of the Croatian insurance market, followed by a review of the existing literature on factors that may influence insurance profitability. Research methodology together with data source and variables’ specification are then discussed, followed by results of conducted analysis. The article concludes with the presentation of main findings and a summary of the results.  The Croatian insurance industry was poorly developed in terms of number of insurance companies operating in the market as well as in terms of lines of business and the number of the insured. Life insurance has not been developed or has been underdeveloped. The incentives for development of life insurance did not exist, therefore, non-life insurance dominated the market, especially mandatory lines of business. With the switch to market economy, new insurance companies, especially foreign insurance companies, entered the market increasing the number of insurance companies conducting exclusively life insurance activities and life insurance premium as well. As shown in Chart 1 the share of life insurance premium increased from 18.2% to 26.6% in the 2001-2010 period.

 

Controlling Model for the Process Quality in Factories

Benjamin Hirsch and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Nyhuis, Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany

 

Abstract

 Manufacturing companies are nowadays forced to produce high-quality products to satisfy the continuous growth in customer demands and to assure a competitive position over the long-term. But high-quality products need stable and productive processes in day-to-day operations. Existing production structures and processes therefore often reach their limits. This is where an approach developed by the Institute of Production Systems and Logistics (IFA) at the Leibniz University of Hanover and funded by the German Research Association (DFG) steps in. In this approach the fundamental requirements of high-quality products and processes are already considered at the factory planning stage. The methodology prevents the accidental design of incorrect and defective processes. It is based on practice and is therefore highly suitable for use in practice.  The competitive conditions of manufacturing companies have continually intensified in recent years. Among others, this is to be traced back to a high market transparency, an increasing dynamic in the business environment and the numerous international competitors who frequently produce in countries with comparatively low labour costs. As a result, companies in high-wage locations are losing more and more market share, especially in the mass production sector (Westkämper, 2006a). Permanent changes concerning, for example, resource availability and technology features, imply many challenges not only in daily operations but also in the strategic alignment of a company (Westkämper, 2006b), (Wiendahl et al., 2009). Also the increasing demands of customers for products with an individual configuration leads to an increasing number of variants and, simultaneously, decreasing batch sizes. Companies have to launch innovations on the market in very short cycles to remain competitive. This contributes to a complexity in production that is difficult to control. However, existing factories and the corresponding companies usually operate in established structures, which means, that they are not able to react to changes quickly and flexibly.  Furthermore, high product quality has risen to become one of the most important criteria for the customer’s buying decision (Schmitt and Betzold, 2007). As a consequence of the current progresses, the development of product innovations and the assurance of high quality are indispensable for the manufacturing sector (Westkämper, 2006c), (Wiendahl and Hernández, 2006). Most companies have already realized how important high product quality is for their market and their competitive situation. Therefore, they pursue the idea of high quality and standardized processes in their strategic orientation (Chao, 2009). Manufacturing companies usually try to raise the quality level through conventional quality management methods during the course of product development and during the later production. A multitude of methods and tools exists which can help to identify specific quality defects and repair them. But the usage of the existing methods and tools not before the start of production leads to the fact that improving measures and intensifying quality can only be realized with an extensive input. Due to the lack of integration of superior structures, improvement measures also often ignore the factory system as a whole. The results of specific improvement measures are limited and only partly transferable to other areas, so mistakes can happen once again (Pfeifer and Tillmann, 2005). Therefore an advanced quality management approach is necessary, which establishes the requirements for high product and process quality early on, in the course of factory planning. The methodology developed by the Institute of Production Systems and Logistics (IFA) at the Leibniz University of Hanover first of all aims to improve the detection of defects and shift the detection to the early factory planning process. And secondly, the reasons for and causes of defects will be avoided earlier, so the number of quality defects will decline. To realize these two opportunities, the new approach integrates aspects and methods of quality management into the factory planning process.

 

The Use of Information Sources in International Business – Comparative Analysis

Zoran Wittine, University of Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 

The internationalization of companies is a prerequisite not only for a successful development, but also for the survival of modern enterprises. One of the major limitations of successful internationalization is represented by an environment of foreign markets. The complexity of structural changes in external environment factors is impossible to be analyzed without adequate knowledge that has to be collected from credible information sources. Organizations that are aimed at creation, dissemination and appliance of knowledge about the external environment will have better prerequisites for a successful conquest of foreign markets. In this paper we review previous research related to the internationalization of enterprises and use of information sources during analysis of foreign environment. We also critically analyze the state of Croatian economy and provide recommendations for organizational improvements.  International trade represents the totality of exchange of goods, services and capital between different countries. In today's world of globalization and rapid technological, economic and social changes, international trade plays a vital role of economic development of any country. Its positive effects on the economy are numerous. They are reflected in the increase of employment, gross domestic product, foreign exchange inflows, exchange of modern technologies, and indirectly in increased competitiveness, increased credibility of the country in international financial markets, increased credit rating, etc.  Business activity in international markets is more demanding and riskier than operating on the domestic market. Business risks exist because of a greater degree of economic, political, legal and cultural ignorance, as well as higher costs associated with selling goods on the international market due to various tariff and non-tariff restrictions.  The unfamiliarity with business environment inevitably leads to a greater exposure to various business risks. Among these we differ (Prasad, 2006) the risks specific for the macroeconomic environment (country risks), the risks specific for certain industry or sector in which a company operates (industry risks) and the risks associated with the business strategy which the company plans to apply in the foreign market (positioning risks). Industry risk arises from the structural characteristics of the industry that have long-term impact on the potential profit, while the risk of positioning refers to shaping key features of products or services that the company offers in the foreign market. Success of a business on the international market greatly depends upon its ability to manage these risks.  Numerous authors (e.g. Johanson, Paul, Vahlne, Kogut, Zander, Keegan and others) emphasize knowledge about foreign market as one of the key drivers of internationalization, and as a factor which will predispose the success of a company (on foreign market). The quality of knowledge will primarily depend on the sources of information which the company (will) use before starting and during their international activities. The purpose of this paper is to consider the sources of information which managers of various foreign companies that are actively participating in international trade use, and try to compare them with Croatian companies that are actively involved in international trade in order to determine whether Croatian companies pursue global economic practices. Primary research was conducted on Croatian market with the purpose of obtaining relevant data, while secondary data was used for American, Canadian, Jordanian and Dutch market respectively. After a comparative view, we will critically review the applied economic practice and try to give recommendations for improvement of business processes related to gathering information on foreign markets.

 

What Makes Some Schools Better Than Others? Estonian Case

Dr. Kaire Poder, Tallinn University of Technology

 

ABSTRACT

 The current research article evaluates the effect of certain school specific criteria on student performance.  The main objective is to understand the impact of schools selecting students and how the ratio of disadvantaged students affects the total average performance of schools.  The response variable is average student performance which is operationalized by average state final exam results.  Independent variables are: ability to select students and the share of students in care from the total number of students.  We control for the many school specific criteria – location, language, ownership, resources; teacher specific criteria – qualifications, age; and class specific criteria – teacher-student ratio, size of the class.  Results indicate that the ability to select students adds approximately 10 points to the average school performance.  At the same time the share of disadvantaged students has a negative but relatively small impact on school average state exam results.  Many authors (Woessmann et al., 2009; Woessmann, 2008; Betts and Roemer, 2007) agree that the educational achievement of students should be independent of family socioeconomic background.  In this concept the inequality should be tolerated only if it results from differences in effort, not if it reflects circumstances that are beyond a person’s control – including the socioeconomic status (SES) of their parents, peer effects or teacher effects.  School choice has been an increasing trend in educational policy design for the last decade or two.  Instead of the post-World War II catchment area based assignment, now parents and families can, in increasing degrees, select school for their child(ren).  However, the theoretical and empirical cases on the effect of choice on equity are hotly debated.  First, choice tends to cumulate higher socio-economic background (high-SES) students into certain schools, creating not only positive peer effects, but also negative externality to the disadvantaged students.  Second, as previous research in Estonia has shown, early segregation pressures families to take steps to promote their child’s preschool achievements and can cause the tendency of prep-schooling (Poder and Lauri, 2011).  Third, better teachers tend to accumulate in the better schools fostering the segregation and increasing the effect of background characteristics.  However, as approved by Betts and Loveless (2005) or Hanushek and Woessmann (2010), a lot depends on the specific design and implementation of school choice.  The latter means that such measures as information that guides parents, regulatory and financial frameworks and incentives must be designed to encourage socioeconomic integration.  Also school autonomy in making decisions concerning different aspects of organisation and teaching are disputed (Hanushek et al., 2011).  These studies indicate that educational policy concerning school choice coupled with school specific aspects, rather than financing, are mainly detrimental for both outcomes – educational returns and equal educational opportunities.  These school choice based political institutional features are mainly the following: assignment rules (how schools and children are matched); tracking (grouping students by abilities); and school autonomy. The current article evaluates the effect of certain school specific criteria to student performance.  A main objective is explaining the effect of schools’ ability to select students on the average overall performance of students.  The response variable is average student performance. Student performance is operationalized by using the average state final exam results.  Independent variables that effect the share of students in care (disadvantaged students) from the total number of students and the school effect consisting of school input measures are also of interest.  The latter are teacher-student ratio, class size and teachers’ quality and age.   The school specific criteria – location, language, ownership and resources – are controlled for. All school level data are public and taken from the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS).

 

One-Way and Two-Ways Random Effects Model in Provisioning for Losses on Loans of Commercial Banks

Mohd Yaziz Bin Mohd Isa, University Tun Abdul Razak, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

ABSTRACT

 The paper aims to use results using random effects model to analyse factors of loan loss provisions of non-performing loans of commercial banks in Malaysia so that they reflect collectability of the defaulted loans. Because the factors being used to determine loan loss provisions do not reflect collectability of the defaulted loans,  consequently, in financial reporting, banks do not make relevance and faithful representations their true underlying risk conditions. When the banks do not represent relevantly and faithfully their true underlying risk conditions, this is not in tune with updated objectives of useful financial reporting as stipulates in Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements 2010 (“Framework 2010”) of the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) and Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The Framework 2010 stipulates qualitative characteristics of relevance and faithful representation as useful information in financial reporting. For the financial reporting to be useful, “it must be relevant and must faithfully represent what it purports to represent.” (Pacter, 2011, p.5). The results from analysis using random effects one-way and two-ways are presented.  In giving out loans to borrowers, there is a possibility banks may not able to recollect the loans because the borrowers may default in repayment. If this is the case, part or even in worse case, full amount of the loans may not be recovered. The loans may then become non-performing (NPL). The banks in this instance would make appropriate provisions for possible losses on the loans. Podder & Al Mamun, p. 73, 2004 refer loan loss provisions (LLP) as “a method that banks use to recognise a reduction in the realizable value of their loans.” This paper aims to present an analysis on provisioning for losses on loans (LLP) of Malaysian commercial banks using one-way and two-ways random effects model.  Using panel data analysis that combines both the banks (cross-sectional) over a period of time (time series), the three common models for use in the analysis are pooled, fixed and random effects. The random effects model assumes intercept values are a random drawing from a much bigger population. Maddala (2002) favours random effects model premises on argument that if we are to “make inference about the population from which these cross-section data came (this is the case in most of applied econometric works), we should treat αi as random.” (p.576). Boudriga, Abdelkader, Boulila, Neila Taktak & Jellouli, Sana (2009) view random effects as an alternatively more suitable estimation model that captures relationships between dependent variable and explanatory variables “for variable non performing loans (NPLs), as it varies considerably between countries and over years.” (p. 297). However, Gujarati & Porter (2009) point out that no simple guideline “provide a cure-all for all of an econometrician’s problems.” (p. 607).  In this study, traditional or classical methodology of econometrics is employed that uses observational data on bank-specifics and macroeconomic factor peculiar to Malaysia. The data on bank-specifics are secondary data (Loan loss provisions (LLP), Non performing loans (NPL), bad debt recoveries, interest income, net profit; and loans & advances) of nine locally-incorporated and three largest, in terms of assets, foreign-owned commercial banks in Malaysia.

 

Effect of National Culture on the Design of Management Control Systems of Multinational Enterprises: The Case of Egypt

Dr. Walid El-Gammal, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon

 

ABSTRACT

 This study examines the effect of national culture on the design of management control systems (MCS) of multinational enterprises operating in Egypt. Data for testing hypothesis are collected from 167 Egyptian managers working in German, French, Japanese and Italian owned firms compared to a pure Egyptian firm, all operating in car industry. Overall, the results of the tests performed do not provide a conclusive evidence to support the hypothesis of the study. It was found that there are many cases where the national culture of Egypt was not able to affect the design and use of some controls of the multinational companies while they operate in Egypt.  Although globalisation and borderless economies tend to promote similarities and convergence in managerial behaviours, the separate cultural traditions tend to encourage diversity (Hodgetts and Luthans, 1997). This means that the impact of diverse cultures must be recognised and related to specific international management situations. In the last 20 years, there was a lot of research that has been directed at understanding the relationship between national culture and the design of management control systems in different countries (Chow,Shields and Chan, 1991; Chow, Kato and Shields 1994;Chow,Katoa and Merchant 1996;Chow,Shields and WU, 1999, Harrison (1992, 1993) ; O’Connor, 1995; Merchant, Chow and Wu, 1995).  This kind of research has gained increasing prominence, as it is important to the business community. Simply, with increasing globalisation, the companies, which may have operated, previously in only their home country have had the opportunity and found the necessity to establish international operations, to become a multinational enterprise (MNE). Companies increasingly need to know whether management control systems or tools that are effective in one national setting will have alternate levels of effectiveness if used in a different national setting.  This means that the question of whether these multinational enterprises can transport their domestic management control systems (MCS) overseas, or whether they need to redesign their management control systems (MCS) according to the cultural imperatives of the overseas nations, is of a considerable practical significance. The main problem of the study is “Do multinational enterprises need to modify their domestic management control systems or tools to suit the national culture dictates of a foreign or host country?”  The purpose of this research is to understand how national culture affect the design of and preference for management control systems using Hofstede’s theory of national culture. More specifically, how national culture affects the design of and preference for management control systems of the multinational firms (German, French, Japanese and Italian) operating in a less developed country like Egypt in this study.  There are no cross-cultural studies that tried to examine the effect of national culture on the design of management control systems in any of the western companies or Asian companies compared to the Egyptian companies when they operate in less developed country like Egypt. This is what the researcher is doing in this research, the researcher examines whether or not the multinational enterprises (German, French, Japanese, Italian) need to modify their domestic management control systems or tools, when they operate in Egypt, to suit the national culture dictates of a foreign host country –Egypt-. Egypt was chosen for this study, because it has been identified by Hofstede’s national culture taxonomy that has been used in this study as almost opposite to the position of the countries chosen for the study in three out of the four cultural dimensions of Hofstede framework (power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance). This means that the effect of national culture -if any- should be detected because of the big differences in national culture dimensions scores of these countries compared to Egypt.

 

The Economic Impact of the Adoption and Implementation of ICTs in Developing Nations:  The Case of Chile

Dr. Shahram Amiri and Dr. Gary Oliphant, Stetson University Deland, Florida

 

ABSTRACT

 Chile’s government has played an integral role in the adoption and diffusion of ICT in the Chilean economy.  As the first Latin American country to privatize and deregulate the telecommunications sector, Chile gained a clear competitive advantage in the advancement and the adoption of ICT.   Over the last two decades, Chile has realized significant growth in the ICT sector and e-commerce, mainly due to government programs and initiatives, including investment in ICT infrastructure, promotion of educational programs geared toward increasing knowledge and skills in the use of ICT, the reduction of tariffs and fees, and the solicitation of foreign direct investment in specific business process outsourcing sectors.  Chile is now the leader among Latin American nations in ICT infrastructure and business process outsourcing.  As a result, the country has seen a significant improvement in GDP.  This paper will examine the factors that will keep Chile at the forefront of ICT in Latin America and the challenges that could possibly derail it.  The relationship between the adoption and implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT) and development and economic growth in developing nations has been a matter of study for over three decades.  While many studies conclude that there is a direct correlation between the adoption of ICT and economic development, particularly in developing countries, several studies espouse a requisite for developing countries to employ an approach that emphasizes the role of government and indigenous organizations in the adoption and diffusion of ICT in order to ensure successful implementation.  (Silva and Figueroa, 2002) In the case of Chile, this approach has been employed to varying degrees of success.  The rise of ICT in Chile began under the rule of General Pinochet, from 1973-1990. During the 1980’s, Pinochet began privatizing many government run industries, effectively shifting Chile towards a free market economy.  Telephone and communication companies were sold to the public and capitalism began to take hold.  The resulting free market in the telecommunications sector created an influx of outside capital investment and competition.  Though highly polarized and politically unstable under the dictatorship, Chile transitioned to a democracy in 1990.  This transition provided the foundation for the government to continue to privatize and deregulate the telecommunications sector, allowing for the successful implementation of programs that would encourage the adoption and diffusion of ICT, resulting in economic growth in the developing nation.  The success has been swift and prolific.  In 1992, the Catholic University of Chile launched the Enlaces project, a program designed to provide local area networks with access to the internet for elementary and secondary schools.  In the same year, Chilean universities partnered with the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) to form the non-profit corporation Reuna and create the first university network connected to the internet.  In 1994, Chile was one of few developing countries in the world to have a fully digital telecommunications system.  By 1997, Chile had the highest number of internet users than any other middle-income country.  To further encourage growth in the ICT sector, the government reduced tariffs affecting most ICT development to below the general tariff level in 1997.  (Silva and Figueroa, 2002)  In the same year, ICT goods imports represented 9% of total goods imports in Chile.

 

Socio-technical Controlling in Order Processing

Simon W. Schepers, Institute of Production Systems and Logistics, Leibniz University of Hanover

Jens Knigge, Institute of Integrated Production Hanover

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Nyhuis, Institute of Production Systems and Logistics, Leibniz University of Hanover

 

Abstract

 Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) miss their logistics objectives. In science and practice there is a growing recognition that the problems of production planning and control (PPC) cannot be solved only by the development and use of software tools. Obviously, there are other reasons for the existing performance deficits, which are generally referred to as so-called organizational stumbling blocks of PPC. They must be substantiated by the fact that employees and their qualitative characteristics (e. g. flexibility) are not considered in PPC systems. Production planning and control systems usually have limited degrees of freedom for carrying out the tasks given to the employee. Many methods of PPC systems have the potential of influencing the behavior and performance of employees, who tend to show a high degree of performance and responsibility, initiative, flexibility and the desire for self-development to provide logistical objectives forcefully. Along with the PPC systems, incentive systems are also effective areas for action to achieve objectives of logistics on the production level. Because employees differ in terms of their personality, needs and abilities, they react differently to incentives and motivational tools. The working hypothesis is therefore: The development of a logistics-oriented incentive system can support the logistical goal achievement of SME. Aligning incentives on operational logistics objectives anchors the objectives in the employees’ personal consciousness and everyday commitment the employees’ actions to support the logistics performance on the production level.  The production control has a direct impact on the logistic objectives deadlines, cycle times, inventory and workload, and is thus of crucial importance for the company's success. Despite the use of production control procedures, the achievement of objectives in operational practice is often disappointing: Many companies do not fulfill promised delivery dates, their lead times are longer than the market requires and the stocks in production and in the warehouses bind capital [Wiendahl, 2005a]. The experiences of various surveys show that often organizational stumbling blocks obstruct executional efficiency more than the actual or perceived software inadequacies [Droege, 2003, Wiendahl, 2005]. Organizational stumbling blocks are based on the fact that the employee, although he has many quality features, is regarded as a so-called "black box" in PPS systems. In production control systems, the protagonist generally possesses no degrees of freedom for the realisation of his tasks. Conflicts often arise at the attempt to employ his individual skills.  Logistic processes offer significant potential for strengthening organizational competitiveness [Nyhuis, 2003]. A key competitive factor for achieving the objectives set in this case is the influence of  employee behavior and performance to the logistic objectives through the design of degrees of freedom in controlling manufacturing processes and their support by logistics-oriented incentive systems.

 

New Opportunity for Local & Foreign Investors in Pakistan

Aftab Alam Khan, King Saud University, Riyadh Saudi Arabia

 

ABSTRACT

 

The main motive of this study is to discuss the foreign direct investment in Pakistan and the source from where foreign investment in the flow field is wide use of sources is to be discussed, In addition, here the purpose is to be discussed the reasons how to invest in Pakistan. There are many opportunities for the local and   the international investors to come and invest in Pakistan in the different sectors like in Petroleum, Telecom, Powers, Textile, Ports and Agriculture sectors. These are the main sectors that are waiting for the investors to come and invest in these sectors. The Details study shows that the Government of Pakistan has already published the major government official’s data. In these study we discussed the investment in Pakistan on various significant occasions and the trends how to invest in the certain areas for the local and the international investors, Moreover, the foreign investment resources in Pakistan are open to critical areas, But it strongly needs to be expand in all over the needy and unprivileged areas, Pakistan has to improve law and order situation, because it has underdeveloped capital markets. It is significant increased due to lacking in commercial loans availability. Furthermore, domestic savings are unable to meet investment needs. This is because foreign direct investment is more important priority agreement for Pakistan. Primarily, we collected this data from various Organizations and Government of Pakistan (G o Pak).  Therefore, reliability of this data is important. It was a huge issue as well. Government of Pakistan underlined its significant for the investors. Therefore, those investors can easily come the opportunities for their investments. This information for foreign and local investors having strong, cheap labors and human resource resources skill, view of the large and growing domestic market, abundant land and natural resources, low cost of raw materials available in Pakistan and market presence can be used in a strategic location. The Study foreign sources of international and local investment in Pakistan are attractive and promising. Moreover, foreign direct investment as a potential side expressed overall activities in Pakistan (FDI).W hat is now mostly needed is less talk and far more action to demonstrate the will of the investors.  After the Second World War, industrialization, the order of the day not earlier the idea of occupying enemy territory was transformed into the opponent's control of the economics states. The world as a stage in the economic war, Pakistan has a poor and underdeveloped country of the world. The successive governments have sought that economic growth has led to his becoming the industrializing economy. Whereas in the past decade, it is the hub of economic activities, if the low domestic savings, FDI is a significant funding for investment. Pakistan is a land of opportunities the store is a unique combination of history and culture of East and West. This is the cradle of the ancient Indus Valley civilization developed. This is the ninth most populous country in the world 160,000,000 tough, hard-working and industrious people, who entered the 21 century, as an equal partner in the comity of nations, Geographical location and the diversity-friendly high-temperature habitats of many wild animals and a variety of agricultural crops used for food and raw materials.

 

Book-Tax Differences and Companies’ Financial Characteristics: The Case of Croatia

Slavko Sodan, University of Split

 

ABSTRACT

 The relation between income for tax and financial reporting purposes is a very complex topic. Book and tax income have different requirements and they serve different purposes. This study examines the sources of book-tax spread and investigates the book-tax difference as an indicator of earnings quality for companies listed on Croatian capital market. Main assumption of this research is that accounting standards often allow discretion in computation of income for financial reporting purpose while tax rules are generally stricter. Therefore, large book-tax gaps can be indicator of managers’ opportunistic behavior and evidence of their earnings management activities that consequently reduce the quality of reported earnings. The research is conducted on the sample of Croatian listed companies for the period from 2000 to 2009. Obtained results suggest that earnings quality measure is negatively related to absolute value of book-tax difference. Also, results indicate that company’s financial characteristics beside earnings quality, i.e. profitability, size, level of liquidity and sales growth explain significant percentage of the variation in book-tax spread across companies.  Managers have to compute corporate income each year for two different purposes: for the purpose of financial reporting and to determine tax liabilities. The degree of conformity between financial accounting rules and tax accounting rules varies among countries. Financial accounting is governed by accounting legislation and by accounting standards while tax accounting is governed by tax legislation. Beside different rules, these two accounting systems also have different purposes. General objective of financial reporting is to provide information that is useful to present and potential equity investors, lenders and other creditors in making decisions. Thus, financial statements should give a true and fair view of the financial position and financial performance of the company. Accounting framework for preparation and presentation of financial statements (IASC, 1989, par.46) emphasizes that information is useful in making economic decisions if it meets following quality characteristics: understandability, relevance, reliability and comparability with respect to constraints of timeliness and the balance between benefits and costs of obtaining the information. In order to meet these quality criteria accounting standards are often more principle-based than rule-based. Furthermore, financial accounting standards often provide managers the ability to choose between alternative methods or techniques for valuation of company’s assets or liabilities and thus enable “creative” accounting practices. Managers can use these areas of discretion to convey their inside information to external users, but they can also use discretion for manipulative and opportunistic behavior. Contrary to the objectives of financial reporting, the main purpose of taxation is efficient collection of funds for government operations. In order to achieve this goal, tax rules have to be more precisely defined than accounting standards and have to provide less discretion or flexibility for managers’ decisions. Therefore, taxable income (i.e. taxable base for corporate income tax) is often considered to have smaller proportion of subjective managers’ estimates that can be manipulative. Thus some authors believe tax income is better measure of company’s real financial performance than financial accounting income.  Divergence between accounting and tax rules has been subject of many discussions. When talking about connection between tax and accounting, main question is should these two systems be separated from each other or should they converge into single accounting system. In the United States, where financial accounting is organized separately from tax accounting, there have been calls for a greater conformity between the rules producing tax accounts and those used for financial reporting purposes (Freedman, 2008, p.71). Arguments for a single accounting system state that single system can rationalize costs of accounting process, enable better monitoring of managers’ actions and improve transparency and quality of financial reporting (Desai, 2005; Whitaker, 2005).

 

An Analysis of the Effect of Reducing the Food Subsidy on Income Inequality

Dr. Mohsen Zayandehroody, Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran

 

ABSTRACT

 

A policy of subsidizing energy has been pursued in the Islamic Republic of Iran to help the poor and to utilize the relative advantages of the country. But it has been realized that energy subsidy has led to market distortion and welfare loss. Hence, elimination of energy subsidy is considered as a crucial matter. Changes in energy policy are hindered by the uncertainty on the impact of reducing energy subsidy on the living expenses of population. In the present article the distribution of resources through energy subsidy is evaluated; and, the direct and indirect effect of eliminating energy subsidies on the living expenses is estimated with the help of an analytical tool that has been developed. It is then concluded that additional financial resources obtained from reduction of energy subsidies could be allocated for compensating the decrease in purchasing power of households. The results of analysis reveal that more egalitarian distribution of resources and helping the poor could be achieved through implementation of a progressive policy of social security that is supported by financial resources available from elimination of energy subsidies.  Iran will be focused with numerous challenges in near future. Now the main one is high rate of unemployment, that the dimensions of this problem will be increased by the emerge of young skilful manpower, with high expectation. The solution of this crisis is a high economic growth rate. Iran as an oil country has spent a considerable part of his properties in the form of visible and invisible subsides on main goods and services which was an inefficient and ineffective policy in economical growth and income distribution. During all years income distribution model in Iran has been a distribution model which is suitable for the period before economic growth that is not useful for a longtime. So, applying income distribution model along with economical growth is inevitable. In our country the main part of subside goes on foods, which imposes a significant financial burden on government according to population growth and increase in goods and services increase in international markets. Therefore it’s necessary to select an appropriate policy. Today's, by considering the lack of budget, rare source in developing countries and failure in supplying the main needs of poor classes , the way subside payment to target groups should be taken into account Farajzadeh  and Najafi,2004 ).  From two decades ago by population growth, less support of industrial countries from developing countries and the economical problem of developing countries ,the decrease of subside is become important ,and lots of studies are done on it in different countries .how ever in Iran few research are done about this subject. In most of these research different dimensions of main goods subside were taken into account. Some of these researches examine the changes in government budget by considering the importance of changing subside system on budget, and came to the result that by decrease in subside; there is the possibility of saving government budget. In the following researches Seshamani (1998), Lustig (1986), Lofgren and El-said (2001), besides mentioning the government budget saving, resulting from subside decrease; they focus on nutrition adverse effects and support of vulnerable society classes. The other researches also recommended the two methods: physical and cash payment to target groups; and compare these researches is as follows: Ahmad & Bouis (2002), Lofgren & El-said (2001), Del Ninno & Dorosh (2002), Famino (1995).  According to the results of these researches, physical payment of foods lead to increase in consumption of people, but cash payment necessarily doesn't lead to increase in consumption. In attention to the lack of studies done on this case in Iran, the goal of this study is examining the effects of income inequality following from food subside decrease policies on Iran urban and rural consumers.

 

Welfare State and School Choice: Evidence of Recent Developments in EU

Dr. Kaire Poder and Dr. Kaie Kerem, Tallinn University of Technology

 

ABSTRACT

 Our goal is to conduct a comparative study of European education systems related to school choice and welfare regimes. We control for the following hypotheses: (a) educational policy is determined by the welfare regime and; (b) educational returns are dependent on the availability of school choice at the system level, our results reject both hypotheses. Instead we show that types of school choice policies are independent from the welfare regime scale, from catchment area based zoning to unregulated policies enforced by schools. Although, relying on indexes for measuring school choice, (with Netherlands, England and Ireland are being the most ‘liberal’ and Nordic countries being the most restrictive), a positive causality is not found. Instead convex relationship between educational returns and school choice is found, indicating that ‘average solutions’ allowing some uncontrolled and self-inflicted school choice can only cause harm. Moreover, we demonstrate that school choice has a positive effect on educational results only if it comes together with equal educational opportunities.  The distribution of students amongst schools is fundamental in the concerns of equality of educational opportunity. School choice is defined as parents’ possibility to choose school for their children. We study the effect of school choice on educational returns. Scandinavian countries (especially Finland) are positioned relatively high in an EU comparison of PISA test results, thus it may be hypothesized that the Scandinavian comprehensive school regime has a causal impact on educational returns. The alternative is that school choice policies are directly derived from the welfare regime.  Recent literature points out the importance of early education in association with educational high returns (Cunha et al., 2006). Pre-primary and primary education is important for educational success and in particular for the opportunities of disadvantaged groups. In this paper the focus is on school choice in primary and lower secondary education.  School choice is analyzed in numerous international comparative or single case studies (overview by Cobb and Glass, 2009) and also mechanism design studies. In mechanism design literature (Abdulkadirouglu et al., 2009, 2005a, 2005b, 2003; Erdil and Ergin, 2008) it can be shown that the results of the choice are highly dependent on the algorithm design (how matching of schools and students is implied). However, there are few countries in the EU that apply mechanism design principles to the school choice, with none to the primary school choice. Choice and quality of schooling is stressed by many authors after Friedman (1955, 1962), little evidence is found to support the argument (Cobb and Glass, 2009; Levin, 1998) or effects are mixed (Lubienski and Lubienski, 2006; Hill, 2005) and not very supportive (Böhlmark and Lindahl, 2007). At the same time negative effects of the uncontrolled and unregulated school choice are shown in many cases, e.g. Argentina (Narodowski, 2002), Germany (Riedel et al., 2009), various US cities (Lankford and Wyckoff, 2001; Bifulco et al., 2009); England (West, 2006; Burgess et al., 2006), Finland (Seppänen, 2006, 2003). These authors indicate that choice increases ethnic and social segregation that can cause even more social costs than residential segregation. Furthermore, due to limited economic, cultural and social resources school choice tends to not be practiced or at least less practiced in disadvantaged families.  Our hypothesis is that school choice alone will not bring along educational returns. We also make sub-hypotheses. First, educational equality is essential for sustained educational achievement. Second, welfare regime is not explaining the educational returns or school choice system. Third, resources devoted to education will not explain educational returns.

 

Basel II – Case of Croatian Commercial Banks

Dr. Anita Pavkovic, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Dr. Andrea Pavlovic, Zagreb School of Economics and Management, Croatia

Dr. Alen Stojanovic, University of Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 

In the last decade EU directives have been transposed into regulatory framework of the Croatian financial system, for all relevant financial system parts like credit institutions, insurance and reinsurance firms, investment funds and other financial institutions, which had significantly determined the financial structure in Croatia. Also expected Croatian entrance into euro area would be important factor of determining Croatian future financial architecture.   In particular, the Law on credit institutions and extensive set of sub legislative acts issued by Croatian National Bank, which became effective from 2009, onwards regulated key areas of the Croatian credit institutions activities such as minimum standards for establishment, allowed set of activities and supervision of credit institutions, which dominant part are universal commercial banks. It is worth mentioning that in Croatian regulation still are embedded specific national discretions which preserve certain strictness of the regulation of banking system before Croatia accession in European Union integral market.  The aim of the paper is to critically evaluate influence of Basel II implementation in Croatian banking system, supporting the hypothesis that although recent financial and economic crises had pointed out imperfections in today’s financial regulatory and supervisory practices of more advanced financial system, due to particular specificities of the Croatian banking system and underdevelopment of total financial and banking structure, up to now revealed are prevalent, numerous positive effects on stability and sustainability of the whole banking system but also significant synergies and value added is observed on the level of individual banks, especially larger institutions.  In last twenty years Croatian financial system has changed dramatically and has become more competitive and comparable to developed and sophisticated financial systems of the market oriented economies. Intensive changes in financial structure have been initiated with few specific factors: accelerated privatization process, numerous reforms in financial system (e.g. payment system, pension system), increase in macroeconomic stability, changes in political cycles etc.  In that context, regulatory and supervisory measures accepted successfully in EU, had an important role in harmonization and alignment of the Croatian banking system with broadly promoted standards of banking systems stability worldwide. The results of introduced prudential standards are numerous at the level of the sustainability of the banking system in Croatia but are also very relevant as an external determinant of the continuous development and improvement of the internal risk management practice of individual banks improving their efficiency for the benefits for owners, management, and clients. The negative effects of Basel II regulation, for the time being, can be observed in terms enormously high regulatory burden for small banks which as a consequence of the new regulatory standards, should enter into process of consolidation with the final goal of finding an niche on the market as regional of more specialized domestic players.

 

The Determinants of Intermediate Target's Choice of Monetary Policy Strategy: The Case of CEE Countries

Josip Viskovic, University of Split, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 The main motivation for this paper was the scarcity of empirical research and evidences on the characteristics of the countries depending on their choice of intermediate target of monetary strategy. Today’s most common choice refers to inflation targeting, exchange rate targeting and monetary targeting. This paper reviews the fundamental characteristics of these three strategies and analyzes currently adopted strategies in central and east European countries. Furthermore, paper analyzes what are the main determinants of the choice i.e. what characterizes the countries that have chosen individual target. Finally, using discriminant analysis the paper concludes that characteristics of inflation targeting and exchange rate targeting countries do differ, particularly in terms of exchange rate regimes, external debt, loans in foreign currency or loans denominated in foreign currency, central bank independence and level of bank domination in financial system. Due to negative consequences of some of these characteristics, an explicit inflation target is proposed as an alternative regime for some economies.  Intermediate target is defined as an economic variable which: (i) central bank can control with a certain lag and a certain degree of accuracy and (ii) which is relatively stable or at least predictably connected with the ultimate goal of monetary policy. Lovrinović and Ivanov (2009) suggest that intermediate targets are used to increase the effectiveness of monetary policy in achieving the final goals and in order to verify the changes in the monetary system towards achieving these goals. Countries selecting the intermediate target take into account a number of characteristics of economy, and the final choice can be a monetary aggregate, the exchange rate or inflation target. It is important to emphasize that the ultimate goal, together with other factors, determines the choice of strategy, taking into consideration that the choice of intermediate target determines the choice of operating goals and instruments of monetary policy. Among the other factors, level of trade openness, economic development, the level of monetary independence, the characteristics of financial system and other economic factors, are considered. Thus, numerous factors have importance in defining the strategy. The aim of this paper is to find out what factors characterize countries, depending on their choice of intermediate target. Beside characteristics, paper points out possible negative consequences of the choice.  The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 provides a theoretical background of intermediate targets and their characteristics. Section 3 presents research design and results. Paper ends with concluding remarks and limitations of the study.  Monetary policy strategy can be defined in several ways. Cuaresma and Gnan (2008) claim that monetary policy strategy consists of a detailed description of the reaction function of monetary policy on economic development, as well as of communication of the current public policy. Reaction function implies (i) a monetary policy instrument, which through achieving the intermediate goal leads to the ultimate goal of monetary policy; and (ii) institutional framework that is adapted to making monetary policy decisions. Communication implies external presentation of the reaction function, which includes the consistency and transparency in decision-making process. Consistency and transparency together shape and direct the expectations of stakeholders towards the goal of monetary policy. Bindseil (2004) states that the strategy of monetary policy consists of two elements. The first element is a macroeconomic model of the transmission mechanism, which describes how the operational objective, indicator variables, intermediate objectives and random shocks are associated with the ultimate goal. The second element is the way that central banks adjust their operational goals, based on new information, and how they communicate the public influencing achievement of the intermediate and final goal.

 

The Availability of Work Product Protection to Tax Accrual Workpapers

Stephen Gara, Ph.D., Drake University, Des Moines, IA

Brandy Gary, JD, BDO Siedman, Phoenix, AZ

 

ABSTRACT

 

Tax accrual workpapers are prepared as part of the financial statement audit process.  The purpose of these documents is to assess the corporate taxpayer's reserves for any contingent tax liability that the taxpayer may owe if the government challenges the taxpayer's filed return.  The workpapers contain a detailed analysis identifying uncertain tax positions, likelihood of their success, and the potential liability if unsuccessful.  The government reserves the right to force disclosure of these documents as part of its examination authority.  This article analyzes various legal theories, particularly the work-product privilege, to prevent disclosure of this documentation.  Tax accrual workpapers are an assessment of a corporate taxpayer’s potential tax liability, prepared by the taxpayer, their accountant or their attorney.  Federal tax law is full of complexity and ambiguity.  No taxpayer completes a return with the certainty that the IRS will agree with the results.  The return is filed with the understanding that the IRS may challenge some of the positions taken and, through settlement or litigation, the corporation may end up owing more taxes than it initially acknowledged.  As a result the tax liability as reported on the original return is not absolute and may differ from the final liability as determined by the government.  This creates the potential for a significant contingent liability on behalf of corporate taxpayers.  One function of tax accrual workpapers is to assess the recorded amount for this contingent liability, and determine if the liability is adequately accounted for in the financial statements.  Federal securities law requires publicly traded firms to submit audited financial statements, prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), to the SEC (15 USC §78L)   GAAP  mandates that firms identify and quantify all uncertain tax positions as described in Financial Accounting Standards Board, Interpretation No. 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes (FASB, 2006) (FIN 48).  FIN 48 is now codified in Accounting Standards Codification Topic 740 (FASB, 2010).  The reporting of uncertain tax positions serves to reveal the difference between the positions taken on a corporation’s tax return and the potential tax liability beyond that reported on the tax return. FIN 48 mandates disclosure in the aggregate of the potential impact due to any tax benefits claimed on the tax return using a more-likely-than-not standard.  It also requires the creation of workpapers for each separate position, which provide the basis for the corporation’s conclusion that it believes the tax position is either sustainable or not sustainable.  In addition, FIN 48 must be satisfied in accord with the SOX certification and attestation requirements, which mandate written documentation supporting the FIN 48 positions taken.  Consequently, the preparation of tax accrual workpapers are required for all publicly traded firms. The workpapers may be prepared by in-house counsel or accountants, external auditors, or outside counsel.  As part of this process, the corporation’s reported tax liability is reviewed to determine if positions taken by the corporation are likely to withstand government scrutiny.  Each position is reviewed and the likelihood of success is calculated, along with the potential tax cost if the position is not upheld.  The existence of these workpapers creates a potential roadmap to the government, identifying so-called soft positions that are susceptible to challenge.  As a result, the taxpayer would prefer the government not have access to them. 

 

Corporate Governance and Quality of Accounting Information: Case of Lebanon

Dr. Walid El-Gammal and Michel Showeiry, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon

 

ABSTRACT

 This study examines the effect of corporate governance represented by board of directors and audit committee on achieving a high quality accounting information characterized by relevance, reliability, comparability and consistency. Data for testing the hypotheses are collected from respondents who are users of financial information from different fields of Accounting such as financial institutions, brokerage firms, auditing firms. Overall, the results of tests performed show that the characteristics of board of directors and audit committee can help in achieving a high quality accounting information.  After the fall down of big companies such as Enron and WorldCom, corporate governance became an important issue that should be applied in every corporation especially those that are publicly held. However, corporate governance imposed a set of rules guiding institutions towards the right, ethical path. One of the most important policies is ensuring transparency throughout the preparation of the financial statements. This could be ensured by achieving high accounting information quality. It is the responsibility of the audit committee and the board of directors to guarantee an acceptable quality of accounting information. Throughout this paper, we examine four characteristics of both the audit committee and the board of directors and we try to test whether these characteristics help in increasing the quality of accounting information.  A study performed by Cheung and Chan (2004) addressed different issues regarding corporate governance in Asia. After studying several global models of governance taking into consideration the laws of corporate governance in some Asia countries, the authors concluded that the same criteria cannot be applied to all countries present in Asia. Each country has its own funding environment related to corporate, economic, social, cultural, legal and regulatory factors that differ greatly across these countries. Thus, each country should individually and independently improve the standards of practicing corporate governance.  Mariam, Subramaniam, and Johnson (2006) discussed corporate governance across the United States. They argued that the financial crises is due to one of the following reasons; either because firms are focusing on the short run revenues rather than those in the long run or as a result of the weak efforts of stakeholders present in the United States that do not have an effective influence on these companies. As a result, the authors tried proposing solutions such as CEO and the President should be taken as a separate group with different responsibilities, increase the size of the board that can be an effective support, and the need for internal audit committee that will assess risk and ensure that a sufficient degree of transparency is available.  Moreover, a study was done in America by Eugene and Imhaff (2003) studying the relationship between the quality of auditing and corporate governance taking past and present data. The authors concluded that major changes should be done to improve corporate governance in order to ensure the integrity of the financial reports. As a result, the authors proposed two recommendations; one is to increase the independency of the board of directors by preventing CEOs and CFOs to act as chairmen for the board in addition to preventing the members of the board from owning companies’ shares. The second recommendation shed light on the importance of supporting the independency of the auditor by preventing previous managers or members of the board to act as an account observer, by changing the audit team every three years, and by ethically engaging in applying GAAP principles for high transparency in financial reporting.

 

Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility Toward Firm Value and Profitability

Martin Surya Mulyadi and Yunita Anwar, BINUS University, Jakarta, Indonesia

 

ABSTRACT

 Corporate Social Responsibility is business contribution to sustainable development, that corporate behaviour not only needed to ensure return to shareholders but also other stakeholders interest. In order to have a long-run business, corporation need to pay attention to 3P (profit, people and planet). Application of CSR is treated as an investment, as there are many benefit from CSR.  In Indonesia, CSR currently is an obligation only for corporation in natural resources-related business. Our paper examined 30 selected listed Indonesia corporation (not in natural resources business) to examine relationship between CSR to firm value and profitability.  Based on our research, using double linear regression model and usage of GRI as measurement of CSR activity we find out that there is no significant relationship between CSR and firm value (measured by Tobin’s Q). We also find same evidence for relationship between CSR and profitability (ROA, ROE and NPM).  In industrialization era, most of corporations only focusing on profitability. Their contribution to society only limited to available field work for society and providing goods and services. Nowadays, society demanding corporation to do more as there is economy imbalance between business owners and society; and also negative impact they created such as pollution.  Application of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) now is not treated as a cost, it is an investment (Wibisono, 2007). CSR refer to relationships between corporation and all stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, suppliers, government, and even their competitors. This concept also known as 3P (profit, people, planet) introduced by Solihin (2009). Business objective is not merely for profit, but also for welfare of people and ensure sustainability of this planet.  Several previous research show there is positive correlation between CSR and corporate financial performance. Jo and Harjoto (2011) find there is strongly positive impact for firms that engage in CSR on firm value. CSR also have positive and significant relationship with corporate financial performance (Cheung et al., 2009 and Choi, Kwak and Choe, 2010). Lindgreen, Swaen and Johnston (2009) also have same conclusion. They conclude that by reaching out to its stakeholders with CSR, corporation could increase their revenues and profits, which in turn improves their chance of surviving in the long run.

 

Analysis of Income Tax Incentives for Transportation Industry in Indonesia

Yunita Anwar and Martin Surya Mulyadi, BINUS University, Jakarta, Indonesia

 

ABSTRACT

 Tax incentives is policy given to encourage investment in specific area by changing current tax structures, which consist of any kind of taxes that affect corporate and household level. As external economics, tax policy is a significant determinant of economic activity. Although sometimes it could have little or no effect toward economic or investment activity. Income tax incentives can be grouped into a number of categories: tax holidays, investment allowances and tax credits, timing differences, reduced tax rates, and free economic zones.  We use probit econometric model to investigate whether income tax incentives in USA have significant impact toward performance of transportation industry. Our result showed transportation industry perform better when income tax incentives take place.  With this result, given there is no specific income tax incentives for transportation industry in Indonesia we suggest Indonesian government consider create specific income tax incentives for transportation industry. This incentives could create higher investment specifically in transportation industry.  Income tax incentives is one of fiscal policy that could be used by government to improve the investment environment. Either if government want to attract foreign investors, or even new investment from domestic investors. Therefore, tax incentives is important instruments to develop specific industry.  Our previous study examined income tax incentives for renewable energy industry, with focus in geothermal industry and wind industry. From both research, we conclude Indonesia need to consider creating indirect income tax incentives as given by USA (Anwar and Mulyadi, 2011).  While our previous study in renewable energy industry, an area in which Indonesian government has created income tax incentives, in this study we will examine if it is needed for Indonesian government to create income tax incentives for transportation industry. Currently, there is no income tax incentives that is targeted specifically for this industry.  Tax incentives is policy given to encourage investment in specific area by changing current tax structures. Previous research in tax structures usually have different value judgement and also different analytical frameworks (Lambert, 1985; Atkinson, 1995; Creedy, 1995).  Tax structures consist of any kind of taxes that affect most activities of economic life, in corporate and also household level. Taxation for example can affect the work effort of individuals, labour supply, consumer demand, household saving, enterprise and risk taking and corporate investment (Anastassiou, 2011). Our focus here is in adjustment of tax structures in order to encourage investment (tax incentives).  Tax incentives is one example of external economics. Lee and Lin (2011) divided externality of economic activities in two parts, external economics and external diseconomics. External economics is also known as the constructive, positive or beneficial externality. In the other hands, external diseconomics is destructive, negative or harmful externality. According to its characteristics, we can conclude tax incentives as external economics according to their research.  Effect of income tax incentives on foreign direct investment has been the subject of interest for a long time. Previous research by Horst (1977) and Root and Ahmed (1978) conclude that tax has an implication on foreign direct investment and on investment decision by multinational companies. Another researcher in this area mostly have the same conclusion based on their research, that tax policy is a significant determinant of economic activity (Hartman, 1984; Young, 1988; Grubert and Mutti, 1991; Wasylenko, 1997). Although in contrary Deskins (2005) conclude that tax policies often have little or no effect.

 

Strategic Positioning of Senegal Agriculture Products on the Agricultural World Market

Dr. Hamadoun Sidibe, Universite de Moncton, Canada

 

ABSTRACT

 During the  WTO negotiations  in Doha, one main agreement between the developed country members, and developing-country members was to implement duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating in the LDCs (less developed countries), and  eliminate restrictions, and distortions in the world agricultural markets. In response to this opening of and better access to global markets, this research addresses the question: What products should Senegal – an African LDC - choose to export to the world market? Using a strategic management perspective, particularly the BCG tool, the results of this study show that world markets for Senegal agricultural exports are growing except for its two main exports - groundnut oil, and cotton lint. The country should now diversify its exports and eliminate tobacco products in its portfolio. Indeed, Senegal can 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 for the same purpose.  Opening of markets to world trade was one of the main negotiation points of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting held in Hong Kong in December, 2005. Indeed, on the last day of the ministerial meeting of the organization, the Ministerial Declaration stated that the members of governments had committed themselves to comprehensive negotiations aimed at achieving   three main goals: Market access (“elimination of all forms of export subsidies and disciplines on all export measures with  an equivalent effect to be completed by the end of 2013”); export subsidies elimination (reduction of, with a view toward phasing out, all forms of such export subsidies); and  domestic support reductions (substantial reductions of domestic supports that distort trade). The overall purpose was to correct and prevent restrictions and distortions in the world agricultural markets (WTO 2005).  Under this same context of opening these markets and eliminating agricultural subsidies, the African countries and the developing countries must decide which agricultural products they need to grow to serve the world market. Indeed, what agricultural products does each country need to promote as its exports?  Senegal is one of the poorest countries in the world according to the human development index of the UNDP 2010 Report, which ranked it 144 on 169, and placed in the category, Low Human Development This study examines the strategies (or what specific agricultural products)  Senegal has to choose from in view of  world demand for agricultural products and the competitive position of Senegal in the world agricultural market. To answer this question, we adopted the management approach, which holds to the manager point of view when deciding which action(s) to undertake that best suits an enterprise. In other words, what strategies are necessary for Senegal to choose and adopt? The study duplicates  previous research conducted on Mali, and Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire (see Sidibe, 2011), and is one part of a  larger  research project  that has focused on strategic positioning of West African countries for placing their  agricultural products on the world market.  From the point of view of strategic management and strategic planning in particular, the strategies that are chosen must balance external threats and opportunities for an enterprise with the internal strengths and weaknesses of that entity. Several tools have been developed to help managers define such objectives, choose the best  strategies, and then implement those strategies effectively. These tools include the SWOT analysis, environmental scanning, benchmarking, the TOWS matrix, the portfolio analysis (the BCG matrix), scenario planning, and the GE matrix (Dessler, 2004: 124; Hax & Majluf, 1984: 19). Of these different tools, we believe that BCG (Boston Consulting Group) portfolio analysis is more relevant to  research on the world markets for agricultural products because of its simplicity and more generalized view and because its dimensions are also applied by the other management tools.

 

The Complexity of Learning Context in Croatian Manufacturing Companies

Dr. Ivan Matic and Ana Juras, University of Split, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

 In today's business environment learning is considered as one of the main sources of competitive advantage. Bearing in mind that learning in organizations greatly depends on context in which individuals and groups perform their everyday activities, the characteristics of mentioned learning context, especially its complexity, ranging between chaos and entropy, is crucial influencing factor on organizational learning occurrence and progress. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the role of learning context complexity in achieving organization’s desired outcomes such as organizational learning, organizational innovativeness and non-financial and financial performances. In identifying the optimal level of learning context complexity in relation to above noted outcomes, the empirical research on the sample of 34 Croatian manufacturing companies was conducted during the last quarter of year 2010, results of which are indicating surprising results, such as that higher level of learning context complexity leads to higher levels of organizational learning, organizational innovativeness and non-financial performances.  Given the characteristics of today’s business environment, learning in organization has become one of the most popular topics in organization and management literature. Despite the fact that the term learning was first used in organization and management literature in organizational context in the 1960s (e.g. Cyert and March, 1963), it was not before the 1980s and especially 1990s that learning in organization was given appropriate attention and treatment in relevant literature. Through today’s widely accepted concepts such as organizational learning and learning organization, learning in organization moved to the center of interest in organization and management literature, and is by numerous authors considered as the main source of competitive advantage of today’s business organizations (e.g. Fiol and Lyles, 1985; Garratt, 1987; De Geus, 1988; Stata, 1989; Kiechel, 1990; Senge, 1990; Epstein and Roy, 1997; Grieves, 2000; Marquandt, 2002) (Habaradas, 2009, pp. 1). Despite the multitude of authors in the field, published books, articles and journals, there is still no generally accepted agreement on what learning in organization, i.e. organization learning represents and how an ideal type of organization, that is capable of constantly learning and adjusting itself in accordance to what in learned, can be achieved. In facilitating the occurrence and development of mentioned learning in organization, and consequently, developing the learning organization, the design of everyday’s working situation in which the individual finds himself on his/her workplace, in groups or through organizational systems, structures, processes, procedures, etc., and throughout his/her direct exposure to the alternative views, ideas and questioning, is the crucial issue. Given today’s business environment demands, that pressure for modern organizations to be extremely flexible and to constantly change in order to survive in chosen markets, where learning in organizations plays a crucial role, and on the other hand a more then hundred years of tradition of authority, politics, rules, procedures, etc., it is logical to pose the question: how much flexibility or spontaneity or how much stability or structure is the right amount to foster learning in organization in order to consequently achieve desired business performances?   In providing the answer to above posed question, this paper will try to determine whether an individual is left alone to self-organize towards gaining/acquiring knowledge, or on the other hand has to cope with a number of formal organizational rules, policies and procedures in his/her learning processes. For this to be accomplished, the contributions of organizational design literature are crucial, particularly the concept of organizational complexity, that has been increasingly receiving more attention in the mentioned literature for the past few decades, especially with its structural approach to organization. Since the 1970s and 1980s there has been an alignment of complexity theory with business and management practices (e.g. McMaster, 1996; Connor, 1998; and Kelly and Allison, 1999), and the concept of complexity expanded to a field of organization and management among other social sciences. Namely, complexity has its origins in natural sciences, primarily physics (e.g. chaos theory, nonlinearity, self-organizing) and biology (emergence, co-evolution) and inevitably it has found (more, or less successful) application in the field of multitude of sciences.

 

Contact us   *   Copyright Issues   *   About us

Copyright 2000-2017. All Rights Reserved