The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge

Vol.  16 * Num.. 2 * March 2011

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC   *   ISSN: 1540 – 7780

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Privatization in Closed and Open Mixed Oligopolies

Dr. Najiba Benabess, Norwich University, Northfield, VT

 

ABSTRACT

This paper is the first to collect and organize the many past theoretical results on the predicted welfare effects of privatization in mixed oligopolies. Our review of past models demonstrates that the most critical elements in predicting the influence of privatization in mixed oligopoly are the timing of the game and whether or not the market is open to foreign competition. In organizing these results it becomes apparent that several cases remain missing in the resulting matrix.  I develop these cases and conclude that privatization deteriorates social welfare when a public firm is a Stackelberg leader; while it improves social welfare when a public firm is a Cournot player in a competitive domestic market.  A large literature has developed examining mixed oligopoly models often with the object of investigating the consequences of privatization. While these models have reached somewhat contradictory predictions, the need for using theory to make predictions remains great.  As the next section makes clear, the results of actual cases of privatization appear to be mixed.  The characteristics of the many individual cases differ dramatically and call for the drawing of general principles based on differences in underlying market and behavioral variables. Our review of past models demonstrates that the most critical elements in predicting the influence of privatization in mixed oligopoly are the timing of the game, and whether or not the market is open to foreign competition. Apparently, less relevant are assumptions on the exact nature of the demand and cost structure. Thus, the stylized example frequently used involves linear demand and increasing but linear marginal costs. Allowing for a downward sloping demand and convex costs does not, to date, alter the results (see for example Myles 2002 and Sepahvand 2004). This paper is organized as follows: Section 2 presents the results associated with a closed mixed oligopoly in which there are m private domestic firms and one public domestic firm. Section 3 presents the results associated with an open mixed oligopoly in which there are m private domestic firms and n foreign private firms and one public domestic firm; and finally, section 5 concludes this paper.  There are three cases: Case 1 Cournot to Cournot determines the effects of privatization on welfare with Cournot behavior among all firms. Case 2 Stackelberg to Cournot presents the effect of privatization on welfare when a public Stackelberg leader becomes a private Cournot competitor, and finally Case 3 Stackelberg to Stackelberg presents the effect of privatization on welfare when a public Stackelberg leader becomes a private Stackelberg leader.  I determine the missing cases, and finally, I compare and analyze the results. Table A1 summarizes these cases.  De Fraja & Delbono (1989) compared the resulting welfare when the public firm maximizes welfare under Cournot oligopoly and the welfare function when the public firm maximizes its own profit under Cournot oligopoly. They showed that the impact of privatization on welfare depends on the number of the domestic firms. If the domestic market has a large number of competitors, it is socially better for the public firm to privatize and maximize its own profit instead of pursuing a social goal. “With a large number of firms, in the Nash case, the public firm must produce a very high level of output, driving private profits to a very low level, and given that the public firm’s marginal cost is equal to the market price, the higher consumers’ surplus under the Nash Regime is not high enough to compensate the lowest private profits.” De Fraja and Delbono. (1989) P.307. De Fraja & Delbono (1989) compared the welfare function when the public firm acts as a Stackelberg leader and maximizes the social welfare with the one when a public firm is a Cournot firm that maximizes its profit. They showed that welfare decreases with privatization. I compare welfare functions when the government acts as a public Stackelberg leader and when it acts as a private Stackelberg leader. Previous literature has not addressed this question. The results of this case are presented next.

 

A Theoretical Exploration of Disruptive Behavior in Healthcare Organizations

Dr. Stewart L. Tubbs, Eastern Michigan University

Hillary Hart, R.N., M. S. A., Henry Ford-Fairlane Hospital

 

ABSTRACT

An increasing focus in healthcare organizations is now being directed toward a category of counter-productive behaviors variously referred to as "Bullying, disruptive behaviors, horizontal and vertical violence, incivility, intimidation, rudeness, toxic behaviors, verbal abuse, and workplace deviance." (Hutton, 2006; Kusy and Holloway, 2009; Martinko, et. al., 2002, Porath and Pearson, 2009; Pulich and Tourigny, 2004; Rosenstein and O'Daniel, 2005; and Weber, 2004; Disruptive behaviors can jeopardize patient safety. Research has shown  the relationship between caregiver behavior and adverse patient outcomes.  (Blake and Rosenstein, (2008), Sirota, et. al., (2005). For this reason the Joint Commission for Healthcare Accreditation (JCAHO) has increasingly become concerned about  behaviors of all parties responsible for patient care, and has instituted a new leadership standard for accredited organizations. These organizations must create a code of conduct that defines acceptable and  unacceptable workplace behavior and must also establish a formal process for managing unacceptable behavior. This standard became effective on January 1, 2009. “Health care leaders and caregivers have known for years that intimidating and disruptive behaviors are a serious problem. Verbal outbursts, condescending attitudes, refusal to take part in assigned duties, and physical threats all create breakdowns in teamwork, communication, and collaboration necessary to deliver patient care” (Blake and Rosenstein, , 2009, p. 110). Horizontal and vertical violence includes all acts of unkindness, discourtesy, sabotage, divisiveness, infighting, lack of cohesiveness, scapegoating and criticism. Horizontal violence occurs between two members of a team with similar level or position in the organization.  Vertical violence stems from persons in a position of authority who use it as a weapon against a subordinate.  Such actions could include a manager not allowing vacation time to a certain employee, giving the new nurse the heavier workload to “give them experience” or providing preferential scheduling to other nurses (Fudge, 2006).  Leiper (2005) stated the most common aggressors are usually nurse-managers and nurse-supervisors. Overt violence is quite obvious and includes forms such as criticizing a team member constantly in front of others or even screaming at another or physical assault.  Covert violence includes such acts as talking behind one’s back, blocking or omitting information that would help a colleague do their job, or isolating a colleague from group activities (Longo & Sherman, 2007).  A national study published by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses identified as many as 77% of nurses work with someone who is insulting, condescending or rude. Less than 1 in 10 people will speak up against an aggressor for fear or retaliation. This not only taxes the mind of the victim, it takes away from their ability to critically think about situations to provide optimal patient care (Blake and Rosenstein, 2009). The  horizontal and vertical violence that health care providers exhibit toward one another has been a long standing problem but,  only recently has come to the forefront as an accreditation issue for  health care. Answers for how best to  rectify this problem are urgently  needed. Nurses feel alienated and lack authority over their working conditions. Longo & Sherman (2007) They  manifest their frustrations in the form of conflict within their own ranks.  Horizontal violence is found across every aspect and specialty of nursing. Its presence decreases morale and affects all health team members physically, mentally and emotionally (Leiper, 2005).  When team members oppress one another, the end results are job dissatisfaction, psychological and  physical stress, errors, reduced clinical outcomes and employee turnover (Rosenstein, 2002; Kusy and Hollaway, 2009; and Porath and Pearson, 2009). Victims of horizontal violence may have problems sleeping, develop low-self esteem, have poor morale, become disconnected from peers, display depression and accrue excessive sick leave (Longo & Sherman, 2007).  The increased stress and feelings of isolation may make a person reluctant  to ask for help from colleagues, which increases the chances for medical errors thus endangering patients.  As students of various disciplines pass through internships and experience hostility, they may be unwilling to start their career with that facility due to their negative experience. Recent research shows  that 27% of new graduate nurses have voluntary resigned from an organization within their first year of employment based on their feelings of “being hung out to dry.” Leiper (2005) reported that a study conducted of 551 nursing students, 34% reported other nurses being rude, verbally abusive, humiliating, or unjustly critical. This number severely cripples the organization’s ability to recruit new prospects.

 

An Investigation of the Motivating Factors behind the Development of Chinese Own Brands

Song Wei, Ph.D., Thompson Rivers University, Canada

 

ABSTRACT

There has been little evaluation of the motivating factors which have driven the retailers in the non-Western market to build own brands although considerable research has been undertaken in this area in the Western market. Drawing on the evidence from the empirical studies, this paper contributes to the body of knowledge in the area by identifying the factors motivating Chinese retailers to develop own brands. A qualitative research method was employed and a panel of 40 retail experts in Shanghai, China, was interviewed, including retailers, consultants and professors. The findings suggest that the common factors are present in both markets, i.e., Western and Chinese markets while the country-specific factors still exist.  Retail business has been recognized by academics and practitioners as not merely a distributor transferring manufacturers’ products to customers, but also as a contributor to the marketing area (McGoldrick, 2002; Burt, 2000; Newman and Cullen, 2002; Business Insight, 2005; Consuegra, 2006). The fierce competition among retailers has forced retailers to not only focus on retail location, economies of scale, and store traffic; but also on building a differentiation position through high quality own brands (Burt and Sparks, 1994; Bhasin, Dickinson and Nandan, 1995; Koskinen, 1999; Corstjens and Lal; 2000; Burt and Johansson, 2006; Consuegra, 2006).  In order to gain a thorough understanding of the own brand strategy developed by the retailers, researchers have conducted extensive studies to explore the motivating factors behind the retailers building of own brands (e.g., Omar, 1996; Balabanis and Graven, 1997; Mills, 1995; Burt, 2000; McGoldrick, 2002; Ailawadi and Harlam, 2004; Consuegra, 2006; Meza and Sudhir, 2008). The existing research provides an explanation of why the Western retailers have been motivated to develop own brands as one of their retail strategies.  However, it has not fully been evaluated whether these same factors have also motivated the retailers to build own brands in non-Western markets, such as China. Following a brief review of the literature pertaining to the motivating factors for developing own brands in Western countries, the paper explains the methods and approaches employed in this study.  Finally, it reports and discusses the findings which have been mainly drawn from the interviews conducted with Chinese retailers, consultants and professors in Shanghai, China. In the conclusion section, the managerial implications and the limitations of the study, as well as the direction for the further research, are presented. Reviewing existing literature (Quelch and Harding, 1996; Hughes, 1996; Burt, 2000; Dawson, 2000a, b; 2001a, b; Mills, 1995; McGoldrick, 2002; Davis and Brito, 2004) and research data from various consulting firms (e.g. Business Insight, 2003, 2005; Keynote; 2003; Mintel, 2005, 2006) reveal that there are three main motives for the Western retailers to build grocery own brands.  Based on own brand studies, the achievement of a competitive advantage by creating differentiation becomes the most important factor for Western retailers. This can differentiate the retailers from their competitors (de Chernatony, 1989; Collins-Dodd and Lindley, 2003).  Research data have further confirmed that gaining differentiation advantage is now the main factor of developing own brands (Business Insights, 2003, 2005).  Own brand as a key-differentiating agent has created a unique advantage against other retailers (Davies and Brito, 2004; Jonas and Roosen, 2005; Oubina et al., 2006).  The differentiated own brands have attracted targeted segments without pushing up the prices (Dick, Jain and Richardson, 1996; Collins-Dodd and Lindley, 2003; Vahie and Paswan, 2006).  The importance of differentiation of own brands after 1997 has significantly increased compared with the time before 1997 (Burt and Davis, 1999; Burt, 2000; McGoldrick, 2002; Business Insight, 2003).  The change in the importance of differentiation leads to the second main factor for retailers to develop own brands:  Enhance customer loyalty.  Enhancing customer loyalty is the second motivating factor for the retailers to develop own brands. The retailers can improve customer loyalty through building their own brands (Omar, 1995; Steenkamp and Dekimpe, 1997; Dick et al., 1996; Veloutsou et al., 2004; Ailawadi, Pauwels and Steenkamp, 2008) as making own brand products can enhance both the store image and customer loyalty (Aaker, 1993; Burt and Davis, 1999; Corstjens and Lal, 2000; Dawson, 2001a; Collins-Dodd and Lindley, 2003; Wulf et al., 2005, Burt and Mavrommatis, 2006).  Various studies reporting on customer loyalty have shown that the store image and customer loyalty can be improved via retailer branding, which is another factor for promoting the own brands’ development and facilitating its growth (Simmons and Meredith, 1984; Cunningham, 1961 cited by Richardson, 1997; Davies, 1998; Baltas, 2003).  Cunningham reported in his early research work that a significant positive correlation existed between the store loyalty and store brands supported by that store chain (Cunningham, 1961 cited by Richardson, 1997).  Research and the survey data have also shown that own brands could provide a unique product and value, which cannot be obtained elsewhere (Burt, 2000).  This can constitute a link between own brand and customer loyalty (Dick et., 1996; Veloutsou et al., 2004).  However some researchers believed that customer loyalty was relevant in some cases, but not always (Morris, 1979).  Other researchers have found that there is no significant association between customer loyalty and retailers’ brands (Rao, 1969; Rousell and White, 1970; Mills, 1995; Richardson, 1997).  These researchers believed that there were no direct links between store loyalty and the number of own brands marketed (Rousell and White, 1970).  In Rao’s work, it was concluded, based on the experiment of null hypothesis testing, that housewives would buy the own brand of coffee whenever it was available in any chain store with own brands (Rao, 1969).  Richardson (1997) stated that the perceived quality between two own brands showed no difference based on his assessment of the experiments into whether consumer’s quality perceptions were different between two own brands from the different chains.  Thus, there was no causal relationship between the store brands and consumer preference (Richardson, 1997; Hansen and Singh, 2008). 

 

Theories About Theories: Income Theories After Foucault

Dr. Ratnam Alagiah, University of South Australia

 

ABSTRACT

Foucault’s works demonstrate how power creates knowledge and how knowledge creates power, and how ‘the human’ is both the object of knowledge and also subject to knowledge, in the human sciences. Foucault’s works also demonstrate how knowledge and power can be used for control.  Applying Foucault’s genealogy, I undertake an analysis of a series of discourses present within accounting about income and how to calculate income.  While we discourse income in accounting, income is regulated by the institution of social welfare in Australia since 1909, leading to the creation of the ‘poor’ who are then categorised, marginalised, excluded and ultimately, controlled.  Only as we understand this historical process, of how we have come to be a divided society, are we able to liberate human intelligence from its shackles. A central purpose of this paper is to make sense of our reality, through a philosophical classification,  leading to what Foucault called the human sciences (Foucault, 2008).  The human sciences are as different from the natural sciences, just as the social sciences are different from the natural and human sciences.  In Foucault’s human sciences, humans are not passive but are active, in creating knowledge because knowledge is not made for understanding but for cutting (Foucault, 1980, p. 154).  Knowledge here is used to separate, to segregate and isolate those without power, to govern them.  Govermentality, is one of the key terms in Foucault’s philosophical and historical lexicon, and is expressed as the state’s effectiveness in influencing the behaviours of individuals to improve the welfare of the population.  A central theme of Foucault’s historical studies – of the hospital, the prison or the asylum – is that they are all institutions that place the individual squarely before the state and govermentality involves the management of populations, not exclusively of individuals, by constant surveillance and management at a distance (McKinlay and Pezet, (2010).  I analyse and pay particular attention to accounting theories about income.  I find that theories about income are a series of mythmaking, rhetorical exercises, because income resides in a subjective, non physical world and reality, and so accountants have never and are yet to agree on how to measure income.  Given this, my purpose is to place this discourse about income within Foucault’s knowledge/power, object/subject, control explanation in an attempt to explain why accountants are unable to agree on a precise definition of income and in spite of the lack of a clear definition, income is regulated in Australia, since 1909, enabling the exercise of control over a section of the Australian population, thus creating the ’poor’ in Australia, who were first the object of income and then subject of income.  Foucault thus provided us with theories about theories, which help with unshackling human intelligence from how it silently thinks. The need for such analysis is built on the increasing uncertainty of the world and its human condition.  Ideas from philosophy are used to further our understanding of business strategy, tax policy, professional expertise, oral history, identity and performativity and management accounting, and how knowledge and politics, is related.  Critical accounting continues to add value in trying to understand better the world we live in, to explore and comprehend the, often hidden, role accounting plays in society and is an effective counterweight to the dull, arid and quintessentially conservative tariff on offer from mainstream accounting research.  On offer within critical accounting research, is methodological and theoretical plurality (Carter and Toms, 2010). A great deal of mythmaking or theory building in accounting happens without reference to ontology, epistemology, human nature and hence to methodology.  Accounting researchers have either not understood or simply ignore issues relating to the meta physical and the philosophy of science, with a few notable exceptions. While these exceptions are useful building blocks to explore methodology and accounting research there is a general lack of appreciation for the importance of methodology in accounting research (Alagiah, 1997).  If epistemology and reality are central to the income debate, should we not seek out our reality and understand our reality and thus our epistemology, and thus apply this understanding to distinguish between fact and fiction, between true and false theories?  At the outset let us agree that a characteristic of human nature is self awareness and consciousness.  This capacity allows every normal human being with an inner world or inner state or states of consciousness. Let us call the totality of this inner consciousness: subjectivity.  The sum total of all internal subjective human states being the sum of all human subjectivity can be further subdivided to that which we are conscious of and those we are not.  That portion that we are conscious, let us label conscious subjective reality and that portion which we are not conscious, let us label as unconscious subjective reality.  Objective reality is everything else outside of subjective reality which exists outside of internal states and similarly may be further sub partitioned as observable objective reality and that which is not. To summarise, if reality is all that exists which may be partitioned to be subjective and objective, then that part of subjective reality which we are conscious is labelled as conscious subjective reality and that portion that we are unaware, we label as unconscious subjective reality.  Objective reality, on the other hand, is all the remaining part of reality which is non subjective.  That part of objective reality which is inaccessible to human sense experience constitutes ‘invisible objective reality’, the other being ‘visible objective reality’ (see Hatcher, 1990, in particular, p. 19 to 21).

 

Service Models and Structuring the Student Service Quality Project

Dr. Gene Milbourn, University of Baltimore, Maryland

 

ABSTRACT

This paper will identify and explore how models in the quality service literature can be used in a university classroom to assist an instructor in teaching the topic and in creating an outside student project.  The seminal work of Parasuran, Zeithaml, and Berry in quality service measurement is featured, as well as the application of such measurement for improved customer-focused processes using the contributions of Whiteley and Forum. The implications of the “S” curve relationship between customer satisfaction and customer behavior for organizational development purposes are explored.   Some research on such topics as value creation, service orientation, and experience theory of Pine and Gilmore (2000) is reviewed for pedagogical purposes. The survey instruments used by the selected applied researchers and practitioners are contained in the appendix to aid university instructors in teaching the topic of quality service. In a meta-analysis of the empirical evidence of the impact of service quality, Carrillat et al. (2009) discussed the paradigmatic shift in marketing from the exchange of goods toward a service-centered model in which the customer plays a pivotal role.  Citing the work of Vargo and Lusch (2009), they argue that since service now constitutes 70 percent of the gross domestic product of most developed countries, creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with customers should now be an organization’s core competence.  Their review studied the results from 86 articles containing 115 independent samples and 42,877 customers.  They found that service quality plays a dominate role in shaping customer satisfaction, attitudinal loyalty, and purchase intentions.  Yu and Fang (2009) extended the discussion by focusing on the role of experience theory drawing from the work of Pine and Gilmore (1999; 2000).  Delivering outstanding service quality is the third stage of the progression of economic value preceded by offering commodities (state 1) and standard products (stage 2).  Examples of memorable ‘experiences’ in stage 4 include Disney, Nike, Starbucks, and Louis Vurtton where memorable experiences are the major determinants of customer perceived value.  The researchers note the ‘staging of experiences’ was listed by Businessweek as a best in their “Best of 2005 print edition. Data now exist that suggest that the economic well-being of companies fluctuate with the quality of service.  The Strategic Planning Institute found, in studying the confidential data provide by thousands of business units, that high quality service leads to positive financial and strategic outcomes.  Grouping business units into those providing low and those providing high quality service, it was found that in addition to maintaining a price differential of 11%, return on sales was 11% higher and annual sales growth was 9% higher in the group providing superior service.  Also, the high service quality group experienced a 4% positive change in market share while the low service group recorded a -2% change (Gale, 1994). The research on the behavior of dissatisfied customers is consistent and expected.   Dissatisfied customers typically do not complain and simply purchases from another store.  Research across eight industries found that 25% of dissatisfied customers do not return to the offending store; 41% of customers experience a problem in shopping; 94% of customers do not complain about a problem; 63% of customers are not pleased with a business’ responses to their complaints; and, customers are five times more likely to switch stores because of service problems than for price or product quality issues.   However, when customers do complain and when their problems are resolved quickly, an impressive 82% would buy again from the business (TARP, 1995).  Seth et al. (2006) reviewed the literature finding 36 definitions of service quality from access to the organization through willingness to correct errors.  Some other definitions Seth et al. identified include communication, consistency courtesy, credibility, flexibility, friendliness, image/reputation, politeness, professionalism, skill, speed, and trustworthiness.  However, the research of Parasuranan et. al (1988) in the development of the 22-item SERQUAL instrument is viewed as a valid and reliable instrument to collect service quality data ( Carrillat el al., (2009).  They found that there are five dimensions of quality service:  reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness.  Figure 1 defines the meaning of each dimension.

 

Market Strategies, Analysis, Competitive Intelligence and Challenges in Entering the Chinese Market

Dr. Jose Anibal Torres, Argosy University – Sarasota

 

ABSTRACT

China’s impressive economic growth performance over the past thirty years has elevated China to the second largest economy in the world.  This economic performance was achieved with a centrally planned government and a market oriented system.  Further, China lacks the coherent political ability to develop a legal reform that supports its current fragile and opposing political system; split between liberal ideologies and socialistic authoritarianism (Choukroune, 2009).  Research suggests that Western academic and prescriptive literature on basic strategic marketing practices are practiced in Chinese manufacturing companies, with higher performing firms differentiating themselves by utilizing effective local marketing strategies (Huan, Brooksbank, Taylor & Babbis, 2008).  And although there is a trend towards adopting Western marketing management theories, there are efforts to apply indigenously developed theories (Sutton-Brady, Voola, & Yuksei, 2010).  However, China has a very unique and complex culture and philosophy that directly influences marketing strategies, consumer preferences and emotional appeal.  Marketing strategies and research into doing business in China must be comprehensive in capturing the depth and understanding of China’s political, legal, economic, social, cultural, and environmental systems; as well as development of marketing strategies, competitive intelligence strategies, marketing analysis, mode of entry, cultural impact on consumer behavior and so on.  Further, researchers argue that organizations’ marketing strategies must be locally adaptive and responsive in foreign countries; that is, think globally; act locally.   Moreover, research further suggests that the Chinese consumer market is diversified, dynamic and constantly evolving at a rapid pace, reflecting China’s economic growth.  Recently China has surpassed Japan as the second largest economy in the world; with future projections suggesting it will surpass the U.S. economy, as the largest economy in the world, by the year 2030 or sooner.  Thus, China’s impressive economic growth has developed into a strong domestic competitive environment, rivaling many foreign markets; where business strategies will determine who wins and loses (Adidam, Gajre, & Kejriwal, 2009; Liu & Roos, 2006).  Further, China’s competitive market affects MNCs in different countries, even if they do not have a presence in China.  Additionally, China’s impressive economic growth over the past few decades has increased the interest of companies from different foreign countries in understanding Chinese companies’ business strategies, cost structures, and other factors that have allowed them to challenge, competitively, companies within China and those in foreign countries (Adidam, Gajre, & Kejriwal, 2009).   Moreover, China, the fastest growing economy in the world, has been successful in its transition from a command economy to market-oriented economy.  And as China has deregulated its markets, foreign competition has increased against China’s SOEs (Wang, Zhao, Ning, & Yu, 2010).  For many decades China closed its doors to the rest of the world.  During this period China had a central planning system.  And in the late 1970s to early 1980s China transformed its economy to a market economy with the objective of achieving economic growth and social development.  This strategic approach was further motivated by China’s desire to gain, economically and financially, from globalization.  And to achieve this goal China had to develop internal policies that promoted integration into global institutional systems.  China’s economic growth performance over the past three decades, averaging 9.7%, and especially during the most current global financial crisis has led many countries to change their perceptions of China (Torres, in press). While China continues to lead in economic growth, it has come at the expense of environmental pollution and a widening in gap between the income levels.  Thus, many Chinese corporations are lacking principles of Corporate Environmental Responsibilities (CER), or also called Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).  Research suggests that the primary reason why Chinese corporations seldom practice CER is that their competitive strategies in cost cutting leave them with limited resources to comply.  Today corporations are viewing environmental regulations as suffocating industry competitiveness; costly to society, and not at all improving environmental performance (He, & Chen, 2009).  With such a strong global awareness, with regards to CSRs, due in part from the recent misguided corporations such as Enron, and many others, CSRs must be addressed by China if it is to sustain itself as a global competitor. While China’s economic growth has been rapid, they did not follow the traditional free market economic approach.  Instead they used a gradual approach to privatization of SOEs and while maintaining more governmental controls than that found in free developed economies.  That is, “there has been a decrease of government intervention in the consumer market since the consumer reforms in 1979” (Hiu, Siu, Wang & Chang, 2001, p. 327).  But this economic growth has not come without social and political challenges and hardships.  And the future processes, yet to be developed, of this transition are still being written, since China remains a central planning system and they are focused on increasing their presence in the global economy that requires different structures and policies (Torres, 2010). 

 

The Role of Corporate Culture in the Unethical Activities at Hewlett Packard

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

 

ABSTRACT

This paper addresses the ethical issues related to the board of directors at Hewlett Packard and members of the media. The paper presents a chronological dateline highlighting the unethical activities that took place by suppliers at Hewlett Packard as the company attempted to identify how confidential information was being “leaked” to the public. In addition, this case will address how corporate culture played a role in the decision to spy on members of the board of directors and the media. Furthermore, the paper also addresses the unethical behavior of Hewlett Packard’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Hurd.  Established in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, HP is currently ranked 10th in the Fortune 500 with annual sales of over $114 Billion. In 1959, co-founders Hewlett and Packard established HP’s Corporate Objectives which still guide the company today. Those Corporate Objectives are: “customer loyalty-We earn customer respect and loyalty by consistently providing the highest quality and value; Profit-We achieve sufficient profit to finance growth, create value for our shareholders and achieve our corporate objective; Growth-We recognize and seize opportunities for growth that builds upon our strengths and competences; Market Leadership-We lead in the marketplace by developing and delivering useful and innovative products, services and solutions; Commitment to Employees-We demonstrate our commitment to employees by promoting and rewarding based on performance and by creating a work environment that reflects our values; Leadership Capability-We develop leaders at all levels who achieve business results, exemplify our values and lead us to grow and win; Global Citizenship-We fulfill our responsibility to society by being an economic, intellectual and social asset to each country and community where we do business (www.hp.com). It is from these goals established over fifty years ago that Hewlett Packard developed their Standards of Business Conduct document.  This document encompasses the ethical values that were first established by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. It is stated in the Standards of Business Conduct document that Hewlett Packard wants “…to be a company known for its ethical leadership-A company where employees are proud to work, a company with which customers, business partners, and suppliers want to do business…We gain trust by treating others with integrity, respect, and fairness. We must continue to demonstrate these values every day and in all our interactions, one day at a time. In order to Build Trust, Hewlett Packard states they will: make ethical decisions; take action when aware of misconduct and do not retaliate and cooperate with investigations. In order to ensure respect, Hewlett Packard states they will: honor human rights; treat others with respect; maintain a safe and secure work environment; promote and provide a harassment-free environment; respect privacy and protect personal information. In order to establish uncompromising integrity, Hewlett Packard states they will: use assets wisely; maintain accurate business records; avoid conflicts of interest; provide and accept gifts and entertainment only when appropriate; not bribe; protect sensitive information; comply with laws governing international trade; not trade on or disclose non-public material information. In order to maintain a strong passion for customers, Hewlett Packard states that they will: provide quality products and services; market responsibly; compete vigorously and fairly; obtain business intelligence appropriately. In order to be a responsible citizen, Hewlett Packard states they will: be stewards of the environment; engage with responsible business partners and suppliers; communicate honestly with investors and the media; exercise their rights in the political process and support giving and volunteering in our communities.  As a result, it is expected that Hewlett Packard had established a strongly ethical corporate culture which support their shared values, which include: passion for customers; trust and respect for individuals; achievement and contribution; results through teamwork; speed and agility; meaningful innovation and uncompromising integrity (HP Standards of Business Conduct, 2010).  Corporate culture is defined as the shared values and beliefs of individuals within an organization (Stanwick and Stanwick, 2009). Corporate culture is an important concept to examine when researchers attempt to explain unethical behavior within an organization. Previous research in the area has primarily focused on the positive aspects culture can have related to firm performance (Deal and Kennedy, 1982; Peters and Waterman, 1982; Denison, 1990).  It is also important to consider the negative impact corporate culture can have on a firm’s operations if the culture supports unethical and illegal activities. This study will examine how one company, Hewlett Packard, developed a culture which allowed the unethical and potentially illegal acquisition of private information pertaining to board members and the media.

 

Results: Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, Job Satisfaction, and Burnout among Financial Advisors

Dr. Courtney Fichter, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL

 

ABSTRACT

A correlational, explanatory research study was conducted on financial advisors in South Florida to determine current levels of role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction, and burnout in order to extend current literature. The theoretical framework included Maslach’s Burnout Inventory (1981), Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory (1959), and role theory (Katz and Kahn, 1966, 1978). Data was collected through a four-part survey questionnaire that included demographic questions, as well as outside instrumentation used from Maslach’s General Survey (1996), the abridged Job Descriptive Index and the Job In General scale, originally developed by Smith, Kendall and Hulin (1969), and Rizzo, House, and Lirtzman’s (1970) measures of role conflict and role ambiguity. Results revealed relatively low levels of role conflict and role ambiguity, as well as low levels of two of the three dimensions that measure burnout: exhaustion and cynicism. High levels of job satisfaction and relatively high levels of the third dimension of burnout, professional efficacy, suggested that participating financial advisors were generally satisfied and felt a sense of accomplishment within their profession. Regression results revealed demographics do not have a significant relationship with any of the mediating, independent, or dependent variables, while job satisfaction had the highest correlation and was the highest significant predictor for exhaustion and cynicism. Role ambiguity exhibited the highest correlation, and was the most significant predictor of professional efficacy. Overall, results identified directional relationships and predictor relationships that can help financial employers hire and retain successful financial advisors. Due to increasing concerns within the financial industry, it is important for financial employers to understand how to successfully retain their financial advisors. Understanding levels of role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction, and burnout among financial advisors, ultimately helps clients obtain ethical, reliable service from their financial professional. With increased satisfaction among advisors, customer satisfaction will increase; therefore financial employers will retain employees and continue to profit. Recent economic changes due to the current recession, including mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, and changing regulations, have created increased stress among financial industry professionals. The surviving financial advisors have been impacted physically, with increased workloads, and emotionally, through increased anxiety and pressure from dealing with client concerns. Employers need to understand the challenges their advisors face, and develop techniques and service structures that promote success and satisfaction among their financial advisors. Job satisfactions are “feelings or affective responses to facets of the situation” (Smith, Kendall, & Hulin, 1969, p. 6). Job satisfaction in general, was examined in this study as the independent variable. Katz and Kahn (1978) defined role conflict as “the simultaneous occurrence of two or more role expectations such that compliance with one would make compliance with the other more difficult” (p. 204). Role ambiguity was defined as “uncertainty about what the occupant of a particular office is supposed to do” (Katz & Kahn, 1978, p. 206). Role conflict and role ambiguity were the mediating variables within the study. Burnout, the dependent variable, was defined by Maslach’s General Survey “as a crisis in one’s relationship with work, not necessarily as a crisis in one’s relationships with people at work” (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996, p. 20). In terms of measurement, Maslach (1982) identified three constructs: exhaustion, depersonalization or cynicism, and lack of personal accomplishment or professional efficacy. Exhaustion “represents the basic individual stress dimension of burnout. It refers to feelings of being overextended and depleted of one’s emotional and physical resources” (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001, p. 399) Cynicism “(or depersonalization) represents the interpersonal context dimension of burnout. It refers to a negative, callous, or excessively detached response to various aspects of the job” (p. 399). Finally, professional efficacy “represents the self-evaluation dimension of burnout. It refers to feelings of incompetence and a lack of achievement and productivity at work” (p.399). (Fichter & Cipolla, 2010)  Herzberg’s (1959) two-factor theory distinguishing between internal, motivating factors, and external, hygiene factors was used as the theoretical framework for job satisfaction. To measure overall levels of job satisfaction among financial advisors, the abridged version of the Job In General scale created from Smith, Kendall, and Hulin’s (1969) original Job Description Index was used. This tool utilized, “Yes,” “No,” and “?” as responses. Role theory by Katz and Kahn (1966) suggested the importance of having clearly defined roles and responsibilities among employees, so they can be efficient, productive, and easily measured by management. Rizzo, House, & Lirtzman (1970) identified two variables, role conflict and role ambiguity, to help measure role stress in the workplace. Both variables were measured among the financial advisors in this study using a seven-point likert scale, ranging from very false to very true.

 

On Creating a User Friendly Conjoint Analysis

Dr. Chaim M. Ehrman, Loyola University Chicago

 

ABSTRACT

It is now over 35 years since the seminal article by Green and Wind (HBR, 1975, Good Judgments made Simple) introduced Conjoint Analysis to the world of Decision Makers. Conjoint has many advantages over other multi-attribute Choice Models. It is a better representation of the choice process consumers make. It has greater validity and reliability than most choice models. However, if one were to purchase the software for Conjoint Analysis, one must be prepared to spend several thousands of dollars. (One software company charges $10,000 for  this software.) In this paper, it is shown how one can run a conjoint study manually using a simple pocket calculator. Of course,  “Excel-type” commands can be used at minimum cost.  It is the hope of the author that consumers will make better decisions once Conjoint Analysis becomes readily available and accessible to the general public. Multi-attribute Brand Selection Techniques before the Introduction of Conjoint Analysis.  Before the introduction of Conjoint Analysis, Attitudinal models were used to forecast Consumer Choice Behavior. (See Steve Shugan “On The Cost of Thinking” for an excellent review of Compositional Choice Models.) Essentially, every attribute has  2 basic inputs: Importance Scores, i.e., how important is this given attributes for the decision maker, and Performance Scores i.e., how well does a given brand perform on this given attribute. These 2 inputs are defined as “Importance Scores” and “Belief Scores”. There are several ways how to use these rating scores. Amos Tverski observed how shoppers in a food store evaluated competing brands. He noticed that typically a shopper would evaluate a brand’s performance only on the most important for that particular consumer.  Based on his observations, Tverski suggested a Multi attribute Decision Model, known as the “Lexicographic Approach.” Each attribute is prioritized by their respective Importance Scores for a given consumer. Then, the competing brands are evaluated by their respective Belief Scores on this attribute, and the brand with the highest belief score is selected as “Best” for the given respondent. In the event of a tie, the Decision Maker would select the attribute that has the 2nd highest importance scores. The consumer would evaluate only the competing brands that were tied on the most important attribute. The brand with the highest Belief Score is considered the best choice for this particular consumer. Table 1 gives an Illustration of the Lexicographic Approach for a consumer who is buying a laptop Personal Computer. The Lexicographic Approach focuses on the key attribute that the decision maker considers crucial with respect to his want satisfaction.  However, there is no input at all from Belief Scores in which their Importance Scores are low. This is unfortunate, because we ignore useful information about brand performance. An alternative, known as the Conjunctive Approach, would be to scan the entire set of Belief Scores and reject any brand that scores below a predetermined cutoff value. In a similar vein, we can identify the lowest belief score for every brand, and subsequently select the brand with the highest of all “Low” scores. This approach is called, “Maximin” or maximizes your minimum Belief Score across all brands. Thus, the consumer will earn the highest rating across the Lowest belief score for each brand. Table 2 illustrates that approach. This approach, unfortunately, addresses the negative scores. It may be ideal for the pessimist, who assumes that Murphy’s Law is always working, and anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and things will go wrong at the worst possible time.  What about the optimists among us who feel that things will always go good for us. Is there a decision rule that works for their line of reasoning? The answer is that the Disjunctive rule. The Disjunctive Rule is ideal for the optimist, and is known as the Maxima rule, or Maximize the maximum Belief Score across all brands.. We scan the Belief Rating Scores, and select the Brand with the highest Belief Score. Then, we compare the Maximum Score for each brand, and select the brand with the “Best Highest Belief Score” among the Maximum Belief Scores of all competing Brands. This approach is known as the  Maximax  rule. Table 3 Illustrates this Approach.

 

China vs. India: Who is the Next Superpower in the East?

Kevin Sanford and Dr. Balasundram Maniam, Professor

Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX

 

ABSTRACT

This report is going to compare and contrast some of the political, economic, and socio-cultural variables that have shaped the current direction of China and India.  A basis for predicting future trends can be constructed through a summary of historical and current information about each country.  India’s sustained internal capabilities and traditional political approach continue to focus on Gross Domestic Product.  India will also be able to differentiate itself from the limited long term sustainability of the Chinese economic structure.  India’s sustained internal production system and a shift towards combining their focus on Foreign Direct Investments will contribute to the process of determining India’s position of the next superpower in the east. In an increasingly competitive expanding global market, China and India are both two of the developing giants in the Asian countries.  In determining which of these two countries will be the next superpower in the east, we will have to take into consideration long term effects on the rest of the economies of the world. Both China and India have had economical improvements over the past few years.  To properly decide or determine which country will become the dominant superpower, we must consider many different factors and issues beyond that of just economics.  Additionally, the purpose of this study will be to review these two major transitional countries that have different internal procedures and economies.  It is necessary to take into consideration such areas as demographics, political procedures, and cultural influences.  Additionally, the contribution of foreign assets in different domestic areas, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the sum of a country’s production of services and goods within a specific year, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will have an effect on the future position of these two superpowers. China’s economy evolved from a country that was closed to trade, to a country who thrives in exports which has made China a leading civilization. Their high export rate is partly due to their coveted skills in arts and science which are world renowned.  China’s rich history includes civil wars, famines, and military defeats.  After World War II, communists established a system that caused havoc amongst the civilization. Around 1978 successors of earlier communist leaders focused on developing an economy that was market oriented.  These reforms pushed China into an advanced economy and created the foundation for a successful trading market. These reforms also improved living standards and increased production output. Due to these reforms China became the second largest economy in the world, following The United States of America in 2008.  However, this rapid economic growth has caused numerous problems such as health care challenges, environmental pollution, corruption, and unemployment issues for the increasing population.  China’s economy took a hard hit when the world economy crashed in 2008 because their ability to make large profits lie in the fact that they are mass producers with cheaper and more available labor.  They now have several manufacturing plants and facilities that cannot work at full capacity because products are not selling which is leading to oversupply.  With Chinese products not being at high demand, China is losing money quickly and the economy is declining with the rest of the world.  Unlike China, India did not develop into an industry powerhouse as quickly.  India was inhabited by Aryan tribes around 1500 B.C. The Golden Age was a key time in India.  During this age India explored art, science, and culture.  Other countries inhabited India between the 8th and 12th centuries which created a diversity of cultures including Arab, Turkic, and European.  Britain assumed political control of most of India in the 19th century.  Resistance to the British colonialism brought independence to India in 1947. Diverse cultures have held traditions, but have also blended together throughout the centuries. India civilians still farm, create handicrafts, have a variety of industries, and now have advanced to offer several services.  India has focused on the technological environment and services in the last ten years which has been a high demand and growing market.  Despite impressive gains over the last ten years in economic growth India still has to manage and prevent problems similar to China.  These problems include pollution, corruption, poverty, and overpopulation. Conditions such as high oil prices, commodity prices globally, and interest and inflation rates increasing are causing a decline in India’s economy.  These higher prices and hard conditions have not impacted India as much as harshly as China, but have still slowed trade and decreased GDP.  India’s escape from the economies affect on China is due to India being focused on the service and technological industries which have relatively high demand.

 

Significance Testing and Statistical Power in Information Systems Research: Lessons from the Top Management Support Literature

Dr. Mark Hwang, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

 

ABSTRACT

Statistical inference can be drawn by conducting significance tests or creating confidence intervals.  In practice, most studies perform significance tests to analyze and interpret their data.  The use of significance testing has come increasing attack in recent years.  The purpose of this paper is to compare these two methods of statistical inference using data collected from the top management support literature.  Our results indicate that the two methods produce identical results; therefore, researchers may choose either method but are advised to heed the limitations of significance tests.  Specifically, researches should always report the effect size that they find, whether the results of their statistical tests are significant or not.  In addition, they should be aware that the probability of making the wrong conclusion can be rather high if their test results are non-significant.  For instance, the error rate among the top management support studies that we analyzed is 37 percent.  Consequently, researchers should try to increase the power of their statistical tests by using a large sample and by enhancing the quality of their research.  If the power level of a given study is adequate, then its results should be publishable, whether they are “significant” or not.  Similarly, researchers should not be overly concerned with getting results that are inconsistent with other studies.  Every research finding, whether is significant or consistent with the literature, constitutes a piece of evidence that can help solve the puzzle, provided that the study is of reasonable quality.  Consequently, we urge journal reviewers and editors to place more emphasis on research quality rather than on research outcomes that are significant or consistent with the literature. In research studies where statistical inference is used, significance testing has been the dominant choice for data analysis and interpretation.  Typically, a research question is expressed in some form of statistical null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis.  A sample statistic is then calculated from data collected and used as the basis for the decision to reject or not to reject the null hypothesis.  If the decision outcome is to reject the null hypothesis, it is concluded that the phenomenon under study exists; otherwise, the opposite conclusion is reached.  While the methodology of hypothesis testing is well established and accepted, its application has come under increasing attack (e.g. Baghi et al., 2007; Miller, 2004; Schmidt, 1996).  As Schmidt (1996) put it:  “… reliance on statistical significance testing in the analysis and interpretation of research data has systematically retarded the growth of cumulative knowledge in psychology.” (p. 115).  Will the continued use of significance testing be harmful to the development of other fields including information systems?  What are the major problems associated with significance testing?  These are important questions in need of answering. A major problem with significance testing is that non-significant results are often interpreted to mean no relationships exist between the variables under study.  This problem is caused by the confusion between significance testing and the strength of the relationship, the effect size.  Whereas a significant statistic may be associated with a trivial effect size in one study, a non-trivial effect size may be associated with a non-significant statistic (Cohen, 1992).  As a result, while some researchers call for reporting of both significance testing results and effect sizes in individual studies, others go even further to advocate the complete abandonment of significance testing.  Schmidt (1996), for example, urges researchers to use point estimate and confidence intervals instead of significance testing when reporting research findings.  In this paper these two methods of statistical inference are compared using data from the top management support literature.  A related issue is the statistical power, which has been extensively studied in various disciplines including information systems (Baroudi and Orlikowski, 1989; Dyba, Kampenes, and Sjøberg, 2006; Rademacher, 1999).  The statistical power of the studies published in the top management support literature is examined to determine if it has an effect on the outcome of statistical inference.  Implications for researchers are discussed.  As mentioned earlier, the calculated sample statistic helps determine if the null hypothesis is to be rejected. Generally, researchers want to limit the probability or risk of making the wrong decision to reject the null hypothesis to some predetermined level, say, 5 percent.  This is known as the Type I error and is commonly represented by α.  On the other hand, when the decision is not to reject the null hypothesis, there is also a probability or risk of making the wrong decision, known as the Type II error or β.  Whereas α is easily under the control of the researcher, β is not.  Table 1 summarizes the outcomes of statistical hypothesis testing.  The four potential outcomes, two correct and two erroneous, are shaded in Table 1

 

China’s Leadership Role during the Global Financial Crisis

Dr. Jose Anibal Torres, Argosy University – Sarasota

 

ABSTRACT

China’s economic growth performance over the past three decades, averaging 9.7%, and especially during the most current global financial crisis has led many countries to change their perceptions of China.  China is no longer viewed as an adversary, but rather as a significant partner, and possible leader, in helping the rest of the world to recover from this financial meltdown.  China’s leadership role was witnessed during the November, 2008, G20 summit in Washington and later in London, when China’s President Hu Jintao was given a place at a table, along with other developed nations, recognizing China’s economic global leadership; the third largest economy in the world, second largest exporter and third largest importer.  However, many argue that China is unprepared to lead the world out of the global financial crisis.  That is, China is not positioned to take the lead.  During the recent global financial crisis China did not go unaffected.  During 2008 China began to experience the impact from the global financial crisis.  Their economic growth rate for the first quarter was 10.6%, second quarter 10.1%, third quarter 9% and fourth quarter 6.8%, with an annual average of 9%.  This decline, although favorable as measured by global standards, demonstrates how the global financial crisis has affected China’s economy.  However, China’s leadership response to the global financial crisis was influenced by their assessment of the nature, duration, and causes of the global financial meltdown and they suggested that the origin of the crisis was initiated in the U.S due to a lack of financial sector regulations, loose banking regulatory guidelines and a weak international financial structure.  Therefore, during June 2008 the Chinese leadership, recognizing that the global financial crisis could affect China, proactively developed economic growth strategies to minimize the impact.  The result of China’s internal response resulted in an 8.7% economic growth rate for 2009, thereby shifting the declining trend of 2008 upwards. China’s growing domestic market economy and its careful and gradual approach to integration with the global financial system may have been instrumental in cushioning the impact of the global financial crisis.  However, although China has not been severely impacted by the global financial crisis, China has not remained unaffected by this global challenge.  Accordingly, China’s leadership role in the global financial crisis “has made all possible efforts to create a facade of confidence in the latest meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), (Yep, 2009).  To this end, in order to have a clear understanding of China’s leadership role during the recent global financial crisis, this study’s purpose focuses on a review, evaluation and interpretation of the literature in understanding China’s internal and external strategies and responses to the global financial crisis.  Further, to help the focus of this study and to provide a framework this study will provide responses to the following research questions: Was China’s economy affected by the global financial crisis?  What strategies were employed by China’s leadership?  Did China’s economic model have an impact on their outcomes?  What effect did government intervention strategies have?  Are there any expectations by foreign countries with regards to the leadership role that China should play in shaping the financial crisis?  Within the past two years China’s leadership goals were to stabilize the country’s growth and regulate its over-heated economy.  During 2009 the focus had been on establishing a foundation for income growth and job creation, elements that are necessary for stabilizing China’s economy (Yep, 2009), in view of China’s large income inequality gaps.  Further, decades of market economic reform has changed China’s welfare system.  “The all-caring welfare philosophy of the pre-reform era, with the workplace supplying comprehensive support for its employees, is long gone” (Yep, 2009, p. 2).  In addition, as the global crisis continues, China is also concerned about what the effects of changes will have on its social harmonious state, which their leadership argues can also be achieved through economic stability.  To this end, the single most important impact on China’s economy, resulting from the global financial crisis, has been from the decrease in global demand of China’s exports, which has the highest global dependency amongst the world economies (Yu, 2009; Landler, 2010).  China’s reliance of international market fluctuations makes them vulnerable and affected by the global financial crisis.  In fact, China has witnessed a decline in their exports and although their economic growth is impressive by any global standard its rate of growth has declined.  This decline in exports has caused millions of job losses, mostly in the coastal regions and migrant workers from interior provinces, with factory closures, and layoffs, especially in the Southeastern part of China; and with further job decline projections (Prasad, 2009; Miles, 2009; and Landler, 2010).  Further, China’s slight economic decline in growth has caused many to question if China’s past economic reforms and model, that have been the foundation of such an impressive decade of growth, is still valid going forward (Prasad, 2009; Miles, 2009).  Furthermore, projections from the World Bank placed China’s growth in 2009 at 6.5%; a decelerating economy (Zhang, Li, & Shi, 2009).  However, the Chinese economy grew by 8.7%, surpassing the projections of the World Bank, and the government’s 8%; suggesting that China was managing through the global recession favorably (Landler, 2010).  Much of the growth for 2009 was due to the November 2008 stimulus; again suggesting that focusing on the real economy would help China through the financial crisis.  However, concern is stirring that this may be fueling inflation.

 

A Theoretical Construct for Explaining the Impact of Financial Distress on Unethical Earnings Management Decisions

David Adu-Boateng, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL

 

ABSTRACT

Situational factors may influence accountants to engage in unethical earnings management actions, in spite of their moral reasoning. Generally, individuals with higher ethical reasoning are expected to avoid unethical choices. Therefore, accountants with higher ethical sensitivity are expected to avoid unethical earnings management actions. However, prior studies show obvious inconsistencies about the antecedents of unethical actions, and indicate that situational factors play a role in ethical choices. This study reviews prior research results, examines the influence of financial distress in explaining the variability in accountants’ unethical earnings management decisions, and identifies a structured methodology for measuring factors of unethical earnings management. Accounting professionals face significant dilemmas when confronted with ethical challenges, such as earnings management decisions (Elias, 2004). Generally, individuals with higher moral reasoning are likely to avoid unethical actions (Rest, 1979; Rest et al., 1999). Therefore, accountants with higher ethical reasoning are expected to avoid unethical earnings management actions. However, the accountant with a higher ethical reasoning may not necessarily avoid unethical earnings management actions given certain situational factors. Situational factors combine with the individual’s moral sensitivity to determine the avoidance of unethical actions. In some studies, conflicting organization pressures influenced a weak association between ethical decision-making and ethical values (Callen et al., 2008; Hou and Chuang, 2007). Therefore, situational variables may explain some or more of the variability in a person’s ethical choices, compared with moral sensitivity (Church et al., 2005; Shawver et al. 2006). For instance, organizational culture and socialization impact ethical decisions of firms and individuals (Douglas, 2001). Additionally, females’ higher ethical sensitivity may be attributed to learned behavior as a result of socialization (Owhoso, 2002; Shawver et al., 2006; Sigma-Mugan et al., 2005) as opposed to gender per se. Further, rewards motivation and punishment avoidance may influence certain individuals to choose an unethical course of action (Heath, 2008).  Extant research shows how moral reasoning alone is insufficient in discriminating between ethical choices. Sennetti, Shawver and Bancroft (2004) find that the level of moral reasoning, as measured by the Defining Issues Test-2 (DIT-2), does not predict the ethical judgments of accountants involved in initial public stock offering (IPO). Other studies confirm that accountants’ ethical choices may be attributed to their sensitivity to regulatory requirements, financial rewards and peer influence (Ashbaugh, 2004; Elias 2002). Accountants may be pressured to make decisions that conflict with their moral reasoning when certain actions are needed to counter an unfavorable outcome for the firm. Financial distress is likely to influence an unfavorable financial outcome. Especially, low working capital levels place the existence of organizations in a dire situation. An unfavorable outcome is likely to prevent an organization from generating needed capital to fund capital projects (Rosner, 2003). Additionally, an unfavorable outcome than expected is likely to diminish shareholder value and stock prices for public companies.  Earnings management provides an avenue for manipulating accounting figures in a bid to avoid or counter an unfavorable outcome (Elias, 2004). An accountant with a higher ethical reasoning is expected to avoid deliberate and unethical management of earnings that do not paint the true financial picture of the firm. However, the pressure to avoid an unfavorable financial outcome is likely to influence the accountant to choose unethical earnings management actions (Rezaee and Roohani, 2001; Rosner, 2003). Therefore, situational factors may explain the variability in an accountant’s decision to engage in unethical earnings management more than moral reasoning.  Individuals may change their ethical judgments given different situations (Fang, 2006). Hence, situational factors may influence unethical actions more than moral reasoning. This study explores one such situational factor, created by firm financial distress, by extending the study of the impact of situational factors on ethical choices related to earnings management. Shawver, Bancroft and Sennetti (2006), in their study of gender sensitivity to fraud in IPO environment, find that the gender effect can be moderated by other socialization factors. The implication is that individuals may be socialized to behave in an ethical or unethical manner in spite of their moral development.  Hence, accountants may select choices based on situational factors in spite of their moral reasoning.

 

Forecasting Time Series under Box and Jenkins’ ARIMA Model Using Bayesian Inference

Dr. Jae J. Lee, State University of New York, New Paltz, NY

 

ABSTRACT

This paper shows how to apply Bayesian inference to forecast time series under Box and Jenkins’ ARIMA model. Bayesian inference treats unknown parameters of the ARIMA model as a random vector which has its own probability density function .Once a new set of time series data is available, the probability density function could be updated through Bayes’ theorem. The updated density function is called the posterior density function and is used to forecast time series data for a lead time k using special numerical evaluations of integrals. This paper uses Importance Sampling for the integration operations. The use of Importance Sampling could reduce variances of obtained estimates. This paper uses both a simulated set of time series data and a real time series data in order to explain how to apply Bayesian inference with Importance Sampling to forecast time series data under Box and Jenkins’ ARIMA model. Let be an observed time series data up to a time period t and be a vector of parameters of an ARIMA model which closely represents the data Bayesian inference treats as a random vector with a probability density function denoted by Once a new set of data is obtained, (called the prior density) is updated as the posterior density function through Bayes’ theorem. Given the posterior density function of denoted by Bayesian inference computes the marginal density after integrating out nuisance parameters and summarizes the posterior density in the form of mathematical expectations. In either case, Bayesian inference requires the use of special numerical evaluation of integrals except in simple cases where has a special form.

 

Integrated Course Design: Developing a System to Facilitate Team Formation and Group Projects

Dr. John M. Zych, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA

 

ABSTRACT

The academic literature has investigated a range of approaches toward forming student teams with the goal of identifying the most effective approach. The roles of the teacher, as well as the students, have been considered in the process. Approaches can be classified in three ways. A limited approach involves the random assignment of students to groups. A teacher-centered approach requires the instructor to judge which students will work best together, while a student-centered approach leaves this judgment to students themselves. Rather than considering group formation as an isolated issue, this paper provides examples on how to integrate group formation with course design and project implementation. It demonstrates how these various components can be modified, depending on the course content and the weight given to the group project for the final course grade.  Traditionally, classes were led by a teacher who transferred knowledge to students through lectures. Education has evolved into a more collaborative effort in which teams of students learn from other students, as well as the teacher. While classroom lectures have not disappeared, team work certainly has become an important teaching methodology. The inclusion of team work necessarily impacts the structure of a course, as a teacher must determine how to design an overall system which will integrate course objectives with team formation and implementation of the team project.

 

The Econometrics of A Uniform and Universal System of Currency in Accounting

Dr. Ratnam Alagiah, University of South Australia

 

ABSTRACT

This paper has two purposes. It examines the issue of fair value, now prescribed by the International Accounting Standards Board. Fair values, as defined by the accounting standards, imply exit prices and should be viewed and applied with caution. Exit prices require the determination of what hypothetical companies might pay. This method of determining value is costly, difficult to apply within the firm, distorts information for users, confuses exit price with value in use and entry values, includes transaction costs when they should be excluded, produces information that may be of little use and is readily manipulated. Such criticism of fair value requires us to rethink the use of fair value for accounting purposes. The second purpose is to provide the econometrics of a uniform and universal system of currency, in comparison to fair values, which evidence justifies the need for a uniform and universal system of currency, for accounting purposes. Few issues in accounting generate more impassioned debate than the rules of valuation. For this reason, this paper has two purposes. It identifies the flaws of fair values and extends Sunder (2008, pp. 111-125) and compares the econometrics of fair values based on a single global currency, thus providing compelling evidence for a single global measure, such as a uniform and universal system of currency, possibly through electronic impulses, for accounting purposes.

 

Essentials of Yield Management Concept: The Introduction of YM to Asian Traditional Hospitality Firms

Suppakron Pattaratanakun, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

 

ABSTRACT

In the traditional Asian hospitality industry, business owners still stay with conventional pricing strategies, base their price setting on intuition, and focus only on promotional pricing, especially discounts and allowances. (Dwyer, Forsyth & Rao, 2000; Pine, Chan & Leung, 1998) Implementing these pricing strategies for years in the industry led to nothing but price wars. (Ruenrom & Pattaratanakun, 2009) Yield management, a pricing concept that integrates advanced mathematical methods into pricing strategies, presents a solution for this situation. This article is aimed at complementing previous studies on the yield management concept that focuses mainly on the North American market. In order to optimally benefit the Asian traditional hospitality business, my paper explores up-to-date essentials of the yield management concept and explores the practical side of applying yield management to the Asian hospitality market. Finally, this article suggests that traditional hospitality firms in the market must understand the cores of that concept while keeping their focus on learning the insights of consumer behavior. Marketers suffered from pricing strategies for more than 40 years after the introduction of the marketing mix concept by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960. This concept declares that the best way to set price is to find the highest possible value for which customers are willing to pay. (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007; Kotler & Keller, 2008) In practice, however, marketers have rarely been able to specify that ceiling price point. In the 1980’s, American Airlines integrated advanced mathematics into its pricing and introduced the yield management concept which can help marketer identify the ceiling price.

 

The Study on the Green Barrier to Trade under the Multi-Trade System

Dr. Chen-Kuo Lee and Tony Chen, Ling Tung University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

At the time that the international trade continues to be liberated under the WTO framework, tariffs and the non-tariff barriers are removed one after another. As such, the Green Barrier to Trade (GBT), a major component of Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT), is becoming more and more important and has thus attracted attentions from around the world. This study adopts Game Theory and economic analysis methods to analyze the impact on the equilibrium between the exporting-nation’s manufacturers, importing-nation’s consumers, and importing-nation’s social welfare. Furthermore, this study assumes only one importing-nation and only one exporting-nation in the international market and the importing-nation has implemented GBT. According to the research results, GBT has eliminated the pollutant products and non-green products one after another and has thus increased the eco-friendly products and green products in consideration of environment protection and human’s health. Meanwhile, the developed nations have implemented GBT to restrict the imports from other nations in order to protect their domestic environments. As a result, more and more trades are being shifted to the developed nations or the member nations affiliated to the international economic organizations. As a result, the developing nations have hard time expanding their export markets and cannot develop their economies.

 

The Interactive Effects of Intellectual Capital Components on the Relevance of the Balance Sheet as an Indicator of Corporate Value

Dr. Shaniz Khan, Al Hosn University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

 

ABSTRACT

In today's knowledge economy, knowledge embedded in individuals and organizations known as Intellectual Capital have become the pre-eminent economic asset that has value. However, despite being an organizational asset, Intellectual Capital is not reported in the traditional balance sheet. Therefore, it is not surprising that various studies have concluded that the balance sheet is losing its relevance as an indicator of corporate value. However, most of these studies based their conclusions on the collective effects of Intellectual Capital and not on individual effects of Intellectual Capital components working together. As a result, this study aims to investigate if Intellectual Capital components interact to further significantly effect the perceived relevance of the balance sheet as an indicator of corporate value among corporations today. The sample was obtained from 71 small and medium enterprises which operate in the most innovative and dynamic industries. Results from the study show that only Human Capital and Social Capital interacted in influencing the balance sheet. There were no significant interactions between Structural Capital with other components. The results of this study have strong theoretical implications, showing the interactive nature of Intellectual Capital components on the relevance of the balance sheet as an indicator of corporate value. Specifically, it highlights the need to change organizational culture which associates social interactions with low productivity. In reality, Social Capital enhances Human Capital and vice versa. As such, managers must realize that social interactions of staff can have a significant positive impact on their corporate value and therefore influence the relevance of their balance sheet.

 

The Effects of Image Congruence on Customer Satisfaction: A Study in Turkish Banking Industry

Dr. Ebru Tumer Kabadayı and Barıs Ozkırıs, Doctoral Candidate

Gebze Institute of Technology, Gebze- Kocaeli, Turkey

 

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to test a model dealing with the effects of image congruence on customer satisfaction within the context of banks in Turkey. The model claims that image congruence positively effects customer satisfaction directly and indirectly through functional congruity. The model was tested with a survey study participated by 449 bank customers. All of the hypotheses were supported by the data. The results indicate that image congruence is an important predictor of customer satisfaction. The consumer behavior literature increasingly demonstrates that brand evaluation is determined not only by the functional attributes of the brand but also by symbolic attributes (Aaker, 1997; Sirgy, 2006). Consumers use brands as symbols, and prefer brands with images in congruence with their own personalities. The motivation to express their self-image is often the factor that drives consumers to purchase a product (Aaker, 1996; Sirgy, 1986). It is assumed that brands have personalities that reflect the image of their typical users. Consumers attempt to evaluate brands by matching the brand user image (sometimes referred to as "symbolic attributes") with their own personal characteristics (actual self, ideal self, social self, ideal social self). This matching process that includes the brand image and the consumers' self-images is called "image congruence". In consumer behavior literature, “image congruence” and “self-congruity” are used interchangeably (Sirgy, 1982; Sirgy, 1986; Sirgy, 2006). There are numerous image congruence studies in the literature (Back, 2005; Chebat et al., 2006; Jamal and Goode, 2005; Lee and Park; 2001; Sirgy, 1982, 1985; Sirgy and Samli, 1985; Sirgy and Su, 2000;

 

An Analysis of Operating Performance of Initial Public Offerings on BSKL: Cash Flow and Post-Issue Performance

Sohail Ahmed, University of Technology Mara, UiTM Shah Alam, West Malaysia

 

ABSTRACT

This research examines changes in operating performance for a large sample of industrial firms conducting Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in the Malaysian Stok Market Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur (BSKL). The sample of IPO firms has significant improvements in operating performance prior to the issue. The IPO firms experience a sharp, statistically significant decrease in profitability following the IPO in both industry-adjusted and unadjusted comparisons. I find that the decline in profitability is greater for firms that have higher cash flow, and that IPO firms that invest in new fixed assets perform better than IPO firms that do not. The negative effect on stock prices when firms announce Initial Public Offerings has been extensively documented in the literature (see Asquith and Mullins, 1986; and Jung, Kim, and Stulz, 1996). A number of hypotheses that have been advanced to explain this phenomenon predict a decline in operating performance subsequent to the IPO. Prominent among these are the adverse selection model of Myers and Majluf (1984) and Jensen's (1986) cash flow theory. Myers and Majluf argue that if managers are better informed than outside investors, firms are more likely to issue equity when the equity is overvalued. Thus, the announcement of an equity offering conveys negative information about firm value. Jensen argues that there are important divergences of interest between managers and shareholders that might induce managers to issue equity and waste funds by taking up negative-net-present-value (NPV) projects.

 

The Organizational Viewpoint of Project Working

Zlatko Nedelko and Dr. Vojko Potocan, University of Maribor, Slovenia

 

ABSTRACT

The modern business environment puts considerable pressure on organizations to radically restructure/renew their operations. Common alternatives in business practices include organizational adoption of project organization, which is dependent upon synergistic understanding (and using) of project management and adequate project organizational structure. In organizational theory, project organization is either a developmental phase of organization or a specific form of organizational structure. Despite their differences, both approaches are interrelated and synergistically support understanding and designing project work in organizations. Therefore, organizations can design (and/or implement) project organizational structure based on several forms of organizing, like initial (i.e., traditional), individual, and/or multi-project organization. Regardless of the selected organization structure, the primary aim of project organization is to coordinate (and balance) needs and demands of all vertical and horizontal links in the organization. In the selected framework, this paper deals with the following two issues: (1) how to understand more holistically the role and importance of project organization, and (2) how to design a project organization structure based on vertical and horizontal information links in organization. The modern business environment sets new conditions (i.e., frameworks) for organizations (Potocan, 2005; Hartley, 2007; Certo, Certo, 2009). If organizations wish to survive in the modern environment for a long period of time, they must radically innovate their working and behavior, including a shift from traditional toward post-modern working and behavior, which are characterized by openness, flexibility, and innovativeness, etc. (Daft, 2003; Cole, 2004; Jones, 2004; Robbins, 2007; Schermerhorn, 2009).

 

An Analysis of the Healthy Lifestyle Consumers

Prof. Dr. Nor Othman, University Malaya and Dr. Sheau Fen Yap, Monash University

 

Abstract

The healthy lifestyle segment has a large financial impact on the marketplace. This study represents the first attempt to analyze the demographic and personality differences between ‘high active’ and ‘low active’ exercise groups which seeks to gain a better understanding of this influential segment. Cross-sectional data was collected via self-administered surveys from general adults sample (n = 512) in Malaysia. Measurement scale was validated using confirmatory factor analysis prior to data analysis. Significant differences were found between the two exercise groups in age, occupation and all the personality factors studied. The ‘high active’ exercisers were found to score lower on neuroticism; more conscientious and scoring higher on extraversion, openness and agreeableness dimensions compared to ‘low active’ exercisers. The discriminant analysis reported conscientiousness to be the most important factor in discriminating between the two groups, followed by extraversion and neuroticism. This study provides useful insights to marketers in segmenting markets, targeting promotions, and positioning products and services. Public policy agents and health professionals could use such information for health intervention and promotion efforts. The lifestyle changes experiencing by most Malaysians due to socio-economic development, urbanization and market globalization has led to the prevalence of obesity and “lifestyle” related illnesses like diabetes, heart attack, and cancers (Omar, 2002). The deterioration of public health condition and the prevalence of sedentary lifestyle have been a concern of the government. In the marketing sense, healthy lifestyle refers to a set of activities, interests, and opinions orientated toward the consumption of various wellness-related products and services (Divine and Lepisto, 2005).

 

How to Develop Marketing Methods of Real Estate Companies in Kuwait: A Case Study of a National Real Estate Company

Dr. Ahmad Assaf Alfadly, Gulf University for Science & Technology, Kuwait

 

ABSTRACT

Marketing has developed rapidly in the last decade and now makes a significant contribution to the expansion of industry. This thesis examines and evaluates marketing strategies adopted by the National Real Estate Company. It focuses on the implementation and development of marketing strategies by real estate developers. The analysis, discussion, evaluation, and recommendations are presented to allow real estate developers to have some insights into gaining an advantage in the present highly competitive market. The research starts with analysis of literature in related fields, followed by an analysis of the real estate marketing environment, including both the micro- and macro-environments. Theoretical values of marketing mix are used to analyze Kuwait real estate marketing practices. The case study of the National Real Estate Company is discussed to illustrate how this particular developer modified its marketing strategies on this project under the rapidly changing market conditions. Evaluation of the marketing strategies is presented and recommendations are proposed with a view to increasing marketing performance of the National Real Estate Company, as well as meeting customers' needs and expectations. The National Real Estate Company (NREC) has been engaged in real estate activities since 1973. These activities primarily involve the acquisition, development, sale and management of commercial and industrial real estate including shopping centers, free trade zones, office blocks, and resort and retail centers. NREC contracts and operates properties for private and government sectors through its highly successful subsidiaries.

 

A Study on International Emissions Trading

Dr. Yeong-Bin Lee and Dr. Chen-Kuo Lee, Ling Tung University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

So far, the dilemma that the global climate summits confront is in the allocation of emission quotas. Most researchers in economics who focus on emissions trading consider the political issue involving the allocation is of central importance. The paper uses game theory to analyze profits of major countries in the emissions trade. The findings of the study show that Kyoto protocol is too simple for too complex a problem. It satisfies neither the principle of fairness nor the principle of efficiency. If the root cause that leads to a “Prisoner’s Dilemma” cannot be avoided, then due to technical difficulties and different time periods, international climate negotiations will never be able to achieve its goals. Over the past ten years, the effect of international climate negotiations is comprehensive and strategic. It establishes a new international political and economic order from the perspective of international cooperation in protecting global climate. As an international law or international system, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol commit more than 180 countries to cooperate in observing boundary conditions to enact measures for economic, energy and substainable environmental development. Emissions trading(ET), as set out in Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol, opens up new areas of international trade and economic cooperation. Thus, we should give climate change a relatively high priority, strengthen the research, and strive after the major international political and economic issues to grasp opportunities and initiative.

 

Application of Data Envelopment Analysis in the Assessement of Operational Efficiencies of Nursing Homes in Taiwan

Nan-Song Chen and Dr. Chung-Yu Pan, Tunghai University. Taiwan, R.O.C.

Shu-Chen Kuo, Asia University, Taiwan, R.O.C.

 

ABSTRACT

Objective: The present study aimed at evaluating the management performance of nursing homes and comparing the management efficiency among different categories of nursing homes by data envelopment analysis (DEA). Method: Nineteen nursing homes from the National Nursing Home Survey List of the Department of Health, which have been operating for more than 3 years, are selected. Based on DEA model, six input and six output variables are selected and analyzed by assurance region model analysis (AR), cross efficiency model analysis (CEM) and bilateral model analysis. Results and Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that nursing home with 80 beds is the most productive scale size (MPSS). No significant differences in the management performance between public and private nursing homes are observed. Hospital-affiliated nursing homes have better efficiency than independent nursing homes. The present study proves that DEA can be applied in evaluating the efficiency of nursing homes through literature search and substantial analysis. In Taiwan, the need for nursing homes is increasing over the last decade due to the increasing ratio of elderly population. According to the report from Taiwan Long Term Health Care Professional Association, the number of nursing institutions has been dramatically increased by 12 times, from 29 in 1997 to 351 in 2009. Intense peer competition has become the major management pressure for both hospital-affiliated and independent nursing homes, according to the report from Department of Health (Executive Yuan Department of Health, 2002). Therefore, promoting the management performance and service quality are crucial for nursing homes to survive.

 

Failure Prediction With Logit and Bank-Level Fundamentals Models Applied on the Lebanese Commercial Banks

Dr. Viviane Y. Naimy, Notre Dame University, Louaize – Lebanon

 

ABSTRACT

This paper attempts to build a bank failure prediction model for the Lebanese banks, based on the logit and bank-level fundamentals models. The determinants of bank failures are systematically analyzed. The study helps decision-maker to take some sort of preventive action after showing that the Lebanese banks are relatively resilient and immunized but yet highly vulnerable to any macro or political adverse shocks. The 2007/08 financial crisis has posed serious challenges to the whole financial systems around the globe, including Lebanon. The unique nature of the crisis highlights the importance of having a sound system and an adequate policy response. It also points to the value of having good monitoring capabilities at both the national and supranational levels. The spread of banking sector problems and the difficulty of expecting their bankruptcy raised the issue of developing new models and indicators of the likelihood of future problems. We attempt to build early warning system for the Lebanese banks in order to identify banks problems and avoid bankruptcies with the use of logit and bank-level fundamentals models. The Lebanese banks are supervised by the Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL). The CBL introduced a set of obligatory financial ratios regulating capital, liquidity and credit risk exposures. The CBL does not intervene as long as banks complied with these prudential norms calculated on the 10th of each month. Naturally, the Lebanese banks adopted a wide range of schemes to “enhance” their end-of-month balance sheet to ensure compliance with the prudential standards.

 

Teachers’ Professional Growth: Study on Professional (Pedagogical) Competency Development of Teachers in Junior Colleges/Universities of Technology

Dr. Ming Jenn Wu, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei City, Taiwan

Shu Chuan Lin, National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

This study is intended for the construction of a suitable college teachers’ professional development program based on local Junior college/university/institute of technology teachers’ ideologies on education, attitude toward professional (pedagogical) competency growth, aspirations and expressed needs. With self-developed questionnaire survey as the study tool, the survey editing process includes: literature review, expert group discussion, and pre-test. 1.268 questionnaires were distributed in April. 2005. 595 copies were collected (return rate: 46.9%) and 582 copies of which were valid samples. The four main findings in this study include: 1. 9 competency dimensions have been attained based on factor analysis results of professional (pedagogical) competency.2. 39.1% of teachers’ professional development intents may be explained by variables such as professional educational ideologies and professional (pedagogical) competency growth need3.professional educational ideologies .teachers’ professional development intents are subject to change due to the social demography variable4.items with greater the need level of professional (pedagogical) competency growth including instruction competency, research competency, .information application competency, .interpersonal relationship, and communication competency.

 

Impact of the E- Education on the Equal Opportunities in Education and Research on E-Accounting Course

Dr. Fatma Ulucan Ozkul, Asist. Prof. and Pınar Pektekin, Bahcesehir University

Dr. Basak Erdem Rena, Istanbul Commerce University

 

ABSTRACT

The most important asset of the information society is undoubtedly information. The knowledge that individuals need in order to lead their lives can be achieved through education. It is essential that each individual of the society benefit equally from the educational methods that change in the light of the technological developments. The fact that the information gathering process is realized through the use of the devices of information technology has led to the integration of many sectors with digital platforms. The realization of many tasks that are needed for the interaction of the society in digital environments saving time and cost has made e-transformation inevitable. The leading sector among many sectors that e-transformation is applied is the education sector. The concept of e-education has come into our lives through this change experienced in the educational methods and by using the infrastructure of information technologies. In this study the concept of e-transformation in education, in terms of equality of opportunity in education based on e-accounting course aimed to evaluate samples. And also in this study; 5 formal and 5 distance education field total 10 students, an open-ended classification is based on answers to 10 questions. Focus group study, the results of the evaluation questions, with answers to the accounting course feedback in terms of equality of opportunity in education is intended to be interpreted. Every individual possesses the right of education he/she prefers. However, this situation does not indicate that every individual benefit from education under equal conditions. Because of the economical, geographical, social factors which are influencing equality of opportunities in education, everyone in the society could not utilize from education at the same level.

 

Economic and Social Determinants of Life Insurance Consumption – Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe

Dr. Marijana Curak and Marin Kljakovic-Gaspic, University of Split, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

Variance in life insurance consumption across countries raises the question on its determinants. This paper analyzes economic and social factors affecting the life insurance consumption in fast growing insurance market of Central and Eastern Europe. The analysis is based on the sample of 11 Central and Eastern European countries over the period 1995–2008. Our findings obtained by dynamic panel analysis are consistent with results of previous empirical studies done for developed markets and those that encompass both developed and undeveloped ones. Regarding economic variables level of economic development positively impacts life insurance consumption while higher inflation and real interest rates reduce it. Among the social determinants the most important determinants are life expectancy and young dependency ratio. Both of them positively contribute to life insurance demand. Social security system has also statistical significant impact on life insurance demand in Central and Eastern European market. Life insurance consumption in Central and Eastern European countries has experienced a rapid growth in the last decade. According to Swiss Re (2000, 2009) the average growth rate of life insurance premium per capita in the period of 1999-2008 was 21.7 per cent.

 

The Use of Decision Making Styles as a Market Segmentation Variable: A Study in Turkey

Dr. Duygu Firat, Kocaeli University, Kocaeli, Turkey

 

ABSTRACT

In today’s world, consumers are faced with many messages. In the pile of these messages, the consumer decision-making process is getting more complicated than ever before. For this reason, this study attempts to define and segment consumers into sub-groups according to their decision-making styles. To realize the objective of study, the consumer decision-making style inventory developed by Sproles and Kendall (1986) was used. Factor and cluster analysis were used to test the data that was obtained after the survey. The study has shown that consumers are divided into three sub-groups: enjoy shopping consumers, undecided consumers, and non-conscious shopping consumers. The results of the study cannot be generalized to all real consumers in Turkey, but they can serve as a basis for future studies done for real consumers. Marketing management that analyzes consumer behavior with the aim of satisfying consumer demands and needs is faced with two fundamental challenges (Islamoglu, 2006). The first of these is determining the market or markets that will be activated. The second includes improving and applying appropriate marketing components to selected markets. Determination of the market or markets to be activated is called the designation of the target market. Before this can occur, the market must be separated into segments. Market segmentation is defined as a marketing technique that segments customers into homogenous groups with specific characteristics like needs, wants, demographics, lifestyle, etc.

 

Research on the Effects of City-County Merger Plans in Taiwan Region

Shin-Cheng Hung, Nankai University, Tianjin, China

Dr. Shinn-Jong Lin, Shu-Te University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

As of the end of 2010, Taiwan region will be holding the first Five Municipalities Election in over six decades of local autonomy. It had been over 30 years since the restructuring of Kaohsiung City into a direct-controlled municipality in 1979. Upgrading to direct-controlled municipality has always been the pursuit of counties besides Taipei City and Kaohsiung City. Since the streamlining of Taiwan Province in 1996, Taiwan’s fourth-level governments no longer exist; nevertheless, even though direct-controlled municipalities and county governments are not organized in a direct hierarchical fashion, their establishment conditions, development progress and expandable resources stand in stark contrast. Since the Local Government Act has clearly specified the conditions for the establishment of direct-controlled municipality, it is natural that all county/city governments will attempt to “upgrade”. The restructuring of county/city into direct-controlled municipality, be it solo or joint, will definitely have an impact on the original municipal governance. If the “benefits” of upgrades are all that merry, what could be the negative consequences of mergers? What could be the irreversible effects on Taiwan’s local governance? This research concludes that, city-county mergers are a result of political compromise, and if the issue of municipal governance is handled through a political perspective, most likely the benefits of city-county would fail to bear fruit.

 

Spirituality in Management Education and Development: Toward an Authentic Transformation

Dr. Maurice Grzeda and Dr. Tov Assogbavi, Laurentian University, Canada

 

ABSTRACT

Workplace spirituality has been described as a possible new paradigm for the study and understanding of organizations. While spirituality has undoubtedly opened a new dialogue for describing the individual’s relationship with the workplace, whether it has led to a broader and deeper transformation of the workplace and organizations continues to be debated. This conceptual paper explores the spiritual transformation of organizations and management and assesses the implications both for managerial activities and skills and for management education and development. This paper contributes to the workplace spirituality discourse by borrowing from applications of spirituality in the healing professions. Building on this approach to the application of spirituality, the paper develops a framework to capture the healing capacities of management and examines the implications of this framework for management education and development. Among current trends in management, spirituality in the workplace would appear to be prominently differentiated from management’s traditional functional orientation. Despite ample interest in the subject as evidenced by an expanding literature pool and proliferation of academic and practitioner institutes, the field continues to be concerned with its earliest preoccupations, definitions and appropriate research methodologies. While the impact of spirituality on some aspects of management such as leadership has received closer scrutiny, spirituality’s implications for management education and development have not been an explicit focus of the literature.

 

The Analysis of Financial Prediction – with the Example of Crediting Transferred by Banks for Small and Medium Enterprises Credit Guarantee Fund

Hui-zhen Zhou, Chang Jung Christian University

Mei-fang Liu, National Taichung Institute of Technology

Dr. Hsin-tsung Huang, Chao Yang University of Technology

 

ABSTRACT

The subjects of this research are the Small and Medium Enterprises in Taiwan. The samples were selected from the financial statements of the cases of loans to the small and medium enterprises that were transferred to the Small and Medium Credit Guarantee Fund for guarantee by a commercial bank, including default accounts and normal account, total 308 accounts. The data of financial statements of three years before their application of loans was designed to evaluate if it could be a base for considering the guarantee credit loans by an administering bank. In the research, we employed Logistic Regression Model to test the empirical results and found that five variables, including the current ratio in previous two years, total asset turnover ratio in previous two years, total asset turnover ratio in previous three years, the loan-asset ratio in previous two years and loan ratio, had significant differences on the current situations of business operation. The accuracy rate is 50.7% in predicting whether a case could be a failed case and the accuracy rate is 97.9% in predicting whether a case could be a normal case. In the test of overall goodness of fit of model, χ2=123.209p=0.000<0.05, reached the level of significance. The value of Hosmer-Lemeshow Test was 6.297 (p=.614>.05), not reached the level of significance. That means the model of the credit guarantee loans for small and medium enterprises established by the five variables: the current ratio in previous two years, total asset turnover ratio in previous two years, total asset turnover ratio in previous three years and the loan-asset ratio in previous two years and loan ratio, could act as the references for the bank in loaning.

 

Stress Management in Educational Organizations

Urska Treven, Ms.C., and Dr. Sonja Treven, Professor, University of Maribor, Slovenia

 

ABSTRACT

In the paper, first of all, the problem of stress that employees in educational organizations face with is presented. Then the factors within the work environment that may cause stress are discussed. Besides, the strategies that may be developed in educational organizations for managing factors that cause stress with the employees are discussed widely as well. Such strategies include creating favorable organizational climate, job enrichment, reducing conflict and precise definition of roles, program designed to boost people's happiness, increased opportunities for physical exercise, stress management programs, etc. Most of us are aware that employee stress is an increasing problem in educational organizations. Teachers, the largest job category in the education sector, bear the brunt of stress affecting employees. Along with school directors or deans, teachers are those with the most interaction with internal (students) and external (mostly parents) users of the service. The intensive interactions between school heads, teachers and students over learning methods and outcomes, and often pupil indiscipline, create tensions that are sources of violence and stress. Teachers are also stressed out from greater work loads and deep-seated changes in the content and modes of delivery of educational services, lack of autonomy, and demands for accountability about academic performance from educational users - students, parents and political leaders. Stress in work environment that employees in educational organizations face with has a great impact on their well-being.

 

The Impact of Service Encounters on Behavioral Intentions to Online Hotel Reservation

Dr. Yun-Hua Lin, Ling Tung University, Taichung, Taiwan, R.O.C.

 

ABSTRACT

Positive service encounter experience affects how tourists evaluate hotels, which further motivate purchasing and a sense of loyalty towards the service offerings. This study comprises three dimensions, which are service encounter, brand loyalty and online reservation, were used to measure whether service encounter provided by the hotel would influence tourists’ online purchase intention. 505 questionnaires were collected and analyzed for the empirical investigation. As service encounter is one of the key elements on tourists’ online reservation intention, the findings indicate that, good technology-based service encounter will help to develop tourists’ brand loyalty; moreover, enhancing purchase intention. Internet has changed consumer’s behavior on travel transaction (Chathoth, 2007). Tourists are accustomed to book restaurant tables or make room reservations via Internet. As shown on investigation, online travel has always being the most fast-growing segment compared with other fields (HeBS, 2010). Without being influenced by the globally increasing economic depression, hotel related products were among the most popular choices. Shostack (1985) defined service encounter is customer’s interaction with service employees, physical facilities, and any other visible elements. There were studies using physical environment elements and social elements to classify the type of service encounter into technology-based and interpersonal-based service encounters (Snellman & Vihtkari, 2003).

 

An Empirical Study on the Renaming Departments for Higher Technological and Vocational Education in Taiwan

Huai-en Mo, National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan

Dr. Yu-Fen Chen, Chihlee Institute of Technology, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

Technological and vocational education (TVE) in Taiwan is making the transition from an elitist form to a common form of education. Schools are now facing the prospect of not having enough students, and some even go through a second recruiting procedure to acquire students. As a result, many colleges and universities have changed their name to distinguish and differentiate themselves in this growing and evolving marketplace (Moorer, 2007). This study is aimed to explore the influences on department image by the department name in TVE. This study was conducted by analyzing “the standardized lowest admission scores” and “the relative rankings in their recruiting categories”, for the 2004 and 2005 school year in departments renamed in the 2005 school year. A paired-sample t test was used to assess if the department promotion was significant or not. A questionnaire survey was conducted to determine how the department name affected the department impression on students. The independent-sample t test and one-way ANOVA analysis were utilized. Finally, the researchers provided several suggestions to assist school administrators, including renaming the department based on a representative title for the department according to the teachers’ characteristics, curriculum structure and so on. In recent years, the number of institutions for technological and vocational education (TVE) in Taiwan, as well as the number of students admitted every year, has steadily increased. This has caused the rate of admission into the TVE schools to become almost 100%. TVE is making the transition from an elitist form to a common form of education. Schools are now facing the prospect of not having enough students, and some even go through a second recruiting procedure to acquire students.

 

A Study of Credit Risk Efficiency and Productivity Change for Commercial Banks in Taiwan

Kuan-Chung Chen and Dr. Chung-Yu Pan, Tunghai University

 

Abstract

The operating efficiency of Taiwanese commercial banks is a key factor on Taiwan's economic development, and there is a great deal of general literature on the performance evaluation in banking. There is little specific topic, however, on the characteristics of risk. Specifically, credit risk in the banking sectors has a potential “social” impact because of the number and diversity of stakeholders affected. In this paper, we employ the Malmquist productivity index (MPI) approach, which is calculated from credit risk efficiency scores based on data envelopment analysis (DEA) in conjunction with financial ratios, to measure the credit risk efficiency and productivity change on credit risk management of 34 commercial banks in Taiwan over the period 2005-08. And according to the credit risk efficiency scores and credit risk Malmquist productivity index (CR-MPI), we classify the 34 banks into four groups. We find that different groups of banks should have different strategies of credit risk management to survive in this changing environment. Financial liberalization has been adopted by most countries as their financial policy. Particularly, since deregulation, banks have been permitted to set their own interest rates and credit policy. However, various risks arise in bank industry from financial liberalization, which present a challenge to financial institutions and supervising sectors. Facing competitive pressure and international regulations, it is important to evaluate the bank risk efficiency index and productivity change. The notion of risk which matters is central to all industries. It is not just a question of what kinds of products will be produced, or how much it will cost.

 

An Empirical Examination of Preference for Numerical Information and Need for Emotion within Financial Planning

Dr. De’Arno De’Armond, West Texas A&M University

 

ABSTRACT

This article empirically examines the application of the scales ‘preference for numerical information’ (PNI) and ‘need for emotion’ (NFE) with respect to financial planning. The data utilized within this study were gathered via a survey instrument developed and administered in an online format during the months of June and July 2008. A total of 403 respondents (4% response rate), who are members of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), answered the survey. The final sample used after significant non-response cases were eliminated was 278 respondents (2.8%). Pearson correlation analysis and one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were utilized to determine if a relationship exists between PNI or NFE and other variables. Results of this study indicate that statistically significant, positively correlated, relationships do exist between NFE and female financial planners, as well as between NFE and owners or partners of financial planning firms. The study also reveals NFE is negatively correlated and statistically significant with financial planners employed by small financial planning firms. In October, 2006, a group of students from a large southwestern university located in the United States were tasked with interviewing financial planners at FPA’s national conference in Nashville. The interviews were conducted in effort to ask individual financial planners who are deemed “very successful” by the financial planning community, common questions in an effort to record information for the Financial Planning History Archives housed at the university.

 

Exploring Service Quality in Luxury Hotels: Case of Lahore, Pakistan

Dr. Asad Mohsin, The University of Waikato Management School, New Zealand

Irshad Hussain and Muhammad Rizwan Khan, University of the Punjab, Pakistan

 

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study is to assess service and product quality perceptions of guests staying in luxury hotels in Lahore, Pakistan. The study should help hotel management to identify features that need attention to meet hotel guests’ expectations. Areas such as front office, housekeeping, room service and restaurant within luxury hotels were chosen to apply a survey and interview technique to accumulate information for analysis using SPSS version 16. Overall results indicate statistical significance in 29 out of 31 areas assessed highlighting difference between expectations of hotel guests and their actual experience. Findings suggest managerial implications. Intensity of debate, research and arguments on service quality continues both in academia and in the service business world. Diversity in workforce, increase in travel, growing customer awareness, experiences and expectations present challenges for service organisations generally and luxury hotels specifically as being highly service intensive. Several other services like banks and telecommunications are replacing humans with technology to provide a consistent quality in their services. How far luxury hotels will be able to follow this? remains a difficult question.

 

Islamic Finance Solutions: The Role of Islamic Finance in Poverty Alleviation

Dr. Amal El Tigani Ali, Associate Professor of Finance and Investment and Vice Dean of Finance and Administration Division, Dar Al Hekma College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

 

ABSTRACT

Islamic Finance can be utilized to serve humanity by helping to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable living, leading to closer community ties and a better world in general. This research will focus on Islamic Finance, Islamic Microfinance, and Zakat Fund and how they can be utilized to help alleviate poverty. It first will describe what Islamic Finance is and how it is different from conventional finance and then explain how these methods can help alleviate poverty. Currently, the world economy faces a number of social and economic challenges. Most development strategies that have been adopted in the last three decades failed to achieve their objectives of alleviating poverty and other development goals. This failure is attributed to the fact that those strategies focused only on growth without consideration of generating employment and human development activities. Concurrently, the international financial markets have expanded and become more complex as new financial institutions emerged and new financial products have been developed. The emergence and development of Islamic finance stands out as a reflection of this huge change. Islamic Finance has become a significant segment and important player in the international financial system. There are approximately 400 Islamic banks globally, with assets in excess of US$500 billion.

 

The Compatibility of the Reports of the Audit Bureau of Jordan With the International Standards Issued by (INTOSAI)

Dr. Mohammad Yassien Rahahelah, Associate Professor, Al-al Bayt University, Mafraq-Jordan

 

ABSTRACT

This study aims at identifying the compatibility of the reports of the Audit Bureau of Jordan with the international standards issued by (INTOSAI) and outlining the obstacles that hinders their implementation. It also shows that the audit bureau implements the international standards of the (INTOSAI) concerning the composing of audit reports which support the questioning and the credibility of the bureau towards the community to enhance the auditing quality, not to mention the absence of the legislative article that considered one of the main obstacles which applying the implementation of the international auditing standards, in addition to the absence of stimulaneous interpretation. The supreme control including a set of procedures through which it can ensure the proper implementation of the financial legislation which has a financial impact and action plans of the administrative and financial programs and budgets. It also includes the proper implementation of the directions that guarantee reservation of public funds and good management. Such control is exercised by authorities which are independent from the executive authority so that they can control the actions of the executive branch of finance, provide the results and outputs control to either the high or the legislative authority of the State through annual reports, offering its audit activities and the most important observations and financial irregularities that have emerged through its fulfill of its regulatory mandate, which the constitutions of the States stipulate that the apparatus of the high financial control must submit an annual report to the legislative authority in addition to other reports, as needed, taking into account the objective of presenting of the information, and to ensure the confidentiality of information that may not be published, and the reports must be framed accurately, because of their great importance to the views of controlled authorities in one hand, and for the legislative authority and the public on the other hand, which means that they have the characteristics that maximize their usefulness and make it understandable to the parties used to it.

 

Ethics Education in Business Programs: Case of Dar Al-Hekma College in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Amani Hamza Mohammad, MIS/BNFN Director, Dar Al-Hekma College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

 

ABSTRACT

Numerous organizations and educational institutions have taken steps to avoid or reduce the number of unethical business practices. International accreditation bodies, such as Association to Advance Collegiate Schools (AACSB), have highly encouraged and supported the inclusion of business ethics course. With respect to the call of AACSB, academic institutions have started to include business ethics course as a compulsory or elective course, in the undergraduate program, post-graduate program or in both. The theme of business ethics instruction at colleges and universities in the Middle East, however, has not been substantially researched. In 2005 Dar Al-Hekma Private College has added a required course in business ethics to its Banking and Finance program. This course introduces students to the ethical dimension of business practices and prepares them to make ethical decisions. It also introduces students to concepts such as corporate social responsibility, business and society, and environmental issues. This paper begins with a brief literature review on the status of business ethics education in universities and colleges worldwide, the controversial arguments on business ethics instruction, learning outcomes of these courses, and finally the value of ethical practices to business. The paper concludes by presenting the findings of a survey of students who took the course in business ethics at Dar Al-Hekma College. AACSB has been encouraging education in business ethics since 1976. Other international accreditation bodies have emphasized instruction in business ethics; several initiatives have attempted to spread awareness of business ethics and reduce the number of scandals in the business world.

 

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