The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge

Vol.  20 * Num.. 2 * March 2015

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

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 A Hybrid National Retail Sales Tax for U.S. Tax Reform

Dr. Michael F. Williams, Prairie View A&M University, Texas

 

ABSTRACT

For many years some have advocated a fundamental reform of the U.S. federal tax system—replacement of the current tax system with a national retail sales tax.  Opponents of such reform have offered reasons why a national retail sales tax might be unworkable.  This paper discusses those concerns and offers a new ‘hybrid’ form of sales taxation, featuring tax withholding and tax rebates, which ameliorates many of the issues regarding the workability of a national retail sales tax. In recent years a series of substantial changes to the U.S. federal income tax code have been enacted, an indication that many politicians and their constituents have been discontent with the current income tax system. In fact there is significant political and public interest in a type of fundamental tax reform—replacing the current income-based federal tax system with a national retail sales tax (RST). This interest coincides with a preference by some economists for consumption-based taxation because of the predicted long term efficiency gains if such taxation were to replace the current income tax system. The public discontent with the current tax system may provide the political capital to undertake fundamental tax reform that realizes such gains. Yet no industrialized nation has implemented a broad based national retail sales tax as its primary revenue source, and there are some economists who believe such a system to be unworkable. These economists cite many potential problems, including tax cascading, tax evasion, difficult-to-tax services, the border tax problem, a high revenue-neutral sales tax rate, and harmonization with state and local tax systems. These problems will be examined in the context of a hybrid national retail sales tax system (HRST) that has two important features distinguishing it from a traditional retail sales tax system—a tax withholding requirement for producers, wholesalers and importers of retail goods and services, and a system of sales tax rebates for taxed purchases of business inputs.  The administrative details and the benefits of these two hybrid features will be carefully examined. The analysis in this paper will suggest that careful, purposeful efforts by policymakers and administrators can make HRST a feasible tax system for fundamental tax reform. Fundamental sales tax based reform has significant political and popular support. In the 113th Congress, the Fair Tax Act of 2013 was introduced by Rob Woodall in the House of Representatives; this bills promises “To promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States” (U.S. House, 2013). A national retail sales tax has support among research organizations, tax lobbyists and at the grassroots level, represented by such groups as the Cato Institute and Americans for Fair Taxation. Despite the political and popular support for a national retail sales tax, there are a number of potential difficulties successfully implementing such a system in the United States. Research that has examined administration and compliance issues of RST reform includes Armey (1995), Bartlett (1995), Bickley (2003), Burton (2001a), Burton and Mastromarco (1997), Cnossen (2002), Gale (1998, 1999), Gale and Holtzblatt (2002), Gillis (2002), McClure (1993), Mikesell (1997), Murray (1997), and Zodrow (1999).  Some are quite sanguine about the feasibility of RST in the United States, citing a reduction in administration and compliance costs as both the number of taxpayers and the complexity of the tax system are reduced under RST reform. Still, other researchers cite potential problems.  Six potential problems are introduced below and will be discussed at greater length in subsequent portions of this paper in concert with an examination of the distinguishing features of HRST. 1. Tax Cascading.  Failure to effectively exempt many business purchases of goods from sales taxation results in tax cascading, mitigating the efficiency-enhancing effects of fundamental tax reform. 2. Taxation of services.  Political and practical obstacles may preclude the taxation of some services, narrowing the tax base and causing inefficient distortions in consumption patterns in favor of untaxed consumption. 3. Tax Avoidance and the Border Tax Problem.  A national sales tax will encourage buyers to purchase items supplied from beyond U.S. borders to avoid U.S. sales tax. 4. Tax Evasion.  A national sales tax may encourage tax evasion since it lacks the administrative features of withholding and cross-reporting contained in the current income tax system. 5. Harmonization with State and Local Tax Systems: The current system of state and local sales and income taxes will be difficult to administer alongside a national retail sales tax. 6. High Required Sales Tax Rate.  If political pressure, tax evasion and other practical problems exclude a significant portion of consumption from the RST tax base, then the revenue neutral sales tax rate may be extremely high—higher than the marginal income tax rates faced by most taxpayers under the current system. A traditional retail sales tax system taxes only consumer goods and services upon their final sales.  This tax system can be modified into a hybrid form, to ameliorate some of the practical problems administering RST mentioned above.  The two proposed modifications to a traditional RST are: 1. Sales Tax Rebates for Business Purchases of Taxed Goods and Services.  A firm may apply to government for reimbursement of sales tax paid on its purchases of taxed goods and services that are used as inputs in its production process (and that are not meant for resale). 2. Sales Tax Withholding.  Not only retailers but also wholesalers, importers, and producers of consumer goods must remit sales tax.  Each taxpaying firm may deduct the sales tax paid by its suppliers from its sales tax liability.

 

The Role of Air/Spaceports: Education + Entrepreneurship + Excitement = Economic Growth

Dr. Heather L. Garten, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

 

ABSTRACT

This research is part of an extensive project that examines the initial ascent of the role of air/spaceports in the Age of Aerospace (Garten, 2014).  The Age of Aerospace, encompassing both aerospace and the evolving role of aviation, is driving and will continue to drive the economy of the United States for years to come.  As aerospace becomes the dominant industry encompassing all others, there is an urgent need for air/spaceports to assume a leadership role within communities.  Furthermore, if the United States desires to maintain a strong global economic position, and more importantly to strengthen its current economic position, the United States must focus on transforming air/spaceports into a stronghold of creativity and innovation that, naturally, has a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding community.  A clear and concise procedure to reform the perception and role of air/spaceports in order to use them efficiently as a catalyst for economic gain during the Age of Aerospace does not exist.  This paper proposes an approach based upon a strategy used throughout history to drive perception while creating a passion of urgency: War.  War is often cited as an economic catalyst, much due to the patriotism driving the war effort (Stinson, 2003; Aversa, 2003; Kortan, 2002).  Moreover, World War II specifically was a predominant catalyst for the aviation and aerospace developments today.  This research examines lessons from World War II, and develops the three-E equation of economic growth (Education + Entrepreneurship + Excitement = Economic Growth).  This paper goes on to demonstrate how the World War II mindset and love of aviation is applicable to the current and future Age of Aerospace, and cites specific ways air/spaceports can drive education and entrepreneurship through passionate excitement. Since the initial flight of the aircraft on December 17, 1903, the aircraft has been a dominant part of the human existence, driving innovation and advancement, most notably in war.  Only a decade after that fateful flight in 1903, the aircraft was transformed into a strategic weapon for World War I, creating a revolutionary change in military strategies across the globe.  Yet it would be the next World War that would harness and exploit the aircraft, while laying the foundation for the Age of Aerospace. With the onset of World War II, the demand for all resources increased drastically, and resource-shortages were rampant.  With so few resources available, working, wage-earning Americans actually increased their savings even in the tough economy of World War II (Rumelt, 2011).  One of the most important resources during the war was human capital.  Image 1 demonstrates how the high demand for males in the military required females to assume former male-dominated jobs in both industry and the military.  Moreover, this demand meant women were needed to support the Air Force war fighters, making World War II responsible for introducing many females to aviation; females who, without the war, may have never become passionate about aviation. When females began aiding the war effort, their love for aviation grew, and thus many women ultimately desired to be a formal part of the Air Force. However, this was frowned upon by male Air Force pilots, and a war within World War II began to take shape.  Fighting for equality, women pilots were led into battle by Ms. Jackie Cochran.  Ms. Cochran went straight to the White House with her concerns, eventually creating a training program for female pilots: The Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD).  Almost forty years after the initial flight in 1903, the WFTD and the WAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) merged to form the WASPS (Cornelson, 2005). Yet the fight for equality for women pilots was far from over.  Lewis paints a grim picture of the struggles WASPS (Women Airforce Service Pilots) faced with their male counterparts when he states, “Male pilots were often hostile to their female counterparts, and men sometimes would not ground planes that needed maintenance if they knew that women would be flying them,” (2009).  Yet the most horrific harassment would come in the form of death, one of which occurred when a male pilot clipped the wing of a female pilot who died in the fiery crash (Lewis, 2009).   The battle for equality would rage on far past the end of World War II, but the passion and love of aviation would only continue to grow in the hearts of women.  The use of aircraft during World War II drove the technological development of weapons such as the German V-1 and V-2 guided missiles. The V-2 missile had been in construction since the 1930s, led by German Rocket Scientist Wernher Von Braun.  The History Channel (2014) states: The V-2 was unique in several ways. First, it was virtually impossible to intercept. Upon launching, the missile rises six miles vertically; it then proceeds on an arced course, cutting off its own fuel according to the range desired. The missile then tips over and falls on its target-at a speed of almost 4,000 mph. It hits with such force that the missile burrows itself into the ground several feet before exploding. It had the potential of flying a distance of 200 miles, and the launch pads were portable, making them impossible to detect before firing. The success of the V-2 extended far beyond the missile itself, as the V-2 became the driving force behind space exploration throughout the world. The United States knew the technology used to craft the V-2 would lead to further future success, and made it a military priority to capture this technology at the end of World War II (Note the United States was not the only country interested in the Germans’, predominantly Von Braun’s, capabilities).  The sense that this technology would drive future economies and protect world powers was without doubt accepted amongst world leaders.  The United States did reign supreme, and captured the V-2 complex along with Von Braun and 500 of his top rocket scientists.  A mere 15 years later Von Braun’s complex transferred from the Army to the newly created NASA.  Von Braun assumed the role of director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the world began laying the foundation for the Age of Aerospace (Biography, 2014).  World War II demonstrates, as Rumelt passionately discusses, how the wartime mindset enabled the United States to enter an economic boom only one year after the end of the war (2011). Analyzing all the many facets of World War II, it is clear that technology had a large part in creating this economic-boom mindset, and most notably fueling the boom that followed.  More important to recognize and accept is that World War II led the United States into the Age of Aerospace.  The successful strategies that strengthened the United States economy during World War II can thus be harvested for use in the Age of Aerospace.  The passion felt during World War II, due to innovation and pride, can be reignited to create jobs and economic growth today.  Utilizing air/spaceports as the center of this economic growth, the United States can assume a leadership role in the Age of Aerospace as it did during World War II. The fight is no longer against other nations, but an internal battle challenging each and every American to realize the diverse abilities buried under the current economic fears.

 

Importation of Information and Communication Technologies in the African Hospitality Industry:  A Strategic Advantage or Anathema to Development?

Dr. Faith Samkange, Swiss Hotel Management School University Centre, Switzerland

Dr. Amon Simba, Nottingham Trent University (NTU), United Kingdom

 

ABSTRACT

Consensus prevails regarding the strategic significance of Communication and Information Technology (ICT) and yet, the lack of strategic positioning continues to put developing economies at a global disadvantage (Ip et al., 2011). Various arguments articulate the digital divide-separating progressive from developing economies. Proponents of development politics perceive the digital divide as a symbol of inequality holding the colonial legacy responsible for under-development in Africa. In contrast, critics view the divide as a symbol of under-development associated with governance and business leadership failure. Despite this political and ideological divergence, the role of ICT in surviving global competition is paramount. Making ICT available in this case is a progressive development.  However, availability does not necessarily equate to accessibility and usability. This paper is based on a Kenyan case study, which tests these assumptions through an interrogation of ICT development trends and related implementation and utilisation practices. A contextualised research methodology is applied to generate data based on a stratified sample of 15 hotels.  A widespread and wholesale ICT importation trend emerges driven by capacity building factors. Arguably, ICT importation stifles creativity and perpetuates an unsustainable dependency syndrome. These findings resonate with a body of literature critical of prescriptive technological intervention (Samkange, 2008; Islam and Tsuji 2011). The linkage between technological and economic development is well documented (see for example, Fitzgerald 2014 and Sala, 2010). Thus, the need to accelerate economic development has been marked by leapfrogging technological advancement.  In most developing economies Tourism and Hospitality sectors are the cornerstones of economic development because they contribute significantly towards foreign currency earnings (United Nations, 2012). In nations such as Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa there has been a marked use of e-commerce in the tourism and hospitality industry to maximise economic growth by boosting foreign currency earnings (Mndzebele, 2013; Shemi and Procter, 2013; Mpofu, 2011). In Kenya the government is belligerently driving the importation of cutting-edge ICT to speed-up business transactions in order to fuel economic development and growth (Johannes, 2010). ICT is considered a key component for achieving operational efficiency (Sala, 2010, Rodgers 2013). Recent advancements in ICT have become a factor in the process of socio-economic development (Oshikoya and Hussain, 1998). More so, the convergence of the world economies has meant that the effective use of ICT can be a determinant factor of competitive advantage and growth strategies.  Oshikoya and Hussain (1998) observed that the world is fast-moving towards knowledge-based economic structures and information societies comprising of networks of individuals, firms and countries digitally inter-connected and engaging in inter-dependent business-like relationships. Indeed, the supremacy of the World Wide Web has necessitated the diffusion of ICT initiating a profound transformation of the world into an information society (Vu, 2011).  ICT research in the Hospitality industry has been skewed in favour of developed economies. In developing countries ICT research is scant and the few studies that exist lack sufficient depth.  As a contribution towards addressing this research gap a case study of Kenya exemplifying a developing economy is conducted to investigate ICT application, implementation and utilisation in the hospitality industry.  The study determines ICT development trends, and assesses their combined impact on implementation and utilisation of ICT in foodservice management.  According to Patel (2011) ICT is a, “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, broadcast, store, transmit, exchange and manage information” (p.70). Beckinsale and Ram (2006) support this notion further clarifying ICT as any technology, which can be used to support information gathering, processing, distribution and its utilisation.  Consensus prevails in both definitions of as they encompass information, telecommunications and networking technologies (Nicol, 2003).  This conceptualisation embraces all forms of technologies including the Internet, computers, wireless communication devices, mobile and smart gadgets, tablet technologies, and related networks (Mpofu, 2011; Manueli et al., 2007 Rodgers 2013) hence, it is adopted for the purpose of this study.  The debate regarding the relationship between technological development and economic prosperity continues to rage (see also Africa Partnership Forum Support Unit, 2013; Pohjola, 2002; Quah, 2002; Vu, 2011). In Tarute, and Gatautis (2014) ICT is hypothesised as a powerful determinant of better economic performance and a key facilitator of technological progress and productivity at individual, organisational and country levels. Indeed, the rapid advancement in ICT has extremely influenced the worldwide spread of processes including: globalisation and information-driven economic societies.  Research (see for example, Higon, 2011; Ollo-Lopez & Aramendia-Muneta, 2012) universally acknowledges that individual, organisational and country-based developments are directly anchored on the effective utilisation of ICT.  Evidently, the literature on the implementation and utilisation of ICT is littered with studies demonstrating its impact (e.g. LaRose et al., 2012; Ollo-Lopez and Aramendia-Muneta, 2012; Tarute, and Gatautis, 2014). Other studies have produced significant evidence indicating that ICT increases productivity, enhances growth and development. It can therefore be argued that, ICT has emerged as a significant driver of economic growth in the last decade (Vu, 2011) and hence a strong desire for the implementation and utilisation of ICT and related knowledge capabilities in developing economies.  This paper therefore considers the effect of ICT in developing nations particularly in Kenya where the government is reportedly championing ICT development to boost the country’s economic performance (Msimang, 2011; Johannes, 2010; Samkange and Crouch 2008).  

 

Leadership Style, Personality and Team Effectiveness

Dr. Michael Ba Banutu-Gomez, Professor, Management and Entrepreneurship

William G. Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University, NJ

 

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates leadership Style, Leader Personality, and Team Effectiveness. In this study, the data results and literature revealed that a leader can gain the support of the majority of employees through shared personality traits. Furthermore, the data showed that an effective leadership style is one that appeals to employees’ higher need for esteem.  The data also showed that to be an effective team leader requires the leader to skillfully utilize all employees and the knowledge they bring to the organization. Also, the paper revealed that effective motivation and empowerment techniques are influential tools for leading teams. The paper showed, the majority of the participants agreed their leader was directly responsible for the effectiveness of the team because they closely matched their own personality. The participants also indicated they felt their leader exhibited a combination of task, and relationship-orientation as well as utilizing participative leader style, engaged members in group processes. Finally, the paper showed that Leader personality and leader style directly influence team effectiveness. Definitions of leadership include one or more of the following elements: goal attainment, group or organization structure, and interpersonal relationships (Anderson, 2005). Leadership can also be defined as “interpersonal influence exercised in a situation, and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or goals” (Tannenbaum, Weschler, & Massarik, 1961). The processes and roles of leadership achieve results with and through others (Blake & Mouton, 1985). Leaders cannot act and achieve organizational goals alone, but must instead rely on their followers, often in the form of teams. Team effectiveness is a complex task driven by a considerable number of factors. A single contributing variable cannot be identified, but there is growing research that suggests leadership style and leader personality plays a significant role.  Many leadership styles exist and the contingency theory, established by Fiedler, claims that leadership behavior must be adjusted to the situation to generate effectiveness (Blake & Mouton, 1985). The foundation of Fiedler’s theory is the degree to which the leader’s leadership style is relationship-oriented or task-oriented (Daft, 2011).  A relationship-oriented leader is concerned with people and their employees. This type of leader establishes mutual trust and respect, and listens to the needs of their employees (Daft, 2011). A task-oriented leader is primarily focused on accomplishing specific tasks and does so by providing clear direction and setting performance standards (Daft, 2011). Tabernero, Chambel, Curral, & Arana (2009) found that relationship-oriented leaders were more effective in creating group unity, but that task-oriented leaders produced greater group effectiveness. Their results support that a combination of relationship- and task-orientation in a leader will meet the needs of creating group mentality and increasing group task accomplishment. Transformational leadership focuses on intangible qualities such as the values, vision, and ideas of an organization to provide larger meaning to team members and involve members in the change process (Daft, 2011).  Utilizing a transformational leadership approach empowers team members and leads to greater perceived team effectiveness (Ozaralli, 2003).  Leadership style can vary on how leaders approach problems. The leader assigning tasks to participants characterizes a directive style and the leader asking participants how they would approach the problem at hand characterizes a participative style. Sauer (2011) found that leader status could influence how a team member perceives leadership style. Low-status leaders utilizing a directive style and high-status leaders utilizing a participative style were perceived to be more effective and self-confident than their counterparts (Sauer, 2011). This implies that low-status leaders should rely on their positional power and high-status leaders should rely on their personal power to direct their new team (Sauer, 2011). Research waivers on whether leadership style plays a critical role in team effectiveness. Some studies indicate that the style and competence of team leadership is an important determinant of team functioning and performance (Feinberg, Kim, Greenberg, 2008). Others suggest that leadership appears to have far less impact on team effectiveness than thought (Anderson, 2005). There is a realization that leaders are not always consistent with their style, but this does not discredit the impact leadership style can have (Pratt & Eitzen, 1989).  An effective leader should be familiar with different styles and be able to adapt their style to different situations as needed.  Clifford & Cohn (1964) found that as the situation changed, the perceived attributes of the leader changed as well. Teams will respond to leader styles based on the situation at hand and the personality of the leader.  Daft (2011) defines personality as “the set of unseen characteristics and processes that underlie a relatively stable pattern of behavior in response to ideas, objects or people in the environment”. However, personality is most often thought of in terms of traits. Over the years, a model identifying five general dimensions that describe personality has been established; collectively referred to as “the Big Five” these dimensions include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience (Daft, 2011). The dimensions are used to describe observable behavioral consistencies at the individual level (Hofmann & Jones, 2005). Extraversion, also known as surgency, is related to sociability, gregariousness, talkativeness, dominance, and assertiveness (Peterson, Martorana, & Smith, 2003). Agreeableness is related to trust, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding (Daft, 2011). Conscientiousness is connected to trustworthiness, dependability, achievement-orientation, and persistence (Daft, 2011). Emotional stability is associated with steadiness under pressure, conflict resolution, and effectively handling negativity (Hogan, Curphy, & Hogan, 1994). Finally, openness to experience reflects intelligence, curiosity, thoughtfulness, and creativity (Feinberg, Kim, & Greenberg, 2008; Peterson, Martorana, & Smith, 2003). It is important for leaders to understand the Big Five so they can better understand their own personality types and learn to emphasize the positive and lessen the negative aspects of their own styles (Daft, 2011).  Charisma is a well-researched and important personality trait that has been shown to positively influence team effectiveness. When compared to non-charismatic leaders, charismatic leaders have substantially higher promotion recommendations and appraisal ratings from supervisors, satisfaction and moral ratings, and levels of team performance (Avolio, Waldman, & Einstein, 1988). It has also been found that charismatic leaders have a vision that others find compelling, recruit teams of individuals who share the same vision, and are able to persuade their team to support the vision (House, 1977). Furthermore, high charisma scores are positively associated with self-confidence (emotional stability), feminine attributes and nurturing (agreeableness), and intellect and the need for change (openness to experience) (Hogan, Curphy, & Hogan, 1994).

 

Power, Corruption and SMEs in Nigeria

Adedamola Ariyo, University of Windsor, Canada

Dr. Jonathan Lee, University of Windsor, Canada

 

ABSTRACT

In Nigeria, corruption results in various administrative barriers that burden domestic as well as foreign companies as they attempt to establish and operate their businesses. While the legislation is generally clear and of considerable quality, the enforcement has been largely ineffective because of corruption. This paper provides some recommendations as to how to begin to tackle the rampant corruption in Nigeria. Nigeria is faced with a plethora of issues such as high poverty, low employment rates, burgeoning rates of inflation, unsatisfactory economic growth, but the most pressing one is corruption. The level of corruption has had a detrimental effect on country as shown by numerous political, social and macroeconomic indicators and has hindered the programs that aim to alleviate poverty in the state. Practically every section of Nigeria’s economy is adversely affected by corruption on a regular basis. Corruption has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria. It has stultified the growth of small and medium enterprises (“SME”) and has sounded the death knell for the spirit of entrepreneurship. This paper will discuss how corruption has stifled entrepreneurship within Nigeria and will offer possible recommendations for SMEs.  Corruption refers to the efforts to garner wealth or power via illegal channels for the appropriation of private gain at expense of the public (Lipset & Lenz, 2000). Another way of viewing corruption is that it is anti-social behaviour that results in undeserved benefits which oppose specific legal and moral norms and hinder attempts to improve the living conditions of people (Okonjo-Iweala, 2005). Corruption is a global phenomenon and is common to all state structures, religions and ethnicities. Behaviour that is considered corrupt includes, but is not limited to: bribery, nepotism, misappropriation, extortion, fraud, and favouritism (Alatas, 1980). Within Nigeria, corruption manifests itself through the abuse of positions and privileges, bribery/kickbacks, advance fee frauds and other schemes of deception collectively referred to as “419”, drugs and arms smuggling, foreign exchange malpractices such as currency counterfeiting, tax evasion, intellectual property theft and abuse of the open market (Okonjo-Iweala, 2005). Corruption is a well documented and unresolved issue in Nigeria that has crippled the state on a number of fronts. It has permeated in almost every aspect of Nigerian society. There are multiple causes of corruption based on numerous cultural and political variables. Evidence suggests that there may be a correlation between corruption and social diversity, divisions along ethno-linguistic lines, and religion (Lipset & Lenz, 2000). For less developed nations like Nigeria, some of the common factors resulting in corruption are: unequal distribution of wealth; use of political power/stations as the main means of procuring wealth; clash between evolving moral codes; inadequate social and government enforcement mechanisms; the lack of a deeply ingrained idea of national community (Banfield, 1996). In Nigeria, the appropriation and glorification of illegal wealth is characteristic of the general public due to their obsession with materialism. The attraction to this sort of lifestyle entices many to act disproportionately unethical for the sake of money (Okonjo-Iweala, 2005).  Government agencies and business organizations in Nigeria are not held to ethical standards that are commonplace in other, more developed nations. Ethics in Nigeria place an emphasis on obeying authority, practicing moral reasoning and consistently utilizing moral judgments. However, most government officials in Nigeria do not practice the expected ethical standards, which in turn allows the problem to go unchecked in the social and business arenas (Obayelu, 2007). Nigeria is also one of the few countries where an individual’s source of wealth is not questioned by his neighbours, the public or the government. Once a person has displayed a capability to distribute a considerable amount of money, they are able to gain benefits from multiple levels of society. This promotes economic incentives without adequate checks and balances. (Ubeku, 1991). This message resonates strongly with civil servants earning meagre incomes and those with poor working conditions. The overall culture of governance in Nigeria promotes the corruption and in way, glamorizes it. This further encourages lower officials and the general public to indulge in corrupt practices and them as the norm (Obayelu, 2007).  Numerous experts, academics and researchers are united in the opinion that corruption in Nigeria is currently both endemic and systemic. The culture of corruption in Nigeria has seeped through the entire nation, resulting in the delivery of services being hampered by exploitation and inefficiencies. These practices have led to Nigeria consistently being labelled as one of the most corrupt nations in the world (Goodling, 2003). The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (“CPI”) analysis of 85 countries ranked Nigeria in the top 5 countries in terms of corruption. (Amadi, 2004).  Domestically, the Nigeria Corruption Index of 2007 has singled out the Nigerian Police as the most corrupt institution in the country, with Power Holding Company of Nigeria receiving similar results. Corruption in many primary governmental institutions has increasing corruption rates, which is of concern. The list of corrupt organizations in Nigeria has 16 members including the Presidency, the Nigerian Petroleum Commission and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board and even entities like the Independent National Electoral Commission (Lipset & Lenz, 2000).  One other area where corruption has affected Nigeria is project execution. One example is the Ajaokuta, a steel mill that was in construction for seventeen years and during that period, used up seven billion dollars and is remained non-operational. (Abimbola, 2007).  For enterprises that aim to maximize profits, bureaucratic corruption can be viewed as a means to survive. In Nigeria, payments made by entrepreneurs in order to seek favours are a key source of extra-legal income for civil servants. The state regulatory programs often place a considerable amount of burden on small businesses and entrepreneurship and encourage investors to seek out various methods to lower these state-imposed costs. In countries such as Nigeria, paying bribes to civil servants has emerged as a necessity to compete for those rents (Mauro, 1995). Studies have shown that firms that offer the most bribes are not the most economically efficient but rather, are most adept at rent seeking. Essentially, corruption reaps no benefits for efficient producers but rather, protects ineffectual entrepreneurs (Harsch, 1993).  In many African countries such as Nigeria, firms that have managed to survive institutionalized corruption were often those that had become more effective with corrupt practices. Whenever a country’s rules make the political system the main determinant of firm profitability, entrepreneurs are more likely to spend the majority of their efforts towards gaining an unfair advantage. This occurs in the form of state subsidies, discretionary tax relief, and other forms of regulations. These determine how profitable a firm is, instead of business acumen, managerial expertise, or completion. Within such an environment, entrepreneurs are forced to earmark a portion of their activities for unethical practices in order to achieve profit maximization (Mbaku, 1996). Corruption can impact entrepreneurship in a number of ways. Government agents often decrease entrepreneurial activity to select group of friends and family by giving them access to state funds and permits. In this situation, funds and contracts will not go to the best proposals but merely to those that have sponsors within the agency in charge. Corruption in Nigeria has reinforced the idea that luck and corruption are the only roads to success for entrepreneurs. As a result, faith in the educational system as a means to success has deteriorated, resulting in low enrolment rates (Palifka, 2006).

 

Evaluating ERM Implementation in Egypt and Oman

Lamis Selim, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

 

ABSTRACT

The main aim of the study is to evaluate Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) implementation in Egypt and Oman. Additional focus is on demonstrating the integration between Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Risk Indicators (KRIs). Youngberg and Kuhn (2002) concluded in their study that risk managers who accept change and think of new ways to embed ERM principles will prosper. Conversely, those who are unwilling to embed ERM are much less likely to succeed in building successful companies. Ferkolj (2010) has pointed out that organizations should at least learn something of the body of knowledge related to ERM, so that management can make intelligent decisions about how best to implement it. This would include selecting an appropriate Risk Management (RM) framework and adapting it to the organization. However, managers not only require improved performance systems, such as the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), but they also need to improve RM to manage the possibility that certain activities will be unsuccessful. The results of the study of the Oil and Gas companies showed that they have systems and standards in place for ERM and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), but an alignment between both is essential to ensure the achievement of their objectives, plans and targets, as well as having a vision of the risks that may occur in the future. Duckert (2011) discussed the numerous key qualities of an effective Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) environment. Those qualities must be strategically aligned with the organization to be highly effective. In the past there was generally little or no focus on risk by companies, but today, many risks do arise and sometimes hinder the achievement of objectives and plans in oil and gas companies. Allwright and Vredenburg (2010) recommended in their study that organizations adopt new collaborative initiatives to deal with the changes due to global social dynamics, competition and political realities. Ferkolj (2010) identified in his study that ERM emphasizes a comprehensive view of risk and risk management (RM) and that different risks within the organization should not be managed separately, such as focusing solely on hazard or financial forms of risk. ERM seeks to address all events that might adversely or positively impact the performance of an organization. That is why a wide range of risks should be treated holistically,and the relationship among the various risks should be analyzed. Duckert (2011) has asserted that Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) must be determined for each organization, process, system, business, business subset, and so on. Thus, engineers should have their own set of KRIs, as should accountants, lawyers, inventory control specialists, security analysis, administrators; etc. The KRIs should be very specific to each and every aspect of the organization. What is important is that no one else is more knowledgeable about which KRIs should be in place than the process owners themselves.  It was observed while attending the major technical and non-technical meetings in one of the companies under study that, although the company’s Board of Directors and top management focus persistently on achieving the company objectives, problems and risks still arise every now and then. Consequently, risks sometimes cause loss of cost and time, e.g., a lack of resources, HR, late arrivals of needed materials for wells, late contracting procedures, etc. Hence, risks affect the achievement of the targets and plans concerning the production of oil and gas. Thus, thereis a need for a high level of attention to ERM, as it helps companies to be aware of the different risks, both internally and externally (with the stakeholders, vendors, contractors, sister companies, etc.). Research Questions: 1. To what extent is Enterprise Risk Management implemented in the companies under study? 2. Can there be integration between the Key Risk Indicators and the Key Performance Indicators in the companies under study?  There were several studies dealing with risk; however, the major focus was on financial risk, banks and information technology, with only a few articles on operations, business risk and strategic risks. Considering the model below, it was noticed from several references that all models focus on the classification of risk identification, analysis, evaluation, treatment, monitoring and review and, finally, communication and consulting, because they are the main constituents of any risk. The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Framework is the most suitable model in this study, as it relates ERM to the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). Killackey (2008) suggested that integrating the risk element into risk-enhanced BSC allows intrinsic alignment of risk and performance management, while the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on the BSC offer tools to plan, measure and monitor the performance. Hence, the Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) allow extending these functions to Risk Management (RM) across the enterprise. They provide insight into events that already affect the enterprise and allow senior management to take a more strategic stance towards the uncertainties of the future. Calandro and Lane (2006) have adapted the familiar performance BSC to provide an ‘Enterprise Risk Scorecard’, thus developing Kaplan and Norton’s (2001) four main scorecard issues: Financial Risk Perspective, Internal Business Risk Perspective and Customer Risk Perspective, Innovation and Learning Risk Perspective.  Mitchell and Jones (2007) claimed that organizations will always strive to minimize the level of overall risk associated with achieving a given level of performance. However, Abdul Rashid, Abdul Raman and Ismal (2010) concluded that the integration between both will be more beneficial to organizations; besides, the integration allows ERM to increase the effectiveness of BSC.  Once again, the inclusion helps to highlight risks that are most prevalent, so management are in a better position to take the necessary actions to manage these risks before they result in a performance problem. Althonyan, Keith and Misiura (2011) have argued that the alignment of ERM with the BSC is possible, because both are enterprise-wide processes; to be most effective, they must, therefore, provide a well-composed perspective across the organization. In the study, Mitchell and Jones (2007) pointed out that ERM creates value for shareholders and concluded that without risk, business would be predictable and mechanical rather than value creating, so both performance and risk should be measured and managed to ensure effective implementation and value creation. Although ERM does not eliminate risk, and extreme negative outcomes are still possibilities, the effectiveness of ERM cannot be judged on whether such outcomes materialize. Therefore, ERM’s role is to limit the probability of such outcomes to an agreed-upon, value-maximizing level.

 

Neuromarketing and Its Influence in Consumer Behavior:

A Comprehensive Literature Review

Dr. Leopoldo Arias-Bolzmann, Professor of Marketing and Carlos E. Guzman-Bernabe

CENTRUM Graduate Business School, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru

 

ABSTRACT

The current research paper will present a literature review on the complementary role of neuromarketing techniques in revealing aspects of consumer behavior.  An attempt was made to identify the evolution of this discipline, its origins, the aspects it covers, and its relationship with marketing, neuroeconomics and neuroscience. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are offered. Neuromarketing studies the effect of certain stimuli on the brain which affect consumer behavior. In this scientific area, in order to know the brain reactions, certain medical techniques are used, such as magnetic resonance images, and tomography.  The concept was originally proposed by Ale Smidts, professor of marketing research at the Rotterdam School of Management in 2002.  It interest has increased recently, as a result of the reduction in the cost of medical techniques required and, the increase in the speed with which results are obtained. Neuromarketing is a marketing tool not to be used in an isolated fashion. On the contrary, it should be used when traditional research methods provide unexplained results or when there is doubt as to the quality of the obtained results. Its use applies to marketing research and to strategies design, which includes product development, price, branding, and above all communications. Certain ethical controversies have arisen around neuromarketing, as some authors believe that it could limit the power of decision or the free will of the human being. The studies reviewed, however, show that this scientific discipline intends to aid business strategies but does not try to change consumer behavior, when certain stimuli is presented. The consumer has several elements that influence their purchase decision process. From these influences, several theories have developed to explain behavior. The most important, in the view of Villa (2010), are: ( a) Marshall Economics Theory, ( b ) Learning Theory, which incorporates Pavlov´s Theory of Conditioning  as well as Watson and Lindsley  findings, ( c ) Psychoanalytic Theory , based on the studies of Freud, and (d) Sociological Theory  from Veblen . Economic Theory holds that consumers seek to maximize their purpose, as a result they buy those products that give them more usefulness and will pretend to maximize the price-earnings ratio.  The consumer first identifies and analyzes its options, and then chooses. Some of the principles underpinning this theory, according to Ratchford (1975), is that consumers will choose a good or service to maximize their satisfaction,  they are completely rational, and their preferences are to remain stable in the long term. Learning Theory, includes Conditioning Theory, proposed by Pavlov, and establishes that, after the first purchase, the consumer acts on the basis of consumer experiences acquired (Di Clemente & Hantula , 2003).  When the consumer is not satisfied with the product  used, then proceeds to try another one, using the technique of trial and error (Villa, 2010).  In contrast, Kahle, Beatty and Kennedy (1987) argued that the Theory of Conditioning works only in animals and not in humans. Later, Bruner (2001) analyzed the mental process of learning, finding that the mind of any person is composed of an accumulation of objects, events, people, and impressions that can be judged in many ways.  This makes each human being and every situation unique, giving people the ability to categorize. This means that we can do equivalent things perceived as different and, lump together objects, events and people.  The relationship between learning and neuromarketing is there.  "We know that the resulting stimulation of learning and the experiences acquired throughout life, are forming in the human brain through a neural network, which is the biological basis of all the alternatives or decisions learned" (Braidot, 2009).  On the other hand, Psychoanalytic Theory holds the idea that consumer behavior is guided by deep motivations, difficult to understand. These are known as Eros and Thanatos.  The first refers to the sexual drive, while the second is the aggressive impulse, which generates pleasure when the person feels in his comfort zone after having been in danger (Kassarjian, 1982). Finally, in Sociological Theory, raised by Veblen, is argued that people´s behavior  stems from their need to integrate or to be accepted by certain social group. This explains why consumers adopt attitudes that allow them to look good to their reference groups, even imitating the group to which they aspire to belong. This theory has been complemented by the recent need that each individual is required to be unique, so it is identified with a group, but does not seek to be identical, but similar (Chan, Berger & Van Boven, 2012).  In addition to the theories presented, the development of neuromarketing precedes the discussion of two fundamental types of thinking: (a) rational and (b) emotional. This controversy goes back to the Greek philosophers. For example, Plato compared the human soul to a chariot pulled by two horses, one of which represented the emotion, and the other the reason (Robayo, nd). This corresponds with the current knowledge that consumers base their purchasing decisions on rational as well as emotional aspects. Viesca (2009), echoed upon the tendency to recognize the importance of emotions in consumer decisions, which has been called "emotional marketing". According to the author, companies face the challenge of "making every purchase an emotional experience for the consumer."  That is, to try to generate relationships between the company, the brand, and the consumer.  It is up to the executives to wonder how to make consumers prefer their brands, keeping in mind that the answer lies not only in logical or rational arguments. As stated before, this comprehensive research develops the theme of neuromarketing and its influence on consumer behavior. The latter is defined as the process of acquisition, use or consumption and disposal of products, services and experiences (Macinnis & Folkes, 2010).

 

Do Islamic Banks Contribute to Economic Development More Than Conventional Banks?

Dr. Khaled Elmawazini, Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST),

Dr. Khiyar Abdalla Khiyar, Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST),

Dr. Ahmad Al Galfy, Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST)

 

Abstract

Previous studies on the impact of Islamic banking on development are single-country studies whose findings are difficult to generalize. This study investigates the hypothesis that the Islamic banking is a channel for economic development. The study identifies five channels that may explain how Islamic banks can contribute to the economic development more than conventional banks do. The first channel is by directly linking between the real sector and the financial sector. The second channel is by encouraging entrepreneurship and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The third channel is by promoting equality. The fourth channel is the presence of Islamic banks promotes innovation activities by providing risk sharing, which positively affects economic growth and development. The fifth channel is through the ethical values of Islamic banking. In addition, the study indicates that the disagreement concerning the acceptability of certain specific features of Islamic financial products is the main challenge of the growth of the Islamic finance industry. Amartya Sen’s, the 1998 Nobel laureate in economics, argues, “Economic growth cannot be sensibly treated as an end in itself.” [Sen, 1999 p. 14]. Todaro and Smith (2011) defines development as “a multidimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, and national institutions, as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality, and the eradication of poverty”. This study uses Todaro (2011) definition of development to investigate the impact of Islamic Banking on economic development.  During the last three decades, the number of Islamic financial institutions has risen, from just one institution in 1975 to over 300 institutions operating in more than 75 countries (El Qorchi 2005). These institutions manage funds of around US$200 billion, and hold total assets of more than US$822 billion (Iqbal and Molyneux 2005; Moin 2008). Islamic finance as a percentage of total finance is growing during the period 2001-2009 in many countries (see for example, figures B.1 and B.2 in Appendix B) (1). More recently, Islamic finance market the fastest growth recorded in the financial sector (Derbel et al. 2011). This study is organized as follows. Section 2 reviewed the theoretical approaches on modeling the impact of the banking sector on development Section 3 discusses the main differences between Islamic banks and conventional banks. Section 4 identifies the main channels of Islamic banks that contribute to economic growth and development. Section 5 presents the conclusions and policy implications. Bagehot (1873) is the first author who focuses on the role of central banks during the management of financial crises. Schumpeter (1912) argues that banking sector can facilitate innovation and boost economic growth. However, the neoclassical growth model, developed by Solow (1956 and 1957) predicts insignificance impact of banking sector on capital accumulation and economic growth. In contrast to the neoclassical growth model, the new (endogenous) growth theory predicts shows the importance of banking sector  in promoting long run growth (King and Levine 1993b). Pagano (1993) uses the AK endogenous growth model to identify three channels that show how financial development can affect economic growth, namely, (1) encouraging investment by providing loans to the private sector, (2) increasing the productivity of capital, and (3) increasing the savings rate. Pagano (1993) also shows that government policies are one of the main determinants of financial development.  Previous empirical studies could be divided into four main groups (Demirguc-Kunt and Levine, 2008), namely, (1) cross-province (state) studies (see for example, Guiso et al. (2002) for Italy), (2) industry-level studies (Rajan and Zingales 1998), (3) firm-level studies (Demirguc-Kunt and Maksimovic 1998), and (4) multi-country studies (Levine et al. 2000). All four groups suffer from three main limitations. The first is that they show mixed support for the hypothesis that the banking sector and financial markets have significant impact on economic growth (see Wachtel (2011), and Wachtel and Rousseau (2005) for a survey). The second limitation is that many previous studies on finance and growth have not distinguished between different types of banks, for example conventional and Islamic banks. The third limitation is that previous studies on ethical issues of banking are scant. Islamic banks focus on both ethical and financial criteria, while conventional banks focus only on financial criteria (Abdul Rahman 2010). Islamic finance also maintains its own principles related to profits. Despite there being no limit for profit making, there are restrictions on business activities on violating the rules of Shari’ah and the ethical values of Islam. For example, any unethical investment in business dealing with alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and casinos, and activities violating human, animal, and environmental rights would be prohibited, while in conventional finance pure profit maximization is the primary objective of firms. Therefore, we can say that profit maximization in Islamic finance is subject to religious, social, and ethical values; in other words, socially and ethically constrained profit maximization (Chapra 2009).  To comply with Islamic law (known as Shariah), Islamic banks introduce seven new financial instruments (Hassan and Lewis, 2007), namely, (1) Murabaha (mark-up financing or cost-plus financing), (2) Mudaraba (trust financing), (3) Musharaka (joint venture or profit and loss sharing “PLS”), (4) Ijara (leasing), (5) Salam (advance purchase), (6) Istisna (commissioned manufacture), and (7) Bai bi-thamin ajil (deferred payment financing).Based on the above characteristics and instruments, a few differences between Islamic banks and conventional banks have emerged.  There is a significant difference between the finance provided by Islamic banks and loans provided by conventional banks. The Islamic finance is the sum of all Islamic financial instruments. The definitions of these seven Islamic financial instruments are listed in Table (A.1) in Appendix (A).  The loans provided by conventional banks’ are all types of loans provided by the bank. Specifically, there are seven differences between Islamic banks and conventional banks.  Firstly, Some previous studies have argued that Islamic banks are more efficient than conventional banks (Ahmad and Luo 2010; Alshammari 2003; Al-Jarrah and Molyneux 2005). Islamic banks focus on investment and project evaluation, while conventional banks focus on lending and the ability of borrowers to repay (Imam and Kpodar 2010). It is well-known that interest rate is not allowed in Islamic banks. In this particular respect, a number of studies can be examined. Keynes (1936) argued that full employment and distributional equity can be achieved only if the interest rate is close to or equal zero (see also Sheng and Singh (2012)). Schumpeter (1912) shows that interest rate can be considered as a tax upon profit (more details can be found in Uthman (1994)). Friedman (1969) argues that nominal interest rate should not be used as an instrument, proposing a rule known as the Friedman Rule by which the nominal interest rate is set at zero since only such a monetary policy will lead to optimal resource allocations. This policy, motivated by long-run efficiency considerations, removes losses in the value of money due to inflation. In order to maintain efficiency, the opportunity cost of holding money should be equal to the cost of creating additional fiat money. The latter implies zero interest rate since the government can costlessly produce the cash. Hence, a social optimum occurs with a zero nominal interest rate. Using a standard one-sector neoclassical growth model, in which money is introduced with a cash-in-advance constraint, Cole and Kocherlakota (1998) shows that zero nominal interest rates are optimal. They show that zero nominal interest rates are not only necessary but also sufficient for efficient resource allocation.

 

Price Matching Guarantee as an Anticipated Regret Reducer: The Moderating Effect of Price Dispersion and Price Consciousness

Dr. Sultan Alaswad Alenazi, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

 

ABSTRACT

Price Matching Guarantee is a common business practice, as well as an emerging topic in consumer behavior literature. This research examines the effect of price matching guarantee on anticipated regret under different levels of price dispersion and price consciousness. The results show that price matching guarantee  reduces anticipated regret only when price dispersion is high. In addition, the ability of price matching guarantee to reduce anticipated regret is illuminated when a consumer is price conscious. Although several aspects of pricing have been well documented in the marketing literature, various aspects of pricing need additional research (Blamires, 1997).  For example, consumer’s perception of price has received significant attention (Zeithaml, 1988; Noel & Hanna, 1996). However, the need for a deeper understanding of consumers’ perceptions of price still exists. In recent years, businesses have adopted a policy called a price matching guarantee (PMG), in which consumers are awarded the difference in price if they find a similar product offered at a lower price by a competing retailer (e.g., Sivukamur & Weigand, 1996). Some firms have gone even further to offer more than the difference if consumers find a lower price.  Price matching guarantees have received much attention from marketing scholars, particularly in the field of signal theory. Research on PMG is important to practitioners because of the growing number of businesses that use this strategy. It is also important to scholars because many aspects of consumers’ perceptions of and reactions to PMG need more research (Kukar-Kinney & Walters, 2003).  Researchers who have examined PMG as a signal of low price (Kukar-Kinney & Walters, 2003; Srivastava & Lurie, 2004) have found that consumers are more likely to intend to make a purchase when the perceived price level is lowered (Srivastava, 1999; Jain & Srivastava, 2000; Srivastava & Lurie, 2001).  While researchers have assumed that the effect of PMG works by lowering the perceived price level, consumers might perceive PMG not only as a signal of a low price, but PMG also reduces the risk of finding a lower price after a purchase is made. In this case, anticipated regret theory may apply.  The current research has many theoretical and practical implications. In terms of theory, the current research is important to deepen our theoretical understanding of the mechanism by which PMG works to reduce anticipated regret of finding a lower price. It also adds to the PMG literature by examining the effect of price dispersion and price consciousness as possible moderators of the relationship between PMG and anticipated regret. Current research also has implications for practitioners: Managers can use PMG to reduce consumers’ anticipated regret and, in turn, enhance consumers’ purchase intentions.  Researchers have examined PMG from two perspectives, the firms’ perspectives and the consumers’ perspectives. Studies that focus on the perspectives of a firm are concerned with the rationale behind PMG adoption and how such adoption affects competition. Studies that focus on the consumer’s perspective of PMG are concerned with the effect of PMG on consumers’ perceptions and behaviors.  Firm’s Perspective Studies: Many studies have shown that firms adopt PMG to maintain higher prices. Png and Hirshleifer (1987) provided the first model used to study PMG, which classified consumers as “tourists” and “locals” based on the extent to which they knew about the offers of different firms. The model proposed that, by offering PMG, a firm could take advantage of customers who had less knowledge about price by charging higher prices. Customers with less knowledge would pay that price and not seek out a PMG refund, while customers with more price knowledge would not seek out a competitor because they could pay a lower price if they made the effort to obtain a PMG refund.  Hess and Gerstner (1991) examined the effects of PMG on price competition in the context of grocery stores.  The researchers proposed that grocery stores are different from stores that sell non-perishable products because customers are expected to engage in less price searching when shopping for groceries. The findings revealed that PMG leads to higher price levels and decreases the benefits of price competition.  Zhang (1995) proposed a model in which customers were assumed to have perfect information about prices. The researcher assumed that differences between firms would be based only on locations. The findings supported the higher price levels argument. In addition, Zhang found that PMG reduced competition between firms. Because price competition is eliminated when a PMG policy is adopted, a firm will find that the best way to maximize its profit is to minimize the differences between the firm and its rivals. This finding was supported by evidence that the firms in the model chose to locate closer to each other.  Edlin and Emch (1999) found support for the higher price levels argument as well. However, the researchers argued that PMG would lead to welfare losses. Specifically, the first loss is from the higher prices maintained by firms when they offer PMG, and the second loss is from the inefficiency of entry. However, some researchers have argued that PMG might encourage lower prices. Corts (1997) extended Png and Hirshleifer’s (1987) findings by adding the cost of searching to their model. The researchers examined the effects of PMG as a tool of price discrimination. When firms offer PMG, they might charge consumers who have less knowledge about prices more, which would make the cost of searching high for these consumers. At the same time, firms do not lose their consumers who have more knowledge about prices and whose cost of searching is low. However, Corts rejected the higher price and loss of welfare arguments and suggested that previous models that documented increases in prices were based on assumptions that would not hold in reality. For example, these models assumed that all firms offered PMG. However, in reality, this is not the case.  Therefore, competing firms may lower their prices to increase their market share. Prior models also assumed PMG to be effective. However, none of these studies provided significant evidence of the effectiveness of PMG.

 

The Generation Y Approach to Flexibility of Employment

Dr. Krystyna Kmiotek, The Rzeszow University of Technology, Rzeszow, Poland

 

ABSTRACT

The recently observed desire of companies to increase flexibility clashes in the labor market with the preferences of employees in the field of legal forms of employment. The article deals with these issues, but takes into account the youngest group of employees, i.e. Generation Y. The main aim of this article is to answer the question: do Polish workers of Gen Y accept flexible forms of employment? The paper presents the results of research conducted among a sample of 1,261 employees at 16 companies based on indicated preferences of Gen Y employees as to the legal forms of employment. In the paper the factors that affect this approach were identified. The beginning of the twenty-first century is a time of dynamic change and advancing processes of globalization and integration, observed not only in the fields of art and technology, but also noticeable in all other segments of the environment, including the socio-cultural environment. On the one hand, changes are observed in employee hierarchies resulting from changes in the living conditions of populations in recent decades. On the other hand, the methods of organization and management are changing as well, which significantly changes working conditions compared to conditions 20-30 years ago. The apparent effects of these processes can be observed by comparing the characteristics of employees representing different generational groups currently operating in the labor market. The young generation, known as Generation Y, grew up in completely different conditions than their parents, at a time of rapid development of technology and when the computer was no longer an out of reach achievement of technical ideas, and found a place in almost every home. The Internet and wireless communication devices allowed access to information from all over the world without the need to travel. Thus, in present circumstances the company becomes a meeting place of different generations, each of which has its own priorities, points of view, skill sets or preferred work styles firmly espoused in the value systems differing between generations. These differences cannot be left alone, because they are a potential source of tension and conflict for organizations. Hence, it is necessary to know and understand the differences, in view of either the effectiveness of incentive systems or talent management. Natural generational change in the situation of dramatic dissimilarity of each generation requires increased attention from managers and the taking of actions which will eliminate the potential dangers and accentuate the benefits of such a state of things. Moreover,  the factors that play an important role in  employee relations are the expectations and requirements of the employer justified by the conditions of such activities. And one of the expectations on the part of the employer, having its source in high environment volatility is flexibility. Modern employees are therefore expected to be highly flexible in changing skills, qualifications, and ease of adaptation to other tasks and duties. What is more, companies are increasingly offering forms of cooperation that guarantee employment flexibility, as well as the chance to work for a short term, ease of the resignation from cooperation and remuneration dependent on the results of the work. In view of the growing importance of flexible forms of employment and the need to improve practices in the field of human resources management in companies with the expectations of Gen Y employees, including motivation systems, the author takes the subject of the expectations of Gen Y employees to legal forms of employment. The main purpose of this article is to answer the question: do Polish employees of Gen Y accept flexible forms of employment? At the same time a test of the causes identified in research on the approach of Gen Y employees to flexible forms of employment was done. Obtaining an answer to this question has a practical dimension: for managers, it brings information necessary for the recruitment process of Gen Y employees as well as their motivation. In theoretical terms the article expands knowledge about the Generation Y with regard to the Polish conditions. The issue of generational differences in the workplace in recent times both has raised both interest and some controversy. Controversies arise from doubts as to whether this is an issue important enough to pay attention to. In contrast, the interest is justified by the demand for information resulting from the need to improve human resource practices, with particular attention to systems of motivation, but also because of the expectations of managers who want to have the appropriate knowledge to be able to effectively manage diverse generational teams. In English literature the subject of generational differences has been undertaken for several years. In Poland this subject is rather new, supported by a small amount of research, because it has only aroused interest relatively recently, with the appearance of Gen Y employees whose approach to tasks, supervisors and organization differs significantly from that present in their older colleagues.  Generation cohorts are defined by a group of people who are born around the same time and share common life events during the formative, critical development period, which subsequently leads to similar values, views, and attitudes within each generational group (Smola, Sutton 2002, Macky et al 2008, Gibson et al 2009; Glass 2007). Each generation develops a collective personality, which affects the way of life of its members, including its approach to authority, organization, participation in it and the expectations of the job, and even the ways in which they intend to meet their needs. What distinguishes the different generations are professed value systems, which may become a cause of conflict, but managed well, those differences can be a source of significant strengths and opportunities (Lancaster and Stillman, 2002; Gibsonet al 2009). The division into particular generations in the literature is conventional and unequivocal though differences between suggested generation gaps are minor (up to 5 years). The author agrees that currently four generations are noticeable at workplaces (Glass, 2007): the generation of the "Silent Ones" or the "Traditionalists" (born between 1925 and 1945), the generation of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980), Generation Y, also referred to as the Millennials or Echo Boomers (born between 1981 and 1994). The question arises: is the generation classification adequate for Polish conditions? The argument that speaks for standardization and acceptance of the classification adopted in Western literature is the fact that essential socio-economic differences concern the Baby Boomers and Generation X, whereas the Polish Generation Y that grew up in times of change (the 80s and 90s) will have much more in common with their peers in Western countries than their parents do. This is favored not only by the process of socio-economic changes, but also the progressive processes of globalization and European integration. Extracting other generational groups could impair the brightness of the comparisons.

 

Religious Souvenirs from the Holy Land – Is there a Deadweight Loss?

Dr. Ze'ev Shtudiner, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel

Dr. Jeffrey Kantor, Professor, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel

 

ABSTRACT

Pilgrims who come to the Holy Land for a “once in a lifetime” experience are willing to spend a significant amount of money on shopping, in exchange for a tangible memory of their spiritual experience. Many souvenirs are bought as gifts to give away to friends or relatives, reminding the recipient of both the donor and the occasion.  Most studies on gifts found that gift-giving leads to a deadweight loss. In other words, the cost of the item is higher than the value for the recipient. In this study, we examine whether purchasing religious souvenirs as gifts leads to welfare benefits, since religion has such a powerful impact on people. Tourists to the Holy Land who visited major holy sights took part in this study. We found that there is a welfare benefit of 34%. The welfare benefit is much higher among Christian tourists than among Jewish tourists. The greater their religiosity (the more religious they perceived themselves to be), the larger the welfare benefit. We also found that when a tourist purchases a souvenir as a gift he/she mistakenly thinks that the value of the gift for the recipient will be higher than it realistically is.  People like to give and receive gifts.  As a result, when tourists return from travelling they more often than not return with a souvenir to remind themselves (and others) of the experience. The actual act of gift-giving is an experience that is part and parcel of the travel experience. For example, British tourists spend more than £1.2 billion a year on gifts. This translates into an average of £26 per person per vacation/trip. The purchase of a souvenir by a tourist serves as a tangible way of capturing or suspending in time an otherwise intangible experience (Kim and Littrell, 1999; Tosun et al., 2007). Tourists want unique souvenirs that contain memories of their trip and are unique to the destination they have visited (Swanson, 2004). Unlike tourists who visit, say, an exotic beach or fascinating new archeological site, tourists to Israel want to purchase souvenirs that represent Israel as the Holy Land - the land where Judaism and Christianity began. Their gifts are, therefore, of a religious nature. Thus, we refer to these gifts as religious souvenirs.  Religion, as a concept, is linked to a variety of issues in the tourism research literature, but most commonly it is mentioned in relation to pilgrimage and as regards discussions about the link between tourism and pilgrimage (Cohen, 1992a, 1992b, 1998; Din, 1989; Fleischer, 2000; Hitrec, 1990; Joseph and Kavoori, 2001; Rinschede, 1992; Smith, 1992; Turner, 1973). The main reasons for pilgrimage are visiting holy places, seeing monuments or participating in religious ceremonies (Shackley, 2001). There is a consensus that the behavior and decisions of pilgrims are different from those of tourists who travel for pleasure or business. Religious tourism has significant business implications, particularly at both pilgrimage destinations and in the communities located along the routes leading to the site, with the development of a pilgrimage infrastructure consisting of hospices, monasteries and other such services. Religious tourism is seen by many government and tourism officials as a way to either diversify or save struggling economies (Olsen 2003). Another economic impact of religious tourism is the sale of religion-based souvenirs. Pilgrims are willing to spend a significant amount of money on shopping for a tangible memory reflecting their spiritual experience (Fleischer 2000). Bywater (1994) and Fleischer (2000) suggest that sales from religious souvenirs currently reach hundreds of millions of dollars a year. While the sale of official religious items and relics has existed for centuries, enterprising entrepreneurs and vendors also produce devotional items and other various articles that could be considered kitsch, taking away a degree of authenticity from the souvenir or religious item.  Commercialization is a common phenomenon at most visitors’ attractions, and sacred sites are no exception (Shackley 2001). Most of the studies associated with commercialization of sacred sites concentrate on either the commercialization process (Vukonic 1996, 2002) or its socio-cultural impacts (Greenwood 1989).  Nolan and Nolan (1992) noted that secular pilgrims and Protestants, who may have a rather more puritanical view of pilgrimage, would be more likely to be shocked by the perceived over-commercialization of a sacred site than Catholic pilgrims. Eade (1992) noted that there are, as one might expect, considerable disagreements within groups over the value of souvenirs. Some ignore them and ridicule them, while others purchase a wide range of goods that, for them, have sacred associations because of the purchase location. At many sacred sites throughout the world, mementos with deep spiritual and religious meanings for their consumers can be purchased (Shenshav-Keller 1993).  It is often expected that any close friend who goes away for an extended trip to somewhere new and exotic will return with a bag full of goodies or souvenirs for friends and family (Lasusa, 2007). The physical evidence of the trip facilitated by souvenirs is important, both from the first-person perspective (the tourist who has had a given experience and chose/purchased the souvenir), and from the third-person perspective (friends, neighbors or relatives who receive the souvenir without themselves experiencing the place or time of its acquisition). There is some evidence to suggest that tourists make more planned purchases for others than for themselves (Anderson and Littrell 1996, Kim and Littrell 2001, Timothy 2005), which accounts for the wide range of souvenirs available at religious sites. For economists, gift-giving in general and souvenir-giving in particular present a puzzle. On the one hand, recipients are sometimes “stuck” with gifts they do not like because the giver does not really know with any degree of accuracy the recipient’s preferences. Such gifts are welfare reducing (a deadweight loss) compared to giving cash. The cost of the gift is higher than its value to the recipient. This claim has spawned theoretical models attempting to account for it (Camerer, 1988; Carmichael and MacLeod, 1997; Ruffle, 1999; Prendergast and Stole, 2001), as well as empirical tests attempting to measure the magnitude of the deadweight loss of gift-giving (Waldfogel, 1993, 2002, 2005; Solnick and Hemenway, 1996; List and Shogren, 1998; Ruffle and Tykocinski, 2000). Despite all this, gift-giving continues and seems to be increasing over time.   Most of the economics literature on gift-giving has been concerned with explaining why gifts are given if they reduce welfare (by creating a deadweight loss), and estimating the deadweight loss (reduction of welfare benefits). In Ruffle (1999), the utility of gifts was measured. This included not only the monetary cost and monetary value of the gift, but also the emotions associated with the gift, measured according to the difference between the gift expected and the gift given. Gift-giving creates (or increases) welfare benefits if the giver’s pride (A) and the receiver’s surprise (B) from the gift plus the receiver’s monetary valuation (C) of the gift exceed the giver’s monetary cost (D) of the gift (A+B+C>D).

 

Green Building Game for Innovative Education

Yi-Kai Juan, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Tseng-Wei Chao, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

With the rapid change of the environment and inevitable urbanization, the concept of green building is gradually gaining more attention from various countries. However, the implementation and promotion of green buildings has been much hindered, and one of the critical factors is the lack of awareness of green buildings among most people. In order to fulfill the educational goals, this study has designed a 40-minute multiplayer (2-4 people) green building strategy game “GBGame” applicable to the Taiwan green building market. In order to verify the learning effectiveness, this study conducted separate experiments using the ARCS motivation model and the paper form examination on 72 vocational students in the architecture major. The results indicate that (1) Players have strong learning motivations during the game process; (2) players who learned through games generally exhibit better learning effectiveness when examined; (3) following cross-validation, we discover a high significance between the learning effect and players’ attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction during the game. The results also indicate that this game can also effectively improve user’s learning motivation and the effectiveness relating to green buildings through repeated game-plays. The influence of global warming caused by the greenhouse effect is not only limited to the ecological level, it has significantly impacts the human society, economy, culture and living environment (Stern, 2008). Taking the building industry as an example; its energy consumption accounts for 40% of global energy consumption (Wang et al., 2012). Therefore, when faced with the rapid environmental transition and urbanization, the concept of green building is gaining more from the governments of various countries.  Green building is a design which improves the efficiency of buildings in the utilization of resources such as energy, water and materials, etc., and at the same time, reduces the impact of building on human health and the environment during its life cycle (Tam et al., 2012). Although governments of various countries strive to promote the development of green buildings while most people are also aware of the negative impacts of global warming, the execution and promotion of green buildings has been much hindered (Shi, 2008).  In recent years, there has been a growing trend of using games as a mode of teaching. Many studies revealed that the application of games in various practical teaching fields has achieved good results (Perng et al., 2006; Poplin, 2012; Torres & Macedo, 2000; Wang et al., 2009). Using games as a teaching medium would create more fun during the learning process, thereby making the process more enjoyable, which in turn makes the learners receptive to the messages that are intended to be conveyed through games (Torres & Macedo, 2010).  Therefore, this study will develop a set of table game based on the green building environmental education theme, whereby the nine indicators of Taiwan’s green building and green building knowledge will be integrated into the game to allow players to learn the concept of “green” during the game process. During the game process, players will learn through plays to stimulate their learning motivations, so that they will understand how to improve building and urban environments and reduce the environmental threats caused by climate change and warming through various means, strategies, and technologies. Relevant game introductions, measurement of learning effectiveness, and the design of experiment will be discussed in the subsequent chapters of this paper. Games have always played an important role in the life of human beings as they are not limited to the mere function of entertainment, but are often applied to the fields of learning and education (Rosas et al., 2003). Using games as the teaching medium would create more fun during the learning process, thereby making the process more enjoyable, which in turn makes the learners receptive to the messages intended to be conveyed by the game inventor (Torres & Macedo, 2010).  Among the different types of games, the table game is an important activity that symbolizes the human civilization. The table game has been in existence since the Ancient Egypt dynasty, dating back to3000 B.C., and could be seen as part of the human history. As table games exhibit the characteristics of ease of passing-on, environmental friendliness, ease of learning, low production cost and ease of communication and transmission of knowledge (Parlett, 1999), here there have been many examples in using table game in education, such as building tender simulation (Perng et al., 2006), urban sustainable development learning (Torres & Macedo, 2000), hospital rehabilitation treatment (Kruijver et al., 2010), the prevention and control of pests (de Freitas, 2006), financial investments (RPG GEEK, 2010) and educational psychology (Chung, 2013).  In recent years, table games with environment-friendly themes start to emerge, such as the game “Meltdown” launched by the German science magazine “GEOline”, which aims to discuss the problem of rapid melting of ice layers in the North Pole as a result of global warming; in the game, ”ice blocks” are used to simulate the ice layers in the North Pole, so that players can pay attention to the disasters caused by the greenhouse effect (meltdown-game.com, 2013). Another educational table game is called the “EnviroPoly”, which aims at educating players on the types of behaviors that may damage environment in daily life and how such behaviors can be avoided; the game includes 51 cards on environmental education issues and educates every player present at the same by the card reading mechanism during the game (Arslana et al., 2011).  In the concept of educational psychology, motivation is always regarded as the critical factor for the success or failure of learning (Rodgers & Withrow-Thorton, 2005) and is also an important indicator for assessing the satisfaction of learning. The lack of learning motivation would affect learners’ attention on courses, which would in turn affect the quality of education (Jeamu et al., 2008). Therefore, not only does learning motivation has an inseparable relation with learning effect, a greater motivation would also make success easier during the learning process and encourages learners to continue learning the issue (Keller, 1983). Considering inseparable relation between motivation and education, teachers are faced with the important goal of effectively improving students’ learning motivation and identify the corresponding teaching strategy (Luterbach & Reigeluth, 1994). Therefore, Professor J. Keller proposed a systematic teaching strategy capable of improving and maintaining the learning motivation in 1983, known as the ”ARCS motivation model” , where ARCS represents the four essential factors of the learning motivation, respectively, as follows: (1) Attention: Attention is a prerequisite condition for good learning, whether or not the teaching modes and the instructional materials can attract learners’ attention. Any teaching modes and instructional materials should be able to attract the interests of students and stimulate their curiosity. (2) Relevance: Relevance refers to the application of courses and the instructional materials, i.e. teachers must meet the personal requirements and goals of the learner, so that he would in turn produce an active learning attitude, making him feel that the materials are relevant and identifies the significance of learning. Failing this, even if the attention of the learner can be attracted, it still cannot be maintained (Frymier & Shulman, 1995).

 

An Imperialist Competitive Algorithm for Minimizing the Makespan of Overlapped Jobs over Multiple Machines

Dr. Sheng-Chung Tu, Hungkuang University, Taiwan

Dr. Jen-Ya Wang, Hungkuang University, Taiwan

 

Abstract

This paper considers a minimization problem for jobs with duplicate contents. Due to the prevalence of cloud computing and information technology, a wide choice of various services is offered. So there might be numerous jobs processed by multiple machines simultaneously. However, jobs from different users may have a lot in common and the duplicate contents are processed again and again. This is a kind of waste. In light of the observation, we propose an imperialist competitive algorithm for scheduling jobs with duplicated contents. That is, for the overlapped jobs allocated to the same machine, the duplicate items are processed once only. Experimental results show that the makespan can be reduced significantly if we have highly-overlapped jobs. Makespan minimization problems are commonly seen in many environments. This is because makespan is closely related to customer satisfaction and business cost. For example, Allouche, Aouni, Martel, Loukil, and Rebaï (2009) proposed a compromise programming model to minimize the make span as well as improve satisfaction. Makespan minimization is also commonly useful in batch scheduling. Ji and Cheng (2010) considered a batch scheduling environment and tried to minimize the makespan. In (M. Z. Wang & Wang, 2012), a single-machine makespan minimization scheduling problem with nonlinear shortening processing times was introduced. On the other hand, makespan is also an important objective in multiprocessing system (Coffman, Garey, & Johnson, 1978). Reza Bonyadi, Rahmani, and Ebrahimi Moghaddam (2010) proposed a makespan minimization problem for disk scheduling and operating system design. In a distributed database system, Sharma, Singh, and Kaur (2012) proposed a parallel scheduling algorithm in allocating the tasks of distributed database over number of processors. It is clear that makespan minimization is an important research topic, no matter in the field of industrial engineering or computer science. Traditional makespan minimization problems are usually modeled as integer programming problems. Ji and Cheng (2010) presented an algorithm based on dynamic programming to reduce the makespan. Chen (2008) considered a single machine scheduling problem with periodic maintenance. The objective is to minimize the makespan and integer programming models are developed for deriving the optimal solution. Xu, Chen, and Li (2012) investigated a problem of minimizing makespan on a single machine and the machine can process multiple jobs simultaneously. However, in the above studies, jobs are all assumed to be disjoint. They solved makespan minimization problems by various solution techniques, but lack considering removing the duplicate contents of jobs.  In order to solve such time-consuming or even NP-hard problems, metaheuristic algorithms are greatly employed to obtain near-optimal solutions. In (Xu et al., 2012), an ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm based on the theorems was presented. Tasgetiren, Liang, Sevkli, and Gencyilmaz (2007) proposed a particle swarm optimization algorithm (PSO) to solve a makespan minimization problem. In (Lin & Ying, 2013), a simulated annealing algorithm (SA) is presented for another makespan minimization problem. Ruiz and Allahverdi (2009) proposed a genetic algorithm (GA) for a makespan minimization problem. Some of the metaheuristics, e.g., GA, emphasize biodiversity and allow any two individuals to crossover. This may decelerate the convergence speed. On the other hand, some metaheuristics, e.g. PSO, endow the winner of each generation with too much probability to crossover. This may narrow the search area of a population.  In the real world, jobs may have duplicate contents which do not need to be processed repeatedly. For example, in a mobile computing environment, some stock prices may be requested by multiple mobile users simultaneously (J. Y. Wang, 2012). These duplicate jobs, in fact, can be processed and delivered once only. Another labor-intensive example is patent examination (Albrecht et al., 2010; Veefkind, Hurtado-Albir, Angelucci, Karachalios, & Thumm, 2012). When examining applied patents, there are overlapped jobs when examiners perform patent search. Patents belonging to the same field should be assigned to an designated examiner. In view of this, we learn that scheduling for overlapped jobs is meaningful. However, the above traditional algorithms cannot schedule such overlapped jobs well. Therefore, scheduling for overlapped jobs is called for. In this study, we consider a makespan minimization problem with duplicate contents and employ a metaheuristic, imperialist competitive algorithm (ICA) (Yousefi, Yousefi, & Darus, 2012), to deal with the problem. First, the property of overlapping is fully utilized and the final cost is actually lower than that of traditional algorithms. Second, the proposed algorithm, ICA, can efficiently evolve. It overemphasizes neither the winner of each generation nor each general individual. So ICA converges at a moderate pace and provides near-optimal schedules. The rest of this study is organized as follows. Section 2 defines the scheduling problem. Section 3 develops an imperialist competitive algorithm for this problem. Section 4 shows experimental results. Finally, Section 5 concludes this study and proposes recommendations for future work. The proposed problem is different from traditional makespan minimization problems. First, the problem size increases greatly. The problem size of an N-job scheduling problem becomes Nk, where k is the average number of items in a job. Second, the makespan is likely shorter than that of a traditional problem. This is because the overlapped items are processed only once in the proposed problem, whereas the overlapped contents will be processed many times in traditional problems. It is clear that the proposed problem is different from traditional ones and requires new scheduling algorithms. The imperialist competitive algorithm (ICA) (Talatahari, Farahmand Azar, Sheikholeslami, & Gandomi, 2012; Yousefi et al., 2012) is implemented for this job scheduling problem. The main idea behinds ICA is the competitive process of imperialism. There are several empires. For each empire, there is an imperialist and multiple colonies. Here an imperialist or a colony means a schedule and an imperialist means the corresponding schedule is of the minimal cost. During the assimilation process, a colony can be a new imperialist if its corresponding cost is smaller than that of the current imperialist and a colony may defect to another empire.

 

Logistic Competitiveness and Export Performance: The Case of Myanmar Fresh Produce

Dr. Hla Theingi, Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand

 

ABSTRACT

Agriculture sector is the mainstay of the Myanmar economy accounting for 60 percent of the GDP and employing 65 percent of the labor forceThus agriculture sector’s competitiveness is imperative for Myanmar’s economy.  Agriculture sector’s competitiveness depends largely on logistic competitiveness of the country since logistic costs contribute 20% of the total cost of production. According to the World Bank Logistic Performance Index (2014) Myanmar rank 145 out of 160 countries with logistic efficiency of 40% of the best performer; Germany.  Thus this article reviews logistic challenges faced by Myanmar agribusiness firms especially agriculture fresh produce suppliers and highlights the impact of logistic challenges on Myanmar fresh produce exports.  This article also proposes the efforts to be undertaken by all stakeholders involved.   Farm to consumers is not an easy job for agriculture fresh produce suppliers.  Agribusiness firms are facing with moving, handling, processing and storage of products from growers to consumers. Logistics costs are drivers of firm prices. Inefficiencies of core logistics services increase prices and reduce quality of fresh produce.  By minimizing logistic inefficiencies there exists an opportunity to obtain export competitiveness. Myanmar is a large country with land area of 676,577 square kilometers (km3) and 18% of total land area which is about 12.4 million hectares (ha) are used for agriculture production (ADB, 2013).  Some 5.7 million ha is considered cultivable but it is currently unused (ADB, 2013).  Fruits, vegetables and kitchen crops production use up 729,000, 405,000 and 263,250 hectares respectively (Xinhuanet, 2009).  Rice is Myanmar’s main crop, but beans and pulses have become major export and are an important component of agriculture production.  During 2011-2012 fiscal year, agriculture produces such as rice and maize are among the top export items (Wai, 2013).  Figure 1 exhibits agriculture products export from Myanmar by value, 2011.  Nevertheless kitchen crops such as rice and maze are major agriculture export from Myanmar, Myanmar has been exporting seasonal fruits such as watermelon, musk melon, grape, organe, pineapple, mango, plum and vegetables such as asparagus, chili, onioins to neighbouring countries through border trade (Fresh Plaza, 2009; Xinhuanet, 2009).  Myanmar share borders with Bangladesh, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand.  Logistic supply chain for agriculture fresh produce begins at the farm to community merchant, to food wholesalers, retailers and then it ends at the final consumers.  General orchard to market core activities involves nurseries, growing, harvesting, packaging such as sorting, washing, grading and/or processing, packing, labeling, storage, bulk transport, distribution, wholesaling and retailing and consumption. Along all these supply chain activities there incur agriculture wastes from 10% - 25% (IGD.com, 2014; Tolani & Hussian, 2013) if proper handling is not received. Agriculture wastes include field losses, damaged and infected produce, undersized produce, under-ripped / over-ripped produce and weight loss.  These wastes arise at different stages of the supply chain.  The following table 1 shows the losses at different levels of supply chain due to logistic inefficiencies. All these agriculture wastes will impede export competitiveness.  In addition, orchard to market supporting activities including traceability, quality assurance and food safety, IT integrated logistics will also contribute fresh produce export competitiveness.  Thus this article focuses on six dimentions of World Bank LPI to review the logistic challenges faced by Myanmar agriculture fresh produce suppliers.  Logistic challenges and their impact on export performance is highlighted and efforts to be undertaken by all stakeholders are proposed in the last section. World Bank Logistic Performance Index (LPI) measures a country’s supply chain performance based on six dimensions namely; efficiency of clearance process, quality of trade and transport infrastructure, ease of arranging competitively priced international shipments, competence and quality of logistic services, ability to track and trace consignments and timeliness of shipment delivery. According to World Bank LPI (2010), 10% reduction of all trade barriers including cost of doing business and trading and tariff, there is an increase in trade of 8.4%.  It is also found that traders in LPI low performing countries face nearly twice as many border agencies and documents as in high performing countries.  Underdeveloped cold storage system is one of the major challenging issues for agriculture fresh produce suppliers.  With the help of the professional third party logistic (3PLs) companies, logistic operation efficiency can be improved.  Caia et. al., (2013) also highlight the significant role of 3PLs in fresh produce supply chain management.   The external factors such as the depth of the navigation channel (Peters, 2001), vessel turnaround time (how quickly vessels are turned around at ports) (Peters, 2001), landside accessibility (Fleming, 1999), strategic location, market potential (Tongzon, 2004), economic situation, and intensity of competition (Placzek, 2011), and government policy and regulation, incentive for foreign investors (Tongzon, 2004) affect the establishment of multimodal and third party facilities.   In addition, operation efficiency and speed of container handling ( Peters, 2001, Tongzon, 2004), port cargo handling charge, reliability in terms of a steady and predictable performance of port operation (Tongzon, 2004), port facilities and availability of logistic professionals (Tongzon, 2004), good capabilities in warehousing and related services, adequate infrastructure including technology, human capital capability such as language skill, attitudes of employees such as willingness to accept changes at the port are among the factors shippers and carrier take into consideration.  Port authorities’ differentiated service such as advanced information system, high service quality (Placzek, 2011) are also additional barriers for third party facilities establishment. 

 

A Study of Social Network Based Recruiting Service Design

Dr. Pin-Rui Hwang, National United University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

Due to rapidly population decrease of college students, college faculty recruiting has become an emerging issue in Taiwan. In this study, a part-time professor recruiting service design is proposed that aims to find appropriate part-time faculty candidates based on the social network analysis. As Social Network Analysis (SNA) contains information for various utilizations, suitable services design for faculty recruiting recommendation is needed. In this study, we proposed a social network based recruiting service design, followed by its framework a prototype service application. The proposed recruiting service integrates SNA techniques, course content ontology, and professional expertise ontology for establishing a recruiting candidate’s social network model for service utilization. The result indicates the social network based approach could provide more qualified candidates for recruiting appropriate faculty than traditional relationship based recommendation approach. The rapid population decreases in Taiwan raise an emerging issue in education that school have to balance the number between students and professors. The decreasing trends also make university to manipulate their recruiting policy for economical operations. Recruiting part-time faculty is one of the solutions for decreasing student populations. Under these circumstances, how to find appropriate part-time professors for the students has become a matter issue for department committee in Taiwan’s college. As the wages of part-time faculty is relatively low and with few teaching hours, it is very difficult to find appropriate candidates for professional courses. Most of all, the candidate must be qualified for specific professional knowledge, education degrees, and specific experience for mastering the target course. Lack of incentives and possible human-resource connections, the department committee is difficult to find the candidates for target courses.  Social network provide new opportunities for people to explore the connections with others. In this study, we apply the social network to modeling and analysis the target course, moreover, we also use social network to explore and generate appropriate part-time faculty candidates for recruiting. The proposed recruiting service design aims to facilitate department committee to analysis and explore the suitable candidates for target course that apply social network modeling based on its expertise, professional skills, related experience & knowledge, as well as the geographic distance of the candidates. The proposed a recruiting service noted as “Prof.-Net” to address the emerging issue in Taiwan’s academy industry. By applying the social network modeling as the service design basis for planning a recommendation service that facilitate college chairs to explore appropriate part-time teacher candidates. The expected service users including the curriculum committee and the department chair of Information Management department in National United University. The candidate's modeling includes the social network structure analysis between the target course and candidate’s academic expertise, professional competence and geographical relationships, research collaboration and other factors. Users could defined and adjust their recruiting requirements for exploring and screening suitable candidates in Prof.-Net recruiting service.  Our proposed recruiting service design relies on recommendation techniques. In current online society, recommendation systems play an important role in helping user to explore relevant information through many techniques. The methods in current recommendation systems can be generally unfolded into three categories of methods, including content-based methods, collaborative filtering (CF) based methods, and hybrid methods. (Adomavicius & Tuzhilin, 2005) The content-based method usually based on information retrieval and information filtering research, which recommend items to users’ past preference. (Baeza-Yates, et. al, 1999, Belkin & Croft, 1992). Collaborative filtering based methods can predict one’s interest by uncovering complex and unexpected patterns from a user’s past behaviors without any domain knowledge. The CF based method assumption is if a user has agreed with other in the past, they are more likely to agree with each other in the future than to agree with randomly chosen users (Koren, 2008). The hybrid method combines both the content-based and collaborative filtering based methods. The social network contains huge amount of meaningful information, the interpretation of big data is still waiting for future exploring. The social network based recommendation usually involves recommending any objects in social media domains (King, et. al, 2010). Link recommendation is one of the popular research topic in the domain of social network analysis and mining (Liben-Nowell & Kleinberg, 2007) The main objective of link recommendation is to predict based on the historical data, unobserved relationships and interactions between actors of a social network (Lichtnwalter & Chawla, 2012) Similar to the CF-based methods, social recommender systems assume that users are correlated when they establish social relations. However, the social network based recommendation is widely applied for various domains including recommendation support, data mining, information retrieving, and consumer pattern recognition. Our proposed method is proposed based on the social recommender systems concept that recommending any objects in social media domains such as items, tags, people, and communities. Our proposed recommendation prototype system integrated the social network concepts and present knowledge using ontology based semantic matching. Prof.-Net recruiting service design applied hybrid recommending methods that involves more complex tasks and required more specific knowledge domains. The concept of social structure provides a framework to explore the relationship between the network status of the multi-level network architecture, as well as its interaction with the associated formation of network relationships (Scott, 2000). The remaining paragraph of this study is organized as follows. The Prof.-Net recruiting service design and candidate data collection design approach are illustrated in section 2. The comparisons between traditional recruiting method and our proposed social network based method are examined in section 3. Finally, the discussion and future research marks are concluded in section 4.  This study is based on the core concept of service innovation that analysis the emerging issue from environmental changes. The Prof.-Net recruiting service design follows the trends of hybrid recommendation methods and based on social network analysis that facilitates curriculum committee to explore the appropriate part-time professor candidate for specific target course. For setting up the recommendation goals, the target courses information ware breakdown and established in target course ontology according to the department official defined teaching syllabus guidelines.

 

The Management System of Ecotourism and Cultural Tourism for Sustainable Community Development

Dr. Nithipattara Balsiri, Dhonburi Rajabhat University, Bangkok, Thailand

 

ABSTRACT

The objectives of this research were : 1) to study basic information, community life styles, community identity, and local wisdoms in Bangkhuntien district, 2) to study the unique characteristic of the community for public relation the ecotourism and cultural tourism, 3) to study opportunities and threat to develop ecotourism and cultural tourism, 4) to study participation of government and community sectors in ecotourism and cultural tourism, 5) to study and develop the management system of ecotourism and cultural tourism for sustainable community development. Research methodology is the qualitative research and participatory action research. This research area is Bangkhuntien district, Bangkok province. Interview schedules, and observation forms test were employed for data collection. Content analysis and typological analysis were employed for data analysis. The major research results were : 1) Bangkhuntien community had variety cultural and natural capital which were suitable for developing to be the cultural tourism and ecotourism attractions, 2) in Bangkhuntien community, there were factors which facilitator for developing the cultural tourism and ecotourism, but there were some problems which needs solution form government and community, 3) the management system of ecotourism and cultural tourism for sustainable community development in Bangkhuntien community can be divided in to 4 patterns, they were participation of government and community in planning, implementing, tourism benefit, and evaluation. A sustainable community is on that is economically, environmentally, socially, healthy, and resilient. It meets challenges through integrated solution rather than through fragmented approaches that meet one of those goals at the expense of the others. And it takes a long term perspective, on that is focused on both the present and future, well beyond the next budget or election cycle. As a result, a sustainable community manages its human, natural, and financial resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are equitably available for future generations. It seeks a better quality of life for the whole community without compromising the wellbeing of other communities, healthy ecosystems, effective government supported by meaningful and board based citizen participation, Economic security. A sustainable community’s success depends upon its members’ commitment and involvement through active, organized and informed citizenship, inspiring, effective, and responsive leadership, responsible, caring, and healthy community institutions, services, and business. The objectives of this research were : 1) to study basic information, community life styles, community identity, and local wisdoms in Bangkhuntien district, Bangkok province, Thailand, 2) to study the unique characteristic of the community for public relation the ecotourism and cultural tourism, 3) to study opportunities and threat to develop ecotourism and cultural tourism, 4) to study participation of government and community sectors in ecotourism and cultural tourism, 5) to study and develop the management system of ecotourism and cultural tourism for sustainable community development. Research methodology is the qualitative research and participatory action research which using document study, field study, in-depth interview, meeting and group interview, participatory and non-participatory observation techniques. This research area is Bangkhuntien district, Bangkok province. The key informants in this research consisted of 4 group of people which were government officials, community leaders, peoples, and tourists.  In this research concentrated basic information, community life styles, community identity, local wisdoms, unique characteristic of the community, public relation the ecotourism and cultural tourism, opportunities and threat to develop ecotourism and cultural tourism, participation of government and community sectors in ecotourism and cultural tourism, management system of ecotourism and cultural tourism for sustainable community development. Interview schedules, and observation forms test were employed for data collection. Content analysis, triangulation analysis, analytic induction, and typological analysis were employed for data analysis. Bangkhuntien district is a part of Bangkok metropolitan, Thailand, which plays an important role as historical, cultural, and traditional district passed down as a legend and inscripted in Bangkok metropolitan museum. For the educational profit of general public, including many major places such as the local museum of Mon Bang Kradi, mangrove forests, boardwalks for nature trait and lifestyles of local residents in Saen To community, local intelligence, local wisdoms, and one district one products of community. Bangkhuntien district was established about 100 years ago, assuming about 2410 B.E., previously under Thonburi province. After the merger with Pranakorn province to be Bangkok metropolitan. Thonburi and Bangkok in present, Amphur and Tambol have been replace by district and sub-district. Thus, Amphur Bangkuntian, which was changed to Bangkuntian district, now consisted of 7 sub-district which are Bangkuntian, Bangkhor, Jomthong, Bangmod, Tharkharm, Bangbon, and Samhaedum. Its office was in a ship near Klong Hua Krabue, Thakharm sub-district. In 2473 B.E., it was moved to Sam Yak Bangkhuntien and in 2452 B.E., Tha-Chin Co., Ltd, had built railway pass through its office. So that, it was moved to Wat Jomthong area, Rachaoros Temple. The reason that its office was near the railway because people at that time mostly travelled by train. Later, people increasingly moved to Bangkuntian, so that its office was moved to Rama II road, Samhaedum sub-district.

 

How Sustainable is Sustained?: The Latent Trajectory of Performance in Baking Industry

Dr. Fen-may Liou, Chihlee Institute of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan

Dr. Chin-Hui Hsiao, Chihlee Institute of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

This paper introduces a new methodology, Latent Class Growth Analysis (LCGA), to identify firms with sustained competitive advantage. LCGA models the probability of membership in the observed distinct (performance) trajectory groups where the grouping variable (the latent factor) is unavailable or unknown; it provides an appropriate procedure to capture information about interindividual differences in intraindividual change. In our paper, the trajectory of performance is defined by market-to-book ratio (MTB), a common indicator approximating Tobin’s q, to measure the competitive advantage of the firm. Using MTB as the performance indicator, we apply LCGA to US banking industry in the last 15 years and distinguished three performance-difference groups. The latent trajectory groups identified by MTB are heterogeneous in their dynamic capabilities. This paper contributes to the strategic management research by showing how one may predict the status of sustained competitive advantage from a series of historical performance. Historical financial performance is widely used to examine the existence of sustained competitive advantage. A firm is said to have sustained competitive advantage if it has achieved long-term persistent superior performance, that is, persisting profits above the norm. Previous studies have used long-term series of performance data from accounting books to detect persistent superior performance (e.g., Henderson, Raynor, and Ahmed, 2012; McGahan and Porter, 1999, 2003; Powell, 2003; Powell and Lloyd, 2005; Powell and Reinhardt, 2010; Ruefli and Wiggins, 2003; Wiggins and Reufli, 2002, 2005). These studies do not pay attention to the random-walk process associated with financial indicators under study. If a financial performance indicator follows a random-walk process, whether the yearly performance is driven by an antecedent (such as competitive advantage) or simply by luck is undetermined (Denrell, 2004). Therefore, the methodology used to identify persistent superior performers should be able to distinguish performance driven by firm specific factors such as capabilities from other random factors such as luck (Denrell, Fang, and Zhao, 2013; Henderson, Raynor, & Ahmed, 2012). Prior studies either ignore the heterogeneity within an industry or do not address the sequence of ordering of performance. The Latent Class Growth Analysis (LCGA), a methodology new to the management field, can be used to identify the group of outperformers without the constraints in the prior literature. LCGA, which is widely used in social and psychological sciences, is a person centered multi-parameter approach (Nagin, 1999, 2005). It models the probability of membership in the observed distinct (performance) trajectory groups where the grouping variable is unavailable or unknown (Jung and Wickrama, 2008; Nagin, 1999, 2005; Nagin and Tremblay, 2001); thus it provides an appropriate procedure to capture information about interindividual differences in intraindividual change (Nagin, 1999). It can be used to identify growth patterns that describe continuity and change among members of different subpopulations (Jung and Wickrama, 2008).  We apply LCGA to the banking industry and successfully identify three subgroups with distinct latent performance trajectories. Entry status and lagged performance are included in the models to examine the effects of luck and cumulative advantage on the model (Denrell, 2004; Denrell, Fang, and Zhao, 2013; Henderson, Raynor, and Ahmed, 2012). We also control for economic growth, which is believed to be positively correlated with performance for all firms. Hence, each latent trajectory identified by the model reflects the average dynamic capability of a group of firms to improve or sustain a specific performance indicator. A firm that out-performs its rivals in an industry in terms of abnormal returns (Barney, 2001; Peteraf, 1993; Porter, 1985; Denrell, Fang, and Winter, 2003) or superior returns to their rivals or industry average (Besanko et al., 2000; Ghemawat and Rivkin, 1999; Brandenberger and Stuart, 1996) in a long time is said to have sustained competitive advantage. Although persistent performance is defined as “the tendency of abnormally high or low profits to continue in subsequent periods” (McGahan & Porter, 2003), there is no universal accepted operational definition about persistent or sustained superior performance. While competitive advantage is usually measured with a selected financial indicator, sustained competitive advantage is often identified by methodologies such as modeling and grouping approach. Autoregressive model is the most commonly used methodology for examining the persistence of profits. Other methodologies, including full information maximum likelihood; panel unit root tests; structural equation modeling; trend analysis, including polynomial time trends and structural time series; and Bayesian approach (Denrell, Fang and Zhao, 2013) have been used to examine the persistence of profitability (Liou and Ding, 2014). These methodologies utilize parametric and non-parametric approaches, both of which have limitations in identifying superior performers.  When examining sustained superior performance, the autoregressive model has several limitations. First, the cardinal data it uses are not directly comparable across time periods, and the model requires assumptions about the true form of the unobserved performance distribution (Powell and Reinhardt, 2010). Second, it statistically neutralizes the differences between firms and fails to account for their unique characteristics (Hansen, Perry, and Reese, 2004). Third, it estimates just one growth pattern to describe the entire population, which oversimplifies the diversity of growth patterns found in real industries that describe continuity and change among members of different subpopulations with heterogeneous performance (Jung and Wickrama, 2008). For ordinal (rank-based) approaches, the investigation of persistent profits does not specify the time sequence of shifts in ranking or wins, which is essential for recognizing growing outperformers. The LCGA does not have the constraints described above; it captures time-ordering performance trajectory for each heterogeneous group of firms.

 

Manpower Need and Vocational Training of Electrical and Electronics Industry

Dr. Fu-Man Hsieh, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan R.O.C.

En-Kuang Lin, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan R.O.C.

Hsin-Yi Chou, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan R.O.C.

Kung-Hou Lin, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan R.O.C.

Nai-Chung Chang, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan R.O.C.

 

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this research is to understand the demands of manpower and vocational training of Electrical and Electronics Industry, the research sample is from the Qian-zhen export processing zone. The ways to analyze include (1) Data collection and analysis of the aspect of manpower demands. (2) Data collection and analysis of the aspect of demands in the industrial vocational trainings. (3) According to the results mentioned above, to design a proper program to fit into the supply-demand analysis in order to educate qualified workers curriculums and planning for vocational trainings.  To achieve the main purpose, some research methods are implemented as Secondary Data Analysis: (1) the resources of information with analyzing development trends and manpower demands in Electrical and Electronics Industry from DGBAS and VTC Employment Service Center. (2)Questionnaire method: there are two types of questionnaire. Both employers and employees are investigated to realize their needs. Respectively, first, Both needs of the training units’ requirements in Electrical and Electrics industries and the manpower’s needs questionnaires, effective 64 receives in 100 questionnaires.second, Labor’s training needs questionnaire of Electrical and Electronics industry, effective 258 receives in 330 questionnaires. c. Hold expert forum, which experts, scholars and company representatives are included, 15 in total. Some significant findings include (1) the manpower’s demands in the Electrical and Electronics industries are R&D engineer, managers of high level’s international management and Marcom.(2) The future vocational training’s curriculums of employers are mainly ‘Business writing skills’, ‘Communication abilities’, and ‘The capabilities of investigation and analysis’. (3) The future vocational training demands of employees are ‘ International communication skills’; ‘Digital operating and applicated abilities’; ‘Produce and manufacture’ and‘ Research and innovation capacity’.  Taiwan government is focused on cultivate Electrical and Electronics industries for nearly twenty years. In 2012, output value of Taiwan Electrical and Electronics upstream and downstream industries was 251 billion us dollars, accounted for 52% of Taiwan’s GDP(Source: Taiwan Institute of Economic Research ), so it’s the most important industry of Taiwan’s economic development. The Electrical and Electronics industries can classified into four categories, “Electronic Parts and Components Manufacturing”, “Computers, Electronic and Optical Products Manufacturing”, “Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing” and “Machinery and Equipment for Industry Maintenance and Installation Construction”, and Industrial Classification as follows: A. Electronic Components Manufacturing: Including semiconductor industry and other electronic components manufacturing.  B. Computer, Electronic and Optical Products Manufacturing: Including computer and peripheral equipment, Communication equipment, audio-visual electronics, data storage media, measurement equipment, navigation equipment, control equipment, watches, radiation equipment, electronic medical equipment, and other optical instruments or equipment are included.  C. Machinery Equipment Manufacturing: prime mover, agricultural, industrial, office and other special-purpose machinery or equipment, including machinery and equipment needed for their operations (such as handling equipment, weighing machines and packaging machines). The main parts of manufacturing machinery and equipment are also included in this special class  D. Computer, electronic and optical products industry: maintenance of machinery, including electronic and optical equipment, metrology equipment, electrical equipment, ships, aircraft, and other coin-operated video game, and other industrial machinery equipment maintenance, bowling alley equipment installation and other installation services are also included. 1. “Electronic Parts and Components Manufacturing” and “Computers, Electronic and Optical Products Manufacturing” The downstream manufacturers of Electronic parts and components manufacturing are mainly computer equipment, industrial Communication production, and consumer electronics, eventually, the consumers’ perfection affect the demand of Electronic parts and components manufacturing’s supplying; therefore, Electronic parts and components manufacturing will steadily increase the developing opportunities companied with the diversity of consumer electronics, the popularity of the computers communication equipment, and the consumption pattern of being fickle in affection.  2.0“Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing” and “Machinery and Equipment for Industry Maintenance and Installation Construction” Machinery and Equipment manufacturing of Taiwan is export-oriented mainly, and more than about 70% machinery production, including primary machine tools, textile products wearing apparel and clothing machines, and electronic and semiconductor production equipment, export every year. So far, the productive trends of Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing industries are gradually forward to the ways of small-volume but large-variety production’s marketing demand and this kind of directions of mass customization provide thinking way-out as well in the industries’ future development. Hence, main demands of manpower are R&D and Operating analysts. This study tried to multi-faceted explores the opinions of employers and employees of Electrical and Electronics industries about future demands of manpower and vocational training.

 

A Study on Mediator Effect of the Reverse Logistics Activities on Performance

Dr. Ertan Gunduz, Istanbul Gelisim University, Turkey

Dr. Mine Afacan Findikli, Istanbul Gelisim University, Turkey

 

Abstract

The value attributed to reverse logistics performance in organisations is likely to affect market performance positively. Being one of the first attempts to question this proposition, we distinguished some internal and external factors that affect the reverse logistics performance and examined in the light of market performance of most of the largest firms in Turkey. General findings suggested that perceptions of the executives of the firm with regard to the internal applications and the external factors we selected were directly proportional to the performance of the reverse logistics applications of the firm. Our research highlighted the competitiveness achieved by the support of the top management of the firm for the reverse logistics applications. Results indicate that firm’s increasing profit margin affected the reverse logistics performance in a significant and positive manner. Another finding of our research was neither the internal factors nor the external factors, except for the reverse logistics performance, directly affect the organizational performance. As for practical implications, managers were recommended to identify which aspects of reverse logistics factors could be taken as core competencies by the descriptive information obtained.  The reverse logistics performance includes the processes for the planning, implementation and control of effective backward flow of the supply chain for the purpose of ensuring the revaluation or the properly disposal of the raw materials, semi-finished and end products, and the relevant information from the consumption point to the origin. In some studies before, the factors which affect the reverse logistics performance counted as the internal and external factors. One of the main purposes of this study is to be able to verify the relation which is rife between the reverse logistics performance and the market performance of the firm. Within this framework, the internal and external factors affecting the reverse logistics performance are taken into account and the relation between both factors and the reverse logistics performance is examined. Also, the identification of the possible effects of the internal and external factors affecting the reverse logistics performance on the organizational performance was the other focus. Moreover, the relations between the factors such as the competitiveness level of the organization, the reverse logistics competency, the clarity between the organization and the other stakeholders having the supply chain partnership, which have been separated at the research stage and the reverse logistics performance, have been examined. In this study, at first, the reverse logistics performance and the internal and external factors affecting the reverse logistics performance are examined and the relationship between the reverse logistics performance and the market performance of the organization were revealed. The following section includes the validity and reliability studies of the scales used in line with the purpose of the research, the testing of the hypotheses and the analyses for the research. The final section includes the findings and conclusion of the research. An effective management of the supply chain has incrementally become more crucial by providing contribution to the value adding processes and affecting the performance (Ross, 2000: 1-4). In addition, the legal amendments made with increasing sensitivity in relation to the environment as well as the changing demands of the consumers and the development of the concept of corporate social responsibility have led to the redesign of the traditional supply chain and thereby defined as the reverse logistics. It was observed that companies could reduce the use of raw materials, utilize the recycled products by processing them and decrease the waste cost ratios thanks to the effective reverse logistics management which was based on the transaction cost economics and resource-based view theory (Autry et al., 2001). Acceptance of the strategic value of the reverse logistics applications could not reach the required level as well as the financial and customer relations-based positive results obtained (Daugherty et al., 2005: 78). Lambert and Stock (1981) defined the reverse logistics as “proceeding in the wrong direction on a one-way road” due to the importance of the uni-directional product transmission. Stock defined (1998) the reverse logistics as the role of the logistics in the product returns, resource saving, recovery, material replacement, reuse of the materials, disposal and burning of the wastes, and repair and reproduction (Rogers and Tibben-Lembke, 2001: 4). Rogers and Tibben-Lembke defined the process for the movement of the products from the final usage points for appreciation or recycling of them with the least damage to the environment (Rogers and Tibben-Lembke, 1998:2). Furthermore, it was seen that the reverse logistics was described as the backward design of the supply chain in order to manage the flow of the products or components for reproduction, recovery, disposal or using the resources in an effective manner (Dowlatshahi, 2000, p. 144). It was specified that a general reverse logistics process includes the activities of the collection and storage, the control and separation, the reprocessing/ recovery and inter-stage transportation and redistribution of the recycled products. Throughout the process of reverse logistics, the ease of supplying the product, the timing and the compatibility of the delivery conditions were considered among the indicators of the performance of the reverse logistics (Langley and Holcomb, 1992). Finally, it could be said that the reverse logistic performance increase with the efficient reverse logistics applications. Reverse logistics performance was examined in terms of the customer satisfaction, the cost saving, the expected time adherence, the developing competition ability and efficiency in this study.  The sustainability of the reverse logistics processes requires the harmonization of the internal factors with the quickly changing external environmental conditions. The antecedents of the reverse logistics performance can be grouped as external and internal factors (Roger and Tibben-Lembke, 1998; Ho et al., 2012; Ha, 2012). External Factors are comprised of (1) customer awareness and requests, (2) cooperation of the supply chain partners, (3) information and communication technologies, (4) laws and regulations. To be customer oriented affect positively proactive approaches for the recycling works of the companies and provide competitive advantage (Valle et al., 2005; Ha, 2012: 81). The cooperation of the business partners allow to decide faster in the complex processes, to reduce the costs  and to utilize the resources more effectively and increase the performance (Ravi and Shankar, 2005; Ji, 2006). The information and communication technologies of the business partners ensure the real-time information provided within the logistics process and increase the performance (Sundarraj and Talluri, 2003). Many companies put their reverse logistics activities into practice due to the legal obligations and the pressures from the social environments (Rogers and Tibben-Lembke, 1998:32).

 

IPR Competition between Asymmetric Countries

Dr. Chia Chi Wang, Tatung University, Taipei, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

This paper analyzes the relationship between IPR policy and the foreign firm’s location decision when the countries’ sizes are asymmetric. Two countries attempt to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) through the IPR policy. We find that a country with a stricter IPR policy gives a higher incentive for the foreign firm to invest in that country. In addition, whether or not a country can attract FDI depends on the relative size of the country and the employment gains of FDI. If the effect from employment gains is small, then a small country cannot attract FDI even if it implements full IPR protection. However, if the effect from employment gains is large, then a small country may attract FDI through the IPR policy.  In recent decades the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR) has received much attention, because firm-specific assets are considered to be knowledge-based in this high-tech era and should be protected by a patent. The World Trade Organization (WTO) administers an international agreement, called Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), that contains a set of minimum standards for IPR protection. Actually, the level of IPR protection is an important concern for a foreign firm when it chooses a location to invest.(1) If knowledge is valuable, but can be copied, then the foreign firm may not wish to invest in a country with weaker IPR protection, because the local firm can easily imitate the foreign firm’s superior technology. The foreign firm would lose absolute advantage over its know-how. On the contrary, if knowledge can be protected by IPR, then it gives a higher incentive for the foreign firm to invest in that country.  A government adopting policy intervention to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) is a frequently observed phenomenon, because FDI brings many benefits for the home country such as spurring competitiveness in the market, creating job vacancies, and bringing about technology transformation. Thus, countries have a great incentive to attract FDI.(2) Seyoum (1996) empirically studies 27 countries and finds the result that the level of IPR protection is a strong determinant of inward investment. Maskus (1998) indicates that strengthening IPR protection can be an effective incentive for inward FDI. Glass and Saggi (2002) provide a product cycle model with endogenous innovation, imitation, and FDI. They find that a stricter IPR protection keeps the multinational firm safer from imitation, but no more so than Northern firms. Leahy and Naghavi (2010) analyze the effect of IPR on the foreign firm’s entry mode, whether FDI or joint venture. If IPR is strict and R&D intensity is moderate, then joint venture is the equilibrium market structure. In addition, the south country can gain from strengthening IPR protection because it encourages the foreign firm to choose JV. Branstetter and Saggi (2011) consider a North-South product cycle model and note that a strengthening IPR increases the flow of FDI. Tanaka and Iwaisako (2014) also present a North-South model that examines the effect of IPR on innovation, FDI, and welfare. They show that strengthening IPR protection can improve welfare if the initial IPR protection is weak and the R&D subsidy rate is not too high. From discussion above, we know that the IPR policy will affect the foreign firm’s decision and the domestic country’s welfare. However, a common feature of these papers is that they do not look at the competition of two countries’ IPR policy, which often happens in reality. In addition, every country’s size is different in this international environment. Hence, we attempt to take up this issue to investigate and provide some policy suggestions for the governments. The purpose of this paper is to analyze IPR competition for FDI with asymmetric country size. Specifically, we consider a game between two asymmetric-sized countries for the location of a foreign firm. To achieve the real world situation, we suppose that a country may suffer the problem of unemployment, which can be alleviated by FDI. We investigate the effect of an IPR policy on the foreign firm’s location decision. In addition, we analyze how the result of IPR competition is affected by country size and unemployment.  The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. The next section describes the model. Section 3 analyzes the foreign firm’s location decision. Section 4 investigates IPR competition for FDI. Section 5 concludes this paper and summarizes some policy suggestions.  Assume there are two asymmetric countries, A and B, whereby each country has a local firm in the market. Each country attempts to attract a foreign firm, firm f, from a third country. Firm f chooses only one of the two countries to undertake FDI, because of the high fixed cost G. When firm f decides on a location to invest, it and a local firm engage in Cournot competition. In addition, firm f also exports to another country and suffers a transportation cost per unit t. In order to focus on firm f’s location decision, we assume that the local firms only serve the domestic market and do not export. The firms produce a homogeneous good in the market.  The demand functions in each country are:  where Qi is the total quantity in country i which is the sum of the local firm and the foreign firm’s output (ql + qf), and si is a measure of country i’s size. Assume that country A is greater is size than country B, and so let sA > sB.  Assume firm f comes from a developed country, such that it has a technology advantage. The marginal cost function for the foreign and the local firms are respectively:  where f is the production cost, δ is a reduction in production cost per unit of output, because of firm f’s technology know-how. Note that δ is exogenous and is smaller than f. Here, gi is a measure of the weakness of IPR, and wi is the wage rate of country i.  A higher g means IPR protection is weaker, and the local firm can imitate firm f’s technology more easily. Note that g = 0 indicates full IPR protection, and g = 1 indicates complete lack of protection. If firm f does not locate in country i, then the local firm of country i cannot learn firm f’s technology, and thus gi = 0.

 

Corporate Social Responsibility in Egypt: Current Status and Future Prospects

Dr. Samir Youssef, American University in Cairo, Egypt

 

ABSTRACT

Current level of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Egypt is largely determined by organizational, social, economic, legal and political factors. In some large and possibly medium-size firms, especially those listed on the Stock Exchange, CSR is increasingly becoming a formalized process and is encouraged by government’s effort to build up capacity in this area for the purpose of increasing the country’s competitiveness. This was guided by IMF initiatives for a free market economy. However, for the majority of firms in Egypt, especially those   small in size, CSR is an absent concept and is replaced by philanthropy and paternalistic management. The social setting in Egypt is not confrontational but rather accommodative and aims at maintaining harmony between contending parties. This is encouraged by the low level of development of different business stakeholders .This sets limits on the potential of   negotiated arrangements which is the cornerstone of the stakeholder’s model. In the aftermath of the Egyptian uprising in January 2011 and in view of the high level of poverty a paradigm shift is expected by adopting a more developmental orientation of CSR.  Egypt, with a population of 90million and limited resources, is currently in dire need for economic and social development .Until the mid - seventies the country adopted the socialist system with 90 percent of the economy controlled by the government. Public sector enterprises, managed largely as a part of the bureaucracy, were depleted in order to finance several wars with Israel.  After the peace treaty the government embarked on an open door policy with privatization and encouraged the private sector and foreign investment as its corner stones.  In the early 1990s, an economic reform program supported by USAID, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund undertook to restructure the Egyptian economy and to encourage privatization and the entrepreneurial spirit. Reform legislation created incentives for private investment (domestic and foreign), opened foreign trade to private companies, and eliminated most controls on the business sector. However, until now Egypt hasn't emerged entirely from its experiment with a state economy .Along with state-owned banks, a heavy-handed bureaucracy has survived and still controls considerable state assets and resources. These reform programs were reluctantly followed at the beginning but in the mid- 1990s they started to pick up steam. During the five years prior to the uprising of January 25, 2011, a new liberal government of professionals and businessmen had adopted a definite direction towards the free market economy. Reform of the government bureaucracy took the form of streamlining the bureaucracy, lowering taxes, introducing IT in the government and promoting foreign investment. Share of the private sector of the economy was increased to reach around 70 percent and the inflow of foreign investment had shown significant increase. However, the main developmental needs of the country have remained unaddressed. Currently around 40 percent of the population is classified as poor living on 2 dollars a day or less. Education, housing, infrastructural services remained to a large extent much below acceptable standard .Cairo, the capital city, has become overcrowded and is suffocating under the pressures of the growing slum areas around it. Unemployment rate is high reaching, according to official figures, around 13 percent.  During these reform years (2005-2011) the general public largely remained unimpressed with the frequent announcements of government officials about the growth rate, averaging around 5 percent during that period,   or the improved ranking of Egypt on international business environment indexes. The public was not convinced about the high priority given by the government towards economic growth with social justice left to the long term trickling down effect. While this period witnessed decent rates of economic growth but the issue of eradicating poverty was not seriously addressed. Income gap with other nations and within Egypt has widened (UN, 2007) What infuriated the public even more was the blatant rigging of the parliamentary election in 2010 and the intention of the old presiding president to hand over the throne of the Republic to his son. It took only eighteen days from January 25,2011 of leaderless  massive protests to topple the 82 years president and his entourage .A military council took charge of the government  , an interim government was appointed and a time table was set for parliamentary  election . The demands of the uprising were basically freedom, social justice and bread .Here  bread symbolized all the basic needs of man including decent shelter, education, health, and services. These were considered basic rights that needed to be met. The new regime had to disassociate itself from the old one. Accusations of corruption were leveled at the old regime and its men. The ex-president, his sons, ex-ministers and party officials accused of corruption were arrested and brought to trial. The interim government started investigating suspicious lucrative business deals involving local and foreign businessmen who were either linked to the privatization program or the squandering of natural resources and real estate.  The election process after the January uprising resulted in the victory of the Muslim Brotherhoods and  suddenly the Islamists controlled the Parliament and the Presidency. Due to the absence of a clear strategy, lack of experience and favoritism the new regime failed to meet the expectations of the public. This resulted again in the eruption of mass protests which were supported by the army and eventually led to the removal of the newly elected president, suspension of the Islamic constitution and dissolution of the Parliament. A new interim government was again installed and a road map was outlined which included formulating a new constitution and holding new elections; paving the way towards a democratic civic system of government. This process is still on-going. In the context of underdevelopment the following is a useful definition of CSR by the European Union: “Corporate social responsibility is the concept that an enterprise is accountable for its impact on all relevant stakeholders. It is the continuing commitment by business to behave fairly and responsibly and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the work force and their families as well as of the local community and society at large” (EU,2001).

 

Coopetition? Yes, but Who With? The Selection of Coopetition Partners by High-Tech Firms

Dr. Agnieszka Zakrzewska-Bielawska, Professor, Lodz University of Technology, Poland

 

Coopetition can be said to be present only when two inherently contradictory inter-organisational dynamics – competition and cooperation – are occurring at the same time between the same entities. Two questions then arise: With whom are firms in coopetition relationships? With whom will they wish to institute coopetition in the future? The goal of this paper is to answer these questions. Research conducted using the Pen and Paper Interview technique on a sample of 235 high-tech firms found that the majority were engaged in multiple coopetition relationships, that is, that they were cooperating with more than one competitor. They chose their coopetition partners mostly from among their rivals in Poland and from the SME sector. That said, they most preferred to enter into coopetition with firms of a similar size and technological and market position, or with stronger and bigger firms. Their choices and preferences were, however, stratified not only in respect of firms’ size, but also with regard to their territorial scope, degree of development and area of coopetition.  Contemporary markets require firms to take an innovative approach to constructing competitive advantage. On the one side rapid technological advancement, increasing globalisation and open borders intensify competition, while on the other they compel firms to combine their strengths to take better advantage of the opportunities created by the changing environment. As a result, firms are finding themselves in simultaneous competition and cooperation ever more frequently. This state of affairs is defined as coopetition. Notwithstanding the increasing interest in coopetition, the fundamental questions associated with the relationship it defines continue to be discussed. This arises from attempts in Economics to examine coopetition from different theoretical standpoints. Their dominant strands are: game theory (Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 1996; Bengtsson and Kock, 2000; Okura, 2007), transaction costs theory (Dowling et al., 1996; Madhook, 2000; Ganguli, 2007) and resource-based theory (Levy et al., 2003; Gnywali and Park, 2009; Tong and Reuer, 2010; Zakrzewska-Bielawska, 2013a). We may also include two further theoretical platforms for coopetition created by researchers: the network approach (Gnywali et al., 2006; Czakon, 2009), as well as inter-organizational dynamics theory (Padula and Dagnino, 2007; Tidström, 2008). The multitude of theoretical approaches to coopetition, as well as its comparatively brief research history, has made this field of study very heterogeneous.  There are also those research initiatives that investigate coopetition from a variety of analytical levels and research perspectives. Their predominant strands may be identified as follows: studies of the features of coopetition (Bengtsson and Kock, 2000, Rusko, 2011; Tidström and Hagberg-Andersson, 2012), studies of the achievement of competitive advantage through coopetition (Garrette et al., 2009; Ritala and Ellonen, 2010; Thomason et al., 2013), studies identifying the benefits and threats connected with coopetition (Gnyawali et al., 2006; Ritala and Sainio, 2014), analyses of the complexity involved in relationships of coopetition in terms of the varying intensity of competition and cooperation (Lado et al., 1997; Luo, 2004; Czakon and Rogalski, 2014), directions of inter-firm linkages (Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 1996; Rusko, 2011; Kim et al., 2013) and studies from the perspective of the number of firms in the coopetition nexus and the number of levels in the value chain (Dagnino and Padula, 2002; Luo, 2007). There have, however, been no studies addressing the features of entities involved in coopetition or of the preferences of firms when selecting partners for such a relationship. The present study, whose aim is to identify the choices and preferences of high tech firms in the selection of coopetition partners, represents an attempt to fill this gap in the research. These choices and preferences were determined based on surveys conducted in 2012–2013 by the Pen and Paper Interview (PAPI) technique on a sample of 235 high-tech firms operating both in Poland and in the global marketplace. Though coopetition has been examined in a number of market sectors, it has been studied most frequently among high-tech firms. This sector requires continuous and intensive innovative initiatives and – one of the factors defining high-tech industries in the world (NACE, 2011) – extensive R&D expenditure. This sector is moreover identified by a short product and process life cycle, rapid diffusion of technological innovation, an increasing demand for highly-qualified personnel, high capital inputs and high investment risk (Zakrzewska-Bielawska, 2010) – all of which make international cooperation, including with the competition, a necessity. Coopetition in the high-tech sector has so far been studied from the perspective of the strategy adopted, the nature of the relationships established (M'Chirgui, 2005; Shih et al., 2006; Ganguli, 2007) and value creation (Ritala and Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, 2009; Han et al., 2012). It has primarily been examined, though, in terms of the benefits obtained – especially increased innovativeness (Quintana-García and Benavides-Velasco, 2004; Gnyawali and Park, 2011; Bouncken and Kraus, 2013; Ritala and Sainio, 2014). Investigating the features high-tech firms seek in competitors they choose to cooperate with, and examining the future preferences of such firms for coopetition partners, should therefore add to and enrich the current state of knowledge of coopetition in a sector that is the cornerstone of innovativeness and competitiveness and hence vital to the economy of every country.  The first section of the paper discusses theories of coopetition with a focus on its features, dimensions and results. It then sets out the research methodology, the results obtained and the conclusions that may be drawn from them. The paper concludes by examining the limitations of the research and indicating possible directions for further enquiry.  The term to define this trend towards simultaneous cooperation and competition – coopetition – was coined by Ray Noorda, who founded the network software company Novell. The word is derived from the words ‘cooperation’ and ‘competition’ and is used to define the complex, multidimensional business relationships that today’s companies have with one another (Ganguli, 2007). Most scholars (e.g. Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 1996; Chen, 2008; Kim and Parkhe, 2009; Luo, 2007; Peng and Bourne, 2009) regard coopetition as a dyadic condition of simultaneous competition and cooperation. Coopetition therefore denotes cooperation with competitors (e.g. Bengtsson and Kock, 2000; Gnyawali and Park, 2009; Ritala and Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, 2009) in a way that can be likened to an aggressive strategy of ‘sleeping with the enemy’ (Quint, 1997). A further notable feature of coopetition is the mutual benefit that those pursuing it can derive. There have been a number of empirical studies examining the effect of coopetition on firms’ performance by measuring from a single financial indicator to multiple measurements (e.g. Oum et al., 2004; Luo et al., 2006; Kim and Parkhe, 2009; Peng et al., 2012). A further important factor distinguishing coopetition is the complexity and changeability of the condition, which has formed the base for many of its typologies (e.g. Lado et al., 1997; Dagnino and Padula, 2002; Luo, 2007; Chin et al., 2008), and which is accounted for by the number of competitors involved, their geographical distribution, their involvement at different levels of the value chain and the intensity of the competition and cooperation. We may conclude that coopetition is a multidimensional and multifaceted concept that assumes a number of different forms and requires multiple levels of analysis. Coopetition relationships are instituted at various levels.

 

The Training Requirements and the Curriculum Design of the Meridian Therapy Industry Employees- A Case of San-Sui Tang Company

Dr. Fu-Man Hsieh, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan

Meng Chen Yu, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan

Chiao -Yi Chiu, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan

Wei Bin Li, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan

Chian Chi Huang, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

Meridian therapy industry (Massage industry) formed a specific culture to Taiwan tourism industry, and it can push forward the regional economic development. This research focuses on the training demand of the staffs in the massage industry. By case study, the main purpose of this research is to improve the efficiency of the staff by developing training program moderate. This study took San-Sui-Tang Company as a case study, which has three branches in Kaohsiung so far. The research methods include (1) Organizational analysis by interviewing with the employer (2) Person analysis by questionnaire of the staffs which consist of general and specific course. There are three significant findings as below: 1. The main training motivation of masseurs is to improve their professional knowledge and skills. 2. The main providing training motivation of the employer focuses on improving staffs’ communication skill. 3. The training course map can be divided into masseurs’ part and administrative staffs’ parts. According to the Classification Employment of the ROC, meridian therapy professionals belongs to the 5149th, employees of others personal service. The three professions are masseurs, rehabilitation masseurs and meridian therapy professionals. On May 29th in 2012, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (hereinafter referred to as MOHW) released the Regulations Matters of Indigenous Medicine by Yi Zi No.1010206672, categorizing massage industry as the J industry, the cultural, sporting, leisure and other service industries. It was defined as the industry doing the traditional massage and chiropractic toward bodies, but not referred to as the medical behavior and asserting the medical efficiency. Besides, according to the information of the Directorate-General of Budget Accounting and Statistics Executive Yuan, massage industry belongs to the other personal service industries of S industry. Therefore, non-medical behavior in which the meridian therapy industry (or massage industry, hereinafter referred to as massage industry) is engaged and related industry can be generalized as in Figure1.  For the purpose of output value, Thailand has the biggest SPA massage industry in South Asia and its output value was 13.4 billion and 50 million. Taiwan has about 4.4 billion so far; For the purpose of Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) between China and Taiwan, as the travel agencies and travel service industry is open, there would be more Chinese coming to Taiwan and creating more business opportunity. San Sui Tang is taken from Laozi’s faith; the kind-hearted is like water, which means the best moral is like water. Water, like San Sui Tang operation spirits, benefits all things without struggle and in the modest place. Since San Sui Tang was founded, it has been keeping caring about customers’ health. San Sui Tang believes that maintaining the energy of mind and body is the best way to be healthy. The advantage of San Sui Tang: Promoting the most natural way to stay healthy and taking care of every customer with nice equipment and professional service by an active attitude and careful mind. The staffing of the company consists of 80% of the members as senior masseurs, and other 20% as new masseurs. With regard to education, 80% of the staffs are from senior high school while other 20% are from junior high school. Meanwhile the gender ratio in the company includes 60% and 40% as for male and female staffs, respectively. When the aspect of age is discussed, staffs belonging to the 20-30 year-old and 31-40 year-old ranges account for 15% each, while a half (50%) of the staffs have the age between 41 and 50 years old. About one fifth of the staffs are 51 years old or above.  The branch of San Sui Tang store has weekly assembly and monthly association meeting to illustrate the company's new marketing strategy and to train the staffs about the company philosophy and new techniques. The masseur who is absent needs to catch up with the classes by himself. The check and acceptance of the examination will be held after the training is finished. The training also includes communication skills of masseurs.  Because the masseurs’ age in the store is relatively high (the average age is around 45), their memory and learning ability become their weakness, which results in the fact that the training effectiveness will not be very high. Communication trainings, including language training, such as a simple conversation in Korean: Greetings, aggravating or mitigating massage, etc. We would also learn to observe the habits of the guests, as they need or want to have some conversations during the massaging sessions or prefer the quiet massage. Currently San Sui Tang has established related unions to help obtain professional licensed masseuse, using massage to promote the overall development of the industry. a. Rewarding part of trainees intensive, labor intensive and - to deferred effects of the quarterly intensive system, to:  i. Trainee’s intensive: due to training students from master association introduce to Company - therefore the trainees could free to follow the Master for learning for a month- massage. When training students have completed their training, the Company will signed an official contract with them, massage - division could get intensive, and three consecutive months of 1% from the student salary. ii. Labor intensive: labor intensive within the parameters of designated masseur’s guests - guests to massage professional and communication capabilities have a certain identity -. So it can gather labor intensive, if the masseurs manage to gather the labor intensive within a month to meet the target set by the company, they can receive a sum of money too. The current each shop - every month, 1-2 masseurs manage to receive such labor intensive.  iii. Season intensive system: adopting deferred effect of the quarterly intensive system is if - Masseurs able to meet the target quarterly which set by the company they will get additional of up to 20 per cent of one quarter total pay. b. In discipline, due to masseurs mobility rate is high, the need to have some regulations to restrain, including to fine the complaint of customer and over rest. i. Refused to a fine: if the masseurs refuse to attend to guests during working hours, it is necessary to implement fines to them. The fines were for the companies and organizations use of the Fund. ii. Complaint: If a masseur received 3 complaints from customers, he/she will stop work and be sent for training.  iii. Over Rest: if the masseurs rest more than six days a month, they will pay a fine (except from disease or family important event) it is fair to other masseurs and can reduce absence from work, manpower shortage.  c. Promotion of good masseurs: those good masseurs will be promoted through working attitude and skill assessment. Once they have been promoted, they can provide the expert guidance to other trainees. 7. Company’s sales strategy with other major marketing methods shop issued various pamphlets, better - benefit volume, membership, clients and master internal competition. - As the market as a result also exist in the Company, each of the master of the main pay - from the customer, the company internal according to the survey high pay - masseurs tend to have good customer communication skills, the current Yang - Health Club major source of the pressure of a heavy office workers.

 

Minimizing the Makespan of Overlapped Jobs with Release Times Over Multiple Machines

Dr. Jen-Ya Wang, Hungkuang University, Taiwan

Dr. Jr-Shian Chen, Hungkuang University, Taiwan

Dr. Fuh-Gwo Chen, Hungkuang University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

In this paper, we consider a minimization problem for jobs containing duplicate contents. In today’s computing environments, a batch of jobs may be assigned to multiple machines at a time. However, not all jobs are released at time 0 and some jobs have partially duplicate contents. If the jobs with duplicate contents can be assigned to the same machine as possible as we can, some processing time can be saved by processing the duplicate contents once. Therefore, we propose an algorithm for scheduling such overlapped jobs. A tabu search is also used to enhance the convergence speed and solution quality of the proposed algorithm. Experimental results show that the makespan can be improved much if the overlapped jobs can be placed together. A significant benefit of job scheduling is customer satisfaction. Job scheduling is a common research topic in computer science and operational research. Traditional studies explore how to cost-effectively and time-efficiently schedule jobs. With proper job scheduling, we can reduce makespan (Cheng et al., 2006; Rafiee Parsa et al., 2010), completion time (Shabtay, 2014; Tao, 2014), tardiness (Lushchakova, 2012), earliness (Baker, 2014), number of tardy jobs (Rasti Barzoki & Hejazi, 2013), or operation cost (Levitin et al., 2014). Therefore, lower cost and shorter waiting time could lead to better customer satisfaction and various minimization problems are studied in the field of job scheduling. Minimizing makespan is commonly seen in the field of job scheduling (Ahmadizar, 2012; Jia & Leung, 2014; Lee et al., 2012; Lin & Ying, 2013). This is because a shorter makespan generally implies a better customer satisfaction. The performance indicator, i.e., makespan, is measured by the completion time of the last job. However, due to scarce resources and conflicting constraints, obtaining an optimal schedule becomes not that easy. Such problems are usually NP-hard (Nessah & Kacem, 2012). For example, we have multiple jobs with different release times (Della Croce et al., 2014). To obtain the optimal makespan, all possible jobs sequences (i.e., all permutations) need to be taken into account. Some invalid schedules need to be excluded. However, it is very time-consuming for checking all possible schedules if they are valid. As the problem size is large, it is impossible to determine the optimal schedule manually. This is because the time complexity grows exponentially. Consequently, developing an efficient algorithm for minimizing makespan is meaningful. Parallel machines are helpful for minimizing makespan (Chen & Chen, 2009; Ji et al., 2013; Lee et al., 2012). In a parallel environment, the makespan of a single machine can be reduced several times. Moreover, the system reliability is also improved (Ng et al., 2010). If one machine is out of order or requires maintenance, other identical machines will take over. However, in most real-world manufacturing environments, jobs are not always disjoint. That is, duplicate contents may exist in two jobs. For example, in (J. Y. Wang, 2012), some requested information may be simultaneously processed by several servers. The same job is done repeatedly by multiple servers. It is a kind of waste instead of collaboration. Thus, parallel makespan minimization is an important research topic. Avoiding unnecessary rework is helpful for minimizing makespan. In our daily life, there might be duplicate contents in two jobs. For example, a patent examiner is usually asked to review several patents in the same field at a time (Albrecht et al., 2010; Veefkind et al., 2012). This arrangement accelerates the processing time of patent examination. Another example is duplicate information retrieval. Multiple uses may request the information of popular stocks simultaneously (J. Y. Wang, 2012). Each request relates to some commutation and these requests have a lot in common. That is, for the same frequently asked item, a sever may computes for several times. This is a kind of waste. Consequently, avoiding such a waste can be a solution technique to improve makespan. In this paper, we improve makespan by taking the advantage of overlapped jobs. A genetic algorithm is proposed to minimize the makespan. To accelerate the convergence speed and improve the solution quality, we also employ a tabu search. The experimental results show that the solution quality can be improved more. Likewise, the makespan is also reduced by the removal of duplicate contents of overlapped jobs.  The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 defines the scheduling problem for the overlapping jobs. Section 3 proposes a genetic algorithm equipped a tabu search. Section 4 compares the computational results. Finally, Section 5 concludes this paper. In a parallel computing environment, there are   identical machines and   jobs. Each job   associated with a release time   is a set of   tasks requiring processing time   and it must be allocated to the   machines for  . Assume that each task’ processing time is 1, so  = . If   for all  , then   is said to be overlapped. For the overlapped jobs allocated to the same machine, the duplicate tasks are processed once only. That is,   =  holds if   and   are allocated to the same machine. Let   be a schedule,   be the last job of a determined subsequence   allocated to some machine, and   be the completion time of  . Assume   is going to be scheduled immediately after   on the same machine. Then,  = . Under the above assumptions, the problem is to minimize the makespan, i.e., Minimize   = .  An example is illustrated in Fig. 1 to distinguish the difference between the problem and traditional problems. Let  ,  . The properties of the six jobs are listed in Table 1. Though there are 23 tasks, we need to process only 15 of them due to the overlapping property. For a schedule  =(1,2,3,*,4,5,6), the asterisk (*) means a separator dividing jobs into two parts. The overlapped tasks allocated to the same machine need to be processed once. For example, we just take only one extra unit of processing time to process  . This is because tasks {f, i, j, k} are done by   and  . With this consideration, the makespan can be shortened more than before. Makespan has been widely studied for decades. However, duplicate contents have been much less discussed. Traditional job scheduling seldom benefits from such overlapped jobs. We classify related scheduling problems into three types and make comparison with this study. This comparison distinguishes the difference between this study and past research.  First, jobs are all disjoint. In some traditional scheduling problems e.g., (Lin & Ying, 2013), some incomplete results cannot be shared by several users’ requests. Even though there are identical requests issued by multiple users, a machine needs to process it repeatedly. That is, we cannot benefit from tradition scheduling methods, especially for makespan minimization. Moreover, traditional scheduling problems can be formulated into integer linear programming (ILP) problems. However, the proposed problem regarding union or intersection can be formulated into an ILP problem. Therefore, general commercial ILP software cannot be used to solve the proposed problem. Second, jobs are overlapped with some overlapped contents. That is, some jobs  . Such applications are commonly seen in information providing services. For example, in (J. Y. Wang, 2012), some earlier complete results can be used to provide later users who issue the same requests. However, the number of all possible unions or intersections is huge, looking for the optimal schedules become impracticable.

 

Using Conjoint Analysis to Discover Guest Preferences and Willingness to Pay for Bed and Breakfast in Taitung

Dr. Chen-Te Lin, Kang Ning University

Dr. I-Hua Lin, Taiwan ShouFu University

Yi-Tsun Ho, Chang Jung Christian University

Dr. Chen-Hsien Lin, Overseas Chinese University

 

ABSTRACT

Within recent years, the government of Taitung County has encouraged the tourism industry and promoted this location as the best vacation spot in Taiwan. A variety of events take place there, such as folk activities and religious festivals; in addition local services and exhibitions also attract tourism. To demonstrate the distinguishing characteristics of Taitung, bed and breakfast (B&B) owners’ have blended nature and culture into their décor, menus, and activities. This study focuses on (a) consumers’ major considerations in choosing Taitung’s B&Bs, (b) market segmentation of Taitung’s B&Bs and the best product mix preferred by consumers, and (c) willingness to pay for room rate.  A two-stage cluster analysis was employed as the main research method; initially, the researchers classified the appropriate cluster numbers and used the K-means to cluster the groups in the second stage. Information about consumer preference was collected to complete the conjoint analysis of the data of the product mix and the data of the preference order of the consumer.  The researchers gained the primary attributes of the B&Bs from the literature review and developed a first-stage survey. The conjoint analysis was adopted to analyze the dataseven new attributes were discovered: electronics available in the room, supplies in the room, types of rooms, availability of local items, availability of bicycles, word-of-mouth recommendations and advertising, directional sign. In the second stage, visitors were sent to Taitung and helped the participants to complete the questionnaires to understand their preference sequence. Part-worth utilities were adopted as a segmentation method, and three clustering-based segmentations were discovered: facilities orientation, price orientation and room type orientation. Conclusions, recommendations, and the suggestions for future researchers will be based on the research data.  In recent years, domestic tourism has grown rapidly in Taiwan due to the changing tendency in lifestyle and the social value. Within past decades, the economic trends of the country have been changed from manufacturing and traditional industrial to service and tourism industry, the inbound tourism increased from 3millions to more than 7millions a years. According to WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) economic impact 2013 research report of Taiwan, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to national GDP is predicted to rise by 1.2% in 2013, and by 3.4 % pa from 2013-2023. Travel and Tourism investment in 2012 was about 5.3% of the total national investment, and it should rise by 5.7% in 2013, and by 5.2% pa. over the next ten years (p. 1). The higher ratio of inbound tourists to domestic tourists makes inbound tourism play a significant role in the Taiwan Travel & Tourism Industry.  Taitung county, a beautiful area may be the last pristine land on the island of Taiwan; which is the third largest county in Taiwan, located in the eastern coast. This county has spectacular biodiversity and unique eco-system; as well as well-preserved natural resources resulting from the slow pace of industrialization; beautiful mountains, the water and coastline, and the culture of southern aboriginal communities. Ethnic diversity has endowed a unique culture, multiple festival occasions, and vibrant life of slowness that caused the county distinct from others. This unique county attracted more than 4.5 millions of visitors a year (Chen, 2013) and the number was increasing yearly. Nevertheless, due to lack of the distinguishing features, sightseeing spot sand accommodations, many of the visitors often won’t spend a night there. Within recent years, the government of Taitung County has encouraged the tourism industry and promoted this location as the best vacation spot in Taiwan as well as the variety of events take place there, such as hot billon festival, folk activities and religious festivals.  The bed and breakfast (B&B) is a place where guests can pay and stay in someone's house for a night and to receive a simple breakfast. In recent years, B&Bs springing all over the country, many of the B&B shaving beautiful buildingdecorating with unmatched furniture and the scenery. Thus fore, more and more travelers attracted by the features of B&Bs and preferred to spend the night at B&Bs. This evidence is based on the following data: 2.7% domestic tourism stayed in B&Bs. This number climbed to 2.8% in 2008, 5.1% in 2009 and reached to 5.7% in 2010; the total legal B&Bs was 3481 in May 2012 compared to 1024 in July 2005 (Executive Information System Tourism Bureau, M.O.T.C., 2012a).B&B growth is steady, and what is more, within the past few years, investors increasingly invest into this market. In fact, data showed that there were 68 legal B&Bs in Taitung in July 2005, 224 in July 2007, 283 in July 2009 and 442 in November 2012. At the same time there was 6 illegal B&Bs in Taitung as well. To demonstrate the distinguishing characteristics of Taitung, bed and breakfast (B&B) owners’ have blended nature and culture into their décor, menus, and activities. Nowadays, increasingly domestic tourists seek a getaway destination from the city and crowds with reasonable and affordable accommodations. Thus, Taitung’s B&B become the best place for them.

 

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