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An investigation of relationship marketing to gain competitive advantage in the Supply Chain Industry: A case study of Dhillon Dairy Ltd.

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction and background

This was a case study approach on relationship marketing in the supply chain through Dhillon Dairy Ltd. Dhillon Dairy Ltd is based in the United Kingdom and is involved the dairy industry. As such it provides dairy food which is perishable in nature. Perishable foods have a short term life cycle. This means that the sales of these needs to be constant and be off the shelves as soon as possible. The dairy industry is a very competitive one. Not only does Dhillon Dairy Ltd have to compete with other British producers but also with other producers from the European Union who also have the rights into the British markets. The market has also become more competitive as it has shrunk due to the current global recession. The consumer spending power has shrunk. As such relationship marketing has become a tool for survival and not another marketing term. It has become a tool for survival which Dhillon Dairy Ltd cannot afford to ignore. The very nature of the British Dairy Industry is very competitive and its consumers are sophisticated due to the numerous choices available to them. There is a wide array of consumer dairy products upon which one can choose from. This chapter served to introduce the reader to the research study; it outlined the research question, its aims and objectives. It gave an introductory overview to all the chapters leading to the chapter’s conclusions.

1.2 Relationship marketing-an overview in the context of the research study

Relationship marketing approaches aim to realize that the buying and the selling agreement between a buyer and seller have the meaningfulness by providing a personalized, holistic perspective to develop stronger and long lasting ties. Alvey (1982) cited in Leonard (1983) noted the use of relationship marketing for the products that face high availability of substitutes in the markets. Relationship marketing was the most cost effective way to maintain one’s clients’ loyalty towards the product and achieve strong sales growth. Gordon (1999) noted that the traditional use of “marketing mix approach” has its limitations to provide constructive framework to assess and develop customer relationships in an industry sector and it should be replaced by the alternative approach of relationship marketing that purely focuses on customers and relationships rather than mundane price, products and Markets. Relationship marketing is also widely known as ‘relationship management’, it is connected to all the aspects of an organization such as its structure, culture, training and goals. Relationship marketing mainly focuses on the employee as a key marketer since he/she is the one who is responsible for the building and maintaining the relationships with the customers. There are various approaches towards relationship marketing, as there cannot be one particular way customer relationships could be built. Some of the most widely used and known approaches are discussed below, these approaches are mainly pertaining to the supply chain industry. These are namely satisfaction, retention, application and internal market. Under satisfaction the relationship marketing depends upon the communication and consumer requirement from existing customers. It usually happens by mutually beneficial exchange and authorization for contact by consumer. The amount of sales relative to that competing companies mainly determine or decide on relative price, quality of goods and services produced or sold through a company along with customer service by keeping particular purpose to customer satisfaction in mind. The group targeted through relationship marketing may be large, accuracy of communication and overall relevancy to the customer remains higher than direct marketing, causes low possibilities generating new leads than direct marketing and is limited to viral marketing for gaining further customers (Kotler et al, 2006). Under retention the main principle of relationship marketing is the preservation or maintenance of customers through different ways, resources and practices to keep track on repeated trade by satisfying requirement for those companies by all the way through mutually beneficial relationship. This method is now used by all companies for means of balancing new customers and opportunities with current and existing customers for means of maximizing profit margin and counteracting the leaky bucket theory of business’ in which new customers gained in older direct marketing and their kind if oriented business were at expenses of the loss of older customers.

Under retention relationship marketing and traditional marketing are mutually broad, private so that there is no need for a conflict between them. As situation varies, a relationship-oriented marketer has more choices to go ahead broadly at the level of practices. Most firms mix together the two approaches to match their portfolio of products and services like their range, collection and overall status into the market (Kotler et al, 2006). Under internal marketing, internal marketing refers to using marketing orientation inside the organization itself. Many of relationship marketing attributes determine what internal customers say and do. The attributes may like collaboration, loyalty and trust. Now a question arise who are the internal customersAccording to theory, every employee, team or department in the company is at the same time act as a supplier and a customer of services and products. An employee obtains services at a point in the value chain, which provides to another employee further along the value chain. If internal marketing is useful and get successful, which result that every employee will provide and receive exceptional services from and to other employees. It helps all employees to understand their importance of their roles and how their role relates to other employees. If this gets implemented well, it can encourage every employee to see the process in terms of customer’s opinion of value added and the organization’s strategic mission. It is claimed that an effective internal marketing program is a requirement for effective external marketing efforts (George, 1990).

1.3 Background and rationale

Companies are increasingly adopting a philosophy called the supply chain relationship marketing, in response to maturing markets, globalization and increased competition. The terms of supply chain relationships view customer relationships as key elements of the organization, which allows companies to maintain and increase sales of larger customers and to improve communication and better coordination of the relationship of buyer and supplier (Johnson and Selnes, 2005). This kind of industrial buyers and suppliers, which are characterized by a relatively long time frames, nonmarket forms of governance and a high level of commitment and trust, have received particular attention from researchers in recent years (Verhoef, 2003; Narayandas and Rangan 2004). These relationships are described as “a permanent basis for competitive advantage” (Day, 2000). But not all these conditions will lead to mutually beneficial results, with some firms in buyer-supplier relationship, both opportunistically with higher profits at the expense of the other side. Moreover, there has been relatively little empirical investigation of the effects of these relations in the field of efficiency and success (Kumar 2000; Hunt et al. 2002). Given these facts and events in mind, a research is scheduled for the study of relationship marketing in supply chain industry inUK – Dhillon Dairy Ltd. In light of the preceding the following were the aims and objectives of the research study.

1.4 The aims and objectives

The aims and objectives were as follows:

To investigate the impact of relationship marketing as way of gaining competitive advantage and achieve profitability in the supply chain industry with reference to Dhillon Dairy Ltd.
To carry out a review of literature linking achieving competitive advantage through relationship marketing and challenges faced by supply chain industry inUK.
To evaluate the way forward for relationship marketing for Dhillon Dairy Ltd in light of the finding.

In light of the preceding and in line with the aims and objectives the following was the research study question

Research study question

To what extent does relationship marketing tool has an impact as a tool in gaining competitive advantage in the context of Dhillon Dairy Ltd

1.5 Overview of the chapters

This study was split into the five traditional chapters that normally structure dissertations and theses. Chapter 1 (this chapter) was the introductory chapter explaining the need of the research, its objective and the logic behind choosing this title. The next chapter (Chapter 2) covered the literature review and also referred to previous such studies which were critically analyzed for their relevance to this research. The review was also used to support the data and empirical analysis of chapter four. Chapter 3 was the research methodology employed for conducting this study. It explains the techniques and tools employed for gathering data, its compilation and interpretation. It covered the Interpretivism paradigm of inquiry. Chapter 4, a key chapter, was devoted to analysis and findings of the study data, both primary and secondary. It unearthed the empirical findings which were conclusively discussed under chapter 5. Chapter 5 presented the conclusions and forwards recommendations. The following were the conclusive remarks for the introductory chapter of 1.

1.5 Summary

The introductory chapter served to highlight the importance of relationship marketing in customer retention. Relationship marketing has become more important now as the world in global recession. The research study was in light of Dhillon Dairy Ltd’s role in the supply chain in the British dairy industry. It was inductive in nature using the Interpretivism paradigm and the grounded theory methodology. It sought meaning from the data and as such did not wish to test or de-test a theory but sought interpretation and meaning. Relationship marketing emphasizes on customer retention. The next chapter set forth the literature review in line with the research’s study’s aims and objectives.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The literature review began with the introduction of relationship marketing as a concept. Various definitions on crisis were given. This chapter also gave various definitions as to the meaning of relationship marketing. The researcher also posited forward their definitions relationship marketing in light of the various academic definitions and the contextual settings of the literature review. Relationship marketing was used as a means concept and not as a test. It was used as a means to an end and not the very end in itself as the researcher did not intend to test or de-test a theory but sought an understanding thorough the inductive means. In the inductive world of reasoning meaning is drawn from the observed world and that meaning is held as an understanding. The inductive world argues that the world outside and its nature of reality is too complex for the human level of understanding. Thus the inductive seeks to grasp and understand the nature of that reality. The research study used the grounded theory approach to understand the interpretivism’s nature of reality of the world in terms of relationship marketing with direct reference Dhillon Dairy Ltd within the realms of the supply chain. As the grounded theory process began in the literature review. This meant that the selection process of the grounded theory began by splitting the literature review in the following two:

Relationship marketing
Supply chain

This was the beginning of the grounded theory process in the literature review. As the literature review gathered momentum varies patterns and emerging themes formed the coding process that was then realized in the form of questionnaires that were used in the empirical data and analysis of chapter four in light of the research’s study’s aims and objectives. The literature review was set as follows.

Part A

The literature review-relationship marketing

To gain the media attention seems to be the motto of the today`s accelerated world this most frequently tends to overlook the vital ingredient of the marketing such as the use of existing relationships with the customers. This is quite ironic to the fact that marketing is mainly based on the relationships with people and their reactions, views and opinions. In late 20th century direct response marketing campaigns were conducted specifically emphasizing on customer satisfaction and retention rather than conservative sales and revenue generation approach. These marketing campaigns evolved a form of marketing called Relationship Marketing that have customer orientated focus and recognizes importance of creating long term loyal customers for an organization. Relationship marketing targets current set of customers rather than penetrating into different segment or diversifying into various sectors. Relationship marketing is the process of attracting, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with key people in the market (De Young, 1998).

It is easier to build long term relationships with the current customers through developing strong bonding amongst current customers rather than diversifying into a different market segment. Relationship marketing is a cost effective tool in terms that it saves costs of creating public awareness, advertising and acquiring new customers. The old marketing mantra for success, namely to have the right product at the right place at the right time, therefore, the supply chain management has become increasingly popular in marketing and management of marketing channels. At the same time, however, also shows that the interaction between the two disciplines.

In markets with a reduction of life and change the balance of power from suppliers to customers by providing information and what they want, when and why. Recently, the active role of clients in the process of creating value has been emphasized (Vargo and Luscha 2004). Indeed more emphasis has been placed upon the value of the goods or services created by the customer and their use, making their own needs. With the use of products or services, the client continues the process of commercialization, the process of creating value.

Marketing strength lies in understanding the forces that influence how customers perceive the value (and gain knowledge of customers), to detect the needs of different customer groups (market and customers), translate them into packs of products and services to meet different needs (personal development products and services) and marketing packages through customer suggestions (price, brand, communications, marketing). An important element of current conceptualizations of the strategic role of marketing is Customer Relationship Management (Zablah et al. 2004). Relationship Management is a process which means that the macro-economic growth and market “information to build and maintain a portfolio” to maximize the benefits of relationships with customers. De Young (1998) argued that relationship marketing was all about maintaining and retaining the relationship with one’s customers that is one’s client. It is all about customer retention. It is all about building constructive relationships with the selected or target audience. This can be viewed as a selective target marketing strategy. All marketing strategies must be in line with and promote the organization’s mission statement. They must promote the goals, aims and vision of the mission statement. De Young (1998) put forward five ideals which are the key to successful relationship marketing:

Coordinate communications

Effective communication is vital in any business world. As such the right message must be communicated at the right place, at the right time using the appropriate medium.

Know your elected officials.

Here one needs to identify all local municipal and regionally elected officials in one’s area. Collect basic information on their background and interests.

Get organized

An organized marketing department ensures that all is done on time, at the right place. This means that deadlines and targets are duly met

Develop a communication plan.

This ensures that the target audience for customer retention is reached using the most appropriate and effective medium

Conduct effective legislative visits.

Company law recognizes companies as separate legal entity. This means that companies are legal personas bound by law. As such Dhillon Dairy Ltd is bound by the legislative laws ofEnglandandWales. As such it is essential for Dhillon Dairy Ltd to be aware of these laws and the council by-laws as well.

De Young (19980 argued that it was vital to send appropriate newsletters to the target audience Indeed personal visits and written communications must be planned as part of a continuous, year-long dialogue (ibid). He argued that the pictures should be included in these messages as they are more effective. People generally respond more to pictures than endless paragraphs of words and figures. Pictures grab the attention and the imagination of the would-be reader. The mind generally remembers pictures more than words. Visuals are a more effective form of medium. Irani et al (2006) argued that mechanisms for feedback must be built. Specific message stimuli must be taken as a vital ingredient on the consumer perceptions. As such the Dhillon Dairy Ltd must build easier to understand messages and adopt the appropriate medium for the communication means. Indeed focusing on relationships may provide a way to be more effective and efficient with available marketing resources (ibid). They argued that one should use “public value words” that have meaning and strength. As such academic words or phrases that may have been used in the past should be phased out to reach a more urban and needs-focused clientele (ibid). They argued that public relations were important in relationship marketing. They drew this on Grunig’s (2001) that ‘…public relations contributes value to an organization when its communication programs result in quality long-term relationships with its strategic publics–also known as stakeholders” (p 25).

Boldt (1987) argued that relationship marketing was important in the service industry. As such customer retention is vital. Retaining customers is less expensive than acquiring new ones. It can be costly to acquire new ones. It is the profitable customers that need to be retained. Long term relationships are essential and not the short term relationships. Long term relationships are a key asset to any firm. They are part of the assets in the balance sheet. They are part and parcel of goodwill. They increase the value and reputation of a firm or an organizational entity. Boldt (1987) cited De Young by arguing that the process of turning customers into long terms clients involved the following:

Internal Marketing.

This is the most important factor in gaining loyal, long-term clients is PFS (personal, friendly service). Position descriptions and training should place emphasis on the equal importance of technical duties and marketing skills.

Perception Management.

This is practice of actively listening to clients and involves learning what clients’ value and providing need-fulfilling services.

Relationship Pricing.

This is the practice of rewarding client loyalty through publicized financial incentives (ibid). As such the the key to success is by recognizing the nature of the change and helping one’s clients to adjust to the changes in the socio-economic landscape (ibid). This is true for Dhillon Dairy Ltd asBritainwas officially in recession at the time of writing up this research study. The consumer spending patterns have changed due to the shrunk economic spending power. As such Dhillon Dairy Ltd has to adjust and help its customers adjust to the changes in the economy. It is vital especially now for them to retain their existing clients especially the profitable ones if they are to survive the onslaught of the recession. Lee (1988) put forward five steps in targeting the audience:

identify the target audiences according to mission and goals
select geographic areas
prepare demographic profiles
one must include their lifestyle, psychographic, and behavioral profiles and
identify life events and health status of audience.

Boldt (1987 saw marketing and relationship marketing from Fischer’s point of viewed where marketing was seen as ‘…a combination of activities required to direct the flow of educational programs and services from the higher education institution to the consumer in a form, place, and time, and at a price that is best able to satisfy the consumer’s needs’ (p167). Boldt upheld the six Ps of marketing in this view:

Source: Boldt (1987) p 2


This includes the creation of the appropriate and consistent message or image to the decision makers and the targeted market


The actual location of the market(s)


The targeted market(s) or the end consumers/clients


The competitive price of the product or service


The actual product or service


The market setter or market leader in terms of the changing trends (ibid).

As such understanding market is everyone’s responsibility. The following three serve to guide organizations in light of the above six Ps in order to develop a sound relationships marketing program and thus ensure customer retention:

Clarify one’s mission and identify one’s constituencies

This entails clarifying the organizations goals and objectives in light of the targeted market

Implement an ongoing exchange process with important stakeholders through dialogue and planning

This acknowledges the important role of the stakeholders and the need for their constant involvement and participation

Communicate, promote, and evaluate success with targeted constituencies (ibid).

Marketing is viewed as strategy for giving consumers information about one’s products or services (Maddy and Kealy; 2001). They were of the view that another way of customer retention was through integrated marketing where one becomes involved in the client’s entire strategic planning process and then provide communication solutions and executions. Indeed an understanding of how consumers get information about products and services and how marketers can manage that information for maximum effectiveness is the heart of integrated marketing (ibid). They also that branding and a good brand help in relationship marketing through customer retention. They argued that a brand is a promise of value. This is largely because the effects of image marketing and therefore branding build over time, consistency is critical. Every piece of communication should support the brand and be consistent over time. They argued that consumers are not homogenous and unique as each and every one of them has different taste, different aspirations, different family structures and different incomes. As a result one marketing model for all will not work (ibid). They further noted that relationship marketing is event driven; it is about using marketing techniques in order to retain the customers.

As such it involves the use of methods and tactics in order to develop long term relationship with customers with the view of retaining the latter. As such an organisation must exceed customer satisfaction with the view of retaining them and develop a healthy relationship with their customers. As such the traditional transactional marketing involved the organisation focusing all of its marketing efforts on attracting the customer for one off sales. However customers who are repeat end up spending more as they are happy with an organisations services or products. Customers’ needs and wants are dynamic and change with the market trends and movements. The following are the methods used to monitor customer satisfaction:

Focus groups
Personal interviews
Mystery shoppers
Customer complaints
Suggestion boxes
Online surveys
General comments (ibid)

In order to retain customers one must keep up to date with the needs of one’s customers. Customer needs do not always remain static and always change. Adapting and changing along with these needs would indeed help the organization develop the relationship it wants with the customer. The benefit will be increased profit, market share and brand awareness (ibid).

Maddy and Kealy (2001) argued that marketing is shifting from push to pull model as consumers are taking control on what they like and how they like it. As such the probability is likely that consumers are now less likely to respond to media driven and market strategies. As such firms are now turning to relationship marketing in order to develop a personal relationship with their clients in order to develop a long term loyal customer base. This entails creativity on behalf of the firm and cost effective strategies. They put forward a new marketing model called the ‘Learning Relationship’ with each customer. They noted that every interaction with the customer is an opportunity for the business to learn more about the former and their individual motivations. It entails learning more about the customer through every stage of their business life cycle. The motivation would be for the customers to stay loyal and faithful to the company. Maintaining a customer database is the key as one can build an understanding of the customer’s behavior and spending patterns. The Learning Relationship is realized through the following stages:

Understanding the visitors behind the visits
Segment customers by their behavior
Creating specific content to meet one’s customers’ needs
Measuring one’s success (ibid)

They argued that a firm must therefore develop and build brand management and recognize and reward customer loyalty. They argued that the firm must reengage the inactive customers. As such the firm must identify customers who have not paid a visit purchase and try and lure them back with offers of discounts amongst other things. They argued that firms must also aim to increase customer loyalty through improving customer service and the increase in up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. This ensures that Relationship marketing works and is successful in maintaining customer retention through the Learning Relationship. They further argued that the traditional marketing model has become obsolete as they world has shifted towards a commoditized view of the world. As such the marketing advantage has moved from the traditional one where success was measured on one’s ability to reach many customers through mass media to that on which that has high levels of insight about consumers’ preference and behavior. They argued that the business model must move from the traditional transactional model to that one where of learning relationships that see customers into a long term relationship with the firm as the source of the competitive advantage (ibid). Hansen and Thurau (2000) argued that relationships with clients or customers must be viewed as capital assets in the balance sheet. They argued that long term relationships are built on personal and social bonds. As such these personal and social bonds must be strengthened through the integration of the customers in the value production process. Retention is viewed in terms of customer loyalty and repeat purchasing behavior. Customer retention leads to increase in profits and cost reduction. Customer satisfaction is viewed from the customers’ emotional and emphatic needs. The element of trust exists where the customer believes and trusts one’s products or services as reliable. Commitment is viewed as an emotional response by the customer in the view of maintaining a long term relationship. This long term relationship is vital for a firm’s survival and success. The price of the product or the service must be reasonable and be competitive. The distribution methods must ensure that the products or services must be nearer to the end consumers or customers. They argued that relationship marketing is dynamic and not static. They noted five phases under relationship marketing life cycle. These are namely awareness, exploration, expansion, commitment and dissolution. They argued that the relationship marketing life cycle is not a deterministic model of prediction as they vary from practice to practice.

Hansen and Thurau (2000) argued that relationship marketing is not only concerned with the outside customers but also with the internal part of the firm. They argued that employee satisfaction and well being is a must for relationship marketing with the outsiders to become a success. Thus internal relationship is a must. This is viewed as internal marketing. Internal marketing is of value in cases where customer service is an essential component of the firm’s economics. This is particularly relevant to the service industry where the performance of an employee is evaluated (for example, hairdressers, mechanics, restaurants). Furthermore the stakeholder view holds the firm accountable to all of those in which it has direct or indirect influence through its activities. Hansen and Thurau (2000) noted that there are three kinds of reference objects in relationship marketing. These are namely the employees, branches and companies and lastly products or brands. As already good relationships with employees are the foundation of any good business model. They are of particular importance in the service industry. They argued that corporate identity of a firm is the degree upon which it is able to communicate with its customers through its branches or companies or subsidiaries. They posited that the key to successful international relationship marketing is the recognition of the various forms of culture. As such firms must be ready to learn and appreciate other different forms of culture and must be willing and adapt to those cultures. They must also acknowledge transnational where the customer and the buyer are located in different countries (ibid). They argued that the larger social and physical difference between the buyer and seller may lead to low levels of trust between the two. They noted that the quality of relationships in transnational is lower than that on the domestic level. They noted that relationship marketing has mainly focused on the suppliers’ side and not the customers’. Little attention has been made on the customers’ willingness to stay committed in the relationship. As such the focus must be shifted and emphasis placed from the customers’ perspective. It is after all the customer that the firm needs. Customers are the engine and the source of survival for any commercial firm. It therefore makes more sense for relationship marketing to be customer orientated per se. They also noted and argued that another aspect of relationship marketing that has been ignored is its practical relevance. Implementation means ‘… the adaptation and modification of a company’s value base, strategies, structures, and reward systems in accordance with the fundamental axioms of relationship marketing’ (ibid; p16). They also argued that firms have tended to ignore the lost customers, the ones who were with the firm for a long time and for some apparent reason decided to leave. As such regain management seeks and complements relationship marketing by focusing on these lost customers.

Customer loyalty brings many benefits to the operating firm or business. Firstly it brings certainty in terms of purchase and thus ensures that element of predictability. This signifies stability and can be evidenced by the customers’ habitual purchase or the customers’ immunity to the competitors’ activities (ibid). They also argued that thus certainty can be achieved through customer feedback and can only be realized through the feedback of those customers who are and have been loyal through the long term and instead of the short-term. Thus certainty can only be attained by long term customers who have established a long term relationship with the firm and have that element of trust between the two entities. They argued that is those long term loyal customers who are prepared to complain that provide the true barometer of the marketing conditions. Those long term customers, who are prepared to complain, fill in the questionnaires and the customer satisfaction surveys are the source of customer retention. They in a way help in building customer satisfaction models (ibid). They held the view that increased feedback would indeed the marketer more scope and more in depth into the market analysis. This process also gives more trust between the two and seals the long term relationship. The firm that is willing to listen to its clients and meet its clients’ complaints, needs and wants is the source and foundation of a true relationship marketing model. They argued that close relationships with customers may be a source of disadvantages in the sense that this may lead to complacency on the firm, carelessness and inactivity on the firm. The quality of loyalty is seen through customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is realized when the customer’s needs and expectations are met or are met beyond the expectations (ibid). As such loyalty and satisfaction cannot be treated as one and the same. Loyalty may be missing even if there is customer satisfaction as they may be barriers to the whole process. For loyalty can be bought through such incentives as bonuses, coupons, discounts, price discounts and other monetary offers. Indeed this is different from customer commitment which cannot be bought through monetary means but can only be earned through the long term process. They argued that loyalty is no guarantee for future success especially the bought one the relationship and its ongoing process is determined and influenced by the monetary incentives. Genuine loyalty is the one that counts for its stands the test of time as the customer would be willing to stand by the firm even if it makes a mistake. They asserted that customer loyalty is indeed an asset to the business. As evidenced in the literature review, this assertion has been echoed by other authors as well. Customer retention and relationship management reflect the ‘goodwill’ of an organization or firm. This is a worthy asset which can add to the long term value of an organization. This is particularly true for Dhillon Dairy Ltd as the United Kingdomis still in recession and as such every penny of consuming spending counts. The consumers’ spending habits have to a certain degree been altered by the recession and many dairy firms are going under. Kerrin et al (2003) argued that relationship marketing is easier to understand but harder to do. They argued that successive relationship marketing links the organization with its customers, employees, suppliers, and other partners for the mutual long term benefit. In terms of selling the product relationship marketing starts from the purchase of the product right up to the after sales service. It is individualized in its approach. As such a firm’s marketing program needs to connect the firm with its customers through the careful promotion of its products, price, and place (ibid). The next part of the literature review covered the marketing supply chain in the context of this research study. Relationship marketing and the supply chain are linked together as they all seek to promote customer satisfaction by producing and delivering the right goods or services at the right place, the right quantity and at the price. It is all about customer satisfaction. Customer retention is now a key aspect of any business. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore it. It has replaced the traditional marketing model and has become the source of advantage for any business. Customer retention and relationship marketing is all about satisfying and retaining the profitable customers who are also loyal customers. Businesses desire these aforementioned customers who are faithful and committed to the firm with the view of maintaining long term relationships. Long term relationships bring stability to the organization. Long term relationships also bring in stability and predictability on consumer behavior and spending patterns.

Part B

The literature review-the marketing supply chain

Kerrin et al (2003) defined the supply chain as a series of firms that perform activities required to create and deliver a good or service to consumers or the industrial users per se. The supply chain includes the producers, the retailers, and the wholesalers. As such supply chain management refers to ‘…the integration and organization of information and logistics activities across firms in a supply chain for the purpose of creating and delivering goods and services that provide value to consumers’ (p204). They argued that what makes the marketing supply chain unique was its ability to integrate and make full use of the modern day information technology that allows the company to integrate and share information in terms of delivery, price, quality, its specifications, transport scheduling, and inventory and facility management. Indeed this is appropriate for Dhillon Dairy Ltd as it is involved in the perishable foods industry where high turnover is the emphasis as perishables expire if not moved off the shelves on time. Furthermore refrigeration is costly and thus this increases electricity bills. Therefore quick turnover on the perishables is a must in the Dhillon Dairy Ltd as it is in the dairy industry. The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council (2006) described the role of and the job of a supply chain manager in the following manner:

‘…supply chain, plan, organize, direct, manage, evaluate, and are responsible for the activities of establishments and departments involved in sales and marketing of supply chain services. This includes the identification of opportunities for operational improvements. Management specializations in sales or marketing functions may be present in organizations depending upon the nature, size and complexity of the organization’ (p4).

It can be argued that this definition is multi- national as it encompasses a global reaching definition on the meaning of the supply chain and the role and description of the supply chain manager. It can also fit into the British context. It is an all round definition. This research study took this definition in the light of the study. As seen in the definition supply chain integrates with other department and its role is one that must a strategic fit with the aims and goals of an organization. It must be in line and be aligned to the mission statement. It must be congruent with the mission statement. It then follows that Dhillon Dairy Ltd supply chain must be strategic fit with the organizations’ mission statement, the goals and the objectives. It involves the planning, organization, the evaluation and the evaluation. As seen from the definition it involves working hand in hand with other marketing departments and also the identification of further opportunities in terms of markets, new markets, opportunities and growth. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals argued that ‘it encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all Logistic Management activities. Importantly it also includes coordination and collaboration with the channel partners, which can be the suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers and the customers. In essence Supply Chain Management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies’ (Menzter and Gundlach, 2009; p5).

Market conditions that firms with flexible supply chains are characterized by volatile demand and high demands on the variety (Christopher, 2000). The trend of movement in many industries today pushed lean and flexible supply chain management, in the foreground. In markets where customers perceive little difference between products and the reduction of brand loyalty, time availability is an important factor for success. But the alluring promises of supply chain management, which aims to reduce the overall level of resources required to provide the necessary level of customer service, should not overshadow its limits: the management of the supply chain is an effective balance supply and demand, but not to answer the question from customers as it helps the company to find what the customer perceives as valuable, and how it is perceived customer value can be translated to the value of the proposal for customers. In other words, the effectiveness of the supply chain does not increase the price and customer satisfaction (Rainbird, 2004). Kerrin et al (2003) argued that it is important to link the supply chain with the firm’s marketing strategy. They argued that the modern day supply chain follows the following three steps:

Understand the customer

The firm must understand the customers’ needs and wants according to the segmentation that they belong to. Indeed this can be linked to relationship management and its desire to fulfill its customer retention as a marketing strategy. Understanding these needs and wants as per the market segmentation would enable a firm to have a clear cut and refined view of its customers’ needs and wants. This will help the company in redefining its efficiency in meeting the customers’ needs and wants.

Understand the supply chain

They argued that a company must understand what the supply chain is designed to do well. Supply chains vary as some can emphasize on the delivery and being responsive to the customers’ requirements and some emphasize on the efficiency on supplying the products at the lowest cost.

Harmonize the supply chain with the marketing strategy

The supply chain must work hand in hand with the marketing strategy. They must both complement each. The supply chain could do damage if it does not promote the marketing strategy. As such the supply chain must be redesigned in order to complement the marketing strategy. Another alternative is for the marketing strategy to be redesigned in order to fit into the supply chain. They argued that there is no one best supply chain for the organization. All supply chains are ‘appropriate fit’ for the organizations. They argued that the best supply chain is the one that meets the customers’ needs and wants of the segment being served and thus complements the company’s marketing strategy. They further argued that supply chain managers are often called to make tradeoffs between efficiency and various elements of the supply chain. The logical logistics of a supply chain is to deliver the goods or services on time and efficiently using the minimum costs. Indeed customer service and satisfaction is the central core of any supply chain in terms of time, dependability, communication and convenience (ibid). As such the role of the logistics manager is to balance and meet the aforementioned four and try and minimize the costs at the same time. In the supply chain, time refers the order cycle or replenishment time for a product. The current emphasis on the supply chain is to reduce order cycle time so that the inventory levels of customers may be minimized. Supply chain is the end of it or output which the service is being delivered to the customers (ibid). They argued that every company is a member of one supply chain or another. They viewed the supply chain as ‘…it essentially a series of linked suppliers and customers in which every customer is, in turn, a supplier to another customer until a finished product reaches the ultimate consumer’ (p10). Supply chain managers’ play an important role in the marketing channel and distribution. Their major responsibilities include trucking, airline, shipping, railroad and shipping companies, the freight insurance, the operation of distribution centers, the management of finished goods and inventories and order processing for the sales. In the marketing area there is the ‘push’ and the ‘pull’ strategies. The ‘push’ strategy is a promotional mix that channels the members to encourage them to order and stock a product. The ‘pull’ strategy is directed at the ultimate consumers to encourage them to ask the retailers for the product (ibid). In the former it starts from the manufacturer the consumer. In the latter it starts from the end chain from the end consumer to the manufacturer. McFarland et al (2008) came up with the notion of the supply chain contagion in which they defined it as the spreading or imitation of behaviors from one inter-firm relationship to other inter-firm relationships. They argued that in such cases firms treat other firms in their supply chain as they have been treated themselves. In order words they pass the reflective behavior onto other parties in the supply chain. Sometimes wholesalers or retailers are likely to imitate the behaviors of their suppliers and pass in onto their own customers. They argued that contagion can occur with or without the knowledge of the affected parties. They posited that managers and those on the periphery boundaries of the supply chain should be made aware of the ripple effects that their actions have on the supply chain. They noted that high levels of contagion occur under the conditions of high environmental uncertainty and with higher frequency of contact and greater perceived similarly between the individuals within the realm of the supply chain (ibid). McFarland et al (2008) argued that although contagion may take the form of any number of inter-firm behaviors, one finding they came upon was that the downstream influence strategies used by manufacturers with their dealers were imitated by these same dealers with end customers. They argued that managers and the subsequent boundary-spanning staff who are indeed aware of supply chain contagion effects should be better able to influence the behavior of channel partners strategically and as such realign their own unintended imitation of other organizations within their supply chain.

Kurtz argued that in terms of logistics, a good supply chain needs to be in place. According to Kurtz the supply chain which is also known by the name value chain is defined as ‘…the complete sequence of supplies and activities that contribute to the creation and the delivery of the goods and services…it begins with the raw material inputs for the manufacturing process of a product and then actual proceeds to the actual production activities’ (p12)

As such the final link in the supply chain is held as the movement of the finished products through the marketing channel to consumers (ibid). Kurtz noted that each of the links and the movements along the supply chain are to benefit of the end consumer as the chain enhances the value of the finished product through the various inputs made by the members of the supply chain. Indeed the supply chain seeks to maximize consumer satisfaction as customer satisfaction arises from the perceived value of the finished product by the consumer. As such businesses seek to maximize the customer satisfaction through two ways namely upstream management and through downstream management. The former includes the managing of raw materials, inbound logistics, the warehousing and the storage facilities. The latter involves managing the finished product, outbound logistics, the marketing and sales and customer support and after sales services (ibid). Various methods exist for managing the supply chain. These include high tech radios, frequent meetings. The use of carriers can be used in the supply chain, moving the products or services from the manufacturer right up to the hands of the end consumers. There are two types of carriers namely the private ones and the contract carriers. The former do not as a norm offer their services for hire. They provide transportation services for solely internally generated freight. The latter are the transport for hire and normally do not offer their services to the general public. They offer contractual agreements and operate exclusively for a particular industry, for example for the motor industry, the chemical industry, the furniture and fittings industry. They operate and specialize under their specialist marketing segmentation. They tend to operate under looser regulation when compared to the common carriers (ibid). Indeed the choice of a carrier has a direct effect on the supply chain and the value added towards customer satisfaction and customer retention. Supply managers must evaluate the choice of the carrier in terms of their efficiency and costs and in terms of whether this actually promotes the strategic aims and the objectives of the mission statement.

Menzter and Gundlach (2009) noted that the trend for supply chain and its management gained momentum in the 1980s. Supply chain management involves the logistics, the coordination, the sourcing, the procurement and the conversion. They noted that the principles of the supply chain and the supply chain management share the common disciplines and practices common to the marketing discipline. As such they bridge and form a mutual common of understanding with other marketing disciplines. They noted that the developments in marketing and the growth in new thinking has realized these commonalities and grasped them. Marketing scholars have ingrained the core principles that underlie within the supply chain which holds supply chain and integration as the heart of the management core. Indeed this is two ways as the scholars in supply chain have benefited from the knowledge developed by marketing discipline in general through the recognition that inter-firm and interpersonal relationships can be grown and studied through the study of inter-organizational activities. As such there are indeed mutual benefits for the benefit of both parties. They argued that despite these benefits, the marketing literature and research has not made much progress in the recognition of the interrelationships between marketing and the supply chain management. Brindley (2004) noted that the elements that are apply to relationship marketing can easily be transferred to supply chain management field. Relationship marketing is geared towards customer satisfaction and the market place and is also concerned with other relationships in the supply chain in effort towards the maximization of customer satisfaction (ibid). As such relationship marketing and supply chain management integrate and bind the elements such as quality, customer service and marketing into a brand and also seek to reduce organizational risk.

Brindley (2004) noted that relationship management and the supply chain management share similar attributes and the means and ways of achieving their goals and objectives. They all purse one goal, which is customer satisfaction. A customer who is satisfied can be transformed into a repeat customer and in the long run a retained loyal customer Relationship management entails the knowledge and understanding of other players in the supply chain with the end goal of customer satisfaction. As such both relationship management and the supply chain management seek to alleviate organizational risks and these risks may be alleviated through the supply chain partnerships. Brindley (2004) argued that the supply chain can longer be seen in linear format of input and output model but now takes a variety of shapes and models. The competitive world of the service industry demands customer relationships and ‘emotional’ relationships if an organization has to survive. The supply chain can concentrate on its effectiveness as a whole as the total supply chain or it can concentrate on the attributes along the chain. The following are the dimensions that a supply chain normally operates under:

Customer attitudes
Global competitive environment
Industry structure
Customer/consumer attitudes (ibid).

As such new strategies need to be constantly developed if the supply chain has to persist in the ever-changing environmental landscape. The above mentioned contextual factors are never constant as they are dynamic and change with the environment. Thus the supply chain and relationship management must be proactive and not reactive to the changes. It must be adaptable and flexible and be abreast with the changes in contextual settings. The changes in the contextual factors can signify uncertainty and organizational risks. As such the key is to develop new relationships in the supply chain, strategic relationships that promote the organization’s mission statement towards its survival. All firms seek to survive. The nature of these relationships is the foundation stone for new companies and an enhancement for the more experienced ones in the industry. Trust plays an important role. Trust is the foundation and engine of all commerce. Without the element of trust the wheels of commerce can grind to a halt. Trust plays an important role in relationship management and indeed in the supply chain. If trust is broken down along the supply chain, the whole chain can come to a grind, a halt as the linkages would have been broken. This is truer in relationship management. Trust is vital in any relationship building process. Once that trust is broken, the relationship can be hard to rebuild. Long term customers may defect if the trust has been broken down. It is hard to regain the trust of a loyal long term customer if that trust has been breached. It can be costly to win these customers. At the worst they can defect to one’s competitors. A lost customer is a lost business. In addition the ‘word of mouth’ of an unhappy customer can be damaging as they will tell their friends, colleagues and partners in the supply chain or the business circles. This can be more damaging if the customer is a dominant corporate client. Openness and trust are vital in relationship marketing and also in the supply chain management. Brindley (2004) drew upon Morgan and Hunt (1994) who laid emphasis relationship marketing as having four domains or partnerships. These are namely:

The buyer
The supplier
The lateral
The internal partnerships

Brindley (2004) argued that markets with few supply chains can cause problems and disruptions. The fewer the members in the supply chain, the more the risks of disruption. This has a negative impact on relationship marketing and also on customer satisfaction and customer retention in the short and long run. Without the role of risk management, the supply chain may fall if it does not take the elements of risks and risk management into focus. Without this awareness, the supply chain may fall and be less efficient as it will not have taken a risk assessment and risk management into account. This may lead to customer dissatisfaction and customers mat defect to the firms’ competitors who may have a stable and sound supply chain in place which takes into account the element of risks and makes appropriate cover for such contingencies per se. As such the supply chain has human elements which need to be taken into account in terms of risks and risk management. The following are the elements are integral part of risks assessment:

Risk perceptiveness and preparedness
Gender and age influences
Group influences

As such accepting risks in the supply chain means the acknowledgement of risks, the element of uncertainty and the ways and means that these risks can or could be eliminated. Risks in the supply must be properly taken into account. An organization that does not take these environmental, societal and financial risks into account is mostly likely to be heading towards an untimely downfall. It is likely to face a corporate demise in the short run or in the near long run.

Harland (1996) argued that the principle of networking can improve and complement the supply chain. Companies are no longer independent entities acting in their own business environment. The traditional model of a company has long since been dispersed with. Companies no longer operate in an insular environment. Globalization has made the world into one sphere which is known as the ‘global village’. As such companies now operate in intricate cobweb environment which is independent on each other for survival. Harland (1996) described the supply network as a set of supply chains describing the flow of goods and services from the manufacturer to the end consumer. As such one important part of this networking is the structure. The components of these networks comprise of the actors, the resources and the activities. Harland (1996) drew this on Nishiguchi’s (1994) research on the Japanese companies who have hierarchal their suppliers, namely the first tier or primary supplier or providers who provide the systems rather than the components. This makes the buying companies to be more dependent on the suppliers. The next passages covered the concluding remarks for the literature review.


The literature review set out to review the contemporary literature that covered relationship marketing and the supply chain and supply chain management. The supply chain is known in some circles as the value. Value is added to a product or service along the supply chain starting from the manufacturer right up to the finished product or service as it finally reaches the consumer. The actors or participants in the value chain or supply chain as it is commonly referred as have a vital role to play in this process. Trust and openness play an integral and essential role. If trust is breached the supply chain may collapse. Trust oils the wheels of commerce. It is one of the very foundations of commerce. The actors in the value chain are inter-dependant on each other for survival. The modern day concept of the business no longer operates in an insular isolated and independent corporate environment. It is dependent on other entities for survival. These entities are part and parcel of its supply chain. Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of both the supply chain and relationship management. A satisfied or happy customer can be transformed into a repeat customer in form of repeat sales. This in the long run means customer retention. Relationship management and supply chain management are intrinsically interlinked. They use each other and build upon each other’s strengths and goals. The literature review made a linkage between the two and managed to link them as one in terms of their goals, objectives, themes and attributes in light of Dhillon Dairy Ltd. Dhillon Dairy Ltd, is in the dairy industry as its name entails. It is in the dairy industry supply chain within theUnited Kingdomcontext. The literature review mapped out the perimeters and boundaries for this research study. It is from the literature review that the grounded theory process of collecting data began. This was through the coding of the themes that emerged from the literature review. These coding themes were raised in the form of questions that were raised as questionnaires. The literature review supported the data and empirical analysis of chapter four. This made the research study merge the theory with the practical aspects as raised by the questionnaires. This was the originality and strengths of this research study, the merging of the theoretical aspects with the practical aspects. The research study was inductive in approach seeking meaning from the data. In the inductive logic of reason, meaning is sought from the data. The meaning emerges from the data. Data and interpretation of it go hand in hand until mutual interpretation of it is reached and understood. Mutual meaning and understanding of it is the distillation process in the grounded theory process. Saturation is when the condensation and distillation process has reached its final point such that mutual meaning is arrived at. Critics of the grounded theory argue that it is complicated process which results in theories that do not go anywhere and are grounded in data, hence the grounded theory. However one does not have to follow all the rigid process of the grounded but choose its ‘appropriate fit’. The next chapter set out the methodology and methods.

3. Research methodology and methods

3.1 Introduction

This section began with a brief description of the objectives of the research meant to meet with links made to the literature. This helped in explaining the reasons for the research approach adopted. The research philosophy section explains how knowledge is developed in the study and the nature of that knowledge according to the views and beliefs of the researcher in relation to the business and management studies involving human aspects. The researcher’s research philosophy has a direct bearing on the research approach and strategy as well as the data collection methods that are described therein in the section. The section included an explanation of the time horizon selected to perform the research and the sampling methods used. The section concludes by portraying how the research could be classified in terms of research methods used and the general advantages and disadvantages of belonging to the described paradigm. As mentioned above the topic and the questions of research shape the design by means of influencing the selection of the approaches and techniques. This is stated by Maylor and Blackmon (2005) as “a major influence on your research design will be the topic you are studying and the rules for doing research on that topic in general. These rules deal with the logic of the research, and describe what research questions you can ask and what methods you can use to answer them.”

3.2 Research Philosophy

The two main researches are paradigms or philosophies and these two paradigms can be labeled as Positivist and Phenomenological paradigms.

Positivism is a philosophical concept, and refers to a particular set of assumptions about the world and about appropriate ways of studying it. Positivists see ‘society’ as more important than the ‘individual’. Positivism is an epistemological position that advocates the application of the methods of the natural sciences to the study of social reality and beyond. It relies on the deductive laws of ‘cause and effect’. It applies the laws of deduction as it sets to prove or disprove a theory.

The Interpretivism or phenomenological paradigm is based on qualitative data. This is subjective in nature and follows humanistic and interpretative methods. Interpretivists share a view that the subject matter social sciences ‘people and their institutions’, is fundamentally different from that of natural sciences. The study of the social world therefore requires a different logic of research procedure, one that reflects the distinctiveness of humans as against the natural order (Von Wright, 1971). Interpretivists believe that unique and trusting relationships should be established with those being studied so that a true picture of their lives is constructed. It is aimed at capturing the essence of the phenomena and extracting data, which is rich in explanation and analysis, consequently validity is high under such a paradigm (Collis and Hussey 2003).

Guba and Lincoln (1994) held that:

‘…a paradigm may be viewed as a set of basic beliefs or metaphysics that deals with ultimates or principles. It represents a worldview that defines, for its holder, the nature of the ‘world,’ the individual’s place in it, and the range of possible relationships to that world and its parts. The beliefs are basic in the sense they must be accepted on faith and there is nowhere to establish their ultimate legitimacy. Inquiry paradigms define for the enquirers what they are about and what falls within and outside the limits of legitimate inquiry’ (p200).

Wass and Wells (1994) held that:

‘…for positivism, the etic ‘realist’ ontological assumptions are the real world exists independently of subjective consciousness, this latter is irrelevant to explanation; enquiry can converge on reality. The scientific objective is nomothetic with natural science; abstract from subjective idiosyncrasies to cover general laws; replicability generalizability’ (p9).

Hypotheses are tested against data using statistical techniques. The positivist’s methodology is mainly quantitative (Guba and Lincoln, 1998). According to Riley et al, (2000) ‘positivists argue that there exists a real world of social and physical phenomena and this world analyzed in an objective fashion in order to uncover general explanatory laws in an objective and unbiased, value-free manner’ (p10). For positivists reality and the observer are detached and independent of each other and the knowledge of reality is obtained by the measurement of its properties using objective methods. The researcher’s task is to identify ‘fundamental laws’ (Easterby-Smith et al, 1991).

Positivism (‘received view’) has dominated the formal discourse in the physical and social science for some four hundred years whereas post positivism represents efforts of the past decade in a limited way and essentially has the same set of beliefs of positivism (Guba and Lincoln, 1998). Hussey and Hussey (1997) defined ontology as one’s assumption about the nature of reality and epistemology as ‘the study of knowledge and what we accept as valid’ (p76). For post positivist the ontology is ‘critical realism’. Reality is assumed to exist but to be only imperfectly apprehendable because of basically flawed human intellectual mechanisms and the fundamentally intractable nature of phenomena (ibid). The epistemology is modified dualist and objectivist. Special emphasis is placed on critical traditions, thus the findings are compared with the pre-existing knowledge and the critical community (such as professional peers). However replicated findings are probably true (but are subject to falsification). The methodology is modified experimental and emphasis is placed on ‘critical multiplism’ as a way of falsifying (rather than verifying) the data. The methodology may include qualitative techniques (ibid).

Researchers are guided by their own philosophical beliefs which involve both epistemological and ontological considerations (Benton and Craib, 2001). These considerations in turn shape the research strategy (Bryman, 2004). This is often multistage and typically includes establishing aims and objectives, a literature review and series of methods to collect data, upon with later analysis can take place (Saunders et al., 1997). The epistemological and ontological choices that a research makes are often closely associated. A researcher that chooses to follow as positivist paradigm will likely take an objectivist view towards social phenomena compared with a researcher adopting an interpretivist paradigm, which follows a constructivist stance towards social phenomena.

Researchers have different view on what is considered acceptable as knowledge. This refers to epistemology, of which there are two principal schools: positivism and interpretivist. Ontology describes the view that researchers take towards social phenomena and the role of social entities. It can also be broadly described under two schools of thought: objectivism and constructionism. Positivism adheres to a deductive research approach, which constitutes a process in which the purpose of theory is to generate hypotheses that can be tested and then either accepted or rejected. Like in the nature sciences, it assumes that knowledge is ‘out there’ to be found and described by the facts and causal laws. It is closely associated with an objectivist stance, which infers that social phenomena, such as how an individual reacts to an increase in workload or improvement in wages relative to somebody else, are external facts that social entities (in other words, human beings involved in the process) cannot influence. They can therefore be studied objectively.

On the other hand, Interpretivism adheres to a more inductive research approach, where theory is the result of observations and other findings, not the starting point. It rejects the view that human nature is like the natural sciences and researchers can simply ‘study’ social phenomena, but argued that human nature is highly subjective and that these subjective elements require additional consideration by the researcher when constructing theory. This fits closely with constructionism, which implies the social entities are continually constructing and re-constructing their social realities. As such, the study of social phenomena is a subjective one and can neither be deduced down to laws nor considered definitive (Bryman, 2004).

The choice of epistemology and ontology also guide researchers’ methodology. Whilst researchers can employ both quantitative and qualitative methods, it is more common that quantitative methods are used in a positive, objectivist research paradigm and qualitative methods in an interpretivist, constructionist one. This study is held within a positive, objectivist research paradigm because this fits with the views of the researcher. Saunders et al (2007) described that subjectivist view is that social phenomena are created from the perceptions and consequent actions of social actors and that it is a continual process, in that, through the process of social interaction these social phenomena are in a constant state of revision..

3.3 Research Approach: Inductive Methods

The research could not adopt a deductive approach since the philosophy adopted was not a scientific research philosophy. All of the above reasons made an inductive approach appropriate for the research whereby facts could be discovered and conclusions drawn as a result of analysing the data that was collected. This approach depicts essential characteristic of induction and as described by Saunders et al (2007) theory would follow data rather than vice versa as within deduction. Inductive approach rather concerns humans and the nature of problem they are facing. “Research using an inductive approach is likely to be particularly concerned with the context in which such events were taking place.” “Therefore, the study of a small sample of subjects might be more appropriate than a large number as with the deductive approach.” “In this type of approach, it is more likely to work with qualitative data and to use a variety of methods to collect the data in order to establish different views of phenomena (Easterby-Smith et al. 2008).”

3.4 Research Content Validity Assessment

The content validity of survey instruments is assessed by an overview of the items by individual who is an expert in that field or subject and/or by the individuals from the target population. The individual make their judgments about the relevance of the items and about the assurance of their formulation.

3.5 Research Strategy: Questionnaire

Saunders et al (2007) defined research design as the complete plan of how one goes about answering the research questions. It comprises of the research strategies, data collection and analysis methods and the research project timeline. This research was explanatory in nature. Exploratory research establishes causal relationships between variables (Saunders et al, 2007). The research strategy employed was a questionnaire based approach. This required an in-depth understanding and focus into the research context. As described by Robson (2002) a questionnaire is a strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence. This definition highlighted the fact that a questionnaire is undoubtedly the appropriate approach for the research. At the point of time the research was designed it was anticipated as a situational analysis questionnaire where views of all actors related to the research contexts are examined to gain in-depth understanding of the matter under investigation. Another definition by Walsh (2001) described questionnaire as involving a systematic investigation into a single individual events or situations relating to a single source of interest, that is, the researcher studies multiple effects and perceptions of the respondents to the same subject. All the above explain that the research objectives and situation most certainly lend to this strategy.

Among the strengths of using the questionnaire approach was that it helped gain a rich understanding of the context of the research and the process being enacted (Morris and Wood, 1991). Second, it is suited for objective research as it has a considerable ability to generate quick answers from choices as well as obtain explanatory answers, What and How questions. (Saunders et al, 2007). Finally, questionnaires are a valuable strategy to adopt in research which can also provide further research insights. In conclusion of it abilities, a questionnaire can evaluate, measure, illustrate, and explore the social phenomenon relating to the research. On the down side, questionnaires sometimes make people feel bored as they it doesn’t have any real interaction unless the questionnaire is conducted verbally by the researcher and then responses inked.

The reasons for the other research strategies to be rejected were explained in the following. First, experiment strategy was regarded unsuitable for the research since the purpose was to explore causal links; whether a change in one independent variable produces a change in another dependant variable (Hakim, 2000). Further to its demerits, it is the preferred research strategy for testing hypothesis (Dul and Hak, 2007). This research did not wish to test a hypothesis. Second, the survey strategy was rejected since this is commonly related with the deductive approach to research and is not suitable since this research bears an inductive approach. A deductive approach which does not regard the human thinking process and does not leave much room for alternative explanations and findings is not suitable for the research.

3.6 Sampling method

Non-probability sampling was used to select the subjects to collect data which is termed by Burns (2000) as purposive, purposeful or criterion-based sampling such that a case is selected because it serves the real purpose and objectives of the researcher of discovering, gaining insight and understanding into a particular chosen phenomenon. Probability sampling was rejected since it is not possible to adopt this technique without a sampling frame and also not appropriate in meeting the objectives. Non probability sampling provides an opportunity to select samples using subjective judgement. Therefore, non-probability sampling was selected as best suited for the research strategy used as well as to answer the research questions. According to (Patton, 2002) the sample size when using this technique depends on what is need to find out, what will be useful, what will have credibility and what can be done within available resources. Purposive sampling as described by Saunders et al (2007) enables use of judgement to select cases that will best enable answering the research questions and meet the objectives. As specified above the research is a case study dealing with a small sample size and this enables the researcher to select most informative samples for the study. Based on the requirements of research questions, the selection of cases was based on critical case sampling where a logical generalisation is made from the data collected from the critical cases. In other words, data is collected from the most relevant and important cases.

3.7 Data Collection Methods

3.7.1 Nature of Required Data

The data collected was mainly of qualitative nature and therefore, the data collection techniques and tactics employed was that of a qualitative approach. The research uses more than one technique for collecting data namely questionnaires.

3.7.2 Interviews

As explained by Robson (2002) a commonly made distinction between interviews is based on the degree of structure or standardization of the interview and as elaborated Saunders et al (2007), interviews may be highly formalised and structured, using standardised questions for each respondent or they may be informal and unstructured conversations. Semi-structured, face-to-face interview gives chance to the respondent to give his or her view regarding the topic based on information they have which might not available elsewhere. That is the reason researcher has chosen semi structured interviews as a data gathering method. During the interview the respondent will be asked a series of probing questions regarding their marketing strategies and customer relationship building (Saunders, et al; 2007). Face-to-face interviews can be carried out at work place, home, outdoors etc. and can be used to question members of general public, experts or leaders, specific segments of society. Interview can be used for both specific or/and general subject. In face-to-face interview interviewer is in good position to judge the quality of the responses of the subject to notice if a question has not been properly understood and to reassure and encourage the respondent to answer (Walliman; 2001).

3.7.3 Questionnaires

In Semi-structured interviews, the interviewer has a clear list of issues to be addressed and questions to be answered. The interviewer is prepared and flexible in order to topics to be considered and discussed (Denscombe; 2003). As explained by Robson (2002) questionnaires work well with standardized questions that will be interpreted the same way by all respondents. The researcher did not wish to test a hypothesis. The research was inductive in nature. It used the Interpretivism paradigm. The meaning was drawn from the data. The inductive logic is mainly qualitative in nature. It is not entirely objective and has some elements of subjectivity. Hence great care must taken ensure that the researcher is not and does influence the subject matter. This is to ensure the validity of objectivity of the research is obtained when possible. The deductive approach is mainly quantitative through the laws of cause and effect. In the deductive the element of subjectivity is lessened and the research is assumed to be therefore detached from the subject matter. Qualitative was deemed appropriate for this research for it was quality that was deemed necessary not quantity. In essence the questionnaires were set in line with the aims and objectives of this researched. It was exploratory in nature guided by the realms and perimeters of the aims and objectives. Indeed the empirical data and analysis (chapter five) set out to raise meaning from the data using the Interpretivism paradigm. The interviews also raised the qualitative nature as meaning was directly sought from the source through the means of the interviews.

3.8 Grounded theory

In this method, data collection, analysis, and eventual theory in close relation to one another (Strauss and Corbin; 1998). Grounded theory has become by far the most widely used framework for analyzing qualitative data. Grounded theory is particularly helpful in research to forecast and explain the behavior, to look at and to explain fact which is happening and why, importance is given to developing and building a theory (Goulding, 2002 cited in Saunders et al. 2007). The grounded theory study seeks to generate a theory which relates to the particular situation forming the focus of the study. This theory is grounded in data obtained during the study, particularly in the actions, interactions and processes of the people involved. Grounded theory is both a strategy for doing research and a particular style of analysing the data arising from that research. Each of these aspects has a particular set of procedures and techniques (ibid). It is not a theory in itself, except perhaps in the sense of claiming that the preferred approach to theory development is via the data collected. Grounded theory is normally inductive in nature. The figure below illustrated the cycle of coding, the elementary coding processes:

Source:…/Brussels dated 4 July 2009 p10

Grounded theory is anti positivist and believes that theories are man-made and as such evolve. It therefore argues that researchers are not hierarchical and that all researchers’ experiences are valuable (ibid). It is normally used in areas where there is little or no theory in existence. It can use qualitative and quantitative data and in cases where one does not wish to test a hypothesis and in cases where one wants to evolve and take ownership of the theory over the lifetime. Indeed the researcher wished to take further studies after this. This study was the groundwork for future research.

Grounded theory is often presented as appropriate for studies which are exclusively qualitative; there is no reason why some quantitative data should not be included. Glaser and Strauss (1967) made extensive use of quantitative data previously for studies. Thus grounded theory provides explicit procedures for generating theory in research. It also presents a strategy for doing research is systematic and coordinated with flexibility. In this study the grounded theory was used in the literature review. It was raised through the selection of the review in light of the research question and its aims and objectives. The coding was through the set of the questions in the questionnaires in light of the pertinent emerging issues that were raised in the review of the literature. It is not possible to start a research study without some pre-existing theoretical ideas and assumptions. Strauss and Corbin (1998) criticised grounded theory in the sense that difficulties may arise in decided when and what level can the categories be deemed ‘saturated’. They further posited that tensions exist between the evolving and inductive style of a flexible study and the systematic approach of grounded theory (ibid). Its critics argue that it is an intensive process which always leaves the theories grounded in data, hence its name.

3.9 Conclusions

The choice of the research methodology and methods is determined by the nature of the research question, its aims and objectives. The researcher did not intend to build or test a hypothesis but sought a case study understanding of marketing through Dhillon Dairy Ltd in the dairy industry supply chain. It was inductive in nature drawing upon the Interpretivism and the grounded theory in its approach. The next chapter was the empirical data and analysis.

4. The empirical data and analysis

4.1 Introduction

This was the empirical data and analysis. As mentioned the research study used the inductive logic of reason through the means of the Interpretivism paradigm using the grounded theory of research. It was a case a study approach through a sampling of thirty Dhillon Dairy outlets sprawled across Greater London. A homogenous questionnaire was sent to these thirty branches. The researcher worked for Dhillon Dairy Branch in theEssexcatchment. This gave the researcher an added advantage in terms of obtaining the data. Furthermore each of the questionnaires had an accompanying cover letter from the researcher’s branch manager approving the research study and the letter appealed for co-operation from the targeted branches as the former was of the view that the research study would indeed be a benefit to the company as entity in terms of relationship marketing and the strategic positioning as well. Twenty branch managers responded to the questionnaire. This was deemed a healthy response from the sampling.

4.2 Grounded theory revisited

Grounded theory procedures are designed to build an explanation or to generate a theory around the core or central theme that emerges from the data. Grounded theory is used to analyze qualitative data (Strauss and Corbin, 1998). The method of study consists of four steps which are explained in the following passages. The first step is open coding and is defined as disaggregation of data into units where researcher needs to identify and code the key point of each sentence of the collected data. These codes are grouped to form concepts which in return forms category after regrouping related to the phenomenon being studied. The researcher needs to find properties relevant to each category and data that can represent the possibilities of each property (ibid). The next step is known as axial coding. This step tries to make connections between categories and subcategories by examining a phenomenon in terms of its properties, dimensions and causal conditions (see Gray, 2004). It includes identifying the core category and other categories that influence the core category. In addition, the actions or interactions that result from the core category, the conditions which influence these and their outcomes are identified. The fourth step is known as selective coding. It is aimed at developing the abstract, condensed, integrated and grounded picture of the data referred (ibid). Strauss and Corbin (1998) criticized grounded theory in the sense that difficulties may arise in deciding when and what level can the categories be deemed ‘saturated’. They further posited that tensions exist between the evolving and inductive style of a flexible study and the systematic approach of grounded theory (ibid). Critics of grounded theory argue that it is an intensive process which always leaves the theories grounded in data, hence its name. The researcher did not strictly adhere to all the rigid stages of grounded but used those that were deemed the ‘appropriate fit’. These were the selection and the coding process as used in the literature review to raise the questionnaires.

As previously mentioned the selection and coding process of the grounded theory started in the literature review. Grounded theory moves from the general to the particular. It is more of a searchlight process as it searches for pertinent themes from a heap of data that can be likened to rubble of ruins. From these ruins it looks for the themes, searches for them in light of the research question, its aims and objectives. It is from this hubris of ruins that the theories are raised. As such from the literature review the following patterns emerged that were selected and coded into questions. Grounded does not have to be followed rigidly as per the stages identified by Glaser and Strauss (1967) or by Strauss and Corbin (1991). It can be argued that grounded can be applied loosely depending on the research, meaning it can be applied in the sense of its appropriate fit in light of the data. The following patterns emerged from the literature review and were formed into questionnaires:

Do you understand what is meant by the term relationship marketing
Do you understand the importance of relationship marketing
Is relationship marketing short or long term strategy
What relationship marketing techniques do you use
Do you view relationship marketing as an expenditure or an asset
Do you view relationship marketing within your branch is in line with the mission statement
Which is important customer retention or the acquisition of new customers
What do you understand by the term the supply chain
Do you understand the importance of the supply chain
Do you understand the linkage between relationship marketing and the supply chain
Where is Dhillon Dairy Ltd’s position in the supply chain

The questionnaires were semi-structured. Depending on the nature of the question some solicited for either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. They all solicited for additional responses from the branch managers as this was qualitative research study in nature.

4.3 The empirical data and analysis

The first question as raised in the literature review sought to find out if the branch managers understood the term ‘relationship marketing’:

Question 1: Do you understand the term ‘relationship marketing?

The response to the above was encouraging as the majority of them were of the view that they understood the term. All of the twenty were of the view that they understood it. How they understood was from different dimensions. However they all shared the common view of the customer being the end key for this term. The responses shared some of the following patterns as sourced from the twenty branch managers:

‘Relationship marketing is all about the customer. The customer is the king. We have to please or customers. A happy customer is a good customer’

Another branch said:

‘The reason why we still exist is because we value our customers. Especially the corporate ones who have been with us for years. We try and keep that relationship special and improve it whenever we can’

Indeed the key word for them was the customer and the value of the relationship with customers. Only one branch included employees as part of relationship marketing. He saw employees as an integral part of the definition as he argued that for relationship marketing to work, Dhillon Dairy Ltd must have good relationship with its employees and not just its targeted customers. It is the employees who are in the frontline, who come into contact with the customer. It is therefore vital for the company to keep their employees happy and satisfied and this in turn would indeed be reflected by the way they treated their customers. Good customer service means good relationship management. This in turn could be translated and realized as long term customers.

Question 2: Do you understand the importance of relationship marketing?

All the questions were interlinked and were not entirely divorced from each. They were structured in such a way that the chain of thinking were interlinked and developed a chain of understanding. This was deemed essential as the research study was qualitative in nature as sought to unearth qualitative views and not quantitative. Relationship marketing is after all, all about quality and not quantity. All of the twenty said that they understood the importance of relationship marketing. The research sought to find out any common emerging themes/responses on the questions. This was in line with the use of the grounded theory methodology as it seeks common emerging themes or patterns in its analysis. The most common linkage on the importance of direct marketing was in terms of customer retention as evidenced by some of the responses in the following passages:

‘It is important in targeting and the selection of the markets in terms of market segmentation and retention’

Another one said:

‘It (relationship marketing) is all about customers coming back. The dairy industry is very highly competitive. Due to the opening up of the markets in the 1980s as part of the Thatcher Reforms we have to compete with other dairy industries from the European Union. We are no longer protected from the outside competition. Also other dairies in other countries in the EU have the added advantage that they are heavily subsidized especially the French. As such they offer dairy products in the U.K at a low price. The EU has only one person in mind, which are its citizens meaning the customers and not the dairy industry producers and suppliers. It is all above the customers and not the fate of the dairy industry. As long as the industry is still afloat, that what matters to them.

Question 3: Is relationship marketing short or long term strategy?

This question produced a mixed bag of results. Thirteen of the branch managers were of the view that it was a short term strategy. The remaining seven held it as a long term of view. This mixed bag is indeed worrying. On the good side it revealed a dual mixed bag. Underneath it revealed the ‘short termism’ approach to business by some of the branch managers. They were only concerned with the short run, maximizing sales in the short run so as to realize quick profits and not the long run. As such they sought to maximize short term profits which in turn led to short term rewards in terms of salary increments or bonuses. This was meant to please their superiors as the formers’ performance was measured in terms of sales and target profits. This it can be argued compromised the long term survival of the firm. This is because customers and the nature of the relationship were held in the short and not in the long term benefit of the firm. As such Dhillon has to re-address this view such that the branch managers have a long term view of the customer relationship and indeed this would mean a long term view of the firm as a whole. Long term view means that the branch managers must sacrifice their personal goals and gains for the benefit of the firm and the whole enterprise. Short termism gives the firm a short term life, a short term asset for its survival and not a long run asset which could indeed secure the firm’s long term survival. Long term relationships bring stability to the organization. Long term relationships also bring in stability and predictability on consumer behavior and spending patterns.

Question 4: What relationship marketing techniques do you use?

This question sought on the understanding of the techniques used. What emerged was that the branches were semi-autonomous and thus were not entirely given free rein on some aspects of the business. This made business sense in terms of cost and control. They were in general given some room to maneuver in terms of the day to day running of the business. The branches were in sense viewed as outlets of the business. They were viewed a points of sales. As such in line with the corporate strategy the branches used homogenous techniques which were standardized across the board. This meant to ensure uniformity and consistency across the branches the same techniques were laid as the template for the organization as an entity. This was to ensure that conformity was realized across Dhillon’s sprawling branches to ensure that there is no confusion from the customers as the techniques were to be same irrespective of the branches. This was meant to ensure that the customers found the same incentives irrespective of which branch they normally visited. It was only the corporate that were given specially treatment and as such were given corporate portfolio. The accounts for these corporate clients were handled by the Corporate Department. These corporate clients were deemed essential business for the dairy firm. For a customer to be held as corporate by Dhillon Dairy Ltd, it meant that a customer’s business to the former was well above ?2 million pounds per year. The standard benchmark was ?2 million pounds for a year to be held as corporate. For these the relationship was personalized as they were deemed to be the key accounts. The management made client visits in order to access their view of the level of the service provided by Dhillon Dairy Ltd. These key customers/clients had signed contracts with Dhillon Dairy Ltd. They were mostly corporate firms and were mostly in the service industry. Thus they needed a constant supply of milk and other dairy products for their staff. Dhillon Dairy Ltd delivered the dairy products onto these key clients’ premises. As such the logistics department made sure that the deliveries were made on time in right quantities at the right place. It was important that these key clients never ran short of dairy supplies. Indeed it could be argued that there is nothing more embarrassing than a shortage of milk for teas and coffees during an important board meeting. Image and presentation count in this modern competitive environment. As such Dhillon Dairy Ltd realizes this as it set up a Corporate Department with its own separate supporting logistic department in place. The Corporate Department key corporate account managers who oversaw these corporate clients sought to maximize their satisfaction. Thus for the key accounts Dhillon Dairy Ltd strategically used its Corporate Department with its key accounts managers and its separate supporting logistics department as the chief marketing technique for these key clients. For non key customers the following standard techniques were rolled across its branches;

Price discounts for larger orders
Special offers for stocks which is nearing its lifeline

These inter alia are viewed as monetary rewards. This meant bought loyalty. This could in way help Dhillon Dairy Ltd in the short run in terms of sales. However bought loyalty can prove to be an expensive exercise in the long run as bought loyalty needs to be constantly rewarding with more enticing rewards if it is stay loyal. This indeed becomes a business liability in long run. Bought loyalty can be liability unlike true loyalty. True loyalty in the customer sense means customers chose to be loyal because they choose and not because they are enticed by the monetary offers which in the day sense can be viewed as bought loyalty. As such loyalty and satisfaction cannot be treated as one and the same. Loyalty may be missing even if there is customer satisfaction as they may be barriers to the whole process. For loyalty can be bought through such incentives as bonuses, coupons, discounts, price discounts and other monetary offers. Indeed this is different from customer commitment which cannot be bought through monetary means but can only be earned through the long term process. They argued that loyalty is not a guarantee for future success especially the bought one the relationship and its ongoing process is determined and influenced by the monetary incentives. Genuine loyalty is the one that counts for its stands the test of time as the customer would be willing to stand by the firm even if it makes a mistake. Customer loyalty is indeed an asset to the business. T rue loyal customers are the customers who have developed a special bond with company just like customers who become attached to a brand and thus become loyal to it. Dhillon Dairy Ltd also uses the customer surveys in the form of questionnaires. These are carried out on a regular basis in order to measure and access the level of customer satisfaction. These are carried on the ‘shop floor’ meaning to that they are carried out at the branches or outlets when the customers visit. The customer database is also used to mail some of the questionnaires to the customers. These will be searching for feedback on the level of customer service and their satisfaction. A happy and satisfied customer is indeed a profitable customer. They are bound to become repeat customers and may recommend Dhillon Dairy Ltd to their friends and working colleagues or other corporate partners in their supply chain. Good customer relationship can be viewed as a priced asset, goodwill in the balance sheet. Good customer relationship or in the context of this research study, good relationship management could indeed be a source of the competitive advantage for Dhillon Dairy Ltd. This is more of particular importance asBritainis still in recession and businesses are competing for the ever shrinking consumers’’ pockets. The spending patterns of consumers have changed. The boom of the late 1990s up 2006 is gone. It is the bust and consumers have changed their spending habits and have prioritized their needs and wants. Milk could still be regarded as a need but other dairy products such as cheese can be viewed as a want, a luxury in light of the present day recession. As such customer retention has become more vital than before especially the profitable ones. It is the profitable ones that keep Dhillon Dairy Ltd afloat. The non profitable ones can help to make it break even in accounting terms. Breaking even in not enough for Dhillon as it needs to release profits in order to pay its stakeholders in name of its employees, suppliers, creditors and its shareholders. It also needs profits in order to plough them back as investment. It needs to constantly reinvest in machinery especially refrigeration and the refrigeration of trucks. Refrigeration is a major expenditure for Dhillon Dairy Ltd as it is involved in the sale of perishable items which need around the clock refrigeration. This means high electricity billing.

Question 5: Do you view relationship marketing as expenditure or an asset?

This question sought to further explore the question as set by question three which asked the branch managers on whether they saw relationship marketing in a long or a short term. In that question thirteen of the branch managers saw it as short-term and the remaining seven saw it as long. The researcher sought to see if there was any variance or coloration between the views they expressed on question 3 and question 5. To recap the following was the question and the response on 3.

Is relationship marketing short or long term strategy?

The results on this were as:

Relationship marketing-short term strategy137
Relationship marketing-long term strategy713

In view of this question and its response the following question was put forward to the respondents:

Do you view relationship marketing as expenditure or an asset?

The results on the question were as follows:

Relationship marketing-expenditure137
Relationship marketing-asset713

There was a clear coloration on the answers for question 3 and question 5. Those who viewed relationship marketing as a short term strategy also viewed it as an expenditure, a day to day business expenditure. As such this meant that they did not place much emphasis on relationship marketing and regarded it as an ordinary expenditure. As such it was bound to be ignored and be lost in the maze of other day to day expenditure. However this was in sharp contrast to question 2 where all the managers (20) acknowledged the importance of relationship management. As such the analysis unearthed that whilst all the twenty realized the importance of relationship marketing thirteen treated it as short term expenditure. This is paradox, whilst recognizing its role but at the same time rendering it to a short term day to day expenditure.Those (seven) who viewed it as a long term expenditure made economic and business sense as they also viewed it as a long term asset. This could help in customer retention and this retention could promote and enhance the value of goodwill of Dhillon Dairy Ltd.

Question 6: Do you view relationship marketing within your branch is in line with the mission statement?

In overall Dhillon Dairy Ltd as an entity viewed relationship marketing as a key strategic objective in promoting the mission statement which envisaged Dhillon Dairy Ltd as one of the leading dairy companies in the U.K. This was its long term vision. As such it follows that Dhillon Dairy Ltd saw relationship marketing as a long term process, a long run and not a short run. As such the overall corporate goals and vision were not in line with some of the interviewed branch managers. This was evidenced by the interviewees’ responses as some of the managers viewed it as a marketing expenditure (13) and also viewed it a short term strategy. This view was not in line with the mission statement. As such goal congruence is a must if Dhillon is to survive the long run. The branch managers (13) should realign their views on relationship marketing is viewed as a long term asset and also as a long term strategy in order to enhance and promote and enhance the company’s strategic goals and its strategic fit in the market place. The thirteen branches came to self actualization and self reflection on question 6 when they realized that they were not in line with the organization’s corporate goals, its aims and objectives as far as relationship marketing was concerned. The interviewees were granted anonymity as such and were therefore free to express themselves. This worrying revelation falls upon Dhillon as an entity to readdress. One way might be to send the branch managers on relationship marketing exercise and some short courses on strategic management and organizational awareness. Indeed this is one of the strengths of the interpretivist’s paradigm in the sense that it is dialogic and dialectic enabling the researcher and the researched to become intrinsically interlinked. This dialogue is dual as it seeks interpretation and meaning. Its inductive nature means that meaning is drawn and raised from the data. There is a constant dialogue between the data and its interpretation, the interpretation and the data such that mutual understanding is achieved. This ironically reflects the grounded theory process of the induction. It is the grounded theory in process, in action. The research study was qualitative in nature looking for qualitative answers, qualitative meaning. Relationship marketing is after all qualitative in nature. The aim of relationship marketing is customer satisfaction and customer satisfaction is all about quality service and not quantity.

Question 7: Which is important customer retention or the acquisition of new customers?

The results of this question were as follows:

Customer retention7
Acquisition of new customers13

This results were on this question were predictable as evidenced by the responses from the previous six questions. The previous questions revealed that the thirteen branches managers were of the view that relationship management was expenditure and was viewed in short run terms, a short term strategy. As evidenced by the research study this was a ‘short-termism’ view that disposed of the long run view. It was therefore not surprising that the same thirteen opted for the acquisition of new customers as short terms goals that yielded immediate profits was their ultimate goal. This was in sharp contrast with the other seven who viewed relationship marketing as a long term goal, an asset and a long term strategy which was in line with Dhillon’s overall mission statement, its goals and objectives. As such it was fit that they saw ‘customer retention’ as important as it is the long term goal of relationship marketing and indeed that of Dhillon Dairy Ltd. Some of the comments on those on the favor of customer retention were as follows:

‘The more customers we get the better the business. We worry about gaining new customers, bringing in new business. That is the emphasis. Existing customers are happy and most of them have been with us for years. We need more money in order to get paid. Everybody is getting laid off because of the recession’

Another one said:

‘Off course we need new customers to bring in new business. We need that extra revenue. Dairies are falling under because of the recession. New customers mean we add new business on top of the existing customers. We have mortgages to pay and as such one has to think fast in order to survive. That extra penny brought in from new customers now means a lot. We cannot afford to concentrate on the existing customers as a vehicle for driving the businesses’.

Question 8: What do you understand by the term the supply chain?

This was integral question that sought as it provided the linkage between relationship management and the supply chain in terms of marketing. It sought to analyze in light of the preceding, the branch managers’ awareness of the supply chain and relationship marketing as both sought customer retention and customer satisfaction. Indeed these questions were interlinked and followed a chain of thought on the understanding of relationship management and the supply chain in light of Dhillon Dairy Ltd as these are interlinked in the sense that the former uses the latter as one of its tool in order to maximize customer retention and customer satisfaction. All the twenty branch managers understood the concept of the supply in relation to their jobs as jobs. They mostly linked it to the nature of their jobs. The majority noted that they were more of a depot than a branch. The actual processing of the dairy products was actually undertaken on the farms owned by Dhillon Dairy Ltd. It is from there that they are transported as finished products into the branches. This saved more in processing time and transportation costs. In a sense Dhillon Dairy Ltd was the producer, the wholesaler and in some cases the retailer. The producer was the farms that Dhillon Dairy Ltd owned. The livestock that Dhillon Dairy Ltd owned produce the dairy products which are then processed into finished perishables at source. The branch managers are the wholesalers who then dispatch these dairy products to its corporate clients. They are also the retailers in the sense that they also sold the dairy products to the non-corporate clients as well. It was indeed a good sign that they understood the concept of the supply chain and that they saw it from their work point of view and thus were able to match the theoretical aspects of it with their practical work situation. They clearly understood their position and role within Dhillon Dairy Ltd marketing supply chain

Question 9: Do you understand the importance of the supply chain?

This question was also linked to the other questions. As such it sought to seek whether the twenty branch managers or depot branches understood the concept and importance of the supply chain. The majority in a near sense, all of them said they did understand the concept of the supply chain. They viewed it terms of a relationship. As such as drawn from question 8, Dhillon’s supply chain was not really long. It was short as Dhillon was the producer, the wholesaler and the retailer in its supply chain. As such they noted that their supply chain was unique as it involved mostly the employees and the customers. They argued that it was important to have cordial relationships with other employees in the supply chain as they are also Dhillon employees as well. The customers were regarded as the very end of the supply chain, the chain was acknowledged that it served and was used as a means to an end, the end being the customer satisfaction and customer retention. Some of them linked the importance of the supply chain to the strategic aims and objectives of Dhillon’s mission statement and argued that the supply chain must promote the aims and objectives of the mission statement. It must be strategic fit to the mission statement. The supply chain, if not appropriate fit must readjust and realign itself to the mission statement. The mission statement is the dominant of the two and Dhillon’s supply chain must promote the mission statement.

Question 10: Do you understand the linkage between relationship marketing and the supply chain?

This question produced a mixed bag of results. Thirteen said they did understand the term in the sense that both of them had customer retention in mind. Relationship marketing used the supply chain in its quest for customer retention. The thirteen noted that it the former used the other as another tool to be used for customer satisfaction and customer retention. It became apparent that there was a gap in understanding on the remaining seven in the sense that they understood both terms on their own. They understood their importance but could not manage to link the two together as one in terms of their aims and objectives. Thus Dhillon’s senior management must ensure that this link is made apparent and clear for the overall benefit of the firm, the employees and its stakeholders. In a nutshell, the similarities between the two must be realized and known in order for Dhillon to fully realize its potential through its branch managers within the dairy industry.

Question 11: Where is Dhillon Dairy Ltd’s position in the supply chain?

This question was linked to all other questions on the supply chain. It summarized Dhillon’s chain on the supply chain. It was a continuation of question 8, 9 and 10. The branch managers managed to link their position in the supply chain in relation to their jobs. They were the view that in most cases they were the wholesalers as they catered for the corporate clients who placed their orders in bulk. In some cases they said that they became the retailers when they catered for non corporate clients who did not normally purchase in bulk. It was in a sense a dual role in the supply chain both as the wholesaler and sometimes as the retailer. They noted that the Dhillon supply chain was mostly internal in the sense that Dhillon was the producer (manufacturer), the wholesaler and the retailer. It was an internal supply chain whose externality was through the customers’ purchase of its products. It was worth noting that they linked their position in the supply chain in light of their jobs as branch managers.

4.4 Room for discussion

The data analysis produced a mixed bag of results. Dhillon was unique in the sense that it was the producer, the wholesaler and the retailer. As such it had the key advantage in the sense that it procured and processed everything from within the firm. As such it could operate at a low cost and pass these as low prices to the consumers. As such it had the control of its supply chain. This was a chief advantage in the sense that it could manage and control its own supply chain. It could manipulate its supply chain in line with the market. It could re-align its supply chain in line with the market changes. That was an important advantage as it could alter the supply chain in line with the environment changes. The major disadvantage was that it had no external source to rely upon if one of chains in the supply chain was disrupted or broke down. This meant that if one element in the supply chain was disrupted (say its dairy farms) the whole supply chain would be affected. This was not good news as it had no external links in its supply chain. As noted Dhillon’s supply chain was mostly internal, the external being the end consumers, it customers.

As noted this supply chain was both strong and vulnerable. The majority of the branch managers did display a fair knowledge on the meaning of customer relationship, its importance, supply chain and its importance. They understood the underlying principles beneath these.

What was worrying was the short-termism approach of some of the branch managers as far as relationship marketing was concerned. Some of them viewed relationship marketing as a short term strategy that sought to increase the branch profits. They also viewed it a day to day expenses and not as a long term asset. As such they were after short term gains and sacrificed the long term gains. They were in favor of customer acquisition instead customer retention. As such they were in view of the maximization of short term profits. This was not in line with Dhillon’s corporate objective which sought customer retention and customer satisfaction. As such their goals and objectives were not in line with those of Dhillon. Dhillon viewed customer retention through relationship marketing from a long term prospective and not the short term. Dhillon as an enterprise viewed this as an asset a long term asset and not as a short term. It can be argued that Dhillon viewed this as long term goodwill. Satisfied customers become repeat customers. It enhances and builds on the reputation of the business and this reputation is translated as goodwill in the balance sheet. Dhillon realizes this importance as evidenced by the empirical findings. The following are the conclusions.

4.5 The conclusions

Inasmuch as the empirical data and analysis it made to explore the nature of relationship marketing and the supply chain in light of Dhillon it produced a mixed bag of results. This was natural and expected as the research study used the inductive logic of reason where meaning is inferred from the data. In the Interpretivism paradigm meaning is drawn from the data, it is drawn from the data. This was the nature of this research study is it did not intend to test or detest a hypothesis. It was Interpretivism in nature such that there was constant dialogue between the researcher and the researched. That dialogue consisted of the semi-structured questionnaires filled in by the twenty branch managers. This dialogue was strengthened by the literature review. As such this research study combined the theoretical aspects as found in the literature review of chapter two and the practical findings of this present chapter. The following chapter was the overall conclusions and recommendations for this research study

5. Conclusions & Recommendation

5. 1 Introduction

This was the last chapter of this research study. It presented the overall conclusions and findings of this research study. It presented the conclusions on the chapter one (introduction) which led to the conclusions of chapter two (the literature review), then chapter three (methodology and methods), then chapter four (empirical data and analysis) and finally this one. In a sense all this chapters were interlinked to each other. Chapter one introduced the reader to the research study and its aims and objectives. Chapter two provided the literature review in terms of the aims and objectives under chapter one. It was more of a continuation of chapter one. Chapter three provided the methodology and methods. It was more of continuation of chapter two. This time it was the literature review on the methodology and methods. Chapter four was the empirical data and analysis. It used the elements of chapter three in its analysis. It also used chapter two to support it. All this led to this final chapter. This chapter was structured as follows: the first part was the conclusions. The second part was the recommendations and these were followed by any opportunities for further research.

5.2 The conclusions

In light of the conclusions the research’s three aims and objectives are herby recapped. The first was to investigate the impact of relationship marketing as way of gaining competitive advantage and achieve profitability in the supply chain industry with reference to Dhillon Dairy Ltd. The second was to carry out a review of literature linking achieving competitive advantage through relationship marketing and challenges faced by supply chain industry inUK. Lastly it was to evaluate the way forward for relationship marketing for Dhillon Dairy Ltd in light of the finding. All these aims and objectives have been met in line with the research study question which was in the following manner: to what extent does relationship marketing tool has an impact as a tool in gaining competitive advantage in the context of Dhillon Dairy Ltd?

The research study set semi-structured questionnaires which were directed to the Dhillon Dairy Ltd’s branch managers. Twenty branch managers responded on the condition of anonymity. The researcher worked for the company and this gave the added of inner insight into the company as well as ease of access of data. As such the researcher and the researched were interlinked in the sense that the former worked for the latter. This tied in with Interpretivism paradigm as in it the researcher and the researched are interlinked as the paradigm is dialectic and dialogic. It was a mutual interpretation. The grounded theory was used in the empirical analysis. It set the coding process in the literature review on the emergent themes that arose on the review of relationship marketing and the supply chain. The grounded theory was loosely used in appropriation to the situational context. This is further supported by Denzin and Lincoln (1998) who argued that different strategies make perfect sense. It was a dual inductive process of the Interpretivism paradigm and the grounded theory. The research study revealed that the branch managers did understand the concept and tools of relationship marketing. They did understand it concept as well. The research revealed that whilst they did understand the concept, they were of the view that the company focused its relationship marketing on the corporate clients. The corporate clients were those who brought substantial business to Dhillon Dairy Ltd. As such the company had a dedicated department that dealt with these corporate key accounts and also had its own separate logistics department to support it. Some of the managers were of the view that relationship marketing was a tool for the short run benefit of the company and to be precise, a benefit to their own branch. They were in view of the short run profits of their branches. They sought to maximize their branch’s short term profits. In a sense a short run increase in branch profits can be viewed as good performance for that branch. Good performance comes with rewards, an increase in the reward benefits and incentives. This increase can come through the means of huge end of the financial year bonuses, increase in pay and promotional perks. This is what some of the branch sort for in the short term. As such borrowing Immanuel Kant’s maxim, these branch managers used relationship marketing as a means to an end, the end not being Dhillon as an entity, the end was these branch managers’ short term needs. This was not in line with the company as it saw relationship marketing as a long term process, a long term strategic goal which aimed at customer satisfaction and customer retention in the long run.

The company viewed relationship as the strategy to gain competitive advantage over its competitors in the long run through customer satisfaction and customer retention in the long run. It sought to satisfy these customers through their segmentation and in the form of the key accounts corporate clients. It set up a department dedicated to these key corporate clients and sought to retain them in the long run and ensure their loyalty. In accounting this term long loyalty is viewed as part of the goodwill. It is an asset in balance sheet. The organization also realized this and as such treated relationship marketing as an asset and not as a liability. This was in sharp contrast to some of the branch managers who saw relationship marketing as a short term strategy to increase their branch profits. As such they saw relationship marketing as a day to day expenditure under the operating expenses and not as an asset. They treated it as an ordinary expenditure that was written off against the sales. This was not in line with company’s overall strategy. In fact they were also in favor of customer acquisition and not customer retention. They were the view that the former brought in extra revenue whilst the latter brought in the usual levels of revenue. They were in favor of seeking more and more clients. These clients, they argued brought in more revenue. However these clients, it can be argued were only temporary and did not last long with the company as these managers were not in favor of customer retention. They were only in favor of generating more and more customers for their branches. This meant that the customers were unlikely to have their needs and wants met. This meant that they were unlikely to be satisfied by the level of service they got from these branch managers. As such they would have a short term life with the company. This reflected badly on the company’s corporate image as an entity. An unhappy and unsatisfied customer will not recommend Dhillon Dairy Ltd to their friends or colleagues. That customer is likely to comment to their counterparts with negative reviews on Dhillon Dairy Ltd. This meant that the company lost business and potential future business as a result of this short term view by some of its branches managers. As such this meant that the development and increase in the key corporate accounts clients was hampered as well as some of the lost customers could have had the potential of being one of the key corporate accounts.

The majority of the branch managers knew what the supply chain meant, its importance and Dhillon’s position in the supply chain. However a substantial majority failed to link the relationship between relationship marketing and the supply chain. The former uses the latter as one of its marketing tools used to maximize customer satisfaction and customer retention. Both relationship marketing and the supply chain aim at the maximization of customer satisfaction and customer retention. Thirteen of the branch managers failed to identify this link. It was intriguing as these thirteen understood relationship marketing, its importance, the supply chain and its importance. It can be argued that when one stands to analyze the situation further from the Interpretivism paradigm, these thirteen who failed to provide the linkage were the same who were in favor of customer acquisition and not customer retention. As such they could not provide the link of customer retention and customer satisfaction as they suffered from ‘short termism’. As such they would not see this linkage as they are short term orientated and not the long run. Indeed this displayed that there was a gap of understanding. This gap had to be re-addressed by Dhillon’ Dairy Ltd’s top management in light of these thirteen branch managers. These branch managers’ ‘short-termism’ would cripple the long term strategy of Dhillon as it saw relationship marketing as a tool for competitive advantage through the maximization of the customer satisfaction and customer retention. Dhillon Dairy Ltd held this as a long term strategy and not as a short term strategy as held and viewed by some of these branch/depot managers. This was a worrying revelation that this research study unearthed. As such Dhillon Dairy Ltd has to re-address this situation with the immediacy and emergency it deserves as it is top urgent and concerns the future vital well being of the organization as a corporate entity. The true nature and depth of this short termism across its branches/depots was yet to be fully comprehended as these thirteen branches were a sample presentation of the Dhillon Dairy Ltd branches/depots. It was hoped that this short-termism was confined to the thirteen branch managers but this possibility was statically impossible as the thirteen were a representative of over a hundred branches of Dhillon Dairy Ltd. The numbers were likely to be over and not confined to the thirteen branch/depot managers. It is a matter for Dhillon to urgently re-address it will soon or latter cripple the organization as an operating entity. In light of the preceding the following were the recommendations:

5.3 Recommendations

The following were the subsequent recommendations:

5.3.1 Long term view

The branch managers across all the branches needed to be re-aligned in their way of thinking such that they realize that relationship marketing is a long term objective and not a short term objective to achieve personal goals. As such the branch managers’ goals must in line with the organizational goals and promote the goals of the organization as an operating entity and not the personal goals of the individual. It is vital that Dhillon Dairy Ltd re-addresses this as a matter of urgency if it is survive as an operating and viable commercial entity.

5.3.2 Customer retention versus customer acquisition

Customer acquisition is part and parcel of any ongoing commercial enterprise in order that in remains as healthy ongoing concern customer retention should not be ignored otherwise the efforts of the former would be in vain. Relationship marketing seeks to maximize customer satisfaction and retention and uses the marketing supply as one of its tools in seeking competitive advantage as its leverage. The emphasis should therefore be on customer retention. It was up to Dhillon’s top management to ensure that this view is encompassed across the board and the entity as a whole in line with its corporate strategy

5.3.3 Relationship marketing as an asset/investment

It should be treated as such and not as a day to day expenditure. This would ensure that the branch managers hold it as a long term strategy in the form and part of the goodwill realized through customer retention as its competitive advantage tool. This will be in line with Dhillon’s overall corporate strategy and objectives

5.3.4 Integrate within the supply chain

Dhillon Dairy Ltd’s supply chain is internal and fixated within the organization. The only external part of it is its end customers. As such any breakdown in any elements of its supply chain would cripple the organization. As such it is deemed necessary that it should have a back up plans or have any outsource alternative if one of the chains in the supply chain breaks down.

5.3.5 Strategic supply chain alliance

As such Dhillon could also form a strategic supply chain alliance with another firm in the dairy industry. This alliance would indeed help Dhillon in case its own internal supply chain breaks down. This would serve as a strategic back up plan

5.4 Opportunities for future research

This was a template for future. It is hoped that the future would seek ways and means upon which Dhillon Dairy Ltd could find and source a strategic supply chain alliance as a framework of back up for its own internal supply chain


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The following is the list of questions on relationship marketing and the supply chain in light of Dhillon Dairy Ltd. You must state your views in the following manner; either a yes or a no. Please include comments as much on your views if you feel it is necessary in order that your opinions and sentiments can be fully understood. This questionnaire will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and names will not be disclosed. They would only be disclosed with your consent and approval (this in line with the Data Protection Act 1998). Thank you for your cooperation.

Question 1: Do you understand the term ‘relationship marketing?

Yes or No

Question 2: Do you understand the importance of relationship marketing?

Yes or No

Question 3: Is relationship marketing short or long term strategy?

relationship marketing-short term: Yes or No
relationship marketing-long term: Yes or No

Question 4: What relationship marketing techniques do you use?

This is an open ended question. Please state the type you use and any give any additional comments:

Question 5: Do you view relationship marketing as expenditure or an asset?

relationship marketing-expenditure: Yes or No
relationship marketing-asset: Yes or No

Question 6: Do you view relationship marketing within your branch is in line with the mission statement?

Yes or No

Question 7: Which is important customer retention or the acquisition of new customer?

Customer retention: Yes or No

Acquisition of new customer: Yes or No

Question 8: What do you understand by the term the supply chain?

This is an open ended question. Please state the type you use and any give any additional comments:

Question 9: Do you understand the importance of the supply chain?

Yes or No

Question 10: Do you understand the linkage between relationship marketing and the supply chain?

Yes or No

Question 11: Where is Dhillon Dairy Ltd’s position in the supply chain?

This is an open ended question. Please state the type you use and any give any additional comments:

Free Essays

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a combination of people, processes and technology that seeks to understand a company’s customers.


Customer relationship management (CRM) is a combination of people, processes and technology that seeks to understand a company’s customers. It is an integrated approach to managing relationships by focusing on customer retention and relationship development. CRM has evolved from advances in information technology and organizational changes in customer-centric processes. Companies that successfully implement CRM will reap the rewards in customer loyalty and long run profitability.(injazz J. Chen, Karen Popovich, (2003) “Understanding customer relationship management (CRM): People, process and technology”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 9 Iss: 5, pp.672 – 688)


1Dale L. Goodhue

University of Georgia

Barbara H. Wixom

University of Virginia

Hugh J. Watson

University of GeorgiaMany companies are in the early stages of implementing customer relationship management (CRM). Although CRM promises increased revenues,

profits, and customer service, companies face potential failure because of

the complex technical and organizational issues involved. Our research on

CRM, and six company experiences in particular, illustrate three CRM

“targets” that companies aim for: implement a single or a few applications, create a strong infrastructure to support CRM, or use CRM to transform the organization. These targets have very different impacts and different challenges, as reflected in six lessons: They differ on both costs and

benefits; sponsorship varies; each suggests a different evolution for a CRM

effort; prepare to get your hands dirty in cleaning the data; ensure that the

architecture will scale; and you can (sometimes!) teach old dogs new


(MIS Quarterly Executive Vol. 1 No. 2 / June 2002)

Dell is one of the most successful and profitable computer corporation in history. it has been known for its innovative customer services and product custom configuration. With the passage of organization continues to develop, it is confronting with more challenging environment of retaining its customers and maintaining relationship with them and finding new ways of management in order to meet the needs/demand of the customers, we have to identify opportunities to maintain and increase the revenue through understanding of crm theories . The basic need of dell crm is to maintaining long-term relationship with customers as it is proved that gaining a new customer is expensive than retaining the current ones. The main objectives of crm theory are acquiring customer, adding loyalty, retention customers, adding value. Crm is the “process of creating and maintaining relationships with business customers/consumers (moon2003).”

Michael dell with his limited resources started focusing on in enhancing sales instead of locking capital in production, the new idea presented by dell was “building to order.”

At one stage of its progress dell used this strategy of selling products directly through retail outlets. But the outcome from the implemented strategy was very unprofitable then he realized just to focus on customers, service before “building to order” idea, people used to buy computers from retail out with no communications with manufactures only contact with sale person having lake of information regarding the product.

Dell company is different from its competitors (HP, IBM, SONY, APPLE AND GATEWAY) because dell is focusing on tools like, CRM-SCM, as a result dell become leader in customer relationship management (CRM) and in supply chain management (CRM).

Dell is profit able computer organization known for computer software, hardware, and making computer components.

According to Dedrick and Kracker(2006), “dell is aiming to combine the cost advantages of horizontal specialization with close coordination of vertical integration.”

How to implement CRM(stages in implementing crm)

The implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is best treated as a six-stage process, moving from collecting information about your customers and processing it to using that information to improve your marketing and the customer experience.

Stage 1 – Collecting information(pre-relationship stage) Clearly, questions and uncertainties abound. We have a long way to go in capturing a customer’s psyche. But to compete for customer satisfaction, firms must work harder to collect, distribute and use the right data.(by Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris and Ajay K. Kohli

January 15, 2001)

The priority should be to capture the information you need to identify your customers and categorise their behaviour. Those businesses with a website and online customer service have an advantage as customers can enter and maintain their own details when they buy.

Stage 2 – Storing information(the early stage)

The most effective way to store and manage your customer information is in a relational database – a centralised customer database that will allow you to run all your systems from the same source, ensuring that everyone uses up-to-date information.

Stage 3 – Accessing information(the development stage)

With information collected and stored centrally, the next stage is to make this information available to staff in the most useful format.

Stage 4 – Analysing customer behaviour(the long term stage)

Using data mining tools in spreadsheet programs, which analyse data to identify patterns or relationships, you can begin to profile customers and develop sales strategies.

Stage 5 – Marketing more effectively(the final stage)

Many businesses find that a small percentage of their customers generate a high percentage of their profits. Using CRM to gain a better understanding of your customers’ needs, desires and self-perception, you can reward and target your most valuable customers.

Stage 6 – Enhancing the customer experience

Just as a small group of customers are the most profitable, a small number of complaining customers often take up a disproportionate amount of staff time. If their problems can be identified and resolved quickly, your staff will have more time for other customers.

Applications and theories of CRM:

Crm is a vital element of business success. whenever there a contact with customers you get an opportunity to improve your standing or in simpler words we can say that it’s a vital platform to gain reputation .this act will result in increase of further sales.

It is not only contact that we talk of is necessary for sales, in broader terms , almost every aspect of your business affects the way your customers view your business. There are also specific programs you can put in place to increase your levels of customer care.

Relationship marketing is concerned with how organizations manage and improve their relationships with customers for long-term profitability. Customer relationship management (CRM), which is becoming a topic of increasing importance in marketing, is concerned with using information technology (IT) in implementing relationship marketing strategies. This paper reports on a study of the adoption and use of CRM in the financial services sector. In particular, the key elements of CRM are examined in these organizations and executives’ perceptions of the main IT components that enable responsive CRM are explored. CRM is classified into five stages of sophistication and a framework for CRM adoption is developed. (Authors: Ryals L.; Payne A). ( Journal of Strategic Marketing, Volume 9, Number 1, 1 March 2001 , pp. 3-27(25)


Every time when company/organization come in contact with customer. Touch point is the first ever concept of crm. with touch points company can measure the effectiveness of their brand.

Dell uses touch point, the most important step for hitting the target customers was dell launched online store ’dell. Com. people using interest was dell target customers, the online store successfully in achieving their goal but the most important was to match the sales channels with supply channels, it was also done by model implemented by dell.


The information(data) which organization gathers from customers data base by using their crm software, n how organization used that information to target them with right type of crm.

Dell used to do the data mining of there customer according to the transaction they made.

Data collection(acquiring customer) crm involves customer information , It explains how you can use customer contact, feedback and loyalty schemes to retain existing customers, increase your sales to them and even win new customers. It also covers how to prepare for receiving a customer complaint.

Dell collected customer data through designed database software and generate promotional campaigns targeting customers interests and products which reserved in increase in profit because right customer was targeting with right product demand.

Dell used software to increase the relationship marketing.

HOTLINK, used in “effective targeting, efficient marketing communication, And real-time monitoring of customers and market trends” ‘(moon2003)..
‘premier pages’ second type of software used by the dell wad ‘premier pages’ for more profitable customers containing purchase data. The main theme behind ‘premier pages; was “gain less information about customers. They already know about them and more to create real win-win situation” (levey,1999)

The progress of the company based on crm-scm implementation strategy. Dell created strong relationship with customer as well as with the suppliers. The function of scm was to make sure the availability of computer Part on time, when and where required .dell managed efficient and effective scm system to fulfil the demand of the customer.

Customer satisfaction model “we have an efficient cost structure with customers on one hand and suppliers on other”.(rollin,nov17,2006)

satisfied customers will contribute to your business for years, through their purchases and through recommendations and referrals of your business.

Bulid Customer loyalty schemes

While good overall service is the best way of generating customer loyalty, sometimes new relationships can be strengthened, or old ones refreshed, using customer loyalty schemes.

These are programmes that use fixed or percentage discounts, extra goods or prizes to reward customers for behaviour that benefits your business. They can also be used to persuade customers to give you another try if you feel you have successfully tackled past problems with your customer service.

Develop customer confidence

Your existing customers are among the most important assets of your business – they have already chosen you instead of your competitors. Keeping their custom costs far less than attracting new business, so it’s worth taking steps to make sure that they’re satisfied with the service they receive.

There are a number of techniques dell employ to gain customer confidence, including:

Dell providing a free customer helpline
Dell answering frequently asked questions on your website
Dell following up sales with a courtesy call
Dell providing free products that will help customers look after or make the most of their purchases
Dell sending reminders when services or check-ups are due
Dell offering preferential discounts to existing customers on further purchases

Prevent customer complaints

Every business has to deal with situations in which things go wrong from a customer’s point of view.

if you handle the complaint successfully, your customer is likely to prove more loyal than if nothing had gone wrong
people willing to complain are rare – your complaining customer may be alerting you to a problem experienced by many others who silently took their custom elsewhere
dell sympathetically listen to establish the details of the complaint
dell record the details together with relevant material, such as a sales receipt or damaged goods
dell offering rectification – whether by repair, replacement or refund
dell used to do appropriate follow-up action, such as a letter of apology or a phone call to make sure that the problem has been made good.

Determinents of crm

Trust : trust is the most important determinant of crm ,for gaining thetrust of customers the first thing need to do the market research or market survey, what other company is providing and what is the response of the customer, by doing market research company get to know about the behaviour of the customer understand customer behaviour which in turn gives the information of needs and demands of the customers, Existing customer relationships are opportunities to increase sales because your customers will already have a degree of trust in your recommendations.

Dell is the one of the organization focuses on crm determinants to enhance their revenue, “To retain your customers’ trust, however, never try to sell them something that clearly doesn’t meet their needs.”(the chartered institute of marketing),

value : Its is the most important determinant of crm, What makes your customers valuable?

Analysing your customers allows you to identify those who best fit your business priorities. These will depend on your strategy. For example, if you are launching a new product your aim might be to build sales as quickly as possible. But if you have cashflow problems you might value customers who pay quickly.

Value chain model concept introduce by porter in 1985. Its basically value added to the product in order to maximize the satisfaction from customer point of view and maximize the profit from producers point of view,

– Collecting data from customers.

–Use of touch points.

–Through internet.

–Premier pages.

– Hotlink website launched

– Saas crm

–Sales force crm.

Primary stages

1. Customer portfolio,

Collecting data from customers through use of main touch points = internet( internet users, created premier page for old customers and hotlink website launched, then divide the customers into segments of small ,medium and large enterprises.

The graph shows the relationship between customer intimacy and ability to compete,ability to compete is directly propotional to customer intimacy. the more organization knows their customer and implement crm the more ability to compete in the competitive market and focus more on the customer value proposition.

Dell started to implement,

–Operational Crm.

– Saas crm

– Salesforce crm.

OPERATIONAL CRM Operational crm Focuses on automation of the customer facing processes of the business, such as selling, marketing, customer service.

The basic concept of behind dell crm was operational crm sell the product needed by customer directly without involving the middle way. Dell customer ranges from small business to multinational companies, from individual to institutional organization like schools and hospitals


Dell launched new portfolio software name; software –as-a-service. This crm application implemented for small and large enterprises. With this software overall cost of IT declines and make easier than customize the IT management .it offers very flexible and minimum cost for users to quickly arrange the application and managed the services the need for the achievements of superior IT business impact. This application is not only cost effective but also minimizes the complexity in managing IT infrastructure which resulted in organiZE distribution, security preparedness for any kind of disaster etc.

This service manage three main infrastructures areas,
1 management of distribution device.
2 remote infrastructure monitoring.
3continuity and companies’ management.


Is another effective alternative way to meet non static demand of business. This is also cost effective way of procuring new application. sales force crm and saas and other solutions are becoming more attractive in business world day by day.


In actual there is no installation of software with sales force so there is no need of IT resources ,just adding application of users allocating them their passwords and user is ease of use required only basic training.

IT impact is very low but deliver high impact in business.

Dell forecasting or activities relate to future results and events

Network development(SCOPE)

Major network’s in any business are,

– Suppliers network,

– Distribution network,

Suppliers of dell is ups and Dhl,

Ups “we ups will pick it up, repair it and sent it to your customer.”

Owner : Micheal dell is the owner and CEO of the company.

Partners: dell got partnership with Sony and Intel.

Employee: staff working in offices n in customer services department, Staff spreaded all over the world.

Value proposition development:

Dell is providing value added services beyond simply installing software,


Sacrifices: Money, search and psychic cost dell is providing dell voucher and coupons, just need to note the code of product you need, every week codes and offers updated. Best deals for already dell customer is Dell data safe local basic which is special offer free to safe back up of important data in pc.

Manage the customer life cycle.

For managing dell customers life cycle dell focuses on three major management activities.


Dell users services of web bank to new qualified customer whose credit being approved.

Retention of customers “Current customers are your gold dust, but if you’ve let customers go, it’s cheaper and easier to look at that old base before you start with brand new people – especially if you once had a good relationship with them,”( Small Business Update – Issue 62,feb 2009)

In case of dell it focuses more on retention of customers and improving and relationship with customers.

Three main improving techniques the company revealed for retention of its most valuable customers are,

1. the time management, precision and accuracy in delivering the order.

2. perfection in performance of the product needed by customer and providing necessary service even after sales if needed by the customer.

3. providing technical support.

For the sake of retention of customers company announces the post of crm director to look after the departments mentioned above. CRM director gathered all the data from respective departments and resolved the unattended issues, the outcome according to mr . Desist, “dell reported an increase in customer satisfaction by 15%.”

Supporting conditions,

Leadership and culture,

Micheal dell is the leader of Dell Corporation. He adopts change in pc world. He took inspirational step. He has responsibilityfor whole organization culture transformation by dell is transforming pc world from ordinary shop to online customize pc world in which customers can make their own choice of pc.

CRM strategies used to drive performance.

Before the emergence of crm traditionaqlly used sales tech was jst retail out let,pople got no information without visiting the market. The people are those gtting bnefit are customer,mployee n business

Dell discovered the concept ofinvolvement of a customer in building a specific computer and delivery it directly the customer.

Dell used three ways of software that assists the dell,

– Marketing automation software.

–Designed web page showing purchase data

–A system than enhancing sales, marketing of dell.

Dell designed scm system that excusal involves activities from origin to thr destinations. The direct customer focused concept reserved in dell’s competitive advantage.

Objectives of Dell

“To be the most successful computer company in the world at delivery the best customer experience”.


Result after using crm

Dell main attention was on customers implemented relationship management (crm).Crm theories in formulation of business as a result dell is leading the way

Getting all APAC back to number one, when dell was searching for agency partner the needed to consolidate communication, for every aspect of their business,

B2C (business to customer) or b2b (business to business)



Retailstrategic council

Euro RSCG was chosen to deliver .thanks to on powerful integrated solution,

they improved workflow efficiency
reducing costs
time to market

They created uniquely, flexible partnership developed in course for last 10 years

With this partnership dell created regional centre (hub) focuses on the world market delivering its services depending on market revenue condition.At the heart of this relation powerful agency team quickly build deep/insight of understanding remarkable and creative relationship with target, market share, demand, revenue and brand profile. The agency that was build generate everything i.e form demand planning, Sales conversion and profitability forecasting including of the third party random funding. through the course of each campaign integrated agency terms were able to quickly pin point which executive media were most effective in driving demand and adjust messaging Results

Even better results

129% increase in call volume

And match by sales in SE Asia.

Our work for dell’s first ever customize campaign for Chinese New Year delivered significant increases

highest recorded calls taken 1167 se Asia
Also by an improve time to market at the end(7 days).
Also dell launched into physical retail space, Retail outlets opened=54.

South Korea, Thailand, Japan, china Malaysia and Singapore assisting with the concept and design of retail side and work to drive with force.Our partnership across Asia pacific produce remarkable (APAC) result, more specific/notable


Ever last five year dell net revenue increase b/w $30 to $60 million.

Increase in product shipment or improve in product shipment about 250% in SE.

Business 50% over the Industry by average

critical figure for dell cost per box sold over the last two years reduce -41%(Asia) while increase in revenue .

Do it in ur own wordings according to the upper diagram

According to recent research by IDC dell haS won package share of business customer of dell user will consider to by dell next time.

Dell off user will consider …Dell next time the buy…….Dell is brand they

61%…………………………………… 94.8%……………………….63.1%….of dell users believe

Business users of dell …….in the offices. Dell users believe# dell is a brand the trust.

94.8% of business user use dell in their offices.

Dell is now back on top, it is proved that, when you want to achieve winning results base on work with a winning partner(euro RSCG worldwide).Dell toped analyst assessment both on profit and sale.Idea was built a computer and Sell directly to a consumer ,illuminating the reselling mark-up ,illuminating the excessive mark ups company likes ,IBM, that is what wants the company into successful .Micheal deLl started his business in 1984 his uncomplicated business model generate growth of 70 to 80% for the 7 straight years. The company has growing 40 t0 50% annually and projecting revenue for this year is 7 billion dollars. The environment of ours condusive to the company like dell growing the easy access to theand gradual growth every year that is the natural resource.

The relationship with customers begin when customer order pc. Pc made after order according to choice and demand of, Company interacts the customers at very first step. Dell staff gets complete demographic information of its customer at very early stage. They know how to maintain trade relationship with them according to their needs and demands.

By using and implementation of crm system ,dell deliver best possible customer experience “dell introduces the latest relevant technology mush more quickly than companies with slow moving indirect distributions channels, Turning over inventory every four days an average”(

Following are the statements dell is expecting in near future.

Dell ability To further improve their performance in finances and other operations.
Dell ability to Controlling outflows of cash that is to control the cost.
Dell ability to focus more on to generate non-us revenue.
Dell ability to cope with internal environmental changes (staff shortage ).
Dell ability to ensure customer the fulfilment of customers demands more efficiently.
Dell ability to cope with external environmental changes e.g.
Technological change
Economy (foreign currency exchange rate, recession, interest rate).
political invitations.

The overall internal and external environmental changes means, How accommodative the values and strategies of dell are with the changing environment and how friendly the govt are with changing technology?

sure better services and enhancing the sales customer’s relationships

we have an efficient cost structure with customers on one hand and suppliers on other”.(rollin,nov17,2006)

Dell was first introduce by Michael dell in 1983.the idea as explained by founder of the company was in early days Companies was focusing on producing Every part of the computers .with the stabilization of industry companies focused more on to prepare other items to maker their own computers at this point of stage

This article was published in Small Business Update – Issue 62,feb 2009(How to win back old customers)
by Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris and Ajay K. Kohli January 15, 2001)

Free Essays

Relationship Between Law of Demand and Supply and National Minimum Wage


Supply and demand are one of the basic models of economics and they are main characters of a financial system. Demand means how much quantity of the service or product customer is willing to buy. At constant factors, price of the product increases or decreases as its demand increases or decreases respectively. While supply means the quantity of services or goods, producers willing to supply to consumer at certain price. At constant factors, quantity of products supplied increases as price of the product increased.

The Law of Demand

According to the ‘Law of Demand’, “Higher the price of the product results in less demand as less people wants to buy it, at the constant factors.” Graphically we can present the Law of Demand as below,

In figure 1, A, B and C are points on the demand curve. Every point on the curve shows a direct relationship between amounts of the products demanded (Q) and price (P). So, at point A, the quantity demand will be Q1 and the price will be P1, and so on. The demand relationship curve shows the negative relationship between price and quantity demanded. The higher the price of a good the lower the quantity demanded (A), and the lower the price, the more the good will be in demand (C).

The Law of Supply

According to the ‘Law of Supply’, “Higher the price of the product results in high supply of the quantity of the product.” Because higher supply of the product at high price the revenue is maximum. Graphically we can present the Law of Supply as below,

Figure 2: The Law of Supply

In figure 2, A, B and C are points on the supply curve. Every point on the curve shows a direct relation between quantity supplied (Q) and price (P). At point B, the quantity supplied will be Q2 and the price will be P2, and so on.


It is the point, at which quantity demanded and supply of the goods are same or equal. At equilibrium distribution of products is more effective because amount of the product supplied is exactly the same as the quantity of the product demanded. Graphically we can present the Equilibrium condition as below,

Figure 3: Equilibrium

At the point of intersection of the supply and demand curve equilibrium takes place. At this point, the price of the goods will be P* and the quantity will be Q*. This figure is referred to as equilibrium price and quantity.

National Minimum Wages

A minimum wage is the least monthly, daily or hourly that employers should pay legally to the employees. Workers in Britain were sheltered for the first time on the last nine months of 20th century by ‘National Minimum Wages’. With the intention of the recommendation to the rate of ‘National Minimum Wages’ in 1997 the ‘Low Pay Commission’ was established. Low Pay Commission is a kind of social partnership made up of three employer representatives, three worker representatives and three independent members, whose suggestions have been always agreed and government has always executed the suggested National Minimum Wages. National Minimum Wages has been restructured seven times, since April 1999.

History – UK’s Minimum Wages

In 1909 wages had always been synchronized by borough, but in 1909 the ‘Liberal government’s Trade Boards Act’ formed the first national system of wage law. The act made four’ Trade Boards’ that set minimum wages which were different in different industries.

In 1945 after the war, the Trade Boards, which is now well-known as ‘Wages Councils’ broaden their power. Previously only relevant to industries where communal bargaining was weak, they were now broader in scope.

In 1986 the Wage Council system had grown-up during the mid 20th century, in 1980s there were 26 councils, covering 2 million workforces, primarily in low paid jobs like trade. In 1986 the Conservative government decreases the influence of the councils and prevents new ones from being starting, with the Wages Act.

In 1993 wage Councils are eliminated, due to resistance from trade unions, who favoured to practice group bargaining.

In 1998 ‘The Labour government’ established ‘The National Minimum Wage Act’. Trade unions, which in 1979 had characterized 55% of the employees, had been able of bargaining wages by group bargaining. But in 1999 less than one in four employees were unionised, and a national solution was projected. The policy is resisted by Conservatives.

In 1999 ‘The national minimum wage’ executed. ‘The Low Pay Commission’ judges the best rate to be ?3.60 an hour for labours who are 22 and above.

In 2009 Conservative backbencher Christopher puts forward a private members’ bill that suggested allowing workers to “optimum output” of the minimum wage

In 2010 on 1st October 2010 the wages increased to ?5.93, and the age at which meet the criteria for the top rate becomes 21 for the first time. A minimum wage for apprentices is also established, at ?2.50 per hour.

Main principles to highlight the ‘National Minimum Wages’:

It must be “enough to permit labours to sustain in vigorous existence. Hence, the wage must be designed on what the employees need for physical health and competence, and not what the trade will stand”.
The “law have to be national, that is it should apply to the entire country”.
It is to be a “nationwide least of real wages that worked out in its cash comparable will balance all local disparity in cost of livelihood”

Arguments in favour of ‘National Minimum Wages’

The primary aim of National Minimum Wages is to decrease poverty and decrease the differences in pay. Another intention of National Minimum Wages is to cut the misuse of low paid labours.

Potential Economic and Social Benefits

Higher tax revenues

Due to increase in the wages of low salaried jobs ,income tax and national insurance contribution is increased.

State benefits would cost less

Benefits like income support and benefits in council tax will be required less.

A reasonable distribution of income across the people

The primary reason of poverty contributes to increasing crimes. Argument is able to provide the employees reasonable pay for their work.

Increasing productivity of labour

Firms will have an inducement to lift the yield of workforce if they pay the minimum wage. This will lead to better investment in the human capital.

Reduction in labour turnover

Increased salary can decrease the labour turnover and rate of absence and can lead to motivate the labours to work to improve efficiency and reducing the expenses on turnover of employees.

Potential earnings from the ‘National Minimum Wages’

Figure 4: Potential earnings from the ‘National Minimum Wages’

The National Minimum Wages in the figure 4 is put over the standard free market wage rate for a given job. Total employment reduced from point E1 to point E2 (expressing a loss of income for those who lost the jobs). At point E2, there is an increase in the income of those who stay in work.

Arguments against of ‘National Minimum Wages’

Increase in marginal cost of employment

A National Minimum Wages put higher than the free-market wage for certain groups lifts the marginal cost of employing workers. So organisations will reduce jobs, cut down the hours of work and unemployment will increase.

Pay leap-frogging

Other labours will demand more wages to maintain differentials in pay, which will result in cost-push inflation and adversely affect the competitiveness of UK producers in terms of price in international market.

Increased unemployment

Low-skilled labours and young persons will be replaced by experienced older labours resulting into increase in unemployment.

Cost of training

Some organisations will try to cut the cost on training of employees because of falling rate of profit.

Distortionary effect

A National Minimum Wages does not take into consideration local disparity in cost of living and will result in distortionary effect in the UK labour market.

The impact of a minimum wage on employment

Figure 5: The impact of a minimum wage on demand and supply of labours

The impact of a minimum wage on employment points depends in part on the ‘elasticity of demand’ and ‘elasticity of supply’ of employment in dissimilar businesses. If workforce demand is comparatively inelastic then the narrowing in employment will be less harsh than if employers’ demand for workers is elastic with respect to changes in the income level.

Effect of the National Minimum Wage in Industries

According to, a report of ‘The Confederation of British Industry, (CBI) which gave the capable support to the National Minimum Wage, some key issues were as given below:

There are not much evidences showing major impact on employment or unemployment.
There are no visible errors upwards in typical earnings.
There are some impacts of the National Minimum Wage on wage differentials directing towards the higher rates for workers. But it is only applies to thirteen percents of organisations.
Exemption of under eighteen year olds from any minimum wage has been proven as useful for employers.
To balance the cost of the minimum wage, some organisations have adopted work practices by making staff multi- skilled in their job.

Free Essays

Critically discuss the relationship between “virtual” and “physical” environments and behaviours, drawing on relevant social-psychological concepts and commenting on the extent to which results from online studies can be extrapolated to offline settings.


This essay will attempt to critically discuss the relationship between virtual and physical environments and behaviours, drawing on relevant social-psychological concepts. Virtual environments can help marginalise identities in which physical enviroments can sometimes constrain. Identity is constructed from others among us by their judgements whether positive or negative and develops the individuals sense of self. Cooley (1902) refers to the self as a “looking glass”, (Sapsford et al 1998,p31) in which he argues is constructed through the judgements of others. Tajfel (1978) defines social identity as “that part of an individual’s self-concept which derives from knowledge of membership of a social group,(Myers,2010,p471). According to McKenna & Bargh (1998) the internet can help distinguish an individual’s identity virtually in cases when the individual cannot express themselves emotionally in a physical environment . McKenna & Bargh (1998) devised virtual studies online involving creating a blog or chat-room in which people with stigmatized identities could communicate freely in . McKenna & Bargh (1998) results suggest that by creating an virtual environment for individual’s who cannot disclose their full identities to others in their physical environment, created a more self-acceptance and confidence in their actual identities. Therefore the participants that took part in these studies were later more likely to be more open about their marginalised identities, and more likely to reveal this identity to their friends in their physical environment , (Amichai-Hamburger,2005,p7). Generally it can be expected that by being more open and freely about aspects of one’s identity on the internet and receiving encouragement and self-worth would in turn help an individual being more open in real-life settings. These results seem pretty sound and rational but could it not be that people can communicate freely on the internet and there is also the idea of a hidden identity as other chat-room members might not actually know the person disclosing the information.

The notion of deindividuation through the use of online users has also fascinated social psychologists. This idea of identity in online communities can only be constructed by expression and the use of typing, without this there is no existence and an individual are lost in cyberspace, according to Sunden (2003) an individual cannot fully exist online until they communicate to someone else through typing,(White,2011,p10). An online identity is only fulfilled when “textual performances” are fulfilled. While Slater (2002) states that “you are what you type”,(White,2011,p10), suggesting that individual construct and compose their identities whether actual or ideal through the use of what they say or type about themselves, in turn creating a cyber identity. The use of typing has been dicussed but what about the use of images in these online communities. Digital representations of people were looked at by Bailenson & Blascovich (2004) using avatar images. They define an avatar as “ a perceptible digital representation whose behaviors reflect those executed, typically in real time, by a specific human being”,(Yee et al,2009,p1). Bailenson & Blascovich (2004) were interested in how these avatar images affect communication in online environments and how construction of this image reflects the online behaviour of the user. Yee and Bailenson (2007) conducted numerous studies into users behaviour using an attractive avatar, from their studies they concluded that avatars that were tall and attractive received more attention,and were perceived by others online as more friendly and extraverted than other avatar characters,(Yee et al,2009,p10). It has been argued that individuals use the digital image of an online avatar to project and represent a positive offline image of themselves, according to Rauh, Polonsky, & Buck (2004), therefore presenting a positive image to others users during communication,(Nowak et al, 2005,p3). The research conducted by Nowak et al (2005) suggests that individuals like to use avatars online to project an image of themselves which is somewhat similar to them and their characteristics, as a way of not to revealing all their personal characterists offline.

Following on from this idea of the self in online chats or communities can reinforce role playing identities. Turkle (1995) states that identities in multi-user domains can be inter-changed and adopted depending on the type of virtual chat the individual participates in, (Turkle,1999,p463). She argues that individuals use role playing and the adoption of multiple identities for a purpose of “self-discovery”,(Turkle,1999,p464), in order to find their true sense of identity. Turkle (1995) states that these virtual environments can be regarded as “transitional spaces” for the individual’s “intrapsychic world”, (Barak,2008,p3), suggesting that virtual environments produce an in-between sense of self, the individual we are and our ideal self. Following on from Turkle (1995) idea of the internet offering individuals a sense of space, Baumeister and Leary (1995) state that these virtual worlds present a space to provide individual needs of belonging and social acceptance,( Gangadharbatla,2008,p8). They state that virtual communites meet three basic needs which individuals strive for, these needs include the need for: belongingness, love and control. Individuals that are also high on the need to belong scale are also more likely to engage in online environments like facebook and twitter than individuals that are not. Furthermore Baumeister and Leary (1995) argue that these virtual environments like facebook provide individuals with feelings of social approval , while at the same a vast range of friendships in which offline might not be possible.

Facebook and other social networking sites according to Boyd(2008) helps unite social ties that are already present offline, and by using computer mediated communication like facebook online facilitates these ties offline aswell,(Wright, 2011,p6). O’Sullivan (2000) states that these network sites

A recent study into the relationship between virtual and physical behaviours was conducted by Slater et al (2006) into individual’s reaction on administration of virtual shocks to virtual participants. This study was a replication of Milgram’s (1960’s) experimental study into obedience, however conducted online using a virtual environment. Milgram’s (1960) study into obedience comprised of participants issuing electric shocks to learners during a series or word recall, by recalling the words wrong a shock was administered to the learner, who was also a stooge for the experiment. The results from Milgram’s study suggest that authority figures can enforce tasks to participants, and that participants will obey and follow orders of authoritative figure unconsciously. Slater et al (2006) devised a virtual replication study of Milgram’s to obtain individuals reaction to administrating virtual electrical shocks, and to distinguish virtual from physical environments. Though the experiment was conducted online using virtual characters and not that of real life settings the results obtained suggest that this study can be generalised to offline settings. Participants undertaking the online experiment knew that it was not real but artificial, however still displayed emotions and reactions just like that of Milgram’s participants, displaying signs of stress and concern when administrating fake virtual shocks to virtual participants. The results according to Slater (2006) therefore suggest that virtual and physical environments can evoke the same behaviours using online and offline settings. Slater et al (2006) study produces interesting results however in respect to the virtual learner these results can not be expected when individuals are engaged in virtual games and activities everyday and might respond to artificial characters like actual human beings. Online studies produce interesting knowledge of human behaviour online and offline, another study which was produced from real-life setting to offline settings is that of the Kitty Genovese bystander study.

Levine et al (2005) virtual bystander study suggests that virtual environments online produce the same behaviours as physical environments offline . This study was arose as a result of the Kitty Genovese case of murder and rape in 1964, in which 38 witnesses watched while a girl was raped and murdered in the street. This case along with later psychological studies suggests that when people are put in a situation in which help is required , people do nothing to help someone else in need if there are other people about, people generally expect that someone else will intervene, and defuse responsibility onto others. This phenomenon of non-intervention has fascinated social psychologists and many studies have been conducted to understand bystander behaviour. Levine et al (2002) states that bystander behaviour is enforced by group classification, by this Levine et al (2005) suggests that people are more likely to help a victim if they feel similar to them, the notion of in-group and out-groups bias , (Rovira,2009,p6) . Levine et al (2005) were interested in virtual bystander effects, ( Rovira et al, 2009, p5). In this virtual experiment a scenario is constructed in which involves confrontation and violence using football support for teams. This virtual study is conducted in a bar in which the participants are virtually there observing this confrontation, this study is experimenting whether participants will intervene with in-group or out group individuals when assistance is needed. The results from Levine et al (2005) study suggests like the Kitty Genovese case of 1964, people will not intervene if they believe other people will help or if they feel that intervening might affect their own personal safety, ( Rovira, 2009, p9).


Amichai-Hamburger,Y. (ED). (2005) The Social Net: Human Behaviour in Cyberspace. New York: Oxford University Press

Barak, A. (2008). Psychological aspects of CYBERSPACE, Theory, Research, Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge university press


Levine, M., Cassidy,., Brazier,G. & Reicher,S. (2002). Self-categorization and bystander non-intervention : two experimental studies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 7, 1452-1463

Myers,D., Abell,J.,Kolstad.,A.,Sani,F. (2010) Social psychology. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

Nowak, K. L., and Rauh, C. (2005). The influence of the avatar on online perceptions of anthropomorphism, androgyny, credibility, homophily, and attraction. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(1), article 8., Accessed online (7/3/11)

Rovira A, Swapp D, Spanlang B and Slater M (2009). The use of virtual reality in the study of people’s responses to violent incidents. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 3:59. doi: 10.3389/neuro.08.059.2009

Slater M, Antley A, Davison A, Swapp D, Guger C, et al. (2006) A Virtual Reprise of the Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiments. PLoS ONE 1(1): e39. doi:10.1371/j+ournal.pone.0000039

Turkle,S. (1999). Cyberspace and Identity,Contemporary Sociology Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov., 1999), pp. 643-648. URL address Accessed online 9/3/11

Wright,B.K & Webb,M.L. (2011). Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships. New York: Peter Lang Publishing

Yee, N. Bailenson,N.J & Ducheneaut . (2009). The Proteus Effect: Implications of Transformed Digital Self-Representation on Online and Offline Behavior. Communication Research published online 22 January 2009, URL address, accessed online (11/3/11) :,

Free Essays

What is the relationship between Organizational structures, culture and theirs factors


Organizational Behavior is a field of study that investigates how individuals, groups and structure affect and is affected by behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organization effectiveness. A consciously coordinated social unit composed of two or more people that functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goal. An Organization is a structured social system consisting of groups and individuals working together to meet some agreed goals and objectives.

An organization is a social organization which controls the goals and objectives of the company. This report is based on the theoretical concept of organizational behavior and how these behaviors will affect the managerial decision making and improve the performance of the organization. Organization behavior helps to learn about yourself and how to deal with others. You’re part of an organization now, and will continue to be a part various organizations. Organizations are increasingly expecting individuals to be able to work in teams, at least some of the time. The main purpose of this report is to critically evaluate all these theories and reasons for studying the organizational behaviour and ways of improving the knowledge on this field. The following questions will discuss some of the important aspect of organizational behaviour.

Organizational structures/culture/factors

Organizational Structure is a topic seldom contemplated by most people working in organizational settings. We all go to work every day, go to assigned locations, and perform our jobs — and we don’t ever think about how our organization is arranged. However, Organizational Structure is critical both for a company and its employees. People should think very carefully about the organizational structure of the companies for which they work or of companies for which they intend to work. In the long run, Organizational Structure can spell the difference between success and failure for a company, as well as for the individuals who work there.

Comparing organisational structure types involves identifying related objectives of the organisations being compared and then cross-comparing those objectives with the different strategies, policies, and procedures available in accomplishing them. Functional vs. Line organisational structures – functional organisations provide support, assistance, and labour to other departments or other organisations that make an actual product. Line organisations are responsible for making a product.

Line-and –staff vs. Network organisational structures – line and staff organisational structure is combination of both a line and functional organisational structure. A network organisational structure outsources procedural tasks and exports manufacturing duties to independent organizations. Network organisations export tasks involved in making products to independent entities, those entities inherit the liability associated with providing services to network organisations. In contrast, bureaucratic organizational structures have product departments that are supervised by the organisation itself. Matrix organizational structures create tailor-made teams to addresses specific problems. Network organizational structures may harness volunteer labour and leverage user-generated problem solving to address a specific issue.

Culture consists of the learned patterns of behaviour common to members of a given society – the unique lifestyle of a particular group of people. Organisational culture is defined as a complex set of values, beliefs, assumptions, and symbols that define the way which firm conducts its business. Cultural differences and their implications for organisations have been studied by many researchers, but the way culture has been treated as a variable central to the study differs quite considerably. Cultural continuity and coherence between organisations and the society within they operate is the aspect which has to be addressed fully while doing any cross cultural research. The opinion on cultural influence on organizational structure fully represents own point of view. In order to find more general and proved relationships between culture and organisations structure dimensions wide research need to be done.

There are some factors which influence individual behaviour at workplace. Demographic factors are socio economic background, education, nationality, race, age, sex, etc. Organisations prefer persons that belong to good socio-economic background, well educated, young etc as they are believed to be performing better than the others. Abilities and skills factors are a physical capacity of an individual to do something can be termed as ability. Skills can be defined as the ability to act in a way that allows a person to perform well. The individual behaviour and performance is highly influenced by ability and skills.

Furthermore, Attitude factor can be defined as tendency to respond favourably or unfavourably to certain objects, persons or situations. The employees can perform better in the organisation if they form a positive attitude. The factors such as family, society, culture, peers and organisational factors influence the information of attitude. At last but not least, Personality factor which can be defined as the study of the characteristics and distinctive traits of an individual, the inter-relations between them and the way in which a person responds and adjusts to other people and situations.

Leadership styles and organisational theories

Research and investigation into different management leadership styles has been fragmented and inconsistent. There are various types of leaderships styles like: Autocratic leadership, Democratic, Bureaucratic, Laissez faire, and Paternalistic. In Autocratic Leadership managers seeks to make as many decisions as possible, they have the most authority and control in decision making, managers seeks to retain responsibility rather than utilise complete delegation. Moreover, managers are less concerned with investing their own leadership development, and prefer to simply work on commanded subordinates. Democratic leadership is the style that promotes the sharing of responsibility, the exercise of delegation and continual consultation. In these leadership managers seeks consultation on all major issues and decisions. Manager effectively delegate tasks to subordinates and give them full control and responsibility for those tasks.

The bureaucratic leadership style is concerned with ensuring workers follow rules and procedures accurately and consistently. Leaders expect employees to display a formal, business-like attitude in the workplace and between each other. Managers gain instant authority with their position, because rules demand that employees pay them certain privileges, such as being able to sign off on all major decisions. As a result, leaders suffer from ‘position power’.

Taylor’s scientific management theory developed by Taylor is based on the concept of planning work to achieve efficiency, standardisation, specialisation and simplification. Taylor developed the following four principles of scientific management for improving productivity:

Science, not rule-of-thumb Old rules-of-thumb should be supplanted by a scientific approach to each element of a person’s work.
Scientific selection of the worker Organizational members should be selected based on some analysis, and then trained, taught and developed.
Management and labour cooperation rather than conflict Management should collaborate with all organizational members so that all work can be done in conformity with the scientific principles developed.
Scientific training of the worker Workers should be trained by experts, using scientific methods.
Another theory which known as Weber’s approach (1947) based the concept of the formal organisation on the following principles:
Structure In the organization, positions should be arranged in a hierarchy, each with a particular, established amount of responsibility and authority.
Specialization Tasks should be distinguished on a functional basis, and then separated according to specialization, each having a separate chain of command.
Predictability and stability The organization should operate according to a system of procedures consisting of formal rules and regulations.
Rationality Recruitment and selection of personnel should be impartial.

Administrative theory (Fayol, 1949) relates to accomplishment of tasks, and includes principles of management, the concept of line and staff, committees and functions of management.

Division of work or specialization increases productivity in both technical and managerial work.
Authority and responsibility is imperative for an organizational member to accomplish the organizational objectives. Discipline Members of the organization should honour the objectives of the organization. They should also comply with the rules and regulations of the organizations.
Unity of command means taking orders from and being responsible to only one superior. Unity of direction Members of the organization should jointly work toward the same goals. Subordination of individual interest to general interest – interest of the organization should not become subservient to individual interests or the interest of a group of employees.
Remuneration of personnel can be based on diverse factors such as time, job, piece rates, and bonuses, profit-sharing or non-financial rewards. Centralization Management should use an appropriate blend of both centralization and de-centralization of authority and decision making.

Motivational theories & organisations

There are a number of different views as to what motivates workers. The most commonly held views or theories are discussed below and have been developed over the last 100 years or so. Unfortunately these theories do not all reach the same conclusions!


Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1917) put forward the idea that workers aremotivated mainly by pay. His Theory of Scientific Management argued the following:

Workers do not naturally enjoy work and so need close supervision and control. Therefore managers should break down production into a series of small tasks.

Workers should then be given appropriate training and tools so they can work as efficiently as possible on one set task. Workers are then paid according to the number of items they produce in a set period of time- piece-rate pay.

Taylor’s methods were widely adopted as businesses saw the benefits of increased productivity levels and lower unit costs. The most notably advocate was Henry Ford who used them to design the first ever production line, making Ford cars. This was the start of the era of mass production.

Taylor’s approach has close links with the concept of an autocratic management style (managers take all the decisions and simply give orders to those below them) and Macgregor’s Theory X approach to workers (workers are viewed as lazy and wish to avoid responsibility).


Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949) believed that workers are not just concerned with money but could be better motivated by having their social needs met whilst at work (something that Taylor ignored). He introduced the Human Relation School of thought, which focused on managers taking more of an interest in the workers, treating them as people who have worthwhile opinions and realising that workers enjoy interacting together.

From this Mayo concluded that workers are best motivated by:

Better communication between managers and workers (Hawthorne workers were consulted over the experiments and also had the opportunity to give feedback)

Greater manager involvement in employees working lives (Hawthorne workers responded to the increased level of attention they were receiving)

Working in groups or teams (Hawthorne workers did not previously regularly work in teams)


Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) along with Frederick Herzberg (1923-) introduced the Neo-Human Relations School in the 1950’s, which focused on the psychological needs of employees. Maslow put forward a theory that there are five levels of human needs which employees need to have fulfilled at work.

All of the needs are structured into a hierarchy (see below) and only once a lower level of need has been fully met, would a worker be motivated by the opportunity of having the next need up in the hierarchy satisfied. For example a person who is dying of hunger will be motivated to achieve a basic wage in order to buy food before worrying about having a secure job contract or the respect of others.

A business should therefore offer different incentives to workers in order to help them fulfil each need in turn and progress up the hierarchy (see below). Managers should also recognise that workers are not all motivated in the same way and do not all move up the hierarchy at the same pace. They may therefore have to offer a slightly different set of incentives from worker to worker.


Frederick Herzberg (1923) had close links with Maslow and believed in a two-factor theory of motivation. He argued that there were certain factors that a business could introduce that would directly motivate employees to work harder (Motivators). However there were also factors that would de-motivate an employee if not present but would not in themselves actually motivate employees to work harder (Hygiene factors)

Motivators are more concerned with the actual job itself. For instance how interesting the work is and how much opportunity it gives for extra responsibility, recognition and promotion. Hygiene factors are factors which ‘surround the job’ rather than the job itself. For example a worker will only turn up to work if a business has provided a reasonable level of pay and safe working conditions but these factors will not make him work harder at his job once he is there. Importantly Herzberg viewed pay as a hygiene factor which is in direct contrast to Taylor who viewed pay and piece-rate in particular. Herzberg believed that businesses should motivate employees by adopting a democratic approach to management and by improving the nature and content of the actual job through certain methods.

Motivation plays a huge role in any organization or company. The level of motivation can directly affect not only the quality of life but can strengthen or weaken the bottom line. Every manager and or leader should know and work to make sure they keep their employees motivated no matter what place those employee’s are in their careers. Managers can keep their employees motivated by identifying individual factors that influence behaviour, understanding and applying motivation theories and enacting effective behaviour modification that encourages a higher level of motivation for the individual employee. A motivated workforce can make any company or organization a competitive force. Employees who are motivated usually produce at a higher level, create a better product or service and can be fertile ground for innovative ideas.

Nature of groups and technology

The term group can be defined as two or more persons interacting and working together for a common purpose. When people work in groups rather than as individuals, the goals of the Organization can be easily achieved. However, working in a group is a complex task. Group dynamics refers to the interactions between the members of a group. A work group of an organization is the main foundation for the social identity of employees in that organization. Hence, performance at work and relationships outside the organization are influenced by the nature of groups in the organization. In this unit, we will discuss the nature and types of groups and the stages in development of groups along with the structure, tasks, and processes of groups.

Different types of groups are formed to achieve specific results in organizations. There are three views on the nature of interaction between members of a group or group dynamics. The first view is the normative view, which describes how to carry out activities and organize a group. According to the second view, group dynamics consists of a set of techniques which include brainstorming, role play, team building, sensitivity training, self-managed teams, and transactional analysis. The third view explains group dynamics from the viewpoint of the internal nature of the groups. The formation of groups, structure, processes, and functioning are discussed in this view along with the effect of groups on individuals, other groups, and the complete organization.

The use of new technologies can improve and in some cases hider team functioning. As technology changes teams must update and maintain their knowledge in order to function effectively. There are technologies like e-mail, mobile phones, groupware and computers which have improved team functions. E-mail allows asynchronous communication which team members do not be in the same place at the same time in order to communicate effectively. Mobile phones have come a long way from yuppie bricks of the 1980s and there are now more mobile phones in the UK then there are people. Groupware enables teams to plan meetings, collaborate, delegate all within a virtual environment which can often be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world. Computers allow team members to carry out various tasks and communicate more effectively. Laptop computers allow you to do this anywhere.


According to my opinion company should have use different leadership styles, motivational theories of different theorist or economist, and other organisational behaviour strategies for business operations. Basically, this report describes all these things. Company should critically evaluate all the issues of management which can directly or indirectly affecting the business operations. Many employers now expect employees to understand their own performance and to know how to adapt to meet times of increased workload, stressful situations or conditions of change. Employees are expected to respond well to change. Whilst some employers offer training, it is more typical for employers to expect graduates to arrive ready to manage both their own performance and the performance of other people.

Organizational Structure is critical both for a company and its employees. People should think very carefully about the organizational structure of the companies for which they intend to work. In the long run, Organizational Structure can spell the difference between success and failure for a company, as well as for the individuals who work there. Furthermore, culture and organisation’s structure should be interred related with each other. As I mentioned earlier about how culture affects on organisation as well as individual behaviour at work. Evaluation of theories using technologies can helps organisation to improve and growth of company.





d) Class notes and self knowledge


a)Mr. Brooks (2008), Organisational Behaviour: groups and organisation, 4th edition, Prentice Hall

b)Laurie J. Mullins (1995), Organisational Behaviour and Management, 4th revised edition, FT Prentice Hall

Free Essays

What is the relationship between personality and health?


In order to evaluate the research conducted by Friedman and Rosenman, it is important to understand the relationship between personality and health. In a study of health and illness by Bury (2005), health is an incredible riddle and hard to define but simple to spot. However, in management of health promotion and developing healthy organisation and community written by Simnett (1995) says that health approval is sunshade expression for a very wide range of performances that improve good health and well-being and put a stop to ill health. On the other hand, personality is define as psychologies with the aim of recognizing the uniqueness in human characters and understanding people’s differences in organisation (Buchannan and Huczynski, 2010).

Although, the researcher suggests that personality and health seems to be link in a way particularly relevant to organisational behaviour. However, this essay will critically evaluate the relationship between personality and health in organisation and discuss the behavioural syndromes that measures stress level in organisation. Furthermore, evaluate type A personality and B personality and also discuss how the stress levels would differ amongst the two types of personality. It would also analyse the factors and trait of the personality and suggest reasons on how these factors relate to levels of stress taken upon an individual in organisation. In addition, a discussion of the strategies management that should be used to sustain the employee stress levels and conclude.

One of the main links between personality and health involves health quality base on what individuals do. The research carried out by Friedman and Rosenman, 1974 in (Buchannan and Huczynski, 2010) shows that smoking and alcohol are relate to a number of personality behaviours such as, disobedience, ferociousness, estrangement, impulsivity, and low confidence. However, those individuals with such specific personality take bigger risk with their health and could die early. For example, it is nature and social predicament at early days that lead to drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and other drugs mistreatment in adolescent years (Cooley, 2009). Consequently, the rate of health inconvenience and premature death has increased significantly because of smoking and drinking alcohol. In contrast, personality has been long considering major intermediary/moderator of stress in organisational behaviour (Antoniou and Cooper, 2005). In addition, stress is a prototype of emotional states and physiological reaction taking place in response to difficulty from within or outer surface of organisation (Blonna, 2010). However, world health organisation (1992) defines behaviours syndrome as a different between people or individual in organisation. Although, the syndromes that assess the stress levels are frontal lobe syndromes that follow skull shock which adequately split in the direction of losing consciousness that include a number of different symptoms such as annoyance, vertigo, (normally lack the characteristic of true dizziness), tiredness, bad temper, and complexity. These symptoms might be accompanies by emotion of sadness or anxiety resulting from loss of self-esteem and fear of permanent brain damage in persons in organisation (World Health Organisation, 1992).

One of the strongest arguments against Friedman and Rosenman theories are the difference between type A and B personality. However, Friedman and Rosenman (1974) argued that everybody on earth has unrelated and distinctive personality. In addition, they said that each individual could be placed into one of the two personality types such as type A personality or type B personality. The Type B personality is the median. It is the normal person. They are at most times quiet and composed. It takes a lot to annoy them. They are hardly overstressed, and when feeling pressure they lean to be positive than negative. It is clearly that Type B persons do not mind driving behind an unhurried car. They do not care too much if the queue is long at the grocery store. Their velocity is calm and they are not in a rush to get things done. Type B people are patient (Friedman and Rosenman, 1974). They also state that type A personality were three times more likely to experience heart infection than type B personalities. Typical type A thrives on extended hours, large amounts of work and fixed deadlines. These are together and organisationally useful quality, as competitiveness and a high need for success. Moreover, those who are type A personality may not be able to relax extensively, stand back from multifaceted difficulty to make an efficient and comprehensive analysis, and need the tolerance and comfortable style required in some administrative positions. Furthermore, problem lies in the fact that their intolerance and aggression can increase the stress levels in those who have to work with them. For instance, a type A personality can emerge to have many venerable facets, but these behaviour syndromes can be dysfunctional for the entity, and for others. However, Friedman and Schustack, (2009:pp391) states that “the struggle of Type A person is most likely to be the one of a “choleric”, angry against the arbitrary controls of his or her job or life. Such a person will also have generally interpersonal relations”. However, there is currently high-quality confirmation that person who guide aggressive, resentfully, ready for action and ambitious lives are more likely to experience heart infection at the age of 45 than type B personality. In disagreeing with Friedman and Rosenman theories which suggest that Type B personality cannot easily get annoy and also that type A personality were three times more likely to suffer heart disease than type B, not all the type A persons suffer heart disease. For example, most people are type B, but they are not competitive, stressful, worried and hard to annoy, but have heart disease due to smoking or drinking alcohol or accident. According to Schill (2008) argue that, the type B personality loves social gathering, meeting with people, trek and be part of the groups and is often the centre of concentration. They love enthusiasm and are often impatient and difficult because of being a fattening type of personality. However, not only the type A personality is impatient but also type B personality. In addition, some persons can be both type A and B at the same time, it is irrelevant whether type A and B are related, what matters is that one person can become both type of personality. Moreover, many researchers argue that, is not only two-type of personality. A personality type is very broad and many, for example, type C and D personalities. According to Carbonell (2008) state that, type C personality is a person with cautious, competed, careful, compliant, contemplative and calculating. In clinical psychology and heart disease, written by (Molinari, Compare, and Parati, 2006) shows that, D personality type is an individual who feel anxious, unhappy, worry and have pessimistic vision of life and they can easily get irritated

The big five personality traitsThe characters
Neuroticismemotional instability, tend to be stressed, anxious, worrisome, restless and changeable,
Openness(Nightmare, aesthetics, emotion, performance, information and values)
Conscientiousness(Capability, command, dutifulness, and success determined, self-control, and reflection)
Extraversionsociability, ferociousness, action, excitement-seeking, optimistic emotion
Agreeableconviction, honesty, unselfishness, disobedience, humility, and caring, mindedness

One of the major factors in personality traits, which relate to stress level upon individual, is neuroticism. According to Eysenck in wood (1985), neuroticism are people who are highly measured on emotional instability, tend to be stressed, anxious, worrisome, restless and changeable, while those who are low in neuroticism tend to be relaxed, stay peaceful, displeasure and stable. However, other researchers analyse openness, conscientiousness, extraversion and agreeable. However, openness is one of the factors of personality traits, which indicate how open-minded a person is. There are six characters describing openness such as dream, aesthetics, emotion, performance, information and values sprint on a variety commencing traveller at one tremendous to “preserver” at the previous. The traveller (Openness+) traits are helpful for hypothetical scientists, architects, entrepreneurs, artists and modify agents. The preserver on the other hand, which is (Openness-) traits are useful for plan managers, practical scientists, theatre performers, and sponsorship managers (Costa, 1943, McCrae, 1949 in Buchannan and Huczynski, 2010). Furthermore, conscientiousness is also one of the personality traits that have traits such as capability, command, dutifulness, success determined, self-control, and reflection sprint from determined to flexible determined conscientiousness plus traits which are useful for leaders, senior executives and other high achievers, while flexible conscientiousness minus traits are useful for researchers, detectives and management consultant. While on the other hand, extraversion is part of personality traits that relate to human behaviours. The characters related to extraversion are sociability, ferociousness, action, excitement-seeking, and optimistic emotion. Lucas et al, (2000) in comprehensive handbook of personality and psychopathology written by Thomas, (2006) state that extraverts and hospitality are consequences of satisfying people in organisation. They also argued that extraverts have tendency in the direction of antagonism and power in organisational behaviour. Therefore, social behaviours in organisation are a means of satisfying the need of rewarding personality in organisation. Agreeableness is referring to human being capability to get along among other people in organisation. Agreeableness causes a number of people to become moderate, helpful, pardoning, and considerate and good nature in their communication with other people in the workplace (Griffin, 2008). He also argued that highly agreeable persons would have a superior working relationship with other colleague, contributory and sophisticated manager in organisation than those with less agreeableness. It is clear that those with high agreeable behaviour will not have fastidious good working relationship with internal and external persons in organisation (Costa and McCrae, 1992). The reason why the five big factors of personality traits relates to stress level in organisational and individual is that it contains several factors of symptoms personality traits. For example, neuroticism is one of the factors that have negative emotional unstableness, which connects to introvert-neurotic and extravert-neurotic. Introvert-neuroticism has eight characters, which are calmness, unsociable, shyness, unenthusiastic, serious, inflexible, nervous and unstable. While extravert-neurotic have eight characters as well such as aggressive, restless, quick-tempered, excitable, changeable, impulsive, optimistic and active (Costa, 1943, McCrae, 1949 in Buchannan and Huczynski, 2010).

One of the main reasons for management strategies is to reduce the stress levels on employees. Lehrer, et al, (2007) define stress management as a set of techniques used to help an individual to cope more effectively with difficult situation in order for them to feel good emotionally, improve behavioural skills and to enhance the feeling of the organisation. However, Cunningham (2000), states that stress management is define as interventions design to reduce the impact of stressors in workplace. Greenberg and Baron (2008) argued that pressure stems from many diverse factors and circumstances with the intention of eliminating it entirely from our lives. However, they state that organisations or companies still have many things to do in order to help reduce the stress level on employees. They also said that you can manage your own stress by using your time wisely, social support, eat a healthy diet and be physically fit, relax and meditation, get a good night’s sleep and avoid inappropriate self-talk. It is quite accepte for them to bring in different organized programs to help employees reduce and stop the stress levels. The reasons for these assumption is to help the employees minimize the adverse reactions to stress, so that they will be better, present, and consequently more industrious on the work which in return have positive effects on the foundation line of the organisations. It is clear that many companies in the world today have professionals in each program design to help manage the stress level of employee. The systematic programs designed to reduce the stress on employees are stress management programs, wellness programs and presents programs. That is to say, that the systematic programs designed for management is helpful to reduce the stress level on employees.

In conclusion, types A personality seem to have link with behavioural syndrome than type B. it also increase an individual stress levels in organisation. However, much research has be conduct by different psychologies with different types of personalities; argue that is not only type A and B personality, but also type C and D personality. It is hard to conclude personality type with accuracy, For example, Schill (2008) argue that type B personality is impatient while the research conduct by Friedman and Rosenman 1974 in (Buchannan and Huczyski, 2010) state that B personality are patient. Not clear which part of personality types that cause stress level in organisation and individual. The correlation data-cannot assume causal link between the variables. In order to improve Friedman and Rosenman research there is a need to identify other types of personality and eliminate stress.


Antoniou G, A and Cooper L C. (2005). Research companion to organisational health psychology. United Kingdom. Edward Elgar

Blonna, R. (2010). Stress less live more. USA. New harbinger

Bury, M. (2005). Health and illness. Cambridge. Polity

Buchanan A, D and Huczyski A, A. (2010). Organisational behaviour. England. Pearson Education

Cunningham B, J. (2000). The stress management sourcebook. New York. McGraw-hill

Cooley H, C. (2009). Human nature and the social order: seventh edition. New York. Transaction

Costa P and McCrae R, R. (1992). NEO PI-R: professional manual. Odessa, Florida. Psychological assessment resources

Friedman M, and Rosenman R, F. (1947). Type A behaviour and your heart. New York. Knopf

Griffin W, R. (2008). Fundamentals of management. U.S.A. Houghton Miffin

Greenberg J, and Baron A, R. (2008). Behaviour in organisations: ninth edition. New Jersey. Pearson Education

Lehrer M, P. Woolfolk L, R and Sime E, W. (2007). Principle and practice of stress management. New York. Guilford press

Molinari E Compare A and Parati G. (2006).clinical psychology and heart disease. Italy. Springer-verlag

Simenett I. (1995). Managing health promotion: developing health organisations and communities. New York. John Wiley & sons

Schill B. (2008). Stalking darkness. U.S.A. Brian A schill

Thomas C, J. (2006). Comprehensive handbook of personality and psychopathology. Canada. John Wiley & sons

World Health Organisation. (1992). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: clinical. Switzerland. World Health Organisations

Wood C. (1985: pp12). New scientist. The healthy neurotic. 105, 1442. 7 February

Free Essays

Explore the relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision amongst UK fashion retailers

Chapter 1


1.1 Introduction

Marketers, nowadays, are confronted with increasingly multicultural marketplaces.

Globalisation of markets and international competition are requiring firms to operate

in a multicultural environment. In addition, migration patterns and communication

media i.e. satellite and televisions are developing multicultural mind sets in single

domestic markets and exposing consumers to alternative behaviours and activities

(Douglas and Craig, 1997 cited in Luna and Gupta, 2001).

United Kingdom is one of the biggest countries in the world supporting immigrants.

Immigration made up more than half of Britain’s population growth from 1991 to

2001 ( 2008). The net difference between immigration and emigration

was 191,000 in 2006, which is expected to increase due to inflow of Eastern European

migrants ( These immigration patterns are making UK a multicultural country rather then homogenous and single cultured as it was in 1970s.

This inflow of immigrants from different cultures has brought diverse cultures

together in distinct country. Individuals from sundry cultures are living and working

together while possessing unlike mind sets and behaviour for similar products and

commodities. These contrasting mind sets are affecting high street retailers as they

have to serve diverse markets apart from local population including migrants from

Asian countries which are working here for years and recent migrants from Eastern

European countries.

The women’s outerwear market has been characterised in the past five years by

falling prices and rising volumes as women have adopted fast, throwaway, celebrityinspired fashion (Mintel 2008). The UK clothing market has many drivers; it is Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

sensitive and remains as multi-level and eccentric as has been increasingly the case

since around 1975, recognised as the emergence of the modern market (Hogg Bruce

and Hill 1998). This modern era is fairly been attractive and catching for marketers

and high streets retailers.

1.2 Significance of Study:

Several attempts by different researchers around the world have been made to

highlight the cultural influence on consumer behaviour (Jamal 2001). Most of the

research papers have focused on the influence of culture as a explanatory tool for

marketing purposes (Craig and Douglas 2005; Dmitrovic and Vida 2005; LeBlanc and

Herndon 2001) and very few researchers have spotlight the elements of culture and

their influence on consumer behaviour (Luna and Gupta 2001).

Furthermore these research studies regarding effect of culture on consumer behaviour

do not offer a framework in which literature can be adequately integrated, are not

firmly grounded in theory, or do not contain a full account of how specific cultural

dimensions affect specific consumer behaviour components. As a result, Douglas et

al. (1994) call for further research in this area stating that strong theoretical and

conceptual frameworks are needed, integrating constructs from the different research

subjects and disciplines.

Additionally, most of the cross-cultural studies in past had focused on different

cultural aspects and values. Very few works have been done on aesthetics and its

influence on consumer behaviour. Aesthetics is an important element of culture and

represents the idea of beauty and appearance in material culture (Hofstede 2000). It is

one of the visible parts of culture that gives an idea to outsiders about cultural values

and beliefs. It also plays an importance role in shaping new trends and consumer

behaviour in a society (Usanier and Lee 2005).

Moreover, market conditions are changing very rapidly now-a-days. Between 1975

and 1990, the total retail market grew from 40 per cent to 70 per cent (Jones and Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Hayes, 2002 cited in Priest 2005). Even with the current medium term jitters, the UK

clothing market have very attractive prospect.The UK clothing and fashion market

remains attractive because of its size and growth. Retail sales climbed 0.8 per cent in

January – a marked improvement on the 0.2 per cent fall recorded for December –

according to the Office for National Statistics. UK retail sales rose 1.2% on a like-forlike basis, compared with July 2006, when sales were up 3.4%. July’s growth was the

weakest since November 2006 and half the monthly average for the second quarter.

The three-month trend rate of growth fell to 2.1% from 2.5% in June, for like-for-like

sales, and to 4.1% from 4.6% for total sales, reflecting the continuing slow growth of

retail space (Retail week 2008)

Lastly, in the present situation of multi-ethnic groups with manifold and growing

demands for apparel in sole market, it is very thorny for retailers, marketers and

entrepreneurs to develop strategies. According to Jamal (2001), in a multicultural

market place, consumer of different ethnic groups coexists, interact and adapt to each

other. During this adoption process, demands changes and new commodities are

expected in market.

Fig 1.1: Research Pattern

Source: Adopted from Foxel et. al. (1998) Consumer Psychology of Marketing 2


Edition p. 148








Self Concept

Consumer Behaviour

(Brand selection and

lifestyle products


Culture Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

This research paper opts to address the above-mentioned problems and future market

potentials by looking in to the cultural factors that influences the consumer behaviour,

as shown in figure 1.1. It will look in to consumer’s brand selection decision on the

basis of one of the cultural elements i.e. aesthetics. This element of culture is far

above the ground important for apparel brands and retailers and will be researched

with respect to self reference criterion (SRC).

1.3 Aims and Objectives

Consumers may allocate a portion of their purchase time and money to express their

personality and lifestyles (Kahle and Kennedy 1989). Consequently, an understanding

of the basic values and beliefs of consumers should improve our understanding of

unseen buying motives and provide specific guidelines for marketing strategy.

This research is intended to explore various cultural aspects that influence female

customers’ decision for different outerwear and clothing brands operating in UK. It

seeks to comprehend the influence of consumers’ back-home culture when they make

a decision to buy ready-to-wear clothing from apparel retailers.

1.3.1 Objectives:

The research objectives of this study are as follows:

1. Identify and explain the cultural factors that influence female consumers’ decision

and behaviour for casual in-home and outerwear clothing (Women’s outerwear

including coats, dresses, tops, T-shirts, jackets, trousers, jeans, blouses, skirts,

shirts etc. but excluding accessories (e.g. belts, hats, gloves), lingerie and hosiery

whereas in-home include casual skirts, jeans and tops)

2. Identify and describe the social pressure and motivation for shopping culturally

acceptable fashion wear Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

3. Explore the perception of female consumers from different cultures for wearing

cross cultural dresses

4. Identify the advantages and disadvantages for clothing fashion retailers to sell

multi-cultural outfit ranges

1.3.2 Research Question:

The primary research questions of this study are:

1. How cultural values affects self concept of individuals which in turn influence

consumer behaviour?

This dissertation will try to find relationship between consumer culture and behaviour

while focusing the aesthetical part of their value system. This paper will also spotlight

the concept of self image in individuals while discussing self-reference-criterion

(SRC). Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Figure 1.2: Research question

2. What are the implications of these cultural values for apparel companies operating

in United Kingdom?

From the result of consumer interviews and focus groups, this study will explore the

ways by which the retail apparel brands are affected and what would be the

implications in future for their higher sales and profitability.

1.4 Structure of Dissertation

This dissertation is divided into six (6) chapters. A brief description of these chapters

is presented hereafter.

Chapter1: This chapter covers introduction of dissertation and significance of this

study for different stakeholder. Research aims and objectives are also covered in this


Pakistani Indian Bengali British Polish Italian German


M & S






Cultural Influence

Cultural Influence Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailer

Chapter 2: This chapter covers previous studies conducted in the field of topic in

hand. Culture, consumer behaviour and relationship between them are discussed in

details. The final part of this chapter covers significance of apparels and clothing in a

society followed by research question.

Chapter 3: This chapter entails description of research methodology involved in this

study. Research strategy, methods and context of study are important features of this


Chapter 4: This chapter wrap-up the finding from the participants’ responses. These

findings are an analysed using content analysis method, which is explained in

methodology chapter.

Chapter 5: This chapter preset the findings of this reports with respect to the

literature review. Previous studies presented in chapter 2 are compared with the

results obtained in chapter 4.

Chapter 6: This is final chapter of report and presents a final conclusion of project.

At the end of chapter, brief recommendations and recommendations are given for

managers and retailers. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Chapter 2


Dealing distinctive consumers in various countries is becoming a necessity for today

multinational organisation. These multinationals achieve their marketing objectives

whilst serving consumers in a country according to its cultural preferences and values.

These cultural values play an important role in consumer’s decision making and

choice of product. As mentioned by Poon (2003), economic and cultural differences

lead to substantial variations in the behaviours of consumers.

The relevant literature presented in this part will discuss the studies related to culture

and cross-culture, consumer behaviour and relationship in between them. It will also

highlight the studies which unfold the importance of culture in the selection of

apparels’ brands.

2.1 Culture

2.1.1 Concept of Culture

Culture, a thorny word, is translated differently in various civilisations around the

world. It is too complex to be defined in one line or paragraph. Authors around the

world have developed more then 164 different definitions of culture (Usanier and Lee

2005). It is a lens, shaping reality, and a blueprint, specifying a plan of action. At the

same time, culture is unique to a specific group of people (Fan 2008). Groups,

organisations and individuals identify and relate themselves with the culture they

belong. Civilisations use culture they inherit as guidance for their acts and beliefs.

Keegan (2005) elucidate the term culture as ‘ways of living, built up by a group of

human beings, which are transmitted from one generation to another’. This means that

culture identify the ways of life, actions and symbols of past generations and their Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

significance to present civilisation. Hofstede (1991) view culture as “the collective

mental programming of the people in an environment. Culture is not a characteristic

of individual; it encompasses a number is people who were conditioned by the same

education and life experience”

Culture acts like glue, binding together individuals, groups and civilisation in a

patterned way (Kluckhohn 1962). Without this patterned way of living, it is

impossible for people in a society to live together. It collectively defines the

boundaries of actions and values carried by a society. Cultural orientation has been

the central construct used in psychology and other social sciences (Oysermann et al.,

2002) in order to understand and define society and culture (Aaker and Maheswaran,

1997; Aaker, 2000). As mentioned by Goodenogh (1971) cited in Usanier and Lee

(2005), culture is set of beliefs or standards, shared by a group of people, which help

the individual decide what is what, what can be, How to feel, what to do and how to

go about it. This makes culture important in individual and groups psychological

developments while shaping their norms, values and rituals.

Culture can be defined in terms of national culture, sub-culture and counter-culture.

Whereas national culture is collective fingerprint of a country, sub-culture is practiced

by smaller number of people. National culture and sub-culture are coherent by values

but apparently different (Keegan 2006). Counter-culture is a culture or sub-cultures

whose values and beliefs are apposite or in disagreement to that of national culture

( 2008).

2.1.2 Importance of Culture

Culture drives behaviour of members in a society. It is the most important block of a

civilisation that defines and explains its origin and history (Lukosius 2004). Culture is

concerned with the development of coherent viewpoints which bring a cumulative

effect to ‘otherwise’ isolated experiences of a group, making them feel special yet

allowing others to have a parallel experience (Veltman 1997). Individuals and groups

usually associate themselves with the culture they belong to and feel proud of it. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

According to Craig and Douglas (2005), culture has a profound influence on all

aspects of human behaviour. Its impact may be subtle or pronounced, direct or

oblique, enduring or ephemeral. It is so entwined with all facets of human existence

that it is often difficult to determine how and in what ways its impact is manifested

(Jamal 2001). Adding to the complexity of understanding culture is its inherently

dynamic nature.

Fig 2.1: Cultural importance framework

Source: Adapted from Mooij (2005), p. 106

The impact of culture can also be viewed in every day life of individuals in a society.

According to Hofstede (1997), culture influences behaviour through its manifestations:

values, heroes, rituals, and symbols. This influence is visible at personal level as well

as organisational and group levels. Culture influences change and evolves as the

political, social, economic and technological forces (Usunier and Lee, 2005). Figure

2.1 presents a framework that highlights the importance of culture in individual’s

social participation, which is affected by individual behavioural domain. The

behavioural domain possesses visible and non-visible culture, values and beliefs,

religious base and concept of heroes.


Material culture



Visible Culture





Individual Behavioural


Individual Social

Participation Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

2.1.3 Manifestations of Culture

Hofstede (1991) defined four main manifestations of culture in his famous Onion

Model shown in fig 2.2. According to him, values, rituals, heroes and symbols reflect

important parts of culture and need to be studied in order to understand it. These

manifestations are important to study because different cultures perceive different

things differently.

According to Mooij (2005), symbols are words, gestures, pictures, or objects that

carry a particular meaning recognised only by those who share a culture. Symbols are

at the outer most layer of onion model and include dressing and hair styles, special

hand or face gestures, status recognition and pictures possessing some meaning for its

viewers. Usunier and Lee (2005) describe heroes as persons, alive or dead, real or

imaginary- who thus serve as a role model for common societal behaviour. These can

be fantasy figures or real heroes. Rituals are the collective activates considered

essential for culture and are carried out for their own sake. These three manifestations

are visible and are termed as expression of culture that an outsider can observe (Mooij


Fig 2.2: The onion model

Source: Hofstede, G. (2000) Culture Consequences, Comparing Values, Behaviours, Intuitions and

Organisations across Nations, 2


edition. p. 11

At the core of culture are values and are defined as broader tendencies to prefer a

certain state of affairs over other ( 2008). Developmental

psychologists believe that values are among the first things children learn, not



Heroes, Stories


P r a c t i c e s Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

– 12 –

consciously but implicitly (Mooij 2005). Members of a society are not conscious of

the values they hold, but act according to them.

It is important to note that value system is placed firmly in mind of child by the age of

10, and they act according to that in later stages of life. These cultural values, in

which child is brought up, play an important role in evaluation, organisation and

selection of commodities and brands. Not only it steer members of society to choose

from alternative choices and brands but also affect their consumption patterns. The

value system, once developed, is very difficult to change and affect individual

throughout there life (Douglous 2006).

Salter (1997) further elaborates the concept of culture after the values that arise within

the way of life of people. According to him, these values give members of society

solidarity, identity and authoritatively judge what is good or bad, real or false, not

only in art but in everyday life. So it can be argued that these judgements or

perceptions of external stimuli are jointly accepted in individuals from same cultural

background or civilisation.

2.1.4 Elements of Culture

There are four major elements of culture explained by Usunier and Lee (2005) i.e.

language, institutions, material productions and symbolic productions. These elements

are further divided in to sub-elements. We will discuss only three elements which

have relevance to this research paper including language, aesthetics and institution.

A county’s language affects people’s thoughts and mental representation and is one of

the building blocks of culture (Usunier and Lee 2005). Language illustrates culture

and it reflects all manifestations of culture, the expressions and the values. According

to Mooij (2005), there are two ways of looking at language i.e. either language affects

culture or language is expression of culture. In both views, language plays an

important role in culture related studies. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Fig 2.3: Elements of Culture

Source: Adopted from Luna, and Gupta (2001) “An integrative framework for cross-cultural consumer

behaviour” International Marketing Review Vol. 18 No. 1, 2001

Aesthetics are the ideas of beauty, taste and appearance mainly expressed in colours

and fine arts (Blocker and Flint 2007). Aesthetics play an important role in selections

of ensigns and related commodities. Lastly, institution reflects the idea of family

structure in a society (Usunier and Lee 2005). Institution plays and important role in

spending of capital and product range required by a family.

2.1.5 Sources of Culture

The national culture is not always the main source of culture when regarded as

‘operational culture’ (Goodenough 1971 cited in Mizik and Jacobson 2008). Man is

an intelligent animal and learns cultural values and activities from society around him.

He learns from people around him, adopt things and then respond accordingly. Some

of the main sources of culture which help individuals to act in a pertinent way are

family, religion, social class and language. Usunier and Lee (2005) gave a framework

to explained ten (10) different sources of culture, which are shown in figure 2.4.

These factors affect an individual’s personality directly and indirectly, modify and

design behaviour while determining new values.


Material culture Institution/Family


Symbolic Productions

CultureRelationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Fig 2.4: Sources of culture

Source: Usunier and Lee (2005) Marketing Across Culture, 4


edition. p. 11

2.1.6 Cross Cultural Studies

There are two main types of cross culture studies, etic and emic. Etic approach looks

at a culture while comparing it with other culture. Researchers, who use this method,

try to find common elements between diverse cultures and then compare them for

further understanding. According to Luna and Gupta (2007), this approach is

commonly used in typical cross-cultural psychology and other comparative social


However, there is another point of view for cross-cultural studies i.e. emic

methodology, which focuses upon the understanding culture from the view point of

subject being studied (McCracken 1988). Researcher studying consumer behaviour

from emic methodological views are more inclined towards the culture which subject

hold rather then general national culture. Emic methodology is more appropriate for

Sources of














Social Class



Language Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

the studies apt for multicultural consumer studies. So it can be argued that the etic and

the emic philosophies seem to refer to similar constructs but from different perspectives

(between-cultures versus within-cultures).

As explained by Luna and Gupta (2007), consumer ethnocentrism is a construct often

studied by cross-cultural researchers. The construct could be viewed as an

instrumental value (Rokeach, 1973), as used by Shimp and Sharma (1987). In their

study, Shimp and Sharma (1987) found that consumers’ ethnocentrism determines

their perceptions of domestic versus foreign values (cognition), as well as their

attitudes and behaviour.

2.2 Consumer Behaviour and Decision Making

2.2.1 Consumer Behaviour

The field of consumer behaviour is complex, changing and is in flux. Perspectives

from different disciplines around the world cross-fertilise with it to obtain required

data. Consumer behaviour’s researchers include different theories from diverse

subjects to conclude results. So it can be argued that consumer behaviour is series of

actions and reaction to certain stimuli.

As commercial global integration unfolds in the world’s marketplaces, decision

making is becoming increasingly complex for consumers. The introduction of new

products and brands in market has not only confused customers with a massive

display of choices but also has created scarcity of places in retails stores. Brands are

now commonly assessed by customer mind-set measures (e.g., awareness, attitudes)

(Mizik and Jacomson 2008).

Consumer behaviour encompasses consumers and their reaction to environment.

Customer reaction is the key elements in consumer behaviour. Consumers recognise

that they have a need; search for a product that can meet heir need; use the product to

satisfy their need; and then dispose of the product once it has met the need (Wells and

Prensky 1996). Hence, the central concept in consumer behaviour is exchange. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

According Solomon et. al. (2006), consumer behaviour is defined as the study of the

processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of

products, service, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires. This definition

demonstrates consumer behaviour as a study of process which starts from product’s

selection till its disposal.

On the other hand, American Marketing Association (AMA) defined consumer

behaviour as the dynamic interaction of affects and cognition, behaviour, and

environmental events by which human beings conduct exchange aspects of their lives.

This definition elucidates consumer behaviour as a dynamic and changing, involves

interaction between individuals and groups and finally hold exchange.

Consumer decision-making style, in simple terms, can be defined as “a mental

orientation characterizing a consumer’s approach to making choices” (Sproles and

Kendall, 1986, p. 267 cited in Lysonski, Durvasula and Zotos 1996). This definition

looks at just one aspect of consumer behaviour i.e. making choices.

All of the above definitions explain consumer behaviour and decision making from

different angles but focus on one thing i.e. the consumer’s mental cognitive process.

Consumer behaviour mental process involves the thoughts and feelings people

experience and the actions they perform in consumption process. It also includes the

things in environment that influence their thoughts, feelings and actions (Peter and

Olson 2005).

2.2.2 Understanding Consumer Behaviour

Consumer decision making process is complex and ever changing. It varies from

individual to individual, group to group, organisation to organisation and across

country borders. This understanding of consumer behaviour affects the level and

intensity of exchange between marketers and consumers. Consumer behaviour subject

has gripped the attention of researchers in recent years. The popularity of

customisation has hanged the focus of marketing from macro consumer behaviour to Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

micro consumer behaviour. It is impossible to satisfy the needs and wants of a society

without cramming consumer values and the road to consumer values, attitude and

behaviour is culture.

According to Lysonski, Durvasula and Zotos (1996), consumer decision making can

be categorized into three main approaches: the consumer typology approach (Darden

and Ashton, 1974; Moschis 1976); the psychographics /lifestyle approach

(Lastovicka, 1982; Wells, 1975); and the consumer characteristics approach (Sproles,

1985; Sproles and Kendall, 1986; Sproles and Sproles, 1990).

The unifying theme among these three approaches is the tenet that all consumers

engage in shopping with certain fundamental decision-making modes or styles

including rational shopping, consciousness regarding brand, price and quality among


Fig 2.5: The pyramid of consumer behaviour

Source: Solomon M. et al (2006) Consumer Behaviour: A European Perspective, 3


Edition, p. 24

Cultural anthropology






Social Psychology


Human ecology

Developmental psychology

Clinical psychology

Experimental psychology

Macro Consumer Behaviour

(Social Focus)

Micro Consumer Behaviour

(Individual Focus)Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

– 18 –

Fig 2.5 shows the pyramid of origin of consumer behaviour and interdisciplinary

influences on the study of consumer behaviour. These disciplines explain the

importance of consumer behaviour as a whole.

2.2.3 Consumer Decision Making Processes

Consumer behaviour is outcome of mental processes and judgements that individual

goes through every time before taking an action. These processes are explained by

researchers around the world in various ways and steps, such as AIDA by Strong

(1925) cited in Kotler (2003), Hierarchy of effects by Lavidge and Gary (1961) cited

in Antonides and Raaij (1998) and Innovation-adoption model (Rogers (1962) cited in

Kotler (1999). Most of these processes generally include need recognition, search for

alternative, evaluation of alternatives and action (Foxall et al 1998). Some researchers

have divided this process in further sub-steps (Wells and Prensky (1996), Solomon

(1999), Peter and Olson (2005), Solomon et al (2006)), but the idea remains the same.

2.2.4 Factors affecting consumer behaviour

A number of researchers have given several explanations of different factors affecting

consumer behaviour. Wells and Prensky (1996) explained different factors including

demographics, personality, psychographics, lifestyle, values and reference groups,

which affect consumer behaviour. It is worth mentioning here that all of these factors

are affected directly or indirectly by culture. Other factors that influence consumer

behaviour at the point of purchase are price, product perception, brand loyalty,

celebrity endorsement and people using product (Kotler 2003).

2.3 Relationship between Culture and Consumer Behaviour

Culture and consumer behaviour are intimately knotted together and “untying the

rope” is almost an impossible task (Lukosius 2004). Anthropologists have long

theorized about the influence of culture on decision making (Stewart, 1985).

Consumer culture is premised upon the expansion of capitalist commodity production

which has given rise to a vast accumulation of material culture in the form of Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

consumer goods and sites of purchase and consumption (Featherstone 1990). This

expansion of material culture has raised desire of leisure and expectations in


The empirical study conducted by Henry (1976) shows that culture is underlying

determinant of consumer behaviour. Culture affects consumer behaviour, which itself

may reinforce the manifestations of culture (Peter and Olson, 1998). Culture

influences behaviour through its manifestations: values, heroes, rituals, and symbols

(Hofstede, 1997). These are the forms in which culturally-determined knowledge is

stored and expressed. This knowledge in-turn reflects consumer living style, attitude,

and behaviour. Each cultural group possesses different cultural manifestations which

are important for marketers to assess consumer behaviour, as shown in figure 2.6

(Luna and Gupta 2007).

Fig 2.6: Relationship between culture, marketing and consumer behaviour

Source: Luna, and Gupta (2001) “An integrative framework for cross-cultural consumer behaviour”

International Marketing Review Vol. 18 No. 1, 2001

The analysis of culture also offers some useful starting points for consumer attitude

and behaviours. Some recent studies have explored the influence of national culture

on cultural value perceptions (Overby et al., 2004; Furrer et al., 2000). But these are Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

largely limited to consumer contexts. For example, in a cross-cultural consumer

context, Overby et al. (2004) find that consumers’ national culture influences the

content and structure of value perceptions through the way customers attach meaning

and importance to various aspects of a firm’s products. This show that consumer’s

national cultures, in which they are brought up, hold utter importance in their

selection and perception of products and services.

2.3.1 Culture, Consumer Behaviour & Brand Selection Decisions

Consumers often choose certain products, services and activities over other because

they are associated with specific life style. This lifestyle reflects trend and fashion

expression and influences the choices made by consumer in their own anticipatory

consumption or the purchase of aspired lifestyle products (Brandon 2003 cited in

Forney, Park and Brandon 2005). These life styles techniques are provided by

different brands around the world (Kotler 2003). Consumer preferences for specific

brands are growing stronger day by day. Brands are one of the important factors that

influence groups to accept or reject an individual in a society.

An important study conducted by Aaker and Schmitt (1997) found that both

individualist and collectivist consumers use brands for self-expressive purposes (as in

McCracken, 1988). Moreover, this study clearly shows the difference of two cultures

i.e. eastern and western, as eastern consumers are more collectivist then western. Both

of these use brands, however, in different ways: collectivist consumers use brands to

reassert their similarity with members of their reference group, while individualist

consumers use brands to differentiate themselves from referent others.

Moreover, those who cannot keep up with the latest brand styles and knowledge

forms the ‘‘out’’ groups and those that can keep up are seen as members of the groups

as ‘‘cool’’ and ‘‘popular (Auty and Elliot 1998). The influence of brands is increasing

gradually in the form of consumer satisfaction to preference and repeat purchases and

then to next level i.e. brand loyalty. These branding decisions are influenced by

consumer behaviour which is reflection of individuals’ culture. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

2.3.2 Cultural adoption and reinforcement:

According to the empirical study conducted by Henry (1976), culture is underlying

determinant of consumer behaviour and it affects consumer behaviour, which itself

may reinforce the manifestations of culture (Peter and Olson, 1998). According to

Nguyen and Barrett (2008), individual from a sub-culture adopt manifestations from

mainstream or dominant culture. These adopted manifestations became part of

consumer mind set and reinforce further behaviour. Framework in figure 2.7 explains

cultural adoption and reinforcement process, which holds its very importance in study

of immigrants’ culture.

Figure 2.7: Framework of ethnic and mainstream cultural affects on consumer behaviour

Source: Adopted from Wines and Napier (1992) “Towards an understanding of cross-cultural ethics: A

tentative model” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 11, Iss. 11. Pp. 831

2.3.3 Self Reference Criterion (SRC):

Self reference criterion is the unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values or

one’s home country frame of reference (Lee 1966). It was introduced from

managerial point of view to handle cultural differences and eliminate the root cause of

international problems, but it can also be used from consumers’ perspective. Culture

is subjective (Schutte 1999) and the people in different cultures often have different

ideas for the same object (Usanier and Lee 2005). When travelling overseas, it is

virtually impossible for a person to observe foreign culture without making reference,



Consumer values &

attitude sets


& Ethics










Adaptation Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

perhaps unconsciously, back to his own cultural values. Individual’s opinion about

another culture is also heavily influenced by the media (Peter and Olson, 1998).

Through the tinted glass of parent culture, individuals see things in a foreign culture

not as what they are, but according to what he sees in them according to his own

perception (Fan 2008). For example, dog is man’s best friend in west but in Arab

countries it is considered as a filthy animal. This explains the differences in consumer

behaviour in different cultures about same object.

Moreover, McCort and Malhotra (1993) cited in Luna and Gupta (2007), describe

number of studies on the effect of cultural values on information processing issues

such as perceptual categorization, perceptual inference and learning. An individual’s

behaviour is result of that individual’s cultural value system for a particular context

(Loader 1999). Figure 2.8 explains the influence of demographics and personality

development on lifestyle, self concept and eventually on consumer behaviour.

Fig 2.8: Demographics & personality variables with lifestyle, self concept & consumer behaviour

Source: Adopted from Foxel et. al. (1998) Consumer Psychology of Marketing 2


Edition p. 148


Clothing is primarily a mean of communicating, not personal identity, but social

identity (Noesjirwan and Crawford (1982) cited in Auty and Elliott 1998), which

strengthen the idea of cultural bond and group belonging. Researches conducted in

clothing behaviour have shown that consumers differ in attitudes, values and

expectations of clothing. Clothing is a way by which people identify themselves with



Life Style

Self Concept



S R C Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

a social class, project or group of people. Researchers have proven the construct of

symbolic meaning of clothing and its use in social environments (Hwang, 1996; Horn,

1975 cited in Alexander, Connell and Presley 2005). Clothing used positively

contributes to one’s feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

Fashion is defined as currant mode of consumption behaviour or in other words style

or styles being worn by consumers of clothing (Evans 1989). Fashion, like all other

industries move in cycles (Miller and Merrilees 2004) and defined by consumers as

exciting, continuously changing and display of status, contribute to self confidence

and personally development (Evans 1989). This is a way by which consumers define

themselves as who they are and how they want others to perceive them. It is a way by

which individuals relate themselves with a group, celebrity, culture or country.

“Amongst the functions of fashion is to create uniformity amongst equals whilst at the

same time differentiating status and background, signposting preferences and

commitments. Reflecting the resulting market complexity, fashion forecasters have

developed a range of detailed and colourfully named descriptors to differentiate

consumer groups, identify, and recognise trends” (Priest 2005).

Fashion clothing means different things to different people from various backgrounds.

Consumers attach different perceptions to fashion which may be not same as their

family and friends’ beliefs. The use of fashion clothing enhance consumer’s

confidence and self-image concept. Empirical study conducted by Cass (2004) proved

that fashion apparel increase confidence and satisfaction among individuals. The

study presents a framework and proves that materialism, gender and age are important

antecedents of consumer involvement in fashion clothing and plays an important role

in enhancing consumer confidence.

According to Shim et al. (1991) clothing is an extension of the bodily self and has

important symbolic meanings in social interactions. Fashion concept is often a

manifestation of self image. There is an increase desire of self-expression (Evans Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

1989) and fashion is one of the most important methods for it. Figure 2.9 shows the

impact of fashion clothing on consumer confidence.

Fig 2.9: Fashion clothing impact on consumer confidence

Source: Cass (2004) “Fashion clothing consumption: Antecedents and consequences of fashion

clothing involvement” European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 38, Iss. 7. p. 869


As mentioned earlier in chapter 1, most of the cross-cultural studies in past had

focused on various cultural aspects and values. Very few works have been done on

aesthetics and its influence on consumer behaviour. Aesthetics is an important part of

culture and represents the idea of beauty and appearance in material culture. It is one

of the visible parts of culture that gives an idea to outsiders about cultural values and

beliefs. It also plays an importance role in shaping new trends in society.

Furthermore, studies conducted by various researchers specifically focused on the

cultures of various countries rather then various cultures in a single country, as it is in

case of Great Britain. The immigration trends in UK have made it a diverse cultured

country, while making it difficult for retailers and business to handle multi-ethnic


This research will identify the differences or gaps between the preferences and

choices of these consumers belonging to different cultures and answering the question








Confidence Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

“How does culture influence buying behaviour of female consumer for apparels and

clothing?” It will help identify the aesthetical part within the cultural values and

believes while focusing on visible aspect of material culture i.e. clothing and apparels.

Furthermore, this study will look into the different aspects of culture that influence

consumer’s buying behaviour and implications of these differences for women

clothing brands in Great Britain i.e. Zara, M&S, Next, Top Shop, Primark and House

of Frazer. The multicultural environment requires fashion retailers to be more flexible

and responsive when designing outfits. This study will help these retailers to achieve

multi-cultural consumer’s satisfaction via knowing their preferences and offering

diverse clothing ranges.

Figure 2.10: Research question

Pakistani Indian Bengali British Polish Italian German


M & S






Cultural Influence

Cultural Influence Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

– 26 –

2.6 Summary

This chapter has discussed in detail the previous studies explaining the concept of

culture, consumer behaviour and relationship between them. Moreover, the

importance of fashion and clothing with respect to consumer confidence was also

discussed. At the end of chapter, the gap within the previous studies is identified

which will be the focus of this research by using the methodology explained in next


Here the 1


research question is revisited i.e. How cultural values affects self concept

of individuals which in turn influence consumer behaviourThis is done through the

exploration of relationship between culture and consumer behaviour and its impact on

self image i.e. Self Reference Criterion. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Chapter 3


This chapter will elucidate the research strategy and design used for the data

collection. The context of study, data collection among main-stream and ethnic

participants and the methods of data analysis are also explained. In the end of chapter,

limitations of are presented.

3.1 Research Strategy

This project is intended to explore the values and attitude of individuals from western

and eastern cultures. On the basis of these values and beliefs, consumer preferences

within clothing and apparels will be explored. These preferences will help determine

the idea of beauty and appearance within that culture. For this reason, the inductive

theory method is used. An illustration of this method is given in figure 3.1.

Fig 3.1: The concept of induction

Source: Bryman and Bell (2003) Business research methods p. 11

In this method, the researcher on the basis of findings and observations deduce a

result that draws generalised inferences. In other words, with an inductive stance,

theory is the outcome of research (Bryman and Bell 2003). This dissertation also

constructs generalisable results on the basis of research conducted.

3.2 Research Design

There are different kinds of research designs available, but for this study comparative

design is used. Hantaris (1996) has suggested that such research occurs when

Findings Theory Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

individuals or teams set to examine particular issues or phenomena in one, two or

more countries with the express intention of comparing their manifestations in

different socio-cultural setting (institutions, customs, traditions, value systems,

lifestyles, language, thought patterns). According to him the main aim of this study

design is to seek explanations for similarities and differences to gain a greater

awareness and a deeper understanding of social reality in different national contexts.

Moreover, the typical forms of comparative research design are qualitative i.e.

ethnographic or qualitative interviews on more then two cases (Bryman and Bell

2003), which are discussed in section 3.3.1.

Usunier (1998) further classified the comparative study in to two approaches.

According to him cross-cultural approaches are the one which compare national

culture and local customs in various countries. An example of this approach is

Hofstede (1984) study, which conducted research on IBM in more then 40 countries.

The second approach is intercultural approaches which focus on the study of

interaction between people and organisations from different national/cultural

background. This research project is more focused on intercultural approaches as it

will look into interaction of people from different cultural backgrounds and their

influence on each other.

3.3 Research Methods

Historically qualitative research has been given less than a fair sense of appreciation

and has been criticized for lack of scientific rigour, small samples, subjective and

nonreplicable efforts (Goodyear, 1990). Today, researchers and buyers of research

still see qualitative research as the provision of a homogeneous data collection method

based on group discussions or in-depth interviews (Wright 1996). This method has

proved to be beneficial for exploratory as well as for non-quantitative researches.

Qualitative approach is selected as in this research there are more exploratory

objectives which need deep insight analysis of consumers’ behaviour. Qualitative

research emphasises more on words rather than quantification in the collection and

analysis of data (Bryman and Bell 2003). The research methods used for this study are Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

primary research methods secondary research methods. Primary research is carried

out with the use of qualitative research tools, which was in accordance to the


Not only that qualitative method helps to identify people’s attitude towards a product

category through group brain storming, it also assist exploring customers behaviour,

lifestyles, needs and desires in a flexible and creative manner. Another reason of its

preference is that researcher can ask probing questions to clarify something they do

not fully understand or something unexpected and interesting that may help to explain

consumer behaviour (Dibb & Simkin 1997).

3.3.1 Primary Research Methods

The primary research methods used are interviews and focus group. These two

methods are used in semi-structured pattern (Bryman and Bell 2003) as they give a

deep understanding of market trends and people’s behaviour. Among the different

interview methods, semi-structured interviewing is focused. This term covers a wide

range of instances and typically refers to a context in which interviewer has a series

of questions that are in the general form of an interview schedule but is able to vary

the sequence of questions. Moreover Semi-structured interview also covers in-depth

interviews (Bryman and Bell 2003).

The second primary research method used is focus group. The focus group method is

a form of group interview in which: there are several participants (in addition to the

moderator/facilitator); there is an emphasis in the questioning on a particular fairly

tightly defined topic; and the accent is upon interaction within the group and the joint

construction of meaning (Merton et al. 1953). This technique help researcher to

develop an understanding about why people feel the way they do (Hutt 1979). Focus

group also offer research opportunity to study the ways in which individuals

collectively make sense of phenomenon and construct meanings around it (Wilkinson

1998) Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

3.3.2 Secondary Research Methods

Secondary research included the material from secondary research reports (Mintel,

GMID, Snapshot and Fame), books, articles, journals and newspapers related to

culture, brand identity and personality, consumer behaviour and UK fashion industry.

This data from secondary sources was used parallel with primary research for

valuable results.

3.4 Context of Study

This research is based on study of western and eastern cultures in Britain. For this

reason, it was conducted in London, a city which is famous for attracting different

immigrant groups from different parts of the world, as it won’t exist without mass

immigration ( 2008). Moreover, according to 2001 census

survey, more then 20% of Londoners are from an ethnic minorities (

2008), which make it suitable for ethnic minority studies and researches.

3.5 Participants of Study

The sample size consisted of a 13 eastern (Asian, 8 Pakistani and 5 Indian) and 12

western consumers (white, 3 Italian and 9 English). For the purpose of this research,

they are termed as “ethnic participants” and “mainstream participants” respectively

(Jamal 2003). All of 25 participants were female and were randomly selected on the

basis of social relations in both communities. Out of 13 ethnic minority participants, 5

were born and educated in UK whereas rest 8 came from Pakistan for educational

purposes and had been in UK for 1 to 4 years. These ethnic participants are bilingual,

single and their age ranges from 21-27 years. Out of total 12 mainstream participants,

9 were born and educated in UK whereas rest 3 came to UK in past 3-4 years from

Italy. All of these participants are single and involved in education or working

activities. Moreover, mainstream participants had exposure to ethnic participant’s

culture during their stay in London. Most of interviews conducted for this study were Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

inside british institute of technology and e commerce from students whereas focus

groups were conducted at university Halls and at researchers’ home facility.

3.6 Data Collection among Ethnic Participants

Data among female ethnic participants was collected through interviews and focus

group discussion. Total 8 interviews were conducted each lasting for an average of

10-15 minutes. 4 interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed with permission

whereas rest 5 were written in detail after they were conducted.

Name Age Nationality Profession



Interviewee-1 23 British-Pakistani Student/Doing job Single

Interviewee-2 22 British-Pakistani Student Single

Interviewee-3 24 Indian Student Single

Interviewee-4 24 Pakistani Student/Doing job Single

Interviewee-5 26 Pakistani Student Single

Interviewee-6 21 Indian Student Single

Interviewee-7 24 Pakistani Student Single

Interviewee-8 23 British-Indian Student/Doing job Single

Focus Group


27 Indian Student Single

Focus Group


23 Pakistani Student Single

Focus Group


26 Pakistani Student/Doing job Single

Focus Group


21 British-Pakistani Student/Doing job Single

Focus Group


24 British-Indian Student/Doing job Single

Table 3.1: Ethnic participants’ demographic details

A focus group within these ethnic participants was also conducted with 5 members to

get maximum feedback on consumer behaviour, while they perform daily life Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

functions as member of group or community. Open ended questions were used for

probing purpose during 30 minutes session of focus group. The demographic details

of ethnic participants are given in table 3.1.The detail questions asked from ethnic

participants are given in appendix A.

3.7 Data Collection among Mainstream Participants

The data among mainstream participants was collected in same manner as for ethnic

participants. 7 interviews were conducted with one focus group. None of the

interviews were tape recorded but written in detail after they were conducted. Each

interview lasted for an average of 10-15 minutes.

Name Age Nationality Occupation



Interviewee-1 21 British Student/Doing job Single

Interviewee-2 22 British Student/Doing job Single

Interviewee-3 24 British Student Single

Interviewee-4 24 British Student/Doing job Single

Interviewee-5 26 British Student Single

Interviewee-6 21 British Student Single

Interviewee-7 28 Italian Professional worker Single

Focus Group


25 British Student Single

Focus Group


23 British Student/Doing job Single

Focus Group


25 British Student Single

Focus Group


24 Italian Student Single

Focus Group


23 Italian Student Single

Table 3.2: Mainstream participants’ demographic details

A focus group of 5 people was also carried out while using open ended questions. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

This focus group lasted for 30 minutes. The demographic details of mainstream

participants are given in table 3.2. The detail questions asked from mainstream

participants are given in appendix B.

3.8 Method of Data Analysis

The method of data analysis used in this research is content analysis. According to

Bryman and Bell (2003), content analysis is an approach to the analysis of documents

and texts and is further classified into semiotic and qualitative content analysis or

ethnographic content analysis. The term ethnographic content analysis (ECA) was

first used by Aitheide (1996) and comprises a searching-out of underlying themes in

the materials being analysed while illustrating extracted themes-for example, with

brief quotations from newspaper articles or magazines.

Qualitative content analysis offers an important method for the cultural studies

because it enables researcher to analyse values, attitude and behaviour (Kabanoff,

Walderse and Cohen 1995). Furthermore, content analysis is highly flexible, nonreactive and transparent research method (Bryman and Bell 2003). It allow researcher

to gather information about social groups that are difficult to access and observe

(Maylor and Blackmon 2005).

3.9 Limitations

This section will present limitations of research methods and whole research study.

Some of the limitations of research methods are as follows:

1. The research methods used in this study are primary and secondary, which have

some limitations.

a. More time is required for primary data collection whereas reliability and

validity are major issues in secondary data collection methods (Bryman and

Bell 2003). Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

b. Interviews takes a lot more time then questionnaire and some time require

physical presence of researcher.

c. Major issue with focus groups is that there is the possibility of groupthink i.e.

people expressing an opinion which is in line with the rest of the group even if

that opinion is at odds with their own personal one (Dibb & Simkin 1997).

2. Likewise above-mentioned limitations of research methods, content analysis

method also have some disadvantages. It is accused of being too much

‘atheoretical’ (Bryman and Bell 2003) and most of the times cannot explain the

answers of question ‘Why’ (Maylor and Blackmon 2005)

Limitations within research study are:

3. Due to lack of time, limited numbers of participants were interviewed. Inclusion

of more participants would have increased the level of validity and reliability.

4. Limited numbers of questions were asked from participants of interviews and

focus groups. Detail interviews and focus groups would have given more handy

results on cultural influence on participant’s behaviour.

5. Participants from other nationalities in mainstream and ethnic cultures might also

have included for further deep understanding.

6. The participants selected for this study had similar demographical data i.e. single

and students. Data strength would have been increased with the selection of

varied demographic participants.

3.10 Summary

This chapter has discussed in detail the methodology of research design, data

collection techniques and participants’ description. Furthermore, the method used for Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

depicting findings of collected data and its analysis is also explained. The next

chapter will cover the outcomes of data gathered and its implications. Based on the

results, first three objectives of this study (given in section 1.3.1) will be met. The last

objective i.e. implication of this research study for high street retailers will be given

in conclusion and recommendations. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Chapter 4


This chapter will present the results of interviews and focus groups gathered during

this research study. It is divided into two sections. The first section elucidates the

results from interviews from two different cultural participants’ i.e. ethnic participants

and mainstream participants. The second section covers the findings of focus group,

also from ethnic participants and mainstream participants. These results are analysed

using the content analysis method explained in methodology i.e. section 3.8.

4.1 Findings from interviews

During the research study, semi-structured interviews were conducted among 15

participants from ethnic and mainstream cultures. Both interview groups were asked

the same questions apart from minor changes in selection of apparel preferences,

which were changed with respect to their cultural norms and values. For the

convenience of participants, they were also shown the pictures of other groups’

cultural apparels.

As stated in previous chapter, aesthetics are the ideas of beauty and appearance in

material culture. The interview questions were designed according to research pattern

given in figure 1.1, to assess the participants’ involvement with apparel aesthetics,

attachment with their values and beliefs, life style patterns in different seasons and

their preferred apparel brands. They were also questioned to assess the level of

confidence and peers pressure while wearing eastern or western clothes.

The interview questions were selected from surveys conducted by O’ Cass in 2004

and 2000, Flynn and Goldsmith in 1999, Auty and Elliot in 1998 and Richins and

Dawson in 1992. The main theme of these questions was to assess involvement and

attachment with their cultural values and beliefs and its impact on consumer

behaviour. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

4.1.1 Ethnic Participants Interviews

Total 8 ethnic participants interviews were conducted, 4 of which were tape recorded

and transcribed. One of the interviews is given in appendix C. These participants

were from Pakistan and India and age between 21-27 years. Moreover, these

participants are in UK for past 1-4 years and going through their undergraduate and

post-graduate degree programmes in different universities. The interviews were

conducted in a time period of 2 weeks. The findings from ethnic group are explained

and analysed hereafter.

The 1


two questions of interview were taken from Aron O’ Cass’s (2004) research to

assess the involvement in apparels. The first question was about an average

percentage of total monthly budgets spent on apparels. The answers were in range of

20pc-30pc, which shows participants’ interest at a significant level in apparels. As

interviewee 4 added:

Yes, I am fashion-oriented and like to buy clothes which ever I think

will suits me. In the winter or summer season’s start, I plan with my

family for shopping and buy whatever is ‘in’ fashion. Some times my

spending is more then what I had planned from my budget, but I

manage it with my forthcoming monthly budgets.

According to Kotler (2003), consumers plan ahead for the purchase of ‘shopping

goods’ only, which require high level of involvement. Furthermore, in order to

measure the involvement in 2


question, participants were given a scale from 1 to 5,

1 being lowest level of involvement and 5 being highest level of involvement. Most

participants fall in the range of 4, which verify the result of 1



The next block of questions was about the consumer preference for winter and

summer clothing. These questions were asked in order to check consumer preferences

within their cultural clothing and apparels. A very interesting dilemma is noted in the

replies of these questions from British born immigrants and the immigrants staying Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

for a short period of time. According to interviewee 2, from London:

Well, I usually wear Shalwar-Kameez (a Pakistani Dress) at home.

That is more casual, comfortable and relaxing. But I think it is more

about my values, parents and the relative who are visiting our palace.

They expect me and my sisters to be more Pakistani and culturally

bound. As far as university or work place clothing is concerned, I am

free to select what ever I want, but within my religious and cultural


As shown in graph 4.1, 87% of British-Pakistanis and British-Indian participants were

more inclined towards jeans or trousers with shirt or ‘Kurta’ (a type of embossed

shirt) as out-of-home dresses. Moreover, 75% of participants rejected any western

dress at home including jeans, as shown in graph 4.2. These replies clearly indicate

that the migrants are trying to go along with the mainstream culture of UK while

practicing the norms and values of their previous cultures. These values are fed in the

minds of children in the early stages of youth and are practiced through out the life

span of individuals.

Ou t-o f-H ome App a rels



Ethnic Apparel

Mainstream Appareal

Graph 4.1: Out-of-home apparel selection by ethnic participants Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

– 39 –

Ou t-o f-H ome Ap p a re ls



E thnicA pparel

Mainstream Appareal

Graph 4.2: In-home apparel selection by ethnic participants

The participants were also questioned to assess their attachment with their cultural

values. They were asked the reason to choose those dresses. Most of the participants

put their weight in categories of fashion, practicing social norms and following family

traditions, as shown in graph 4.3.







Celebrity Endorsement

S oc ial Norm s

Graph 4.3: Values preferences by ethnic participants Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

– 40 –

These answers clearly indicate attachment with social values as well as desire to keep

pace with ‘in’ fashion. This is due to the peer pressure, which further raise the

question of confidence in individuals.

When it was enquired that in which dress do they would feel more confident i.e. their

native cultural dress or mainstream cultural dress; most of the answers were vague

and unclear. According to one interviewee 8:

It all depends on situation and circumstances, for example, if you are

going in a party or celebration where all of your close relative will

wear Sari or Kurta, you can’t wear jeans or skirt in between them.

Obviously you will feel confident looking like hem, not a separate

identity. Same is the case when you go for job.

The peer pressure directly affects the confidence level in individuals. The fitting of

apparels, brand name and ‘in’ fashion are at secondary importance. Cultural values,

norms and rituals hold the most important place in ethnic minority groups, who are

pushing to keep their culture alive.

The final segment of questions was asked to assess the brand loyalty. Most of the

respondents said they are brand loyal and purchase from Next, H&M, MKone and

Doherty Perkin0073. According to them, they prefer these brands as they are fashionoriented and keep the latest inventory of clothes. Participants also showed high level

of interest in buying their ethnic minority clothes from these brands. This response is

support the idea that respondents would go for increased shopping from places which

take care of their interests.

4.1.2 Mainstream Participants Interviews

Total 7 mainstream participants were interviewed whereas none of the interview was

tape recorded. The participants were from England and Italy and age between 22-28

years. These participants were students and doing their postgraduate or undergraduate Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

from universities. The same questions were asked from mainstream participants apart

from minor changes in dress choices. The data was collected for a period of 2 weeks

and is explained henceforth.

Even though the involvement in clothing brands was found at level 3 (from scale 1-5,

1 being lowest and 5 being highest involvement) in mainstream participants, but the

spending was between 15pn-20pc, which is quite less then ethnic participants. This

indicates that the high level of involvement do not suggest amplified spending.

The next questions were asked in order to check consumer preferences within their

cultural clothing and apparels. The major preferences during summer season were

mini skirts, sleeveless shirts, jeans and hot pants whereas for winter season were

jumpers, coats, jeans and jerseys or sweater. It is important to note that unlike ethnic

participants, mainstream respondents were more determined to practice their cultural

values and beliefs at home, work place or any social gatherings by wearing their

preferred clothes. Graph 4.4 shows mainstream participants in-home and out-of-home

apparel preferences.

InH ome&Ou t-o f-H omeAp p a re ls



E thnicA pparel

Mainstream Appareal

Graph 4.4: In-home & out-of-home apparel selection by mainstream participant Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Moreover, when it was enquired that why do they wear their preferred clothes, the

answers were fashion and fashion, tradition, celebrity enforcement. Because of the

impact of these traditions and values, majority of participants rejected any possibility

for ethnic cultural clothes, as they do not relate to them.







Celebrity Endorsement

S oc ial Norm s

Graph 4.5: Values preference by mainstream participants

According to these participants, they will not look good in these dresses and their

confidence will be shattered. According to interviewee 6, from Oxford:

It is impossible for me to wear Asian clothes, not at all. I have never

tried them on me and I don’t think there is any chance that I would

look good in it. Also, I don’t want to be bullies by my friends. They will

not accept it even if it is fashion or culture, until and unless it is


As mentioned by her, there is no chance that their peer groups accept it even if it is

‘in’ fashion. These responses clearly indicate a hard line drawn between eastern and

western culture by mainstream participants. The pressure from peer group and the

idea of ‘self image’ is very much visible from these answers and holds utter Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

importance. Also the major brands identified by mainstream participants for shopping

were Next, Top Shop, H&M, MKone, and Gap. According to these respondents, they

don’t hesitate to buy from other brands in high street if better things are available

from them.

Lastly, the respondent’s involvement level in mentioned brands was found healthy,

even if these brands sell ethnic cultural wears. This shows a high level of brand

loyalty within mainstream participants. According to one interviewee 3, from London:

I live near-buy South-hall, one the biggest shopping markets of Asian

clothes in London. Some times I visit it with my mother or sister for

routine shopping. There are a lot of things that you can use casually

like sandals, flip flops, summer tops and jumpers and especially

jewellery. I have bought a lot of my things from their and no doubt that

I will buy them, if these things are available in high-streets brands.

It is important to note there that participants showed their interest in buying the

commodities which match their own culture from an ethnic shopping mall; the

implication is that mainstream cultures accept to buy possessions from places where

ethnic cultures buy. This also shows that mainstream cultures adopt, accept and adjust

with ethnic cultures.

4.2 Interview questions tabulation

In order to assess the popular and non-popular themes, the interviews were divided in

5 different domains. The comparison of ethnic and mainstream cultures by using this

coding technique is given in table 4.1. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers


Ethnic Participants


Mainstream Participants


Domain 1: Involvement in

apparels. (2 Questions)

High level of involvement at

4 (1 being lowest and 5 being


20pc-30pc monthly budget


Moderate level of involvement

at 3 (1 being lowest and 5

being highest)

15pc-20pc monthly budget


Domain 2: Preference for

winter and summer clothes.

(2 Questions)

Different preferences for inhome and outdoor wears

Same preferences for in-home

and outdoor wears.

Domain 3: Attachment

with cultural values. (2


Positive towards fashion and

following social norms

Positive towards fashion,

maintaining identity and

following social norms

Domain 4: Confidence and

peer pressure. (4 Questions)

Mixed opinion for western


Increased level of confidence

with western cultural clothes

at job or work place and

Asian clothes in eastern social


Highly positive towards peer


Strong negative opinion for

Asian clothing and apparels.

Decreased level of confidence

and shattered self image with

Asian clothing.

Highly positive towards peer


Domain 5: Brand loyalty (3


Positive towards brand


Aim for increased shopping if

these brands keep Asian


Moderate signs of brand


Interest in brands found

healthy if they start keeping

ethnic wears.

Table 4.1: Interview questions tabulation Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

4.3 Findings from Focus Group

During two focus group sessions, questions were asked from 10 participants from

ethnic and mainstream cultures. Both groups were enquired the same question apart

from minor changes in selection of apparel preferences, which were changed

according to their cultural norms and values. Alike interview sessions, pictures of

other groups’ cultural apparels were also shown to participants.

The question were structured according to research pattern given in figure 1.1, in

order to assess the participants’ involvement with apparel aesthetics, attachment with

their values and beliefs, life style patterns in different seasons and their preferred

apparel brands. They were also questioned to assess the confidence and peer pressure

while wearing eastern or western clothes.

The focus group questions were similar to those of interview questions and were

selected from the same surveys conducted by different authors mentioned earlier. The

main theme of these questions was to assess involvement and attachment with their

cultural values and beliefs and its impact on consumer behaviour.

4.3.1 Ethnic participants’ focus group

Ethnic participants’ focus group included 5 members from Pakistan and India and age

between 21-26 years. These Participants are living in UK for past 1-4 years and going

through their post-graduate and undergraduate programmes in different universities.

This focus group was conducted at researchers’ home premises and had duration of 30

minutes. The findings from ethnic focus group are explained and analysed henceforth.

Most of the participants spend an average of 20pc-25pc of their total monthly budget

on apparels. The big amounts are spent on seasonal sales or monthly special offers in

big stores. According to the respondents, they look for sales or offers through out the

year and save considerable amount of money from these benefits. It is important to

note here that the budget mentioned by these participants is less then the budget cited Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

by interviewed participants. Social pressure within the group led to a precise budget

figure rather then estimated numbers. Moreover, the hunt for sales promotions in high

streets shows a high level of involvement and interest in apparels and clothing.

The preferences of clothes, in-house and out-of-home, were identical to those of

interviewed. According to the respondents, they wear Shalwar-Kameez or Kurta at

home whereas jeans, trousers or full-sleeves shirts for work or university purposes.

The reasons mentioned by these participants were also similar to the interviewed

respondents i.e. keeping the native culture alive at home whereas participating and

sharing equally with mainstream culture. These answers show a resistance from

members and groups of ethnic cultures to completely accept and practice mainstream

or counter culture.

Moreover, all members of group unanimously declined to wear western clothes such

as mini-skirts, hot pants or deep necks. According to them, these clothes will not be

accepted by their family or friends and certainly will shatter their confidence in social

gatherings, even if they are ‘in’ fashion and accepted by society at large. The agreed

behaviour of whole group for western clothes shows a high level of peer pressure and

strong commitment with their values and beliefs.

At the end, the group as enquired for their loyalty towards high street brands. Most of

the participants buy from Next, Debenhams, New Look, Primark, Top Shop and

Doherty Perkins. All the participants had encountered sale experience from these

brands once or more. Increased interest and elevated buying were mentioned by group

members if these brands start keeping ethnic cultures dresses and apparels.

4.3.2 Mainstream participants’ focus group

Mainstream participants’ focus group included 5 members from United Kingdom and

Italy and aged between 22-27 years. 3 of these participants were born and living in

UK whereas 2 participants came from Italy last year i.e. 2007. This focus group was Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

conducted in British institute of technology and e commerce Halls for duration of 25

minutes. The findings of this focus group are as follows:

According to the respondents, the average monthly budget spent on apparels is

between 15pc-25pc, which is slightly less then ethnic participants’ budget. The

members showed their interest in buying dresses and apparels from sales as well as in

normal shopping days. According to these participants, they don’t just wait for

seasonal or monthly sales but also go along with fad and fashion and buy what ever

they think will suits them. These answers show a high involvement in apparels

throughout the year.

The preferences of clothes, in-house and out-of-home, were identical to those of

interviewed. According to them, the major preferences during summer season were

sleeveless shirts with jeans or trousers, mini-skirts and hot pants whereas for winter

season were jumpers, coats, jeans and jerseys or sweater. When it was enquired that

why do they wear their preferred clothes, the answers were to look fashionable and

following cultural and social norms. These answers indicate a strong sense of

association with ‘in’ fashion and their cultural values and beliefs.

Moreover, these respondents were also determined to wear their native cultural

apparels at home, work place or any social gatherings. Because of the impact of these

social gatherings and norms, most of participants rejected any possibility to wear

ethnic cultures apparels. According to these participants, their close friends and

family members will not accept them in those dresses. From these responses, it is

clear that peer pressure plays an important role in buying behaviour of society.

Lastly, the important brands identified by the mainstream participants for shopping

were Next, Top Shop, H&M, Zara, Debenhams, asos and Gap. The respondent also

showed interest in these brands even if they sell ethnic cultural wears. This shows a

high level of brand loyalty within mainstream participants. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

4.4 Summary

This chapter has discussed the results of interviews and focus groups. Participants’

involvement, interest and association with cultural values and beliefs were also

discussed. In addition, these results and findings were assessed by using content

analysis method. Moreover, these results have helped meeting the 1


three objectives

given in section 1.3.1. The next chapter will discuss these objectives and obtained

results with respect to the literature review presented in chapter 2 followed by

conclusion and recommendations. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Chapter 5


This chapter will analyse the finding with respect to the literature review presented in

chapter 2. Based on the research objectives, literature review and findings, the

discussion will advance to examine three concepts: the effects of culture on

consumers’ selection of apparels and wears followed by effects of clothing and

fashion apparels on self image and confidence. Lastly, the influence of culture on

consumer behaviour and brand selection decision will be discussed.

5.1 Culture and its influence

The visibility of sub-cultures (Keegan 2006) in mainstream culture is noticeable in

this research. These sub-cultures are practiced according to the native national

cultures of consumers. Consumers act and behave according to these sub-cultures’

values and beliefs and pass them to next generation. Moreover, the selection of

eastern dresses by ethnic participants and western dresses by mainstream participants

for social gatherings reflects profound group pressures for cultural coherence. These

group pressures are concerned with development of unique experiences for

individuals, which makes them feel special as well as part of their native society

(Veltman 1997).

The dilemma of in-home and out-of home apparels’ selection reflects motivation of

eastern participants to keep a balance between ethnic and mainstream cultures. This

balance helps them to maintain their social identity as a mainstream cultural member

as well as allowing them to buttress manifestations and values of ethnic culture

(Hofstede 1991). These values are fed by immigrants in the minds of their children at

young age (Douglous 2006), so that new generation can keep these traditions alive.

These traditions also allow them to go parallel with mainstream cultural values. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Furthermore, the reasons mentioned by ethnic as well as mainstream participants for

the selection of their preferred clothes are similar i.e. ‘in’ fashion, keeping up their

cultural identity and pursuing social norms. According to Salter (1997), norms and

values arises within the way of life of people and give them solidarity and identity.

Hence, relationship with native culture gives a sense of identity and cohesion within

individuals. Moreover, individuals’ selection of ‘in’ fashion was also found to be in

accordance to the cultural values and beliefs, which strengthen the Salter (1997)

social norms concept.

Moreover, when the individuals from ethnic culture were inquired if they could use

some western culture apparels (jeans, tops, jerseys, jumpers and etc), a positive

opinion was received. According to Nguyen and Barrett (2008), individual from a

sub-culture adopt manifestations from mainstream or dominant culture. These

adopted manifestations became part of sub-culture and consumer mind set while

reinforcing further behaviour. The adoption process is shown in figure 2.7 and is

clearly support by this study.

5.2 Effects of culture and apparels on self confidence

Empirical study conducted by Cass (2004) proved that fashion apparel increase

confidence and satisfaction among individuals. Participants of this study also showed

a high level of confidence in wearing fashion apparels and wears in social gathering.

Confidence in participants was found significantly low and shattered while going for

out of fashion and old clothing apparels.

Moreover, as mentioned by Shim et al. (1991), clothing has important symbolic

meanings in social interactions. These social interactions are family, relatives, peer

groups and other social groups within society. Social gatherings in ethnic or

mainstream culture represent their traditions and values. Aesthetics, clothing and

apparels are one of the ways by which these traditions and values are visible to outer

world. Participants showed their concerns for odd or culturally unacceptable apparels

in social gathering and interactions, as these will not be accepted by stakeholders. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

There is an increase desire of self-expression (Evans 1989) and fashion is one of the

most important methods for it. Fashion concept is often a manifestation of self image.

This self image is projected in society with apparels and wears used by individuals.

Also, the participants of this study showed a positive relationship between self image

and apparels. Some participants never tried opposite culture’s clothes as they thought

that they will not look good in it. The imagination of bodily self-image did not allow

them to wear those apparels.

Here the concept of self reference criterion (SRC) is revisited in figure 5.1. Self

reference criterion is the unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values or one’s

home country frame of reference (Lee 1966). Individuals grown up in different

contexts possess negative and unfavourable feelings for customs and values of

opposite cultures, especially the ones which are unacceptable in their native culture.

Participants of this study also showed a strong negative response to the apparels

which are undesirable in their national cultures.

Fig 5.1: Demographics & personality variables with lifestyle, self concept & consumer behaviour

Source: Adopted from Foxel et. al. (1998) Consumer Psychology of Marketing 2


Edition p. 148

Moreover, as mentioned by Loader (1999), an individual’s behaviour is a result of that

individual’s cultural value system for a particular context. Demographic and

personality development milieus play an important role in shaping concept of self

image and life style patterns. These personality and demographic traits are

strengthened in initials childhood stages of ethnic and mainstream participants’,

where parent and peer group appreciate culturally acceptable clothing and apparels.

These personality traits and life style patterns have permanently shaped their

behaviour towards opposite cultures



Life Style

Self Concept



S R C Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

5.3 Culture, consumer behaviour and brand Selection

Brands are one of the important factors that influence groups to accept or reject an

individual in a society. Most of the participants of study were found brand loyal and

regular buyers from specific brands. Among the most mentioned brands are Next,

Doherty Perkins, Gap, MKone, Top Shop and H&M. All of these are well known

brands and exist in every famous high street of UK. It is important to note that no one

mentioned M&S, one of the biggest high street brands. Consumers often choose

certain products, services and brands over other because they are associated with a

certain life style (Brandon 2003 cited in Forney, Park and Brandon 2005). None of

the participants wanted to be associate with M&S as it is considered for old

generation life style in UK.

The study by Aaker and Schmitt (1997) shows difference between eastern and

western consumers decision for brand selection. As eastern consumers are more

collectivist then western, they use brands to reassert their similarity with members of

their reference group. This study paper proves the previous research in this regard.

When it was inquired from ethnic participants, if they would still buy apparels from

theses brands, if they start keeping ethnic apparels, a highly positive response were

received. These positive answers from ethnic participants show their high association

towards these brands as majority of their social groups will buy from these them. The

association with these brands will make them confident and satisfied in social

gatherings and interactions.

Moreover, individualist consumers use brands to differentiate themselves to referent

from others (Aaker and Schmitt 1997). This statement was found contrary in this

study as healthy involvement in above-mentioned brands was identified even if they

sell ethnic apparels. Mainstream participants will buy western apparels from these

brands as eastern or ethnic apparels will not b accepted by their peer groups. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

5.4 Summary

As mentioned by Poon (2003), economic and cultural differences lead to substantial

variation in behaviour of consumer. These differences guide societies and civilisation

to varied way of life and value system. This chapter have looked into these

differences with respect to literature review presented in this report. The next chapter

will present conclusion and finally the recommendations for managers, entrepreneurs

and researchers for further studies in this regard. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

Chapter 6


6.1 Conclusion

With growing migration patterns throughout the world, it is becoming difficult for

entrepreneurs as well as for researchers to depict and meet demands of society. These

migrations, which result in interaction between different cultures, play an important

role in moulding consumer needs and wants. Consumer values systems, attitudes and

mind-sets are modifying accordingly with the changes in society. These values,

beliefs and attitude plays important role in our daily lives and shape them

accordingly. Our feelings, involvement, and reactions towards certain objects are

developed and silhouette by members of society.

This dissertation has sought to discuss the factors that effect consumer behaviour in a

multi-cultural society. The differences between eastern and western cultures are

highlighted in this report while focusing their values and attitude towards apparels

and clothing. The influence on consumer behaviour is then analysed from the

participants’ feedback is and linked to the previous studies conducted in this regards.

Revisiting objectives of this dissertation report, first 3 targets of this dissertation are

achieved and examined in discussion and analysis chapters. The last objective, i.e.

advantages and disadvantages for retailers, is explained here. One of the main

advantages for keeping cross-cultural apparels will be higher turnover which in turn

will boost sales of company. Higher sales will bring more profit for retailers in high

streets. Another advantage for retailers would be brand reorganisation amongst

different buyers from different countries. This will reduce entry barriers in those

countries. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

These benefits will also bring some disadvantages with them. One of the main

disadvantages will be issue of brand reposition in UK market. According to Aaker

and Schmitt (1997), individualist consumers use brands to differentiate themselves to

referent from others. The focus of new position would be to attract more and more

customer, keeping brand superiority and uniqueness at side. This might repel

hardliner western customers who wanted to buy from these brands for differentiated


6.2 Recommendations

Suggestion for managers and retailers are presented in this section based on the

finding and discussion. Suggestions for researchers are as follows.

1. This study was conducted in West London, amongst the students and part time

jobbers. Further research can include other areas of London, Birmingham,

Manchester and Bradford, as these cities have high ratio of immigrants from

different countries. Diverse answers from participants of these cities can further

clarify relationship of culture and consumer behaviour. Moreover, recent

immigration trends can base further research in this regards. The immigrants from

Eastern Europe include Poland and Lithuanian citizens.

2. Further study in self reference criterion needs to be carried out. This concept can

unveil consumer understanding of different objects and commodities. Moreover,

it can help in development of frameworks that elucidate culture and its influence.

Further studies on SRC are very much necessary for deep insight into aesthetical

element of culture.

3. Some of the participants mentioned religious factor for selecting apparels.

Religious beliefs play a very important role in individual’s life. It is very difficult

to separate culture from religion and its influences. Religious factor become more

important while conducting research on Eastern or Asian values and beliefs. This

aspect of culture can be carried out in future researches on culture and its

influence. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers

4. Cultural influence on brand loyalty is discussed very briefly in this report. Culture

plays an important role in binding consumer emotions, feelings and attitude

towards a brand. These cultural influences on brand loyalty and attachment can be

carried out in further researches.

Moreover, some of the important recommendations for retailers and managers are

also presented here.

1. As mentioned before, keeping cross-cultural apparels in different outlets would

increase their sales and ultimately profits. This will increase store traffic which

can influence brand sales.

2. The cross-cultural traffic might hit the existing customer’s perception for brand

negatively. Hard-line mainstream customers might not like to shop from outlets

where ethnic consumers buy apparels. For this reason, separate outlets can be

introduced in ethnic consumer’s majority areas. This will increase profits while

safeguarding brand’s position in consumer mind. Relationship between consumer culture and brand selection decision: Study on UK fashion retailers


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Free Essays

The relationship between the chemical or hydrothermal stabilization of gelatin: the role of cross linking


The world today has adopted a varied and extensive use for polymers. Polymers have found their way into the daily activities of people. From small scale domestic to large industrial uses, polymers form a large part of human livelihood. Polymer chains are made up of subunits known as monomers. Several smaller repetitive units called monomers join together to form larger molecular units with very large molecular weights. These large molecular weights units are known as Polymers. Individual polymer chains can be linked up with one another to form gigantic structures. The intermolecular bonds that hold one polymer chain with the other could either be covalent or ionic bonds. Collectively, these bonds are known as Cross-links. Cross-linking is therefore a process in which large polymer molecules react with each other to form a 3-dimensional network. Since polymers are either synthetic or natural (Davis, 2004), it means that the term cross linking could either be used in terms of synthetic polymers or natural polymers. In synthetic polymer chemistry, cross-links have a significant effect on the physical properties of the polymer. In the biological sense, cross-linking refers to the use of a probe to check for protein-protein interaction (Wollensak, Spoerl and Seiler, 2003).

In the area of synthetic polymer chemistry, cross linking is used to describe a situation where the entire bulk of the material is subjected to cross linking. The density of the bonds involved in cross linking impact a special characteristic on the physical properties of the material. The cross linking could either be of a high density, intermediate density or a low one. Polymer melts have a raised viscosity when they are joined up by cross linkers with a low density (Hansen, Davis and Mitchell, 1998); On the other hand, cross linkers with an intermediate density transform gelatinous polymers into ones with elastic properties with high strength. Cross linkers with a high density cause materials to be very rigid and glassy in nature such as phenol-formaldehyde materials (Warner, 1989).

Since cross-links are basically chemical bonds formed between polymer chains to hold them together. They may be formed from chemical reactions which are initiated by such factors as heat, temperature, pressure radiation and pH. Cross links can be formed while developing the polymer chain (Jego et al., 1994) or induced in already built polymer chains. In the pre-building process, an unpolymerized or partially polymerized substrate is mixed with reagents that can be termed as cross linking reagents that cause the requisite chemical reaction that leads to the formation of the cross linking bonds. Cross linking reagents contain reactive ends to specific functional groups on proteins and other molecules (, 2005). Induced cross linking takes place especially in materials that are thermoplastic. Exposure to radiation source is a common means of inducing cross linking between polymer chains. Gamma radiation, electron beam and UV light are sources of radiation by which thermoplastic materials could be exposed to for the formation of cross linkers.

A very common polymer is polyethylene; a polymer made from ethylene monomer units. Whereas millions of ethylene monomer units come together to form polyethylene, the polyethylene structure is held together by cross linkers. The cross linker in polyethylene can be produced in several ways. The electron beam processing method is used to produce the C type cross linked polyethylene. During the extruding process of production of the polyethylene, peroxide could be added to form the cross links (Davis, 2004). This leads to the formation of what is known as the A type of cross links polyethylene. A cross linking agent, an example of which is vinylsilane can be used in conjuction with a catalyst during the extruding process after which a post extrusion curing can be performed on it.

Cross linkers are used in varied fields of human endeavours where polymers can be found and are in use. The properties of rubbber is changed to suite its use in cars, airplanes and bikes as tyres for the wheels. This chemical process is what is known as vulcanization. The process of vulcanization is a slow process but the reaction rate can be rapidly increased by the addition of catalysts such as benzothiazolethiol or tetramethylthiuram disulfide Science and Technology of Rubber (2005). Both contain sulfur which iniates the reaction of the sulfur chain with the rubber. For this reason, vulcanization is also known as sulfur curing. Thermoset plastics are permanently set and so would not change form when heat is applied to it. Cross links are therefore an important characteristic of thermoset plastics. In this application, the process of cross linking is irreversible and so thermoset plastic will decompose or burn when exposed to heat. The only case by which a cross linked process could be reversible is in situations where the chemical bonds involved in the cross linking is different from those used to join up the monomers into polymers. In nature, cross links can be reversed as is done in the case of curly hair. The disulfide bonds between protein chains can be broken and reformed.

Chemical cross links are thermally and mechanically stable so, once formed it is very difficult to break them. This property largely becomes a disadvantage to the recycling industry. A new class of polymers gaining increasing global acceptance is the thermoplastic elastomers which relay on physical cross links in their microstructure to attain stability. The physical parameter responsible for their binding is reversible. They therefore, offer a wide range of applications.

Oxygen is the second most abundant element; it also has the ability to initiate free radical reactions. A polymer exposed to air can undergo a radical reaction with the oxygen resulting in an oxidative cross linking which would significantly alter the properties of the polymer. To avoid this, the polymer industry incorporates anti-oxidants during the production of polymers (Hans-Wilhem et al., 2004)

So far, we have seen cross linking in the synthetic polymer industry. Since nature also has its own way of producing polymers like proteins, carbohydrates and others, it holds true to say that cross linking is very much possible in natural biological polymers. This area of polymers binding to one another through covalent or ionic bonds can be exploited in studying the proximity of proteins.

From the collagen located inside animals’ skin and bones, a translucent, colourless, brittle and tasteless substance known as gelatin can be obtained. Gelatinous substances are defined as substances which contain gelation or behave in a similar way to the behaviour of gelatine. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in the food, pharmaceuticals and photographic industry. When heated, gelatin melts into a liquid and then solidifies when it is cooled. Gelatin forms a solution of high viscosity in water, which sets to a gel on cooling, and its chemical composition is, in many respects, closely similar to that of its parent collagen (Ward and Courts, 1977). The solubility of the gelatin is determined by the method of manufacture. Typically, gelatin can be dispersed in a relatively concentrated acid. Such dispersions are stable for 10–15 days with little or no chemical changes and are suitable for coating purposes or for extrusion into a precipitating bath. Gelatin is also soluble in most polar solvents. Gelatin gels exist over only a small temperature range, the upper limit being the melting point of the gel, which depends on gelatin grade and concentration and the lower limit, the freezing point at which ice crystallizes. The worldwide production amount of gelatin is about 300,000 tons per year (roughly 660 million lb).

On a commercial scale, gelatin is made from by-products of the meat and leather industry. Recently, fish by-products have also been considered because they eliminate some of the religious obstacles surrounding gelatin consumption (“What is Halal?”. Islamic Services of America. Retrieved 2011-04-15). It is commonly believed that cheese is used in the production of Gelatin, however this is an erroneous idea as Gelatin is drived mainly from the skin of pigs, pork and cattle bones or split cattle hides (Gelatine Manufacturers Institute of America. Retrieved 2011-04-16). The raw materials for the production of gelatin are carefully prepared through a number of different curing, acid and alkali processes to extract the dried collagen hydrolysate. These processesmay take up to several weeks, with the different procedures conferring great effects on the properties of the final product. and differences in such processes have great effects on the properties of the final gelatin products (GELITA Grp 2006). Of the materials mentioned above for the production of gelatin, pig skin forms about 44%, with the next in line being bovine hides with 28% which is closely followed by bones with 27%. The rest of the materials make a mere 1% of the total. (Source: wikipedia).

To study the role of cross linkers in the chemical or hydrothermal stabilization of gelatin, three cross linkers were used in this experiment. They are; Gluteraldehyde, Chrome sulphate and Salicylic acid.

The pie chart below gives the percentage distribution of gelatin by geographic regions. Western Europe produces 39% of the estimated annual global production of 300,000tons. North America makes up 20% of this figure, Latin America produces 17%, Eastern Europe makes up 2% while the rest of the world adds 22%. This makes Europe an important contributor to the production and supply of gelatin

Gelatin is the best known gelling agent in the food and cooking industry. There are types and different grades of gelatin used extensively in a wide range of food and non-food products. There are many foods on sale today that contain gelatin common examples are; gelatin desserts, trifles, aspic, marshmallows, candy corns and confectionaries such as peeps, gummy bears amongst many others. Apart from being used as a gelling agent, gelatin also acts as an important stabilizer, thickner or texturizer in foods such as jams, yoghurt, cream cheese and margerine. It is also used in fat-reduced foods to stimulate the mouthfeel of fat and create volume without adding calories.

Gelatin is used for the clarification of juices, such as apple juice, and of vinegar. Isinglass from the swim bladders of fish is still used as a fining agent for wine and beer (National Organic Standards Board Technical Advisory Review).

The food industry is not the only one that enjoys the use of gelatin. Certain professional and theatrical lighting equipment use colour gels to change the colour of the beam. These used to be made with gelatin, hence the term colour gel. In years past, hard paper was obtained by treatment with gelatin. It is used as a separating agent, carrier or coating for substances as in the case of beta-carotene. Gelatin makes beta carotene water soluble thus imparting a yellow colour to it. This explains the yellow colouration of any soft drink containing beta carotene. It is used for holding silver halide crystals in an emulsion in virtually all photographic films and photographic papers. There have been efforts at finding replacement for gelatin in this required but no low cost suitable substitute with the sort of stability possessed by gelatin has been found.

To study the role of cross linkers in the chemical or hydrothermal stabilization of gelatin, three cross linkers were used in this experiment. They are; Gluteraldehyde, Chrome sulphate and Salicylic acid.

Gluteraldehyde is a linear 5 Carbon dialdehyde with the chemical formular, CH2(CH2CHO)2. It is colourless, oil liquid with a pungent smell, which exists commonly as the hydrate and not the dialdehyde (Kohlpaintner et al., 2008). It finds uses in the medical and dental fields as a disinfectant. It is also used in the industrial treatment of water and as a chemical preservative. Industrial preparation of gluteraldehyde includes the oxidation of cyclopentene and by the Diels Alder reaction of acrolein and methyl vinyl ether followed by hydrolysis. Monomeric glutaraldehyde can polymerize by aldol condensation reaction yielding alpha, beta-unsaturated poly-glutaraldehyde. This reaction usually occurs at alkaline pH values.

With the introduction of glutaraldehyde (Sabatini et al., 1962) electron microscopists had a more rapidly penetrating fixative that thoroughly insolubilized proteins and was cheap enough to deliver by vascular perfusion. Since gluteraldehyde is a dialdehyde, it belongs to the aldehyde functional group which has the carbonyl group. The reactive group of gluteraldehyde is the hydrazide group. Glutaraldehyde has fairly small molecules, each with two aldehyde groups, separated by a flexible chain of 3 methylene bridges. It is HCO-(CH2)3-CHO. The potential for cross-linking is obviously much greater because it can occur through both the -CHO groups and over variable distances. In aqueous solutions, glutaraldehyde is present largely as polymers of variable size (Monsan et al., 1975). There is a free aldehyde group sticking out of the side of each unit of the polymer molecule, as well as one at each end. All these -CHO groups will combine with any protein nitrogens with which they come into contact, so there is enormous potential for cross-linking, and that is just what happens. There are also many left-over aldehyde groups (not bound to anything) that cannot be washed out of the tissue.

A prepared solution of glutaraldehyde of concentration range 0.1% to 1.0% may be suitable for use as a system disinfectant and also as a preservative for long term storage. Glutaraldehyde is used in biological electron microscopy as a fixative. A fixative is simply a stabilizing or preservative agent. It kills cells quickly by crosslinking their proteins and is usually employed alone or mixed with formaldehyde (Karnovsky, 1965) as the first of a two fixative process for stabilizing specimens such as bacteria, plant material and human cells. The second process involves the use of osmium tetroxide to crosslink and stabilizes cell and organelles. The fixation process is usually followed by dehydrating the tissue in ethanol or acetone followed by embedding in epoxy resin or acrylic resin. Another example of an application for treatment of proteins with glutaraldehyde is the inactivation of bacterial toxins to create toxoid vaccines, e.g. the pertussis (whooping cough) toxoid component in the Boostrix Tdap vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GlaxoSmithKline, 2009).

In a related application, glutaraldehyde is sometimes employed in the tanning of leather. Tanning is the process that converts the protein of the raw hide or skin into a stable material which will not putrefy and is suitable for a wide variety of end applications. The principal difference between raw hides and tanned hides is that raw hides dry out to form a hard inflexible material that can putrefy when wetted again, while tanned material dries out to a flexible form that does not become putrid when wetted back. A large number of different tanning methods and materials can be used; the choice is ultimately dependent on the end application of the leather (Heidemann, 1993).

Glutaraldehyde is frequently used in biochemistry applications as an amine-reactive homobifunctional crosslinker. The oligomeric state of proteins can be examined through this application. Glutaraldehyde is also used in SDS-PAGE to fix proteins and peptides prior to staining. Typically, a gel is treated with a 5% solution for approximately half an hour, after which it must be thoroughly washed to remove the yellow stain brought about by reacting with free tris. A polymerized isomer of glutaraldehyde known as polycycloglutaracetal is a fertilizer for aquatic plants. It is claimed that it provides a bioavailable source of carbon for higher plants that is not available to algae.

Furthermore, this work also looked at another important cross-linker; chrome sulfate. Chromium sulfate is the most important ingredient used in the tanning of leather. It is manufactured from the simple reduction of Cr (VI) to Cr (III) by the addition of an excess of sulphur dioxide:

Na2Cr2O7 + 3SO2 + H2O > Cr2 (SO4)2(OH)2 + Na2SO4

This reaction is carried out in a steam-heated vessel, and then the excess SO2 is removed in a second reaction tower. Finally, the liquid product is spray-dried to form a powder which is then bagged and sold. The hydrated sulfate salt has a purple colour. However, heating chromium (III) sulfate leads to partial dehydration to give a hydrated green salt and eventually the anhydrous derivative (Anger, et al., 2005).

Chrome alum or Chromium (III) potassium sulfate is the potassium double sulfate of chromium. Its chemical formula is KCr(SO4)2 and it is commonly found in its dodecahydrate form as KCr(SO4)2·12(H2O). It was formerly used in leather tanning (Holleman, et al., 1985). Chromium alum crystallizes in regular octahedra geometry with flattened corners and is very soluble in water. Chromium alum is used in the tanning of leather as chromium (III) stabilizes the leather by cross linking the collagen fibers within the leather (Brown, Dudley and Elsetinow 1997). However, this application is obsolete because the simpler chromium (III) sulfate is preferred (Anger, et al., 2005).

Schematic diagram of Cross linking with chromium (Source: Wikipedia)

Tannage procedure involving Chrome generally concerns reactions of aqueous solutions of basic sulphates and chlorides of chromium and collagen, a greater majority of the chromium complexes are removed by collagen in an irreversible combination with the protein. The fixed chromium salt makes collagen resistant to the action of proteolytic enzymes and to hot water, even to boiling water by rationally performed tanning. This stabilization of the collagen lattice by chromium complexes is generally considered to be due to the cross-linking of the collagen chains through stable chromium bridges (Gustav and Holme, 1952). Various types of chromium complexes, differing in composition, molecular size and electrical charge, are present in solutions of the basic salts.

Chromium salts react with polyamides to form cross links that would hold the polyamides molecules together. In this connection, basic chromium salt link up with artificial substrate with the -CO. NH- as its main reacting groups and practically devoid of ionic reactivity. The modified polyamide, in the hydrated state has been found to be exceedingly reactive towards agents which possess hydrogen-bonding ability, for instance, polyphenols of which vegetable tannins are an outstanding example (Gustav and Holme, 1952). The cationic chromium complexes present in the standard solutions of the basic chloride and sulphate were not taken up by the polyamide. A mirior fixation of chromium from concentrated solutions of the sulphate was found, however.

The third cross linker used in this work was salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. Salicylic acid is a colourless crystalline acid widely incorporated in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin. In addition to being a compound that is chemically similar to but not identical to the active component of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), it is probably best known for its use in anti-acne treatments. The salts and esters of salicylic acid are known as salicylates. It has the molecular formular C6H4(OH)COOH where the OH group is ortho to the carboxyl group. The molar mass is 138.12gmol-1. It is also known as 2-hydroxybenzenecarboxcylic acid. In terms of solubility in water, salicylic acid is poorly soluble in water.

Salicylic acid is biosynthesized from the amino acid phenylalanine. In Arabidopsis thaliana it can also be synthesized via a phenylalanine-independent pathway. Sodium salicylate is commercially prepared by treating sodium phenolate (the sodium salt of phenol) with carbon dioxide at high pressure (100 atm) and high temperature (390K) -a method known as the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction. Acidification of the product with sulfuric acid gives salicylic acid:

Salicylic acid has a long history which dates back to the 5th century BC. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about a bitter powder extracted from the bark of the willow tree that could ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. This remedy was also mentioned in texts from ancient Sumer, Lebanon, and Assyria. The Cherokee and other Native Americans used an infusion of the bark for fever and other medicinal purposes for centuries (Hemel and Chiltoskey 1975). The medicinal part of the plant is the inner bark and was used as a pain reliever for a variety of ailments. The Reverend Edward Stone, a vicar from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England, noted in 1763 that the bark of the willow was effective in reducing a fever (Stone 1763).

In order to measure the chemical and hydrothermal stability of gelatin, the use of spectroscopic instrumentation was required. This was achieved using 1) A SHIMAZU 8400 S FT-IR Spectrometer 2) DSC & TGA/SDTA 822e (Differential scanning calorimetry): Mettler Toledo. 3) SMS (Stable Micro System) origon and firm name I can give you after confirming.

The Fourier Transform Infra red Spectrometer (FT-IR) is an instrument that helps to determine the various functional groups present in an organic molecule. It can detect functional groups such as hydroxy functional group, carbonyl of either an aldehyde or a ketone, carboxyl, carbon-carbon double or triple bond, amines, amides as well as any other functional group that may be present in the molecule. The FT –IR works in the infra red region of the electromagnetic spectrum which is the part of the spectrum between the visible and microwave regions. Of greatest pratical use is the portion between 4000 and 400cm-1 (silverstein, Bassler and Morrill, 1991). The FT-IR works on the principle of measuring the energy needed to stretch or bend bonds in a molecule. It represents this information as peaks plotted on a graph of percent absorption on the vertical against wavenumber on the horizontal. The position of the peak is characteristic of the particular functional group. It is a technique which is used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption, emission, photoconductivity or Raman scattering of a solid, liquid or gas (Griffiths and de Hasseth, 2007). An FTIR spectrometer simultaneously collects spectral data in a wide spectral range. This confers a significant advantage over a dispersive spectrometer which measures intensity over a narrow range of wavelengths at a time. FTIR technique has made dispersive infrared spectrometers all but obsolete (except sometimes in the near infrared) and opened up new applications of infrared spectroscopy.

GC-IR (gas chromatography-infrared spectrometry). A gas chromatograph can be used to separate the components of a mixture. The fractions containing single components are directed into an FTIR spectrometer, to provide the infrared spectrum of the sample. This technique is complementary to GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry). The GC-IR method is particularly useful for identifying isomers, which by their nature have identical masses. The key to the successful use of GC-IR is that the interferogram can be captured in a very short time, typically less than 1 second. FTIR has also been applied to the analysis of liquid chromatography fractions (White 1990). Micro-samples. Tiny samples, such as in forensic analysis, can be examined with the aid of an infrared microscope in the sample chamber. An image of the surface can be obtained by scanning (Eauchaine, Peterman and Rosenthal 1988). Another example is the use of FTIR to characterize artistic materials in old-master paintings (Prati, Joseph, Sciutto, Mazze, 2010).

Differential scanning calorimetry or DSC is a thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference is measured as a function of temperature. It is a technique we use to study what happens to polymers when they’re heated. We use it to study what we call the Thermal Transitions of a polymer. They are the changes that take place in a polymer when you heat it. The melting of a crystalline polymer is one example. The glass transition is also a thermal transition. The first step would be to heat the polymer. And that’s what we do in DSC. There are two pans. In one pan, the sample pan, you put your polymer sample. The other one is the reference pan. You leave it empty. Each pan sits on top of a heater. Then you tell the nifty computer to turn on the heaters. Both the sample and reference are maintained at nearly the same temperature throughout the experiment. Generally, the temperature program for a DSC analysis is designed such that the sample holder temperature increases linearly as a function of time. The reference sample should have a well-defined heat capacity over the range of temperatures to be scanned.

The technique was developed by E.S. Watson and M.J. O’Neill in 1960 and introduced commercially at the 1963 Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. The term DSC was coined to describe this instrument which measures energy directly and allows precise measurements of heat capacity (Wunderlich, 1990). Differential scanning calorimetry can be used to measure a number of characteristic properties of a sample. Using this technique it is possible to observe fusion and crystallization events as well as glass transition temperatures Tg. DSC can also be used to study oxidation, as well as other chemical reactions (Pungor, 1995).

Glass transitions may occur as the temperature of an amorphous solid is increased. These transitions appear as a step in the baseline of the recorded DSC signal. This is due to the sample undergoing a change in heat capacity; no formal phase change occurs (Skoog, Douglas, Holler and Nieman 1998).

As the temperature increases, an amorphous solid will become less viscous. At some point the molecules may obtain enough freedom of motion to spontaneously arrange themselves into a crystalline form. This is known as the crystallization temperature (Tc). This transition from amorphous solid to crystalline solid is an exothermic process, and results in a peak in the DSC signal. As the temperature increases the sample eventually reaches its melting temperature (Tm). The melting process results in an endothermic peak in the DSC curve. The ability to determine transition temperatures and enthalpies makes DSC a valuable tool in producing phase diagrams for various chemical systems (Dean, 1995).

This instrumentation has a very important role in a number of fields noticeable is in the field of drug analysis. DSC is widely used in the pharmaceutical and polymer industries. For the polymer chemist, DSC is a handy tool for studying curing processes, which allows the fine tuning of polymer properties. The cross-linking of polymer molecules that occurs in the curing process is exothermic, resulting in a positive peak in the DSC curve that usually appears soon after the glass transition.

In the pharmaceutical industry it is necessary to have well-characterized drug compounds in order to define processing parameters. For instance, if it is necessary to deliver a drug in the amorphous form, it is desirable to process the drug at temperatures below those at which crystallization can occur (Pungor, 1995).

In the broad lucreative polymer industry, DSC is used widely for examining polymers to check their composition. Melting points and glass transition temperatures for most polymers are available from standard compilations, and the method can show up possible polymer degradation by the lowering of the expected melting point, Tm, for example. Tm depends on the molecular weight of the polymer, so lower grades will have lower melting points than expected. The percentage crystallinity of a polymer can also be found using DSC. It can be found from the crystallisation peak from the DSC graph since the heat of fusion can be calculated from the area under an absorption peak.

Impurities in polymers can be determined by examining thermograms for anomalous peaks, and plasticisers can be detected at their characteristic boiling points.

The texture of most products is an important property of the product. The texture affects how the product would be handled, influence, the shelf life and also how consumers would respond to such a product. The texture of a product can be determined in one of two ways; either by sensory analysis or by the use of instruments. Of importance to this work was the use of the stable micro systems’ texture analyser. The instrumentation method provides the advantage of conducting the analysis is a more defined and controlled environment.

In the food industry, particularly the confectionery industry, gelatin is commonly used for processing gelled products. Gelatin shows a reversible sol-gel change with temperature. The rigidity of the gel is one of the most important properties of gelatin and correlates with the gelatin concentration. In this, the gelling quality of gelatin is measured by measuring the gel strength as a function of gelatin concentration. The texture of gelatin gel can therefore be measured.

The Instrumental TPA was developed by a group at the General Foods Corporation Technical Center (Szczesniak and Kleyn, 1963). The parameters obtained from the resulting force- time curve correlate well with sensory evaluations of the same parameters (Friedman et al.,1963). Later, the Instron Universal Testing Machine was adapted to perform a modified TPA (Bourne, 1968, 1974). The difference between the GF Texturometer and the Instron arises from the different compression motions. The plunger of the GF Texturometer is driven at sinusoidal speed and follows the arc of a circle. The resulting TPA curve shows rounded peaks. The plunger of the Instron, however, is driven at constant speed and shows rectilinear-shaped peaks on its TPA curve. Therefore, one disadvantage of the GF Texturometer is that the contact area between the sample and the plunger is not constant during the test; because the plunger moves through the arc of a circle, one edge of the plunger contacts the sample first and, as the downstroke continues, the area of the plunger pressing on the food increases until the entire plunger area is in contact with the sample at the end of the downstroke (Bourne, 1968). Another disadvantage of the GF Texturometer is that the sample platform is flexible and bends a little as the load is applied. This can result in confounding data. On the other hand, the Instron is so rigid that bending of the instrument does not occur, resulting in data that are precise. All modern TPA measurements are now carried out with two-cycle uniaxial compression instruments such as the Instron Universal Testing Machine. The most common parameters derived from the TPA curve (Friedman et al., 1963; Bourne, 1968). The peak force during the first compression cycle is defined as hardness. Fracturability (originally called brittleness) is defined as the force at the first significant break in the curve during the first compression cycle.

It has been experimentally determined that, the hardness and fracturability of gelatin increases as its concentration is increased. However, the values of hardness and fracturability were dependent on the crosshead speed. Also, the cohesiveness for gelatin gels was not significantly correlated with the concentration of gelatin (Munoz et al., 1986). Limitations of the instrumental TPA when compared to sensory TPA include sensitivity and complexity. However, the instrumental TPA parameters are repeatable. Also, TPA parameters correlate well within sensory TPA parameters. The best correlation and data greatly depend on the measuring conditions, the plunger, the precise sample shape, and, most importantly, the careful and skillful operation of the experimenter.

The time required for one TPA test of a sample is ?5 to 10 min, which includes sample positioning and instrument cleaning. It is usually the case that sample preparation (e.g., cooking) requires much more time than TPA measurements. Most uniaxial compression instruments offered to the food industry are computer controlled and have software to immediately calculate the TPA parameters.

Stable Micro systems range of instruments can be used to measure a cross range of properties such as; Hardness, brittleness, fracturability, adhesiveness and elasticity. The range of application of texture analysis is wide. It can be used in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

In conclusion, the work looked at the role played by cross linkers in the stabilization of gelatin. Since cross links exists between different polymer molecules. Their purpose is to hold one large polymer chain to another. Three types of cross linker namely; glutaraldehyde which is a dialdehyde, Chrome sulfate and Salicylic acid were each used to treat gelatin. Then chemical instrumentation such as the use of the FT-IR, which indicates the presence of functional groups in the compound, Differential scanning calorimeter and Stable Micro’s texture analysis were implored to analyse the extent of reaction.


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Free Essays

The importance of the relationship between Developmental disabilities and Direct-Care


In facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities, Direct-Care staff are a valuable resource. The standard of the service is a direct reflection of the quality of their work (Hatton, et al., 1999). Furthermore, care workers form the foundation for the social networks of the service users (Sharrard, 1992). The importance of this relationship is clearly demonstrated within the wealth of literature available in this area. A functional interpersonal relationship between Direct-Care staff and service users facilitates the on-going compilation and evaluation of care plans, thus allowing accurate and comprehensive information to be gathered, even from service users with restricted communication skills (Kagan, 1990). This relationship plays a key role in ensuring the smooth running of the operations within the service and sees that service users receive the upper-most level of care.

Community based services for individuals with developmental disabilities are constantly challenged to provide the highest quality service within the constraints of the funding they receive. This is a task which has been made even harder recently by further budget cuts. Individuals who are employed by these types of organisations have to cope on a daily basis with the mental, physical and emotional difficulties experienced and displayed by their service users. It is logical to assume that without sufficient support, individuals will experience significant psychological and emotional pressures and stresses. Job stress is defined as:

“The harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury”(NIOSH, 1999).

In some studies it has been reported that up to a third of Direct-Care staff were suffering stress levels symptomatic of that of a mental health disorder (Hatton et al, 1999; 2004).

The Job-Demand-Control model (JDC: Karasek, 1979) is a leading theoretical model utilised in studies considering occupational or work-related stress. Simplistically the JDC model suggests that the combined effect of high demands and low control within a job role equates to the highest risk of work-related stress, irrespective of individual differences in appraisal or coping. In terms of the JDC model job demands primarily refer to psychological demands such as mental workload, organizational constraints on task completion or conflicting demands (Pelfrene, 2001). The model was further extended in the 1980’s to include a third dimension, worksite social support, suggesting that the effects are exacerbated in situations of low support. Thus becoming the Job Demand-Control-Support model (JDCS: Karasek, 1985). The imbalance of these three variables is a prominent feature within job roles in the area of Direct-Care work. It is therefore unsurprising that, according to a recent government survey in the United Kingdom, “workers in personal service occupations have statistically significant higher rates of both injury and ill health compared to all occupations” (HSE, 2009-2010).

Staff morale has been extensively investigated over the past twenty years in the caring professions and includes aspects such as staff stress, burnout, job satisfaction, and staff withdrawal (absenteeism and turnover). A number of factors have been identified as having an impact upon staff morale. Empirical tests of the model (JDCS) reveal that stress more often results from operational and organizational aspects of the job, rather than from dealing with difficult clients. Organizational factors such as participation in decision-making (control), supervision and social support are key and dominate related theories and studies (Rose, 1993; Hatton et al., 1999; Innstrand et al., 2004).

In support of the JDCS model, Akerboom and Maes (2006) observed that job demands were positively associated with emotional exhaustion. Social support co-workers were positively associated with job satisfaction, and social support supervisors were negatively associated with psychological distress. Furthermore, the study found that job demands and decision authority were central to a career’s level of emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction.

The Work Stress theory postulates that job demands are associated with the development of stress and burnout of employees (Dermouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001). In order to meet these demands staff draw on a number of resources, helping to increase functionality and reduce workload (Dermouti et al., 2001; Lazarus, 1999). The resources can be psychological, physical, social or organizational (perceived support for example is a social resource). Social support is of particular relevance to care workers supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, as they tend to work in small teams. Research suggests that in this instance, colleagues are crucial sources of support within the work place (Ford & Honnor, 2000). Support may also be sought from a superior. There is evidence to suggest that the ability to talk openly to a supervisor about both personal and work related issues reduces reported levels of burnout (Ito, et al., 1999). The complex interplay between these relationships however is yet to be explored in sufficient detail.

The majority of these studies have focused on individuals employed within residential and institutional facilities. Only four studies have been found that have collected data from Direct-Care staff working in respite services (Harris & Thomas, 1993; Gardner & Rose, 1994; Lawson & O’Brien, 1994; Mascha, 2006). In spite of this fact, published results suggest that, when compared with residential units, stress levels were higher and support levels lower in respite units (Harris & Thomas, 1993). Furthermore, research to date has largely over-looked the presence of part-time staff in this type of establishment and bank staff do not seem to be taken into account at all. This could be regarded as an oversight – this type of staff are particularly vulnerable due to the casual nature of their employment. They may not, for example, have easy or regular access to supervision or colleague support, despite the fact that they are being exposed to the same stressors as full time staff on a regular basis.

There is a very minimal amount of qualitative data available on this area of discussion with the majority of previous research being descriptive or correlational in nature. Although measures based on the theories outlined above may have good psychometric properties, they are limited in terms of capturing interpersonal support (Harris & Rose, 2002). Qualitative techniques of data analysis were applied to open-ended questions in a study looking at staff morale in day care centres for adults with intellectual disabilities. Analysis of this data revealed three main categories of stressors; working conditions for staff (excessive work-load, under staffing), issues relating to the nature of the job (challenging behaviour of service users, inability to make a difference) and lack of teamwork and communication between staff members (Mascha, 2006). The use of qualitative methods allows for the accurate value of practical and emotional support provided by colleagues and others to be captured. Lazarus (1999) advocated that quantitative studies should be supported by other in-depth research approaches to explore individual appraisal.

The present study aims to explore various factors affecting individuals currently employed in Direct-Care roles. In particular, the study aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the true nature of working in the field of Direct-Care and the obstacles facing managers and staff. Therefore, the research will draw from two studies, adopting a mixed-measures approach. The studies will consist of an Internet based survey and of a series of face-to-face interviews (to be completed by a sub-sample of participants). The current study will focus specifically on staff involved in Direct-Care of individuals with developmental disabilities in both residential and respite settings. Individuals employed on the bank team will be recruited as well as permanent full-time and part-time staff.

The aims of the present study therefore are:

To investigate working conditions and job demands of individuals currently employed in Direct-Care roles.
To investigate how physically demanding a Direct-Care role is and sources of stress for care workers.
To identify self-reported sources of support and coping strategies for Direct-Care staff.
To explore the levels of job satisfaction and motivation.


A mixed method approach was employed in order to produce a more complete picture about the true nature of working in the Direct-Care industry. Neither quantitative nor qualitative methods of data collection and analysis are sufficient in isolation. Used independently, both approaches to psychological research are limited in their ability to capture trends and details in any given situation. The use of qualitative methods expands upon quantitative results, thereby enhancing the aims of the present study. In addition to this, the validity of the obtained interview data is improved by the complementation of other methods.

Due to the time limitations of this project, a concurrent triangulation design has been used. This offers the advantage that both forms of data can be collected at single period in time, therefore being more practical and efficient than a sequential approach. Despite the shared time frame, data for both studies has been collected and analysed separately, enabling the researcher to better understand the research problem.

This project received approval from Loughborough University’s ethics committee. The data collected by the present investigation will also be forming part of the ‘Working Late’ project, a new study being carried out at Loughborough University’s Work and Health Research Centre. The project aims to help ensure that all individuals are able to maintain their ability to work by facilitating healthier working lives.

Participant Organisations

In order to conduct both the structured survey questionnaires and semi-structured employee interviews, employees from four separate care homes were invited by the researcher to participate in the study. Participants were a convenience sample of staff working with intellectual disabilities within a local service in Hertfordshire. Recruitment techniques included telephone calls and emails to the homes, as well as directly contacting individual staff members. Participants in the current study were sourced from a public sector organisation, which provides all aspects of care to individuals with a range of developmental disabilities (in both residential and respite settings). The inclusion criterion was that staff had day-to-day contact when at work in supporting people with intellectual disabilities. Staff members with purely administrative duties did therefore not take part in this study. Participants were adequately informed of the purpose of the survey and assured anonymity of their responses. Participants were allowed to discontinue their participation in either study whenever and if they so desired.

Study 1: Employee survey

Research Participants

Direct-Care staff across four respite and residential Direct-Care homes were invited to volunteer for the study by completing the online survey questionnaire. A small number of paper-based questionnaires were also distributed to Direct-Care staff that were not computer literate or did not have easy access to the Internet. All completed questionnaires were returned directly and anonymously to researchers and stored in a secure location. All participants were asked questions on demographics (e.g. age and gender), their occupational health and well-being. A total of ninety-five questionnaires were distributed to Direct-Care staff of which a 38.9% response rate was achieved. Of the 37 participants who completed the survey, two were male, thirty-three were female and two did not specify a gender. Participant ages ranged from 20-67 years with a mean age of 36.12 years.


Participants were asked to complete a 25-minute online survey questionnaire. Loughborough University’s Work and Health Research Centre developed the survey that was utilised by this study for the Working Late Project (See Appendices 1 & 2). The questionnaire asks participants a series of questions about their current job role, well-being, and their feelings towards work. It also asks questions relating to occupational health services and current physical activity levels. These were all indicated by self-report measures. The data will be analysed using the statistical software package SPSS10 and descriptive statistics produced.

Study 2: Interviews with multi-level Direct-Care Staff

Research Participants

Due time and funding limitations only participants from one of the four homes that participated in Study 1 were invited to take part in semi-structured interviews. Staff were made aware of the research by senior management team and volunteered to participate in the study. Ten participants were recruited in total. Participants at that time were all employed by a respite facility that provided Direct-Care to children and young people with developmental disabilities. This facility was selected as it represents a Direct-Care setting largely ignored within the literature. All ten participants were female and ages ranged from 22-62 years. A sample of ten participants was deemed adequate to achieve variation. The small sample included management, senior staff, full-time staff and a bank worker.

Interview Schedule and Analysis

The interviews aimed at enhancing the understanding of the findings from the surveys. The interview schedule was developed based on findings from previous studies in the area of interest. The semi-structured interview schedule allowed participants to reveal as much information on the topics of interest as they each felt comfortable doing so. The questions aimed to elicit information regarding: working conditions and job demands (Can you please discuss a few factors, which you feel affect your ability to manage your work demands and perform all your work duties?), sources of support and coping (Do you have any coping strategies for work related stressorsPlease can you describe these?), as well as job satisfaction (On the whole are you currently satisfied with your job and why?). All participants received the same interview schedule with some questions re-phrased according to the participant’s job-role. The schedule was initially piloted and subsequently refined. In order to reduce interviewer bias, the interviews were all conducted by the same researcher and mechanically recorded to provide a permanent record, allowing them open for verification by other researchers. The method of audiotaping was selected due to its cost effective nature and ease of use. There is also no reliable evidence to suggest that audiotaping constrains what respondents are willing to say (Breakwell, p. 249, 2006).

The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using template analysis. The template approach to qualitative analysis involved the researcher developing a list of codes prior to conducting the interviews. These were based on themes identified in previous textual data, or in other words a ‘template’. Whilst codes are defined a priori, subsequent interpretation of the material allows for expansion of the original template.

In the first phase of analysis, the transcripts were repeatedly and carefully read. The initial codes were guided by both the interview schedule and the aims of the study. The data set was coded using a predetermined template and grouped into codes and themes. The initial codes were continuously refined and modified with emergent themes from the qualitative data. These codes included those for topics that arose spontaneously throughout the interviews. The data under each theme was summarized and verbatim quotations were used in support.


Study 1: Employee Survey

A response rate of 38.9% was achieved by returned questionnaires (N=37), of which 32.4% (N=12) were completed questionnaires. Surveys were received from all four facilities to which they were distributed. Of the 37 participants 33 were Female, 2 were Male and 2 did not specify a gender. All surveys were completed between the 14th March and the 18th April 2011. On average participants employed on a Full-time basis worked 38 hours per week, whilst those employed on a part-time basis worked 16.77 hours per week. The majority (65.6%, N=13) of participants surveyed either did not have access to an occupational health service or were unaware of its existence (Aim 3).

In relation to Aim 4, the survey included measures of job satisfaction and job motivation. Job motivation was measured using a six-item scale developed by Warr, et al (1979). The measure consisted of a seven-point Likert scale. Participants were required to indicate to what degree they agreed with a series of statements from ‘strongly disagree-strongly agree’, including “My opinion of myself goes down when I do this job badly”. Responses of the individual participants were summed to produce a score for the measure, with a range of 6-42. High scores relate to high intrinsic job motivation. 6 participants were removed from the data set due to missing data. With regard to the scores, the overall Median was 36 with a range of 18. Descriptive statistics in relation to employment status were also investigated; a further two participants were removed as their status of employment was not specified (Table 1). With participants employed on a permanent full-time basis reporting the highest level of intrinsic job motivation.

Table 1 – Medians and Ranges for Job Motivation, with relation to employment status

Median± RangePermanent Full-time (N=19)Permanent Part-time(N=4)Fixed-term/Temporary Contract (N=6)Total(N=31)
JobMotivation36 ± 1539 ± 1035.5 ± 1636 ± 18

Job satisfactionrefers to one’s own feelings or state of mind in relation to the nature of their work. Job satisfaction can be influenced by variety of factors such as supervision, organization policies and administration, salary and work/life balance. Self-reported levels of job satisfaction were measured using a three-item scale taken from the Michigan Organisational Assessment Questionnaire. The seven-point Likert scale was scored by averaging the responses, with a possible score range of 1-7. High scores were indicative of high levels of job satisfaction. 5 participants were removed at this stage from the data set due to missing data. The overall Median score was 4.67, with a Range of 3.33. Descriptive statistics in relation to employment status were also investigated, a further two participants were removed as they did not specify their employment status (Table 2). Medians of all three statuses of employment were the same.

Table 2 – Medians and Ranges of Job Satisfaction, with relation to employment status

Median± RangePermanent Full-time (N=19)Permanent Part-time(N=5)Fixed-term/Temporary Contract (N=6)Total(N=32)
JobSatisfaction4.67 ± 2.334.67 ± 24.67 ± 1.674.67 ± 3.33

The General Health questionnaire 12 (GHQ 12) was utilised by the survey to assess participant’s general well-being. The GHQ 12 uses a four-point Likert scale. Participant’s individual responses were summed to give an overall score, with a maximum score of 36. Six participants were removed due to missing data. The higher the score the more severe the condition, the overall Median for participants who completed the measure in full was 12, with a Range of 17. Descriptive statistics in relation to employment status were also investigated; a further two participants were removed as their status of employment was not specified (Table 1). With participants employed on a permanent full-time basis reporting the highest levels of psychological distress.

Table 3 – Medians and Ranges of GSQ 12 scores, in relation to employment status

Median ± RangePermanent Full-time (N=18)Permanent Part-time(N=5)Fixed-term/Temporary Contract (N=6)Total(N=31)
GHQ 1213 ± 1613 ± 611 ± 712 ± 17

Study 2: Interviews

All participants who were interviewed were female and were employed by a respite facility for children and young people with developmental disabilities. All participants had completed the online survey (Study 1) prior to being interviewed. Five main themes were identified from the transcribed interviews; sources of stress, coping strategies, colleague support, job satisfaction and motivation, and impact of budget cuts. The themes are summarised below along with illustrative quotes and include both positive and negative aspects of Direct-Care Staff’s experiences.

Sources of Stress

With respect to questions concerning sources of stress, participants generally identified more than one stressor. Analysis of the text illuminated three key and recurring categories; working conditions, the nature of the job, and lack of teamwork and communication. Out of the three aforementioned categories, working conditions were the most consistently cited source of stress. There is reference in all ten transcripts to poor staffing levels. As illustrated by Participant Seven:

“I find trying to get the certain amount of staff and working slightly over children than there is staff…I think sometimes it can make the unit-unsafe by having that and you know not enough staff to support the children’s needs.”

The problem of understaffed shifts is linked in the transcripts to reports of excessive demands and a pressurised work environment, which is made worse by limited resources. Some participants reported feeling as though it was not possible to meet what was asked of them:

“It is high pressure, it is fast paced…I don’t feel that I do manage to complete the tasks and things that are required within my role (Assistant Manager) and I find that quite frustrating and unsatisfactory” (Participant Five).

Multiple interviewees highlighted issues relating to the nature of the job as significant sources of stress. Issues including challenging behaviour, long working hours and the inability to make a difference. Furthermore, staff are required to perform dual roles having to balance administrative duties with practical care. All junior full-time staff reported this as a source of pressure and tension. Finally, due to the inflexibility of the team, lack of teamwork emerged as a source of discontent. However, participants were sure to communicate that only a very small proportion of their colleagues displayed such a lack of team spirit:

“Not pulling their weight in that way not helping out when needed, going off shift doing stuff in the office when they should really be on shift” (Participant Seven).

Coping Strategies Employed by Direct-Care Staff

With regard to coping strategies, the majority of staff reported relying on emotion based coping rather than practical coping (Lazarus, 1999). Direct-Care staff focused on managing emotional distress or relieving tension built up over the course of a shift, rather than actively striving to change the situation. Emotion based coping strategies included healthy outlets with many interviewees naming some form of physical activity as well as unhealthy outlets (such as alcohol, cigarettes and nagging their partner). Furthermore, maintaining a positive approach and attitude in mentally and physically challenging situations is evident within the transcripts as an utilised coping strategy:

“More of a positive approach because you get so wound up and negative about everything and just need to step away and think right now I need to go back in and be a bit more positive about everything” (Participant Seven)

“If you do feel stressed you can just let it all out on the gym” (Participant Nine)

Two of the three participants who employed practical coping used organisational skills in order to better manage the demands placed upon them, for example creating lists to ensure no tasks went forgotten.

Colleague Support

With regard to questions concerning colleague support, analysis revealed three main levels: structured supervision, managerial support, and teamwork. All participants stated that they felt comfortable confiding in their colleagues, finding them helpful and understanding. Some participants saw the ability to converse openly with their colleagues with regard to work related issues as a duty of care, to both service users and other members of the team:

“I am supervising people I need to be able to express things and issues that have been brought up to me. I need to resolve it somehow so I need to be able to talk opening to the issues that are not always comfortable for anyone.” (Participant Eight)

It is clear from the transcripts that participants feel well supported by their on-shift colleagues, but participants are selective when choosing which person to confide in. Factors such as trust, mutual respect and proximity are key. Several interviewees stated they are more likely to confide in staff members with whom they are on shift with more frequently:

“I think because of shifts patterns I’ve built up more stronger relationship with people I work with more frequently” (Participant One)

Despite good working relationships the data suggests that work relationships rarely translate into friendship outside of the work environment. Reasons given for this include: conflicting work schedules, lack of common interests and participants choosing to keep their work and home lives distinct from one another:

“I’ve always been a believer that if something goes wrong in work and them I’m friends with that person outside of work obviously it is going to affect my friendships and I take friendships really really seriously.” (Participant Four)

With regard to managerial support opinion between participants was split. Some Direct-Care staff expressed that they were satisfied with the present level of support they received from their superiors, stating that they felt they could rely on them and ask for help without fear of being viewed as a burden. It was also reported that managerial support was available to resolve within team disputes. However, several interviewees were dissatisfied, feeling instead that there was a lack of pre-emptive support and viewing management as demanding rather than supportive:

“Sometimes upwards it’s more pressure than support because there is a demand to meet a deadline” (Participant Six)

Finally, the general consensus with regard to formal supervision was that it was of a good quality but too infrequent:

“I’m supposed to be supervised monthly but I think my last supervision was probably about December or January so you go figure. Not as often as it should be clearly.” (Participant Four)

Job Satisfaction and Motivation

All participants reported being satisfied with their job to some degree. The area of interaction with service users emerged form the transcripts as a key source of job satisfaction:

“Well young people who display the most difficult, complex behaviours and I feel quite proud of they way I’ve sort of managed to gain some sort of understanding and learned how to work with them in a positive way to aid their continued development and that’s given me enormous pleasure and pride.” (Participant Two)

Other sources of job satisfaction included positive colleague relations, variation of job role and advancement opportunities.

“It is a good team to work with and they are very friendly and you do have a laugh here its not so strict its very laid back and friendly its like a family atmosphere at the moment.” (Participant Ten)

Areas where Direct-Care staff experienced dissatisfaction included: anti-social hours, lack of advancement opportunities and inability to meet demands. By far, the largest source of dissatisfaction for participants was unsatisfactory pay, with all but one seeing it as playing a key role if they were to leave their current job:

“I think a factor would probably be money but also like to move on a bit more.” (Participant Six)

“If I was to leave or I found a job that I wanted to go to it would probably be for more money.” (Participant Four)

Impact of Budget Cuts

With regard to recent budget cuts, participants conversed at length about the impact the cuts had had on the quality and level of service they were able to provide service users. With the Registered Manager stating:

“It hasn’t affected the quality of care I don’t think, but it’s been what we can provide to families has been slightly lessoned but what I’ve had to do as manager is look at it more creatively in how we can provide services.” (Participant Six)

Discourse regarding budget cuts is divided in regards to the level of impact but can be divided into two categories: firstly, the negative impact that the cuts have had on service users and their families, due to increased closure days, cancellation of out-reach programmes and reduced staffing levels:

“The budget cuts have affected us a lot because we now having to close forty-three days a year, which is forty-three days we can no longer give care to the children, which has a knock-on effect with the families” (Participant Ten)

Secondly, the negative impact that the cuts have on staff, due to increased closure days, reduction in use of agency and bank staff, and loss of overtime. Participants report that such measures have led to job and financial insecurity, as well as increased pressure and demands placed onto remaining staff members:

“I’ve noticed bank workers aren’t being used as much and I think there is a slight knock-on effect that the core workers are sort of slightly working with more children than what we used to” (Participant Three)


The present study aims to:

Investigate working conditions and job demands of individuals currently employed in Direct-Care roles.
Investigate how physically demanding a Direct-Care role is and sources of stress for care workers.
Identify self-reported sources of support and coping strategies for Direct-Care staff.
Explore the levels of job satisfaction and motivation.

The results presented here indicate that Direct-Care Staff experience pressurised working conditions and have excessive job demands placed upon them. Job demands predominantly refer to the psychological demands placed on staff working in Direct Care. These include mental workload, organizational constraints on task completion and conflicting demands (Pelfrenet, 2001). One issue that emerges from the transcripts is that participants have varied and conflicting responsibilities and duties (including the compilation of care plans, personal care tasks and administering medication). Furthermore, these duties and responsibilities are subject to change due to the reorganisation of service users care packages (Emerson & Hatton, 1994). Participants struggle to prioritise time for both direct and indirect-care duties, complaining that the daily routine is too intensive and fast-paced. The quantity of domestic chores and administrative duties decreases the time available for staff to positively interact with their service users.

It is clear from the present findings that recent budget cuts have served to further increase demands and pressure placed on Direct-Care staff. More specifically, staff reported a reduction of staff-client ratios as a major source of added strain. What is more, previous research suggests that low staff-client ratios are reliably associated with high staff turnover (Braddock & Mitchell, 1992; Larson & Lakin, 1992).

Results show that Direct-Care Staff experience a stressful work environment as a result of striving to meet all the physical and mental demands placed upon them by service users and management alike. Stress refers to the perception of an imbalance between the demands made of an individual and the resources available to that individual to meet them. If such an imbalance is persistent over time, it may result in the individual suffering psychological and/or physical ill health (Bonn, & Bonn, 2000). Scores obtained from the GHQ 12 revealed that in the present sample of Direct-Care Staff, working in respite centres for individuals with developmental disabilities, there is a great variability with regard to self-reported levels of psychological well being. The majority of staff did not produce scores of psychological distress that are indicative of mental health problems. These results somewhat jar with previous research that suggests up to a third of Direct-Care Staff experience stress levels indicative of mental health problems (Hatton el al, 1999; 2004). However, the GHQ 12 measure only assesses respondent’s current state of psychological well-being, asking if that differs from their usual state. It is therefore only sensitive to short-term psychiatric disorders, not long-standing attributes of the participant. It is however possible that participants may be suffering from persistent low levels of psychological well-being, but were not identified as such by the GHQ 12. Prolonged psychological distress is evident within the interview data, with one of the interviewees reporting that she has been diagnosed with depression as a result of work related stress, requiring her to take six months leave from work.

The sources of stress reported by participants in this study fall into three main categories: working conditions, the nature of the job, and lack of teamwork. These categories reflect those established in previous qualitative research, considering staff moral in day care centres for adults with intellectual disabilities (Mascha, 2006). More specifically, staff reported the long and anti-social working hours were a major source of stress in the job. Although, descriptive statistics produced from survey data demonstrated an average working week for permanent full-time staff of 37 hours, interview data suggests that a single working week experienced by Direct-Care Staff can be lengthy, with participants reporting working over and above 50-hour weeks. These findings are expected given that previous research has linked social hindrance with psychological distress, somatic complaints and emotional exhaustion (Akerboom & Maes, 2006). Challenging behaviour and inability to make a difference were also identified from the transcripts as important stressors, with participants reporting injuries sustained through work related violence and difficulty with moving and handling tasks. The experience of stress when faced with challenging behaviour and moving and handling of service users was linked to Direct-Care staff feeling they lacked sufficient knowledge and skill. This finding is supported by published research (Akerboom and Maes 2006).

The literature suggests that in order to meet demands, staff will employ a range of physical, psychological, social and organisational resources. Drawing on these resources enables workers to get the job done by reducing demands and stimulating development (Dermouti et al., 2001; Lazarus, 1999). In terms of organisational resources the majority of participants either did not have access to or were un-aware of the existence of an occupational health service. Coping has previously been defined as the: “cognitive and behavioural efforts a person makes to manage demands that tax or exceed his or her personal resources” (Lazarus, 1995, p.6). Participants generally relied on emotion-based coping, where efforts are made to manage the emotional distress, rather than attempting to change the situation (practical-based coping) (Lazarus, 1999).

One issue that emerges throughout the course of the interviews is the importance of colleagues as a source of support, with participants highlighting lack of teamwork as a source of stress. Participants reported feeling as though they could rely on and trust their colleagues to support them in challenging situations. The majority of participants were comfortable confiding in their team members with regard to work related issues, communication of issues was viewed as a duty of care to both other team members and to young people accessing the respite service by some participants. These findings contradict previous research conducted by Harris and Thomson (1993). In a study investigating issues of social support in both residential and respite settings, they found high levels of stress and low levels of staff support, particularly in respite settings. However, the data from the present study and previous research does serve to highlight the importance of communication and teamwork in care settings, where Direct-Care staff usually work in small teams. Studies have indicated this factor as being essential for the development of better quality of work within the services (Collins & Bruce, 1984; Rose, 1993; Schulz et al., 1995).

Support provided by management was related as an important source of support, enabling less senior staff members to develop their skills and grow in confidence. Formal supervision was also indicated as an important source of staff support, while problems with supervisors created discontent among several of the participants. The vast majority of participants were happy with the quality of supervision they received and felt confident that their concerns would be dealt with quickly and efficiently by their supervisors. Management was however also flagged as a source of pressure and participants complained about a lack of pre-emptive support.

Previous studies have identified formal supervision as a means to develop trust and competence through reflection on performance (Severinsson, 2001; Gustafsson, 2004). Although policies and procedures are in place enforcing mandatory monthly formal supervision, these are often not adhered to. The infrequency of supervision is a prominent source of discontent amongst the Direct-Care staff. Reasons given for the infrequent supervisions were conflicting shift patterns and excess demands. In spite of this, participants did divulge that they were able to access their supervisors for informal conversations as and when required, but did not feel this was substitute enough for structured supervision.

Finally, results revealed that the present sample experienced relatively high levels of job satisfaction and intrinsic job motivation. More specifically, contact with co-workers, variation of job role, career development opportunities and contact time with service users were four areas that produced the most satisfaction. Findings support previous quantitative research, which suggests communication as well as training opportunities show significant association with job satisfaction. Furthermore, salary, anti-social shift patterns, lack of development opportunities and inability to make a difference were the most frequently mentioned sources of dissatisfaction. The relatively stable workforce is most likely a reflection of the positive levels of job satisfaction and informal culture (Schien, 1990) reported by participants. Unlike multiple studies indicating that Direct-Care work is associated with high turnover rates (Hatton & Emerson, 1995), participants surveyed had remained in their current job role for over four years (Mean = 4.1).


The studied relied on self-report data from four participating care homes recruited from a large range within the local area, facilities were selected based on proximity to the researcher. Participants that were interviewed were all sourced from one facility due to funding and time constraints. A respite care unit for children and young people employed all interviewees. This type of facility was selected as it has received the least amount of attention within the available literature. The participants interviewed were all volunteers who were perhaps more likely to converse at length than those who had a more positive view of their experiences working in Direct Care. Therefore, researchers make no claims that these findings can be generalised more widely. Further research requires a larger sample in order to establish cross-validation and allow the results to be generalizable to the care population as a whole.

Greater emphasis was placed on data collected from study 2 due a lack of qualitative data available in published literature as well as the labour intensive transcription and analysis involved. However, like any self-report method, the interview approach relies upon respondent’s retrospective abilities and willingness to provide accurate and complete answers to the questions posed. Steps were taken to reduce researcher effects; they can never be eliminated completely.

Furthermore, all interviewees were female. Two male staff were employed on the bank team of the respite facility at during the period of time in which the interviews took however. However due to the casual nature of their employment and the restrictive time frame for data collection neither were available to partake in Study 2 and therefore any gender differences cannot be accounted for. An all female sample may have obscured the findings, as according to Karasek et al. (1998, p. 346); the enduring gender differences evident in studies employing the JDCS model reflect ‘a deficit of good psychosocial conditions for women’. The high levels of worksite social support indicated in the transcripts of the current Direct-Care staff sample may not be enduring across genders.

Finally, although this study did take into consideration members of Direct-Care staff employed on a part-time or casual basis, a group overlooked by research, it did not recruit participants based on this attribute. Therefore true statistical comparison between employment statuses is limited, despite differences being observed. Future research should statistically consider the interaction between employment status and levels of psychological distress in Direct-Care staff, by recruiting participant based on this attribute.


The present study underscores the need for the further investigation of experiences of Direct-Care staff working in residential and respite facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Direct-Care staff working within these services experience exposure to multiple stressors on a daily basis within the working environment, such as lack of teamwork, challenging behaviour, under-staffing, excessive workload and infrequent supervision. Although self-reported job satisfaction is relatively high, the vast majority of staff would consider leaving their position, highlighting the existence of work-related issues.

It is clear that Direct-Care Staff have a difficult task to meet all of the demands and expectations placed upon them. Direct-Care staff are constantly challenged to provide the highest quality service within the constraints of the funding they receive. A task made even harder by further recent budget cuts.


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Kagan, C. (1985). Interpersonal skills in nursing: research and applications. London: Croom Helm.

Agervold, M., & Andersen, L. P. (2006). Incidence and impact of violence against staff on their perceptions of the psychosocial work environment. Nordic Psychology, 58(3), 232-247. doi:10.1027/1901-2276.58.3.232

Akerboom, S., & Maes, S. (2006). Beyond demand and control: The contribution of organizational risk factors in assessing the psychological well-being of health care employees. Work & Stress, 20(1), 21-36. doi:10.1080/02678370600690915

Arnetz, J. E., & Arnetz, B. B. (2001). Violence towards health care staff and possible effects on the quality of patient care. Social Science & Medicine, 52(3), 417-427. doi:DOI: 10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00146-5

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Devereux, J. M., Hastings, R. P., Noone, S. J., Firth, A., & Totsika, V. (2009). Social support and coping as mediators or moderators of the impact of work stressors on burnout in intellectual disability support staff. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30(2), 367-377. doi:DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2008.07.002

Gustafsson, C., & Fagerberg, I. (2004). Reflection, the way to professional developmentJournal of Clinical Nursing, 13(3), 271-280. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2702.2003.00880.x

Hatton, C., Rivers, M., Mason, H., Mason, L., Kiernan, C., Emerson, E., . . . Reeves, D. (1999). Staff stressors and staff outcomes in services for adults with intellectual disabilities: The staff stressor questionnaire. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 20(4), 269-285. doi:DOI: 10.1016/S0891-4222(99)00009-8

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Free Essays

Critically Examine The relationship Between Ethnicity and Health


The policy makers are concerned with addressing or correcting imbalances that impact directly on ethnic minorities’ well-being, such as socioeconomic, health, housing, education, lifestyle and discriminatory factors. Aggleton (1990, p.5 as cited in Baggott, 2004) posited that health can be defined in two ways; ‘‘the positive approach, where health is viewed as a capacity or an asset, and the negative approach, which emphasises the absence of specific illnesses, diseases and disorders’’. Similarly the World Health Organisation (1946 as cited in Baggott, 2004) defined health as ‘‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’’. This definition is significant in that it highlights physical as well as mental aspects of health while emphasising the ‘positive sense’ as in Aggleton’s definition of health. According to Giddens (2009, p.633) ‘‘ethnicity refers to the cultural practices and outlooks of a given community of people which sets them apart from others’’. Ethnic groups have different traits that set them apart from other groups, such as religion, dress style, language, and history. However, ethnic differences are learned to an extent there have been associations made with health for most of these minority groups. While there is nothing innate about ethnicity, it is central to group and individual identity and similarly important to the health professions who suggest there is a relationship between health and ethnicity. Giddens (2009) argues that this relationship is partial at best but concedes that there is a rather high incidence of illnesses among individuals or groups of ethnic origins. This essay will critically examine and explain the relationship between ethnicity and health.

In Britain as the 21st century progresses, its population composition of ethnic minorities is rapidly changing, despite Queen Elizabeth the 1st’s proclamation in 1601 that ‘negroes and blackamoors’ should be deported. She believed they were responsible in part for the social and economic dilemmas, such as famine and poverty (Haralambos & Holborn, 2000, p.199). In contemporary Britain this contentious issue has continued amongst a mass population about what they believe to be ‘Britishness’ when it comes to ethnic minorities. According to Stillwell & Van Ham, (2010) some see it as a disaster, which will lead to spatial segregation, communities breaking down and a burden to the health delivery system. Perhaps this could be explain why extreme right-wing parties such as the British National Party, which contests immigration and blames all social predicaments on ethnic minorities continues to attract support. While others will argue that this will be good in terms of diversity and see it as an opportunity for an integrated society (Stillwell & Van Ham, 2010).

There are various ways in which health and ethnicity are related. For example there are differences in population structures, education, genetics, generational and socioeconomic factors between different ethnic groups that impact differently on their health (Bardsley, Hamm, Lowdell, Morgan & Storkey, 2000). Prevalence of health related behaviours such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease to mention a few can be distinctively different for different ethnic groups, which indicates an association between ethnicity and health. However, Karlsen, (2004) posits that indicators or factors employed to investigate the relationship between ethnicity and health are likely to fail accounting for the central facets of ethnic minorities’ experiences which could influence health, especially the impact of socio-economic disadvantage, housing, poor health services, harassment and discrimination. As already mentioned above factors such as discrimination, socioeconomic, housing, education and the accessibility of health services have a direct impact and possible relationship between health and ethnicity.

In the UK alone, research indicates that at least one in eight from the ethnic minority group experiences some form of racial harassment each year. While two fifths believe that half of the British employers would decline to offer someone a job on the basis of their ethnicity. Ethnic minorities have been shown to experience repeated health and socioeconomic disadvantages than the majority ethnic group. This has a direct impact on the mental health of ethnic minority individuals who experiences such. In a study using data from the Health survey for England, (1999) plus a follow up study, the Ethnic Minority Psychiatric Illness Rates in the Community (EMPIRIC) to explore relationships between interpersonal racism experienced, discrimination as perceived in wider society, occupational class and various indicators of physical and mental health for the diverse ethnic groups in England including minority and majority white groups. The results indicated that there were significant independent relationships found between each of the factors explored and health. Hence, from these results current assessments were urged to take into account the different forms of structural disadvantages experienced by ethnic minorities and the diverse ways in which racial expressions can impact on health (Kalsen, 2004).

However, there are a number of important but varied factors bearing on the health of ethnic groups and the overall population, which Stubbs (1993) argued that to understand these health patterns of ethnic groups there has to be a comparison with the host group (majority ethnic group). For instance, demographic, housing, lifestyle, socioeconomic and health service factors have a direct impact on the health of individuals (Baggott, 2004). Bannister (1901 as cited in Haralambos & Holborn, 2000) argued that an individual’s ethnic background contributes to whether or not they are at a decreased or increased risk of developing a certain disease (s). For instance, he was very critical of Jews and their lifestyle describing them as ‘‘Yiddish money pigs’’ who did not like taking baths hence, were prone to blood and skin diseases. Conversely, it is opined that Bannister in this instance was expressing his hostile feelings towards this particular ethnic minority group instead of advancing an evidence based argument for the association(s) of certain diseases and ethnicity. African-Caribbean and South Asians are more prone to developing diabetes than white Europeans. However, African-Caribbeans are far less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than white Europeans which is more prevalent within the South Asians (Harding & Maxwell, 1997; Nazroo, 1998).

Suffice to say access to high quality health services is vital in sustaining a state of total physical, mental and social well being. According to Bunker, Frazier, and Mosteller (1994 as cited in Baggott, 2004), preventative measures such as screening, immunisation and medicine add at least 18-19 months to an individual’s life expectancy. A similar effect is also found when curative medicines are taken increasing the life expectancy by between 44-45 months. Generally this has not really happened with the ethnic groups as there are factors like discrimination and language barriers that impinge on the accessibility of health care. The social context in which ethnic minorities live and experience presents various challenges and disadvantages that will directly impact on their health negatively (Giddens, 2009). Pickett and Wilkinson (2008), argued that one’s health could be determined by the neighbourhood in which one lives, for example if a minority low status individual lives in a higher quotient vicinity of their own racial or ethnic group then their health is likely to be better than those that live in lower quotient vicinities, this is referred to as the ‘group density effect’. Conversely, Smaje (1995) posits that concentration of ethnic minorities into poor vicinities has an independent and direct bearing on their health.

Social structures for ethnic patterning in health show that African-Caribbean and Asians are more disadvantaged (Baggott, 2004). Harding and Maxwell’s (1997) study of the health of ethnics suggested that Indian, Pakistani and Bangladesh have a particularly high rate of diabetes and ischemic heart disease in comparison to other ethnic groups. This could be attributed to poor or overcrowded housing facilities amongst other factors already mentioned briefly above. Nazroo, (1998) from the findings of his study on the health of ethnic minorities agrees that Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic minorities experience high morbidity in comparison to other ethnic minority groups. He also found out that African Caribbean men had a lower mortality rate due to coronary heart disease, but were more prone to dying of a stroke compared to their counterparts including the majority ethnic group population. African-Caribbean and Asians ethnic groups do tend to record higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and are three times more liable to having renal replacement therapy compared to the ethnic majority population (Raleigh, 1997). The health of ethnic minorities as mentioned above can be negatively affected by socioeconomic factors such as, employment and employment conditions. The majority of ethnic minority groups work in hazardous occupations, receive poor remuneration with diminished prospects for career progression. Their employment relationships are akin to the bourgeoisie and proletariat relationship.

Bartley, Lynch, Sacker and Dodgeon (1998) suggest that the above findings of poor employment conditions and remuneration highlight the relationship between work conditions and high morbidity and mortality in ethnic minorities. Conversely, unemployment has an association poor health in that it cultivates financial hardship, stress, poor diet and living conditions. Factors such as socioeconomic disadvantages, poor housing, discrimination and poor health services create a knock on effect in one’s life cycle, ultimately exposing individuals to a host of disease and illnesses through a lack of equal opportunities. This leads to, anxiety, hypertension, depression and social isolation loss of one’s self esteem and purpose in life, which may result in the development of physical and mental health problems (Bartley, 1994 as cited in Naidoo & Willis, 2000).

However, Hull (1979) suggested that there is a correlation between migration and health. He attributed this to factors such as nature of symptoms and language barrier hindering ethnic minorities from accessing the right treatments because of the existing contextual cultural differences. Furnham and Bochner (1986) argue that if the host group does not offer any social support, and discrimination is displayed within vital institutions such as work environment, health, judiciary, and welfare. It creates more social stress resulting in mental illnesses for the migrating ethnic minorities. In addition Smaje (1995) links discrimination stressors to the psychological well-being as he suggests that racism has a bearing on differences in health between minority ethnic groups and the majority ethnic population.

According to Pilgrim and Rogers (1999) black ethnic minority groups have a relatively short life expectancy and often have the worst health amongst ethnic minorities. In addition to that they posit that black ethnic minorities who experience mental health issues are likely to be discriminated against, often being depicted as an added threat or risk compared to the majority ethnic group. The Ethnicity and Health Report (2007) suggested that ethnic minorities have a higher probability rate of being confined in psychiatry through the criminal justice system unlike through diagnosis from the health system compared to the host group, especially Afro-Caribbean and Black Africans. Giddens (2009) supports the above statement by positing that indeed ethnic minorities mostly afro-Caribbean and black Africans are more likely to be stopped by law enforcers than their white counterparts. This form of institutionalised racism by law enforcement agents and the whole criminal justice system has significant negative effects on minority groups’ psychological well being. Smith, Kelly and Nazroo, (2008) posited that racial discrimination, socioeconomic factors and policies that do not allow for equal opportunities and generally improve their existence within a host group could lead to a lasting effect on their mental and emotional health. In addition, injustice within the vital systems that provide help, health, work, and education further corrode ethnic minorities’ dilemma in terms of their physical and mental health (Smaje 1995).

Evidence provided from the Ethnicity and Health Report, (2007) indicating the disparities in mental health between ethnic minorities and the host group is to some extent contentious, given that a cosmic amount of data employed is based on treatment rates. Consequently, this research indicated that ethnic minorities, particularly Afro-Caribbean people have higher rates of psychosis which is seven times more compared to the host group. Kalsen, Nazroo, Mckenzie, Bhui & Weich (2005) from their research in the UK, on racism and mental health in ethnic minorities found that there was a significant relationship between racial discrimination and psychological well being. Indication from the results suggested there was a recurrence rate of psychosis annually of six per thousand for Bangladeshi people, ten per thousand for Indians, thirteen per thousand for Pakistani people, while they was sixteen per thousand for Afro-Caribbean people (Nazroo & King, 2002 as cited in Kalsen et al., 2005). Nazroo (1998) from his studies posits that ethnic minorities’ mental health is worse than that of the host group. His findings were based on comparisons of the rates of reported suicide and para-suicide cases. Furthermore, Afro-Caribbeans are much more likely to be diagnosed as schizophrenics than their white counterparts (Smarje, 1995).

Evidence reviewed in this essay has shown that there is a relationship between ethnicity and health (Kalsen, 2004). However, some of the evidence is contentious in that treatment rates were used to make a general assumption on ethnic minorities’ health (Ethnicity and Health Report, 2007). Evidence also suggests that indicators such as low-economic statuses, migration, and discrimination, poor access to health services, local area deprivation and high unemployment have a direct bearing on ethnic minorities and their health. It could be argued that the determinants of health vary between ethnic groups as a result of differences in genetic and socioeconomic factors which cannot be generalised across all ethnic groups. The evidence reviewed demonstrates differences in health across ethnic groups. These findings are important indicators of the need for investment programmes that are specifically targeted at improving the quality and quantity of health and other related services for ethnic minority groups. Future policies need to move away from a capitalist approach were ethnic minorities are exploited for their services with little reward and improvement of their social being. There should be a balance of socio-economic factors in-order to stimulate change and shape policies that improve accessing of quality health and related services such as education. They are fundamental to the health of both ethnic minorities and ethnic majority in modern day Britain.


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Bardsley, M., Hamm, J., Lowdell, C., Morgan, D., & Storkey, M., ( 2000). Developing health assessment for black and minority ethnic groups; Analysing routine health information. Retrieved March 21 2011from

Bartley, M., Lynch, K., Sacker, A., & Dodgeon, B. (1998). Social variations in health: relationship of mortality to the ONS socio-economic class (SEC) schema. In SEC Validation Workshop, University of Essex.

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Kalsen, S., (2004). The influence of racism on ethnic inequalities in health: A missing linkUniversity College London. Retrieved March 21 2011 from

Karlsen, S., Nazroo, J. Y., Mckenzie, K., Bhui, K., & Weich, S. (2005) Racism, psychosis and common mental disorder among ethnic minority groups in England. Psychological medicine, 35, 1795-1803. Cambridge University Press.

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Smith, N. R., Kelly, Y. J., & Nazroo, J. Y., (2008). ‘‘Intergrational continuities of ethnic inequalities in general health in England.’’ Journal of Epidemiology and community Health 63, 253-258.

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Free Essays

In contemporary society, it is generally acknowledged that there is a compact relationship between the process of accounting and successive stages of capitalism.

1. Introduction
In contemporary society, it is generally acknowledged that there is a compact relationship between the process of accounting and successive stages of capitalism. Then, according to Sombart (1916), the notion of double entry bookkeeping has influence on the emergence of capitalism. Consequently, this viewpoint can arouse a great controversy. Some researchers agree Sombart’s argument and launch a deeper study between the accounting and capitalism. In addition, Chiapello (2007) also states that there is the association between the conception of capitalism and the angle of economy and society which is impact on accounting.

Moreover, it is argued that the capitalism revolution has deeply impact on the history of accounting. So, there is an interconnected relationship between the process of accounting and successive stages of capitalism.

This essay will elaborate the issue about the role of accounting plays in successive stages of capitalism. In the first section, it will give the conception of capitalism and state two stages of capitalism. Second part gives the conception and development of accounting. Then, the relationship between them is given in the next section. Finally, it can be conclude that the history of accounting has influence on capitalism through the case of canals and railways in UK.

2. A review of Capitalism

2.1 The conception of Capitalism

Initially, as Deschepper (1964) states, capitalism was first proposed by Louis Blanc in the second half of nineteenth century and it is required to separate from the capital. Afterwards, Chiapello (2007) argues that the word capitalism can be turned into the antonyms of socialism during the twentieth century. Then, Sombart (1930) gives a clear definition on the basis of social scholars: ‘Capitalism designates an economic system significantly characterized by the predominance of “capital” ’ (Sombart, 1930, p.4).

Secondly, according to Weber (1991), capitalism is defined that ‘the most universal condition for the existence of modern capitalism is, for all large lucrative businesses supplying our daily needs, the use of a rational capital account as standard’(Weber, 1991,p. 297).

From the angles above, it can be concluded that most scholars cannot clearly propose the word capitalism even though capitalism has its definition according to their own thoughts. For example, Marx just used the expression of ‘capital system’ or ‘capital production’ rather than the word capitalism.

2.2 Capitalism and two stages

It is witnessed that there is an energetic view about the capitalist revolution with the development of business history. Consequently, according to Wilson (1995), it is widely accepted that capitalism can be divided into two stages on the basis of different categories of management: the traditional form of capitalism and the managerial capitalism.

To begin with, Wilson (1995) claims that it is clear that early capitalism is described that an individual can play various roles in operating the company from the perspective of personal management. So, it is the traditional form of capitalism. For instance, according to Mantoux (1928), the manager tends to have various powers to operate the company and the powers contain the rights for businessman or salesman. From the perspective above, it is obvious that most the corporate affairs can usually be dominated by an individual or small management teams until management functions can be separated.

Moreover, as Wilson (1995) states, the managerial capitalism is viewed as the second stage, but there are two periods in the managerial capitalism: the entrepreneurial form of organization and the managerial form of organization.

Firstly, it is apparent that a company transforms from individual forms to form of enterprise because personal management form has itself internal and external limits and it seems that the development of organization can be restricted. So it is the entrepreneurial form. In this stage, the owner-manager tend to need to hire professionals and use external funding and it seems that ownership and control start to emerge a separation in order to improve management functions.

Finally, the managerial stage is regarded as the second period as Wilson (1995) asserts. It is well known that there is a complete separation between ownership and control. That is to say, professional manager should commit strategic, functional and operational management while investors can control most of stock equity which operates the company.

3. A review of Accounting

3.1 The conception of Accounting

Initially, according to Young (2006), American Institute of Accountants’ Committee can provide an official definition: ‘Accounting is the art of recording, classifying and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of a financial character, and interpreting the results thereof ’ (cited in Grady, 1965, p. 2).

Secondly, as Bryer (2006) claims, accounting is defined that there is a kind of process which offer useful accounting information for investors and senior managers. Obviously, accounting is regarded as a kind of looking for the common economic purpose of the reasonable and dominant method (Bryer, 2006). Afterwards, it is obvious that all the accounting information can be made reasonable economic decisions for the future development of the organization as Bryer (2006) demonstrates.

Thirdly, McLaney and Atrill (2007) provide another conception of accounting: it is evident that it can collect many useful available financial data, use a certain method to analyse these information and report to managers in the form of financial statement. Then, managers can make full use of these data to make the right economic decisions for the progress of the company.

Therefore, from these angles, it tends to conclude that there are the common features in terms of the definition of accounting. In other words, it is well known that accounting is the process of collecting and analyzing the financial data for managers and managers can make use of these information to make economic decisions for the company.

3.2 The development of Accounting

Along with the progress of business, it is widely believed that accounting has been constantly developing. Therefore, as Edwards (1989) states, there are four stages in terms of the progress of accounting: the pre-capitalist period, the commercial capitalism, the industrial capitalism and the financial capitalism.

Firstly, according to Edwards (1989), the first stage is pre-capitalist period, which dates from Mesopotamian civilisation until the Greek civilisation (4000 BC -1000 AD). Then, the first form of accounting is a simple record keeping and it origins from the Mesopotamian trade. For instance, Edwards (1989) illustrates that the original method is that the knotted cord keeps records, but this record evolves into keeping the minute on the ceramics or paper with the development of society. Hence, it means that there appears an initial form of calculating profits in terms of recording the goods and cash in this stage.

Secondly, Edwards (1989) claims that commercial capitalism is regarded as the second stage. This stage begins from 1000 to 1750. It is defined that merchants use money to purchase raw materials rather than number of production equipment and finish the goods, and make a big profit to obtain more shares after selling the products in this period. Then, it is described as “circulating capital”. So, it is also called the original commercial form. Moreover, it is worth to point out that there appears a new way of record keeping which is called double entry booking from about 1300 and then this method becomes more and more prevalent after 1494.

Thirdly, as Edwards (1989) states, the third stage is known as industrial capitalism. This stage normally dates from 1760 to 1830 in Britain even though industrial revolution had different periods in various countries. Afterwards, it is commonly accepted that the progress of mass machinery and factory marked the birth of industrial capitalism due to the emergence of new energy in the mid-nineteenth century. In addition, it is obvious that rich labour resources also promote the capitalist industrialization because of low infant mortality and the enclosure movement and then textile industry with ceramic and transportation appear constantly. Hence, it can be seen that manufacturing is the main proceeds in this stage. On the other hand, it is of importance that single entry and double entry can be chosen at that time from the perspective of industrialists, however, double entry replaced eventually single record keeping due to the improvement of resource allocation even though single entry maintains the leading position in Britain until nineteenth century.

Finally, financial capitalism is viewed as the fourth stage according to Edwards (1989) and this period starts from 1830 until today. It is notable that public services, like railway building, tend to become the preliminary stress on capital rather than fixed capital in terms of financing at this stage. Furthermore, it seems that public services can be required abundant of money rather than carrying on activities on small scale. Obviously, accounting problems such as the division of capital costs and tax costs, calculating profits, the evaluation of fixed assets tend to be constantly emerged. At that time, there are same accounting problems between mechanical inventions and technological inventions because of financing. In the end, government has transformed the attitude about the rule of business activities and it means that financial data are required while managers tend to choose suitable methods in terms of financial reporting procedures.

4. The relationship between Capitalism and Accounting

According to Wilson (1995), it is witnessed that there is an energetic view about the capitalist revolution with the development of business history.

Furthermore, as Chiapello (2007) states, it is evident that to a large extent the emergence of accounting can lead to the notion of capitalism. Then, Chiapello (2007) also asserts that there is the association between the conception of capitalism and the angle of economy and society which is impact on accounting. At the same time, Sombart (1916) claims that as the record keeping method of accounting, the notion of double entry bookkeeping has influence on the emergence of capitalism.

In addition, Bryer (2000) suggests that there is the theory of Marx which emphasis on the history of accounting and the transformation of capitalism. So, it means that the history of accounting is closely associated with the transformation of capitalism.

Finally, according to Arnold and McCartney (2008), it is argued that series of developing capitalism has impact on the external form of accounting about financial statement during the industrial revolution in Britain.

Therefore, from these perspectives, it can be concluded that there is the common characteristics between the accounting and the capitalism. That is to say, firstly, it seems that along with the development of the business history, accounting can constantly emerge in the capitalist revolution and it also facilitates the notion of capitalism. Secondly, it is evident that the double entry bookkeeping also comes out with the progress of accounting and it is deeply connected with the appearance of capitalism.

Due to the development of capitalist revolution, there appears a new method of bookkeeping under the changing circumstance. Consequently, according to Edwards (1989), it is obvious that small businesses tend to use single entry to keep the trading activities in the eleventh century and this record keeping can make small businesses operating well. However, due to the increasing business activities and the growth of amount of trading, it seems that single entry may restrict the size of business. It is thus well known that double entry bookkeeping tend to come out from about fourteenth century and it would become increasingly popular in 1494. Then, double entry is widely used in UK in the seventeenth century because of the increase in the number of transaction.

To start with, as Sombart (1992) states, double entry bookkeeping is defined that there are two accounts in every entry. That is to say, one is the debit account and another is the credit account. It is also the basic rule of double entry. As is seen that double entry bookkeeping would closely together with the accounts of enterprise.

In addition, Sombart (1992) asserts that the capital account and the income account start to appear and it is the core of double entry bookkeeping. At the same time, DEB is given an objective: ‘keeping track of every movement throughout the company’s capital cycle, quantifying it and recording it in writing’ (Sombart, 1992, p.21). Chiapello (2007) claims that close annual account put forward for the first time from the textbook of Simon Stevin and the balance sheet was proposed according to double entry bookkeeping.

However, Yamey (1964) also gives another definition of double entry bookkeeping: initially, there is the sole standard about the balance of debit and credit accounts in terms of the balance system of bookkeeping. Secondly, this system adds the use of capital accounts and nominal accounts, but regular calculation of net income has not been enrolled.

As a result, from these perspectives it can be concluded that there is the development of double entry bookkeeping in early capitalism stage and the conception of double entry bookkeeping. That is to say, firstly, it is defined by Sombart and Yamey that double entry bookkeeping can be divided into two accounts. Secondly, double entry bookkeeping tend to be come out because of expanding increasingly the size of businesses.

5. Accounting changes during the Industrial Revolution in Britain

As Arnold and McCartney (2008) claim, financial statement which is an external form of accounting has formed in the successive stages of capitalism and it is obvious that financial reports have sort of changes in terms of railway and canal industry during the initial period of industrial revolution.

5.1 Railway

According to Arnold and McCartney (2008), it seems that the establishment of railway enterprise such as Liverpool and Manchester railway mark the appearance of financial capitalism from 1830. As an illustration, Edwards (1989) states that the requirement of public utilities tend to turn into the primary pressure of capital instead of fixed capital during the Industrial Revolution. So, for the sake of large scale financing, two railway buildings, Liverpool and Manchester railway, was found in 1830. The London Stock Exchange can place importance on corporation securities during the second half of nineteenth century and it can represent the importance of railway in terms of the capital market. At that time, as the railways were the major industry during the second half of nineteenth century according to Arnold and McCartney (2008), the construction of railway was required to invest amount of capital rather than a small scale. So, plenty of financial data can need to be reported in the financial statement. Then, these data can contribute to design the project, calculating costs in the period of construction and finally these information were reported after the completion of the railway line (Edwards, 1989).

5.2 Canal industry

The canal industry plays a significant role in the UK economy during the start of nineteenth century and it also has impact on the industrial revolution. According to Edwards (1989), the canal industry may mark the real commence of financial capitalism because it make use of surpluses from the employment of capital in trade and capital from the investors.

As Bagwell and Lyth (2002) states, the establishment of the canals can be miracle during the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century and civil engineering with pound locks, aqueducts, cuttings and tunnels tend to be performed in the canal buildings. Then, Arnold and McCartney (2008) assert that the age of canals dated from 1755, for the sake of enhancing navigation of Sankey Brook which is a tributary of the Mersey, Liverpool Company acquired a navigable Act and the coals can be transported to Liverpool from the St Helens. So, it can also facilitate the progress of the Bridgewater canal from Manchester to Worsley. However, according to Bagwell and Lyth (2002), the cost of coal sharply decreased in Manchester when canal was built at the July of 1761. Subsequently, a better alternative of Manchester Runcorn Canal can be facilitated by the Bridgewater canal in 1767 and recently the carriage levies started to drop as well. Simultaneously, it is accepted that new canals have not only the function of transporting the cargo, but they can also be regarded as the transportation of passengers due to the introduction of the Manchester passenger boats in the late of eighteenth century (Arnold and McCartney, 2008). In addition, as Hadfield (1981) mentions, it is witnessed that from the angle of canals, there is a growth of inland navigation system between England and Wales from 1,482 miles to 3,969 miles during the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. Hence, it is defined as the stage of industrial revolution.

However, as Arnold and McCartney (2008) claim, the Bubble Act can be proposed by an Act of Parliament and there are some limitations from the angle of joint stock company since the failure of South Sea company. Afterwards, the first corporation, which is named The Company of Proprietors of the River Dun, was established in 1733 by this Act and this company has the total ? 17,250 capital. Therefore, it means that the canal companies can be viewed as “statutory companies, for trading purposes” for the first time and there are limited liabilities in some corporations(Harries, 2000, pp.98-9). From these perspectives above, it can be concluded that the canal companies tend to make a financial foundation for future industrial process as a means of selling stocks and bonds (Bagwell and Lyth, 2002).

Although some canal companies have some certain data such as construction costs and dividends, it is clear that the periodic accounts or financial statements are used to search for understanding the profitability (Arnold and McCartney, 2008). Additionally, the Rochdale and Lancaster directors insist to keep “proper books of Accounts” while the directors of the Kennet and Avon adhere to use the cost of construction about “a true and particular Account”. Then, it is also mentioned that the data set of three companies such as Birmingham, Kennet and Avon, and Oxford Canal companies can totally use the DEB to keep accounting records.

In brief, according to Arnold and McCartney (2008), it is obvious that there are two financial statements in the Rochdale Canal, which are Statement of the Receipts and Disbursements and Statement of the debits and credits. Then, Arnold and McCartney (2008) also state that the Kennet and Avon’s general account is the initial form of General Balance Sheet even if it cannot include relevant information.

6. Conclusion

Based on the arguments offered above, the development of accounting has far-reaching effects on the successive stages of capitalism especially in the period of British Industrial Revolution. Sombart (1916) claims that the notion of DEB has influence on the emergence of capitalism. In addition, Chiapello (2007) also states that there is the association between the conception of capitalism and the angle of economy and society which is impact on accounting. As a result, it is clear that along with the development of the business history, accounting can constantly emerge in the capitalist revolution and facilitate the notion of capitalism. Then, it is evident that the double entry bookkeeping also comes out with the progress of accounting and it is deeply connected with the appearance of capitalism.

Therefore, based on the case of canals and railways in Britain, it is evident that the process of financial reporting has far-reaching effects on the stages of industrial revolution. Meanwhile, the history of accounting may pose an essential impact on the stages of capitalism.


Arnold, A.J. and S. McCartney (2008) ‘The transition to capitalism and its implications for financial reporting: evidence from the English canal companies’ Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 21 (8): 1185-1209

Bagwell, P. and Lyth, P. (2002) Transport in Britain. London: Hambledon and London.

Bryer, R.A (2000) ‘The history of accounting and the transition to capitalism in England. Part one: theory’ Accounting, Organizations and Society 25:131-162

Bryer, R. (2006) ‘Accounting and control of the labour process’ Critical Perspectives on Accounting 17: 551-598

Chiapello, E. (2007) ‘Accounting and the birth of the notion of capitalism’ Critical Perspectives on Accounting 18: 263-296

Deschepper, E. (1964) L’histoire du mot capital et de ses derives. Facult?e de Philosophie et Lettres. Bruxelles, Universit?e Libre de Bruxelles, m?emoire de recherch?e. Bruxelles: Philologie Romane.

Edwards, J. R (1989) A history of financial accounting. London and New York: Routledge.

Had?eld, C. (1981) The Canal Age, 2nd ed. Newton Abbot: David & Charles.

Harris, R. (2000) Industrializing English Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mantoux, P. (1928) The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century. Jonathan Cape.

McLaney, E. and P. Atrill (2007) Accounting: an Introduction (4th edition). Prentice-Hall

Sombart, W. (1916) Der moderne Kapitalismus. M? unchen, Leipzig: Duncker and Humbolt.

Sombart, W. (1930) Capitalism. In: Seligman ER, Johnson A, editors. Encyclopedia of the social sciences. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Sombart, W. (1992) Cahiers d’histoire de la comptabilit?e, Editions Ordre des experts comptableset Editions comptables Malesherbes, vol. 2

Weber, M. (1991) Histoire ?economique. Esquisse d’une histoire universelle de l’?economie et de la soci?et?e. Paris: Gallimard

Wilson, J. F (1995) British business history, 1720-1994. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.

Yamey, BS. (1964) ‘Accounting and the rise of capitalism: further notes of a theme by Sombart’ Journal of Accounting Research 2(2):117–36

Young, J. J. (2006) ‘Make up users’ Accounting, Organizations and Society 31 (6): 579-600

Free Essays

Relationship between the research process and evidence based practice

The aim of this essay is to explore the relationship between the research process and evidence based practice. The author of this essay intends to explore and illustrate an understanding of the various types of evidence used within nursing practice. There are barriers to implementing research into practice, the author intends to give explanation to these barriers and detail strategies/organisations that assist to putting research into nurse’s everyday practice. Two journal articles will be critiqued within this essay; the aim of this is to indicate which evidence has been used, to assess the strengths and weaknesses in the research process and to evaluate its usefulness in practice.

Principles of Evidence Based Practice

Research can be described as a method of investigating a chosen area to illicit new information on the topic or to build on previous knowledge. In nursing research the aim of this research is to provide clients, their carers and their families with the best possible care in all aspects of their treatment to promote wellbeing (Burns and Grove 2001).

“The conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external evidence from systematic research.” (Sackett et al 1996;72)

Nurses are at the frontline of healthcare and have most one to one contact time with clients; therefore it is essential that the foundation of their practice be formed from reliable evidence (Parahoo 2006). Evidence based practice sets out to integrate the best possible evidence, nursing knowledge and patient views into practice. It is vital that nursing staff be knowledgeable of the latest findings in nursing research and are able to access and opt for the most suitable evidence to inform and implement into their practice. (Gerrish 2006) suggest that evidence based practice consists of research, patient experience and clinical expertise.

It is important to address which research findings nurses should consult to inform their clinical practice in order for them to deliver adequate care to their patients. There are many different types of evidence available to practitioners; Gray Muir (1997) as cited in Gerrish (2006) outlines a hierarchy of evidence and indicates which types are more superior. Placed at the top of the hierarchy are systematic reviews and multiple randomised controlled trials (RCTs). A systematic review is essentially a study done on prior research; this is then deemed as secondary research (Parahoo 2006). The aim of this type of review is to carry out an extensive and thorough search of material already available on this topic. The most fitting material in relation to the topic is chosen, this is then evaluated, the findings are then collaborated and summarised to answer the original question. This process should be performed in a clear manner so that it would be possible for others to carry out this research. In second place on the hierarchy is randomised controlled trials, third; non-randomised controlled trials, fourth; non-experimental studies and fifth; descriptive studies/expert committees. This hierarchy is more suited to quantitative research and is deemed inappropriate if outcomes are not measurable (Gerrish 2006).

There are many organisations that provide information on research and guidance to how it should be implemented into clinical practice. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) offer clinicians guidelines and criteria to follow with the aim of developing nursing care to the benefit of the clients health (NICE). The Cochrane Collaboration supply research material which is available to everyone. Their aim as an organisation is to provide health care workers, clients and their carers with information on the most current and reliable evidence used within health care settings.

There are several different barriers to implementing evidence into clinical practice; Gerrish (2006) suggests that these barriers can be set into four categories; the nature of the evidence, communication of the evidence, knowledge and skill of the nurse and organisational barriers. Barriers with regard to the nature of the evidence may include research questions unsuitable to clinical practice. In relation to communication of evidence the language used in the research may be deemed as inaccessible due to complex terminology. It has been identified that barriers concerning the nurses skill include troubles identifying or appraising evidence and also lack of confidence of the individual in using resources to access the research. Organisational barriers seem to indicate that lack of support from senior staff in providing information and time to implement changes are the main cause for concern.

Parahoo (2006) suggests that there are four main components in the research process. Identification and formulation of the research question is the first stage in the process, this is where the researcher determines what is being researched and a question is created. Previous literature researched in the chosen field may be consulted by the researcher to help define concepts. The final question must be clearly set out. The second stage of the process is the collection of data, in this part of the process several decisions will have to be made before data is collected. The design of the study, methods used within it and sometimes piloting need to be decided upon. The population that will be participating needs to be defined at this point consent may need to be sought from ethical committees. Once these arrangements are in place the data can be collected. The third stage in this process is the analysis of data, at this stage the researcher would analyse, translate and display their findings. It is important to note that before the data was collected the researcher would have decided on how the analysis would be conducted. After analysis the researcher would typically translate findings, examine the limitations and make suggestion as to how to implement into practice. Recommendations may be made for additional research needed. The final stage in research process is the dissemination of findings. An organisation that might be responsible for this area would be NICE, the barriers to the implementation of evidence are outlined above.

There are many ethical issues involved in the research process; the author of this essay intends to discuss some of these implications. Beneficence is an important ethical issue, it is essential that the study should be of the benefit of its participants and in the best interests of the overall public. Confidentiality is another ethical issue within the research process, any information gathered should be respected. Consultation to the participant’s wishes should be sought throughout the process and care must be taken by the researcher when publishing results so not to unintentionally expose the identity or information of its participants.


The author of this essay has explored the relationship between evidence and the clinical setting. Research, evidence based practice and the research process was considered. Barriers to implementing evidence based practice and the strategies/organisations used to avoid these barriers were discussed. Critiques of two research articles are included in this essay; these critiques aim to illustrate the author’s understanding of the research process and knowledge of the various types of research and the methods used.

Free Essays

What is the nature of the relationship between cctv and crime prevention?


Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of closed circuit television (CCTV) installations especially at the town centres. Installation of CCTV cameras in public spaces has been driven by the urgency for crime prevention. CCTVs have been installed with the aim of deterring offending, bringing offenders to justice and providing reassurance to the public about their safety.However studies exploring on effectiveness of CCTV on crime prevention have produced mixed results. Some studies have attested to the effectiveness of CCTV in fighting crime while others have pointed out to the minimal or insignificant effect of CCTV on levels of offending. As such, the proposed dissertation seeks to clarify the nature of the relationship between CCTV and crime prevention.

This proposal lays out the approach that would be taken to address the objectives of the proposed dissertation. The proposal provides the theoretical framework, literature review and the methodology used to obtain the data. A multi-method spatial approach will be used to analyze the data collected. The proposal seeks to examine the effectiveness of CCTV in preventing and reducing crime in 3 London boroughs: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, the Borough of Waverley and the Ipswich Borough Council. A combination of Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) and Weighted Displacement Quotient (WDQ) will help in evaluating effectiveness of CCTV surveillance in preventing crimes in the 3 boroughs.


For much of 21st century, crime prevention has relied primarily on police patrol. However, foot patrol has historically been identified to have a small impact on preventing and reducing crime. Research has shown that police patrol and investigative resources of the police are, to a large extend, limited in preventing most of the crimes that have been taking place (Keval & Sasse 2008). Unfocused random patrols and reactive arrests by street patrols have generally had minimal impact on crime prevention.

Because of this, there has been an increasing emphasis on CCTV installations as a way of preventing crime. Many countries have installed CCTV cameras especially in the town centres. The UK leads with the most extensive CCTV coverage in the whole world (Philips 1999). The widespread installation of CCTV in UK has, in part, been the result of proactive initiatives by the central government, with most of the operations funded by the British Home Office (Philips 1999).

CCTV systems in the UK have been deployed in town centres, banks, shopping centres, parking facilities, building societies, industrial estates, schools and colleges, and police custody suites among many other areas. Aside from the central government, the European community, businesses and local authorities have also contributed to the financing of CCTV surveillance systems in the UK (Philips 1999).

Problem statement

Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of closed circuit television (CCTV) installations especially at the town centres (Philips 1999). Gone are the days when street patrols were the only means for fighting crime. CCTV has come up as a management tool for crime-solving and prevention. Installation of CCTV cameras in public spaces has been driven by the urgency for crime prevention. CCTVs have been installed with the aim of deterring offending, bringing offenders to justice and providing reassurance to the public about their safety.

It is estimated that UK economy loses approximately ?50 billion annually in crime (Cjsni 2008). But of course, the ‘true’ cost of crime in terms of the well-being of the general public and the quality of life are incalculable (Cjsni 2008). In what is currently known as an “evidence-led” crime reduction policy, governments have sought to develop scientific research basis for understanding “what works” and “what doesn’t” and “what’s promising” in crime reduction (Cjsni 2008). CCTVs have been identified as such important crime prevention tools.

But whilst CCTV appears to have gained increasing importance in crime prevention, issues of security in public places still remain a major concern, both at the national level and internationally. Despite significant investment in such crime deterrent technologies, risks associated with assault and property crime remains considerable (Wells et al. 2006). Therefore, this proposal seeks to examine the nature of the relationship between CCTV installation and crime prevention. It will examine the effectiveness of CCTV in preventing and reducing crime in 3 London boroughs: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, the Borough of Waverley and the Ipswich Borough Council.

Research objectives

This proposal seeks to address the following research objectives:

To determine the nature of the relationship between CCTV installation and crime reduction
To examine the extent of CCTV coverage and occurrence of crime by type and frequency in the 3 London
To evaluate the effectiveness of CCTV in preventing or deterring crime
To identify the current knowledge gaps with regard to the impact of CCTV in crime prevention.
Literature review

Alongside the widespread installation of CCTVs in public places, there has been a wealth of information on the impact of CCTV on crime prevention. However, research on the nature of the relationship between CCTV and crime prevention have to date been ambiguous (Greenhalgh 2003). Some studies have attested to the effectiveness of CCTV in fighting crime while others have pointed out to the minimal or insignificant effect of CCTV on levels of offending.

Authors such as Tilley (1997) and Bennett & Gelsthorpe (1996) have suggested that CCTV deter people from committing crime, thereby reducing crime prevalence. These authors argued that CCTV facilitates effective deployment of police officers and security staff to locations of crime, thereby deterring offenders from committing crime. A study by Armitage et al. (1999) on the impact of CCTV installation on the level of crime in Burnley found that recorded crimes had fallen by 25% owing to the presence of CCTV surveillance.

A similar study by Brown (1995) which employed a rigorous methodology based upon the realistic evaluation model suggested by Pawson & Tilley (1994) found that the level of offending in Newcastle Upon Tyne had reduced owing to the introduction of CCTV. But whilst pointing out to the crime prevention effect of CCTV in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Brown cautioned that such gains could be short term and might wear off over time. Brown also cautioned about the possibility of displacement effects undermining the perceived advantages.

But whilst several authors have attested to the effectiveness of CCTV in fighting crime, most of the studies have had little scientific support for such claims. In this regard, Short & Ditton (1995) identified a number of problems with many of these claims. First, they noted that the time periods examined were generally too short to give an adequate account of the effectiveness of CCTV systems. Second, crime was considered as one category, obscuring the increases or reductions in different types of crime (Short & Ditton 1995).

Third, the authors noted that some cases lacked control rooms and as such, assessment of crime patterns was not accurate. Fourth, most of the assessments made did not take into account the seasonal variations in crime. Indeed there seems to be a number of concerns with many of these claims. What is even more surprising is that, most of these conclusions came from those who were responsible for the installation of CCTV systems.

Indeed, as suggested by Bulos & Sarno (1996), very few CCTV systems have been comprehensively evaluated by independent researchers (Bulos & Sarno 1996). Whilst there has been a huge support for the installation of CCTV in urban and town centres, it seems that hype will continue to achieve prominence over key questions that should be asked such as evaluating the usefulness and effectiveness of CCTV in preventing crime (Phillips 1999). It is important to provide evaluative evidence of crime reduction effects so as to justify future investment in CCTV schemes.

Several other authors have identified negative impacts of CCTV on crime prevention. Norris et al (1998) pointed out that CCTV control rooms were rife with prejudice and racism, inferring that the reported incidences were likely to be biased. A study by Brown (1995) on CCTV impact of crime on Birmingham found that the use of CCTV surveillance had failed to produce an overall reduction in the level of crime, with only a small decline in vehicle theft. A similar study conducted by Ditton et al (1999) in Glasgow showed that CCTV installation in the city centre had coincided with an upsurge in crime, with offences of indecency and dishonesty experiencing the most significant increase.

In a recent meta-analysis study by Welsh & Farrington (2002), it was found that out of thirteen evaluations in city centres, five of these showed decrease in offences whereas three showed an undesirable effect (increase in crime). In the other remaining five evaluations, there was no effect of CCTV on crime. In a further criticism, Groombridge & Murji (1994) suggested that CCTV could only be used as a tool and not a panacea.

But whilst Norris et al (1998) pointed out to the bias in CCTV control rooms, they emphasized the importance of CCTV in fighting crime and suggested for an ‘algorithmic’ surveillance to enable CCTV to effectively fight crime. Algorithmic CCTV surveillance matches a person’s gait and facial characteristics to images and footage stored in a database (Phillips 1999). ‘Algorithmic’ surveillance is particularly useful in revealing persons who are hiding from CCTV cameras.

Despite the presence of very few independent rigorous evaluations and despite diverse and differing interests between private, public and statutory agencies; CCTV is almost unanimously backed (Fussey 2004). The ubiquity of CCTV cameras in the town and urban centres is a testament to this. CCTV installation has taken place at a time when there has been improvement in crime analysis both in resolution (both temporal and spatial) (Mackay 2002). This has enabled practitioners focus to become more place-specific as opposed to generalizing crime to the neighbourhood level (Ratcliffe & Taniguchi 2008).

Theoretical framework

Sociological and criminological theory

To understand the concept of CCTV surveillance and its role in the contemporary society, sociological and criminological theory will be useful. In particular, theorizations based around neo-Marxist and Foucauldian perspectives will be used. But, since this is not the primary objectives of this paper, such paradigmatic conceptualizations shall only be briefly discussed in this paper.

Neo-Marxist perspectives

Neo-Marxist approach stress the use of CCTV to police economically marginalized groups (Fussey 2004). The role of CCTV in the contemporary society can be situated within a neo-Marxist framework that stresses the use of CCTV in policing unequal socio-economic divisions and managing the use of public space (Fussey 2004). Aware of the possibility that potential consumers may be deterred from commercial centres by the presence of low level incivilities such as beggars, litter, anti-social behaviours and gangs of youths; those representing commercial interests have sought to use CCTV surveillance to remove such undesirable factors (Fussey 2004: p.255). The ubiquity of CCTV cameras in the town centres is a testament to this.

Foucauldian perspectives

The foucauldian notion takes the view that modernity has yielded a form of ‘disciplinary’ society in which individuals are continuously placed under surveillance to deter antisocial or deviant behaviours (Fussey 2004). The Foucauldian approach criticizes utopian Enlightement objectives, arguing that in the present modern society, power has become ubiquitous and subtle (Fussey 2004). This power which has developed via institutions such as prisons, schools and asylums, is now manifest in the entire society. CCTV is thus an example of the various disciplinary mechanisms. According to Foucault, the increasing use of surveillance marks a shift in emphasis from punishment (a feature of pre-enlightment penal technique) to regulation of the self (Fussey 2004).

But whilst Foucault’s perspective may provide a useful account of CCTV, this approach should be taken with caution. As suggested by Norris et al (1999), CCTV cameras have generally been used to selectively target particular sub-groups especially the ethnic minority groups. The use of CCTV to target selective groups and the application of actuarial techniques against the ‘underclass’ is indicative that CCTV is only ‘ubiquitous’ for certain groups and not the wider society as suggested by Foucault (Fussey 2004: p.257).

Research questions

The scope of this analysis will be confined to the following research questions:

What is the nature of the relationship between CCTV installation and crime reduction
What current knowledge gaps exist with regard to the impact of CCTV in fighting crime
To what extent have CCTV systems been deployed in London
Has there been a huge difference in crime in terms of frequency of occurrence between the pre-camera and post-camera period
Can any observed reductions and deterrence of crime in London be attributed to CCTV surveillance

Research approach

A mixed method approach will be used to obtain data for analysis. The mixed approach will comprise of interviews with various stakeholders in London borough and a survey of secondary information that is available for review. This will include a review of the Home Office web site and past reports about crime reduction effects of CCTV. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with key informants in 3 London boroughs including the Cambridge City Council CCTV operator (London Borough of Richmond upon Thames), Farnham CCTV operator in the Borough of Waverley and the Ipswich Borough Council CCTV operator. The researcher will also review research publications from the British Home Office and past reports that explore on the nature of relationship between CCTV and crime prevention. Online crime mapping tool will be used to locate crime to specific locations.

Validity and reliability of findings

The mixed method approach will not only provide more in-depth analysis, but will also increase reliability and validity of information collected. The primary data collected from semi-structured interviews with key informants will be supplemented by secondary information collected from a survey of Home Office data and other relevant past reports.

Data collection

The dataset obtained from British Home Office will comprise of information about the type of crime, date of occurrence and the specific location where the crime took place. An online crime mapping tool which was launched in the UK in 2008 to help with geocoding accuracy of crime data will be used to pinpoint the exact location where crime took place (Griffith 2011). The crime evaluated will be limited only to those influenced by CCTV cameras. The crime data will then be aggregated into three main categories: disorder crime, serious crime and all crime.

Data analysis

In analyzing the impact CCTV on localized crime, the proposed dissertation will utilize a multi-method spatial approach. A combination of Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) and Weighted Displacement Quotient (WDQ) will help provide more in-depth data analysis. HLM is a type of statistical analysis that allows for rigorous evaluation of the impact of CCTV on crime prevention (Ratcliffe et al. 2009). This analysis tool takes into account factors such as seasonality and ongoing trends. The analysis tool is also useful where there are repeated incidences of crime.

HLM is associated with a number of practical benefits. First, it takes account of the seasonality factor. Seasonal effects have particular relevance in that people would tend to spend more time outside during the warm seasons than cold seasons. Secondly, the analysis takes control of pre-camera implementation trends (Ratcliffe et al. 2009). An example of a pre-existing temporal trend is the possibility of regeneration taking place at a camera location (Ratcliffe et al. 2009). Failure to control such trends could result in overestimation or underestimation of CCTV’s crime reduction effects (Ratcliffe et al. 2009).

However, HLM statistical analysis tool is limited in its ability to disaggregate the effectiveness of each camera type (Ratcliffe et al. 2009). It is practically impossible to investigate each specific camera. Given the inability of HLM to disaggregate the effectiveness of each camera type, conducting a robust statistical analysis using this method becomes difficult. Perhaps, this is an area worthy of future investigation.

To address this limitation, the researcher will also utilize a Weighted Displacement Quotient (WDQ) analysis method. This method is also useful in determining the displacement effect of CCTV. This will require the researcher to first identify three operational areas:

target area – this is the area where crime reduction strategy is already in place
Buffer area – the buffer area is where crime is most likely to be displaced to.
Control area – this is area will act as a check on general crime trends (Ratcliffe & Taniguchi 2008)

The Weighted Displacement Quotient (WDQ) analysis tool will be used to determine whether the differences in the levels of crime in target and buffer areas are a result of displacement effect of CCTVs or diffusion of benefits of CCTV surveillance in target area (Ratcliffe & Taniguchi 2008).

Ethical considerations

The main ethical concern that is likely to arise is that involving invasion of privacy in public spaces. Whilst this technology has been implemented as a benevolent means of fighting crime, there are concerns about personal liberty and invasion of privacy (Hempel & Topfer 2004). Given the sheer volume of CCTV cameras installed in the UK, it calls into question the freedom and privacy of the public. Have CCTV cameras been installed to protect the public from crime or are we living in ‘Big brother’ Surveillance society (Fletcher 2011)?

Perhaps to address this ethical concern, the researcher will recommend the use of regular crime analysis such as that used in CompStat to identify places of greatest risk of crimes (Welsh & Farrington 2010). Such information can be used as a guide for implementation of CCTV surveillance in areas of high risk crime, thereby reducing the threat of invasion of public’s privacy (Welsh & Farrington 2010).

But whilst CCTV systems have been criticized for invasion of privacy, there appear to be some sought of regulations adhered to by organizations when installing them. There is currently no regulation regarding installation of CCTV in private household. CCTVs can be installed in private households without the need of registering with regulatory body or adhering to any regulations. But for organizations seeking to install CCTV, they are required to follow the regulations dictated in the DPA98 such as the visibility of appropriate signage which should make the public aware that they are in an area of CCTV surveillance (Fletcher 2011).

Anticipated problems

Whilst the proposal is of paramount importance, the researcher is likely to encounter some limitations when conducting the research. These include:

Budgetary constraints – Gathering of data can be expensive. As such, conducting extensive survey may be difficult owing to the budgetary constraints
Time constraints – The task of exploring on the nature of the relationship between CCTV and crime prevention may be limited by time constraints. The researcher may be forced to make quick decisions rather than building a detailed picture due to time constraints.
Additionally, the participants may not be willing to participate in the interviews

Nonetheless, the researcher will make efforts to address these limitations.


This proposal has clearly laid out the approach that would be taken to address the objectives of the proposed dissertation. A mixed method approach would be used to obtain critical information about the nature of relationship between CCTV installation and crime prevention. A multi-method spatial approach will be used to analyze the data collected. A combination of Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) and Weighted Displacement Quotient (WDQ) will help in evaluating effectiveness of CCTV surveillance in preventing crimes.

The main ethical concern that is likely to arise is that of personal liberty and invasion of privacy. But the researcher has suggested the use of regular crime analysis such as that used in CompStat, as a guide for implementation of CCTV in areas of high risk crime. This is expected to reduce the threat of invasion of privacy in public places.


Armitage, R., Smyth, G., and Pease, K., 1999. Burnley CCTV evaluation. In: Painter, K. and Tilley N., (eds.), ‘Surveillance of public space: CCTV, street lighting and crime prevention’. Crime Prevention Studies, volume 10, pp 225-250.

Bennett, T. and L. Gelsthorpe, 1996. “Public attitudes towards CCTV in public places.” Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention 5 (l): pp.72-90.

Brown, B., 1995. CCTV in town centres: three case studies. Crime Detection and

Bulos, M. and Sarno, C., 1996. Codes of practice and public closed circuit television systems. London, UK: Local Government Information Unit.

Criminal Justice System Northern Ireland (Cjsni), 2008. Reducing offending: a critical review of the international research evidence. NIO Research and Statistical Series: Report No. 18

Fletcher, P., 2011. ‘Is CCTV effective in reducing anti-social behaviour?’ Internet Journal of Criminology.

Fussey, P., 2004. ‘New labour and new surveillance: theoretical and political ramifications of CCTV implementation in the UK’, Surveillance & Society

Greenhalgh, S., 2003. Literature review on issues of privacy and surveillance affecting social behaviour. Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner

Griffiths, M., Town centre CCTV: an examination of crime reduction in Gillingham, Kent.

Groombridge, N. and Murji, K., 1994. “Obscured by Cameras?” Criminal Justice Matters 17

Hempel, L. and E. Topfer, 2004. On the threshold to urban panopticonAnalyzing the employment of CCTV in European cities and assessing its social and political impacts. Urbaneye

Inter-departmental Committee on Closed Circuit Television (IDCCCTV) 2000. NSW Government Policy Statement and Guidelines for the Establishment and Implementation of closed circuit television (cctv) in public places, NSW Attorney General’s Department

Keval, H. and Sasse, M.A., 2008. ‘Not the usual suspects: a study of factors reducing the effectiveness of CCTV’. Security Journal, p. 1-21

Mackay, D., 2002. Self interest: the true reasons for supporting town centre CCTV systems: a case study. University of Leicester Scarman Centre.

Norris, C, Moran, J. and Armstrong, G., 1998. “Algorithmic surveillance: the future of automated visual surveillance.” In: C. Norris, J. Moran and G. Armstrong (eds.), Surveillance, closed circuit television and social control. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Pawson, R. and Tilley, N., 1994. “What works in evaluation research?” British Journal of Criminology 34(3):291-306.

Phillips, C.,1999. ‘A review of CCTV evaluations: crime reduction effects and attitudes towards its use’. Crime Prevention Studies, volume 10, pp. 123-155

Ratcliffe, J. and T. Taniguchi, 2008. CCTV camera evaluation: the crime reduction effects of public CCTV cameras in the City of Philadelphia, PA installed during 2006. Department of Criminal Justice

Ratcliffe, J.H., Taniguchi, T. and Taylor, R.B., 2009. ‘The crime reduction effects of public CCTV cameras: a multi-method spatial approach’. Justice Quarterly, vol. 26 (4)

Short, E. and Ditton, J., 1995. “Does CCTV affect crime?” CCTV Today 2 (2): pp.10-12.

Stutzer, A. and Zehnder, M., 2010. Camera surveillance as a measure of counterterrorismEconomics of Security Working Paper 34. Berlin: Economics of Security.

Tiliey, N., 1993. The prevention of crime against small businesses: the safer cities experience. Home Office Crime Prevention Unit Series Paper, London, UK: Home Office

Wells, H., Allard, T. and P. Wilson, 2006. Crime and CCTV in Australia: understanding the relationship. Centre for Applied Psychology and Criminology Bond University

Welsh, B.C. and Farrington, D.P., 2010. The future of crime prevention: developmental and situational strategies. National Institute of Justice

Wilson, D. and Sutton, A., 2003. Open-street CCTV in Australia: a comparative study of establishment and operation. Criminology Research Council Prevention series paper 68. London: Home Office Police Department.

Free Essays

Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the relationship between stressors and ill health. Critically evaluate these mechanisms as valid explanations for stress-link illness.


This essay has been written to seek to undertake analyse and critically evaluate the relationship between the stress and causal mechanisms which have been proved to cause physical illnesses. The research which has examined these phenomena shall be surmised and discussed to seek to ascertain if there are valid and reliable research studies that have proven that there is a causal link between these two factors.


In this essay the relationship between the psychological conditions referred to as stress and causal mechanisms which have been proved to cause physical illnesses shall be discussed and the research pertaining to this shall be critically evaluated. The three main mechanisms which will be examined are as follows:

Stress which causes increased heart rate which may lead to coronary heart disease (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974).
Stress which leads to the suppression of the immune system which may lead to an increased occurrence of viral infections such as, colds or flu (Kiecolt-Glaser al., 1984).
Stress which leads to disturbances in the digestive tract that can cause gastric ulcers (Brady, 1958).

Each of these shall now be discussed and critically evaluated in turn.

Mechanisms which explain the relationship between the occurrence of stress and illness.
Stress which causes increased heart rate which may lead to coronary heart disease

Friedman & Rosenman (1974) undertook a longitudinal study which sought to identify basic types of behaviour. Their study consisted of asking 3,200 male respondents to complete a questionnaire. Then from the results of this based on the respondent’s response and their manner each respondent was placed into one of three types (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974). They identified three types, which are referred as A, B and C. Individuals that exhibit Type A behaviours often have a desire to achieve their goals, a tendency to be competitive, desire recognition for their work and have a tendency to rush their work tasks. Comparatively, those who exhibit Type B behavioural traits have no drive, ambition, sense to compete or urgency. Those that exhibited Type C behaviours were considered to be hardworking and nice (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974). Eight years after they have carried out this research, 257of the respondents that had taken part in the study had developed coronary heart disease. Overall, out of the 257 respondents 70% had been classified as having Type A behavioural traits (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974). This indicates that one of the mechanisms that may lead to the development of coronary heart disease in men is the types of behaviour that they exhibit

However, though there are close correlations between Friedman & Rosenman’s (1974) study and the occurrence of coronary heart disease in those with Type A behavioural traits this does not fully explain the occurrence of this phenomena. This is because the evidence that this is based on does not consider a number of other factors which may have led to these respondents developing coronary heart disease such as, the lifestyle choices that they may have chosen. In addition, to this these findings cannot be generalised to wider populations as they are based on a small sample of men. Additionally there is no information pertaining to the respondent’s general state of health, age or circumstances at the time at which they undertook part in the research study, so it is impossible to ascertain if their coronary heart disease was caused by their behavioural type. Therefore, though this study suggested that there may be a correlation between these two factors the evidence to support this hypothesis is lacking. This is also true of similar studies that have been undertaken to examine these phenomena (Chandoda et. al., 2008; House, 1974).

Stress which leads to the suppression of the immune system

Further to, Friedman & Rosenman’s (1974) study, Kiecolt-Glaser (1984) concluded that stress may lead to the suppression of the immune system. This suppression may cause the increased occurrence of viral infections such as, colds or flu. Kiecolt-Glaser (1984) took blood samples from 75 student volunteers one month (control reading) before and on the first day of their exams (stress reading). They also asked the volunteers to complete questionnaires which were designed to evaluate their psychiatric state of mind, their loneliness and ascertain if any other life events had occurred. From these they discovered that on the first day of their exams many of the students had lower levels of natural cells which are used to fight infections. They also ascertained that other problems such as, loneliness and depression was all associated with a weakened immune system (Kiecolt-Glaser, 1984).

This research shows that there may be a correlation between the occurrence of stress and a weakened immune system (Kiecolt-Glaser, 1984). The study was undertaken at a time when the students were naturally exposed to stress as they were sitting their final examinations and this means that the study’s results are valid (Kiecolt-Glaser, 1984). However, because this was a natural study, other variable which may have affected the results of the research were difficult to control, therefore we cannot be sure that stress automatically leads to a weakened immune system. However, a number of other studies have found that stress may lead to a weakened immune response (as an example see: Cohen 1991; Kimzey, 1975; Riley, 1981). Therefore, though the results from the Kiecolt-Glaser (1984) study may have been accurate after all.

Stress which leads to disturbances in the digestive tract that can cause gastric ulcers

Finally, Brady (1958) undertook an experiment which sought to link stress to disturbances in the digestive tract. He attached two monkeys to each other and then every 20 second for six hours at a time he shocked them with electricity. One of the monkeys was classed as an executive and they were able to delay the shocks for 20 seconds at a time. However, they could not stop them completely. This experiment resulted in the monkeys who were classed as executives, subsequently being diagnosed with stomach ulcers as a result of this they died (Brady, 1958). Brady concluded from these results that as the executive monkey had been in control they had become stressed and developed stomach ulcers which had led to their demise. Therefore, he believed that there was a correlation between stress and the development of stomach ulcers.

When we examine Brady’s (1958) study, we can see that there are flaws in his methodology. Weiss (1972) used the same methodology with rats as control subjects and did not find that the executives developed stomach ulcers. Therefore, Brady’s (1958) study does not prove conclusively that those suffering from stress will develop stomach ulcers. Other scholars (Bhatia & Tandon, 2005; Yabana & Yachi, 1988) have also sought to link stress to being a casual factor in the development of stomach ulcers however they reached the same conclusions as Weiss (1972).

Each of the three mechanisms that have been discussed above which have been utilised to investigate the causal link between stress and illness have not conclusively proven that there is one. The most viable of these three hypotheses is that there may be a causal link between the onset of stress and the development of a weakened immune system (Cohen, 1991; Kimzey, 1975; Riley, 1981).


This essay sought to investigate the causal relationships between stress and physical illnesses. Three mechanisms that have been explored by scholars were discussed and critically evaluated (Brady, 1958; Friedman & Rosenman, 1974; Kiecolt-Glaser et. al., 1984). However, the only one of these three mechanisms which may prove that there is a link between stress and the development of physical illnesses is that which identified that stress may lead to a weakened immune response (Cohen, 1991; Kimzey, 1975; Riley, 1981). Therefore, the evidence to prove that stress is a causal factor in the onset of physical illnesses is contradictory and limited due to the limitations of the studies which have been undertaken. That is not to say that all of the studies that have been undertaken to explore this casual link are not valid, but that their methods and results must be carefully analysed before we accept their conclusions as valid.


Bhatia, V., & Tandon, R. K. (2005). Stress and the gastrointestinal tract.Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, 20(3), 332-339.

Brady, J. V. (1958). Ulcers in executive monkeys. Scientific American, 199 (4), 95-100

Chandola, T., Britton, A., Brunner, E., Hemingway, H., Malik, M., Kumari, M., … & Marmot, M. (2008). Work stress and coronary heart disease: what are the mechanisms?. European Heart Journal, 29(5), 640-648.

Cohen, S., Tyrrell, D. A., & Smith, A. P. (1991). Psychological stress in humans and susceptibility to the common cold. N. Engl. J. Med. 325, 606–612.

Friedman, M. and Rosenman, R.H. (1974). Type A Behaviour and Your Heart. New York: Knopf.

House, J. S. (1974). Occupational stress and coronary heart disease: A review and theoretical integration. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 12-27.

Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Garner, W., Speicher, C. E., Penn, G., & Glaser, R. (1984). Psychosocial modi?ers of immunocompetence in medical students. Psychosom. Med. 46, 7–14.

Kimzey, S. L. (1975). The effects of extended space?ight on hematologic and immunologic systems. J. Am. Med. Womens Assoc. 30, 218–232.

Riley, V. (1981). Psychoneuroendocrine influences on immunocompetence and neoplasia. Science, 212(4499), 1100-1109.

Weiss, J. M. (1971). Effects of punishing the coping response (conflict) on stress pathology in rats. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 77(1), 14.

Yabana, T., & Yachi, A. (1988). Stress-induced vascular damage and ulcer.Digestive diseases and sciences, 33(6), 751-761

Free Essays

Relationship Between Knowledge Management And Decision Making

Relationship between knowledge management and decision making

In today’s complex and turbulent environment, knowledge management has become increasingly important in decision making. Unlike in the past where organizations employed consultants or experts to aid with the decision making process, these actors have today been replaced by knowledge managers and decision making is increasingly being supported by decision support systems with built in knowledge base (Gamble 2001).

In this view, this paper examines the relationship between knowledge management and decision making. There is no universally accepted definition of the term ‘Knowledge management’. However, in this context, it will be used in reference to the strategies and practices used by an organization to capture, store and distribute knowledge that is either embodied in individuals or embedded in the process and practices of the organization (Holsapple 1995).

As noted by Joshi (2001), knowledge management has important implications on decision making in an organization. Effective KM should support the process of decision making and strategic planning. For example, knowledge management plays a major role in the planning phase of a project. Based on the current information, forecasters guide decision makers in making complex decisions in the business world characterized by increased risks and uncertainty. The entire decision making endeavour is made based on the outcome of forecasting, a knowledge intensive activity (Mohammed & Jalal 2011). Knowledge management is thus important in tactical decision making.

Knowledge management in organizations is supported by information technology. That is, Knowledge Management Systems rely on routines programmed in the logic of computational machinery (Malhotra 2004). The expertise and experiences of employees are stored in computerized databases. Both the tacit and explicit knowledge are stored in computerized databases and software programs for re-use in future (Malhotra 2004). In fact, most of the knowledge management experts acknowledge that technology contributes around 15% of the solution (Gamble 2001). However, technology in itself is not sufficient. Of great importance are the people with knowledge. People are the main determinant of the success or failure of knowledge management.

But still, managing knowledge is no easy task. As suggested by Karlin & Taylor (1998), acquiring knowledge is not the real problem that organizations face, rather the main challenge is the lack of skills to manage such knowledge in order to ensure effective decisions. It is a major challenge to capture knowledge such as data, information and experiences from individuals that possess them and to use such ingredients and transform them into knowledge that would enhance decision making (Mohsen et al. 2011)

Practical examples where knowledge management guide decision making

A perfect case where knowledge management can guide decision making is in the PC market. Given the competitive environment which has resulted in diminishing margins in the PC markets, Dell may need to shift focus to hosting services (Malhotra 2004). To do so more effectively, Dell would first have to harvest knowledge through experimentation, adaptation and innovation (Malhotra 2004). Then it would need to redefine both the business and customer value propositions.

Another area where knowledge management has proven to be useful in decision making is the banking sector. Due to increase in competition and the growing integration of financial institutions, most banks are increasingly targeting at improving on customer satisfaction in order to continue to thrive. As such, the process of knowledge creation, storage and distribution has become essential such that banks have assigned specialized personnel to manage these critical processes (Mohsen et al. 2011).

Knowledge management in banks is particularly evident in the fields of risk management, performance management, customer relationship management and marketing management (Jayasundara 2008). Banks have invested heavily in knowledge management systems such as Decision Support Systems, Data Mining and Data warehouses (Jayasundara 2008). Through such systems, banks have been able to improve and attain more efficient results in decision making.

According to a survey by Reuters, it was found that 90% of the companies that deployed a KM solution had more efficient results in decision making (Malhotra 2001). The survey also revealed that 81% of the companies that deployed a KM solution experienced an increase in their productivity (Malhotra 2001). A similar study by Lui & Young (2007) in the manufacturing sector showed that global manufacturing businesses utilized knowledge management systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) and Customer Relations Management to enhance their manufacturing decisions.

Given the vital role that knowledge management plays in decision making, it is not surprising to find many organizations transforming knowledge from being an abstract concept to a tangible and manageable one (Oduoza 2010). But, whilst there is a general agreement that knowledge management enhances the decision making process and leads to worthwhile decisions, there are certain instances where such systems can fail.

Why knowledge management systems may fail?

Where knowledge management information systems are seen an end in themselves, failure is guaranteed. ‘Knowledge’ and ‘information’ have different meanings. Knowledge resides in the user and happens only through the processing, analyzing and filtering of data via human brain (Liew 2007). On the other hand, information refers to refined data that can be re-used (Liew 2007). The two are not the same yet many organizations fail to understand the difference and become frustrated when significant investments in technology fail to deliver the expected results (Paprika 2001).

In order to harvest employee knowledge and to turn it into corporate knowledge that can be widely shared, strategic thinking and planning must come into play. Without a strategic plan or a guiding strategy for increasing margins, knowledge management information systems are bound to fail. For example, if the technology department is only department mandated with a knowledge management initiative, then such systems are unlikely to deliver the expected outcomes.

To ensure the success of knowledge management systems, it is important to foster an environment that allows for knowledge sharing. Yet most organizations are still defined by hierarchical structures that do not support interdepartmental collaboration (Paprika 2001). Creating an organizational culture that supports sharing of knowledge is important to avoid such systems from failing.

Also, too much focus on IT-based knowledge management may impair a firm’s capacity for knowledge creation (Malhotra 2000). Solutions often tend to specify the ‘minutiae of machinery’, ignoring the human psychology of how people in the organization acquire, share and create knowledge (Malhotra 2000). Such constrained and restricted perspective of knowledge management can be detrimental on a firm’s learning and adaptive capabilities (Malhotra 2000).

In fact, it becomes more problematic in a dynamic environment that requires multiple interpretations and ongoing evaluation (Malhotra 2000). In order to address this weakness inherent in IT-based knowledge management, it is equally important to focus on the synergy of innovation and human creativity. Nonetheless, the process of decision making is a knowledge intensive activity. Explicit knowledge that is obtained from repositories and the tacit knowledge that is obtained through a one on one interaction between a manager and an employee can be used to support decision making.


Gamble, P.R., 2001. Knowledge management: a state of the art guide. Kogan Publishers

Holsapple, C.W., 1995. ‘Knowledge management in decision making and decision support’. The international Journal of knowledge Transfer and Utilization, vol.8 (1), pp.5-22

Jayasundara, C.C., 2008. Knowledge Management in Banking Industries: uses and opportunities.

Joshi, K.D., 2001. ‘A framework to study knowledge management behaviours during decision making’. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, Vol. 12, PP.68-79.

Karlin, S., and Taylor, H. 1998. An Introduction To Stochastic Modeling. Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt

Lehaney, B., 2004. Beyond knowledge management. Idea Group Inc

Liew, A., 2007. ‘Understanding data, information, knowledge and their inter-relationships’. Journal of knowledge Management Practice, vol.8 (2)

Malhotra, Y., 2004. ‘Why Knowledge Management Systems FailEnablers and Constraints of Knowledge Management in Human Enterprises’. In: Michael E.D. Koenig & T. Kanti Srikantaiah (Eds.), Knowledge Management Lessons Learned: What Works and What Doesn’t, Information Today Inc. American Society for Information Science and Technology Monograph Series, 87-112.

Malhotra, Y., 2001. Expert Systems for Knowledge Management: Crossing the Chasm between Information Processing and Sense Making. Expert Systems With Applications, 20,1, 7-16.

Malhotra, Y., 2000. ‘From information management to knowledge management: beyond the ‘hi-tech hidebound’ systems’. In: K. Srikantaiah & M.E.D. Koenig (eds), knowledge management for the information professional. Medford, N.J., Information Today Inc., pp.37-61

Mohammed, W. and Jalal, A., 2011. ‘The influence of knowledge management system (KMS) on enhancing decision making process (DMP)’. International Journal of Business and Management, vol.6 (8)

Oduoza, C.F., 2010. Decision support system based on effective knowledge management framework to process customer order enquiry, UK.

Paprika, Z.Z., 2001. Knowledge management support in decision making. Budapest, Hungary

Publishers Ltd.

Free Essays

The Relationship between Microfinance, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability in reducing poverty in LEDC (Less Economically Developed Countries).

Theoretical Framework

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Microfinance can be defined as “the provision of a broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers, and insurance to the poor and low-income households and their microenterprises” (ADB, 2000). Another definition is provided in Ledgerwood (1999) who contends that microfinance is “the provision of financial services (like savings, credit, insurance and payment services) to low-income clients (the poor) including the self-employed”.

The aforesaid suggests that there is a positive relationship between microfinance and entrepreneurship or microenterprises. Microenterprises promote income generating activities thus promoting repayment. Being able to repay microfinance loans by income generated from microenterprises enables microfinance to be sustainable. Microfinance is specifically designed to offer financial services to microentrepreneurs. Microfinance enables microentrepreneurs to expand and run their businesses.

The foregoing shows that microfinance and entrepreneurship are mutually beneficial to each other.

Microfinance witnessed an evolution in the 1970s. This evolution has been regarded as a means of breaking the barricade of access to capital by poor people who are interested in carrying out development projects. Microfinance empowers the entrepreneurial spirits that exist among small-scale entrepreneurs worldwide (Olu, 2009). It facilitates the establishment of microenterprises and encourages best practices among individuals involved in small and medium size enterprise (SMEs) (Olu, 2009). Governments in developing countries have over the last two and half decades formulated great programmes to promote economic development. Lack of access to finance has been cited in developing countries as one of the major reasons behind the relative absence of SMEs in less developed economies. Large firms can obtain finance from banks because they have an asset base that can serve as collateral. SMEs on the other hand do not have such and asset base and as such cannot gain access to large banks. Rather, SMEs rely on small scale financing in the form of microfinance to finance small scale development projects (Olu, 2009).

Approximately 90 percent of people in less developed economies do not have access to financial services from banks and other financial institutions. Most people neither save nor have access to credit facilities (Marguerite, 2002). The foregoing suggests that people in less developed countries have limited capacity to invest. Limited investment capacity results in restricted productivity which in turn limits incomes, domestic savings and productivity growth. The lack of access to financial services reduces the ability of entrepreneurs to engage in new business ventures which in turn limits economic growth. The sources and consequences of entrepreneurial activities are therefore neither financially nor environmentally sustainable. Microfinance serves as a means of empowering the poor and is considered as a valuable means of enhancing the economic development process. Despite the importance of microfinance in development, it has been argued that microfinance; entrepreneurship and sustainability tend not to have a great effect on alleviating poverty in less developed economies. Accordingly, microfinance they say can only successfully alleviate poverty if it is combined with entrepreneurial skills. This means that one should expect a positive link between microfinance and SME development or entrepreneurship. Despite this relationship, microfinance and entrepreneurship may have a negative relationship or may even have no relationship. In addition, some people with entrepreneurial skills tend to be risk-averse. This group of entrepreneurs may not use microfinance credit because they may not be willing to take on high levels of risk. As such their projects may remain unfunded even in the presence of microfinance loans. In addition, the poorest of the poor including the sick, the mentally ill and the destitute cannot adequately handle microfinance projects which means that microfinance cannot be used as a means of alleviating poverty for this group of the population. This group of the population would prefer direct basic assistance to microfinance. They are mostly interested in meeting their daily needs of shelter, food, clothing and food.

Empirical Evidence

Two competing theories have been advanced with respect to the relationship between entrepreneurship and microfinance. One school of thought advocates that lack of credit hinders the growth of microenterprises, indicating that microfinance and entrepreneurship have a positive relationship. The second school of thought on its part suggests that microfinance has a negative effect on the poorest in society.

The first school of thought believes that lack of credit is a major constraint to the development of microenterprise and believes that microfinance plays a positive role in enabling a society achieve its larger goal of deriving social and economic benefits (Hashemi et al., 1996; 1994; Schuler et al., 1997). According to the International Finance Corporation, more than 500 million poor people across the world are engaged in microenterprises (IFC, 2002). When asked what their major constraint is, most of them conclude that the main constraint to business growth is lack of credit. This evidence suggests that microfinance has a positive impact on entrepreneurship. Similar evidence is provided in Sen (1999) who argue that the greater the financial security of an entrepreneur, the higher is his probability of becoming more successful. Furthermore, Eversole (2000) contends that credit is important for the success of micro businesses.

The impact of microfinance on poverty alleviation has also been studied. Nair (1998) identifies two schools of thought regarding the effect of microfinance on poverty alleviation. On the one hand, it has been argued that credit is one of the most important tools for alleviating poverty. This school of thought believes that microfinance credit is always invested in a productive investment which will help in poverty alleviation.

However, this school of thought is flawed on because it makes the unrealistic assumption that microfinance credit is always invested in a productive investment. The theory ignores the fact that some investments may not be productive which indicates that not all microfinance credit can actually result in poverty alleviation.

Rangarajan (2005) observes that microfinance is important for the evolution of “Self-Help Group” at three basic levels. These include:

Level 1 where microfinance is used by households to satisfy their survival requirements by using small savings and loans as a buffer in emergencies;
Level 2 where households use microfinance is used to meet subsistence needs; and
Level 3 where households become mature enough to take on a higher degree of risk; at this level, microfinance can be employed in setting up enterprises or facilitating the creation of employment in one way or another thus promoting the sustainability of households.

The aforesaid shows that the argument that microfinance cannot help the poorest of the poor lacks empirical support. This argument is further weakened by evidence from India, which shows that a large portion of the Indian population falls in the “poorest of the poor” category. Despite this, microfinance has had a significant positive impact on this group of the population in India. A study based on 20 microfinance institutions in India provide evidence that microfinance has made a significant contribution to both the savings and borrowings of the poor in India (Sinha, 2005). Kuzilwa (2005) provide evidence that credit has been very instrumental in the success of microenterprises in Tanzania. The study provides evidence that most business start-ups have been financed by own sources while expansion has mainly been finance by microfinance credit. The study further observes that inadequate credit resulted in the abandonment or postponement of entrepreneurial projects. Some studies have concluded that microfinance credit contributes to the growth of enterprises although the impact of finance has not been very significant. Empirical evidence shows that after receiving finance, the firm’s output increased by 40 percent. This evidence shows just how important microfinance is for the growth and expansion of enterprises and thus emphasises the positive relationship between microfinance and entrepreneurship in poor countries.

In order for microfinance to help foster entrepreneurial activity, the activity must be sustainable. This means that only enterprises with the potential to evolve from micro to small and to medium enterprises can be considered entrepreneurial businesses (Harper, 1998; Kuzilwa, 2005). Businesses that are merely surviving to sustain a family cannot be considered entrepreneurial (Harper, 1998).

The operating cycle of microenterprises is relatively short compared to that of large enterprises. Microenterprises are therefore in need of short term loans in small amounts. Due to their short-term operating cycles, microenterprises are in constant need of small scale loans to finance their business. Consequently, sufficient and timely capital is necessary for the success of microenterprises. According to Alagappan and Nagammai (2003), any entrepreneur’s main problem is finance. Adequate finance is required at reasonable cost to meet the expectations of any entrepreneur (Alagappan and Nagammai, 2003).

Small scale entrepreneurs find it difficult to access large financial institutions. This is mostly because of information asymmetries between large financial institutions and small scale businesses. Moral hazard and adverse selection bias often make it difficult for small firms to gain access to finance from large institutions. The process is often complex and may result in delays. Consequently, the only hope for small scale businesses is microfinance. According to a study by Vincent (2004), an initial loan of approximately $100 helped in reintegrating entrepreneurs into formal networks as well as promoting structural and sustainable development in communities. However, the study observed that only 5% of entrepreneurs in these communities were able to obtain micro credit thus hindering the growth and development potential of communities in less developed economies (Vincent, 2004). Vincent (2004) concludes based on this evidence that sustainable entrepreneurship and microfinance can contribute tremendously to poverty alleviation in less developed countries.

While credit is important, it is not the only factor that can facilitate entrepreneurship in less developed economies. According to a study by Roy and Wheeler (2006) on 12 microfinance institutions in four West African economies, growth of microenterprises is not restricted only by poor access to credit. Rather, other factors such as poor training, lack of trust and corporation as well as risk aversion are other factors that must be taken into account when evaluating the factors that restrict the growth and expansion of microenterprises in less developed economies (Roy and Wheeler, 2006). While microfinance can help in stimulating growth of microenterprises, its availability is only an important part of the story (Roy and Wheeler, 2006). Microfinance needs to be provided only to entrepreneurs who satisfy a host of other requirements such as adequate training, risk tolerance, trust and corporation.

While other factors may affect the growth and expansion of microenterprises in less developed countries, Adams and Pischke (1992) believe that lack of funds is the most important problems facing microenterprises. Adam and Pischke (1992) argue that access to small and short-term credit is more beneficial for poor microenterprises than large long-term credit. The evolution of microfinance has been very important because it has enabled microfinance institutions to handle small scale transactions efficiently as well as establish long lasting links with borrowers. The main focus of microfinance institutions is on small and short-term loans which can help small scale entrepreneurs finance short-term investment projects and thus alleviate poverty in the community as a whole.

As mentioned earlier, a second school of thought believes that microfinance has a negative impact on the poorest in society (Adams and Von Pischke, 1992; Buckley, 1997). While microfinance programs can create a positive impact on the poor, these programs often fail to reach the poorest people when trying to achieve sustainability. While the programs can serve the poor, they do not necessarily help the poorest of the poor (Copestake et al., 2001; Hulme 2000; Hulme and Mosely 1996; Mosely and Hulme 1998). While superficial analysis shows that microfinance can foster entrepreneurial growth and thus reduce poverty in society, deep analysis suggests that microfinance credit does not create opportunities. Rather the ability of the community to generate income and thus alleviate poverty depends heavily on the entrepreneurial nature of people in the community (Kulziwa, 2005). This does not amount to saying that credit is not important for entrepreneurship. Credit certainly plays a significant role in improving the competence of the entrepreneur to make use of the opportunity available. However, the entrepreneurial skills must be there to fully realise the benefits of microfinance.

Empirical evidence suggests that microfinance has not had a positive impact on entrepreneurship in very poor countries. Shaw (2004) investigated the impact of microfinance on poverty in Sri Lanka. The study provides evidence that not all microfinance projects have been able to alleviate poverty in Sri Lanka. The study contends while microfinance can work well for those very close to the poverty line, it can only help those who are interested and able to engage in high-value entrepreneurial activities (Shaw, 2004).

According to Shaw (2004) microfinance loans are not sustainable in that they only serve to protect current consumption levels while offering limited opportunity for exiting poverty. For microfinance programs to be successful, they must be complemented by investment in physical and social infrastructure.

Another argument against microfinance programs is that these programs are capable of pushing the poor into a debt trap. This is because the programs often turn out to be unsustainable if the poor are not able to engage in an activity that can generate enough income for repayments (Mead & Liedholm, 1998).

A study was conducted on NGO led microfinance programs in several developing countries. The objective of the study was to evaluate the performance of microfinance programs in these countries using a set of four indicators including their ability to target the poor, their ability to increase assets of the poor, their ability to generate income and their ability create skill employment and financial viability. Comparisons were made with state-led credit based poverty alleviation programs such as the Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP) and the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in India (Chavan & Ramakumar, 2002). The study provides evidence that microfinance programs have helped in achieving a marginal improvement in the income of their beneficiaries. However, the evidence suggests that the beneficiaries have not obtained any significant benefits in terms of technological improvements because the programs focus primarily on survival skills (Chavan & Ramakumar, 2002). Focusing on Bangladesh, the study observes that microfinance programs which are designed to help customers repay Grameen Bank loans through fresh loans from moneylenders has resulted in the creation debt cycles (Chavan & Ramakumar, 2002).

Anand (1994) examine the performance of microenterprises in Botswana the balance between lending and borrowing activities of microfinance institutions. The study observes that Microfinance institutions focus more on lending than borrowing. Lending activity constituted 75% while borrowing constituted only 10% of their total activity (Anand, 1994). This clearly shows that finance cannot be considered a constraint for entrepreneurs in Botswana.

The foregoing shows that in order for microfinance to be sustainable, it has to be complemented by savings and other factors. There is a common misconception that the poor cannot save. However, the evolution of microfinance has proven that this is a misconception. Microfinance loans are often made based on the saving capacity of the borrower (Stemper, 1996). Savings are used as a means of establishing the history of the borrower and serves as a important input to evaluating the loan application (Stemper, 1996). Savings can also serve as collateral for borrowers who do not have landed property. This view has been reinforced by Buckley (1997) who views savings as the means of achieving financial independence and self sufficiency for micro enterprises.

India created Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) which serve as microfinance institutions in the country. These associations support the need of financial services for the small scale entrepreneurs in India. They are popular because of their simplicity and the freedom that they provide on using funds (Buckley, 1997). Guha and Gupta (2000) provide evidence suggesting microfinance institutions improve the saving habit of the poor by creating income generating activities and improving their loan repayment habits.

Critique of The Literature

The empirical evidence above suggests that microfinance institutions play an important role in alleviating poverty in developing countries. This is achieved through their impact on entrepreneurship. Microfinance institutions are sustained by promoting savings and investment schemes for the poor. This suggests that microfinance institutions.

A key short-coming with the studies above is that most of the studies focus on the relationship between entrepreneurship and microfinance, with little emphasis on sustainability. Sustainability of entrepreneurship and microfinance are important if they have to be used as a means of alleviating poverty in the long run. Despite the importance of sustainability, the existing literature has not exploited it in great detail.

Togo has witnessed significant developments in its microfinance industry. Microfinance was initiated in Togo by the Association for Community-Based Self-Promotion (ACOMB), which operates in two very low-income districts that have experienced excessively high levels of HIV/AIDS with very little government or foreign support (Parker, 2000). The goal of the association was to provide health education, information, and referrals to clients as an important complement to financial services (Parker, 2000). In addition, the Faitiere des Unites Cooperatives d’Epargne et de Credit (FUCEC) is a Togolese-based Microfinance institution which comprises of credit unions aimed at offering credit with eduction as one of its financial products (Dunford, 2002). FUCEC provides underprivileged people (especially poorer women) to join a credit union. The Microfinance institution provides members with the opportunity to save and obtain credit to finance local projects. This means that most members of FUCEC and net borrowers (Dunford, 2002).

Despite these developments, the role of microfinance in alleviating poverty in Togo has not been exploited. Likewise, the relationship among microfinance, entrepreneurship and sustainability are yet to be exploited in Togo. It is against this backdrop that this study aims at investing the relationship among microfinance, entrepreneurship and sustainability in Togo. This will help in the formulation of policies regarding microfinance, entrepreneurship and sustainability in future.

This paper will look at two hypotheses as follows:

Microfinance programs have a positive impact on entrepreneurship in Togo;
Entrepreneurship has a positive impact on the sustainability of Microfinance in Togo.

Based on the literature above, it can be concluded that there is a significant link between entrepreneurship and microfinance. Despite the apparent importance between sustainability and microfinance, very limited research has been conducted to explore this relationship. In addition, most studies on microfinance in less developed countries have focused on other countries thus ignoring Togo altogether. This study extends the paper by incorporating sustainability into the relationship between entrepreneurship and microfinance using Togo as a case study.


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Free Essays

A Critical Analysis Of The Relationship Between Urban Conditions And Street Gangs In The United States, 1950 – 2010


Gangs are not a recent phenomenon. Since the late 1700’s, street gangs have grown to become a permanent part of the American landscape. The gang label has been widely applied to various groups including prison inmates, organized criminals, outlaws of the 19th century American west and groups of inner city youths (Alonso 2004).

The sociological study of gangs dates back to Thrasher’s classic study in 1927 in which he attributed the rapid proliferation of gangs to the social conditions of urban cities in nineteenth century United States of America (US). In fact, Thrasher’s seminal work (1927) paved the way for subsequent theories and classic sociological studies on gangs from diverse perspectives. Cohen (1995), for example, pointed out that the emergence of gangs was a result of lower socioeconomic youths who responded to their exclusion from mainstream middle class culture by forming their own gangs. In a similar vein, Miller (1974) argued that criminal activities and gang formation were behavioural manifestations of focal concerns such as excitement, trouble, anxiety and fate.

In recent years, the expansion of the gang problem in the US and to other localities such as the United Kingdom (UK) has led to a renewed academic interest in gangs and gang culture (Covey, Menard and Franzese, 1997). Scholars and academics have adopted a number of theoretical approaches in attempts to understand the formation and development of street gangs in modern society. In particular, they have addressed the relationship between urban conditions and street gangs.

In order to shed some light on gangs in modern society, this paper explores the relationship between urban conditions and street gangs in the US. This paper will first outline the history of gangs in the US since the 1950s, and subsequently address the factors that have been associated with the development of gangs. Following this, the paper will critically analyse different positions and perspectives that link street gangs in the US to urban conditions. The main position of this author will be one of drawing together multiple theoretical approaches and empirical findings to reach a conclusion that highlights the multi-dimensional and complex nature of gangs and their formation.


The history of gang formation in the US dates back to 1783 following the revolutionary war (Bourgois 2003). It has been argued that the main trigger for gang formation was the immigration of various groups into the US. The main entry of immigrants to the United States was New York City’s Ellis Island (Bourgois 2003). The first immigrants to arrive in the early 1600s were the Dutch immigrants who, according to Bourgois (2003), stole Manhattan Island from the native population who resided, hunted and fished in the island. The Lower East Side of the city was also inhabited by the Irish immigrants thereby ensuing political, economic and social disorganization.

On the East coast, street gangs developed in three distinctive phases. The first phase emerged after the revolutionary war of 1783 (Bourgois 2003). These groups of gangs were not seasoned criminals but rather groups of youths fighting over local turf. The more serious gangs emerged in the second phase around 1820, when immigration had begun to pick up in New York City (Bourgois 2003). Gangs constituted members of the same race and ethnicity who joined together for protection purposes and recreation, as well as for financial gain.

The third wave ensued during the 1930s and 1940s as more Black and Latinos continued to arrive in large numbers. Soon, as Gannon (1967) notes, a large percentage of the street gangs in New York had grown to become mainly the Puerto Ricans or Blacks.

Since this third wave of gangs in the 1940s, gangs have grown considerably in numbers in the urban cities in the US. Due to the proliferation of large-scale migration to urban cities, most of the gangs have grown rapidly (Mincie 1999). For example, after the slum clearance project of the 1950s, thousands of African American and Poor Puerto Rican families migrated to high rise public housing in East Harlem making it one of the most concentrated foci of dislocated poverty in New York City (Mincie 1999).

The majority of gang-dominated neighbourhoods in the urban cities of the US are now characterized by a lack of economic opportunities, inadequate city services, poverty and struggling school systems (Alonso 2004). The barrios of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are viewed as the stereotypical homes to these gangs (Alonso 2004). The current climate is one where African American gangs have garnered considerable public attention and has been widely recognized as a prevalent social problem (Alonso 2004).


Researchers have studied the factors involved in gang formation from a number of psychological, sociological and criminological perspectives (Thornberry, Krohm, et al., 2003; Vigil, 1988).

The first models of gang formation emerged from the followers of the Chicago school of thought in the 1920s and rely on cultural ecological models (Thrasher, 1927). These models posited that the formation of street gangs was a direct result of a environmental and social factors in which gangs were much more likely to form in parts of the city which were characterized as more geographically and socially interstitial and areas that experienced social disorganization such as deteriorating homes and high numbers of immigrants. In these contexts and conditions, Thrasher (1927) argued that the competition, isolation and conflicts occurring between individuals result in the formation of gangs. In other words, environmental factors emanating from the urban landscape play a key factor in the formation of gangs.

On the other hand, Wilson’s (1987) “underclass” theory argues that individuals who come from income deprived families and those that lack legal employment opportunities are more likely to turn to illegal or deviant activities. In the US, for example, the transition from a manufacturing to a service based economy in US during the 1970s led to drastic changes on the economic conditions, reducing the demand for low skilled workers in the service oriented industry and restricting their access to labour market, thereby blocking their upward mobility which resulted in the new “underclass” (Alonso 2004). In response, members of the underclass relied on gangs for protection of welfare and for financial gain. Undeniably, there seems to be a strong correlation between urban conditions in the US and gang formations.

Another school of thought suggests that other factors are at play in the formation of gangs. Debarbieux and Baya (2008) for example, suggested that gangs emerge from high concentrations of highly rebellious students from difficult schools. In this approach, gangs are formed when rebellious and anti-social students are excluded from school for disciplinary reasons. It is the suspension or exclusion that then allows the gang formation to be strengthened. A related approach sees peer factors as playing the strongest role in gang formation. Battin (1998), in their study of stable and transient gangs in the US, revealed that the combination of a high level of interaction with delinquent peers in an unsupervised fashion leads to gang formation. Support for this position has emerged from early studies that have demonstrated that gang formation grows out of interaction and subsequent conflict among groups of young adolescents (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960).

Opposing schools of thought and perspectives on the factors involved in gang formation have led some researchers to adopt a “multiple marginality perspective” (Vigil, 1988) in which there is no single factor that leads to gang formation but a complex interaction between a host of factors that include Thrasher’s environmental and social factors, peer factors, school factors and other factors such as low-income and mother-centered homes. It is with such a multi-dimensional perspective that this essay now critically examines the relationship between urban conditions and street gangs in the US.


There is a large body of evidence and theoretical statements that point to a clear relationship between urban conditions in the US and street gangs. The earliest evidence can be traced to Thrasher’s (1927) aforementioned observations on urban conditions and street gangs that have been preceded by further empirical research and statistics. For example, more than three fourths of cities surveyed by Howell (1998) reported proliferation of youth gangs in urban areas. The highest level of gang activity was reported in the larger cities which accounted for 74%, followed by the suburban counties with 57%, while the small cities and rural counties reported 34% and 25% of gang activity (Howell 1998). Moreover, several scholars such as Sullivan (1989), Drecker (1996) and Bursik & Grasmick (1993) have agreed that postindustrial urban conditions are largely responsible for gang development.

In fact, the image of gang youths in America has traditionally been characterized by urban economic marginalization and social disorganization. The urban poor ghetto, the slum dwellers, the economically deprived, the “underclass” neighbourhood and “socially isolated” inner city are some of the common phrases that have become popular in the discourse on urbanism and gang formation in US as well as in media portrayals (Alonso 2004). Street gang activity is widely depicted as a signature attribute of ghetto life.

Whilst the majority of gang activity is said to occur in the urban areas, it must be noted that the distribution of such gangs in capital cities varies greatly. Youth gangs are especially more common in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Chicago was estimated to have nearly 132 gangs with estimated gang members of between 30,000 and 50,000 in 1996 (Howell 1998). The four largest and criminally active gangs in Chicago were mainly: the Latin Disciples, the Black Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords and the Latin Kings (Howell 1998). These groups of gangsters accounted for more than two thirds of all gang crimes in Chicago. In Los Angeles, it was estimated that more than 58,000 gang members thrived in the city, making it the largest city in US with the largest number of gang members (Howell 1998). The recent estimates of 2007 indicate that Los Angeles have nearly 1,350 street gangs with more than 175,000 gang members (Annual report 2007). Nevertheless, gang manifestation in the US is indeed an urban condition.

However, whilst there is no doubt that urban conditions in the US do play a role in street gangs and early studies have provided a rich source of evidence, studies that have followed the Chicago school of thought have often failed to probe deeper into the issues of street gangs. Although urban conditions have been discussed in detail, there has been a failure to understand how factors such as race and gender may be important. For example, in the former, whilst researchers observed the extreme conditions of poverty in Chicago, there were few attempts to link racism and discriminatory practices to the formation of gangs (Alonso, 2004). Similarly, in the latter case of gender, there have been few systematic studies that have investigated the formation and development of female gangs despite their increase in recent years. Recent survey research has indicated, for example, that one third of youth street gang members are girls (Esbensen and Winfree, 1998) and that girls who join gangs are in search of a critical “peer familial group” (Giordano, 1978; Harris, 1988). Taken together, it seems that one of the major shortcomings of an overemphasis on urban conditions is the risk of ignoring the role of other factors. Moreover, there are also methodological issues associated with many studies focusing on urban conditions. For example, general surveys that examine youth gangs have a tendency to be limited to specific locations that do not have diverse and representative populations, such has the longitudinal studies by Thornberry et al, 1993, and often do not take into account the presence of gangs in rural areas (Winfree, Vigil-Backstrom and Mays, 1994). In addition, few studies have focused on identifying more detailed knowledge on gangs such as Battin-Pearson and colleagues (1997) who differentiated between “transient” gangs (members for 1 year or less) and “stable” gangs (members for 2 or more years)

In regards to Wilson’s “underclass” theory, Miller (1974) provided evidence of an association between street gangs in the US with individuals from the urban lower class. In a similar vein, Spergel (1995) associated youth gangs with the urban lower class, but with an important caveat. Spergel (1995) argued that, while contemporary youth gangs in the US were mainly located in lower-class, slum ghetto; it was not clear that poverty, class, race, culture or ethnicity primarily accounted for the rising gang problems. In other words,

Despite the fact that gang formation in the US is primarily seen as a result of a postindustrial urban conditions characterized by the urban poor ghetto, the slum dwellers, the economically deprived, and the “underclass” neighbourhood, this is not the entire picture. For example, according to Klein (1995), there are 77 variables that distinguish gang members from the general population. Urban conditions therefore represent only a minority of a host of factors. For example, gangs often form as a result of the characteristics of individual members rather than urban conditions. The overarching influence of peers may result in a number of youths joining youth gangs as evidenced by findings that the strongest predictors of gang affiliation are the levels of interaction with antisocial peers (Battin-Pearson, 1997). Research has also indicated that compared to non-gang members, gang members suffer from lower self-esteem and are more likely to hold anti-social beliefs (Maxson, Whitlock and Klein, 1998; Moffitt, 1993).

These personal factors belong to the group of “risk factors” that play an important role in gang formation and development and are largely ignored by hypotheses of urban conditions. Other risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of joining a gang include alcohol and drug use (Huzinga and Lovegrove, 2009; Thorberry, Krohn et al, 2003), mental health problems such as conduct disorder and depression (Howell and Egley, 2005), and negative life events (Thornberry, Krohn et al, 2003). Although these risk factors do not directly cause gang formation or crime, they are likely to cumulatively increase probabilities.

Due to the wide variety of causal and risk factors that have been proposed for gang formation in the US, one major limitation of research on gangs in the US lies in the ability to extrapolate findings to other countries facing increasing gang crime such as the UK. However, it is interesting to note that following the rioting and gang crime in the UK last year, David Cameron brought in high profile experts in American gang crime because many see the Americanized gang culture as having set the precedence for other countries (Guardian 2011). Future research should therefore focus on more cross-cultural areas of enquiry so that universal initiatives can be developed and applied across the globe.


Over the course of this essay, it has become apparent that the dynamics of gang formation are complex and that there are numerous risk and causal factors that contribute to gang formation. Although there is considerable evidence in favour of urban conditions and socially disorganised conditions being responsible for gang formation, it is important to highlight that gang membership is not exclusively an urban poor phenomenon and that many other factors come into play. It may therefore, be argued that adopting a multi-perspective approach such as Vigil’s (1988) “multiple marginality perspective” is the way forward for theory, policy and most importantly, practice.


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Free Essays

Customer Relationship Management Systems


Customer relationship management systems are used in the contemporary business environment to facilitate relationship marketing and other practices, which help firms enhance relationships between themselves, their customers, suppliers, employees, and other partners in their business processes. CRM systems provide all parties with vital information which helps make operations more efficient and enhances profitability. However, CRM systems also have drawbacks. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of CRM systems and illustrates the mentioned concepts through a case study upon Dell.


A few decades ago, customers would personally go to supermarkets or other stores where they had previously purchased products or availed a service in order to either register complaints, to inquire about other products and services, or in order to purchase the product or book the service again. Likewise, businesses would attempt to observe and manually record which items left their shelves sooner and which items were less popular with customers amongst other data such as sales figures, regular purchasing patterns of customers, and how many customers were satisfied/dissatisfied with a product/service (Reinartz, Kraft, & Hoyer, 2004). While it previously took weeks or months for businesses to attempt to gather this information, such information is now available to businesses within seconds. However, the benefit of convenience is not only limited to businesses as customers also enjoy the facility of lodging complaints, asking questions, placing orders, and getting a fully personalized customer service based upon their interests and preferences. While some customers enjoy the fact that businesses are aware of everything about them including their birthdays and the number of members in their family, some customers are not as enthusiastic about this sphere of customer relationship management software systems. Accordingly, customer relationship management software systems have their respective advantages and disadvantages (Chen & Popovich, 2003).
This paper will discuss the manner in which customer relationship management systems have revolutionized e-business practices and integrated people, processes, and technology both within and across organizational contexts followed by a discussion of the best practices of firms using customer relationship management systems. The paper will then continue to discuss the challenges posed by the customer relationship management system and the social implications of its use with specific emphasis upon privacy issues. A case study of Dell will be provided further in the paper in order to illustrate the applicable concepts mentioned. The paper will conclude with a summary of the main points emphasized in the paper and recommendations for improvements in the use of customer relationship management systems.

Customer Relationship Management Systems and Their Effect on E-business:

“E-business is an overall strategy which enables the proper management of business functions including time cycle, speed, globalization, enhanced productivity, reaching new customers and sharing knowledge across institutions for competitive advantage” says Lou Gerstner, CEO IBM (Lecture 2). Previously, businesses were not properly aware of what their customers needed and attempted to fulfil those needs and wants through guesswork or by asking a few customers what they preferred over what they did not desire in a product. Thus, managers recorded customer complaints in registers and attempted to resolve them eventually, while this process often resulted in delays over months. However, the implementation of e-business systems and the widespread use of e-commerce have enabled the introduction of customer relationship management systems, which include the “methodologies, software, and communication capabilities, that help organizations to structure and manage their customer relationships and interactions with the objective to increase customer satisfaction with the organisation’s products or services” (Lecture 3). Therefore, customers are now able to access reliable, accurate, and vital information regarding the products and services that they have used with the click of a mouse (Bose, 2002).
Customer relationship management systems have benefitted firms by integrating people, processes, and technology to increase the level of efficiency in organizations and enabling firms to use customer information to their advantage. The system enables the production of a customer database recording all customer details and creating a customer profile, which provides the company with details regarding the customer’s needs and frequent purchases. While previously companies would attempt to sell the same product to every customer in the same manner, customer relationship management systems allow the information regarding customer preferences to be used to differentiate and specifically target the firm’s products to a customer (Payne & Frow, 2005).
Customer relationship management systems are not only used to remain in communication with customers, but are used as a tool to connect a firm’s customers, distribution channel members, suppliers, and other similar parties within the same platform and maximising all of these relationships to increase profitability in the business. This is done through the various features of the customer relationship management systems which provide vital information for all of the parties involved in the business, thus making the conduction of business more convenient, information easily accessible, and operations efficient and cost-effective (Payne & Frow, 2005). For example, the sales force automation function of customer relationship management systems provides information on customers, previous deals, and competitors to support the sales force of the team. Thus, the system helps the sales force of the firm perform their job more effectively and also provides the suppliers of the business information regarding customer preferences and the products in highest demand amongst different target groups. Other functions of the system include customer service and support systems, which enable customers to track their orders, monitor their requests, and enables managers to reply to customer queries promptly thus aiding both customer service personnel and customers to fulfil their functions with ease. Field service is a function that allows remote staff to quickly and effectively communicate with the customer service personnel to meet individual needs. Thus, the customer relationship management system provides information to remote staff regarding customer needs in order to enable them to meet them more adequately (Jayachandran et al, 2005). The marketing automation function of the system allows up-to-date information on customers’ buying habits to enable the construction of effective marketing campaigns. Accordingly, the system also facilitates the marketing team of an organization to construct and design specifically targeted and effective marketing campaigns which may help increase the profitability of a firm (Bose, 2002).
Therefore, the customer relationship management system provides information for several parties involved in the business process and thus integrates the use of technology with people in order to improve and enhance business processes. This is one of the main reasons that customer relationship management systems are becoming highly popular amongst firms. The use of the system enables a firm to grow revenue, provide better customer service, introduce repeatable and consistent sales processes, create new value and increase customer loyalty (Campbell, 2003). It also allows firms to implement the three phases of customer relationship management systems, which enables the acquisition of new customers, enhancement of the profitability of existing customers, and the retention of profitable customers for life. It enables the implementation of core customer relationship management processes including cross-selling and up-selling, direct marketing, customer support, and sales force automation. Thus, the use of these processes brings substantial improvements in marketing campaigns, product development, sales, and field service (Lin, Chen, & Chiu, 2010).
The use of customer relationship management systems has enabled firms to communicate within their organization, with customers, and across their organization to other firms, who may be members of the distribution channel or the firm’s suppliers, by sharing and gathering vital information regarding customers and processing this information to make it useful in the business process. The best practices of customer relationship management systems include well-establishment of organizational needs, good inter-departmental communication, the integration of front-end and back-office data-mining procedures, and the establishment of an up-to-date central warehouse of data (Oztaysi, Sezgin, & Ozok, 2011).
Many firms currently apply customer relationship management strategies through the implementation of social customer relationship management and the use of social media to get their message across to customers effectively. Platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are used in order to communicate with customers and advertise products/services to them (Bose, 2003).
However, while the use of customer relationship management systems provides extensive advantages to a contemporary business, there are still challenges involved in the use of these systems. While many customers are now accustomed to buying products online, other customers are still highly wary of using such systems and exposing personal information on such websites. Moreover, while the people of some cultures prefer communicating via an electronic source, others are only satisfied with personal contact (Oztaysi, Sezgin, & Ozok, 2011).These challenges will be discussed in the next part of this paper.

Challenges of Customer Relationship Management Systems and Social Implications of their Use:

In order to gather all of the data needed to meet customer needs and provide information to suppliers, sales force, managers, and other parties in the business process, the business needs to use the aid of cookies to track customer surfing details and to record what types of products customers purchase from other websites. The problem is that some customers regard this as an invasion of privacy and refrain from shopping online because they are aware that firms are monitoring their actions. Statistics show that 51% of shoppers are highly concerned about privacy online and 48% refrain from shopping online because of privacy issues (Lecture 3). This can pose serious problems for firms who want to efficiently use their customer relationship management systems and prevent customers from using spyware protection software, making the use of these systems redundant (Fan & Ku, 2010).
Other challenges posed by the use of customer relationship management systems include the lack of appropriate executive support as some customers feel that they do not receive adequate service online while some business executives also feel that these systems are not satisfactory for use in organizations and refrain from using them. Additionally, many firms lack rationale when they decide to use customer relationship management systems (Ang, 2011). For example, a firm who has a highly personal relationship with customers and thrives upon the personal contact that it enjoys with its customers may not benefit from the adoption of a customer relationship management system as it may lose the element of being able to personally attend to customers. Other problems with the use of customer relationship management systems include an inappropriate network infrastructure, user resistance, and the lack of cultural preparation of these systems (Fan & Ku, 2010).
One of the major flaws of CRM systems includes their lack of adaptability to different cultures. Contemporary business research has found that customers belonging to different cultural backgrounds tend to act differently when interacting with businesses and have varying preferences regarding the type of contact that they find suitable in business settings. While consumers belonging to masculine cultures may prefer or be comfortable with using technological solutions and communicating with customer service personnel online, customers belonging to feministic cultures may prefer more personal contact. Moreover, customers belonging to certain cultures may consider the invasion of privacy that these systems encompass highly inappropriate while customers from other cultures may believe it to be useful in helping them find the right product (Chen & Popovich, 2003).
Customer relationship management systems may also be hard to use for the company’s existing management and employees and they may resist a change to the use of these systems as it may involve a change in organizational culture. The appropriate implementation of these systems requires communication, culture, and coordination which helps employees adapt to the systems more appropriately (Campbell, 2003).
It may be difficult to integrate the system with other departments in the organization, which will result in the adoption of the system to be expensive. The system may not coordinate well with other accounting and finance software which may cause the organization additional unnecessary expenditure in attempting to adjust the customer relationship management software with their existing technology, existing business processes, and the people associated with the business (Campbell, 2003).
It is evident that while the customer relationship management system offers numerous advantages to firms and customers, there are specific challenges that the implementation of the system faces, especially in the realms of resistance shown by customers in allowing an invasion of their privacy. The next section of this paper will outline the manner in which Dell Inc. used customer relationship management software to its advantage and how it incorporated the system within its firm.

Dell Case Study:

Dell is a globally renowned company offering customers leading global systems and services and the company required the aid of a customer relationship management system to integrate its customers and other global sales teams with the business. Previously, the company used multiple systems, internally designed by the company, which were used in each of the regions that the company operated in. However, the company wished for a flexible and convenient system which was globally accepted and used widely. While the company aimed to find a solution themselves, it was proving to be highly expensive. Thus, the company implemented the use of SalesForce CRM, which is a software allowing the company to integrate with technological partners, customers, employees, and other agents in their business processes. The company required a solution to gather feedback from its 80,000 employees worldwide and also wanted to begin a global partner program in the near future for which it required an appropriate communication platform enabling it to efficiently and effectively communicate with potential technological partners. Thus, the use of SalesForce CRM integrated various departments within the organisation and also allowed the organization to communicate with other organizations using the same interface (Dell Case Study, 2011).
The company solved several of its problems using the customer relationship management system which included communicating with approximately 3 million customers everyday and also collaborating with 80,000 employees worldwide. The use of the system enabled the company to extract the top ideas for innovation and better understand what customers were looking forward to by gathering and processing customer feedback on the system. Moreover, employees were also required to give innovative ideas for future technological solutions and business processes and this information was also automatically sorted by the system in order to show Dell’s business executives the most popular opinions. Top ideas were generated through comments and voting upon the posting of various opinions on the system (Dell Case Study, 2011).
The company greatly benefitted from the implementation of this system as it generated over 2,500 ideas on innovation in the first week and approximately 700 ideas related to employee feedback regarding business processes. The company has been able to use vital customer feedback in order to design desktops and consumer notebooks and also left Windows XP as a pre-installed operating system in the computers because of customer demand. The technology implemented in the customer relationship management systems enabled the company to track main technological trends and develop products accordingly (Dell Case Study, 2011).
Using the Salesforce CRM system enabled the company to integrate various players in its business processes via one platform and also enabled the company to design some its own software solutions which allowed the company to enhance its relationship marketing strategies. However, one of the problems that the company faced with the implementation and use of the Salesforce CRM system was user adaptation of the system. Teaching users worldwide how to operate the various functions that the system offered was an obstacle that the company overcame through offering training sessions on the use of the system and teaching employees and other users worldwide how to use the system within fourteen days. Thus, because Salesforce CRM is an easy-to-use system, users were able to adapt to the new technology easily and within a short period of time.
Dell significantly benefitted from the use of the system and the system proved to be cost-effective, efficient, and highly beneficial in increasing the revenue of the company. Obstacles such as adaptation were overcome through the provision of training sessions and through company focus upon implementing and using the system. While the initial installation and provision of training for the system was expensive, the system aided Dell in collaborating with both employees and customers and enabled the company to devise its own technology. Moreover, the company did not use the system to “spy” on customers or invade their privacy which proved to be an added advantage. The system was used in various manners by the company to solve its current problems and can be used in other ways in the future. Thus, customer relationship management systems can prove to be an addition of value for a company and an important tool used to integrate processes, people, and technology to enhance relationships within the organisation and outside the realms of the organisation as well.
The next section of this paper will discuss the main points emphasized in the paper and provide recommendations regarding the use of customer relationship systems and for Dell Inc.

Conclusion and Recommendations:

There are various advantages associated with the use of customer relationship management systems which include the functions such as sales force automation, direct marketing, customer service, field service automation, and others. Hence, the use of such systems promotes convenience, access to information and information-processing, and enhances the efficiency of business operations. Moreover, it also allows the integration of people, processes, and technology. This has been illustrated in the case of Dell who use SalesForce CRM to integrate inter-department functions with other organizations that it wishes to partner with. However, the drawbacks of using customer relationship management systems include the issue of customer privacy, user resistance, lack of adaptability, and the inability to prepare the software for use by different cultures.
Accordingly, it is recommended that customer relationship management software not be used in place of personal contact but can be used as an additional resource helping keep customers and businesses connected. However, businesses should frequently encourage personal and face-to-face contact with their customers and ask customers for feedback regarding products/services or their personal preferences instead of tracking customers’ surfing data through the use of cookies. If the business deems it necessary to track customer information through cookies, the company must aim to ask customers for permission and inform them that this will enable the business to serve them better through products customized and tailored to suit their needs. Additionally, customers must attempt to adapt the system to suit people of different cultures and nationalities in order to make the system suitable for use by all.
In the case of Dell Inc. it is recommended that the company use its CRM system to freely communicate with clients, enable them to customize their computers, provide feedback, and can also use it to motivate employees. This can be done by using it as a portal to provide hard-working employees with recognition for their contribution to the organisation. The company can also use it as a marketing tool in order to inform customers of new products based upon their recent purchases. Thus, the company can use the CRM system for multiple purposes.


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Oztaysi, B., Sezgin, S., & Ozok, A. F. (2011). “A measurement tool for customer relationship management processes.” Industrial Management & Data Systems. Vol. 111(6) pp. 943-960.
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Free Essays

Types of Relationships

Human relationships have always perplexed me. These seemingly simple bonds between people can amount to so much and cause such commotion that lives change drastically within minutes in these relationships. Especially in the fast changing world of today. In my piece I am going to be telling you about the three types of relationships I see taking place. Over time, I have asked myself three questions, finding the answers along the way, which is what I will be explaining to you. To begin, how much does one compromise on self-gratification for the sake of commitment?

Or should one compromise at all in the name of love? Finally, what happens when love is found outside ones’ commitment? To start off, how much does one compromise on self gratification for the sake of commitment? What I have seen in regards to this scenario is basically to satisfy parents or tradition. This basically comes hard for the person making the compromise mainly because even though they may be happy, they are just not in that totally-in-love state and as a whole, not fully in the relationship.

In such a relationship the person who has made the compromise is just in the relationship in a lost state where the other person is there trying to take it further and make it work whereas just being in it for maintaining it sake. The person making the compromise I would say is robbing themselves their true love as well as the other person involved. Why have someone love you and want so much from a bond when you can’t seem to find the zeal for it as well? It makes no sense to spin a top in mud; it only brings hurt in years to come.

This type of relationship can be seen in families of wealth and good economic status. Secondly, should one compromise at all in the name of love? My answer to this is NO! This really makes no sense and ends up just hurting the other person badly. It’s like a slap in the face saying that you have just played with them for so long. The other person would just take it as thought you were there to satisfy and act out the role of being in a bond. Compromising in the name love is just wrong to do; whatever the circumstances.

This sort of actions you would find in arranged marriages and usually it is the female that has to make this compromise and suffer. A classic example of this type of relationship can be seen in arranged marriages in Indian families, but these are not limited for Indian families in India; these can still be seen in American or other parts of the world where Indian or Muslim families reside. Only true love can set them free of this compromise but it just ends up in a big blunder because it would create a lot of friction and pose a lot of questions.

When someone truly loves, they expect to have it back in return. Not an act. Lastly, what happens when love is found outside ones’ commitment? This to me is a sad thing but also a happy thing when it is dealt with maturely and with much understanding. Regarding my earlier points; imagine in this compromise that is made. It takes a true person to understand when love is found outside a relationship by the compromising partner.

Although the other party is strongly in love with this person, they would understand that this was not their love story after all and should be happy that their partner found theirs. Yes it is a sad thing to happen in a relationship, but when one understands the meaning of true love only then they can let go without any qualms. In conclusion I would just like to let you know that in these relationships listed above really toys’ with emotions and in somewhat way sets people free to truly love.

So next time a relationship hinders your way I urge yourself to ask yourself the questions I explained or even more ask yourself while you are in it. How much does one compromise on self-gratification for the sake of commitment? Or should one compromise at all in the name of love? Finally, what happens when love is found outside ones’ commitment? I assure you if you can analyze these three questions of relationship, you would indeed have a good approach and grasp on your commitment.

Free Essays

Letting Go

There come times, in the context of love and romance, when we must learn to let go. For some of us, as described in the song, we must let go of a past romantic relationship. Maybe the relationship was not meant to be: perhaps it was hurtful to us, or perhaps it was hindering the personal or spiritual growth of one or both partners. In this case, even when there may still be feelings of passion, or attraction, or just the comfort of the familiar, we must be strong in letting go of something that is unhealthy for us.

Perhaps we have no problem leaving the person behind, but we continue to harbor animosity. In this case, we need to let go of the anger: holding onto anger does not serve us – and it might even serve to create problems in our physical health or emotional well-being. … In the realm of romantic relationships, some of us need to let go of unrealistic expectations. Whether we have idealized a past relationship or just read too many romance novels, some of us need to let go of the myth of the perfect lover: the fantasy of a relationship that requires no work and just brings us “happily ever after.

By letting go, I am not implying “to forget” or “to ignore. ” By all means, we should carry with us the happy memories and the lessons we have learned from our past relationships. However, we need to let go in the sense of releasing emotional baggage we may be carrying around with us, so that we may be open to, and present for, a new relationship. Some of us have difficulty letting go of a friend or loved one who has passed away.

I have known mothers who have lost a young child who never seem to cope with this loss, emotionally: they carry it with them for years, like a dark and ominous cloud that — even on a sunny day – looms on the horizon. Children can have as hard a time losing their parents, even when the parents have lived long and full lives. Often adult children who have lost a parent before working through interpersonal issues, or before having an opportunity to say goodbye, have difficulty letting go of unresolved issues or guilt.

Sometimes we may need to go for some counseling or do a ritual (some act with personal meaning) to allow us to release these emotions. Many of us have trouble letting go of old ways of viewing people who have been part of our lives for an extended period of time. They may be changing, and yet we do not let go of viewing them in the same way, and/or we try to discourage that change. We refuse to let go of the labeling, categorizing, and pre-set expectations we have of those we know, and of ourselves.

This seems particularly true of many parents of teenage or young adult children. Many parents have a difficult time letting go of them as children, and allowing them to grow up. It is hard for parents to make that transition from treating their children as kids, to treating them as adults and more like friends. Many of these same parents have trouble letting go of viewing themselves, primarily, in the role of parent. For instance, some mothers are afraid to let their kids become grownups, because they are afraid to let go of their own identity as “mother.

They have become so identified with that one role, that they no longer are sure who they are, outside of that role. When we refuse to let go of old ways of identifying and viewing ourselves and others, we hinder the growth and change that is occurring. There is a saying: Let Go, Let God. For most, if not all, of us, the letting go that we most need to do is a type of surrender. We need to surrender to life, itself. This means that we need to let go of our illusion that we actually can control most aspects of our lives.

In many cases, rather than to fight “what is,” we need to learn to accept and to be at peace… Too many of us are trying to keep a tight grip on things that are out of our control. This is like trying to grip the water flowing in a river. Put your hands into the river. If you try to get the water by grabbing it and clenching your fists, it goes right out of your hands. If you relax and open, gently cupping your hands, the water flows into your palms. By relaxing, opening, and trusting, we can hold onto more of what is precious to us. By letting go, we actually allow more of the mystery of life to come in for us. ?