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Sample Technology Essay: Knowledge Management at Thomson Reuters

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an online portal (“Learning Exchange”) as a tool in promoting knowledge sharing at a leading market information firm – Thomson Reuters. The company was having problems with the flow of knowledge amongst different departments across several countries, therefore as the several theorists suggest, a knowledge management system in the form of an intranet was implemented in a bid to promote knowledge sharing. Results obtained from a colleague working within the organization reported that the Learning Exchange has not been as successful as planned due to the low level of trust following the merger, employee unwillingness to share and also the competitive culture that is usually the norm in Knowledge companies, thus confirming several theorists’ view of the reasons behind intranet sharing failures. A new corporate wide initiative is therefore proposed, to minimize the predominant competitive culture; engage all users in the knowledge management system; and to include an increasing number of relevant information on Learning Exchange.

Keywords

Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing, Thomson Reuters, Intranet sharing, competitive advantage, market information industry, organizational effectiveness.

1. Introduction

a. Organization and Industry

The global market information industry, dominated mainly by Bloomberg (33%) and Thomson Reuters (34%), has been described as a duopolistic market that may determine the future trend in global businesses. Drucker (2001) reports that attainment of competitive advantage is increasingly focused on the possession of information and knowledge, as opposed to capital and labour – the norm in previous decades.

Thomson Reuters is a global market leader in market information, following the merger between Thomson Financials and Reuters in 2008. It is headquartered in Canada, and operates in 93 countries with over 50,000 staff (Thomson Reuters, 2009). 2008 revenues were ?13 billion.

Employees who work in the market information industry are composed mainly of journalists, market analysts, and technology professionals. All three occupations are composed mainly of knowledge workers. Therefore presenting the best opportunity to ascertain the effectiveness of knowledge management systems in such an industry.

b. Aims and Objectives

This paper aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an online portal (“Learning Exchange”) as a tool in promoting knowledge sharing amongst those that know, and those that don’t, at leading market information firm – Thomson Reuters. Has the intranet tool that was implemented, really done its work in promoting collaboration amongst employees within the organization, and if so, how was that achieved?

The importance of this paper lies in its unique approach to the culture within the organization and its aim of drawing up recommendations that could result in substantial benefit to the knowledge management industry.

c. Nature of the issue

Thomson Reuters, an information company, was having problems with the flow of knowledge amongst different departments across several countries. Evaluating such a question, especially within a global organization, could lead to innumerable results regarding the overall effectiveness of such approaches in that industry, and could set footpaths for recommendations which could change the methods in which such platforms are implemented in the future.

Though my eventual findings are not certain, preliminary literature research clearly outlines that the success rate of any Knowledge Management Intranet system is based on the culture of the organization (Ruppel and Harrington, 2001), willingness of staff to accept the application (Goh, 2007), and integration strategies put into place that would encourage all stakeholders to use the intranet (Goh, 2007).

d. Paper Structure and Research Limitations

In order to verify or discredit such assumptions, this paper would be structured in a way such that it discusses the organizational and industry background in Introduction. Theories relating to knowledge management and sharing would be discussed in the literature review. A methodology section would outline the main procedures within which the author has gathered the data, and the analytical strategy being adopted, while the results and discussion chapter would compare the results from the organization against existing literature. Recommendations and Conclusions would be outlined in following chapters.

The major constraint that this paper may encounter, would be gaining access to the core knowledge workers whose information would make the Learning Exchange intranet very effective. What are their views regarding sharing their knowledge within the organization?

2. Literature Review

a. Knowledge in Organizations

Knowledge, as defined by Ajayi and Leidner (2001, p109), “is the information processing that takes place in human minds, as well as personalized information related to facts, procedures, concepts, interpretations, ideas, observations and judgements.”

Knowledge is a critical resource within organizations that may be used to gain and maintain competitive advantage (Drucker, 2001). There is therefore a high impetus for organizations to “exploit effective and efficient methods of preserving, sharing and reusing knowledge in order to help knowledge workers find task-relevant information” and also to help hedge the company against future uncertainties in the changing marketplace (Lai and Lui, 2009).

Nissen and Levitt (2002) assert that knowledge is unevenly distributed within most enterprises; therefore the flow of knowledge across time, location and departments is critical to organizational effectiveness and performance within a knowledge-based view of the firm. Data and Information may be in abundance within an organization, however the degree to which these result in actionable strategies depend on the level of knowledge being shared in the organization, as illustrated in figure 1 below (Ipe, 2003).

Figure 1: Knowledge Heirarchy, Source: Nissen (2002)

Data lies at the bottom level and is usually the most abundant resource within an organization, with information at the middle and knowledge being the least available resource (Nissen, 2002). Therefore the higher the collective knowledge base of the organization, the more effective it would be with strategies that properly utilize this core competence (Ipe, 2003). Argote and Ingram (2000) further argue that knowledge that is improperly distributed within an organization is of little importance, and for knowledge sharing to occur, some sort of mutual platform must be present that engages all individuals in the process of knowledge sharing.

b. Knowledge Management and Sharing

Knowledge Management is concerned with exploiting and developing the knowledge base of an organization with the aim of accomplishing the organizations main objectives (Rowley, 2000). Knowledge sharing, defined as the process in which employees diffuse and share relevant information amongst each other within an organization (Bartol and Srivastava, 2002) has been categorized as the most important part of Knowledge Management (Bock and Kim, 2002). The main aim of sharing organization knowledge is therefore to transfer organizational assets and resources between entities in an organization in order to promote streamlined processes, prevent repetitiveness (Dawson, 2001) and gain competitive advantage (Drucker, 2001).

Knowledge sharing plays a very important role in a company’s performance and innovation; the willingness to share knowledge within an organization is dependent on the focus of the organization, be it:

Job guarantee,
Individual performance,
Team performance or
Team learning (Meng Hsun et al, 2006).

Empirical evidence shows that the motivation to share knowledge is highly dependent on the team culture within the organization, and is highest with the team learning culture, whilst lowest with those companies laden with individual performance guarantees. Figure 2 below is a pictographic representation of Nissen and Levitt’s (2002) factors that affect knowledge sharing behaviours.

Figure 2: Factors that affect knowledge sharing behaviours. Source: Nissen and Levitt (2002)

Huysman and Wulf (2006) noted that individuals might not necessarily opt to share their knowledge in all situations, even if it’s an organizational requirement. Foss et al (2009) also states that an individuals decision whether or not to share knowledge is highly influenced by the benefits and costs associated with each option.

c. Promoting Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge exists at different levels within the organization, and may be subdivided into individual, group or department level knowledge bases (De Long and Fahey, 2000), therefore an organization’s ability to effectively leverage the knowledge of these subdivisions in accomplishing an organization wide objective is highly dependent on its people and the culture within which the knowledge is created, shared and used (Ipe, 2003). Leveraging this knowledge could result in improved streamlined processes, such as those in a knowledge flow hierarchy as depicted in figure 3.

Figure 3: Knowledge flow hierarchy, Source: Zhuge (2002)

According to Ipe (2003) knowledge sharing within organizations is highly contingent on the following factors:

Nature of the knowledge
Motivation to share
Opportunities to share, and
Culture of the work environment

Figure 4: Knowledge sharing triangle, Source: Ipe (2003)

The methods by which these factors influence one another in promoting knowledge sharing are depicted in Figure 4. The capacity by which these factors influence organizational knowledge depends highly on the business objectives of the organization, its structure, business processes, rewards systems and culture. The organizational culture has the most influence on the other three knowledge-sharing factors, as it determines to a large extent, how and what knowledge is valued, relationships and rewards associated with knowledge sharing, and also the formal and informal facilities and opportunities that stakeholders have to share knowledge (Ipe, 2003).

Bresman et al (1999) asserts that the essential part of knowledge management is the transfer of knowledge across business units, hierarchies, countries, sister units and multicultural environments. Organizations may therefore encounter setbacks with regards to an increase in geographical and cultural distance within the organization. Meng Hsun et al (2006) also asserts that firms may encounter setbacks due to neglecting human nature and the knowledge trading mechanism within the organization. Foss et al (2009) also supports this assumption by stating that an employee’s attitudes and competencies may impede knowledge sharing. Some are ignorant of the importance of sharing knowledge whilst others possess an unwillingness to share that may be due to fear of losing importance, superiority or knowledge ownership (Zhuge, 2002).

However, the notion that an individual’s motivation to share is the main determinant for knowledge sharing has been challenged by Hislop’s (2003) study. The results of the study, illustrate that the most important determinant in an employee’s willingness to share, is the employee attitudes towards sharing. Employees working within the sales department of an organization may not be as willing to share knowledge, compared to those working in Marketing.

In a bid to curb the negativity associated with Knowledge Sharing, Lin (2006) discovered that the following motivational factors were significantly associated with employee knowledge sharing attitudes:

Reciprocal benefits,
Knowledge self efficacy and,
Enjoyment in helping in helping others.

De Vries et al (2006) also noted that eagerness and willingness to share are both positively related to knowledge sharing within an organization. Lin (2006) however asserts that expected organizational rewards do not significantly influence employee attitudes and intentions regarding organizational knowledge sharing. This finding therefore raises the question of what organizations can do to promote a knowledge sharing culture, if objective rewards have no significant effect.

d. Knowledge Sharing through Intranets

Drucker (2001) nominated the ability to gather and utilize knowledge as an important source of sustainable competitive advantage within an organization. A number of organizations have therefore begun pursuing knowledge management initiatives and making substantial investments in knowledge management systems that encourage a mutual culture of knowledge sharing behaviours (Hahn and Wang, 2009). While knowledge sharing may constitute a number of factors and requirements, a technology-mediated environment is one of the most important promoters of a knowledge sharing culture (Carlson and Davis, 1998).

Knowledge management systems are increasingly being deployed through intranets Foss et al (2009). Intranet KMS are knowledge networks with multiple points of entry maintained in a centralized location. Information could be created by, and is available to, all employees within the organization (Chin, 2005).

While the possibilities for intranet applications are innumerable, it is still classified as just the backbone for knowledge sharing. The success of any Intranet based KMS is based wholly on its adoption (Ipe, 2003). Successful KMS reflect the organization’s willingness and ability to share knowledge amongst each other, and the knowledge sharing culture within the organization. Unsuccessful knowledge sharing initiatives are not necessarily due to the intranet system, but the culture of the organization and employee’s willingness to share (Chin, 2005)

Chin (2005) further asserts that each knowledge management system has to pass through three main hurdles for it to be successful:

The technology used to implement and support knowledge sharing
The specified business goals that knowledge management seeks to achieve and,
A culture that understands the importance of a collective mindset within the organization.

Ruppel and Harrington (2001) also assert that the implementation of intranet knowledge management systems is facilitated through an organizational culture that promotes each of the following:

Trust and concern for other stakeholders
Flexibility and innovation
Policies, procedures and information management.

Top management seeking to implement these systems should therefore make sure that each of these procedures and cultures are present within the organization in order to obtain a successful adoption of its knowledge management initiative.

3. Analysis

a. Research Method

Based on the literature that has been reviewed and also on the purpose of this conference paper, the author adopted a positivist philosophy in ascertaining the success rate of “Learning Exchange” at Thomson Reuters. A deductive approach was also used when comparing data gathered to existing literature review.

Data was gathered through a case study analysis of an article written by Logan (2009) on the effectiveness of the learning exchange platform at Thomson Reuters. The author therefore aims to analyse the case study against the literature that has been reviewed on the topic with the hope of ascertaining the main factors that promoted or disrupted the intranet implementation processes at Thomson Reuters.

b. Analysis and Discussion

Being a knowledge based organization, Thomson Reuters faces the same challenges as outlined by Drucker (2001) – the possession and utilization of knowledge resources. A vast majority of its work force is composed of journalists and technical experts whose major competence is based, to a large extent, on what they know. Judging by Argote and Ingram’s (2000) theory, if journalists across several departments in the organization are unable to coalesce, then individual competences and knowledge would be useless.

This realization led the implementation of the “Learning Exchange” intranet platform, which aimed to create a unified formal platform for the sharing organizational knowledge. However, as Chin (2005) affirms, any knowledge-based intranet is only a backbone, which would only be successful if there is a unified adoption strategy within the organization.

According to reports garnered through a friend of mine, working at Thomson Reuters, the adoption of Learning Exchange has not been successful in meeting its implementation objectives. A vast majority of staff were sceptical about the process, especially due to the recent merger between Thomson Financials and Reuters that had occurred in 2008. The newly combined staff felt like it was a means for management to siphon out relevant knowledge from existing staff before they were let go. Thus confirming Ruppel and Harrington’s (2001) assertion that mutual trust amongst stakeholders was a very huge prerequisite for knowledge sharing.

The failure encountered with regards to the intranet adoption was also as a result of the predominant culture within the organization. Knowledge based organizations, as depicted by Drucker (2001), are known to be very competitive environments. Therefore employees hoard what they know, for the fear of losing importance, superiority or knowledge ownership (Zhuge, 2002). Some knowledge workers who had most of the relevant information were also hoarding a lot of relevant information. An employee within the organization said “it is just like a sales environment where you do not want to tell your colleague what you know, for the fear that they may do better than you”. This finding conforms to Hislop’s (2003) theory regarding the environment within which employees are encouraged to share information with one another. It also affirms Lin’s (2006) argument regarding the threat employees’ associate with knowledge sharing.

Ipe’s (2003) argument regarding the conditions within which employees share information also has a huge significance with relation to Learning Exchange. The ‘nature of the knowledge’ being shared is very valuable; therefore employees do not necessarily have that much ‘motivation to share’. Though the ‘opportunities to share’ are increasingly becoming available through the Learning Exchange, the ‘culture of the work environment’ does not necessarily permit it.

Learning Exchange is therefore increasingly becoming a backbone for knowledge sharing which has no “front-bone”. The more the knowledge hoarding culture within the organization is continuously being encouraged; the harder it becomes for knowledge workers within the organization to share information.

4. Conclusions

Though the initial aim of Thomson Reuters was the encourage organization wide knowledge sharing through the implementation of Learning Exchange, it did not possess the relevant organizational culture or employee willingness that the literature review had suggested. The platform for sharing was present, but its adoption and main objectives have not yet been met. The inability to successfully implement a knowledge sharing culture may lead to an increase in the risk of repetitive and overlapping processes within the organization, and also a lack of competitive advantage.

5. Recommendations

Based on the literature review, discussion and conclusions derived, these are my recommendations with regards to the implementation of Learning Exchange at Thomson Reuters.

Promote an organization – wide campaign that aims to change or at least minimize the predominant culture within the organization, in a bid to eradicate the knowledge hoarding actions that normally take place, and promote a more team approach.
Engage every user in the knowledge sharing intranet network by holding regular seminars and workshops on the importance of knowledge sharing. If possible, hold individual training sessions that educate all users on the benefits of sharing knowledge using the system.
Post an increasing number of organization information on Learning Exchange, as opposed to emails or bulletins. Incorporate predominant communication channels such as email and chat with Learning Exchange, in such a way that employees in the organization would have no choice but to adopt it for every day activities, and in the process learn more about its knowledge sharing features; then opt to use it.

6. References

Alavi, M. and Leidner, D. E. (2001) Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues, MIS Quarterly Vol. 25 (1) pp. 107–136.

Argote, L. and Ingram, P. (2000) Knowledge transfer: A basis for competitive advantages in firms, Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 82 (1), pp150–169

Bartol, K.m. and Srivastava, A. (2002) Encouraging knowledge sharing: The role of organisational reward systems, Journal of Leadership & Organisational Studies 9 (1) (2002), pp. 64–76.

Bock, G. W., and Kim, Y. G. (2002) Breaking the myths of rewards, Information Resources Management Journal, Vol. 15 (2) (2002), pp. 14–21

Bresman, H., Birkinshaw, J., and Nobel, R. (1999) Knowledge transfer in International Acquisitions, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 30 (3), p439 – 462

Carlson, J. R., and Davis, G. B. (1998) An investigation of media selection among directors and managers: From “self” to “other” orientation, MIS Quarterly 22 (3),pp 335–362

Chin, P. (2005) Knowledge Sharing: The Facts and the Myths, Intranet Journal, www.intranetjournal.com

Davenport, T., De Long, D., and Beers, M. (1998) Successful knowledge management projects, Sloan Management Review, Vol. 39 (2) (1998), pp. 43–57.

Dawson, R. (2001) Knowledge capabilities as the focus of organisational development and strategy, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 4 (4) (2001), pp320–327.

De Long, D. and Fahey, L. (2003) Diagnosing Cultural Barriers to Knowledge Management, Academy of Management Executive Vol. 14 (4), pp.113-127.

De Vries, R. E., van den Hoof, B., and de Ridder, J. A. (2006) Explaining Knowledge Sharing – The role of Team Communication Styles, Job Satisfaction, and Performance Beliefs, Communication Research, Vol. 33 (2), pp115-135

Drucker, P. (2001) The next society: A survey of the near future, The Economist Vol. 3 (November), pp. 2–20.

Goh, A. S. (2007) Integrating Knowledge Sharing Implementation: Toward An Institutionalized Symbiotic Model. International Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, Vol. 1 (1), p16-21

Hahn, J. and Wand, T. (2009) Knowledge management systems and organizational knowledge processing challenges: A field experiment, Decision Support Systems, Vol. 47 (4), pp332-342.

Hislop, D. (2003) Linking human resource management and knowledge management via commitment: A review and research agenda, Employee Relations 25 (2), pp. 182–202.

Huysman, M. and Wulf, V. (2006) IT to support knowledge sharing in communities, towards a social capital analysis, Journal of Information Technology 21, pp40–51

Ipe, M. (2003) Knowledge Sharing in Organizations: A conceptual Framework, Human Resource Development Review, Vol. 2(4), pp337-359

Lai. C, and Liu, D. (2009) Integrating knowledge flow mining and collaborative filtering to support document recommendation. Journal of Systems & Software, Vol. 82(12), pp2023-2037

Logan, G. (2009) Thomson Reuters adopt online knowledge sharing tool, Personnel Today, www.personneltoday.com, (accessed: 12/12/09)

Meng Hsun, S., Hsien Tang, T., Chi-Cheng, W., and Chung-Han, L. (2005) A holistic knowledge sharing framework in high-tech firms: game and co-opetition perspectives. International Journal of Technology Management, Vol. 36 (4), pp354-367.

Nissen, M. E., and Levitt, R. E. (2002) Dynamics Models of Knowledge-Flow Dynamics, CIFE Working Paper #76

Reychav. I, and Weisberg, J. (2009) Going beyond technology: Knowledge sharing as a tool for enhancing customer-oriented attitudes, International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 29 (5), pp353-361

Ruppel, C. P., and Harrington, S. J. (2001) Sharing Knowledge through intranets: A study of organizational culture and intranet implementation, IEEE transactions on professional communication, Vol. 44 (1), p37-52

Thomson Reuters (2009) ABOUT US, www.thomsonreuters.com/about, (accessed 10/10/2009)

Zhuge, H. (2002) A knowledge flow model for peer-to-peer team knowledge sharing and management, Expert Systems with Applications, Vol. 23 (1) (2002), pp23–30

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Free Essays

Free Technology Essay: JIT Outsourcing Case Study

1). Analysis of JIT Outsourcing Case Study

There are scores of empirical outcomes which shows that outsourcing decision brings enormous advantages to an organisation (See e.g. Mann and Borga, 2004; Yeaple, 2006). As the authors note, while outsourcing brings enormous cost advantages, it also allows firms to focus on other important strategic areas of their business, thus improving their strategic capability and strength in other areas. McCray (2008) on the other hand argues that the problem with outsourcing is that very often, there tends to be poor change management and effective governance structure. In his in-depth qualitative examination of the problems with outsourcing, McCray further identified that the following problems arise from outsourcing processes.

Post contract processes and decisions not understood
Poor mutual understanding of the Contract
Loss of key talent or poor knowledge transfers
Cultural Clash between the Client and the Service provider

In another delineation of the outsourcing process by Adams (2009) he suggests that many issues emerge from outsourcing because potential service providers are wrongly identified or selected. The author therefore laid emphasis on the identification process and how credible partners or service providers can be selected. Applying some of the authors thought to the present context, it appears that JIT outsourcing suffers from the same challenges identified by the authors quoted above. However, given the company’s ongoing difficulty in managing its helpdesk to meet staff’s expectations, outsourcing can be considered to be a good strategic decision for JIT though, lacking in the appropriate elements and process.

More importantly, decision to outsource at JIT did not consider some important elements of successful operations in the post outsourcing process, therefore subjecting the outsourcing motive to questioning. According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimons (2008) to achieve cost advantage and operational effectiveness for superior performance, it is very important to consider the 5 elements of operations performance which are “quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost. Rather, the decision of JIT to outsource seemed to only focus solely on cost in the performance hierarchy.

While the improvement of service quality was part of the motive for outsourcing the company’s PC helpdesk and data centre as John Smith made clear to the senior management in his presentation, the seriousness and motivation attached to obtaining quality of service after the outsourcing process was absent because much focus was concentrated on cost reduction and less on quality of service. Generally, many authors agree that it is natural for managers to think that outsourcing would mean that the quality of service would improve because they can have more time to monitor quality and achieve better efficiency. But that perception is wrong because outcomes of outsourcing in numerous organisations have consistently shown that quality of service drops after it has been outsourced to an outside party and this could happen for several reasons. Part of the reasons why it dropped in JIT however was because of gaps in the change management process and the governance structure in the post outsourcing regime. In organisational decisions, there must be a learning process especially when it has to deal with change management – in order to avoid disappointment and disasters which may arise as a result (Hammon, 2005).

In consonance with existing theories on outsourcing Cullen (2009) a senior consultant who consults for outsourcing projects at Cutter Consortium suggests that the achieve success in any IT outsourcing process. The outsourcing lifecycle in the framework which is in (figure 1) below must be followed reliably by an organisation.

Using this framework as an audit of John Smith’s decisions, it is notable that his and the management decision to outsource did not consider the implementation of some stages of the framework such as negotiation, transition and refreshing.

While basic negotiation was done, such negotiation was not properly conducted to ensure that it would strictly deliver the requirements of JIT objectively in other service terms which may be outside of the contractual agreement.

Lack of sufficient management of the transition stage was also responsible for the problems encountered in the first three months of the data centre off-shoring. Because, if a transition or change management process was properly managed, the loss made by JIT would have been avoided. Secondly, the management concerns governance of the post outsourcing regime. According to Walsh (2003) a good governance structure in the post outsourcing period must include cultural synergy, embodiment of effective communication systems into the two organisational cross communication into and continuous learning through the continuous exchange of information. These suggestions also appear to be missing in the governance structure of JIT during its post outsourcing period.

Source: Cullen (2008)

Finally, the last building block which concerns refreshing was also missed out by JIT with CPMI because no regular or interval checks are done with the organisation to ensure that everything is fine and it is not going through any problem as a result of the outsourcing management. This only happened on occasions when complaints are made to John Smith and he attempts to speak to the director of CPMI.

In addition, the strategic decision of JIT’s senior management did not consider the very important aspect of culture considering that both Japanese and English speakers are within its vertical operations and needed to man the PC helpdesk in order to support the rotational staff at any point in time. Inspite of this requirement, the senior management decided to force English on its business process and still went on to outsource its PC helpdesk to CPMI who did not provide a Japanese speaker that would make it account for rotational staff at every point.

Given the choice between CPMI and (the latter) Outsourcing Solution who would provide a fluent Japanese speaker who is also fluent in English, the decision to outsource to CPMI was taken quite wrongfully by senior management because Outsourcing solution would have been of more advantage in terms of meeting JIT’s cultural need.

More so, such cultural consideration would have offered a better interaction between JIT which is the outsourcing company and Outsourcing Solutions which is the service provider, such interaction would be useful in avoiding what McCray (2008) described as poor cultural clash between the client and the service provider, the cultural clash which arises from the outsourcing decision to CPMI is not only limited to language barriers and interaction, but the fact that CPMI staff did not understand Japanese protocol of behaviour.

To a certain extent, understanding Japanese protocol of behaviour by JIT’s service provider would have helped in avoiding some of the interaction problems which arises between PC helpdesk and members of staff of JIT. In a white paper by the Outsourcing factory (2008), it was suggested that outsourcing companies should concentrate on their corporate culture: i.e. the way business gets done in the company, the values they share and the way people interact. In another poll conducted by Accenture (2007) of 200 U.S. business executives, it was found that adopting cross-cultural communication problems and bridging cultural barriers through the implementation of cross cultural values and programs could increase productivity by an average of 26%.

Applying the same to JIT means that taking adequate care of Japanese protocol, language and behaviour in the outsourcing decision would have improved performance of its outsourcing by 26%.

To further demonstrate that some of the major problems in the outsourcing process of JIT is a result of the cultural gap between CPMI helpdesk and JIT staff, we may take a lesson from the research work of Gislen et al (2006) who find that between an outsourcing company in Sweden and a service provider in India, there was cultural gap because Indian staff were often scared of conflicts with their partners in Sweden and therefore could not communicate their dissatisfaction and emerging issues succinctly to their Swedish counterpart. Both employees in India and Sweden therefore lacked feedback which would make them be carried along and avoid potential problems in cross business interaction.

This evidence suggests possibly that, some of the problems encountered by JIT staff like Bob could not be solved because CPMI staffs were not confident enough to communicate because of the cultural differences or perhaps the gaps in culture or communication styles.

Another area where management could have optimised outcome from its outsourcing strategy would have been by having more than two potential service providers for the PC helpdesk that is to be outsourced. Having up five different service vendors would have allowed for better negotiation, comparison and consideration of strength of potential service providers. This would have also allowed for a better cost/benefit analysis and help management to determine the best quality that can be derived from the overall process.

Choosing from two service providers is not a smart management decision because it limits management’s view and exposure about the benefits of its potential outsourcing and off shoring especially since it would last for a long period of time. Therefore, following John Smith’s suggestion to outsource, management could have requested for more competitors experienced competitors who have more credence in the industry so as to allow for prudent and good strategic decision which would make the outsourcing process and decision more promising.

In addition, the outsourcing process does not reflect the critical show of prudence as much negotiation was not conducted by John Smith and Management before outsourcing and off shoring to CPMI and DR solutions to take over. Some show of prudence, negotiation and conscientiousness could have been displayed by John Smith through the contract initiation process to suit his own company and his outsourcing objective rather than the service provider. For example, John Smith could have negotiated a constant two way communication process and flexibility of service by the provider wherein, he can demand better service from the service provider even when such agreement is not stipulated in the contract agreement.

Also to be noted is the fact that John Smith and management decision to outsource to CPMI in particular did not emphasize on experience, strength and deliverability of the service provider. This would have simply helped to avoid the drawbacks and problems faced in the post outsourcing era. Infact, considering cost savings, management would have still been able to save considerable cost if it had outsourced its PC helpdesk to Outsourcing Solutions which would have perhaps provided better service more efficiently because of its experience in the industry. Hosting a long list of fortune 500 companies’ processes is simply a proposition that would have been considered at least to test the waters of outsourcing.

2). Summary of Key Problems

Given the outlined analysis of issues emerging from JIT’s outsourcing process, the main problems of JIT’s sourcing strategy could be summarized as thus:

The company did not place adequate emphasis on operations performance which are the core of any successful process or project – whether outsourced or retained within the organisation. The performance measures are: “quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost. Rather more emphasis was placed on cost savings and reduction rather than on these overall performance measures. This poor decision reflects in the decision to outsource to CPMI rather than Outsourcing Solutions who has better track record, reference and experience to deliver than CPMI who is only a small company and whose capability cannot be sufficiently proven. The problem with the outsourcing strategy also concerns the fact that less regard was given to cultural gaps.

Fixing the Helpdesk problem: Recommendations to John Smith

Considering the consequences of the company’s decisions and the problems faced by John Smith, it is recommended that to address the helpdesk problems John Smith should immediately negotiate with the management of CPMI outside the contract for issues of communication and cultural gaps to be addressed. This is very important as pointed out by Radoff (2006) who argues that communication gap can lead to big disaster for the outsourcing firm. For the remaining terms of the contract if more than 6 months, John Smith can partner with the management of CPMI to arrange a short course where staff will be trained and given the knowledge of Japanese Protocol Behaviour so as to immediately address the problems faced by helpdesk staff and Japanese Executives. Quelin and Duhamel (2003) consider this as organisational learning and a way of synchronising partners’ needs with each other for effective performance.

The Short course would be short term solution. However on the longer term, John Smith should consider other service providers by reviewing the offers of up to five different potential outsourcing partners. He should therefore decide based on their deliverability, flexibility and experience as well as capability, while considering the quality they can deliver and their ability to make his cost savings objectives achievable. More importantly, a well articulated explanation to management about the dangers of forcing English on rotational staffs would be necessary for John Smith so as to ensure that future service providers have the capability to understand Japanese Protocol Behaviour and bridge cross cultural gaps in outsourcing operations.

John Smith must also importantly focus on ensuring that the rest of the helpdesk staff are properly trained and motivated through flexible working hours so as to reduce the instance of less motivation and less performance which can still occur after major processes have been outsourced. Finally, it would be pertinent to state that all of the recommendations are important. However, it is advised that for optimum and effective performance to be achieved with immediate effect, he should place emphasis on renegotiating with CPMI management and arrange possible short term courses on Japanese protocol behaviours and business ethics as well as service delivery and performance.

This is only recommended as quick short term solution to last within the remaining period of the contract. However, to find lasting solution, it is recommended that the option of new potential service providers should be considered while emphasis should be placed on the 5 elements of operations performance mentioned earlier. With the new service provider, flexibility and quality of service should be given high priority so as to ensure that cost savings is not the only advantage derived from the company’s outsourcing process. Finally, on an ongoing basis, John Smith should implement a continuous training program where remaining employees will be given up to date skills so as to ensure that they are in line with new developments from their service partners to whom they have outsourced their helpdesk.

Offshoring Recommendations

On the long list as to whether off-shoring should be considered or not for both data centre and the PC helpdesk, it can be argued that off-shoring is a perfect decision for the data centre because of its nature and structure and particularly because of the operational risks involved in managing a data centre which is becoming high in the growing technological world of today. More so, many off-shoring firms have more competence and professional capability in managing IT systems than companies like JIT whose primary activities are in other areas. Off-shoring the data centre will indeed allow management to bear less secondary operational risks and challenges that is associated with data management. For a certain fee, management can cut down costs while improving the quality of its data management when handled by a third party.

In considering the off-shoring decision however, management must place emphasis on the quality and past performance of vendors who will be given the data centre operation to manage. Furthermore, according to best business practice – it is advised that up to five vendors should be selected and weighted according to their service offers, flexibility and closeness to the objectives of JIT. It is also advised that the off-shoring process should be conducted in a systematic and gradual approach. A recommended approach would be for John Smith or a chosen manager of JIT to spend at close to two weeks or better still one month in the offshore location so as to understand their working practices and know what the potential challenges might be.

In addition, only a once year contract should be first signed by JIT to understand the vendor and learn if the off-shoring process is of benefit to the organisation or has to be relinquished for certain reasons.

For the PC helpdesk on the other hand, it is recommended that off-shoring is not the best process because of the need for staff’s personal computers to be checked physically in certain instances. Besides, for other business reasons offshoring the PC helpdesk could cause operational problems and problems which may arise from various instances. It is therefore, advised that PC helpdesk should be retained for outsourcing rather than offshoring.

In outsourcing the PC helpdesk, the same care and consciousness advised for data centre offshoring should be exercised because of the risks that might be involved. Also, five outsourcing service providers should be invited to tender their quotes and offers. Such offers, should be gauged to determine whose service best suits JIT’s objectives. During the process, it is very important as recommended to John Smith initially that the five operational performance elements should be included and not only the cost should be considered.

The quality of service that will be provided by the vendor should be given utmost priority, followed by cost, flexibility and dependability and speed. For these elements to be found in a potential vendor, the importance of experience and past performance must be emphasized in the sourcing process. In addition, the company who can blend with JIT’s operations and give tailored service should be given better scrutiny and attention.

Lastly, it must be taken into consideration that JIT’s vertical operation comprises Japanese and English speaking staff. Therefore, it must be ensured that all the company’s internal processes, rotational staff and outsourcing partners have capability in Japanese and English behaviour protocol.

Outsourcing to vendors who have no understanding of the cultural ethics and behavioural protocols of service users will further leave cultural gaps and communication problems for management to deal with. Indeed, it is a counter productive process when one learns from other past experiences of outsourcing and the cultural problems involved.

Additionally, to be educated of the potential risks and dangers involved in the outsourcing process – both in transition and in the proper regime. A learning process is recommended whereby, John Smith spends time in the offshoring company to understand their mode of operation and how it works so as to take the lessons back home into his company’s final contract before performing the final outsourcing.

An ongoing governance structure should also be given proper attention such that: in the post outsourcing regime such that communication and other important facets of operations are constantly reviewed from time to time, the performance of the vendor, weaknesses and strengths should also be reviewed so as to constantly ensure that the service offered meets JIT’s objectives and the expectations of all its staff.

Conclusion is drawn on the note of the outsourcing factory (2008) which suggests that:

“Whilst price is very important, productivity is even more important, which is why you companies must factor this non tangible aspects, related to outsourcing, into their purchase decisions. They must ensure that the company they are dealing with are mature enough to overcome the cultural barriers as well as the communication/organizational ones. Then, when the deal is signed they should not forget that relationships have to be managed as it will not manage itself”.

References

Adams, K. (2009). IT outsourcing evolution, past, present and future, Communication of the ACM, pp. 84 – 89

Cullen, S (2008) Key Activities of the Outsourcing Lifecycle: Part I: Senior Consultant, Cutter Consortium. Available at: http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/resource-centers/sourcing-and-vendor/sample-our-research/srcr0901.html

Hammon, J. (2005). Change Management in IS Outsourcing: A literature analysis, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, Alicante, Spain, pp. 821 – 834.

Fitzsimmons, A.J. and Fitzsimons, M. J. (2008). Service Management: McGraw-Hill International Edition

Gislen, M. and Venugopal, V. Godwin, U. (2006). Managing the Cultural Challenges for Successful Software Outsourcing. Gislen Software Pvt. Ltd. India, pp. 1 – 6

Mann, M., and Borga, M., (2004). US. International Services, Cross-Border Trade in

2003 and Sales Trough Affiliates in 2002, Survey Current Business, October

McCray, J (2008). The problem with Offshoring and Outsourcing: Lessons from organisational experience, Journal of Organisational Strategy 34 (4) pp. 56 90.

Outsourcing Factory (2008) Overcome cultural differences in the outsourcing process, Accessed from www.outsourcing-factory.com

Quelin, B. and Duhamel, F. (2003). Bringing Together Strategic Outsourcing and

Corporate Strategy, European Management Journal Vol. 21. Great Britain.

Radoff, S. (2006). Improved Cross-Cultural Communication Increases Global Sourcing Productivity. United States: Acc

Walsh, H. (2003). Issues in foreign outsourcing, Information System Management, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp. 27 – 32

Yeaple, E. (2006). Offshoring, Foreign Direct Investment and the structure of

US trade, Journal of the European Economic Association, April-May, 4 (2-3), pp. 602-611, Accessed from: www.sciencedirect.com

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Free Essays

Free Technology Essay: Knowledge Management

Why do some knowledge-based organizations perform well in terms of innovation but less well in terms of efficiencyTo what extent can information systems help to redress this balance?


ABSTRACT

In this paper, focus will be given on analysing how an innovative organisation can be in-efficient. The key role of information systems in addressing this issue will be discussed. The perspectives of various researchers will be taken into consideration. The different type of knowledge management will also be discussed. The drawbacks of Knowledge Management without proper information systems will be highlighted.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, information systems, knowledge management disadvantages, knowledge management innovation


INTRODUCTION

It has regularly been said that the knowledge based organisations are not as efficient as they are innovative. The report by the top consultancy firm, KPMG also confirms this statement. A knowledge manager of KPMG, Nagle (1999) says that one of the major challenges being faced by the firms in today’s world is how to best capture, store, retain and share the vast amount of knowledge possesses by their professionals. As per Cameron (2000), “Knowledge is power, but without the adequate management of that knowledge, the consequences for [organizations] could be devastating”. It should not come as a surprise to us that most of the firms are of the view that the key enabler for efficient knowledge management will be technology. Currently the corporate efforts are concentrated more on the group of technologies called as Knowledge Management Systems (KMS).

KMS in firms assists its employees to easily access the information in a better way, share ideas and learn from previous mistakes. In theory, by facilitating the sharing of ideas, KMS improves the innovativeness of the business. However, the downside of this is that by following this process, firms become less efficient. In this process, employees tend to spend more time in doing things, discussing different ideas which results in issues in streamlining the work and doing it in an efficient manner.

The central question of discussion here is how information systems like SAP or ERM can help in enhancing the efficiency of KMS. How can the implementations of a new information system can help in reduction of time wastage and simultaneously assist in making the knowledge transfer process more efficient.

In this paper, first an introduction to the knowledge processes will be given. Then how the role of knowledge management evolved in organisations will be discussed. The merits of knowledge management will be highlighted. Furthermore the potential inefficiencies due to knowledge management will be discussed. Afterwards the role of information systems in curbing the drawbacks of knowledge management will be discussed in detail taking the example of few organisations who successfully implemented information systems in their organisations.

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

“Knowledge Management is concerned with the exploitation and development of the knowledge assets of an organisation with a view to furthering the organization’s objectives. The knowledge to be managed includes both explicit, documented knowledge and tacit, subjective knowledge. Management entails all those processes involved with identification, sharing and creation of knowledge.” (Davenport et al, 1998).

Figure 1: Knowledge hierarchy

Figure 1 gives a good idea of the hierarchy of knowledge. It shows how value can be added from the raw data which are at the disposal of organisations. By following the hierarchy, it can be seen how the data become information when applied to a particular context. This perspective will be discussed in detail later on. Furthermore, that information becomes knowledge when a particular meaning is applied to it. Finally that knowledge becomes wisdom when it is used as an insight. This wisdom is then useful for any organisation.

Knowledge can mainly be classified into two types: tacit and explicit knowledge. It has always been difficult to define these two types of knowledge. Tacit knowledge is basically rooted in a specific context, is subjective, highly experimental and largely unconscious. While explicit knowledge is mainly rule based, reusable and is objective.

Figure 2: Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

Figure 2 displays the difference between explicit and implicit knowledge when applied in the context of adding value to an organisation. It highlights the fact that the main difference between the two is use of communication in tacit knowledge. While in the case of explicit knowledge models are being used to add value.

Figure 3: Types of Knowledge (Willcocks and Whitley, 2009)

Knowledge can further be classified into individual level and collective level. Figure 3 shows the interaction between the types of knowledge in a matrix form. This figure further highlights the difference between the explicit and tacit knowledge.

In the case of knowledge based organisation, KM can mainly be classified into two varieties. First is, IT-focussed where knowledge is an object. IT is used to increase productivity of an organisation. Firms attempt to leverage the already held data. The firm wide relationship is enabled electronically. Second variety is Human- centred where knowledge is a process which leads to creation of more knowledge. It is primarily focussed on sharing knowledge and learning and innovation.

Figure 4: Interaction of Knowing and Types of Knowledge

Source: Small and Sage, 2005/2006

Figure 4 shows how knowledge is applied in the context of an organisation. In this interaction, the process of ‘knowing’ remains at the core of the matrix and is used as an ‘action’.

Different academics are of different views about knowledge based organisations. Pentland (1995) says that knowledge is mostly constructed socially and is shared between the participants in an organisational culture even though the participants have their own individual perspectives and views of the organisational situations. Sahay and Robey (1996) further capture on this concept in their proposal of knowledge operationalization as “social interpretation” (Schultze and Leidner, 2002).

The different perspectives of knowledge in an organisational context are: knowledge vis-a-vis data and information, state of mind, object, process, access to information and capacity. To further elaborate on the same it can be said that data is facts, raw numbers. Knowledge is customized information. In this case, KM concentrates on passing potentially useful information to individuals, thereby enabling incorporation of information. Next is the perspective of “state of mind” where knowledge behaves as the expression of knowing and interpreting. Here KM includes improving employees learning and understanding by providing information. Another perspective is that knowledge is perceived as a body to be stored and modified. Fourth is the view of knowledge being perceived as the expertise application process. The central focus of KM is over the process of creation, sharing, distribution and flow of knowledge. Fifth perspective is the knowledge being viewed as a requirement to retrieve information. The KM focuses of on methodological access to and retrieval of information. Finally knowledge is perceived as the potential to influence action.

KNOWLEDGE BASED ORGANISATIONS

In this section, it will be analysed as to how knowledge based organisations innovate better than the ones who are not knowledge based. Automotive industry provides a very good opportunity to examine inter-organizational learning. More than 70 per cent of the value of vehicle is developed and manufactured by OEMs and their supplier networks. As a consequence of this, the productivity of the network of firms working in collaboration is directly related to the quality and cost of the automobile. Most of the research in automotive sector shows that Japanese automotive network, in particular, Toyota has been far superior in transferring the productivity improving knowledge throughout the supply network (Dyer and Nobeoka, 2000).

Figure 5: Comparison between Automotive Labor Productivity of US and Japanese Carmakers

The ‘network’ of Toyota seems very effective in facilitating inter-organisational knowledge transfers (Dyer and Nobeoka, 2000). It will not be wrong to call it a model for the future of automotive industry.

One of the major dilemmas which Toyota faced while implementing the knowledge management processes in their organisation is to how to do the knowledge transfers among a large number of individual members in the most efficient manner. There were appropriate conditions to take care of other dilemmas like keeping the individuals motivated enough to participate actively and curbing free riding. But the critical steps necessary for proper flow of knowledge among members was not efficient enough. While explicit knowledge can easily be codified and transmitted to a large group of individuals via meetings and other activities, transfer of tacit knowledge required strong collaboration and can probably be transferred merely to a small cluster of individuals at a particular location only(Dyer and Nobeoka, 2000). Sharing information through meetings will result in inefficiency in transfer of tacit knowledge.

To counter this issue, Toyota promoted the thinking of kyoson kyoei and created a collective network-level knowledge transmission, repository and processes of diffusion. Four of the key network-level processes were: “(1) the supplier association (a network-level forum for creating a shared social community, inculcating network norms, and sharing knowledge), (2) Toyota’s operations management consulting division (a network-level unit given accountability for knowledge acquisition, storage, and diffusion within the network), (3) voluntary small group learning teams (jishuken), or a sub-network forum for knowledge sharing that creates strong ties and a shared community among small groups of suppliers, and (4) inter-firm employee transfers (some job rotations occur at the network level)” (Dyer and Nobeoka, 2000). These four critical processes managed to create an ‘identity’ of the network. Moreover it also facilitated knowledge transfer among network member.

Figure 6: Toyota’s network-level knowledge-sharing processes

Figure 6 gives a fuller picture of the knowledge sharing processes implemented in Toyota. By following these processes, Toyota managed to build robust mutual relationship with suppliers. Furthermore suppliers also started getting critical knowledge at nominal cost. As of result of this, suppliers participated in the network with a keen interest. It was not only to show their commitment towards Toyota but also to get knowledge transfers from Toyota. The more valuable tacit knowledge was being transferred in the bilateral atmosphere. This resulted in giving a powerful identity to the network. Suppliers began to correlate with the social community of the network.

All this was made possible by the learning groups which resulted in strong multi-dimensional relationships. Moreover suppliers also recognised the merits of sharing of knowledge. Additionally the Toyota suppliers were also in competition among themselves in the sense that the quickest grasping supplier will most probably get business for the new model.

It has been a major accomplishment for Toyota in the way they managed to “motivate all the members to participate and contribute knowledge” (Burgess, 2005) for the collective good.

Organisations who are leaders in knowledge management have used extrinsic rewards (Davenport & Prusak, 1998). To further substantiate this statement, experienced consultants at Ernst & Young and McKinsey were evaluated, on the basis of knowledge they contribute to their organisation. These consultants are of the view that “one party has to be willing to give something or get something from another party”. They were of the view that open and organic information culture leads to larger sharing. Furthermore they also proposed that those individuals who feel that their knowledge belongs to them rather than to their organisation can be expected to share their knowledge more (Burgess, 2005).

Disadvantages of KM

Research has shown that the ready availability of examples for KMS users led to a significant enhancement in their problem-solving skills when compared to the skills level gained through the use of traditional reference materials (McCall et al, 2008). Results have further shown that groups having access to KMS far outperforms those working in the traditional groups. Moreover this edge vanishes when the KMS access is removed. It has also been deducted that while both the groups gain different types of explicit knowledge the traditional groups have a tendency to encode most of the rules in memory. However the KMS group manages to gain superior-level of explicit knowledge which acts as a key to tacit knowledge formulation.

In the context of business, researchers have found that employees are more willing to exchange knowledge if it is related to business goals (Small and Sage, 2005/2006). They have put more emphasis on the importance of business strategy to be communicated to the employees. Another important aspect to be noted here is that the knowledge sometimes acts as a double-edged sword; though too less leads to in-efficiencies, too much can lead to rigidities that can be counterproductive in a rapidly changing world. Furthermore too little may lead to muddled social relations, too much will lead to curbing of different perspectives (Bowker and Star, 1999). According to Schultze and Leidner (2002), too little may lead to costly errors, too much may lead to undesirable answerability. IT can play a major role in all the knowledge management processes like knowledge creation, storage/retrieval, transfer and application.

One of the most critical issues being faced by the organisations in today’s world is their deficiency of skill to capture and incorporate information located in different sources. While some of these are internal to an organisation (data warehouse, transaction database, knowledge portals) others are external (commercial database, credit reports, news agency announcements, etc.) (Delen and Hawamdeh, 2009). If the organisations try to integrate the multiple sources into a single unified system just for the sake of centralization of the sources of information then it leads to highly rigid systems which are not practically manageable.

Some of the major reasons of the failure of KM are the multifaceted and multidimensional nature of knowledge available in an organisation. The dynamic nature and relationships between the knowledge management frameworks is also cited as one of the major reasons of failure of KMS.

Role of Information Systems

An efficient KMS should allow the user to easily access the explicit knowledge stored in any system that can be applied to address the issue in hand. KMS should increase the ease with which user can find a potential solution to the problematic situation. KMS makes the user relax about the need to encode the explicit knowledge in long-term memory as the knowledge components can easily be accesses by the user’s active working memory (McCall et al, 2008).

There are two critical demerits of KMS which might balance out the potential of the encoding of the knowledge available explicitly. Firstly, the vast amount of information and different ways of retrieving it via KMS could lead to likely increase in the amount of mental workout to retrieve the information (Rose and Wolfe, 2000; Rose, 2005). Secondly, it is the supposed simplicity of availability. If the information is easily accessible then the user will just use it for his situation without feeling any kind of motivation to encode the knowledge.

Researchers have found that many companies who have implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are of the view that the software will provide them a new chance to improve operational support and will simultaneously provide them a competitive advantage also (Irani et al, 2007). However the concept of ‘justification’ happens only at those places where every employee is made aware of the importance of the new software for the organisational sustainability. Although the resources of knowledge varies firm wide but usually it constitutes of manuals, letters, information about customers and derived knowledge of work processes. Organisations are realising that knowledge will not automatically flow throughout the company.

A critical aspect of knowledge sharing is providing the right means which should work within the organisational context. Over the period of time, organisations have realised that information technology (IT) is the only means by which enterprise knowledge can be shared effectively. Video-conferencing, sharing of application and providing support electronically are some of the key enablers of knowledge sharing processes. They can provide an excellent support to the already existing infrastructure of knowledge management.

Few of the major benefits of Knowledge Management systems are (1) In-valuable information can be shared throughout the hierarchy of the organisation. (2) Provides the opportunity to do away with churning out the same work thereby resulting in reduction of out-dated work. (3) New employees can be trained in a shorter period. (4) The intellectual property is retained by the organisation even of the employees’ leaves if it is possible to codify that knowledge. Some of the organisations who implemented the KMS very effectively and efficiently are MIT Open Course Ware, Knowledge Wharton. Although both of these organisations are educational institutions they provide an excellent case study of efficiently using information systems in their KM processes.

The key role being played by information systems is to assist in the storage and diffusion of knowledge so that knowledge can be accessed across the space and time (Schultze and Leidner, 2002). Information systems provide visibility to the invisible work and the complexity involved in doing that work.

Figure 7: KMS Success Model (Halawi et al, 2007-2008)

Figure 7 shows the key role being played by information systems in the success of KM projects. Normally it is at the centre of many KM projects (Halawi et al, 2007-2008).

However organisations who are implementing information systems into their KMS need to take few factors into consideration. The so-called ‘free’ exchange of knowledge is possible only in an ‘open’ corporate culture, non-departmental hierarchy. Furthermore sometimes this ‘open’ culture can act as an obstacle for employee empowerment (Irani et al, 2007).

Another point to be noted about multi-faceted aspect of KMS is that an effective KMS in not just about technology. It incorporates cultural and organisational aspects as well, it is necessary to design proper metrics to access the positives of KMS (Halawi et al, 2007-2008). Furthermore an integrated technical architecture is the critical driver for KMS. Proper use of information systems will facilitate the process of knowledge transfer, assisting in both the transmission and absorption and utilisation of knowledge. Researchers have found groupware, an IT tool for working in a group is of immense help in the proper implementation of KM in organisations. Groupware helps in interpersonal communications and facilitates the transfer of tacit knowledge (Wua et al, 2010). Researchers have found that the software tools and information systems applications are very crucial for both the ‘provider’ side and ‘receiver’ side.

Most of the top technology firms rely mainly on their dynamic ability to transform the knowledge in their organisation to add value to their customers. Researchers are of the view that the focus on tacit knowledge should not lead to not giving due importance to proper implementation of information systems. A proper balance needs to be found and exercised (Kalkan, 2008). In the current world, any organisation having improper implementation of information systems will be at a disadvantage position in the marketplace. Implementation of information systems should always be knowledge oriented.

CONCLUSION

This paper makes an attempt to analyse the role of information systems in efficient utilisation of KM. It has been highlighted as to how information systems are crucial in making an innovative organisation highly efficient. The demerits of KM without proper information systems are discussed. The efficient way in which Toyota managed its knowledge sharing using information systems within the organisation and across its suppliers has been discussed in detail. An attempt has been made to throw more light on the other aspects of proper IS implementation. Organisations should not consider that just by implementing Information systems all our problems will be solved. Information Systems should not be considered as a ‘silver bullet’.

As the research area is still evolving, more future research can be done on this topic. There are further sub-categories within KM which can be researched in more detail. Those categories will further provide a detailed view of the topic. While few organisations who implemented information systems has been analysed, other organisations also need to be analysed in this regard. Furthermore the definition of innovation and efficiency can be analysed from the perspectives of organisations implementing. This will provide a broader picture of the research area.


REFERENCES

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Davenport, T. H. (1998). Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. Harvard Business School Press.

Davenport, T. H., De Long, D. W., & & Beers, M. C. (1998). Successful Knowledge Management Projects. Sloan Management Review, 39(2), 43-57.

DELEN, D. AND HAWAMDEH, S. (2009). A Holistic Framework for Knowledge Discovery and Management. COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM, 52(6), 141-145.

DYER, J. H.and NOBEOKA, K. (2000). CREATING AND MANAGING A HIGH PERFORMANCE KNOWLEDGE-SHARING NETWORK: THE TOYOTA CASE. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 345–367.

IRANI, Z., SHARIF, A. M. and LOVE, P. E. D. (2007). Knowledge mapping for information systems evaluation in manufacturing. International Journal of Production Research, 45(11), 2435–2457.

Kalkan, V. D. (2008). An overall view of knowledge management challenges for global business. Business Process Management Journal, 14(3), 390-400.

McCall, H., & Arnold, V. a. (2008). Use of Knowledge Management Systems and the Impact on the Acquisition of Explicit Knowledge. JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS, 22(2), 77–101.

Nagle, C. (1999). Research opportunities in knowledge management. Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association.

Pentland . (1995). Information Systems and Organizational Learning: The Social Epistemology of Organizational Knowledge. AMIT.

Rose, J. M. and Wolfe, C. J. (2000). The effects of system design alternatives on the acquisition of tax knowledge from a computerized tax decision aid. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 25, 285–306.

Rose. J. M. (2005). Decision aids and experiential learning. Behavioral Research in Accounting, 17, 175–189.

Schultze, U., & Leidner, D. E. (2002). STUDYING KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH: DISCOURSES AND THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS. MIS Quarterly, 26(3), 213-242.

Small, C. T., and Sage, A. P. (2005/2006). Knowledge management and knowledge sharing: A review. Information Knowledge Systems Management, 153–169.

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Wua, C. H.; Kao, S. C. and Shih, L. H. (2010). Assessing the suitability of process and information technology in supporting tacit knowledge transfer. Behaviour & Information Technology, 29(5), 513–525.

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Free Essays

Impact of Science and Technology on Climate Change

Introduction

Earth, its nature, and climate are ever-changing and there is an increasing awareness that the earth is warming up. There is a scientific consensus now that the change in climate is induced by humans. Many have also agreed that climate change is one of the greatest threats that the planet has ever faced. Science and technology has brought humans into an era of technological civilisation where any issue is resolved to a greater extent through technology. This paper looks to explain the role of science and technology in solving the issue of climate change through diplomacy and international trade.

Climate Change

“Climate Change refers to a change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” – United Nations Framework convention on climate change.

As defined by the US agency NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), seven indicators were proposed in assessing the extent to which the earth was warming and 3 to assess whether the earth had warmed. The seven indicators are overland temperature, ocean heat content, sea level, and sea surface temperature, temperature over oceans, tropospheric temperature, and humidity. The three factors that indicate that the earth has warmed significantly are sea ice, snow cover, and glaciers (NOAA, 2010).

History

Concerns about climate change bgean in the early 1980’s and by 1988 an Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). They were formed for assessing the scientific knowledge of global warming. One of the major reports issued in 1990 revealed that climate change was manmade. A world convention was then organised which came into effect in 1994. They formulated an international agreement and a world treaty by 1995 which led to the Kyoto Protocol. It provided data about the level of greenhouse gases being produced and suggested a flexible way in which they could be reduced. As of May 2011, UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), has 194 parties in its membership and continue to update their achievements, benchmark others and set new targets to achieve.

Science and Climate Change

According to Holdren, science will be required for devising ways to use energy more effectively and efficiently, so that a shift can be made to energy sources like wind, solar and other kinds of energy. It plays an important role in understanding this shift and will help in making the necessary changes. Science is back in action and people are aware about it (Salazer, 2010).

To a certain extent it can be said that the achievement of set targets in reducing climate change will depend on the advancement of science and technology to reduce the impact caused by human irresponsibility. Group on Earth observations (GEO) believes that decisions taken for the benefit of mankind should be informed, coordinated, comprehensive and sustained, taken from observations and information. Science and technology is the key target for many of the sponsors and beneficiaries of GEOSS. The scientific and technical plan should be created by drawing on the expertise of the international scientific and technological communities and should involve consulting, coordinating and liaising with relevant UN specialised agencies and programmes. The implementation of the ten year plan should also involve integrating science and technological developments (GEO, 2008).

Technology and Climate Change

According to CCTP, becoming a success will require multiple technological path ways. This means that there is not a single technology that can mitigate the impact of the climate change alone. To achieve this, strategies are formulated in order of preference so that they can be realised on a timely basis. These are:

reducing emissions from energy end-use and infrastructure,
reducing emission from energy supply,
capture and sequester carbon dioxide,
improve capabilities to measure and monitor GHG emissions and
Bolster basic science contributions to technology development (CCTP, 2005).

Mitigation of Climate Change

The conventions have an ultimate objective of stabilising greenhouse gases. Under article 4.1(b), all parties are required to make steps towards mitigating climate change. Under the basis of the third assessment report of IPCC, SBSTA was given two new responsibilities. They are to work on scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of the impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. In addition they are to find out the scientific and socio-economic aspects of the mitigation of climate change. Developments can advance as the parties share information and experiences with each other to formulate a special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. The report concentrated on six important renewable energy resources and their integration into the present and future energy systems. The report also took into consideration the social and environmental consequences of these technologies including the obstacles that may be encountered during their application and diffusion (UNFCC, 2012).

The six major renewable energy sources that are to be considered are:

Bio-energy, which refers to energy sourced from crops and livestock waste. These are also known as second generation bio-fuels.
Direct solar energy, which includes photovoltaics and is concentrated on solar power.
Geothermal energy that is created from the heat extracted from the earth’s interior.
Hydropower that uses the energy from water to create energy. Hydropower includes run-of –river, in-stream and other dam projects with reservoirs.
Ocean energy, which comes from barrages and ocean currents.
Wind energy that is created from wind powered by on-shore and offshore systems (SBSTA, 2011)

REDD Web Platform

This is a platform where in all the relevant organisation and members are supposed to submit details relating to the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). This is a platform that shares the information that is submitted by the stake holders and clients in order to encourage improvements and update the status of the fellow members. The information gathered here forms five categories including technical assistance, demonstration activities, country specific information, methodologies and tools and REDD partnership (UNFCC, 2012).

Change of Land Use and Forestry

The rate with which CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere can be taken advantage of because they accumulate in vegetation and soils in terrestrial ecosystems. This is done by the LULUF wing who focus on reducing emissions through deforestation in developing countries. This was a proposal that was put forward by LULUF and received wide support from other parties (UNFCC, 2012). The method that was suggested in the proposal recommended that the storage of carbon in forest products should be included in a national inventory only in cases where a country can document that existing stocks of long term forest products are increasing (UNFCCC, 2012). Reporting to this sector keeps CO2 emissions in control regardless of location. There are commitments the parties are supposed to fulfil on this basis, the conditions of which are defined in article 4. The parties are supposed to develop, periodically update, publish and make available to the conference details on emissions and reductions in CO2 gases. It is made mandatory for them to promote a management style that is sustainable and can enhance conservation of non-renewable energy sources.

Emissions of Bunker Fuels

There are also fuel emissions that are used for aviation and maritime transport. These issues are also addressed under UNFCCC. The COP (conference of parties) requested SBSTA for addressing the allocation of fuels where international bunker fuels are concerned. These fuels will be included under the national GHG inventories but not in the national total, although they are reported separately. The parties involved are separately required to reduce emissions.

Research and Development

Research and development has played an important role in determining the usage of science and technology for mitigating climate change. The need for addressing global climate change and having data that is accurate is addressed in the conventions. The UNFCC calls on parties and other members for promoting and cooperating with each other in the observation of the whole climatic system. The convention also influences them by giving them more support and by ensuring knowledge and information sharing.

Systematic Observation for Better Analysis

It is important that there is a worldwide observation of climate change in order to develop a thorough understanding of the scientific knowledge behind it. Under the system the parties involved are supposed to keep a thorough vigil of the systematic operations of the climate system and provide appropriate feedback. A development of scientific understanding will make it easier to bring up solutions for these problems (UNFCC, 2012).

Role of Science at EPA and US Climate Technology Change Program

Science forms a viable option for decision making. A high quality of life for people around the world and for future generations can only be ensured with the help of science. It helps EPA to make the right decisions in relation to human health and ecosystems and innovative solutions to prevent pollution (EPA, 2012). The EPA has been completing open, transparent, peer-reviewed research planning to enhance the use of science and technology in mitigating climate change. It is a known fact that new climate technologies are being developed, which means that existing technologies should be updated. CCTP periodically tries to identify existing gaps in knowledge and make necessary recommendations (Brown, 2006).

Academic and Independent Research Centres and Programs

There are academies and research centres other than the intentionally established systems that work to mitigate the effects of climate change. These institutions are responsible for bringing scientists and public policy analysts together to explain the various problems that are faced in relation to managing and reducing greenhouse gases.

The central tenet here is that climate change has only been detected with the help of science and technology and that the world would be facing a worse situation without advancements in both of these fields.

Some of the projects that are undertaken by Global Warming International Centre (GWIC) include the global timeline project, the greenhouse gas reduction benchmark, and the extreme event index. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology centre for global change science (CGCS) has a long term goal of understanding the basic processes and mechanisms involved in controlling the Global environment. The centre hopes to use their understanding of these processes for analysing and thus accurately predicting environmental changes. The Tata Energy Research Institute of India and U.S Department of Energy, which sponsors CCASIA, report the details of global warming in Asia. Information processing and exchange would have been extremely difficult without technology and scientific support (Vaughan, 2001).

Technology and Solutions

The time line that is to be conquered through the climate change research and development programme in the US is divided into three stages. They are near-term, mid-term and long-term. These goals are an ideal example of how climate change can be mitigated. The time line is shown below.

GoalNear-TermMid-TermLong-term
Energy end use and infrastructureHybrid and plug in hybrid electric vehicles
Engineered urban designs
High-performance integrated homes
High efficiency appliances
High efficiency boilers and combustion systems
High temperature super-conductivity demonstrations
Fuel cells vehicles and H2 fuels
Low emission aircraft
Soil state lighting
Ultra efficient HVACR
‘Smart’ buildings
Transformational technologies for energy intensive industries
Energy storage for load levelling
Widespread use of engineered urban designs and regional planning
Energy managed communities
Integration of industrial heat, power, process and techniques
Superconducting transmission and equipment

Energy supplyIGCC commercialisation
Stationary H2 fuel cells
Cost competitive solar PV
Demonstration of cellulosic ethanol
Distributed electric generation
Advanced fission reactor and fuel cycle technology
FutureGen scale-up
H2 co production from coal/biomass
Low wind speed turbines
Advanced bio refineries
Community scale solar
Gen 1V nuclear plants
Fusion pilot plan demonstration
Zero emission fossil energy
H2 and electric economy
Widespread renewable energy
Bio-inspired energy and fuels
Widespread nuclear power
Fusion power plants

Capture, storage and sequestrationCSLF & CSRP
Post combustion capture
Oxy-fuel combustion
Enhanced hydrocarbon recovery
Ecologic reservoir characterisation
Soils conservation
Dilution of direct injected CO2
Geologic storage prove sale
Co2 transport infrastructure
Soils uptake and land use
Ocean CO2 biological impacts addressed
Track record if successful CO2 storage experience
Large scale sequestration
Carbon and CO2 based products and materials
Safe long term ocean storage

Other gasesMethane to markets
Precision agriculture
Advanced refrigeration technologies
PM control technologies for vehicles
Advanced landfill gas utilisation
Soil Microbial processes
Substitutes of SF6
Catalysts that reduced nitrogen dioxide to elemental nitrogen in diesel engines
Integrated waste management system with automated sorting, processing and recycle
Zero emission agriculture
Solid-state refrigeration/AC systems

Measure and monitorLow cost sensors and communications
Large scale, secure data storage system
Direct measurement to replace proxies and estimators
Fully operational integrated MM systems architecture (Sensors, Indicators, visualisation and storage, models

Source: (Brown, et.al, 2006)

In the above table near-term is used for reductions that can be achieved in 10 to 20 years, mid-term for 20 to 40 years and long-term for 40 to 60 years.

It is evident from the above table that the necessary changes and advancements will only be possible if there is an increase in the scientific and technological improvement. Knowledge and information sharing regarding important new inventions are also essential to control climate change. Furthermore, if technological developments are to be effective then they should be created in a way that they can be implemented around the world.

Technology alone isn’t enough

It is odd that irrespective of the coalition of efforts involved, the issue of climate change hasn’t yet received enough attention. It would be negligent to presume that technology alone will solve the issue. Technologies will help in mitigating the effects of climate change, but cooperation is needed to implement the necessary changes and spread awareness about the importance of adapting these new technologies. Efforts are needed from the entire population if climate change is to be halted and the earth is to be saved from a rise in temperature of 2 degrees Celsius.

Conclusion

Since the dawn of industrialisation, Science and technology has played an important role in effecting climatic changes. Although our quality of life has been improved, technology, whether agricultural, industrial, global, urban, or communication technology, has had a negative impact on the environment.

Society has become so reliant on technology that it requires science and technology to solve the issues that have been created by them. Climate change requires a global resolve to overcome its effects. International conventions and policies are formulated for the purpose of climate change mitigation and to gain control over GHG emissions. A policy as relevant as Kyoto is required if countries are to take responsibility for the environment.

References

Brown, M. A. (2006). U.S Climate Change Technology Program. Tennessee: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

EPA. (2012). Role of Science at EA. Available from http://www.epa.gov/epahome/science.htm.

SBSTA. (2012). Special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. Available from http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/.

UNFCC. (2012). Scientific, Technical and Socio-Economic Aspects of Mitigation of Climate Change. Available from http://unfccc.int/methods_and_science/mitigation/items/3681.php

UNFCC. (2012). REDD Web Platform. Available from http://unfccc.int/methods_science/redd/items/4531.php

UNFCC. (2012). Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). Available from http://unfccc.int/methods_and_science/lulucf/items/1084.php

UNFCC. (2012). Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport (international bunker fuels). Available from

http://unfccc.int/methods_and_science/emissions_from_intl_transport/items/1057.php

UNFCC. (2012). research. Available from http://unfccc.int/methods_and_science/research_and_systematic_observation/items/3461.php

UNFCC. (2012). Systematic Observation. Available from http://unfccc.int/methods_and_science/research_and_systematic_observation/items/3462.php.

Vaughan, K. R. L. (2001). Global Warming and Science change Scheme. Available from http://www.istl.org/01-fall/internet.html.

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Dissertation Guide on Wireless Mobile Communication Technology in Nigeria

The following dissertation guide seeks to investigate how wireless mobile communication technology could be implemented in rural areas of Nigeria, to help assist Public Health concerns.

Background research

The history of Nigeria dates back to 9000 years BCE. Beyond the slavery, postcolonial British rule, instability and civil wars, a democratic rule is now at the centre of Africa’s most populated country [1]. With a population of approximately 140 million peoples and an area almost spanning 1 million kilometres squared, although English is the official national language, regional languages still remain and are spoken across Nigeria.

Languages including Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, reflect the four main groups of which the population of Nigeria are subdivided; inNorth Africa, Hausa and Fulani, in the southwest Yoruba and the Igbo in the southeast [2]. There are 37 federal states inNigeria, with Abuja as the State Federal Capital, situated at the epicentre of Nigeria[3]. A project of the public health foundation of Nigeria was set up with the primary objective to reenergise Nigerian Health communities and bridge relations with the health sector to improve health for Nigerians nationwide [4].

Numerous communication systems involving wireless communication for use in transmitting voice, video and data in local or wide areas have evolved within the last century including such things as wireless local area networks, multidirectional wireless cellular systems, wireless bridges and satellite communication systems [5]. Two companies Zain and the internationally renound Ericsson companies have collaborated with the United Nations into Nigeria, with the aim of alleviating poverty and bring a sense of autonomy to rural people in Nigeria. With the advent of the “Millennium Village Project” the future looks bright for the health of rural communities in Nigeria[6].

References

[1] Falola, Toyin; Heaton, Matthew M. A history of Nigeria. Cambridge University Press. (2008).

[2] http://www.trust.org/alertnet/country-profiles/nigeria/

[3] http://www.citypopulation.de/Nigeria.html#Land

[4] http://www.phfn.org/

[5] Encyclopedia of Wireless and MobileCommunications. Editor, Borko Furht. 2008. ISBN: 978-1-4200-4326-6 (hardback) 978-1-4200-5562-7 (electronic)

[6] http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2678

Core issues that shall be addressed in the literature review:

Four main areas shall be the focal point of this review.

1) Federal Republic of Nigeria- country profile including; government, GDP, geography area, people; languages, population density, population growth, races/religions/tribes, poverty fraction.

2) Health system in Nigeria – with emphasis on Public health, history of public health inNigeria, how it was set up, development since, management programmes

3) Access to public health for remote and rural communities –, what is considered a “remote community” – choosing two/three regions, take an in depth look at the measures adopted to ensure patients in these areas have access to the health system. Is the health they receive different from that of other area such as the Capital Abuja, how is it different and what are the reasons for them.

4) Wireless Mobile Communication technology – What is itWhen was it invented, potential uses, how it has been utilised so far and in what circumstances. How will it be implemented into public health programmes, costs involved, what effects (positive/negative) will it have on the social and medical outlook for these remote regions.

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Dissertation Examples – IT dissertation topics information technology

Dissertation Examples – IT dissertation topics information technology
our site – FREE ESSAYS & DISSERTATION EXAMPLES

1. Introduction to Information Technology Dissertations

A degree in Information and Communications Technology is designed to fulfill the requirements of people working as different professionals such as academicians, administrators and managers, technical staff, trainers, and developers in private or public sectors. A course in information and communications technology combines the educational theory and practice to create a learning experience that enables the development of skills that can be applied to complicated real-world problems. Information and communications technology degree is aimed to enhance the knowledge of how computer systems, software and applications, and other forms of communication technologies can be utilized to drive economic growth, enhance learning abilities, foster greater communication and socialization, and overall improve the standard of living.

The focus of a dissertation in information and communication technology subject is aimed at achieving one of the aforementioned goals. Here are a list of information and communication technology categories within which you can base your research.

2. Categories and List of Dissertation Titles

One of the most prolific impact of internet based information and communication technologies in the enablement of economic and commercial activities over the internet. E-commerce and E-business remains one of the most researched topics within this subject.

2.1E-Commerce / E-Business

2.1.1 Advertisements Over Cell Phone Networks – Is it a Successful Strategy; A Survey of British Youth’s Attitude towards Receiving Advertisements over Cell Phones

2.1.2 Exploring the Difference between E-Business Model and E-Business Strategy through Extended Examples

2.1.3 Is it Viable to Completely Curb Software Piracy in the Underdeveloped Nations; Challenges and Possible Solutions?

2.1.4 Determining Factors that Affect Users’ Level of Trust and Sense of Security in E-Commerce Applications

2.1.5 E-Tourism Intermediaries in UK; Factors that Affect Customers’ Level of Satisfaction

2.1.6 Conduction Virtual Business in 3D Internet; The Future Outlook of Business over Virtual Worlds

Influenced by the widespread popularity and advantages of e-commerce for modern day business organizations, governments across the globe are also trying to reap the power of information and communication technologies to reach their customers and provide effective services.

2.2E-Government

2.2.1 Structural transformation towards e-government in the South West of China: Moving beyond the Four Stage Model

2.2.2 Assessing E-Government System in Pakistan (or any other Underdeveloped Country); A Content Analysis of Various Government Websites

2.2.3 M-Government; Benefits and Outcomes of Mobile Government for Connected Societies

Multi Agent Based Systems enable a higher level of collaboration among various agents working together to achieve a common goal. Coinciding with the developments within the area of artificial intelligence, multi-agent based systems are moving towards higher level of adaptability. Stimulations programs are similarly an important stream of intelligent computer programs that are aimed to work upon highly complex scenario.

2.3Multi Agent Based System

2.3.1 An Overview of Design Patterns Utilized for Developing Multi Agent Systems (MAS)

2.3.2 Analyzing the Dynamics and Design Patters for Developing Adaptive Multi-Agent-System (MAS); A Step towards Mass Customization through Intelligent Manufacturing Information Systems

2.3.3 Creating a Multi-Mobile-Agent Architecture for Developing a Collaborative System Which Elapses across Product’s Lifecycle

2.4Artificial Intelligence

2.4.1 Search Engine Optimization for Dynamic Websites; An Evaluation of Existing Knowledge of SEO for Dynamic Websites

2.4.2 Application of Multi-Agent Systems Along with Multiple Artificial Potential Fields in Car Games

2.4.3 Creating an Appraisal Module for Virtual Agents in Order to Produce Believable Emotions

2.4.4 Designing and Implementing a Membership Card Generation System for Hypermarkets by Utilizing Clustering, Optimization and Anomaly Detection Techniques

2.5Simulation Modeling to help Decision Makers

2.5.1 An Overview of Various Business Stimulation Tools; Evaluation their Impact upon Student Learning in Tertiary Business School

Information and communication technologies have greatly enhanced efficiencies in business processes making organizational functions more effective. Likewise, the multimedia advancements have provided more robust information sharing, socialization and entertainment platforms. Business process designs and multimedia information systems are key research areas in information and communication technologies.

2.6Business Process Design

2.6.1 Evaluating Project Management Methodologies for Information Technology Development in Pakistan; A Case Study of National Database Registration Authority (NADRA)

2.6.2 Exploring Fitting Enabling Technologies to Boost E-Commerce Success of Apparel and Footwear Industry in UK

2.6.3 Assessing the Impact of Information Technologies in Implementing Management Control Systems in Technology Start Ups and SMEs in UK

2.6.4 The Use of ERP in Practice; an Investigation of End Users Approval of ERP System in Large Organization in (any Undeveloped/Developed Country)

2.7Multimedia Information Systems

2.7.1 An Investigation into the Negative Effects of Social Media and the Challenges it creates in Crisis Management

2.7.2 Examine How the Communication Technology Revolution Influences People, Process and Strategy

2.7.3 Does the Media Technology Has an Impact upon Child Development; A Study of Primary School Goers in UK

2.7.4 The Impact of Media Technologies on the Physical Development of Teenagers; A Comparative Analysis

2.7.5 Encouraging the Use of E-Commerce in Saudi Arabia in The light if Existing Challenges

The growing power of internet, software as a service (SAAS) is a blooming trend which opens many new research opportunities.

2.8SAAS

2.8.1 Integrating ERP System with Cloud Services; Implementing ERP Integration over SAAS, PAAS, and IAAS

2.8.2 An Overview of the SAP Implementation Processes and the Types of SAP Failures

2.8.3 Determining the Causes of Sap Implementation Failures in Small Industrial Firms in UK

2.8.4 Usability Analysis and Evaluation of Microsoft Dynamics Online; Developing a Framework for CRM Solutions’ Evaluation

2.8.5 Implications of Cloud Computing For Multi Media Industry

With the advancement in information and communication technologies, security remains one of the biggest concerns and similarly an important research area.

2.9Security

2.9.1 Utilizing Keystroke Analysis as an Additional Security Measure to Password Security in Web Applications

2.9.2 An Investigation of Emerging Risks Associated with Online Banking

2.9.3 Investigating Factors That Determine Customers Use of Online Banking Tools; A Qualitative Analysis of Customers in China

2.9.4 A Survey of Security Strategies for Non-Internet Enabled Software and Applications

2.9.5 Investigating Security Threats over Android Mobile Environment

2.10 General

2.10.1An Overview of Key Enabling Technologies Required for Creating Information Agent Technology for the Internet

2.10.2An Information Retrieval System for Scientists; Creating an Information Agent Technology

2.10.3An Information Retrieval System for Students; Creating an Information Agent Technology

2.10.4Ethical Challenges Associated with Testing Software and Applications through Live Customer Data; Recommending Steps to Overcome These Concerns

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Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy (CSTM) School of Management and Governance

1 Background and Rationale for the Study

1.1 Background

Since the early nineties of the 20th century, Corporate Social Responsibility has received tremendous attention from different industries in China. It is because sustainability has had a significant impact on the global economy and social values. In this background, corporate social responsibility has become a worldwide social campaign. It was against this context that China’s exported-oriented labor-intensive industries realized how important to initiate CSR activities originated from the global supply chain, which can be regarded as passport for entering into global market and certificates for enhancing brand recognition and images.

In China, Textile industry is the first open and export industry and it is also the first exporter and manufacturer of textile due to labor-intensive industry structure. Taking the advantage of exported-oriented policy for economic development, Chinese textile and apparel industries have been expanding their business boundary beyond domestic market to global scope. Meanwhile, more and more Chinese textile and apparel companies had been initiating CSR activities within companies. The reason for CSR initiatives does not come from recognition of potential benefits, rather than pure certifications for conducting international business. It is because developed countries, like USA and Europe, which are main clients of Chinese textile and apparel industry, thought China’s CSR activities is inefficient in terms of overtime working, low level salary and low labor standards. Due to these inefficient aspects of CSR, it makes China’s textile and apparel industry to be perceived with cost saving advantages. Therefore the global importers began to scrutinize the behavior of China’s textile and clothing industry in perspective of CSR, and asked them for CSR certification. However, most of CSR initiatives conducted by Chinese textile and apparel companies are not fruitful as they should be. For a long period, it seems that lots of companies confronted with the dilemma between CSR and competitiveness performance, which hinder the further spread of CSR in textile and clothing industry. There are several reasons contributing to this situation, including low level of CSR awareness and lack of enabling connection between competitiveness and CSR initiatives. Even though, CSR has become one of the central issues on the agenda of Chinese Organizations today, but is still a long way from being centre stage on corporate strategy (Stewart, 2006). One of the key problems is the lack of understanding about how CSR can have impact on competitiveness (Porter and Kramer, 2006). There are many studies trying to analyze the relationship between CSR and financial performance (Chand, 2006), but without satisfactory results. However, the financial performance cannot imply a long-term competitiveness (Porter and Kramer, 2006). In addition to financial performance, there are variety of aspects on value chain, implying a long-term competitive. The relationship between CSR and these aspects should be explicated analyzed in order to shed light on the potential power of CSR in terms of enhancing long-term competitiveness advantage.

The purpose of this paper will explore the nature of the relationship between CSR and competitiveness among China textile and apparel companies, to demonstrate CSR can have positive impact on companies’ competitiveness. To achieve this purpose, one can argue that the competitiveness factors in textile sector can be summarized in terms of high product quality; niche market/product differentiation strategies; efficient processes; research and development; flexibility and fast response to market changes; HR and organizational culture[2], as described in Table1. The research in based on questionnaire survey in 2011 in Zhejiang Province. It is one of the most important textile and apparel production and export bases of China. Most of enterprises in Zhejiang Province are exported-oriented and small-medium-sized. However, the CSR consciousness is weak, and CSR relating issues such as pollution, tax-evading and the friction in terms of long working hours and low level salary, occurs from time to time. As an important base of textile and apparel in China, the enterprises in Zhejiang Province are confronting with various challenges in terms of lack of CSR initiatives and decreasing amount of export. It is mainly due to lack of awareness of how CSR can impact on long- term companies’ competitiveness. Therefore, it is a typical and representative area to study with in order to promote the spread of application of CSR standards in companies with low level CSR consciousness and those considering CSR standards as a redundant investment.

The following Table ranks aspects of competitiveness according to their importance.

Table 1 Competitive Profile of Textile Sector

Source: Andre Martinuzzi, Sabine Gisch-Boie,Adele Wiman (2010).

1 The Concept of CSR

The concept of CSR originated in the developed countries. This section reviews its definitions, relationship to sustainability, its scope and international standards. The extent of economic development stage in China is different from the developed economics, therefore, the recognition of CSR will be different comparing to that in the developed economics. The discussion will be deferred until section 1.3.

1.1.1 Definition of CSR

Despite the awareness of CSR can be traced back to 1924 when Oliver Sheldon first proposed the concept, it is in the last twenty years that CSR has become an critical part of the international business environment. Main reason contributing to this situation stemmed from consumer and civil society pressures for companies to conducting business in a socially responsible way while pursuing profit. In developed countries, this can be reflected on asking companies to act beyond what the law requires them to do. The following are several examples of the definition of CSR. By these definitions, CSR is:

“Being socially responsible means not only fulfilling legal expectations, but also going beyond compliance and investing more into human capital, the environment and relations with stakeholders.”(European Union, 2001)

“The continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development, while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.”(World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 2001)

“Operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business” (Business for Social Responsibility, see BSR, 2006)

What these definitions shed light on is the broad recognition of contingent stakeholders that not only include shareholders, but also workers, the local community, and society as a whole. While the shareholders are only concerned about companies’ profits, other stakeholder cares about humane treatment of the workforce, the environment, the coherence of society, as well as product quality. In many, circumstances, these two strands of interests conflict with each other.

1.1.2 Sustainability

The original meaning of sustainability, as defined by the Brundtland Commission, is meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. When put this concept into corporate world, it means that the way companies conducting business should contribute to the sustainability development of society. In other words, sustainability is about ensuring long-terms business success while contributing towards economic and social development, a healthy environmental and a stable society. (Developing Value, 2005) There are three components of sustainability, often referred to as “the three P’s”, “People, planet, and Profits”, or the “Triple Bottom Line” (Developing Value, 2005). Broadly speaking, the meanings of sustainability coincide with those of CSR. This report will use CSR to the responsibilities companies own to society.

1.1.3 Scope of CSR

According to a UNIDO report (UNIDO, 2002), there are three generations of CSR. The first generation focuses on philanthropic activities. At this stage, companies regard CSR as a pain reliever that helps them to improve public image among the general public. The second generation incorporates CSR as one of a company’s integral business strategies that bring tangible gains. This generation of CSR sheds light on business case and makes it a really voluntary action of the company. The third generation goes one step further and calls for companies to actively pursue public good, that is, to make the pursuit of public good an intrinsic part of their goals. Currently, companies are in the transition from the first generation to the second generation and the third generation has yet to come.

The following Tableshows different action within different generations.

Table2 Scope of CSR in Different Generation

Source: UNIDO (2002)

Area of actionFirst generationSecond generationThird generation
Focus of accountabilityFromLegal and traditional stakeholdertoDirect stakeholders, short-term impactsToBroad range of stakeholders, long-term impacts
Business caseFromPain alleviationToCost-benefit rationaleToStrategic alignment
Level of engagementFromCompliance with legal responsibilitiesToHarm minimizationToSocial value creation
Degree of influenceFromMarket actionstoMarket remoldingtoPolicy influence

1.1.4 CSR International Standards

Worldwide concerns over CSR and cross-border auditing have raised the need of international standards. Some of the standards are guidelines for voluntary incorporation of CSR into company management systems; other requires certification. The UNIDO report provides a sample of CSR standards.

The Global Reporting Initiative:

“ The GRI is a long-term multi-stakeholder, international undertaking whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable sustainability reporting guidelines for voluntary use by organizations reporting on the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of their activities, products and services.” (GRI, 2000) The GRI was a result of the coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies In partnership with the United Nations Environment Program.

SA8000:

This was developed by Social Accountability International. It has a standard for workplace conditions and a system for independent verification of companies’ compliance. Besides drawing from usual industrial standards ensuring product quality, it also adds several elements of human rights.

Ethical Trading Initiative Base code:

This is a global standard for employment and working conditions, linked directly to ILO Conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Rights of the child. It is a partnership with three types of members, i.e., companies, unions, and NGOs.

AA1000:

this is an accountability standard developed by the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability. It focuses on securing the quality of social and ethical accounting, auditing and reporting.

ISO (esp. 14000 & 9000):

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) administers over 11,000 standards. CSR-related ISO standards mainly focus on customers, staff and suppliers in the delivery of quality system for products (ISO9000) and environmental (ISO14000) management.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises:

The guidelines provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct consistent with applicable laws. They aim to ensure that the operation of international enterprises are consistent with government policies, to reinforce relationship between enterprises and society, to help improve the foreign investment climate and to enhance their contribution to sustainable development.

1.2 Corporate Social Responsibility

To most of Chinese enterprises, the concept of CSR has not strong influence the way enterprise conducting business. It is because they are not familiar with such concept. The introduction has been regarded as an necessary step when China is entering into the wave of globalization. The initiative of CSR in China can be summarized into three phases (Zhou, 2006). The first phase is from 1999 to2000. China began to introduce the concept of CSR. It is mainly by auditing domestic suppliers by international companies. The second phase from 2000 to 2004, was Mr. Zhou calls “the wait –and-see years”. In this period, the domestic suppliers underwent intensive auditing effort and requirement from their overseas business partners. The trend cause the attention of several key government ministries including the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the Ministry of Commerce. The main concern from this government department focuses on how CSR can be used as a non-tariff barrier in terms of Chinese exports. As a result, Chinese official and scholars did not take immediate action, but rather a wait-and-see attitude toward CSR.

The third phase was from 2004 until now. The main feature of this period was seen commitment of business, governments, media, and scholars in the introduction and implementation of CSR. The most fruitful achievement has been active initiatives from the society. Government and business sectors have good cooperation to promote CSR and integrate it into core business strategies. in addition to establishing several government organization in order to promote the wild spread of CSR and enhance CSR performance of Chinese companies, the Ministry of Commerce launched China’s own CSR standard and in 2005, textile industry had initiative to implement a standard specifically for the industry, China Social Compliance for Textile and Apparel Industry, or CSC 9000T. The textile industry was the first industry to undergo pressures from their business partner abroad as China is the largest textile exporter, so it is very reasonable to initiate CSR in textile sector.

Beside the efforts from government and business initiatives, the media can also be accounted as an increasingly important promoter. Although, there may be no CSR mentioned in repots, but they help to reveal the serious violation of labor right, environmental regulations and product quality accidents. (Y.YAO, 2008)

The China News Weekly is a news organization. It promotes CSR through various activities. One of these activities is the annual international forum for social responsibility, which invites renowned government officials, people, scholars and other stakeholders from business sectors. From 2006, it has been held two times a year. Many international companies such as Intel, HP, Samsung, and Shell together with large domestic companies such as Lenovo, Haier, and Cosco have joined in the forum. One of the form events is to issue the award called “Most Socially Responsible Company”. The award stared in 2005 and became the most influencing award in China.

1.3 Problem Statement

This study will explore that if it can be proclaimed a relationship between the implementation of CSR standard and competitiveness performance. Currently, China’s economy is gradually melting into the wave of globalization, there is imperative requirement from international companies for compliance under international standards as the CSR one. In some cases, this is seen as a precondition for continuous business. Furthermore, Chinese companies have been undergoing serious CSR auditing. The pressure from abroad promotes the spread of CSR certification in China. However, the starting point of its implementation should not just narrow on overcoming the trade barrier, a certification for export, compliance with national laws or fulfill the requirement from abroad business partners, but on truly comprehending how does the implementation can influence the business performance and what benefits can CSR standards actually bringThe main theoretical hypothesis is that companies implementing CSR standards can gain a competitive advantage in Chinese market.

It is the combination of this consideration that has led the researcher to carry out an investigation on relationship between implementation of CSR standard and competitiveness performance.

1.4 General Research Objective

The objective of this study is to promote certification of CSR in China by demonstrating there are positive relationships between CSR and competitiveness indicators. Due to the enormous number of companies in the Chinese context, this study will focus on the textile and clothing companies in Zhejiang Province.

1.5 Research Question

The aim of this research work is to analyze whether the implementation of CSR standards contribute to improving companies’ competitiveness. Therefore the driven research question of this study can be established as following:

What is the relationship between CSR and competitive advantage?

What initiatives have Chinese companies conducted in the last years as part of the CSR reports?

What is the perception of CSR reports in the last years(Benefitsor Pit holes?)

What lessons can be learnt from literature about relationship between CSR and competitiveness?

How can CSR be considered as a source of competitiveness(crossing criteria between CSR and competitiveness)

1.6 The Scope and Significant of the Study

This study will mainly focus on exploring the relationship between CSR and companies’ competitiveness indicators of textile and clothing industry in Zhejiang Province. The study will cover the existing CSR initiatives in companies, the impacts from CSR, and relationship between CSR and competitiveness. The survey groups were selected from companies with CSR report in Zhejiang Province.

It is hoped that the study will useful to promote wild spread of CSR standard in Zhenjiang Province and in China as a whole. By demonstrating the connection between CSR standard and competitiveness, it will make companies realize that investment on CSR is not just focusing on image improvement in short term, but also enhancing competitiveness in long term.

The targeted groups will also benefit from the study as they will be able to go beyond the superficial understanding of benefits brought by CSR. The knowledge and experience stemmed from participation in survey will also help them revise and improve the CSR practice.

The research will be as a pilot study for further study in investigating the relationship between various aspects of CSR and competitiveness. This will lead to the prevalence of CSR implementation in China’s different industry.

2 Review of Related Literature

A review of the key issues in the existing literature related to the CSR, Competitiveness and its relationship will be presented under this chapter. It will primarily focus on CSR and competitiveness. Then, It will also go further to discuss the relationship between CSR and competitiveness.

2.1 CSR in Today’s Company Success

2.1.1 Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line

In 1994, John Elkington defined this term as the Triple Bottom Line as a guideline for companies to focus not only on economic performance but also environmental and social values. The three bottom lines have three important aspects in terms of economic, environmental, and social bottom lines. The lines some times are also referred to 3Ps in terms of Profit, Planet, and People (Elkington, 2001). The basic rationale behind this approach is that sustainable companies must be financially secure, must minimize or ideally eliminate its negative environmental impacts, and must act in conformity with the expectations which society places on companies (Juholin, 2007).

The economic line refers to the regular accounting of financial performance. It is conducted through mandatory accounting due to laws, annual conference with stakeholders, and reports. The second bottom line refers to environmental aspects. It focuses on environmental accounting with the aim to identify costs and benefits in the accounting system related to the environment. The last line refers to social bottom aspect. It is concerning impact companies have on people (Elkington, 2001).

When it comes to the Triple Bottom Lines and its linkage to CSR, Elkington (2004) states that “it is a tem which is often used to describe companies’ success in those three areas. Elkington (2001) further recommends that the Triple Bottom Lines could be regarded as a framework for companies measuring and reporting their progress in the three areas, the 3Ps.

The Triple Bottom Line involved in CSR is a broad term (Elkington, 2001). In the meanwhile, other researchers have dug a bit deeper into the subject of what areas companies are responsible for (Andriof & Mclntosh, 2001)

2.1.2 CSR Aspect

Current CSR seems to be an unclear defined concept, which includes so many diverse concepts. These concepts are related to different aspect of CSR, for instance, environment, public relationship and stakeholder. The following framework presented by takes all the concepts into considerations. The framework is presented in Figure 1, which can assist companies to analyze their current CSR position and give a direction to develop CSR. The issues can be classified into fourteen aspects, when companies think of CSR.

The following Figure categorize different CSR aspects into internal environment; external environment; mixed.

Source: Kok et al (2001)

There are several reasons why most of companies should use this framework. One reason is that I can be utilized in CSR planning process in order to analyze existing internal and external practices. Second, it can help companies identify its weaknesses and strengths. Third, it can make the development of CSR simpler as it provides existing data for companies’ CSR implementation. Finally, it can find identify the ones who are able to contribution to CSR activities. (Kok et al, 2001)

1.1.1CSR Stakeholder

The term “stakeholder” has a wild scope according to O’Riordan and Fairbass (2008). It has been defined as meaning “all groups and individuals who can affect or are affected by the achievements of an organization’s mission”. Stakeholders can be regarded as crucial element in companies’ external environment, and they act either formally or informally, individually or collectively, and can so on positively or negatively affect companies. (O’Riordan, 2008 and Fairbass, 2008)

Based on above consideration, therefore, it is crucial for companies to find out to whom they are responsible and how far that responsibility extends, and then, prioritize different stakeholder groups as different companies has different situation. After this companies should evaluate stakeholder expectations through dialogue and incorporate these expectations into its CSR plan ( Castka et al, 2004)

There exists subtle difference between investments in CSR activities and regular investments. CSR investment activities should focus on lying on pursuit of trade-off between profit maximization and stakeholder demands satisfaction ( Castka et al, 2004).

The following Figure shows companies should balance profit from CSR and its demand for CSR.

Castka et al, (2004)

1.1.1 CSR Initiatives

In terms of initiatives, there are mainly six areas, which are included in most of companies. The following Table shows six major initiatives are proposed together with their respective benefits and concerns

Table3 Six Dimensions of CSR Initiatives

Source: Kotler and Lee (2005)

1.1 Concept of Competitiveness

There is lack of clearly defined concept of competitiveness. It is because there is too much diverse perspectives and different levels of analysis when conducted competitiveness analysis. By analyzing the different definitions of competitiveness perspectives, it is possible to establish a common basis. Competitiveness is generally defined as

“Ability of a firm or a nation to offer products and services that meet the quality standards of the local and world markets at prices that are competitive and provide adequate returns on the resources employed or consumed in producing them[1]”.

The factors, which determines the capability of firm or nation to outweigh the ability of its competitors is the capacity to utilize its own resources as effective and efficient as possible in order to obtain a better performance. Based on this consideration, it is important to analyze different actors on the competition arena. The following will distinguish three basic actors:

A single firm or plant. At this level, the concept means that companies can produce goods and services more effectively and efficiently than its counterparts. In order to achieve this ideal performance, companies should relay on competitive factors, mainly focusing on efficient utilization of some inputs. A paper from OECD (2003) states

“Competitiveness is primarily a matter of being able to produce goods that are either cheaper or better than those produced by other firms”.

This statement is similar to what Jenkins (1998) states

“A firm is competitive if it can produce products or services of a superior quality or at lower costs than its domestics and international competitors. It is therefore synonymous of a firm’s long-run profit performance and its ability to compensate its employees and provide superior returns to its owners”.

A group of firms. At this level, the competitiveness means that different groups of companies utilize competitive factors, (For example, companies in similar industrial sectors, but in different nations), to gain a better performance on the local or international markets. In this case, to aggregate the performance of the single firm in the same operating in the same cluster can be regarded as the most effective way to measure the competitive performance. This level has closely connection with previous one, but not the same. Actually, a competitive industry can be regarded as the combination of a number of high competitive firms.

A territorial context. At this level, the concept implies that the competitive performance of nations or regions is combination of wide range of performances at the industry, firm and plant levels, and of their interactions with the institutional and social factors (cosmic report, 2009). So, this level cannot be simply regarded as the aggregation of the previous ones.

After the identification of the actors on different levels, we can go forward to the issue related to the dimension of competitiveness. Based on previous analysis, at least three dimensions of competitiveness can be defined:

International competitiveness:

At this level, competitiveness mainly refers to the success with which an entity (i.e. a country, a sector/industry, and a firm) competes against overseas counterparts (cosmic report, 2008). The OECD provided the most important and widely-used definition of international competitiveness:

“ the degree to which (a country) under free and fair market conditions, produce goods and services which meet the tests of international markets, while simultaneously maintaining and expanding the real incomes of its people over the longer term” (OECD)

National competitiveness:

At this level, it focuses on how to measure competitiveness in terms of growth of Gross Domestics Product or Gross National Product, GDP and import &export flows. National competitiveness, from perspective of most authors, rest on how efficient a country can allocate its resources and utilized at micro level.

Local competitiveness:

At this level, two elements relating to link between territorial localization and competitiveness seems to be key elements. The first is that economic, entrepreneurial and technological activities tend to agglomerate at certain places, leading to patterns of regional and local specialization. The second is that the competitive performance and development of a firm seem to be determined to a considerable extent by the conditions that prevail in its environment, and that the conditions in the immediate proximity (cosmic report, 2008)

After the analysis of the competitiveness actors and arenas, the next step will go deeply into the crucial variables affecting competitiveness together with the ways to measure them. There are many factors influencing competitiveness on different level according to previous analysis of actors and arenas. In addition, different definitions of competitiveness in terms of different levels also provide clue for measuring the concept of competitiveness. By evaluating existing approach, two major methods can be distinguished for measurement (cosmic report, 2008):

The first one focuses on analyzing the drivers of the competitiveness. For instance, resource productivity at firm level, the degree of internationalization at sector level).

The second one tries to investigate the external effects of the competitiveness success. For instance, market performance by market share; the turnover growth rate.

With the consideration of the ways to measure competitiveness, it is important to remember that competitiveness can be regarded at different levels of aggregation. Each one may be composed and influenced by different variables. (Cosmic report, 2008)

Based on above analysis, competitiveness can be measured at three different levels in terms of Macro level; Meso level; Micro level as described in Table

The research mainly focuses on the second level of competitiveness, which is on Meso level. The indicator in the Table3 for measuring competitiveness is a ground base for companies who are going to analyze its competitiveness capability. But each sector has its unique feature, therefore, it is wise to develop corresponding competitive indicator based on this ground base. Based on this consideration, the competitive indicators in textile & cloth industry were identified based on the general indicators, including high product quality; niche market/product differentiation strategies; efficient processes; research and development; flexibility and fast response to market changes; HR and organizational culture, which are regarded as the most important indicator for measuring competitiveness in Textile and clothing industry as described in Table1

1.1 Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitiveness

There is lack of literature on CSR and competitiveness, despite the number of this kind of study has increased exponentially in past few years. Most of previous studies tried to prove there is positive relationship between CSR and financial performance (M Tsoutsoura, 2004), although the results is mixed. Other researchers have came up with alternative approaches, such as creating a competitive advantage by generating stakeholder value (Freeman,1984), appraising how CSR can have influence on competitiveness such as reputation and image(Marc Vilanova, Josep Maria Lozano and Daniel Arenas, 2008), or conducting case studies related to CSR, which conclude that implementing CSR contributes to both short-term profits and long-term competitiveness (Juholin, 2004).

Weber (2008) proposed five main areas of benefits from CSR activities by extracting from existing research on CSR business benefits as described in Figure 3

Weber (2008), pp240

1.1.1 CSR impact on Image and Reputation

A company’s image plays very crucial role in pursuit of business success, which can be influenced by communication with stakeholder and reputation of a company. It is kind of unconscious response which people have when they talk about a company (Weber, 2008). The image of companies cannot be influenced by single factors but when these factors combine with each other, companies can suffer from this combination dramatically.

A reputation of a company is important and valuable assets. A positive one may bring many benefits to a company, however, a negative one may cause significantly harm to it. A company reputation is closely tied up with its stakeholders’ emotional beliefs about it. Image is not as the same as the reputation as it can change very quickly, but reputation needs long period to develop. Reputation needs to be consistent performance and deliver these performances to stakeholders. (Weber, 2008)

The following Figure shows factors influencing companies’ reputation.

Montgomery &Ramus, 2003

1.1.1 Cost Saving

Companies can significantly reduce costs by substituting materials during the implementation of CSR strategy, by improving communications with corresponding stakeholders, which can contribute to time saving or increasing chances to assess to capital. All these benefits related to cost saving can be derived from CSR related activities. (Weber, 2008)

1.1.2 CSR related Risk Management

CSR can also be regarded as a mean to either reduce or manage CSR related risks. Through CSR assistance, company can better manage CSR related risks, including avoiding customer boycotts or negative press. (Weber, 2008)

1.1.3 Increasing Revenue

CSR can contribute to revenue increase either directly by CSR-driven niche market or indirectly by image or reputation improvement. (Weber, 2008)

1.1.4 CSR impact on Human Resource

CSR plays important role in stimulating motivation. It is because people may be motivated by the facts that they are working for a company with better environmental record or better working conditions, or the facts that they may participate in CSR related activities, including volunteering program organized by company (Weber, 2008), as motivation mostly is value-driven rather than money-driven. Good payment is also important factors, which cannot be neglected as it is basic need of all employees. However, making employee feel proud of place where they are working for is also important.

“Employee retention is most strongly influenced by the behavior of the organization and its senior leaders as well as the learning and career development opportunities available for employee,” said Hamish Deery. CSR includes concern for employee s’ wellbeing as well as a concern for the environment. Through CSR activities, companies can create these benefits for employee. It has more possibility to maintain employees. Hamish Deery also mentioned that “ in this current tight labor market, companies that do not engage and empower through a range of initiatives such as providing training or personal and career development opportunities, are going to end up struggling to keep quality employee,”. So CSR activities plays crucial role in companies’ retention.

Furthermore, companies with good CSR practice can also have influence on attractiveness of companies. (Weber, 2008) This attractiveness also plays important role when it comes to recruitment process. Numbers of companies have noticed that it is important to attract talent employees as these employees are value asset of companies as well as important part in creating competitiveness advantage. Therefore, company should realize the important role CSR activities play in recruitment of quality employees.

2 Research Methodology and Planning

This section will elaborate on the research approach for the intended study on CSR and competitiveness. It will explain the methods that will be utilized in data collection to help in the achievement of the research objective. This section will also elaborate on how to analyze and manage the collected data under derived from planned activities within the time frame.

2.1 Research Design

The project duration is from May to September 2011. In order to achieve the research objective, close-end questionnaire will be submitted by email to companies with CSR standards; and in-depth interviews aims to obtain real experience about relationship between CSR and competitiveness from mangers in Zhejiang Province’s textile and clothing companies. The project therefore, will focus on combination with survey and interviews in order to explore the relationship between CSR and competitiveness.

The following Tableshows how research questions will be answered and what kinds of methods; information sources; preparation will be need for answering these questions.

1.1.1 Research Strategy Selection

The strategy of the study will focus on survey. Survey approach refers to a systematic method for gathering information from a sample of individuals for the purpose of describing the attributes of the larger population of which the individuals are members[1].The survey approach has been chosen because the researcher intends to analyze the relationship between CSR and competitiveness in a statistics way. The relationship between these two concepts are so abstractive that it will be difficult to shed light on the linkage without survey approach as it provides numbers and trends in diagram, which is more visual than words description. There are two kinds of survey in terms of how to structure survey.

The following table shows categories of survey and its key features.

Table 6 Aspect of Survey Method

Source: adapted from Dawson, Catherine, 2002

1.1.1 Data Collection

The research was initiated by the use of academic literature in responding to CSR, competitiveness and their relationship. Primary data were collected through interviews both face to face and phone correspondence. Primary data will be information collected directly from the interviewees in efforts to directly understand individual experiences. Meanwhile, through the questionnaire, data will also be emerged as primary data, which the researchers used to validate some of the information collected. In terms of second data, it includes literature, report and article collected as theoretical framework.

1.1.2 Sample Selection

Due to the enormous textile and clothing companies in China, it is time and cost consuming to include the entire population in the research, which refers to census study as the data is gathered on every member of the population. A small, but carefully chosen sample will be used to represent the population. The sample reflects the characteristics of the population from which it is drawn.

There are two ways to conduct sampling: probability and non-probability. Probability methods refer to that each member of the population has a known non-zero probability of be selected. In non-probability, members are selected from the population in some nonrandom manner.6

The following table shows the categories of sampling and key features.

Table7 Aspects of Sampling

Source: Kumar, Ranjit, 2005

The author of this research is using convenience sampling. This method is used in exploratory research where the researcher is interested in getting an inexpensive approximation of the truth.6when choosing the sample of this research, the author have certain criteria to direct the selection. The criteria refer to “companies with best CSR performance” awarded by CSR organization in China[1], which guarantee the representative of sample.

1.1.1 Data Analysis

In order to demonstrate the relationship between CSR and competitivness, firstly, six competitive indictors were defined including high product quality; niche market/product differentiation strategies; efficient processes; research and development; flexibility and fast response to market changes; HR and organizational culture. These indicators have the most representative features in terms of competitiveness in textile industry. Then, a correlation between CSR and these six indictors can be established through analyzing data collected by questionnaires. By linking CSR and these six competitiveness indicators and analyzing them, the purpose of this research can be fulfilled.

Data analysis will be done after data collection since the raw data should be code and put into SPSS software. The data collected from the interviewers will be analyzed based on the literature study CSR and competitiveness. By using SPSS, it is very easy to testify whether there is a relationship between CSR and competitiveness indicator. Such data will also be further judged by information from interviews.

1.1.2 Validity and Reliability

Polit and Hungler (1993) refer to reliability as the degree of consistency with which an instrument measures the attribute it is designed to measure. The questionnaires will be sent to different companies, which will be answered and conducted by target groups, reveal consistency in response. Questionnaires will be designed in interviewee’s language in order to make it easy to understand, in order to reduce issues related to miscommunication. Following the interviews, the questionnaires will be translated into English in order to guarantee its consistency and readability. Avoiding data collector bias can also ensure reliability. The researcher’s being the only one to administer the questionnaires minimized data collector bias. The validity of an instrument is the degree to which an instrument measures what it is intended to measure (Polit & Hungler 1993). Content validity refers to the extent to which an instrument represents the factors under study. To achieve content validity, questionnaire includes a variety of questions on the knowledge of CSR, competitiveness indicators and CSR impacts on these indicators.

Questions will be based on information gathered during the literature review to ensure that they will be representative of what researchers should know about CSR, competitiveness indicators and CSR impacts on these indicators. Content validity will be further ensured by consistency in administering the questionnaires. The questions will be formulated in simple language for clarity. Clear instructions will be given to the target groups. There will be also limitations in the research in terms of duration, width and depth of data collection, opportunity to test results and recommendations.

1.2 Research Framework

The research framework is presented in Figure 9 below. It is in three sections: section (a) shows the literature review related to CSR and competitiveness which then leads to the development of key dimension of indicator of competitiveness. Section (b) illustrates how research process are going to go forward based on literature review and survey results analysis. Section(c) shows how the results obtained from analysis will then be used to demonstrate the relationship between CSR and competitiveness.

1.1 Planning and Timeline

With the consideration of above research framework, the different activities are presented as indicated in Table8

Table8 Activity Plan

3 Reference

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The Emerging field of nanoscale science, engineering and technology

1.0 Introduction

The Emerging field of nanoscale science, engineering and technology – that is the ability to work at the atomic, molecular and supramolecular levels, to create large structures with fundamentally new properties and functions have lead to an unrivalled understanding and control over basic building blocks of all natural and man-made things [roco]. This rapid advancement has lead to an increased demand for technological development on a nanoscale, which has brought about the birth and improvement of infrastructural changes aimed at representing and observing these features. The world wide focus over this time has been the evolution of methods including SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), TEM (Transmission Electron Microscope), FIB (Focus Ion Beam) etcetera for the detailing of features at the nanoscale.

1.1 History of the Focus Ion Beam (FIB) Technology

Focus Ion Beam (FIB) systems have been commercially produced, mostly for manufacturers of large semiconductors for about 20 years [www.fibics.com]. In 1982, Anazawa et al. produced a 35Kv Ga- source and about three years later Orloff and Sudruad proposed FIB system for implantation and lithography [sudruad], even though as of 1959, Feyman had suggested the use of ion beams [www.nanofib.com]. In 1985, Kato et al. have pointed out the advantages of the FIB technology in the fabrication of sub-micro structures.

1.2 Operational Overview

The operation of the FIB are same as that of SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), except that the focus ion beam system employs the use of focussed beam of ions instead of beam of electrons utilised in the SEM systems[].

Commercialised nanoscience is limited by availability of tools. Using focussed ion beam system allows specified fabrication and imaging abilities which reduces greatly the characterization cycles and development required in the nano-technological field by scientist. The capabilities within focus ion beam ( FIB) are valued highly for rapid prototyping application. The deposition combination / direct etching of FIB in combination with digitally addressed patterning system allows nano prototyping engine with capabilities that will help researches in nano technology , because the operation of FIB is on both micro and nano scale, it can be used in creating the required structures.

FIB has precised control over deposition and milling parameter and as such, it is the proper tool for creating small structures for nano technology in the top –down approach. It is a highly flexible, mask-less technique which is fast for serial techniques, thus allowing the FIB instrument very efficient for design modifications. Most conventional methods of sample preparation used today in life sciences are compatible with investigations by using FIB.

1.3 Using Focus Ion Beam Systems

The direct applicability obtained in using FIB instrument is highly relevant in industrial applications. FIB instrument and its application have contributed immensely to industrial researches carried out in several analysis laboratories – For instance in the polymer industry, metallurgy industry, nuclear research etcetera. The ability to image, mill and deposit material by using FIB instrument depends largely on the nature of the ion beam- solid interactions. Milling occurs as a result of physical sputtering of the target. In understanding the mechanism of sputtering we need to consider the interaction between an ion beam and the target. Sputtering usually takes place when there is elastic collision in series when momentum is transferred from the incident ions to the target atoms in the region of collision cascade. Ionization of a portion of the ejected atoms can be collected for mass analysis or image formation. Production of plasmons (in metals), phonons and emission of secondary electrons can occur as a result of inelastic scattering. Imaging in the focus ion beam is carried out by detecting the secondary ions/electrons typically, sputtering in focus ion beam processes occurs within energy ranges that are dominated by nuclear energy losses.

Focus Ion beam devices are used to scan the surfaces of samples using simple focussed ion beams. The detection of secondary ions allows the processed surface of samples and microscopic images to be observed. The ion beam is generated by using liquid metal ion source (LMIS) when a beam of ion is irradiated on the surface of a specimen by finding the secondary ions with a detector – a two dimensional distribution which shows the microscopic images of the surface of the specimen can be observed.

1.4 The Focus Ion Beam Instrument

The Operation of the FIB technology uses a similar principle as the SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) / TEM (Transmission Electron Microscope) but differs in the use of ions and this introduces consequences of enormous magnitude for interaction which occur at the surface of the specimen. Using Focus Ion Beam (FIB) instrument involves two major parameters – penetration of ion into material and the rate of sputtering of ion of the material.

When the emitted liquid metal ion source (LMIS) primary ion beam hits the surface of the specimen, it splutters a small amount of material this will leave the specimen surface as either neutral atoms or secondary ions – Secondary beams are also produced using the primary beam. Signals from the sputtered ion or secondary electron are collected to produce an image as the primary beam raster on the specimen surface.

Liquid metal ion source (LMIS) development is crucial for the development of Focus Ion Beam (FIB) [www.dspace.cam.ac.uk] , application of electric field that are very high into a steering quadrupole, octupole deflector, two electrostatic lenses in the column to focus ions in a beam and scan the beam on the specimen. Liquid metal ions source (LMIS) generates ions; these ions are focussed on electrostatic lenses. When specimen surfaces are bombarded using ions that have been extracted from the liquid metal ion source (LMIS) this generates ions, secondary electron and sputtered material and the various generated items serve different purpose in the focus ion beam.

At high primary currents a large amount of material can be removed by sputtering thus allowing precision milling of the specimen down to the submicron scale, while less material is removed at low primary beam currents. The use of ions in focus ion beam instruments means that they cannot penetrate with ease individual atoms of the specimen because ions are large. So interaction usually occurs within outer shell interaction which causes chemical band breakage of the substrate atom and atomic ionization. Inner shell electrons of the specimen cannot be reached by an incoming ion. The probability of an interaction with atoms that are within the specimen is much higher because of the large ion size and this result in rapid loss of energy of the ion. This means that the depth of penetration is much lower.

It should be noted that the main advantage of the Focus Ion beam is its ability to produce image of the sample after which it mills the sample precisely away from the areas that are selected[ ].

1.41 Ions in Operation

Ions are slower when paired to electrons for the same energy, because they are much heavier as a result Lorenz force is lower, so the use of magnetic lenses is less effective, and as such the focussed ion beam instrument is equipped with electro static lenses. Ions are positive, slow, large and heavy; so the resulting ion beam will remove atoms from the substrate and because the size, beam position and dwell time are well controlled, it can be used in the removal of materials locally in a manner that is highly controlled down to the nanoscale. As a result of the actions due to the ions used in the Focus ion beam instrument, fabrication and imaging functions are derived. The fabrication function occurs due to the sputtering while the imaging function arises due to the ions and secondary electrons.

1.42 Gallium (Ga+) Ions

The gallium ions are used in the focus ion beam (FIB) instruments for the following reasons [fei];

Due to its surface potential it exhibits very high brightness, the tip sharpness, the flow properties of the gun and the gun construction which results in field emission and ionization. This is an important result for the focussed ion beam. It should be noted that whatever chosen material should be ionized before the formation of the beam and then accelerated.
The element Gallium is metallic and because of its low melting temperature is a very convenient material for compact gun construction with limited heating.
Gallium is the centre of the periodic table and exhibits an optimal momentum transfer capability for a wide range of materials, lithium which is a higher element will not be sufficient in milling of heavier elements.
Gallium element has low analytical interference
2.0 Focus Ion Beam System

In the figure below, the FEJ 200 series type F113 of the FIB system is represented. In the figure are the various components of the system which includes the column, the specimen chamber and the detector;

2.1The Column

This is situated above the specimen chambers. It is made up of two electrostatic lenses, a set of beam blanking plates, liquid metal ion source (LMIS), a beam acceptance aperture, steering quadrupole, beam defining aperture and an octupole deflector.

2.2 Lens System

Coming from the source, the beam goes through a beam acceptance aperture after which it goes into the first lens. Above the beam- defining aperture (BDA), the quadrapole adjust the position of the beam in a manner as to allow the beam move through the center of the beam-defining aperture (BDA). The beam is aligned to the optical axis of the second lens’ quadrapole. Beam astigmatism correction, shift and scanning is provided by the octupole which is positioned below the second lens. Between the second lens assembly and the second lenses steering quadrapole we have the beam blanking assembly. This is made up of aperture and electrical path and blanking plates. Beam blanking provides specimens with protections against constant milling.

2.3 Generation of Image

The primary beam is scanned as a raster across the specimen and it is made up of lines in vertical axis (shifted slightly from one another) and lies in the horizontal (in series). With scanning of the beam over the specimen the secondary ions and the secondary electrons that are generated by the specimen are detected. Details of this information are stored in the computer and images are produced from these information.

2.4 Detector, Stage and Gas Injection

Control of rotation and X and Y axis is performed by software and it can be tilted to the XY plane manually. Gases of two types are evolved above the surface of the specimen at about 100µm of distance. One of these gases is used for platinum deposition and the other for enhanced etch. During bombardment of ion in milling, species that are charged are formed and they are attracted to the detector. A glass of millions of arrays of minute channel electron multiplier is the detector; it is a micro channel plate (MCP).

2.5 Liquid Metal Ion Source (LMIS)

LMIS is made of a needle emitter which has an end radius of 1 – 10µm. It is coated with high surface tension metal which at its melting point has a low vapour pressure. This emitter is subjected to heating till the melting point of the metal is attained. A positive high voltage is placed on it. Using the balance between the surface tension forces and the electrostatic the liquid metal is drawn into a conical shape. The source that is commonly used is Gallium [dspace.mit.edu].

2.5 Milling

By using the scan control system, polygons, circles and lines can be milled. The table below represents the different beam currents and their corresponding milling spot sizes.

The figure below gives us the pixel size and milling spot size and the beam overlap. The overlap can be expressed as the overlapped area where the beam moves from a position to the other. And the time where the beam remains in a position is known as the dwell time.

2.7 Sample Preparation

The three main strategies used in the focus ion beam sample preparation of specimen that will be inspected using TEM are: Ex situ lift-out (EXLO) preparation (Centre Image), H-Bar sample preparation (Left image) and In Situ lift-out (INLO) preparation (Right image) [info.omniprobe.com/blog/bid]

2.8 Imaging

When ion beam is scanned on the surface of the specimen, it causes ions and electrons to be ejected. After scanning through the surface of the specimen the primary Gallium ion penetrate into the surface of the specimen. The depth of the penetration varies from one material to the other. The secondary electron yield is much higher than secondary ion yield during ion milling and thus is the reason why focus ion beam is usually used in the secondary electron mode. Secondary ions and secondary electrons are obtained within regions that are closer the surface of the specimen.

3.0 Conclusion

In their work on the future of focus ion beam, the ORSAYPHYSICS group has shown that field of focus ion beam is open to expansion. Their projections with regards the extent to which focus ion beam can be deployed is shown in the figure below:

Fig. Current and Future FIB Technologies

Source: http://www.felmi-zfe.tugraz.at/FIB/WS3_Beitraege/01%20Sudraud.pdf

The use of FIB has been developed extensively over the years in applications like super conductor, field emission device, accelerometer etcetera. Armed with imaging capability of high resolution as its recently upgraded technologies, the focus ion beam (FIB) instrument is indeed technology that is providing solutions to problems that has been previously unresolved. This heralds the focus ion beam (FIB) instrument as an important device for the future in the nano science, technology and engineering environment.

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Economic marketplace is increasingly characterized by globalization due to the dynamics of technology.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Today’s economic marketplace is increasingly characterized by globalization due to the dynamics of technology. For decades, politicians and bureaucrats have strived to break down borders hampering international trade. Their work led to the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 in the heat of World War II, an agreement by the world’s leading politicians to lay down the framework for international commerce and finance, and the founding of several international institutions intended to oversee the processes of globalization. Bilateral trade agreements between nations, agreements through institutions like the World Trade Organization and The World bank, and the increasing number of international alliances is a testament of increasing corporate globalization. The favourable conditions to expand internationally allowed firms to expand their business beyond their home country and has consequently resulted in a significant growth of Foreign Direct Investment (Kolstad and Tondel, 2002). The increased awareness of the merits of foreign direct investment (FDI) has resulted in an increasing body of scientific work in this area. Despite this knowledge however, many foreign investments still fail to meet the local firm’s expectations. In order to establish what lies at the root of this impediment, additional research is required. To uncover in what respects national cultural values influence the feasibility of Foreign Direct Investment.

Recently, the special merits of FDI and particularly the kinds of incentives offered to foreign firms in practice have begun to be questioned. Fuelling this debate is that empirical evidence for FDI generating positive spillovers for host countries is ambiguous at both the micro and macro levels.In a recent survey of the literature, Hanson (2001) argues that evidence that FDI generates positive spillovers for host countries is weak. In a review of micro data on spillovers from foreign-owned to domestically owned firms, Gorg and Greenwood (2002) conclude that the effects are mostly negative. Lipsey (2002) takes a more favourable view from reviewing the micro literature and argues that there is evidence of positive effects. Surveying the macro empirical research led Lipsey to conclude, however, that there is no consistent relation between the size of inward FDI stocks or flows relative to GDP and growth. He further argues that there is need for more consideration of the different circumstances that obstruct or promote spillovers as national culture happens to be an inevitable factor in determining the size and growth pattern of outward and inward FDI.

1.2 Rationale

In order to provide an all encompassing insight in the role of culture with respect to FDI, an extensive research approach is called for. Culture is an elusive and complex concept, imbued in many facets of life and business. As previously stated, FDI has assumed a crucial role in the globalisation of economic activities. The basic concept of FDI reflects the objective to obtain a lasting interest in an economy other than that of the investor’s origin (Menon et al, 2006). A FDI relationship consists of two entities; a parent business enterprise and its foreign subsidiary. Together they comprise a Multinational Enterprise (MNE).

Foreign direct investment has various possible entry strategies. Most common are so-called Greenfield investments, Joint Ventures, Mergers or Acquisitions (Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001). Contrary to FDI, culture is a rather more elusive concept. Hofstede (2001) described culture in the following way: “Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another”. It is evident that culture is imbued in many facets of life, making it challenging to gain intimate knowledge of a country’s culture. A complete understanding of the foreign country’s culture infused into the UK economy however, is a necessary prerequisite for corporate success through foreign investment.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

One major element that is considered to be a critical success factor concerning foreign investment is the elusive concept ‘culture’. Current studies show that the UK economy is in a global mix with emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India which have been attracting significant quantities of foreign investment. These so-called emerging countries offer significant growth potential and low cost labour and thus attract countless multinationals seeking to reap these benefits (Menon et al, 2006). These emerging markets however are often characterized by national and corporate cultures significantly different from their western counterparts. The resulting cultural differences can impede a firm to successfully achieve the goals that have been set out (Chen and Hu, 2001) and in the long-run lead to a shift in market concentration from the UK to these emerging economies. In times past, only very few studies to date attempt to provide insights regarding the relationship between FDI and National culture. In order to fully uncover the untapped potential FDI offers, an all encompassing understanding featuring both the concept of foreign direct investment and culture is imperative.

1.4 Objective of the Study

It should also be emphasized that business to a large extent is about realities at an empirical level and less about deep value structures (Gullestrup, 2006). Trading activities between disparate cultures are, for example, easy to organise as the meetings are concerned with relatively “trivial” facts of trading operations rather than deep values. FDI is different. Here you engage and commit your organisation much more in a foreign culture. Even so, you may not need to touch the deep. Structures to any large extent, but you may run into strong managerial preferences and belief, as is often the case with MNEs that believe strongly in their own management formula. The primary goal of this research is to conceptualise the cultural issues related to the management of FDIs by analysing the factors that influence the choice between joint ventures, wholly owned Greenfield (i.e, start-up) investments, and acquisitions.

The specific objectives are:

To empirically assess in what respects national cultural values influence the feasibility of Foreign Direct Investment.
To determine the trending Profile of natural cultural values and Foreign Direct Investment.
To proffer policies that the government can adopt to fine-tune foreign investments by appreciating the importance of cultural differences in the economy.

1.5 Research Goal and Question

Given the stated aims and objectives in the section above, the following are the research questions which would aid understanding of the contributions of national culture to FDI.

What are the impacts of fusing commerce and national cultures when organizations migrate business functions internationally
2.What are the main dimensions of culture
3.How does the Indian culture influence the MNE’s performance given its entry mode and the cultural distance between India and the MNE

1.6 Scope and Limitation of Study

An examination of public and private partnership (PPP) intervention in the economy is wide and deep. It covers cultural, social, political, psychological, even spatial and economic domains. This project centres on the cultural aspects and implications of combined intervention. The study will cover the cultural distance between the country of the investing firm and the country of entry, the more likely a firm will choose a joint venture or wholly owned Greenfield over an acquisition and also the culture of investing in a firm is said to be characterised by uncertainty avoidance regarding organisational practices between 1981 and 2010 as informed by data availability.

1.7 Research Outline

This paper is structured in five parts. In this first section, the research topic and objective have been presented, and the research question has been formulated. In the second section, the theoretical background of the central concepts in the research will be clarified. Based on the central research question and important findings in the literature, a conceptual model will be drawn, which will guide the continuation of the research. In the third section, the proposed implementation of the research, and the data-collection and processing will be described; furthermore, the concepts in the conceptual model will be operationalised. In the fourth section, the results of the data-collection will be presented, and the analysis of the results takes place. In the fifth and last section of this paper, the conclusion of this research will be presented and discussed, along with reflections on the research’ limitations, and the provision of managerial and academic research.

1.8 Chapter Summary

The research was directed at conceptualising the cultural issues related to the management of FDIs Looking at the FDI as a package of resources, most focus has been on the financial component and especially on the technology component and on technology transfer. The management cum cultural component is mentioned but rarely getting the same empirical attention as the technology component. The omission of a direct discussion of the aspects of organisational and national cultures will of course provide an incomplete pictogram of the impacts of FDI which tends to have a multiplier effect on Growth. The background to the study provided a solid foundation to the understanding of the concepts clearly stating the fundamental problem that could emerge out of any ineffectiveness in policy prescription, the objective and research question was also outlined bearing in mind the empirical framework that will be explored in the later stages of the study.

2 Literature Review

2.1 The Concept of Foreign Direct Investment

FDI, also known as (international) direct investment, forms part of the capital account of the balance of payments. ‘Direct Investment’ is defined as an investment that adds to, deducts from, or acquires a lasting interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor where the purpose is to have an ‘effective voice’ in the management of the enterprise.2 In FDI statistics, an effective voice is measured as 10% of the share capital of a company; any investment below this is counted as ‘portfolio’ investment under balance of payments statistics and not included FDI.

It should be noted that FDI is a financial concept and is not the same as capital expenditure on fixed assets (although an investment may include this).FDI statistics are normally recorded on a ‘net’ basis, meaning disinvestments by companies are included. FDI covers a range of forms of investment (UNCTAD, 2011). The examples given below relate to outward investment, but reverse of these for the foreign firm would be inward investment and vice versa for INDIA:

A foreign company establishes a branch or subsidiary in a foreign country-India, injecting start-up capital. This is often known as a ‘Greenfield’ investment.

A foreign company buys or sells (in full or in part) the equity of an existing foreign company-India. This is often known as M&A activity.

A foreign company puts additional capital into an existing foreign subsidiary-India or allows it to retain profits rather than return them to the parent company.

FDI statistics measure two different concepts – stocks and flows. Investment stocks measure the total book value of investments by a country and not a simple sum of investment over time. They are therefore subject to changes in valuation in company accounts, as well as exchange rate fluctuations. Flows measure annual levels of net investment, and can vary significantly year on year.

Office of National Statistics (2005) reports that FDI data should be used with caution; a significant proportion of FDI flows can be accounted for by large multinational M&As. An example of this is the Vodafone acquisition of Mannesmann in 2000 that had a significant effect on flows between the UK and Germany. More recently, in 2005 a transaction involving Shell between the Netherlands and the UK made up 45% of UK inflows in that year. Therefore, large flows do not necessarily indicate significant ‘greenfield’ investments, they can be large M&A transactions, and high flows may be dominated by just a few transactions.

2.1.1 Brief Overview of FDI in India

In 2009, following the UNCTAD (2010) global investment trends monitor, foreign companies invested ?46 billion in India, a decrease of ?3.2billion (7%) from 2008 and the lowest value since 2004. The largest decreases in inward investment flows in 2009 were from Asia and Africa. The largest investor was France, with ?20 billion or 44% of inward FDI, largely accounted for by the acquisition of British Energy Group Plc by Electricite de France (for a reported ?9.2 billion). The US was the second largest investor with ?19 billion (41%).

UK M&A activity in 2009 was stronger than in 2008 in India .significant transactions that took place in 2009 included the purchase of Barclays Global Investors Plc by Blackrock Inc (for a reported ?9.5 billion) and Resolution Ltd acquiring Gatwick Airport (for a reported ?1.9 billion).

Table 2.1: Inflow and Outflow of FDI into India: Past and Future

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Source: GOI (2007)

In spite of the obvious increases in Indian FDI flow year on year as obvious in the table above, the Economist (2008) suggests that:

“India, though improving, has one of the worst fiscal positions in the world. The government tries hard to conceal this fact, boasting that it has reduced its deficit to an estimated 3.3% of GDP in the year ending March, from 6.5% in 2001-02. However, in a recent report the IMF argued that the true total deficit is closer to 7% of GDP once you add in the state governments’ deficits and various off-budget items. If the losses of state electricity companies are also added in, the total deficit could top an alarming 8% of GDP”.

For a successful entry into a foreign market such as the India market, the choice of an entry mode is important because of its influence on the relationship between the role of the subsidiary and corporate performance of the firm. Every entry mode has different implications, advantages and disadvantages regarding risk, ownership, and control. What is the best entry mode in a given situationThe most appropriate entry mode has to be selected.

The second moderating effect on the relationship between the role of the subsidiary and corporate firm performance is cultural distance, defined as difference in shared values and beliefs between the subsidiary and the MNE. The influence of culture on the effect of the role of the subsidiary on the corporate performance of firm depends on the cultural distance between home and host countries (Chen and Hu, 2001). To understand the way cultural distance affects a business structure, we rely on the four dimensions identified by Hofstede2001).

2.1.3 Scientific Relevance

Little is known about a subsidiary’s contribution to an MNE’s corporate performance (Chen and Hu, 2002). Even less is known about the influence of cultural distance and entry mode of an MNE on the contribution of the subsidiary to corporate performance. Much literature exists on the different entry modes, the determinants of entry modes, or the influence of the characteristics of a host country (the culture) on foreign direct investment (Furrer, 2010; Root, 1982; Chang and Rozenzweig, 2001; Dikova and Witteloostuijn; 2007, Bouoiyour, 2003). The majority of the existing academic literature only takes into account the link between entry mode and corporate performance. (Woodcock, Beamish and Makino, 1994) or the link between cultural distance and corporate performance (Gomez-Meija and Palich, 1997). To the best of our knowledge, no literature yet exists on the contribution of a firm’s subsidiary to the corporate firm performance of the MNE.

This study aims at contributing to close this gap in the literature by examining the influence of cultural distance and entry mode on the relationship between the contribution of the subsidiary and the corporate performance of the MNE. The study focuses on Moroccan subsidiaries.

2.2 Theoretical Background

In the previous section the research question and reasoning for conducting this research was provided. This section will supply the theoretical foundations that are necessary to execute this research. The first part will deal with the concepts of the conceptual model. The second part of this section deals with the links between the concepts. The relevant theoretical concepts are explained and analyzed, and have lead to a theory-based conceptual model.

2.2.1 Entry Modes

When firms decide to enter a foreign market, they have to choose a mode of entry. Different entry modes exist. Dikova and Witteloostuijn (2007) divide investment in foreign countries in two strategically important decisions. The first decision concerns the establishment mode choice, which refers to the level of ownership and the second decision concerns the entry mode decisions, which refers to the level of control. The level of ownership and the level of control are matched to different entry modes in Figure 2. Chang and Rosenzweig (2001) made also a distinction between four types of foreign investment decisions. They distinguished between full ownership, which can be achieved through Greenfield investment or Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), and partial ownership, which is Joint Ventures (JV) or Strategic Alliances (SA) (Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001). The different modes of foreign direct investment (FDI) can be classified along the dimensions of ‘degree of control’ and ‘degree of ownership’. Exporting and outsourcing are not included as strategies of FDI because these strategies are non-equity investments (Beamish, Morrison, Rosenzweig and Inkpen, 2000, p. 114). Alliances exist in various forms, such as contractual Strategic Alliances (SA), Joint Ventures (JV), franchises and equity participation (Collis and Montgomery, 2005). According to the literature, SA and JV are the most common modes of entry into foreign markets and for this reason we only include SA and JV in our study. Besides this, in most studies SA and JV are treated as one concept (Collis and Montgomery, 2005; Faulkner, Child and Tallman, 2005). For reasons of simplification, in this study JV and SA will also be treated as one concept and we will refer to this concept as JV&SA. JV&SA are partnerships between two parties (Faulkner, Child and Tallman, 2005). They are formed when an MNE does have some valuable resources to enter a foreign market, but needs the resources of another firm to successfully enter the market. JV&SA are used to capture the positive sides of both Greenfields and M&A, while avoiding the negative sides of both modes (Collis and Montgomery, 2005, p. 110). Forming an alliance is the fastest way to seize an opportunity in a foreign market (Faulkner, Child and Tallman, 2005). Therefore, access to complementary assets and speed are the benefits of an alliance. However, forming an alliance does also face some challenges. The most important drawbacks of forming an alliance are the lack of control and leadership. Also, the relatively high risk of an alliance is another important drawback since an alliance has to maintain a shared vision, integrate learning, and possibly assists a potential competitor (Collis and Montgomery, 2005). M&A can be defined as purchasing or combining a controlling interest in another firm (Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001). An advantage of M&A is that it offers an easy establishment of local presence in a foreign country and it removes a possible competitor from the market. M&A is valuable when an MNE cannot imitate or accumulate the required resources (Collis and Montgomery, 2005, p. 105). A disadvantage may be the risks of overpayment or the inability to assess the value of the bought assets (Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001). Another disadvantage may be the possible post-acquisition integration failure due to cross-cultural differences and technological mismatches (Dikova and Witteloostuijn, 2007). Also, through an M&A the MNE possesses the whole acquired firm, including unnecessary adjunct businesses that are not valuable for the objectives of the MNE (Collis and Montgomery, 2005, p. 107). A Greenfield investment can be defined as the setting up of a new plant or other establishment from scratch (Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001). The Greenfield entry mode is the easiest way to transfer intangible assets into a new country (Collis and Montgomery, 2005, p. 109). Another advantage of Greenfields is that they offer full control over the local establishment (Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001), which leads to the possibility of presence of the corporate culture in a foreign country. An important disadvantage is the longer duration of the establishment period and the time spent on building a network locally or acquiring the know-how (Dikova and Witteloostuijn, 2007). Another drawback is the risk of not having success on the new project. A Greenfield comes with a high investment and when the project appears not to be a success, the investment costs are difficult to recoup (Collis and Montgomery, 2005, p. 109).

2.2.2 Cultural Role of Subsidiaries

Rugman and Verbeke (1992) assess the extent to which the results of Bartlett and Ghoshal’s (1989) work can be incorporated in what has now become one of the core explanations of multinational strategic management, i.e., the transaction cost-based theory of international production. They demonstrate that the transaction cost approach fully incorporates the empirical findings of Bartlett and Ghoshal’s (1989) work. To do so they make a distinction between location-bound and non-location-bound firm-specific advantages. In addition, three possible uses of country-specific advantages by multinational enterprises need to be identified. While the transnational solution, as proposed by Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989), is not in itself a new theory of multinational strategic management, it is compatible with the transaction cost-based model of multinational strategic management. Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989) state that

‘In the future, a company’s ability to develop a transnational organizational capability will be the key factor that separates the winners from the mere survivors in the international competitive environment’ (1989, p. 212).

Transaction cost theory, as a predictive model, argues that both the form and competitiveness of the international operations of an MNE depend crucially upon the configuration of three elements (Rugman and Verbeke, 1992): (1) firm-specific (or ownership-specific) advantages (FSAs), including both proprietary knowhow (unique assets) and transactional advantages; (2) country-specific (or locational) advantages (CSAs), which state that some benefits are associated with locating certain activities in particular countries; (3) there are internalization advantages, which refer to the relative benefits associated with different entry modes (e.g.,

exports, licensing, Joint Ventures, FDI and other forms of investment) when serving foreign markets. Rugman and Verbeke (1992) propose a 2 x 2 matrix to classify the MNE’s activities for both home and host country operations. This matrix is depicted in Figure 3. On the vertical axes, the perceived potential of a particular country’s CSAs for the competitiveness of the MNE can be translated into the strategic importance of the local environment. On the horizontal axes, the perceived potential of the operation to contribute to FSA development necessary to improve the MNE’s competitiveness can be translated into the level of internal resources and capabilities.

The Understanding of the Concept Culture within the Three Management Approaches

As we deal with rather disparate national cultures that may endanger the success of an FDI, it is important to know, how the three approaches conceptualise and resolve potential cultural conflicts. Conventionally, a distinction is made between national cultures and organisational cultures. In most literature on cultural issues related to cross-border management, the differences in the national cultures are outlined and the managerial implications of these differences are discussed. Often specific schemes for conceptualising and measuring the differences are used, such as Hofsteede’s five dimensional scheme (Hofsteede 2001). This approach for taking cultural differences into account is, however, not capturing the real business situation of, for example, an FDI as it ignores the organisational cultures. In case of an FDI, national and organisational cultures meet in two different ways depending on the FDI-mode:

• In case the FDI takes the form of a JV, two organisational cultures meet. They are each embedded in a different national culture, but the meeting place is within the national culture of one of the partners

• .In case the FDI takes the form of a subsidiary; one organisational culture creates an organisational culture within a national culture disparate from its own.

Thus, compared to most literature on inter-cultural management, we include into the modelling of inter-cultural management the meeting place and who will meet as important parameters. The situation is clearly different depending on the location for the meeting. In case of a JV, the foreign partner is less bound by his own national culture while the local partner is directly embedded in his own national culture at the same time as his company has developed its own organisational culture. In case of a subsidiary, the FDI-firm comes out of a foreign organisational culture, but does not meet a specific organisational culture. When it composes its new organisation abroad, it meets the values and preferences of the people to be employed and of course the organisational culture of the partners around the subsidiary. The different possibilities of meeting place and meeting who are shown in Figure 2.

Meeting in Home Country

Meeting in Host Country

Meeting in a JV

Two organisational cultures meet in same national culture

Two organisational cultures meet in a national culture of one of the JV-partners

Meeting in a Subsidiary

One organisational culture meets its own national culture

One organisational culture meets a new national culture


Development of cultures through interaction

Figure 3: Culture in Action.

National culture-values derived from socialisation
a)Organisational Culture – structures and routines derived from experiential learning in the work place

b)Individual Culture – concrete and discrete actions embedded in national and organisational cultures

Figure 3 pinpoints the interaction between the three levels of culture, national, organisational and individual and the interaction between them and with the individuals in interaction as the cultural

This approach to the understanding of inter-cultural management does not in any way ignore inter-cultural problems and that such problem can harm and destroy cross-border activities. It is first and foremost an approach to understand what happens when cultures at national, organisational and individual level meet. Based on these interactive meetings, the approach claims that culture becomes an action and a “negotiation” parameter that has its own contingencies for each of the partners at the meeting.

It should also be emphasized that business to a large extent is about realities at an empirical level and less about deep value structures (Gullestrup 2006). Trading activities between disparate cultures are, for example, easy to organise as the meetings are concerned with relatively “trivial” facts of trading operations rather than deep values. FDI is different. Here you engage and commit your organisation much more in a foreign culture. Even so, you may not need to touch the deep structures to any large extent, but you may run into strong managerial preferences and belief, as is often the case with MNCs that believe strongly in their own management formula.

Thus to summarise, to conceptualise the cultural issues related to the management of FDIs, it is proposed to include the following factors:

1. The meeting place, i.e. in which national culture is the activity to be embedded.

2. The meeting level, i.e. do two organisational cultures meet as in a JV or does one foreign organisational culture meet a national culture as in case of establishing a FDI-subsidiary

3. The meeting mode, i.e. focus on interaction at the individual level (culture in action)

4. The meeting depth, i.e. to what extent is deep structures of a culture or empirical practices at stake.

2.2.3 Cultural Distance

Culture can be defined as shared values and beliefs. The influence of culture in entry decisions depends on the cultural distance between home and host country (Chen and Hu, 2001). Business culture on the other hand is the reflection of the business by others as well as by the employees themselves. Many researchers tried to analyze different cultures by dividing it into different ways. To understand the way cultural distance affects a business, we use of the four dimensions identified by Hofstede (2001).

Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members in a culture expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. Low power distance cultures try to equalize the relationship between superior and inferiors. It means that there are not many steps between the leader of a company, e.g. a CEO and the lowest subordinate. High power distance however means that there is a centralization of power, while the subordinates have less power within the business and a long way to become a leader within the corporation. High scores mean that it is hard for people who have to start in the lower regions of a company, to become a high profile employee someday. In these countries there is a possibility of frustration among those people. This could also lead to unmotivated workforce since they cannot achieve these positions in the first place (Hofstede, 2001).

Individualism is the case when the employee just focuses on himself and his family, while collectivism highlights the focus on group actions. Societies, which are seen as individualistic, see as a personal opportunity for everybody to achieve the highest ranks. In collectivistic societies on the other hand, the goal shifts to a group achievement. Within individualism, business culture is seen as a hire and fire matter. A single employee needs to deliver her/his work or else (s) he will be fired. In collectivism theory, people are more concerned for others as this offers protection in exchange for loyalty. Collectivistic societies normally have a big social system and employee protection laws. Individualistic countries support the motivation of employees, as they have to fight for their jobs. However, this could lead to a higher competition for workforce between firms (Hofstede, 2001).

Masculinity refers to the role of genders within society. In high femininity societies, men and women both value ‘feminine’ qualities of life above the more traditionally ‘masculine’ qualities. Masculine attributes include, control and power forced upon the employees. This variable can be seen as an indicator of how a society differentiates between genders. Also, it displays the chances for female employees within the ranks of a company. A high score on this variable would mean that there is a large difference between genders, which means less opportunities for females and that men are dominating the business world. On the other hand,

high score on this variable would show that there are equal opportunities for the genders and females and males are not seen as different when it comes to doing their tasks within the company. The important aspect of masculinity for business is the fact that companies that acknowledge females as equals can make use of a larger workforce when they are searching for a new employee. A balanced company gender-wise can benefit within its business climate as well (Hofstede, 2001).

Uncertainty avoidance means to what degree the members of a society feel threatened by uncertain and unknown situations. Precision and punctuality is not as important in these societies. Societies with low uncertainty avoidance also display more interest in experimentation and variety. These societies are less dominated by rules or restrictions which can be found in countries with high uncertainty avoidance. Within these societies precision and punctuality are very important combined with a preparation for unusual occurrences. It does not tolerate uncertainty, so this society has to make use of rules (Hofstede, 2001).

With this framework in mind, we are able to determine if a firm has adapted its organizational culture and strategic behavior to the cultural differences with its subsidiary or not. In addition to that, it allows us to see in which field the business adapted to the culture and in which field they did not in order to achieve their ultimate goal of gaining corporate value. The differences in the four dimensions of Hofstede (2001) from the headquarters to the subsidiary allow us to determine the cultural distance within this relationship.

2.2.4 Corporate Performance

Corporate performance is a topic that has ignited much debate, whether this can only be defined in economic terms or also by intangible assets, such as knowledge. Much research has been conducted on what elements define the economic performance of the firm and its relation with corporate value, less is known about the corporate performance in general. Alongside, value creation as the ultimate goal for firms to exist, has always divided researchers. There are the ones who state that profit maximization and therefore shareholder value is a business’s ultimate goal and is the criterion for corporate performance and all other goals are subordinate. Others claim maximizing social welfare should be what firms strive for (Jensen, 2002). For this research, corporate performance is defined as the well-being and well-doing of the firm in the long run, as this is easier to measure than social welfare in total. We distinguish corporate performance in economic firm value, knowledge, cost reduction and synergies. According to Zimmerman (2003), economic firm value is determined by the business strategy and organizational architecture of the firm (decision-right assignment, performance evaluation and reward systems), which leads to certain incentives and actions. Consequently, this has an effect on the corporate performance of the firm. Similarly, customer satisfaction is usually related to firm performance (Zimmerman, 2003). Collis and Montgomery (2005) argue that a firm’s profitability is intertwined with its resources and capabilities and its corporate strategy. Firm performance maximization states that managers ‘should make all decisions so as to increase the total long-run market value of the firm’ (Jensen, 2002). Total value is the sum of the values of all financial claims on the firm. This includes equity, debt, preferred stock, and warrants (Jensen, 2002), but it can also be defined by its return on investment or its market share.

Rumelt (1974) provides arguments for a strong correlation between high profits and a strategy providing good opportunities for activity sharing or knowledge transfer. Possessing the right amount of knowledge and being able to transfer this knowledge leads to a competitive advantage, which in turn contributes to the corporate performance of the firm. According to the Williamson (1986) Information Cost theory, internal capital market access increases corporate performance in two ways. First, it reduces under-investment costs through a reduced reliance upon the external capital markets. These costs are a product of information asymmetries (Lundstrum, 2003). Second, internal capital market access increases corporate performance by increasing the efficiency of capital allocation across projects. However, Jensen’s (1986) theory suggests that diversified firms suffer from agency costs brought on by the manager’s easy access to cash. These costs include over-investment and excessive perquisites. An internal capital market increases the availability of cash, therefore exacerbating agency costs (Lundstrum, 2003). Creating economies of scale and scope is another way to reduce costs (Collis and Montgomery, 2005). Economies of scale are created when the average cost of producing each unit decreases as more units of a good or service are produced. Economies of scale are created when it is less costly to combine two or more product lines together in one firm instead of producing them separately.

According to Rumelt (1995), overall corporate performance can only be enhanced when business unit responsibilities have been clarified and individual unit performance is made transparent. In this way all resources are leveraged throughout the firm and synergy is created. Overall it can be stated that the corporate performance of a firm is not solely created through those four aspects separately. It is the intertwinement and mutual dependence that influence a firm’s corporate performance.

2.2.5 Links between the Concepts

When firms engage in overseas production through foreign direct investment, they must have some form of proprietary advantage to compensate for the natural disadvantage of competing with established firms in a foreign country (Birkenshaw et al., 1998). These advantages can be subdivided into two distinct types: asset advantages that lie in the exclusive possession of income generating assets; and transaction advantages, which entail the firm’s ability to economize on transaction costs as a result of multinational coordination and control of assets (Dunning, 1980, 1988). Previous research tends to assume that the MNE’s firm-specific advantages originate in the parent company, whereas the reality is that subsidiaries can play an important part in the creation and maintenance of such advantages (Birkenshaw et al., 1998). In this research, we are concerned with understanding those factors and roles that differentiate between high-contributing and low-contributing subsidiaries.

The roles of subsidiaries may differ in several ways, such as the degree to which they are actively involved in the formulation and implementation of corporate strategy and the degree to which they are creators and users of knowledge within the firm (Gupta and Govindarajan, 1991). According to the research of Ghoshal and Bartlett (1990), some subsidiaries may have the authority to make strategic and operating decisions autonomously, whereas others may be implementors of headquarters-developed strategic decisions. To name a few examples, subsidiaries can act as contributors to or leaders of innovation projects (Bartlett and Ghoshal,

1986); they can provide high numbers of outflows of valued resources to the whole corporation (Gupta and Govindarajan, 1994) and they can gain mandates for developing and producing certain product lines on a global basis (Roth and Morrison, 1992). Terms such as specialized contributor, strategic leader, and active subsidiary have been used to refer to those subsidiaries that contribute substantially to firm-specific advantage, while terms such as implementor and branch plant are used to refer to those that do not contribute significantly to firm-specific advantage (Birkenshaw et al., 1998).

One role that can be given to a foreign subsidiary is that of a world or global product mandate (O’Donnell and Blumentritt, 1999), or a strategic leader (Ghoshal and Bartlett, 1986; 1989). When a foreign subsidiary has the role of a global mandate, it has worldwide responsibility for a complete set of value activities associated with a particular product or product line. The strategic and operational activities are centralized and coordinated worldwide, but the critical point or focus of decision making is at the subsidiary level, not at headquarters (O’Donnell and Blumentritt, 1999). For subsidiaries with this global mandate role, the global market, not the home market of the subsidiary, is the primary focus throughout the development and production of the subsidiary’s product (Poynter and Rugman, 1982). According to Reich (1990), the higher level of strategic decision making that accompanies these types of strategic roles helps develop the expertise and managerial capabilities of the middle- and upper-level managers at the subsidiary. Another characteristic of a foreign subsidiary is international interdependence; the degree to which the activities and outcomes of the foreign subsidiary affect or are affected by the activities and outcomes of headquarters or other foreign subsidiaries of the MNE. Competitive actions in one country location affect those taken in another location (Porter, 1986). An increased amount of interaction facilitates the transfer of capabilities and knowledge between the subsidiary and other organizational units. Sources of competitive advantage can then include international scale and scope economies. It requires an efficient flow of resources between the different units of the firm. When determining the contribution of the role of the subsidiary to the corporate performance, this research will use the transaction cost theory of multinational strategic management (Rugman and Verbeke, 1992).

Transaction cost theory as a predictive model argues that both the form and competitiveness of the international operations of an MNE depend crucially upon the configuration of three elements; Dunning (1988a) provides a comprehensive overview. The three elements of the transaction cost theory of the multinational enterprises are: First, firm-specific (or ownership-specific) advantages (FSAs), including both proprietary know-how (unique assets) and transactional advantages. Second, country-specific (or locational) advantages (CSAs), which state that some benefits are associated with locating certain activities in particular countries. Third, there are internalization advantages. These refer to the relative benefits associated with

different entry modes (e.g., exports, licensing, Joint Ventures, FDI and other forms of investment) when serving foreign markets.

Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989) proposed the ‘transnational solution’, a firm able to develop non-location bound (NLB) firm-specific advantages (FSAs) and location bound (LB) FSAs. They identified four generic organizational types: a strategic leader, a contributor, a black hole and an implementor. To determine the different types of roles of subsidiaries and their contribution to the corporate performance, these organizational types will be used in the research.

The resource based view of the firm originated from recent competence-based theory (Teece, Rumelt, Dosi and Winter, 1994). According to this resource-based view, core competences allow the firm to successfully achieve competitive advantage in the market. They are acquired through internal learning processes.

According to Wernerfelt (1984) core competences relate to tangible and intangible assets such as distinctive skills, organization and tacit knowledge, context-specific know-how, skills and capabilities developed by the firm in the sphere of technology and management. When firms lack the ability to develop knowledge and competences they need, they have to search and acquire them externally. When the needed resources and complementary assets are available abroad, it influences the entry mode in foreign markets. It is the need for these resources and complementary assets that determines the specific type entry mode.

2.2.6 Propositions

Based on the theoretical background of this study, the following propositions will be examined:

Proposition 1: Cultural distance

We expect that the cultural distance based on the cultural distinctions (power distance, masculinity, individualism, and uncertainty avoidance) does have an indirect influence on the corporate performance.

Proposition 2: Entry mode

We expect that the entry mode of the subsidiary (Greenfield, M&A, JV&SA) does have an indirect influence on the corporate performance.

Proposition 1: Contribution of subsidiary

We expect that the subsidiary (strategic leader, contributor, black hole, executor) will have a direct influence on the corporate performance

2.2.7 Chapter Summary

The study established an understanding of the non-economic determinant of FDI and that the entry mode is a direct function of the cultural differences and distance of countries and the role of subsidiaries as found in the results of Bartlett and Ghoshal’s (1989) which is incorporated in what has now become one of the core explanations of multinational strategic management, i.e., the transaction cost-based theory of international production. In further delineating the complexities of the impact of national culture issues on FDI, a proposition is made based on the theoretical background.

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

Response will be drawn from Vodafone India, while a dual perspective will be adopted as the research approach. One of the approaches is the qualitative (FGDs) and the second is the quantitative technique under which a multivariate regression analysis and a correlation analysis will be used to measure the degree of responsiveness of cultural variables. Dummies will be created in the construction of the questionnaire evaluated in response to a covariate (FDI). Data used that is not gotten from the responses of field survey are extracted from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation of India and the office of national statistics (ONS), MA4: Business monitor.

3.2 Research Approach

A research approach defines the means and methods by which a researcher collects and analyses data with which the aims and objectives as well as research questions will be addressed. In other words, the research approach provides order and focus to the process of obtaining, interpreting, presenting and analysing research information (Collis and Hussey 2003). In general terms, there are two broad approaches to undertaking a research: qualitative inductive and quantitative deductive methods. According to Saunders et al (2007) the inductive approach essentially entails the interpretative attempts to comprehend meanings attached to phenomena and particular research contexts; the deductive approach on the other hand has to do with pure empiricism and `scientific’ research in general. Furthermore, Denzin and Lincoln (1998) point out that the adoption of either of the qualitative or quantitative approaches may depend on the researcher’s experience, perception of philosophy, and personal values.

Accordingly, the approach that this researcher chose to adopt for the present study was in part influenced by subjective interpretations of the cultural issues involved in evaluating Foreign Direct Investment in India in order to determine the most suitable method that would facilitate thorough analysis. Indeed, Shih (1998) also sheds more light on how a researcher’s subjective interpretations can play a role in the selection of a research approach by itemising major factors for consideration when deciding on a research method. For him, these factors include the research philosophy, phenomenon and subject-matter, the level and nature of the research questions, practical considerations related to the research setting, and the efficient use of resources. Indeed, Habermas (1972) also claimed that research is influenced in varying degrees by a researcher’s interests and values; personal, social and other interests that constitute part of a researcher’s peculiar context are invariably enmeshed in the research. Underscoring this idea is the suggestion that a consistency between the aims and objectives of a research, the research questions, the methodology, and the individual philosophy and values of the researcher influences the research process (Proctor, 1998).

3.3 Sampling Methodology

q In order to achieve an adequate spread of interviews across the organization, the Modified Multi-Stage Sampling Technique approach will be used for sampling. That is, starting from the selection of starting points up to the selection of dwelling structure, selection will follow a purely random process. Final respondents to be interviewed will however be selected via a set of specified eligibility criteria included as screeners in the questionnaire.

q Employees and top-level management will be selected using the “Kish Grid” in order to remove bias; each day’s job starts with the use of day’s code (date of the day which must be a digit e.g if the date of the day is 7 we start the day’s job from house numbered 7 or dwelling number 7 taking a count from point of alight. If it is 29 we add up 2+9=11 it is further added up as 1+1=2 meaning that the day’s job starts from dwelling structure 2.)

q Peradventure there are not dwelling structures (office) we use the next dwelling structure as our starting point) in order to avoid starting each day’s job from a particular side of any given department/office.

q Selection of employees: Within each dwelling structure, the interviewer determines the first respondent to begin with by using the worker-selection grid to randomly select the qualifying workers. The selection grid is a table of random numbers with listed alphabets from A to K on the rows, and figures on the column. The interviewer on entering a dwelling structure, counts the number of workers including employers and employee(s) in the dwelling structure, starting from the topmost floor if it is a multiple storey building, and then traces the total number of employers counted against the alphabet pre-coded on his/her questionnaire. Where the two (number of employers & alphabet) intersect is the department where the qualified respondent would be sought.

For the purpose of this study an employee base is defined as a group of individuals living together, who share a common working arrangement and who recognize a person as the head of the department/organization. For an individual to qualify as an employee, he she must have stayed with the rest of the members for a minimum period of six months prior to the time of interview.

Labour Market:

v Purposive sampling will be applied in getting employees/ respondents to be interviewed thus ensuring arbitrary selection of respondents and giving every employee equal opportunity of being interviewed, thereby eliminating bias.

v The selection will be purposive. For a respondent to qualify he/she must be a decision maker of the targeted businesses or organisations.

Specifically, all interviews will be conducted face to face in respondents’ offices with the aid of the fully structured questionnaire.

Quota will however be evenly distributed amongst the following specified target businesses or organisations as shown in the sample structure ensuing slides

Target Respondent:

The target respondents would be decision makers in their various organisations in Vodafone and Macdonalds e.g. IT officers, chief financial officers, financial managers, accountants, human resources and customer care agents, Entry staffs e.t.c.

3.4 Data Processing using the Hyper-Research Code-Based Builders

q Data processing will include the following stages:

v Listing of verbatim questions/code frame preparation

v Post – coding of verbatim questions

v Test data structure

v Data capture

v Data verification/clearing

v Tabulations

Listing of verbatim/others (specify)

q The responses to verbatim questions/other specified will be listed taking 25% of the sample. This is to ensure that responses across study locations are featured in the code frame preparation. The responses are tallied and codes are assigned from responses with highest frequency to the one with least frequency. The frequency listing is used to prepare the code frame.

Post – coding

q The code-frame is used to post-code verbatim questions/others specified. The client may wish to approve the code-frame before post coding commences.

Data Structure Setup

q All questions/variables on the questionnaire will be defined using the data capture software. This will include definition of valid responses, lower and upper band codes as well as skip logics for all questions, which reduces data entry errors

Data Structure Test

The data structure is tested by trial data entry

q of not less than 120 questionnaires. This tests to ensure all logics and skips are well defined without errors and that data structure works perfectly.

Data Capture

q The data structure will be analysed using the multivariate regression analysis method to capture the effects of national culture on FDI.

Data Verification/Cleaning

q As part of our quality control, 20% of the total sample are re-captured (verified) to identify/bring out data entry errors if any. Holecounts table will also be generated to identify errors on outliers/inconsistent data which are then cleaned. We go through this process to ensure that clean data are analysed.

Tabulations

q All questions will be cross tabulated by appropriate variable showing descriptive statistics such as frequency, column percentages, mean scores etc.

Data formats

q Data will be supplied in SPSS format as well as Microsoft Excel Spreasdsheet

3.5 Quality Control Measures

q In order to ensure accurate and reliable results of fieldwork, emphasis will be placed on quality control. The following quality control procedures will be applied:

v Pre-briefing of respondents.

v Review of all completed questionnaires for legibility, accuracy and consistency.

v Monitoring the accuracy of the individual interviews.

v 10% – 20% spot field checks of field interviews to eliminate fraud and inaccurate form filling.

v Edit and check the quality of each questionnaire before punching. Any questionnaire suspected would not be punched.

v Reliable coding type will be used in the coding of the open-ended questions.

q In order to ensure accurate and reliable results of fieldwork, the following quality control checks are employed:

v Group interviewing approach-focus groups

v Field checking of all questionnaires for consistency, uniformity and omission

v 20% on-the-spot field checks of field interviewers

v 30% back-check of each interviewer’s work

v 100% editing of questionnaires in-office before data processing

3.6 Survey Instrument

q Questionnaire

The structured questionnaire to be used for this study was developed upon approval of the study.

The instrument (questionnaire) to be used will however cover the following key investigation areas:

v Lifestyle typologies for India

v Key life stage typologies for India

v Whether segmentation of profession should be based on cultural lifestyle

v The peculiarities of national culture and its effects on international management and FDI.

v Examine the cultural difference, working practices and language barriers

3.7 Limitations to the Methodology

One of the main limitations to the present methodology particularly relates to data collection. It would be noted that only 120 interviews were conducted as opposed to more which could have improved the validity and reliability of the present outcome. Interviewing more people would have inherently improved the objectivity and strength of data collected while creating more awareness to the researcher about other critical issues within the present research context which could have been mislaid by interviewee’s and yet essential to the present research goals. More so, because of the subjective nature of data and its Indian origin, interviewee’s could be bias in their own views therefore causing limitations to the outcome of the data. While this study also adopted secondary data alongside primary data in order to address some of these limitations, the deficiency in the primary data collection can still not be fully compensated by these secondary sources.

4. Analysis and Discussion of Results

4.1 Introduction

In this chapter, tables and diagrams are presented in order to make for an easier analysis and comparison of the cultural indicators that determines the growth of FDI in India.

This chapter also presents and details the results of other findings from the Ministry of statistics and programme implementations. For the purpose of simplicity, the chapter is structured into three sections. Following this section, section 4.2, details the summary of research goal and question, 4.3 dwells on the data analysis process and method of analysis, section 4.4 focuses on the estimation technique adopted to evaluate the study and finally 4.5 discusses the research findings of the study.

4.2 Summary of Research Goal and Question

What are the impacts of fusing commerce and national cultures when organizations migrate business functions internationally
2.What are the main dimensions of culture
3.How does the role and activities of the Indian culture influence the MNE’s performance given its entry mode and the cultural distance between india and the MNE

While the first and second research questions have been explored to a reasonable degree in the preceding chapters, the third question as presented above will be given the most attention in the analysis section given its centrality to the research aims and objectives. As presented earlier, the aim of this research is to provide novel insights into how the role national culture on FDI, taking the moderating effect of cultural distance and entry mode into consideration.

4.3 Data Analysis Process and Method of Analysis of Survey

After coding the main data extracts which are presented in the appendix and SPSS data editor, each code is further analysed and explained in relation to the FDI secondary data and statistics obtained from government departments and reports. It should be noted that for ethical reasons, the interviewee’s names are not directly mentioned in the analysis thus, in cases where an interviewee’s response is quoted in the analysis.

For the purpose of clarity, it is equally pertinent to mention that each sample drawn using the multi-stage sampling technique which possibly represents more than one issue but indeed in many instances a range of issues. Since not all data extracts can be represented in the SPPS data editor, the close-ended questions are analyzed in one single context using the multivariate regression model and correlation technique. As an illustration, some of the data extracts from the transcript shows that FDI improvement, better working practice, element of cultural differences and language barriers plus religion encourages domestic growth.

Notwithstanding this process, the data being presented and analyzed are to the best of this researcher’s knowledge, representative of the interviewee’s precise opinions and perspectives.

4.3.1 Descriptive Analysis

Figure 4.2a: Foreign Direct Investment (1980 – 2010)

Comment: FDI inIndiahas been on a volatile trend recording a downswing and upswing at different times between the start of the economic recession of the early 1980s till date. In the past there has been several pro-poor policies targeted at “Attaining sustainable economic growth through public-private partnership” for the sole purpose of reducing the surging rate of FDI

MeanStd. DeviationN
foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP26.14525.0176431
position of employees1.2903.6925131
Current Salary$38,205.65$24,289.65531
cultural theory and practise1.2581.6815531
Religion(Belief & Practise)1.1935.4016131
cultural adaptibility1.58.99231
Language barrier1.10.39631
Cultural Sensitivity and awarenes1.26.68231

Comments: In the table above, we analyse the mean and standard deviation in relation to the observations. The distributions of the mean values of the cultural variables are equally distributed, the standard deviations from the mean line further explains the low variability of risk in determining the growth pattern and trend of FDI using a blend of organizational and individual cultures.

4.4 Multivariate Regression Analysis

Regression Estimates

The original intent of this study was to perform OLS regressions to determine trends in FDI. I planned to semi-replicate Sethi et al.’s 2003 study and run a multivariate regression model based on the information in the SPSS database drawn from Vodafone India.

The ultimate goal in regression analysis is the estimation of coefficients which implies the relationship between dependent and independent variables. The sign of coefficient of each independent variable indicate its relationship with dependent variable, while the magnitude of the coefficient implies the degree of responsiveness of dependent variables to independent variable.

The models for this study are stated below as:

(FDI) = F (C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6. ) …………………………….i

1(Constant)
Position of employees= C1
Current Salary = C2
Religion(Belief & Practise)= C3
Cultural Adaptibility =C4
Language barrier =C5
Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness= C6

In all six cultural variables given the cultural characteristics of India was tested against the foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP.

Table 4.2a: Regression Table with Cultural Information (Outcome) I

Model Unstandardized CoefficientsStandardized CoefficientsTSig.
BStd. ErrorBetaBStd. Error
1(Constant)21.6473.700 5.850.000
position of employees-4.4995.199-.621-.865.395
Current Salary1.35E-005.000.065.201.843
Religion(Belief & Practise)-.8893.737-.071-.238.814
cultural adaptibility.034.987.007.035.973
Language barrier6.5203.059.5152.131.044
Cultural Sensitivity and awareness2.8966.404.393.452.655

Table 4.2b: Regression Table with Cultural Information (Outcome) II

RR SquareAdjustedR SquareStd. Error of the EstimateChange StatisticsDurbin-Watson
R Square ChangeF Changedf1df2Sig. F ChangeR Square ChangeF Changedf1df2Sig. F Change
.444(a).197-.0035.02591.197.984624.458.809

a Predictors: (Constant), Cultural Sensitivity and awarenes, cultural adaptibility, Language barrier, Religion(Belief & Practise), Current Salary, position of employees

b Dependent Variable: foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP

Analysis on the Potency of the impact of National Culture on FDI in India- Standardized Coefficients and Probability value

The impact of the position of the employee motivated by promotion is subject to organizational cultures in Vodafone like any other Multinational. From table 4.2a, the beta estimates of column 4 is negative or has an inverse effect on foreign direct investment in india, this conforms to a priori expectation and managerial theories and practice within the organizational framework as it can be clearly seen in the review of literature that the position of employees is a direct consequence of on-the-job performance (Hoftseede, 2001), a parameter determined by the organizational culture of Vodafone and in the national culture of India. The result also shows an insignificant effect on position of employee inNigeria. As the employee moves up the management hierarchy, foreign direct investment falls by 62%, this trend is consistent overtime due to the remittance and transfer of profits abroad to the parent company inUK.

In the result, there exists a positive but insignificant relationship the current salary of employees and FDI, salary and earnings is majorly subject to performance ratings within the organisation’s cultural framework. Salary and earnings increases direct foreign investment by 6.5%, it should be noted however that the positive effect is below 10% and relatively small further confirming that salary is not a core determinant of FDI and at such contributes a small proportion to the growth of an MNE within the national culture framework.

A cursory look at Religion, it could be drawn that religion contributory effect onindia’s FDI is negative to the tune of 71% accounting for an inverse relationship. Individual culture within an organization is fuelled by the subject and practice of religion and could be an instrument for efficiency or inefficient within the organization. The managerial relevance of religion cannot be overlooked as it is a practical day to day concept that affects decision making. The variable is also insignificant.

In addressing how well Vodafone adapts to the Indian cultural environment, the cultural adaptability measure was incorporated to see the degree, magnitude and direction of responses from Vodafone employees and management staff, in reference to the beta estimate of cultural adaptability in table 4.3a, the more Vodafone adapts to the cultural environment of India, the more the realization of its growth objectives and goals to the tune of 0.7%.

In bridging the gap in cultural differences, language barrier is taken into consideration. The removal of the presence of language barrier in the organization’s Cultural framework enhances the direct foreign investment. This contributes 51% to a change in foreign direct investment language barrier has the disadvantage of post-acquisition integration failure which may be due to cross-cultural differences and technological mismatches (Dikova and Witteloostuijn, 2007).

Finally, in understanding the concept of culture within the three management approaches, cultural sensitivity and awareness was analysed. Conventionally, a distinction is made between cultural sensitivity and cultural insensitivity. In most literature on cultural issues related to cross-border management, the differences in the national cultures are outlined and the managerial implications of these differences are discussed. The result depicts that a cultural sensitive individual or employee in Vodafone (high, moderate or low) reacts to a certain as measured by the responses to the tune of 39%. Cultural distance also emerges out the concept of cultural awareness and also the influence of culture on the effect of the role of the subsidiary on the corporate performance of firm depends on the cultural distance between home and host countries (Chen and Hu, 2001).

In term of goodness of fit of the model as shown in table 4.2b, the coefficient of determinations R2 in the modelis 0.98. This indicates that about 98 percent of the total variations in foreign direct investment (Dependent variable) are explained by the variations in included national cultural variables (Predictors). This shows that our model explains large proportion of variations in FDI inNigeria. The model also represents a good measure of fit. The F-statistic shows overall significance of the model. The F-statistic is significant at 5% level. We, therefore, conclude that the model is not significant in explaining the variations in the dependent variable.

5. Conclusions and Recommendation

5.1 Discussion of Research Findings

Traditionally, firms preferred to invest in countries with similar cultures because there was no learning curve associated with such locations. Similarities in language, religion, legal structure, distinct work ethics and geographic proximity can explain the dominance of western economies.

The Study have found that the cultural distance between countries affects FDI flows: the greater the cultural distance between two countries, the lower the amount of FDI from VodafoneUKto theIndia. Geert-Hofstede created four cultural dimensions to measure cultural distance: the Power Distance Index, Individualism, Masculinity, and Uncertainty Avoidance Index (Hofstede, 2001), a pure representation of the concepts were incorporated in the analysis which suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the employees as much as by the management. In other words how does vodafone ensure that individuals are “integrated” into groups.

The ways in which the Indian cultural processes have been carried out has indeed limited its possible growth potentials which can be derived from the acceptance of foreign culture and work ethics. Indeed, when compared to other emerging economies which have reformed in the two decades, the acclaimed growth and foreign investment policies ofIndiacan be said to be relatively successful.

If what the study have found holds true, I would expect that greater differences between theUKandIndiain the different measures would indicate lower FDI flows intoindiabecause it would indicate a greater cultural distance between both countries. However, Sethi et al. utilized this measure in their study on trends in FDI, and they found that cultural proximity to theU.S.is not as important to MNEs as it was in the past (Sethi et al, 2003). And in that light, the Indian FDI trend was found to exhibit the same behaviour as shown in figure 1 in the previous chapter.

Firms’ standpoints regarding cultural disparities are changing, and firms are now investing in locations with vastly different cultures, so this variable may no longer be as important in the investment decision. Strategic asset-seeking firms value access to different cultures, institutions and systems, and different consumer demands and preferences which they can tailor their products to satisfy. There is a growing geographical dispersion of knowledge based assets and these firms want to harness such assets from foreign locations.

As can be further drawn from data analysis,Indiahas one of the fastest population growths in the world and so does its need for cultural integration and human capital needs increases. The competitive economies of the future will indeed not compete based on resources but on the working practices, cultural adaptability, cultural distance and a common understanding in the business language of the Global economy.

Finally, cultural and social development is imperative to the inflow of FDI inIndiaas this has been the bedrock of development in other competitive economies in the global market. Over the years, more attention has been accorded economic reforms but cultural reforms have suffered significant policy attention and where policies have been made, implementation has suffered. In fact where most policies have been implemented, the government has often failed to define appropriately the contributory role of subsidiaries, the entry mode of MNEs and the cultural distance all of which are propositions that will have a direct influence on FDI and corporate performance.

5.2 Conclusions

In this chapter the main conclusions of the research will be discussed in order to formulate an answer to the research question.

How the role and activities of the Indian culture does influence the MNE’s performance given its entry mode and the cultural distance between India and the MNE?

First, an answer will be given to the question on how the notion of culture contributes to the differences in FDI policies. The Indian way of life differs from the Western mentality in terms of directness, long term vision and norms and values. For instance, respect is a very important aspect in the Indian way of life. Different managers found it difficult to adapt to these non-Western norms and values. A frequently used example by some managers was ‘the Dutch directness’. Indian people tend to be more indirect in their way of approaching others than Western, and especially the Dutch, people are. .

Furthermore, gender segregation seems to play a more important role in the indian society than it does in Western society. Inindiathe more traditional roles of men and women are still present; men work and women take care of the household. It is hard for women to combine the working and private life because of these traditional roles. The women who do work are mostly in administrative jobs and customer service as depicted in the survey questionnaire, because they are seen as more friendly, they have a nice voice, are passionate about the customer and are seen to be more trustworthy than men. With this research it became clear that women are regarded more suitable for particular jobs like customer care and sales. Few women are to be found in management positions due to the household and IT obligations which lead to the fact that they cannot travel to customer sites, which is often needed for the higher ranked positions. Companies do say that they want to change and help women, but their priorities and policies show differently.

In general, it became clear that when dealing with Indians it is important to adapt and keep in mind the characteristics of the Indian culture and know that there is of course a difference in nationality, but certainly also a big difference in mentality. The Vodafone company mentioned that they offer women the same opportunities as men but this is not how their employees think about it and experience it. Regarding the research question, the following can be concluded. Western companies in Indiastimulate the emancipation of cultural values within the working environment and labor market by providing flexible HR policies, like a day-care or the opportunity to work part-time as depicted in customer care and sales employees. However, the question arises if these kinds of policies are already accepted within Indian society.

5.3 Implications for Further Research

More research should be conducted on the impacts of national culture on FDI and the influence of cultural differences on MNEs organisations. Most occupations are associated with masculine or feminine characteristics; during the research it became clear that women are mostly active in customer service jobs and less often in consultancy jobs due to job characteristics. It seems like there is a powerful gender symbolism when it comes to what kind of jobs women should fulfil. This means that when women cross these occupational borders they may find themselves in an isolated position, since they are expected to stick to the gender appropriate job.

Higher positions are often characterized as masculine, therefore fewer women fulfil them. Women in higher positions often come, according to our research, from rich families. These rich women have the power to change things, because their voice will be heard and they are not suppressed by their spouses. It is interesting to investigate how rich women could be encouraged to strive for the position of all women on the labor market. In addition, more and more women are studying inindia; it would be interesting to explore this development over the years.

Secondly, it would be challenging to research the acceptance of implemented managerial and cultural polices in relation to the existing traditional role models and take some external factors into account, like foreign investment policies and the role that the home and host company play.

5.4 Recommendations

The fundamental objective of the research is to empirically assess in what respects national cultural values influence the feasibility of Foreign Direct Investment using VodafoneIndiaas a case study in order to provide recommendations for future foreign investors.

The conclusion already clarified the differences in cultural practice and adaptability between subsidiaries inIndiaand their headquarters in theUK. In this paragraph, however, the findings will be discussed and implications for further research will be proposed, but first, recommendations for multinationals that consider investing inIndiawill be provided.

In short, multinationals that invest inIndiahave to take the Indian culture into account. Some specific Cultural and management policies for the subsidiary inIndianeed to be designed locally. For instance, religion is one of the main differences with the Western World. Indians are very attached to their religion and therefore religion intervenes also in the professional sphere. This results in certain requirements like a special room for praying and a special work schedule for the Hindu Faithful.

Second, the way employees are managed is challenging. According to some managers in Vodafone the Indian mentality is different when it comes to a sense of responsibility, interpersonal contact and the long term focus. Indians are very direct in cultural related issues and seem to be offended easily compared to Western norms and values. This means that the manager has to be more careful when it comes to work appraisals. Appraisals should be done taking the cultural variables and characteristics into consideration. In this matter managers need to invest more in the interpersonal contact with their employees.

Third, the women who do fulfil higher positions in the organizations could organize corporate goals like gender ratios in the organization they work for. However, rich women might not want do this, as they might be are afraid of losing their own position due to more competition. As a result the class difference stays intact.

Fourth, the managers of Vodafone mentioned some limitations in their current HR policies, for instance, the process of recruiting women. Most women inIndiaare active in administrative and customer service jobs. Managers experience that it is harder to find women for IT, software engineering or consultancy jobs due to the job characteristics, like the requirement for a technical background. However, it is not only the required education that leads to a lack of women, it seems also related to a traditional role model who assumes that women do allegedly not like to travel and they are not interested in these types of jobs. The limited HR policies make it impossible for women to combine their working and private life. This means that the traditional gender role model stays intact. Especially in lower classes, women are expected to do the household at home

Finally, there also some managerial policies implemented inIndiathat do not exist in Western countries. For example, one of the managers offers loans to his employees and he appointed one of his administrative workers to the function of employee support. A lot of employees at this company do not understand the workings and come up with questions about forms and letters they received. The employee support helps these people to fill in their form or to answer the letter.

5.5 Limitations

In the conclusion some factors are mentioned which may influence the adaptation of cultural policies to the Management practice of Vodafone. However, for the right interpretation of these conclusions some general limitations will be discussed.

Though the study has an international character, some cultural differences, language barriers and religious differences did not exist but the fluent understanding and communication between both parties, that is the interviewer and interviewee could have been influenced by sentimental feelings. Also the ideas and prejudices that the Indian interviewees had about people from western companies and Western countries could have influenced the answers of the interviewees. Like the one of the HR manager believed that the researchers already looked from a tunnel view to his country and his organization. He thought that everybody from a Western country has the idea that women inIndiaare oppressed by men and he therefore might have given desirable answers to deny this stereotypical view.

Finally, time constraints could have influenced the answers gathered during the data collection. In some cases there was less than fifteen minutes left to ask the manager questions about the integration of cultural policies to management practise and the consequent relevance of managerial skills in dealing strategically with cultural-related issues in the organisation.

References

Bouoiyour, J. (2003). The determining factors of foreign direct investment inMorocco. Retrieved from the internet on December 1st, 2009: ttp://www.mafhoum.com/press6/172E12.pdf.

Chang, S.J. & Rozenzweig, P.M. (2001). The choice of entry mode in sequential foreign direct investment. Strategic Management Journal, 22, 747-776.

Chen, H. & Hu, M.Y. (2002). An analysis of determinants of entry mode and its impact on performance. International Business Review, 11, 193-210.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences; comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Second Edition,London: Sage Publications.

Kolstad,I., Tondel, L. (2002). Social Development and foreign direct investment in developing countries.Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute. Development Studies and Human Rights.

Laraqui, S. (2001). The role of foreign owned firms and some determinants of inward foreign direct investments in the Moroccan manufacturing sector. In P. Gray, & R. Narnula, Trade and investment in a globalizing world: Essays in honor of H. Peter Gray (pp. 113-133).Oxford: Elsevier Science.

Menon, J., Bhandari, S., Athukorala, P. (2006). Foreign direct investment in the transition economies. Retrieved on December 10, 2009, from: http://www.adbi.org/book/2006/10/23/2053.mekong.direct.investment /foreign.direct.investment.in.the.transition.economies/

UNCTAD Investment Letter, press release UNCTAD/PRESS/PR/2008/001.

The Economist (2008) “Poles Apart”, February 14..

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) (2007). World Investment Prospects to 2011,

EIU,London

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Free Essays

The term “digital technology” refers to the technology that is electronic or computer based

Introduction

The term “digital technology” refers to the technology that is electronic or computer based, . The field of digital technology is incessantly evolving and has dramatically changed the way of communication in a variety of arenas.

Digital technology has made its mark in the technology world; everything is seemed to be inspired by it. Things had become easy and handy to maintain. It is so vast that now we have different types of digital media available that are run on different platforms but they have a common character that is they all use digital technology. Digital technology enforces an electronic media in to new world. Computer, Television, audio/video devices, I Pods, cellular phones etc. The effect of the digital media is common everywhere. , Newspapers books and magazines are also become digital. This is because of the latest facilities and features that digital technology provides to its end users.

Digital marketing and communication

The concept of “digital marketing” has been used more frequently and operationally, where as the theoretical understanding and comprehensive models ofwhy and how to use different digital channels are still in developing process. Urban (2004) suggests, “The Digital marketing uses the Internet and information technology to extend and improve traditional marketing functions.” He relates all the traditional 4 P’s, and focused on both customer retention and acquisition.Terms like “interactive marketing,” “one-to-one marketing,” and “e-marketing” are close to digital marketing, but neither are they defined very precisely. Coviello et al,(2001) define e marketing as “using the Internet and other interactive technologies to link the firm with the identified or targeted customers. They consider e- marketing as a subject of e-commerce. They focused e- marketing as managing continuous IT-enabled relationships with consumers by forming dialogue and interactivity (scripts).

Paradigm on Customer Loyalty and branding communications in the field of digital marketing communications

As described in Fig. 1 which proposes an integrative model of the effects of digital marketing communication on customer loyalty. This model consists of means of brand communication via different sources or channels.

· Moderators – interactivity and personalization
· Outcomes -Perceived values and commitment,
· Customer loyalty, Mediators customer characteristics, situational factors, involvement, and relationship.

By “brand communication” we refer the quality of communication between the brand and customers. It includes direct marketing, advertising, newsletters, or any other related consumer’s activity in a brand community. This complies the process of building brands and customer relationships is much more efficient than traditional media advertising as example given by Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000, Duncan et al,1998. The presented model focused on how brand communication affecting customer loyalty. There are two main factors in building brand communication what are expected to affect customer loyalty and its frequency example, how many brand messages and content, promotional or relational.

The main outcome in the model is customer loyalty is divided into behavioral example purchases and attitudinal loyalty or consumers brand attitude. For true customer loyalty to exist, a pattern of repeat purchases must be accompanied by a positive attitude ( Jakoby and Chestnut 1978). This distinguishes it from spurious loyalty, where only behavioral loyalty is detected with low relative attitudes (Dick and Basu 1994).

Brand communication can also be personalized. For example, customer profiles or preferences effects the brand communication are constructed in customers minds through information so the assumption also mediating factors that affect how the loyalty effects of DMC are created. They can be used to create customized message content for different marketing segments or individual customers delivered via their chosen channels that increase the value of communication to the customer. Identifying the content, timing, and channels are also personalized elements to look after. Brand contacts can differ interactively example customers can search the information or make inquiries, and can leave the feedback or various other activities with marketers or other customers can be processed. It leaves the positive effect on customer loyalty.

Interactivity can be described as its divisions:

Functions (e.g. a web contact form),
Processes (e.g. that messages are contingent upon previous messages),
Perceptions (how customers perceive interactivity), and time spent
Brand (e.g. playing games on branded website).

The effects of brand communication on customer loyalty can be verified from behavior and attitudes of the consumer: example purchases, visits, brand satisfaction attitudes, feedback forms etc

E-Marketing Mix.

The e-marketing mix considers the elements of presenting the marketing mix online.

E-product strategies

The buyer knows immediately about product features, the facts, not sales persons, consumers know what they get as the verity of choices available.

The buying process is also customized for returning visitors, making repeat purchases easier. Organisations can also offer immediately ancillary products along with the main purchase. Example, the chance to buy extra printer cartridges along with your purchase of your printer online. The product can also be customised to consumers needs.

E-price strategies

The Internet has made pricing very competitive. Many costs i.e. store costs, staff cost have disappeared .The Internet gives consumers the power to shop around for the best deal at a click of a button. The competition on pricing is unpredicted and global. . The online auction company www.ebay.com has grown in popularity with thousands of buyers and seller bidding daily.

E-place strategies

One of the biggest changes to the marketing mix is online purchasing. Consumers purchase direct from manufacturers cutting out retailers totally. The challenge for online retailers is to ensure that the product is delivered to the consumer within a reasonable time. Location is important within our place strategy. Online location can refer to where links are placed on other websites. Placing a link on www.google.com home page would generate high consumer traffic for you. Knowing your customer and knowing where they visit should help you understand where to place your online links and advertisements.

E-promotion strategies

Promoting products and service online is concerned with a number of issues.

E-promotion includes:

Having a domain name.: (A recognisable domain name is first stage towards e-promotion. Organisations such as egg.com have successfully positioned their brand on the online world. )
Banner promotions: (Placing banner advertisements on other WebPages )
Web public relations (WPR):
E-leaflets:
Direct email: (It is a popular and common form of e-promotions, although slowly becoming the most hated my many consumersDirect emailing is also known as SPAM which stands for Sending Persistent Annoying eMail. (SPAM). )

Consumer online buying behavior.

The consumers” buying behavior has always consider as a popular marketing issue, with broadly considered and also debated over the last decades. The principal approach, explaining fundamentals ways of customer behavior, mention the customer buying procedure as learning, information-processing and decision-making action categorized in various following steps:

Identi?cation about a particular problem
Search tool that contains information.
Alternative evaluations.
Purchasing making decision.
Post-purchase behavior

(Bettman, 1979; Dibb et al., 2001; Jobber, 2001; Boyd et al., 2002; Kotler, 2003;Brassington and Pettitt, 2003)

To understand the mechanism of virtual online shopping and the consumer relationship behavior of the online customers is a main concern for practitioners challenging in the fast growing practical marketplace. By giving the constant expansion of using the Internet techniques in terms of user statistics, transaction volume and business infiltration to the huge amount of research attempt is not giving any kind of surprising. There is 20 per cent of Internet user in several countries who already purchase goods and services online (Taylor Nelson Sofres, 2002) while about50 per cent of US net user frequently buying online.

(Forrester Research, 2003). These kinds of development are regularly transforming e-commerce into a mainstream business activity while at the same time online customers are growing and practical vendor understand the importance and necessity for an expert and customer-oriented approach. While totally understand the needs of customers and behavior of the consumer who dealing online (Lee, 2002) while most of them “ . . . continue to resist with how successfully to market and sell goods online” (Joines et al., 2003, p. 93). A very significant input in classify the rapidly growing number of investigate papers on the issue of the effective customer’s behavior is the study of Cheung et al. (2003). The ?ndings of their complete prose review are summarizing in a form that depict the major category of factors that disturbing the online consumer.

Online marketer’s persuasion tools and the Web experience

Next to the personal and external uncontrollable factors in?uencing the buying behavior, exposure of customers to the company’s marketing can affect the decision-making by providing inputs for the consumer’s black box where information is processed before the anal consumer’s decision is made (kolter, 2003). Online marketers can in?uence the decision making process of the virtual customers by engaging traditional, physical marketing tools but mainly by creating and delivering the proper online experience, the Web experience: a combination of online functionality, information, emotions, cues, stimuli and products/ services, in other words a complex mix of elements going beyond the 4Ps of the traditional marketing mix. The prime medium of delivering the Web experience is the corporate Web site, the interfacing platform between the ?rm and its online clients (Constantinides, 2002).

Consumer Relationship management and ICT

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is now became a strategic imperative for all company as its efficient execution be able to add to customer satisfaction, reliability and maintenance and so, in general sale and replicate purchases (Feinberg & Kadam 2002, Kotorov 2002, Anton & Hoeck 2002). However, though CRM is consider as one of the fastest growing management approaches thay is adopted across many business firms (Adebanjo 2003) and mainly tourism and hospitality firms (Sigala 2003), CRM operation is not mean to always delivered the predictable results (Rigby et al. 2002), many CRM initiative have unsuccessful (Early 2002, Feinberg & Kadam 2002), while Kekoe (2002) notify that almost 20% of business executive were claimed that CRM initiative had been damage by consumer relationships. With a result, several organisation in the tourism sector are presently surprised their CRM funds or delay implementation of their future project (Sigala 2003a). Furthermore, the incapacity of CRM application to carry expected profit has not just intensify the legality of earlier findings and claims about the ICT productivity paradox (Sigala 2003b), but it is also boost with current investigate, which is reflect with the huge number of study investigative the grave success factor of CRM (e.g. Cann 1998, Rigby et al. 2002, Rheault & Sheridan 2002). Though, even if these studies offer personal evidence of the impact of ICT management practice on CRM effectiveness, and also there is a lack of experimental studies that may questioning the association in between CRM association and presentation aspects (Tu et al. 2001). Karimi et al. (2001) showing the full force on ICT association to perform on consumer service application, but there is a procedure has been unsuccessful for providing full proof of the relative of these create with concert profit.

CRM: DEFINITION AND BENEFITS EVALUATION

CRM realization is greatly reliant on and driven by ICT tools & advances (Bradshaw & Brash 2001), it is broadly argued that CRM is a combination of software, hardware, processes, management commitment, and application (Sigala 2003a, Rigby et al. 2002). The ICT tools exploitation and their integration with the applications of CRM are expected to take a number of benefits such as (Krishnan et al. 1999, Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons 1997): improved service and product quality; customer satisfaction; improved financial performance, higher productivity; and formation of barriers to entry; customer services and enhanced convenience through the initiation of new products and various other service/delivery channels. The diverse CRM tools enabling such benefits can be classified as follows (Dyche 2001, Karimi et al. 2001): operational tools for improving customer service, automating sales force, online marketing, etc; improving relationships, analytical for building data warehouses, analysing data etc; collaborative for the creation of online communities, service personalization ;developing b2b customer exchanges, etc. Customer focused CRM applications help firms in enhancement of effectiveness and efficiency of customer service, online sales and marketing,aby automating: 1)asales forceaprocesses toareduce informationaasymmetry andadelays, and toaimprove efficiency; 2) callacentre’s andaintegrating customeradatabases to reduce staffarequirements and theatotal cost ofaownership of callacentres; 3) e-mailainteractions withacustomers to improveacustomer service andaservice efficiency andaintegrate e-mail, telephone andaweb interfaces; and 4) customer responsesaand profiles, tracking marketingacampaigns throughavarious media across a numberaof channels and managingaquote andaproposal processesafrom negotiationsato closing. Operational focusedaCRM processes benefitafirms in supply chainamanagement, orderamanagement andaservice field by: 1) usingadatabase information and supplierapipeline processes toaforecast demandamore accuratelyaand create viableascheduling applications;a2) reducing overallaproductionacostsaby streamliningathe flow ofagoods through productionaprocesses and byaimproving informationaflow; and 3)aimproving lead time/qualityaand enabling moreacustomization at a loweracost.

ICT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND CRM BENEFITS

ICT managementasophistication is found toasignificantly moderate the materialisation of the fullaICT business valueaand has been traditionallyaused to characterise aafirm’s evolution in itsamanagement orientation,aplanning, organisationaand control aspectsaof its ICT functiona(Karimi et al. 2001, Sigala 2003b, Tallon et al. 2000). Greater ICTamanagement sophistication is characterised by (Karimi et al. 2001):athe IT manager beingaaware of the firm’s long-termastrategic plans; theafirm’s future strategicaplans being explicitly consideredaduring ICT planning; and theaICT performanceabeing evaluated based onacontribution to the overallafirm’s objectives andanotexclusively on cost savings.aParallel, in firms withahigh ICT managementasophistication, top managementais expected to have greateraknowledge about ICT andaparticipate moreaactively in ICTaplanning. Moreover,astudies investigatingathe ICT productivityaparadox have also revealedathat CRM benefits’ materialization depends onathe sophistication ofaICT management as CRM successais inhibited/facilitated by theafollowing factors: failure to developaa CRM strategy andaadopt a strategic orientationa(Cann 1998, Rigby et al. 2002, Sigala 2003a); lack of robustaimplementation approaches (Rheault & Sheridan 2002, Adebanjo 2003); lack ofameasurement tools (Abbot 2001); selectionaand configuration of theaCRM tools according to businessaprocesses and strategic goals (Rheault & Sheridan 2002; Adebanjo 2003); ICTaimplementation and integration (Cavaye 1995, Adebanjo 2003, Sigala 2003a); ICTamanagement (Karimi et al. 2001); and management of organisationalachange, cultural management (Corner & Hinton 2002, Sigala 2003a, Fjermestad & Romano 2003). Previous research (Karimi et al. 2001, Tallon et al. 2000) has also proved thatacorporate strategic ICTagoals have a direct as well as anaindirect (by influencing the wayaorganisations plan, invest, useaand monitor ICT projects) impact onaICT benefits. Based on this analysisathe followingahypotheses can beaproposed: H1) managers in firms with moreafocused goals for ICT will perceiveagreater CRM benefits; and H2) managers claiming higherasophistication in their ICT managementapractices will perceiveahigher CRM benefits.

References

Urban, Glen L. 2004. Digital Marketing Strategy: Text and Cases, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Coviello, Nicole E., Roger Milley and Barbara Marcolin. 2001. “Understanding IT-enabled Interactivity in Contemporary Marketing.” Journal of Interactive Marketing 15 (4): 18-33.

Aaker, David A. and Erich Joachimsthaler. 2000. Brand Leadership. New York: The Free Press.

Duncan, Tom and Sandra E. Moriarty. 1998. “A Communication-Based Marketing Model for Managing Relationships.” Journal of Marketing 62 (April): 1-13.

Jacoby, Jacob & Chestnut, Robert. 1978. Brand Loyalty: Measurement and Management. New York: Wiley.

Dick, Alan S. and Kunal Basu. 1994. “Customer Loyalty: Toward an Integrated Conceptual Framework”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 22 (2): 99-113

Bettman, J.R. (1979), An Information-Processing Theory of Consumer Choice, Addison-Wesley, Glen View, IL.

Dibb, S., Simkin, L., Pride, W.P. and Ferrell, O.C. (2001), Marketing Concepts and Strategies, 3rd ed., Houghton-Mif?in Company, Boston, MA.

Boyd, H.W., Walker, O.C., Mullins, J. and Larre? che? , J-C. (2002), Marketing Management, A Strategic Decision-Making Approach, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, Columbus, OH.

Kotler, P. (2003), Marketing Management, 11th ed., Prentice-Hall International Editions, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S. (2003), Principles of Marketing, 3rd ed., Prentice-Hall/Financial Times,Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Taylor Nelson Sofres (2002), The TNS Interactive – Global eCommerce Report,availableat;www.tnsofres.com/ ger2002/home.cfm

Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S. (2003), Principles of Marketing, 3rd ed., Prentice-Hall/Financial Times,Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Forrester Research (2003), “Forrester Research projects US ecommerce to hit nearly $230 billion”, press release, available at: www.forrester.com/ER/Press/Release/ 0,1769,823,00.html, and “Consumer technographics: the online consumer 1998 to 2003”, available at: www.forrester.com/ER/Research/Brief/Excerpt/ 0,1317,17225,00.html

Lee, P-M. (2002), “Behavioral model of online purchasers in e-commerce environment”, Electronic Commerce Research, Vol. 2, pp. 75-85.

Constantinides, E. (2002), “The 4S Web-marketing mix model, e-commerce research and applications”, Elsevier Science, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 57-76.

Feinberg, R., and Kadam, R. (2002). e-CRM web service attributes as determinants of customer satisfaction with retail Web sites, International Journal of Service Industry Management, 13 (5), 432 – 451

Anton, J., and Hoeck, M. (2002). ebusiness Customer Service, The Anton Press: Santa Monica, CA

Adebanjo, D. (2003). Classifying and selecting e-CRM applications: an analysis based proposal, Management Decision, 41 (6), 570 – 577

Sigala, M. (2003a). Implementing Customer Relationship Management in the hotel sector: Does ‘IT’ always matter?”, 11th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) “New Paradigms in Organisations, Market and Society’: UniveS. Cuore, Naples, Italy 16 – 23 June, 2003

Kekoe, L. (2002). Long live e-business: software is finding a new role in helping companies to share information effectively”, Financial Times, March 16, 14

Cann, C. (1998). Eight steps to building a B2B relationship, Journal of Business & Industrial

Marketing, 13 (?), 393 – 405

Rigby, D., Reichheld, E., Schefter, P. (2002). Avoiding the four perils of CRM, Harvard Business Review, 80 (2), 101 – 109

Rheault, D., and Sheridan, S. (2002). Reconstruct your business around the customer, The Journal of Business Strategy, 23 (2), 101 – 109

Karimi, J., Somers, T., and Gupta, Y. (2001). Impact of Information Technology Management

Practices on Customer Service”, Journal of Management Information Systems, 17 (4), 125 – 158

Krishnan, M., Ramaswamy, V, Meyers, M. and Damien, P. (1999). Customer satisfaction for financial services: the role of products, services ad information technology. Management Science, 45(9), 1194 – 1209

Fitzsimmons, J. and Fitzsimmons, M. (1997). Services Management: Operations, Strategy, and Information technology. Irwin: New York.

Dyche, J. (2001). The CRM handbook: a Business Guide to CRM, Addison Wiley: Boston, MA

Abbott, J. (2001). Data data everywhere – and not a byte of use. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 4 (3), 182 – 192

Rheault, D., and Sheridan, S. (2002). Reconstruct your business around the customer, The Journal of Business Strategy, 23 (2), 101 – 109

Adebanjo, D. (2003). Classifying and selecting e-CRM applications: an analysis based proposal, Management Decision, 41 (6), 570 – 577

Corner, I., and Hinton, M. (2002). Customer relationship management systems: implementation risks and relationship dynamics, Qualitative Market Research: An international Journal, 5 (4), 239 – 251

Fjermestad, J., and Romano, N. (2003). Electronic customer relationship management: revisiting the general principles of usability and resistance – an integrative implementation framework, Business Process Management Journal, 9 (5), 572 – 591

Tallon, P., Kraemer, K. and Gurbaxani, V. (2000). Executives’ perceptions of the business value of information technology: a process-oriented approach, Journal of MIS, 16 (4), 145 – 173

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Free Essays

Technology Assisted collaborative communications

Introduction

Netiquette is a social convention adopted by internet users on the web that help interact over networks ranging from mailing to blogs and forums and live chat. Since the internet has changed rapidly, its netiquette does too, the need for a sense of netiquette arises mostly when sending or distributing e-mail, chatting or posting comments. To some point, the practice of netiquette relies on accepting how e-mail, chatting or other aspects of the internet work or is practiced.

For example, on an email discussion list – not everyone may have seen past message- it’s considered polite to quote from a message you’re replying to, so your response has context. It is considered that to keep quotes short and relevant. Web based forum, on the other hand where the original messages are visible to all, quoting is unnecessary.

Netiquette is a term referring to a good behaviour while connected to the internet below is some good and bad examples of netiquette while using the internet facilities.
Good Examples:

Requesting permission for images and extra intellectual rights from the author and owners.
Using proper grammar and spelling
Not Using someone else’s identity such as name and pretending to be someone else
Not posting something illegal
Not using abusive and threatening language.
Not post racist comments
Not trying to capture personal information about someone

Bad Examples:

Trying to be someone else and using their personal information and their identity
Using foul language in a message or in a live chat
Posting comments on racism
To gather private information about someone

Netiquette is communicating clearly online; this helps students with their learning as it gives the students a guide on how to speak or type in a message or to people using online communication tools such as Facebook, Skype or Windows live Messenger. This helped me to attempt my assignment one as it was a group assignment we had to use online communication tools in order to communicate. We clearly used appropriate language to communicate and sent brief short message emails to each of the group members. As a group we used appropriate behaviour to communicate with each other and it helped us into attempting assignment one it helped us to keep quotes short and relevant and easy to read.

Throughout this module we had to attempt Assignment one; and in order to do that we had to communicate we each other as it was a group assignment. As we didn’t have time to communicate all the time due to other modules and other coursework and not everyone in our group was doing the same modules, we had to communicate by online communication using Skype, Facebook and Windows live messenger. We used mainly Skype as we were able to communicate as a group and not individual. Using online communication was an advantage for us as a group this is because we communicated anywhere, we didn’t have to discuss everything face to face or coming to the university and discussing the work, we discussed it over Skype and other online communication in order to help each other out for the group assignment and how to attempt each part. Blackboard was also used; it was used in order get in touch with the lecturer we posted comments in the discussion forum as a group or individual to get help with the assignments and other work relating to the lecturer.

Online communications are used to be reserved for emails sent to co-workers and bosses. Today, however, emails and online conferences and other different methods kinds of online communications have not only become widely accepted, but often preferred to other methods. Online communications can offer several advantages and disadvantages. There is convenience; users don’t need to wait in for the other person to be available in order to get the message to them, they can just send an email. Today for better communications, we can avail the facilities of e-mail, we can chat for hours. There are plenty messenger tools in present, these services it has become easy to start a friendship where users can share their thoughts. Advantages of Instant messaging is; users are able to send message in real time, free to use, having to have a proper face to face conversation without making a large bill and users are able to chat to more than one person at the same time.

However there are disadvantages in using online communications. Some people decide to send viruses via email and in the processing infecting the user computers. Virus email can be difficult in order to be detected especially to someone with a very little knowledge of computer viruses and how they work. It’s not only emails that are the downside of online communications there are more such Instant messaging, the downside of instant messaging is that viruses can be sent via files, needs internet connection and computer and last of you don’t who you are really talking too.
As technology progresses and the world has become more reliant up on internet functions online learning has gained popularity and functionality. I personally can say it has benefited me, as it enables me to access it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I am able to have the ability to read and re read lectures, discussion, explanations and comments. Each student has their personal way of learning some can learn visually and others do better when they “learn by doing”. As online learning has benefited me I can study the lectures and materials of the modules on my own time or whenever I have the access to a computer or to the internet, it allows me to work at my own pace when learning modules. As I can choose when I want to work on my studies, I am more likely to devote my full attention to the task and not be distracted to comprehend to the lesson. One of greatest things about online learning is that I can learn anywhere this is a benefit to me as I can learn even in the comfort of my own home; this can save me countless hours of transits. Instead of enduring a boring and often a stressful- rush to get to class at a horrible hour of the morning, I can use these hours for actual learning. Normally I often have more one on one interaction with my lecturers as correspondence through email is essential as my lecturers will know more about me and they way I learn and needs than a student they see two or three times a week in their lecturers.

Online learning has not benefited me in this course; this is because in all of my modules it is required that we attend lectures and tutorials so for that we don’t miss out in anything important. Throughout the course, I’ve tried learning some things online, but it was a fail. It was only clear if the lecturer explained it, there was no point learning it online or any other way as it wasn’t clear enough. Online learning is a benefit in some of the modules but for this modules is not, when the work is set is required we practice it there and there so therefore there is no need to learn something online. Online learning does benefit some students in the course as for them they think it’s better to learn in this method, but for some it’s the other way around they think it’s better to attend lectures and tutorials to learn the module.

Reference:

Netiquette:

Erin Hoffman. (2005). what is netiquette. Available: http://www.wisegeek.com/contest/what-is-netiquette.htm. Last accessed 28th March 2011.

Wendy Grossman. (2010). what is netiquette. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-netiquette. Last accessed 4th April 2011.

Advantages and disadvantages:

Jayashree Pakhare. (2006). Advantages and Disadvantages of Internet. Available: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/advantages-disadvantages-internet.html. Last accessed 4 April 2011.

Categories
Free Essays

Information Technology vs Industrial Clusters

Background and Introduction:

Information Technology (IT) has been an important force transforming human life on planet earth. It has changed the foundations of business, social, economic, financial, technological dimensions of human life. It has fostered the pace of life as well as changed the lifestyle and speed of human life. Now with the advent of internet, the speed of life has become an important determinant of keeping pace in different dimensions of life. The very meaning of markets and boundaries defining the markets and business domains have undergone a complete change because of the internet and fostering technological change that it brought in its wake.

While corporate business world has taken full advantage of the internet, it has still I the early phases of realizing full support and potential of the internet. IT speculators suggested huge benefits from the internet which meant relocation and complete physical freedom from the customers, competitors and physical boundaries of the market which earlier defined the very limits of any industry.

By early twentieth century, the markets were tended to be defined at local level, at city level and at the national levels. There was little mention of the international or global markets. This was because of limited progress achieved in the means of communications and transportations. Most markets were considered as physical definitions or definitions in terms of physical presence of the buyers and sellers. Each place where buyers and sellers could be physically present were defined as local markets. Where ever the buyers and sellers could gather together from a national scale were the national markets. The limited advancements in the means of transport and communications were a natural barrier on the market definition.

Discussion:

As the industrialization process grew and the means of transport and communications also grew with them. The beginning of the railways system and the telegraphs and telephone brought about some relaxations in the definition of the markets and the markets definitions also included the areas from far off here there were customers of any product or service where transport means such as railways and communication means such as telephone and telegraphs had access. Therefore the means of transport and communications have served as a key factor defining the geographical boundaries of markets. The definitions of the market boundaries has moved hand in hand with the advancements of the transportation and communications.

The second half of the twentieth century has brought a technological revolution especially in the IT sector. The computer is the most fascinating invention of the twentieth century. It has transformed the speed and accuracy levels of the information processing. It has also promised and delivered transparency and merit. In the last fifty or sixty years the world has witnessed the rise of internet which has impacted the communications in an un-precedent manner. The rise of the internet has defined and redefined the basics of communications in every nook and corner of the world. The business markets and each industry and segment is deeply affected by the growth and usefulness of internet.

Amongst the key benefits envisaged by the IT experts, the Internet was thought to redefine the markets as well. In several sectors such as services banking and retailing and IT, it was thought that the internet would introduce branchless services virtually eliminating the physical presence of the branches in every area of the country. But despite the wide spread use of the internet in every office and production factories and manufacturing area, it is noted that companies still prefer to be located near their competitors and outsourcers. WhyThis is the primary question that we need to answer in this essay.

In the conventional approach to networking, most industries in retailing services and banking followed an level headed approach with their competitors. In every area, Mcdonalds and KFC and Burger King have their outlets almost next to each other or as near as possible. Banks also tend to have their branches next to each other in every area regardless of the volume of business they can get. They go for prominence and presence as much as for their market share ion every area. The reasons are simple and straight forward. Despite the use of internet, physical presence through an outlet is thought as important as the market share and sales through that area. Secondly the most important characteristics are discussed as follows:

In the banking sector concept of branchless banking was envisaged with the rise of internet. Despite after wide spread use and years of practice and websites each bank has launched and online services uploaded on their websites, the online services used by the clients, customers and banks is hindered by some plain truths. The mal practices, internet frauds, site hacking and other practices that put the online security of information under question mark, has caused clients, customers and banks to shy away from using the online services with full confidence. The use of the online services is limited and transactional volumes of the online services are still limited because of the limited trust and confidence earned by the online services because of security of online information. Most companies and clients and individual customers deem online data to be vulnerable and prone to theft. This causes the use of online services to be used in limited volume and thus limiting the concept of branchless banking.

Secondly, the traditional and conventional banking practices call for a physical presence of the ban k outlets in each area so that the customers may see and visit the bank they trust and deal with. This is owing to the fact that customers pledge their trust more with a bank physically present than with the one which has a presence only on the web. The so called ‘human element’ is still more important than the technologically advanced services such as online banking. A modern customer does not have the luxury of time and his time is money. He wants to invest his time as much cautiously as money. He knows that if he mismanages his time, he will loose money, therefore time is money. The ebanking is an answer to many of his needs on this perspective. He can perform many of his jobs and day to day banking activities which ate into his precious time, He can deal with all financial activities by means of ebanking. A modern customer is an ebanker. He prefers not to visit a bank branch as long as he can meet his banking need via one of the available ebanking means and ways. Therefore, ebanking is considered as an answer to many of the problems of the customer of modern day baking market. “Challenges remain even in Latin America. In locations not served by banks most users open an account primarily to access welfare payments, or because their employer deposits their salary directly into their account. Apart from withdrawals, the most frequent use of the accounts is for making utility bill payments.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

“The power of cellular phones has been tremendous in the country, and the branchless banking program would target cell phone users with little or no access to banks, he said.”(www.thejakartapost-banking-start-bali.html)

Telebanking is also considered as part of the internet banking. In the telebanking services by dialing the given Telebanking number from anywhere, the customer can access their accounts and by following the user-friendly menu, entire banking set up can be conducted through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system which is purpose built and designed to serve the customer. There are sufficient numbers of hunting lines available with this system and the customer calls never fail or go un attended. The system is built around in several local languages and acts to the usage ability of the customer. The modern day organization is highly interactive and dependent on the ebanking services. The accounts department is functional on ebanking system and it can check its daily cash balance and issue checks and make payments and transfer the funds through ebanking and tele-banking services alone. It saves on the time and effort of the organisation. Branchless Banking has potential as stated by Times of India “Branchless banking has a huge potential to reach the unbanked and underserved segment of the population, he said and added that the branchless banking certainly will help people to take better advantage of the banking facilities at affordable cost” (http://timesofpakistan.pk)

The cultural factors that tie and define business values for a specific locality also define the brand equity and market share in specific pockets of a market forcing companies to locate themselves in each area close to their competitors and outsourcers. This forces most banks and retailing companies like Mc donalds, KFC, Burgar King to stretch out and make their branches available in the local vicinity of their competitors. If a competitor in retailing will have an outlet in one area, he may well get the touch and feel of the local buyers more intimate touch and feel of the local buyers. He can respond to their needs more sharply and meaningfully than if he is not there. Same goes for the banking sector as well. Each branch manager has to perform as part of his duties a heavy job of personal banking and personal relation building with his clients in each pocket of the market to make its customers feel at home with their bank. “ Branchless banking is very useful and helpful in both urban and rural areas” states (http://telecomnewspk.com)

With the rise of IT and internet services, the cluster formation or geographical concentration of competing companies is maintained because of the customers increasing demand for ‘Customization‘ in the products and services areas. This forces most companies to locate themselves close to their competitors so that they may learn about the local taste and preferences. Each retailing outlets tries to serve the customers in a customized fashion in terms of local taste and preferences. Same is true for the banking sector as well. Most banks open their branches close to their competitors because they want to make sure that they meet the needs of their customers in a superior fashion to their competitors.

With the rise of IT and internet services, the cluster formation or geographical concentration of industrial units is maintained because of the production economies and tax holidays offered by certain states. The competitors tend to have their industrial units in the same areas because they want to keep pace with the tax holidays that are earned by their competitors. It affects their cost of production and thus the cost of sales of their products and service. Therefore, the competing companies tend to locate themselves close to their competitors and outsourcers as it may be caused by the tax benefits and tax holidays earned by the companies in certain industries. This leads to the cluster formation or geographical concentration of industrial units despite the widespread used of the internet and IT services.

With the rise of IT and internet services, the cluster formation or geographical concentration of industrial units is maintained because of the fact that many companies tend to maintain their outreach to the market and access-to-market at the same level as their competitors’. This factor is important in the case of many products and services such as foam and bedding industry which is a heavy produce to carry and it needs to be located near the market and thus in order to maintain a competitive edge with the competitors on ‘outreach’ to the market, the companies tend to locate their industrial units close to their competitors. This is also why with the rise of IT and internet services, the cluster formation or geographical concentration of industrial units is still maintained.

The cost of transportation as part of production cost is an important determinant of the choice of location for companies for their industrial units. Companies tend to locate their industrial units near their competitors because they want their transportation cost to be the same as of their competitors. This is also a reason why despite the rise of IT and internet services, the cluster formation or geographical concentration of industrial units is still maintained.

Companies tend to locate themselves close their competitors because of the fact that they want to maintain their edge with their competitors in terms of getting the market feedback. They want to maintain an equal closeness and proximity to their clients or customer base or target market with their competitors and ear the title of caring and respect for the customer in the eyes of the customers. Therefore even with the rise of IT and internet services, the tendencies of concentration of industrial units is still maintained. Industrial clusters develop “Industrial clusters develop in places where a business can develop links with other firms (and universities, government bodies and so on) to boost its performance” (http://www.cogentsi.com)

Lastly, companies tend to locate themselves close their competitors because they want to conduct market intelligence and collect information about their competitors activities and utilize that information in their business plans. This leads to industrial clusters and concentration of industrial clusters within geographical areas, despite the increasing use of information technology and internet services.

In so doing companies maintain their edge with their competitors in terms of market intelligence. They want to maintain a close eye on their competitors and thus even with the rise of IT and internet services, the tendencies of concentration of industrial units is still maintained.

Conclusion:

From the foregoing discussion, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that despite the rise of internet and wider spread use of information technology, companies tend to concentrate their locations within close geographical locations. The use of internet and information technology has certainly increased the efficiency and functional performance of the companies at a mass level, the potential benefits accruing from branch-less services and reducing the geographical concentration are still far from reality. Most of the companies tend to be located near their competitors and the outsourcers because of the cost advantages and strategic reasons that hold, sway and largely dictate the strategic decisions of companies such as locating industrial units.

References
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/branchless-banking-in-india/articleshow/3386737.cms
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/01/branchless-banking-start-bali.html
http://timesofpakistan.pk/business/2011-01-21/branchless-banking-is-future-of-financial-sector-shahid-kardar/22094/
http://www.cogentsi.com/industrial-clusters.htm
http://telecomnewspk.com/2011/03/formal-branchless-banking-in-pakistan/
http://mobile-financial.com/node/14211/Marketing-Branchless-Banking

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Literature analysis and assessment in information technology

INTRODUCTION

It is the Information technologies that allow corporations toward get hold of, development accumulate as well as switch over in sequence. Additionally, inside an acquaintance organization circumstance, information knowledge is able to sustain alteration surrounded by furthermore flanked by implicit plus explicit information. On the other hand, the companies of neither information knowledge neither guarantee acquaintance formation, facts sharing nor information make use of. (Crossan, & Nicolini, 2000). The mainly imperative article be not to company be capable of build up acquaintance (standing hub), other than to they be talented toward study incessantly through generating novel information which they transport as well as be relevant (self-motivated center).

Information expertise reimbursement is apparent within cogent trade environment. But the course of job, as well as populace, farm duties as well as utensils, be capable of predefined, mechanization through information expertise possibly will be the finest selection. Fielder, Grover, and Teng dispute so as to conventionally, the conventional advance on behalf of be appropriate information equipment be from beginning to end the mechanization of accessible process inside the limitations of conventional practical structure, base on the supposition with the aim of the novel process design be acceptable.

Literature Review

The technical rebellions so as to have been determining market have brought additional change within organization practice than inside a few other preceding eras. Manager has seen to facilitate information is the foundation of authority as well as to this information be generally dispersed approximately the corporation. Within of this significance, refusal hypothesis or else replica of managerial knowledge is extensively established .The assortment have contribute in the direction of the swift shift taking place of the ground in humanizing the synchronized development of dedicated area of query with the intention of examine diverse aspect of managerial erudition as well as knowledge administration (Argote, McEvily, & Reagans, 2003). Even though information management might be unstated like the procedure of detain a firm’s facts also with it toward promote modernization from side to side a twisting of managerial education the difference among information management as well as organizational erudition be not wholly palpable. furthermore, present is a increasing acknowledgment so as to the two community split like fundamental concept as well as troubles, still although they might at rest exist with to some extent dissimilar verbal communication toward articulate these issue (Easterby-Smith, Crossan, & Nicolini, 2000). Organizational learning procedures imply the expansion of insight, information, along with relations among past proceedings, the efficiency of those events, as well as prospect proceedings. Huber explains the organizational knowledge since an alteration inside the assortment of an organization’s prospective behaviors. Therefore, organizational education is the expansion of new-fangled information plus insight so as to have the possible toward pressure an organization’s performance (Schulz, 2001).

Critical evaluation of research papers

Organizational erudition surrounded by the association allow the gaining, allocation, construal as well as storage space of innovative facts so as to permit the society headed for be aware of along with bowdlerize novel information system while toward their ultimate utilize headed for the association (Harrington & Guimaraes, 2005). Information gaining is clear the same as the procedure inside which acquaintance is acquire. Information allocation is the procedure through which information is communal. Information understandings involve attempt in the direction of build up single or else further frequent interpretation of disseminated consciousness. Managerial recollection is distinct as facts that are store on behalf of bring into play.

Inside an acquaintance administration circumstance, information knowledge reimbursement is vastly prejudiced through the survival of a suitable environment in the direction of allocate as well as a human direction (Choi & Lee, 2003). Within the employees’ promise toward information formation process (Cross & Baird, 2000). Accordingly, a development surrounded by which information features significantly be essential. Internal setting therefore at the same time as in the direction of enhance the learning system performance in addition give confidence the formulate make use of of of sure gear be hypothetical to be expectant.

In spite of the unforeseen figure of failure of information organization, present be a number of evidence of its optimistic authority taking place organizational presentation. Various experiential effort have be completed ( Choi & Lee, 2003; Gold, Malhotra, & Segars, 2001; Lee & Choi, 2003) except nearby tranquil a be short of empirical confirmation mainly within small business conventionally, information management investigate have been address toward huge businesses.

On the other hand, diminutive business is probable toward information producer. Their natural arrangement as well as civilization might promote information innovation. Though, their structural skin plus capital scarcity might obstruct toward get hold of sustainable spirited benefit as of these innovation (Levy, Loebbecke, & Powell, 2003).

Evaluation and Comparison of research papers

The most important complicatedness during attainment a helpful meaning is toward differentiates the penalty of organizational learning as of the knowledge development (Robey, Boudreau, & Rose, 2000). Research is on knowledge within organization, which is unstated on the road to acquire rest within organization, during the intellect of a commotion or else a procedure. Organizational learning inside learning because a self-motivated development of acquaintance formation generate on the compassion of the association by means of its persons as well as group, heading for on the cohort as well as expansion of characteristic competencies so as to facilitate the association in the direction of get better its presentation in addition to consequences. The input individuality of this description deserves consideration. Foremost, it is managerial progressions with the intention of strength happen at character, collection as well as managerial level. Following, it is seen since an income on the way to expand competencies so as to be appreciated through clientele, be hard toward reproduce, plus for this reason make a payment toward aggressive benefit (Crossan & Berdrow, 2003). In conclusion, present is an important association flanked by organizational learning in addition to compact presentation (Tippins & Sohi, 2003).

2ND RESEARCH PAPER

In view of the dissimilarity among information knowledge as well as information scheme, information expertise be able to exist conceive since the communications toward information administration (Chou, 2003), or else an information podium (Tiwana, 2002). Various author, like Choi as well as Lee (2003) also Gold et al. (2001), by means of a comparable direction information expertise like an enabler of acquaintance organization. The position of information know-how be en route for expand human facility of awareness manufacture from side to side the momentum, reminiscence conservatory furthermore statement amenities of knowledge (Baroni & Arau? Jo, 2001).

Several of the expertises so as to support the organization of information contain be approximately in favor of an extended instance. An investigation of scientific tackle is able to be establishing inside Tyndale (2002). A difference be completed flanked by information equipment base resting on tackle rented from additional discipline so as to have enter keen on information organization ground, as well as information equipment base lying on utensils to intended as acquaintance organization utensils on or after their inauguration.

3RD RESEARCH PAPER

E-business system be definite like some profitable or else information substitute so as to an association make accessible in excess of a system (Moodley, 2003), as well as are commonly base taking place network technology (Amit & Zott, 2001). Essentially, e-business is on conduct commerce automatically above the Internet. This might comprise behavior like statement, marketing, also alliance (Plessis & Boon, 2004). The enlargements of e-business have showing numerous opportunities (Mehrtens, Cragg, & Mills, 2001); inside circumstances of their attitude toward converse also team up by means of associates all along their worth sequence (Offodile & Abdel-Malek, 2002) through the web. Such prospect typically engage information scheme for the completion issue (Levy & Powell, 2000).

C0NCLUSION

The association among organizational knowledge also information expertise have been analyze through related stream (Robey et al., 2000). Some researchers have analyzed managerial knowledge like of clearing up with resolve the troubles of implement also with innovative information technology in organization. Taking place, the function of information expertise have be alert scheduled toward sustain the process of managerial erudition (Lin & Lee, 2005).

REFERENCES:

Real., C.J. Leal., L. and Rolda .2006. Information technology as a determinant of organizational learning and technological distinctive competencies, Industrial Marketing Management, 35, pp.505 – 521.

Mercader., J.Cerdan., J andSabater-Sa? nchez. 2006. Information technology and learning: Their relationship and impact on organizational performance in small businesses, International Journal of Information Management, 26, pp. 16–29.

Navarroa., C.J. and Conesa., D .2007. Implementing e-business through organizational learning: An empirical investigation in SMEs, International Journal of Information Management, 27, pp. 173–186.

Santhanam., R and Hartono., E. (2003). Issues in linking information technology capability to firm performance. MIS Quarterly, 27(2), pp.125– 153.

McGee., J. E and Peterson., M. (2000). Towards the development of measures of distinctive competencies among small independent retailers. Journal of Small Business Management, 38(2), pp.19– 33.

Melville., N. Kraemer, K and Gurbaxani, V. (2004). Information technology and organizational performance: An integrative model of IT business value. MIS Quarterly, 28(2), pp. 283–322.

Meso., P and Smith, R. (2000). A resource-based view of organizational knowledge management systems. Journal of Knowledge Management, 4(3), pp.224– 234.

Teo., T. S. H and Ranganathan., C. (2003). Leveraging IT resources and, capabilities at the housing and development board. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 12(3), pp. 229– 249.

Tippins., M. J and Sohi., R. S. (2003). IT competency and firm performance: Is organizational learning a missing linkStrategic Management Journal, 24(8), pp.745– 761.

Ruiz-Mercader., J., Meron? o-Cerdan., A. L and Sabater-Sanchez., R. (2006). Information technology and learning: Their relationship and impact on organizational performance in small businesses. International Journal of Information Management, 26(1), pp.16–29

Schlegelmilch., B. B and Penz., E. (2002). Knowledge management in marketing. Marketing Review, 3, pp. 5–19

Su., C. T., Chen, Y. C and Sha., D. Y. (2006). Linking innovative product development with customer knowledge: A data mining approach.

Technovation, 26, pp.784–795.

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the invention of the earliest camera, technology has rapidly advanced the field of photography, bringing change and improvement to almost every aspect of the art.

Introduction

Ever since the invention of the earliest camera, technology has rapidly advanced the field of photography, bringing change and improvement to almost every aspect of the art. However, despite all the technological improvements, pocket sized cameras, night vision modes, face and smile recognition facilities that the new age digital cameras have to offer, one sees that almost any camera store worth its salt still stocks single lens reflex cameras (SLRs). Despite the fact that many dismiss these devices as archaic and obsolete, quite a few professional photographers still opt for and recommend SLRs to others over point and shoot cameras. A novice buyer has no idea whether to opt for a digital point and shoot or a film SLR or DSLR and is unable to decide which one would best serve his or her purpose within their budget. To shed some light on this topic, the pros and cons of a 35 mm SLR over other film formats and image capturing systems have been detailed in this article.

What is an SLR

An SLR or Single Lens Reflex camera is one that has a ‘reflex mirror’ which allows the user to directly view the image being shot through the lens of the camera (Rowse2007). In simpler words, unlike other cameras which have a viewing system different from the lens of the camera, the SLR has only one viewing system and allows the user to see exactly what is being photographed through the viewfinder.

SLR or Point and Shoot

While deciding which camera one needs to buy, one needs to balance utility with price to choose a camera perfectly suited to their needs. Both SLRs and point and shoots have their own strengths and weaknesses with respect to each other. For example, SLRs have much faster shutter speeds than point and shoot cameras. This can duly be adjusted for the film being used and the abundance of light, giving the photographer multiple options for using high speed films (greater ISO) without risking grainy output in the photographs. Also, there is an almost negligible time lag between when the shutter is pressed and the film is exposed, giving the photographer a better opportunity of capturing the perfect moment even with a moving subject. Such is not the case with point and shoot cameras. Both digital and film P&S cameras have a time lag between when the shutter button is clicked and the sensor or film is exposed. This renders them more or less useless for anything but still photography and memories with orchestrated poses. An SLR allows the user to control almost every aspect of photography. He can adjust the light entering through the aperture, the speed of the film, the duration for which the shutter exposes the film, the focus of the image and even the kind of lens being used. Even the best of the point and shoot cameras can’t hold a candle to these features. The fact that the SLR allows for interchangeable lenses means that the photographer is ready for almost any kind of shot whether a close up, extreme close up, long or a wide shot. The lack of this feature sorely limits prospects with point and shoots. The quality of optics (lenses) in even the worst SLRs tops that in the best point and shoots cameras. The compatibility of these lenses with other camera bodies means that the investment in the lenses is not wasted if the camera body malfunctions. To upgrade, the photographer only needs to change the camera body, which itself is extremely durable compared to a point and shoot.

However, an SLR also has certain limitations. One extremely limiting factor is the price of an SLR camera which is many times that of a point and shoot camera. Another prohibiting factor is the size and weight of SLR cameras. The weight of an SLR camera along with its lens kit filters, flash apparatus and tripod can make it pretty inconvenient to carry around and also, an SLR requires considerable setup time for the perfect shot to be taken. A point and shoot can be fit into the user’s pocket, whipped out when needed and is ready to capture images. Another issue with SLRs is maintenance. Considering that the SLR is highly dependent on its optics for performance, any smudges, fungus, dust or damage to the lens could prove quite expensive to rectify. Lenses have to be stored in moisture proof containers during humid seasons and are extremely expensive to clean or replace. Point and shoot cameras are operable by most laymen, while SLRs are quite complex and require the user to know how to use the various features for them to be of any use. The lack of a live view in SLRs such as available in LCD point and shoot cameras make shots from difficult angles harder for the user. Many point and shoot cameras today possess LCD monitors that can be flipped outwards, making even the most difficult angles easy to shoot from.

Film or Digital

When one finally decides on the type of camera to buy, the image capturing format is still an issue to decide on. While quality of image capture in digital is categorized according to the megapixels per square inch of the sensor, film quality depends on the size. The prevailing formats of film today are 35mm, medium and large format. Despite rapid advancement in technology relevant to photography, the resolution offered by a 35mm film is still vastly superior to that of any digital camera. Practically, it would take a 25 Megapixel sensor to rival the quality of photographs that can be obtained from a 35 mm film (Ken Rockwell 2006). In terms of quality (of film formats available today), the large format film is unparalleled (Guide to Film Photography 2010). The most popular size of large film today is 4?5 inches; however, there are sizes of up to 20?24 inch available in this format. With large film format, results are sharper, have a better tonality and are grain free (Luong 2011). Even 4?5 films have 13 times the resolution offered by 35 mm film. The drawbacks of the format are that the cameras required to use this film are bulky and extremely manual. Certain things that are taken for granted with even 35mm cameras such as avoiding fogged film and preventing double and non-exposures have to be manually done in these cameras. The equipment for such cameras is also quite bulky, making it inconvenient to carry and set up. Everything from setting up, photo composition, focus and exposure take a long time in such cameras. While medium film format (6?6 or 6?7 inches) is more convenient than large and offers better quality than 35mm film, it is also quite inconvenient as the film is more expensive to buy and process. Each roll can only fit 10 frames; the depth of field of such cameras is lesser than that in 35mm from certain angles and also, there are a limited number of the types of film available.

Coming back to the debate of film versus digital, it is obvious that digital photography has a lot of ground to cover before it can match the quality of film. However, that being said, digital cameras have the advantage that the user can immediately preview the image after it is shot, thus there is no wastage of film in digital photography. The user only sees what went wrong with a shot after processing if they used film. There is only a one time expenditure on the digital camera, no expenditure on film, scanning or processing. However, once a photograph is taken at a set resolution in a digital camera, it can never be improved or blown up beyond that. A film camera is a cheaper investment than a digital camera and provides unparalleled resolution, warmth, texture and depth (Williams 2004).

While there are many pros and cons to each image capturing system and format, the only way for a photographer to get the most out of any camera is to match the camera to their needs. Only then will they be able to produce the best pictures at the highest value for their money.

References

Luong, Q.T. 2004, Largeformatphotography.info (Web), viewed 03 May 2011, http://www.largeformatphotography.info/why.html

Rowse, D. 2007, Digital Photography School (Web), viewed 03 May 2011, http://www.digital-photography-school.com/should-you-buy-a-dslr-or-point-and-shoot-digital-camera

Williams, O. 2004, PhotoshopDesign.NET (Web), viewed 03 May 2011, http://www.photoshopdesign.net/ccopy/filmVSdigital.htm

Anon 2006, KenRockwell.com (Web), viewed 03 May 2011, http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/filmdig.htm

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Digital Imaging Technology:-Its Contribution to Image Quality and Does Reduction

Introduction

With its ability of capturing what’s going on inside the human body, X-rays has transformed the medical world and its impact on people’s life is phenomenal. Since the day X-rays was discovered, scientists have not stopped finding and developing the use of X-rays. Over the years, the medical imaging technology has been expanding and advancing in a rapid speed. Digital imaging has now replaced the traditional film-screen system and become the most widely used technology. It is well known for making the work more efficient and allowing flexibility of staffing options. Moreover, it’s believed that digital imaging is capable of producing images of similar contrast to conventional radiography with giving less radiation dose to the patient.

Unlike conventional film-screen system, digital imaging technology records latent image on an electronically readable device rather than onto an actual film. It uses ‘discrete numbers, for input, processing, transmission, storage, or display, rather than a continuous spectrum of values.’ (Johnston, 2010) Oakley (2003:11) defines a digital image as a string of binary numbers.

Digital imaging is used in general radiography as well as modalities such as Fluoroscopy, Angiography, CT etc. Digital imaging technology has lots of features that have made it superior to conventional imaging system and some of these features have contributed to the possibility of producing good images while delivering less radiation dose to patients.

In general radiography, there are currently two types of digital imaging systems that are used. One is Computed radiography (CR) and the other is Direct Digital radiography, also known as DR. The main difference between these two types of systems is that cassette is used in CR whereas DR is cassetteless. What’s used in DR is a large area, flat-panel detectors with integrated thin-film transistor (TFT). This type of detectors is well known for its high detective quantum efficiency (DQE) compare with other types of detectors. DQE is used to describe a detector’s efficiency in image capturing, so the higher the value of DQE, the more efficient the detectors are, thus, the less exposure is required to obtain a diagnostic image, which means less radiation dose is given to the patient. In clinical practice, especially with pediatric imaging, if both CR and DR systems are available, radiographers would choose DR over CR for pediatric populations because of the significant reduction of patient dose. In computed tomography (CT), the dose efficiency is always an important parameter of performance due to the fact that there’s a high dose of radiation involved in CT examination compare to other modalities. In Chesney’s equipment for student radiographers, it is suggested that detectors’ efficiency has a direct impact on dose efficiency. (Carter, 1994: 206) In other words, the higher the DQE, the better the dose efficiency.

Another very important feature of digital imaging is that the digital detectors have a wider and linear dynamic range, which is believed to have contributed to dose reduction as well as image quality. Dynamic range is defined as ‘ the range from minimum to maximum radiation intensity that can be displayed as differences in signal intensity (or as density differences in conventional radiography).’ (Prokop, 1997:3) A larger dynamic range enables the system to be more tolerant to the variation of exposures, thus it reduces the need for repeating studies that are due to minor errors in techniques. Also, with a wider dynamic range, good image contrast can be formed. A good example would be chest x-rays. Because there’s a wide range of exposure involved with that particular body region, therefore a wider dynamic range is desired for fitting all the exposures into the exposure range. (Sprawls, n.d.)

Image processing is one of the key features of digital imaging technology. The beauty of it is that it enables the radiographers to manipulate and improve the image quality of a less diagnostic image. This has greatly reduced the number of repeating images, thus, patient dose is reduced. There are mainly two ways of image processing that are carried out by computer. One is image enhancement and the other is image restoration. (Ball and Price, 1995: 322)

Digital image enhancement is designed to ‘alter the visual impact that the image has on the interpreter in a fashion that improves the information content’. (Freeman, n.d.) It can be achieved by manipulation of the image contrast by control of window width and window level. Window width controls the width selection of the band of luminance value in the digital signal and window level controls the level selection of the displayed band of values within the complete range. (Ball and Price, 1995: 322) In general radiography, windowing and gradation are pre-programmed into the system for each particular examination. Gradation processing controls the contrast, brightness and density of the final image. It identifies which part of an image requires high contrast, which then helps to enhance the region of interest and improve the image quality. (Fujifilm medical system, n.d.) After automatic gradation processing, image will then be displayed on a screen monitor. If the quality of resultant image is still not diagnostic enough, the radiographers are able to change the contrast and brightness of the displayed image manually until the image quality has reached to its optimal. Another good thing about image manipulation is that information such as anatomical marker can be added afterwards if the radiographer forgot to use it when taking the X-ray image. Adding anatomical markers afterwards isn’t a good practice, however, being able to do this has greatly reduced the number of retakes in clinical practice, which consequently reduces patient dose.

In CT, selecting the correct window width and window level plays an important part on image quality due to the density of our body parts varies from one and another. (Larson, n.d.) Therefore selecting the wrong window width or level can result in poor image quality. For instance, if a bone window is selected for looking at lungs, lung tissues will not be visualized at all in this setting; therefore it won’t help with diagnosis. There is also other data manipulation techniques involved in CT, such as image enlargement, edge enhancement, etc. Adding’ Bow-tie’ filters in CT also helps in reducing patient radiation dose while improve image quality. (Bushberg, 2002:114)

In digital subtraction angiography, other than brightness and contrast manipulation, radiographers can also perform ‘pixel shift’ to correct for mis-registration. Also, anatomy can be added to visualize landmarks. (Seibert, 2004) During the procedure, correct collimation manipulation can improve image quality as well as reducing patient dose.

Image restoration is ‘a method of reconstructing an image to correct the degradation that may have occurred as part of the image-forming process.’ (Balls and Price, 195:322). A good example of degradation of image would be ‘vignetting’ in fluoroscopy. Vignetting is defined as the loss of brightness towards the edges of an image and this is an inevitable cause when image intensifiers are used. Image intensifier helps to increase the resolution, contrast and brightness of an image; however, the amount of resolution, contrast and brightness is only intensified at its greatest in the center of an image and then gradually reduces towards the periphery. (Hendee and Ritenour, 2002:239). This type of image distortion can’t be avoided, however, the quality of the image can be restored afterwards by using specialized software.

Another feature of digital imaging technology is that all the images that are taken will be sent to PACs (patient archiving and communication system). PACS enables the images to be stored electronically and viewed on monitor screen. The viewers can optimize the image quality further by manipulation on the high -resolution monitor when viewing. In addition, PACS lowers radiation dose by reducing the need for repeat examinations through inaccurately exposed images or lost films. (Connecting for Health, n.d.)

As a radiographer, the main responsibility is to produce a diagnostic image while giving patient the dose that’s as low as reasonably practical. Digital imaging technology has certainly made this task more achievable. However, nothing is really perfect, there are still some imperfections with digital imaging. For example, the spatial resolution of digital radiography is not as good as conventional radiography. Also, radiographers can overexpose their patients without noticing due to the automatic processing in digital radiography. Therefore it’s important for the radiographer to be aware of the limitations of digital imaging technology in order to utilize and maximize its use. Moreover, it’s important to remember that digital imaging is still a fairly new technology in the medical imaging world and it is still developing, which means it’s crucial that radiographers are receiving continuous training and keeping their skills up to date with the latest technology in order to operate the equipments efficiently and correctly, which will then create a positive outcome of image quality and dose reduction.

Reference List

Ball, J. and Price, T. (1995) Chesney’s Radiographic Imaging, 6th edition, Oxford: Blackwell Science

Bushberg, J.T., Seibert, J, Boone, J. and Leidholdt, E. (2002) The essential physics of medical imaging, 2nd edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Carter, P.H. (ed.) (1994) Chesney’s Equipment For Student Radiographers, 4th edition, Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Freeman, W.H. (n.d.) Digital image Processing, [Online], Available at: http://www.ciesin.org/docs/005-477/005-477.html [04 May 2011]

Fujifim Medilcal system (n.d.) Medical imaging: Gradation Processing, [Online] , Available at: http://www.fujimed.com/image-intelligence/gp.asp [06 May 2011]

Hendee, W.R. and Ritenour, E.R. (2002) Medical Imaging Physics, 4th edition, New York: Wiley-Liss.

Johnstone, G. (2010) Clinical imaging 2, Lecture 3: Digital imaging. Exeter: Author.

Larson, EB. 2002. Promoting Effective Use of New Imaging Techniques. American Journal of Roentgenology , vol.138, August, pp.788-789.

NHS connecting for Health, PACS, [ONLINE], Available at: http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/systemsandservices/pacs/learn/me/radiographer [5 May 2011]

Prokop, C. and Prokop, M. (1997) Digital Radiography of the chest: Comparison of the selenium detector with other imaging systems. Medical Mundi, vol. 41. March, pp.1-10.

Oakley, J. (2003) Digital imaging: a Primer for Radiographers, Radiologists and Health Care Professionals, 1st edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sprawls, P. (n.d.) The physics Principles of Medical Imaging: Digital radiography. [Online]. Available at: http://www.sprawls.org/resources/DIGRAD/module.htm#16 [14 April 2011]

Seiber, J. A. (2004) Lecture: Digital Fluoroscopic Imaging: Acquisition, Processing &Display. California: University of California Davis Medical Center.

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Free Essays

New forms of information and communication technology do not play a significant role in fostering social liberalisation and political change. Discuss with reference to a particular instance of social/political activism.

Introduction

With the invention of the internet, individuals around the world have changed in the way they think and how they do other related things like studying and the type of media they use in their day today lives. Media has moved from print to a variety of Information Computer Technology (ICT) enabled media like computers, which one can do reading online as long they have access to the internet. The internet has put forth a significant influence over our deliberation.

The development of ICT over the years has lead to many students depending solely on it to get information for academic purposes, especially those who are undertaking higher education. Some universities allow their students to use the internet do their assignments and research as there is a large number of credible sources that are found which can be very useful to students. Additionally, the internet is not just used for academic purpose. It can also be used use to socialize with friends and people around the world hence connection of people to share their diversity (Singer 2010, p.1). The internet on the other hand has negative effects to the people using it for example; children might get access to some sites that that would not be adequate for them such as pornographic material.

Current forms of ICT have caused social, political and cultural changes in society as it is being used by more and more people for a larger range of daily uses. People are more into socializing using the internet through sites such as face book, twitter and other social sites where they make friends from all over the world, which is very exciting. Politicians nowadays use the internet to fulfill their political interests and bring people together for their purpose for the society. More and more people use the internet, making it great platform that politicians have learnt to exploit in an attempt to target potential supporters for their campaigns. The internet gives freedom of choice and speech on political forums that take place online (Gladwell 2010, p.1)

Socializing of individuals through the internet enables people from diverse cultures to communicate and exchange details of their cultures. Students can learn more than they can get from books about the different cultures in the world and through their friends, they can visit different parts of the world to directly interact with the cultures. The information found on the net is massive, which gives individuals more information than they can actually finish reading. This gives people a sense of wanting to know more about other individuals whom they may meet online through websites for socializing and exchange of ideas from all subjects around the globe. Dictators and authoritarian leaders should fear the impact of internet activism. People can gang up and want to fight against the authoritarian leaders that rule their country (Butterworth 2010, p.2). Individuals may form groups that are opposed to authoritarian leadership, plan riots that may cause damage or deaths creating a bad image for the dictators. We can open say that internet activism can cause harm; hence it is not simply virtual politics.

The internet has made a lot of changes in today’s world. The internet has manipulated many aspects of society. This has brought about changes in people’s lives hence the implications that scholars and activists have made are actually right when they say that, the internet and new varieties of ICT will bring about a new-fangled epoch of activism and lead to societal, political and cultural modifications.

People who solely rely on the internet and ICT to do their studies or work on a regular basis give the implication that they cannot do without them. They are literally hooked up; if they go a day without ICT they feel that something is missing. These individuals portray a sense of relief or freedom to do a majority of things that they are used to and work with better. They feel they can trust ICT to do things for them without struggling too much to get the end product.

Carr’s analysis which implies that internet use is damaging our analytical capabilities and critical faculties is not true. Internet utilization may revolutionize our thinking and analysation of information provided but it does not damage us. It gives a chance for people to acquire more knowledge found on the internet, analyze it and come up with a variety of what one wants. This opens our minds and broadens our thinking giving individuals a majority of ideas that they can use in their work (Carr 2010, p.1). It enables individuals to multitask and do several things at once, it does not mean that they are distracted when they get pop ups, they can do other things on the side while they carry out the task that they were set out to do on the internet.

Personally, I have joined two online activist communities Ya-Ya network and Global Youth Connect. Ya-Ya network which is allied by individuals who are against racism and sexism. They work with issues that affect the eminence of young NYC people with the main focal point to counter-military conscripting and connection between militarism and other social justices. Global Youth Connect which aims to construct and sustain a society of youth exerting to fight for human rights and justice socially, for motivation and sanctioning for youths to fight for a social alteration that has significance. I get to check and participate on the cause at least twice a week to know the most current issues and updates.

The internet as a technology does actually support speech, civil liberties and democratization. This is because civil societies have industrialized a diversity of techniques online, to augment their operations. There is creation of sites on the internet that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere to speak out their minds and give ideas on different subjects on discussion (Naughton 2008, p.1). WikiLeaks subsistence attest to free speech permits of the internet if only the truth is posted. They are anonymous posts that are placed on the site so that information intended for the public is passed out. Most of this information is not known by the general public, this helps them be updated on all aspects of society in the world socially, politically and culturally.

I believe that the internet has the capacity to enable social/political change because the internet has got many non-profit organizations, every one of them conjecturing how best they can make use of the new medium. They encourage individuals to join political sides for different reasons. The people get to access the sites they are interested in so that they can know more but at the same time they learn and alter the way they think on the views given on social and political grounds.

The internet cannot be really said that it is owned, this is because it is a global system that allows dissimilar computer systems to converse using average set of regulations, without which they would not be able to chat. Sometimes when sites are lacerated and data leaked, I do feel monitored and wish I could live the site because my information has been compromised. The government can create awareness on the effect of unrestricted internet access especially to the underage children. They can impose restriction to the viewing of hate sites and pornographic sites in public places such as cafe’s and coffee shops as this will lead to the spreading of these kinds of activities especially among the teenager of today (Ratliff, 2008, p.1). Online users of the internet today are not concerned about the privacy of personal information as there are restrictions that have been implicated on the website owners not to share the user’s personal information.

The corporate nature of the sites that users visit is not of much concern to the user because it is not the aspect that the user is interested in. The corporate branch of the sites that a user visits only becomes an issue when they cause an impact on the site thus eliminating the importance of this site. A use does not put much thought into the ownership of the information that he or she gets from the internet. The user basically worries about the content of the information that he or she requires. The user visits sites that he or she knows to be of relevance to the matter at hand. I sometimes have concern about individuals who have ownership of information on the internet. It is not much though because I do not want to know more about them unless I am required to by circumstances of knowledge (Kelly 2008, p.2). I am not really apprehended by the amount of data held in respectable licensed formats because all I actually want and need from the internet is what I go for so that I can use it. Other issues that concern licenses do not actually come to mind at that time but either way does not impact me in any way.

The digital divide is a term used to describe the gap between individuals, businesses, and locations at different social and economic levels with consideration to both the opportunities to access the information that is available and the communication technologies. The use of the internet can also be utilized in a wide range of activities. This aspect incorporates the physical access to the technological advancements and the skills, knowledge, and resources required to successfully participate as a digital inhabitant. The internet plays a fundamental function in higher schooling by linking the digital divide (Zimmer 2000, p.1).

There should be a right to access the internet because it is mean to serve the whole global population. There should be no restrictions made on the use of internet if the user does so responsibly. The internet on the contrary has various rewards. This service provides the user a vast wealth of knowledge thus giving him or her desire to learn more on subjects that fascinate the individual. The internet provides an opportunity to the users to expand their horizons to the things that matter to them (Harkin, 2010, p.1). The internet is a more attractive method of teaching as it uses visual aids to help the user understand the context of the information being passed on to the user. This aspect enhances the desire to explore the articles given and the motivation to go beyond the information given to find other sources that are relevant to the question at hand. This can also entice the user to think outside the box and develop a new idea. The internet is not only about the education and communication; there are games that are available online. When a user indulges these games, they can help develop problem solving skills that can be used in other activities like studies.

Without access to the internet one can luck out of many opportunities. The internet is a major line of communication that is preferred by a large number of the working class people. Without the access to these channels then an individual may become unaware of the things that go on around him or her (Zimmer, 2000, p.3). A week without internet access may inconvenience an individual but a month or a year without access to the internet may breakdown operations within an organization. Some companies totally depend on the internet to exist. An example is the online freelance writing jobs that are a source of employment to a great number of individuals. If they do not have this service then they would lack a means to which they earn a living. Internet addiction can become a real problem if it is abused by the user. When a user becomes completely dependent on the internet then he or she finds it difficult to work without it and thus it becomes an inconvenience to them. Internet use should be only of the required amount in order to avoid addiction. One can also combine other forms of communication or visit a library.

Universities should not require students to complete research without using the internet. The internet is a major contributor to the provision of information as almost every topic that has been documented has been duplicated and posted into the internet. This is why it is labeled the information super-highway. It is much easier to use and time saving compared to other spring of information. A university library may have an extensive assortment of books on all subjects but they are not always available. This creates uncertainty on whether or not one will be able to fulfill the desired quest for information. A library may not have a particular book or may even have loaned it to another student (Sullivan 2008, p.2).

The internet thus is more accessible by the use or a computer or internet enabled devices at the click of a button. This is considerably swifter compared to the preceding routine of going to the library. This can be done from the comfort of an individual’s home or place of work rather than having to go through the hustle of visiting a library to access a certain article or book.

Conclusion

The internet has caused a stir in the world and it is changing day by day, making advancements that continue to make people more and more dependent on it. It is being upgraded and creating tools that are addictive and more efficient for the work one is doing online. Some social sites have enabled practice of civil liberties and democratization by the users at the same time making sure there anonymity is respected. Social sites have aided people in socialization on their livelihoods leading to cultures being shared across the globe. Students have benefited immensely in doing their researches and studies by accessing the internet, information is just a click away.

References

Butterworth, T., (2010) Beware the Internet as Liberation Theology, Trevor Butterworth Medialand Web. 4 May 2011.

Carr, N., (2008), Is Google Making Us Stupid?, Atlantic Monthly. Web. 4 May 2011.

Gladwell, M., (2010), Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted, The New Yorker. Web. 4 May 2011.

Harkin, J., (2010), Cyber-Con London Review of Books. Web. 3 May 2011.

Kelly, K., (2008) People on the Screen, The New Atlantis, Web. 3 May 2011.

Naughton, J., (2008) I Google, therefore I am losing the ability to think, The observer, Web. 4 May 2011.

Ratliff, E., (2008) Are you losing your memory thanks to the internet?, Web. 3 May 2011.

Singer, P., (2010), The Internet Will Set You Free, Chronicle of Higher Education. Web. 4 May 2011.

Sullivan, A., (2008) Google id giving us pond-skater minds, The Times, Web. 4 May 2011.

Zimmer, C., (2009) How Google is making us Smarter, Discover magazine, Web. 4 May 2011.

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Free Essays

Zinc finger nuclease technology and its potential for modelling and treating disease

Introduction

Methods to introduce site specific, stable modifications in complex genomes hold great potential, not only for the study of gene function but also for biotechnological and therapeutic applications (Sollu et al., 2010). A promising new approach is based on zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), artificially constructed endonucleases that are designed to make a double strand break in a pre-determined genomic target sequence. This can then be followed by the generation of desired modifications during subsequent DNA repair.

ZFNs are engineered to contain a DNA binding domain, composed of zinc finger proteins, and a non-specific endonuclease domain derived from the FokI restriction enzyme (Urnov et al., 2010). The zinc finger protein region provides a ZFN with the ability to bind to a discrete base sequence. Each zinc finger domain consists of ? 30 amino acids which fold into a ??? structure, this is stabilised by chelation of a zinc ion by the conserved Cys2-His2 residues (Durai et al., 2005). Each domain recognises and binds to approximately 3bp of DNA. Binding to longer sequences is achieved by linking several of these zinc fingers in tandem to form zinc finger proteins. As the catalytic FokI domain must dimerise to induce a double strand break (Vanamee et al., 2001), two different ZFN subunits are designed that bind the sequence of interest in the opposite orientation and with the correct spacing. The combined target sequence is sufficient in length to be statistically unique, even in complex genomes (Sollu et al., 2010) (figure 1).

ZFNs have been proven to work successfully in Arabidopsis thaliana (Zhang et al., 2010), Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster (Carroll et al., 2008), zebrafish (Doyon et al., 2008), rats (Mashimo et al., 2010) and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) (Zou et al., 2009).

Mechanisms of DNA double strand break repair

All eukaryotic cells have effective mechanisms to repair double strand breaks in DNA. The two primary repair pathways are non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homologous directed repair (HDR) (Jackson and Bartek, 2009). These highly conserved pathways can be exploited to generate a defined genetic outcome across a wide range of cell types (Urnov et al., 2010).

In NHEJ, the two broken ends are simply ligated back together. If the double strand break is complex, creating ends that are not compatible then repair by NHEJ will be mutagenic; the repaired DNA will contain small insertions or deletions at the site of the break, resulting in gene inactivation (Durai et al., 2005). If a double stranded oligonucleotide is provided with overhangs (sticky ends) complementary to those left by the ZFNs, it will be ligated into the chromosome, this approach can be used to add tags to endogenous genes. Alternately, two simultaneous double strand breaks made on the same chromosome can lead to a deletion of the entire intervening stretch (Lee et al., 2010) (figure 2).

The other major repair pathway is HDR, a form of homologous recombination that faithfully copies the genetic information from a DNA molecule of related sequence. In HDR the 5? ends of the double strand break are resected to generate 3? single stranded tails, allowing strand invasion by donor DNA, which serves as a template for DNA replication (Durai et al., 2005). In normal double strand break repairs the DNA donor is the sister-chromatid, therefore the template is identical to the damaged DNA, resulting in a perfect form of repair. In gene targeting an exogenous donor DNA template is provided (usually an episomal or linear extrachromosomal donor) in combination to the ZFNs. If the donor DNA specifies solely a single nucleotide change, such as a restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) encoding a novel allele, this will result in gene correction, that subtly edits the endogenous allele (Urnov et al., 2005). HDR can also be used for the addition of genes, if the donor provided carries an open reading frame (ORF), a transgene or even multiple trasngenes at the position corresponding to the site of the break, the sequence will be transferred to the chromosome (Moehle et al., 2007) (figure 2).

Figure 2 | Types of genome editing made possible using ZFNs. The two primary repair pathways: non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homologous directed repair (HDR) with the different outcomes that can result from the introduction of a site specific DNA double strand break. Adapted from (Urnov et al., 2010).

Gene edition using ZFNs – gene disruption and gene correction

The simplest means of gene editing is gene disruption, which takes advantage of errors introduced during DNA repair to disrupt or abolish the function of a gene or genomic region. Gene knockout (KO) is an affective tool for analysing gene function and generating model animals that recapitulate genetic disorders. Using ZFN technology, Mashimo et al., 2010 created knockout rats with X-linked Server Combined Immunodeficiency (X-SCID). They injected mRNAs encoding ZFNs designed to target the rat interleukin 2 receptor gamma (II2rg) locus, where orthologous human and mouse mutations cause X-SCID, into the pronucleus of fertilised rat oocytes. They found that the offspring carried a variety of deletion/insertion mutations, most of which were expressed as frameshift or splicing errors, resulting in no or very little expression of II2rg mRNA. The ZFN modified founders faithfully transmitted their genetic changes to the next generation along with the SCID phenotype (Mashimo et al., 2010). The X-SCID rats generated in studies such as this can be valuable in vivo tools for pre-clinical testing during drug development or gene therapy as well as model systems for examining the treatment of xenotransplanted malignancies.

Another approach, gene correction allows the transfer of single nucleotide changes from a DNA donor to the chromosome following a ZFN induced double strand break. Urnov et al., 2005 designed ZFNs directed against the X-linked SCID mutation hotspot in the interleukin-2 receptor-? (IL2R?) gene. Using the ZFNs on K562 cell lines, they found that ~20% of the population carried a modification at the endogenous loci and about 7% of the cells were homozygous for the donor specified genotype, which was accurately reflected at the mRNA and protein levels. The modified cells were found to be stable for extended periods in cell culture while transcriptionally and translationally manifesting their new genotype (Urnov et al., 2005).

Gene addition

Transgenesis of human cells is used in functional genomics, proteomics and protein structure-function studies, and is routinely accomplished by random integration combined with drug selection. Expression of a randomly integrated transgene can be unpredictable and tends to be unstable over time due to epigenetic effects (DeKelver et al., 2010). The precisely placed double strand break induced by ZFNs can stimulate integration of long DNA stretches into a predetermined genomic location, resulting in site-specific gene addition. Moehle et al., 2007 introduced ZFNs directed against the interleukin-2 receptor-? (IL2R?) gene (exon 5), in combination with a DNA donor carrying a 12bp tag and a 900bp open reading frame (ORF), flanked by locus specific homology arms into HEK293 cells. After 72 hours, ~5% of the chromatids had acquired the transgene between the ZFN recognition sites (Moehle et al., 2007).

ZFNs have also been used in human EPCs and iPSC to efficiently target a drug resistance marker to a specific gene. Hockemeyer et al., 2009, used ZFNs specific for the OCT4 (POU5F1) locus and a donor constructs containing a splice acceptor (SA) followed by an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP)-2A-puromycin cassette. They reported expression of two proteins, a fusion protein comprising the first 132 amino acids of human OCT4 fused to eGFP (OCT4EX1-eGFP) and puromycin N-acetyltransferase, both under the control of the endogenous OCT4 promoter, therefore generating reporter cells which can monitor the pluripotent state of human ESCs (Hockemeyer et al., 2009).

Therapeutic applications of ZFNs

Site specific manipulation of the genome by ZFNs has revolutionised biology and holds great promise for molecular medicine (Lombardo et al., 2007). For example a corrected allele of a disease causing gene could be curative in several monogenetic diseases. Alternatively, the knockout of a gene encoding a virus receptor could be shown to eliminate rather than merely reduce infection.

ZFN mediated gene disruption is the first ZFN based approach that has been taken to clinical trails, specifically for the treatment of glioblastoma (NCT01082926) and HIV (NCT00842634 and NCT01044654). In glioblastoma phase I clinical trials, the glucocorticoid receptor gene is disrupted by ZFNs as part of a T cell based cancer immunotherapy (Urnov et al., 2010). In the HIV trials, ZFNs targeting the chemokine (C-C motif) receptor type 5 (CCR5) gene have been delivered via adenoviral vector to isolated T cells from subjects. The CCR5 protein is required for certain common types of HIV infection to enter into and infect T cells. The ZFN mediated CCR5 knockout T cells then are returned to the subject. (Perez et al., 2008). An advantage of using ZFN technology is that it creates a fully penetrant, heritable gene knockout that will persist for the lifetime of that cell and its progeny, therefore removing the need for persistent therapeutic exposure.

Limitations of ZFNs

A potential limitation of the ZFN targeting approach is off-target DNA breaks induced at related sequences elsewhere in the genome, which may cause unpredictable genotoxic. To overcome this, ZFNs can be designed to with longer DNA recognition sites such as 12bp-18bp, which upon dimerisation of the FokI nuclease domain will recognise a 24bp-23bp sequence (such sites are rare even in complex genomes). This alongside bioinformatic tools such as SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) can be used determine the specificity for a ZFN DNA binding domain and generate a rank order of potential off-target site with highest similarity (Tuerk et al., 1990). Another challenge when designing ZFNs is the choice delivery system (DNA, RNA or viral), the ideal method has proven to be dependent on cell type. Lombardo et al., 2007 found that integrase-defective lentiviral vectors (IDLV) support functional delivery of both ZFNs and donor DNA templates to a variety of cell types, including haematopoietic progenitors and embryonic stem cells (Lombardo et al., 2007).

Aside from the various limitations, ZFN technology has allowed site specific genome editing to become established in human cells and a number of model organisms, opening the door to a powerful range of new experimental and therapeutic possibilities.

References

Carroll, D., Beumer, K. J., Morton, J. J., Bozas, A. and Trautman, J. K. (2008) ‘Gene targeting in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans with zinc-finger nucleases’, Methods Mol Biol, 435, pp. 63-77.

DeKelver, R. C., Choi, V. M., Moehle, E. A., Paschon, D. E., Hockemeyer, D., Meijsing, S. H., Sancak, Y., Cui, X., Steine, E. J., Miller, J. C., Tam, P., Bartsevich, V. V., Meng, X., Rupniewski, I., Gopalan, S. M., Sun, H. C., Pitz, K. J., Rock, J. M., Zhang, L., Davis, G. D., Rebar, E. J., Cheeseman, I. M., Yamamoto, K. R., Sabatini, D. M., Jaenisch, R., Gregory, P. D. and Urnov, F. D. (2010) ‘Functional genomics, proteomics, and regulatory DNA analysis in isogenic settings using zinc finger nuclease-driven transgenesis into a safe harbor locus in the human genome’, Genome Res, 20, (8), pp. 1133-42.

Doyon, Y., McCammon, J. M., Miller, J. C., Faraji, F., Ngo, C., Katibah, G. E., Amora, R., Hocking, T. D., Zhang, L., Rebar, E. J., Gregory, P. D., Urnov, F. D. and Amacher, S. L. (2008) ‘Heritable targeted gene disruption in zebrafish using designed zinc-finger nucleases’, Nat Biotechnol, 26, (6), pp. 702-8.

Durai, S., Mani, M., Kandavelou, K., Wu, J., Porteus, M. H. and Chandrasegaran, S. (2005) ‘Zinc finger nucleases: custom-designed molecular scissors for genome engineering of plant and mammalian cells’, Nucleic Acids Res, 33, (18), pp. 5978-90.

Hockemeyer, D., Soldner, F., Beard, C., Gao, Q., Mitalipova, M., DeKelver, R. C., Katibah, G. E., Amora, R., Boydston, E. A., Zeitler, B., Meng, X., Miller, J. C., Zhang, L., Rebar, E. J., Gregory, P. D., Urnov, F. D. and Jaenisch, R. (2009) ‘Efficient targeting of expressed and silent genes in human ESCs and iPSCs using zinc-finger nucleases’, Nat Biotechnol, 27, (9), pp. 851-7.

Jackson, S. P. and Bartek, J. (2009) ‘The DNA-damage response in human biology and disease’, Nature, 461, (7267), pp. 1071-8.

Lee, H. J., Kim, E. and Kim, J. S. (2010) ‘Targeted chromosomal deletions in human cells using zinc finger nucleases’, Genome Res, 20, (1), pp. 81-9.

Lombardo, A., Genovese, P., Beausejour, C. M., Colleoni, S., Lee, Y. L., Kim, K. A., Ando, D., Urnov, F. D., Galli, C., Gregory, P. D., Holmes, M. C. and Naldini, L. (2007) ‘Gene editing in human stem cells using zinc finger nucleases and integrase-defective lentiviral vector delivery’, Nat Biotechnol, 25, (11), pp. 1298-306.

Mashimo, T., Takizawa, A., Voigt, B., Yoshimi, K., Hiai, H., Kuramoto, T. and Serikawa, T. (2010) ‘Generation of knockout rats with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID) using zinc-finger nucleases’, PLoS One, 5, (1), pp. e8870.

Moehle, E. A., Rock, J. M., Lee, Y. L., Jouvenot, Y., DeKelver, R. C., Gregory, P. D., Urnov, F. D. and Holmes, M. C. (2007) ‘Targeted gene addition into a specified location in the human genome using designed zinc finger nucleases’, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 104, (9), pp. 3055-60.

Perez, E. E., Wang, J., Miller, J. C., Jouvenot, Y., Kim, K. A., Liu, O., Wang, N., Lee, G., Bartsevich, V. V., Lee, Y. L., Guschin, D. Y., Rupniewski, I., Waite, A. J., Carpenito, C., Carroll, R. G., Orange, J. S., Urnov, F. D., Rebar, E. J., Ando, D., Gregory, P. D., Riley, J. L., Holmes, M. C. and June, C. H. (2008) ‘Establishment of HIV-1 resistance in CD4+ T cells by genome editing using zinc-finger nucleases’, Nat Biotechnol, 26, (7), pp. 808-16.

Sollu, C., Pars, K., Cornu, T. I., Thibodeau-Beganny, S., Maeder, M. L., Joung, J. K., Heilbronn, R. and Cathomen, T. (2010) ‘Autonomous zinc-finger nuclease pairs for targeted chromosomal deletion’, Nucleic Acids Res.

Urnov, F. D., Miller, J. C., Lee, Y. L., Beausejour, C. M., Rock, J. M., Augustus, S., Jamieson, A. C., Porteus, M. H., Gregory, P. D. and Holmes, M. C. (2005) ‘Highly efficient endogenous human gene correction using designed zinc-finger nucleases’, Nature, 435, (7042), pp. 646-51.

Urnov, F. D., Rebar, E. J., Holmes, M. C., Zhang, H. S. and Gregory, P. D. (2010) ‘Genome editing with engineered zinc finger nucleases’, Nat Rev Genet, 11, (9), pp. 636-46.

Vanamee, E. S., Santagata, S. and Aggarwal, A. K. (2001) ‘FokI requires two specific DNA sites for cleavage’, J Mol Biol, 309, (1), pp. 69-78.

Zhang, F., Maeder, M. L., Unger-Wallace, E., Hoshaw, J. P., Reyon, D., Christian, M., Li, X., Pierick, C. J., Dobbs, D., Peterson, T., Joung, J. K. and Voytas, D. F. (2010) ‘High frequency targeted mutagenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana using zinc finger nucleases’, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107, (26), pp. 12028-33.

Zou, J., Maeder, M. L., Mali, P., Pruett-Miller, S. M., Thibodeau-Beganny, S., Chou, B. K., Chen, G., Ye, Z., Park, I. H., Daley, G. Q., Porteus, M. H., Joung, J. K. and Cheng, L. (2009) ‘Gene targeting of a disease-related gene in human induced pluripotent stem and embryonic stem cells’, Cell Stem Cell, 5, (1), pp. 97-110.

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Environmental factors include technology, government, the economy and societal values and behavior.

INTRODUCTION

According to Daft (1994), managers sense a need for change when they perceive a performance gap, that is, a disparity between existing and desired levels of performance. It seems a somewhat narrow definition in that it implies that all change is planned and positive and seems to ignore the possibility of unplanned and potentially negative change – for example, unexpected budget cuts. This said, most change is planned, is intended to be positive and arises from the need to respond to new challenges and opportunities (Mullins, 1996).

Organizational change may be incremental (linear) or radical (discontinuous). It may be a reactive response to external, environmental factors or generated proactively in anticipation of future trends (Hamel, 1998). Both, however, are a response to how an organization perceives its current or future environment. Indeed, one can detect a Darwinian ‘adapt or die’ thread running though many authors interpretations (Goble, 1997; Hamel, 1998; St Clair, 1996), a concept summed up pithily by Handy (1993, p.291) with “change is a necessary condition of survival”.

Environmental factors include technology, government, the economy and societal values and behavior. For instance, in recent years, LIS have had to adapt to the rapid development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Labor government’s plans for national computer networks in public libraries and schools. As Goble (1997) notes, they also face competition from external providers in an increasingly commercialized information services market where there is rapid price inflation for both printed and electronic sources, adding pressure to already tight budgets. Further, in a service economy, consumers have become more demanding and, lastly, the composition of the workforce is changing, with an ageing population, more women, plus more part-timers and job sharing (Mullins, 1996).

In response to, or in anticipation of such factors, organizations may initiate change. This can incorporate both structure (hierarchy and division of work) and culture (how things are done – values and norms), and such change may involve, amongst other things, costs, job design, staff development and training, working conditions and new services or products (Cornell, 1996).

Implementing such changes is not easy. Likert, in Cornell, (1996) identifies three styles of managing change: authoritative (imposed by management); consultative (discussed with staff but still decided by management) and participative (involving staff in decision- making). Further, Lewin’s widely cited model breaks the management of change into three phases. First, unfreezing – diagnosing problems and an awareness of the need to change. Second, changing – the breaking of old habits and adoption of new skills and behaviour and third, refreezing – evaluating and consolidating the changes (Daft, 1994; Cava, 1990; Cornell, 1996; Mullins, 1996).

COMPANY OVERVIEW

NetSol Technologies Inc. is the one of the leading corporations which offers business services and enterprise application solutions in the field of IT all over the world. It provides solutions to the customers according to their specifications. NetSol started its operation in 1995 and used BestShoring™ method to analyze the situation, develop high quality plan and implement the plan in a very cost effective manner.

NetSol offers products, services, credit and finance portfolio systems, SAP consultancy, health care programs, integration of networks and global financial service at a minimum possible cost all over the world. As NetSol was granted certificate of ISO 9001, its commitment of the quality has been improved. It possesses such unique assets and capabilities which only very few companies possess in the world.

Fortune 500, financial sectors, technology providers, automakers, public institutes and governments are included in NetSol customer base. It provides services with highest ethical values and uses its top down approach to impart this facility at the door step of the customer. It is known as expert in the field of IT all over the world with a good record it produces a cost effective solutions for the customers. It delivers services beyond expectations.

It became first U.S Company which was dual listed by Nasdaq and Dubai International Financial in June 2008.Recelnty it provides consultancy to operate SAP soft- ware and other additional software to assist customers. All services include follow up training and consultancy to the customers. It is the belief of NetSol to provide excellent solutions not only at present but also in future. It expects growth in the present as well as future and provides state of the art training today to develop leaders of tomorrow.

PRE -CHANGE CONDITIONS

NetSol was an organization with good reputation in the market and it acquired certificate on the CMML level 3 which was a big achievement for this organization. It had a very strong system and a good control over it but the control level improved. Every activity of the organization before and after the change was recoded and analyzed in proper way. Awareness regarding confidentiality of data has risen in this era.

The current trend of change within the organizational culture is getting importance and it is vital for organizations to make changes accordingly. It is very difficult to persuade employees to bring changes because they always resist changes. In changes organization introduce some changes that directly affect on these people. It is the very complex task for the organizations to persuade their employees to accept the change and most of the time organizations receive positive response from them because employees realize the importance of change. NetSol had autocratic culture, tasks were assigned by top level management and bottom level had to follow these tasks according to requirement of the organization and with in the time frame declared by top management. When ISMS system took place it got easier for the employees had to work according to given procedures which were easy so employees got used to the procedures.

AREAS TO BE CHANGED

As information security management system (ISMS) at NetSol was not strong, it was difficult for NetSol to attract and retain customers. NetSol process that was used previously could not provide the better results that customers expected from the service. Especially its security standards were not up to need of foreign and domestic customers. Foreign customers demanded that NetSol should provide service that guarantees security which meant privacy of information must be protected for corporate customer.

NetSol has larger customer base and financial sector accounts for majority of the customers. Therefore, there was extreme need that the financial transactions carried by customers in financial are completely secure. As the world of internet has expanded rapidly and crimes like cyber crime rose to international market so people were very conscious that their data must be protected. NetSol had to embark on providing secure service otherwise, its business would have seen huge decline in customers and eventually revenues. Financial services compete and survive on the promise of their security and reliability, so Net Sol had to take action to be in business and remain competitive.

IMPORTANCE OF CHANGE

Technological corporations such as NetSol dealing in finance services and information must have strong information security management system (ISMS).Otherwise, it will not be possible for them to attract and develop good customer base. In order to market its products and services it is essential for the NetSol to control the issue of information security because this issue of security in these companies can be matter of survival. ISO 27001:2005 also requires that security of customer information must be given utmost consideration and priority. There is clear procedures for employees how to work in information security management system (ISMS) and clear and straight forward methods useful not only for employees currently employed and working with system but also beneficial for future employees which also reduces the training needs of employee

FORCES FOR CHANGE

A few of the Factors that compelled NetSol to introduce and implement change are as follows:

Fast pace growth in the technology of IT

Tough competition observed in this industry

Raising the productivity level of corporation because of the increasing demand and integration of information in the system required in this industry,

Era of customization, customers are requiring products according to their specification

Essential for the NeSol to capture maximum share of the market

Assurance of customers’ information security

CHALLENGES

Data secrecy, ensuring privacy of client, fool proof security at work place and adjusting new employees in company’s working environment were major challenges to the company. Company’s processes previously were not in way to ensure the security of the information. Due to lack of defined processes employees were not trained to meet security standards described by ISO 27001.

MAJOR CHANGES IN SYSTEM

Initially the company took steps to make changes in its each BPO division. NetSol launched a system known as Information Security Management System (ISMS). It was very reliable system meeting the needs of customer and requirement of rapid change in technology occurring with the passage of time. The initiative to introduce the system was taken in 2007 and approved by all top manage including the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and directors. The Information Security Management System (ISMS) contains many features such as it is set of policies (how this works and how it manages data, what are the techniques through which you can get better results), procedure (what way you can use it, how efficiently you can handle the data, in what way you can manage the data, how data can easily be accessed and how it can be stored), practices (what are the practical implication of this system, for what type of infrastructure this system has been developed, what is hard ware requirement of the system, what is the software specification of for the system, what type of environment is required to run this type of system, what type of training is required to operate this system), roles (how this system will assist in the organization, how it will add value in the organization), responsibilities (what tasks can be performed with the help of this system, how efficiently they can be performed, how it will facilitate to the employees of the organization), resources (things that are required to run this system, infra structure that is mandatory to run this system smoothly, ways through which this system can give desired results to the organization) and structures (how information flow from one system to other, how securely it flows from one personal computer to other personal computer).

These all things are included in the information Security Management System (ISMS) to ameliorate its performance and to protect data of clients. In this system all those functions are included that are required by the customer as well as it is recommended by the International Standard Organization. According to ISO it contains all those functions that mitigate or eliminate the risks related to controlling and using particular information (ISO 27001:2005).

This system has been developed according to specification provided by ISO and requirement of current market needs as it is made in accordance with ISO 27001 and fulfills all the required things and applicable in following four parts: Security that is directly related with the hard ware component of computer, security of the person using it even organizations that purchase this system and use it in operating their businesses. Information flowing from one computer to other is protected as well. As control of access to limited people to access it easily there must be a password that allows them to log in this system.

RESULTS EXPECTED FROM CHANGE

The ultimate purpose of change introduced by NetSol was providing customer better services and timely delivery and by introducing software which was need of the day to provide ultimate security and efficiency. NetSol is committed to designing such software that is useful to increase their productivity and efficiency which would increase profits of the company. Original target of NetSol is to fully implement the International Standard Organization requirements mentioned in ISO27001 so it was their target to achieve as it can get certification from ISO regarding this implementation. This is a very dynamic and rapidly changing industry, so it has to focus on business requirement, what actually its customers wants and how to improve quality of their system as it can give maximum satisfaction to the customer, so all these areas were targeted to change.

The basic target is to achieve those goals in specified and limited time period and also these measure can be taken to evaluate whether company is attaining its target or not. It was their actual target to protect their system from versus and make a fool proof system that is essential to give a best solution to its customer. In order to ensure this facility they must keep employees up to date they can be aware of the security system and can keep an eye on these measures though this system is capable enough to keep data secure.

IMPACT OF CHANGE

NetSol Technologies introduced Total Quality Management (TQM0 system to deliver the desired results. It implemented pre defined and well defined procedure which the organization has to follow and move towards continuous improvement. It focuses on both professional developments of employees as well as improvement of work environment. Therefore, it has been successful to retain competent professionals in the company and has created such an environment that boosts innovation in products and services. The vision of NetSol Technologies is to be number one IT Solution Company in the mind of customers, employees, stakeholders, partners and competitors. The main focus of the company is to give customers data security assurance which is the first choice of the customers.

RECOMMENDATIONS

NetSol Technologies must continue the change process in their organization because it provides IT solutions to organizations which have automated information systems and their systems are heavily dependent on technology, so NetSol has to provide them with reliable and secure and sophisticated .NetSol faced difficulty because initially the system the provided and used could not perform according to expectations of customers. The main flaw was observed of that system, it could not provide data secrecy which was a big challenge for NetSol. At last it brought change and terraced out its fault, it brought changes in order to keep system secure and reliable.

The main problem of IT technology is that it is volatile, its technology changes rapidly. On every day new and advanced systems and softwares are introduced in the market. It is very hard for the organization to maintain their business in this rapidly changing environment. It changes in both ways not only in hard ware but also in software. New and updated systems have to be introduced to remain competitive and offer customers up-to-date technology for their businesses. On the other hand it is facing some problems regarding the continuous development of new viruses threatening the security of the system. It creates problem for systems and it becomes very difficult to manage system. Though it has terraced out the solution, now its system is providing better results and NetSol capturing its customers but again there is a problem that it can not be the permanent solution because as it is discussed earlier it is rapidly changing industry so NetSol has to be conscious to respond to these issues rapidly and effectively to gain customer confidence and has to respond to other market changes accordingly. As NetSol is struggling in this industry so are its competitors due to the volatile nature of this industry. It is vital that NetSol Technologies keep an eye on the rapidly changing environment and design and offer products and service based on requirement of the technology market.

CONCLUSION

NetSol improved the quality of its services, data security, so its management can now better plan the business continuity, incidents are well managed, all kinds of risk and threats are well assessed and managed, and lots of other benefits which are worthy to consider. The change has an impact on the whole services quality. Changed process has helped management better monitor whether services are smooth and secure enough to make customers satisfy customer demand. Now that the quality of services has improved, the fault rate has dramatically reduced and customer satisfaction has risen, customer loyalty has also risen and service quality has improved whilst cost has greatly reduced and return on investment has risen by 30%.

Management and organizational change is effective only when the planned change has potential to improve companies’ competitiveness in the market and bring more success to the organization and help tackle challenges that organization is faced with. The organization should keep monitoring current situations and make changes only if it is felt necessary, as change in organization is a complex decision and has direct impact on the image of the organization. NetSol survived the toughest competition and challenges because change was properly planned and managed.

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

Introduction

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)

REALIZING BUSINESS BENEFITS THROUGH CRM: HITTING THE RIGHT TARGET IN THE RIGHT WAY

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

tricks.

(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)

CUSTOMER TOUCH POINTS

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.

APPLICATIONS

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),

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/

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(dell.com)for 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 i.e.to 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

CLOUD COMPUTING DELL SAAS

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.

SALE FORCE CRM

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.

RAPID IMPLEMENTATION

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 id.it 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,

Value=benefit/sacrifices

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.

Acquisition

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”.

(http://www.dell.com)

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)

B2C……….services…..support.

B2B……….data……..digital.

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

Result

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 Customer.so, 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”(http://www.dell.com)

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.
Taxation.

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

References
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)

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Infotech is a publicly owned company that provides data processing, information and information technology services to customers

Introduction

INFOTECH is a publicly owned company that provides data processing, information, and information technology services to customers in the public and private sectors in South America. It is one the largest information technology services companies one of the top non-financial companies in the region. Its 1999 revenues were about $480 million. It operates as a private enterprise while proving critical services to national, state, and local government. This mandate means that Infotech must seek efficiency, effectiveness, and quality in the delivery of services to its mandated public customers. In addition to the data processing and infrastructure management services that it provides, Infotech was involved in the development for the national government, public key facilities for secure online commerce, and a secure online export sales portal. Infotech also has a latitude to develop revenue through delivery of products and services to a new customers.

The company has to be proven adaptability and entrepreneurial in an environment of scarce financial resources. It has undergone significant downsizing in the last fifteen years, passing from 22,000 to 8,600 employees. To achieve greater customers’ responsiveness and increase added value, in 1995 infotech recognized into units dedicated to business management, infrastructure management, and corporate delivery process. Knowledge management practices are considered key to success delivery of the services, and infotech’s executives have given high visibility to Knowledge management. Infotech has sought to determine what it knows and what it needs to know, who process the knowledge and who is need to use it.and how the knowledge can be shared within the organization and with customers and suppliers. It has undertaken to map organizational knowledge and competences, identify best practices and communities of practice, and diffuse knowledge internally through teaching and communication. The result of the practice has shown that Infotech has mastered several of the formal technology tools, discourse, and organizational features and processes of knowledge management, but it still faces challenges regarding the development of the supportive internal culture and internal business processes necessary to sustain the knowledge management capability or drive demonstrable benefits from it. Appraisal of Infotech’s main KM needs underlines the importance, to this organization, of development initiatives to institute cultural change within the organization, to improve the strategic planning and investment processes and asset valuation metrics, and to strengthen internal knowledge transfer processes, including those relating to knowledge management practices.

INFOTECH’S MAIN KM STRENGH AND
WEAKNESSES

INFOTECH managers made a practice on the knowledge’s management capability,as seen by it’s managers.

INFOTECH main KM strength, according to its managers, lie in its ability to “learn with the environment” (learn from interaction with custometrs and suppliers), as seen by these managers.

Is also on the quality of the organization’s information infrastructure. Infotech’s managers consider that the firm’s KM shortcomings are areas having to do with culture, strategy, KM roles, HR management, and performance measurement. In the next part we have explained the INfotech main capabilities along each organization dimension of knowledge management.

Below we explain a table in which there are six or seven statements representing the greatest strength and weaknesses as determined by the panels of Infotech managers.

CHARLES H.DAVIS AND FERNANDO PACHEO

STRENGHS:

Table : average strength of infotech’s main KM capability in seven dimensions

(3=strong, 2=medium, 1=weak
Learning with the environment2.3
Information systems2.3
Management of human resource1.9
Organizational structure and roles1.9
Senior management vision and strategy1.9
Organization cultures and values1.8
Measuring results1.8

Learning with the environment, as shown in the table, same wise the Infotech managers consider that it has developed strong competencies in using its upstream, downstream, and lateral relationships with customers, suppliers, and allienc partners to improve its value proposition. On the other hand there are clear limits to Infotech’s strategic positioning within its value network, Infotech appears not to work well with the competitors, nor does it learn from its employees ; non work-related activities, Moreover it does not seek out demanding customers, thereby depriving itself of learning opportunities.

TABLE:

Learning with the environment: Infotech’s main KM strengths and weaknesses

(3=strong, 2=medium, 1=weak)
We frequently partners with suppliers to improve the value we deliver to the customers3.0
Our product development process explicitly includes our customers3.0
We form alliance with organization that complement our skills sets as an alternative to doing everything3.0
We view collaborating with competitors to grow the industry as a good thing.1.6
We encourage the people to think about how their non-work activities could benefit the organization1.2
We may refuse to work for people if doing the work does not build knowledge that we can use in other ways.1.0

INFORMATION SYSTEM…..Infotech’s managers regard the organization’s IT infrastructure as a source of strength in knowledge management. Infotech information system’s mission, Infotech personal are positive about IT tools, however, Infotech’s informations system are largely unidirectional. They deliver information to the users, but it is awkward and inconvenient to make contributions to infotech’s repositories of knowledge content. Processes for the contributing to the organizational stock of knowledge are not well defined and are not a part of the normal work routine. Established the routines involve unidirectional distribution from the central repository. Moreover, it is not clear who is responsible for maintain the distribution knowledge in Infotech or what the incentives for sharing knowledge might be.

TABLE:3

Information system: Infotech’s main KM strength and weaknesses
People in our organization can use the information they get to improve their work3.0
We view the information technology as a tool to help us get our work done3.0
We acknowledge the individual contribution to the organization’s repositories are seamlessly integrated into work1.4
Processes for contribution knowledge to the organization linking it to the original author1.4

Management of human resources, Infotech’s members, including it’s IT professionals are the member of it’s a collective bargaining unit. The firm has developed a very strong orientation towards deskilling and redeploying its employees before hiring new employees or downsizing its work force. These features of Infotech are regarded as a strength. However, Infotech has serious shortcomings when its come to fostering learning among the employees. The training that they offers is also a strength of it. A better information service is also a major strength of Infotech.

TABLE: WEAKNESSES

When a new opportunities arises we first try to restore our existing skills before we hire a lot of new people3.0
Before we terminate the people ,we try to determine if their skills and expertise can be used elsewhere.3.0
we prefer to use the resources and likes we have in places when testing a new business situations.3.0
We used the work related games and simulation to think more clearly about our business situation1.0
People who refused to share knowledge do not get certain organizational benefits1.0
The performance appraisal system recognizes and rewards knowledge sharing behavior.1.0
The organization has legitimate sharing knowledge by giving people time to do it.1.0

Organization structure and roles: Infotech managers thinks that the firm is capable of targeting resources on groups of specialists as needed. It is also strong in moving people into face-to-face situations n order to transfer tactics knowledge and in general infotech’s employees finds its virtual offices capable of well developed. In other words they find it relatively easy to access the informations and documents that they need for their work, wherever they happen to be. On the other hand infotech need to expand service of delivery by its informations specialists, especially with respect to information that is outside the organization. The firm,s knowledge management roles need to be better artichecture. Meeting are regarded as too structured to permit creative problem solving.

CONLUSION

The challenge faced by the infotech is to define a number of KM initiatives that addresses identified shortcomings and visibly accumulate KM capability within the firm. On the basis of rapid appraisal reported here, a short list of KM initiatives might include documentation and sharing’s, via face-to-face meetings and through an intranet, of effective, in-place KM practices and processes in some areas of importance to the firm =, such as business development, human resource management, or information management.

Formal knowledge management roles might be established within the firm. This might involve appointment of the chief knowledge officer or the establishment of KM design and implementations team, each charted with mandates and deliverable.

Finally, it seems advisable for Infotech to develop strategic learning initiatives on the pilot basis, with a view of making them models for later initiatives. These strategic learning initiatives, in addition to their substantive goals, should aim to address the cultural and organizational features that are deemed to be hinder development of knowledge management capabilities in Infotech, such as incentives for knowledge sharingand consequences of failure. More generally, infotech needs to address the issues of internal cultural change, and and explore the ways to create and sustain cultural values that are supportive of new knowledge management practices and processes.

1-INNOVATION MANAGEMENT

A simple definition of innovation

“Bringing New Ideas to Life”

In its simple definition, innovation is coming up with ideas and bringing them to life. Hatching ideas is the “creative” part, and it’s essential. After all, no ideas, no chance for innovation, often, in common parlance, the words creativity and innovation are used interchangeably. They shouldn’t be, because while creativity implies coming up with ideas, it’s the “bringing the ideas to life” piece of this simple definition that makes innovation the distinct undertaking it is.

PURPOSE OF INNOVATION

Create new customer-perceived value

To drive growth via innovation required that your ideas do something be benefit customers: create new values. Value encompasses the equality and uniqueness of the product and service , and the degree to which it satisfied the customers need or problem. Value is also the customer service and add-service provided as part of the sale, together with the price of the offering or service.

The purpose of innovation is to create new customers-perceived value. If customers perceived value in your new offering, they’ll pay you for it. This is the challenge companies face with the respect to innovation : how do we develop ideas that intended to create new value for our customers?

Before we address that question, we need to further differentiate the types and degrees of innovation.

THREE TYPES OF INNOVATION

There are three types of innovation that are: product, process, and strategy. In the highly competitive, rapidly evolving environment of the 21st century, achieving rates of growth that are uncommon in your industry means that you must be able to manage innovation in these this three distinct arenas. Each arena is critical, and being adopt in only one of them is likely not sufficient to achieve the growth payoff from innovation. Lets take a careful look at these arenas.

TYPE 1:

PRODUCT INNOVATION

Products has been traditionally been defined as tangibles, physical or raw material ranging from tooth past to steel beams, to computers to industrial adhesives, from jet aircraft to automobile to soybeans. All the objects around you at this moments that were manufactured by a company constitute products.

But to confuse a matter bit, in recent years, service sector firms (healthcare, insurance, services, financial services, professional services, to name of few) have been begun to refer to their offerings as “product” as well. When Merrill Lynch introduced its highly successful cash management account in the early 1980’s this “product” vaulted this service company to the top of its industry.

Adding to the breakdown in traditional boundaries, product manufacturers increasingly surround their products with services, for instance, when car manufacturing agent offer emergency roadside assistance. General motors sells cars, but customer buy certain of its automobiles with services as part of the deal. Onstar, an onboard global positioning satellite-enabled communication channels, gives GM customers the ability to know exactly where on the Earth they are and to summon emergency help if they need it.

Despite the recent trend of services firms and manufacturing alike to use the term products to described their offerings, services and service businesses “product” tend to be different. Foremost among them, they can often be intangible as opposed to tangible and physical (an insurance policy as opposed to a snowboard). They also be tend to produced and consumed at the same time and to involve a higher degree of human involvement in their delivery (think health-care and hospitality). And they tend to be difficult or impossible to stop imitation through the use of patents.

While there are differences , products, and services have been common traits, especially when it comes to the subject of innovation. We offer or used the term product to described the offering of both types of firms.

And now for this definition: product/service innovation is the result of bargaining to life a new way to solve the customers problem that benefit the both the customers and sponsoring company.

TYPE 2:

PROCESS INNOVATION

Process innovations increases bottom-line profitability, reduce costs, raise productivity, and increase the employee job satisfaction. The customers also benefits from this type of innovation by virtue of a stronger, more consistent product or service value delivery. The unique trait about process innovations is that they are most often out of view of the customers; they are “back office” only when a firm’s processes fail to enable the firm to deliver the product or service expected does the customer become the aware of the luck of effective process.

For manufacturing companies, processes innovations include such things as integrating new productds manufacturing methods and technologies that lead to advantage in cost , quickly, cycle time, development time, speed of delivery, or ability to mass-customized products, and services that are sold with those products. Such a innovation is simply important and will continue to be.

Process innovations enable service firms to introduce “front office” customer service improvements and add new services, as well as new “product” that are visible to the customer.

When fed-axe introduced its unique tracking system in 1986, customers was only a tiny wand, used by drivers to scane the packages. Yet while the rest of this sophisticated system was invisible, customers could “see” immediately that they could track now their packaging at every point from sender to receiver, and this added the value to their services experience and gave Federal Express a temporary advantage.

Process innovation will continue to be vitally important to company growth for the simple reason that without the process excellence, product or strategy innovation is impossible to implement. Indeed, while thousands of books have been written about varying methods of process improvements (read, innovation), the innovation process, unlike say the product development process, is untrammeled territory. That’s why the innovation process itself is, in essence, the subject of this whole topic.

TYPE 3:

STRATEGY INNOVATION

Strategy innovation is all about changing the current industry methods of creating customer value in order to meet newly emerging customers need, add additional value, and create new markets and new customers groups for the sponsoring company.

In contrast to the processes innovations, which are behind the scenes and largely unseen by the customers, strategy innovation directly touches the customers.

Strategy innovation results in new approaches to marketing or advertising your offerings, in introducing new sales methods, and in new approaches or enhancements to customers service or market positioning. Strategy innovation results when your firm changes the customers groups it targets and how it does goes to the market, meaning how it distributes its offerings to the end consumers.

A key element of strategy innovation is occurs when a firm decides to markets its existing products, services, or expertise to its existing customers groups. That’s what defend contractors Hughes Electronics did when it began its DirectTV division in the early 1990,s using its expertise with the satellite began its beaming cable channels and movies to home satellite dishes. More over commonly, when a firm such as a traditional retailer decides to additionally sell its wares via the web, that’s strategy innovation.

Much of the highly visible innovation occurring in business today is strategy innovation, and much, but no means all of it involve the exploitation of new technology. Dell Computers very business model is a prime example of strategy innovation because it represents a dramatically different way of manufacturing and selling personal computers. Dell chose not to distributes its products through the then-standard channel –to whole sellers or resellers its products through the then-standard channel who sold to the retailers, who then sold to the end consumers. Instead Dell sold directly to end-consumers.

Other innovation rouding out Dells contrary business model were strategic in nature as well: from the beginning, Dell did not manufacturer a single computer till it received a customers order, rather than creating an inventory of standardized products to be stored until sold in one warehouse or another.

Similarly, firms ranging from EBay to Amazon.com represent strategy innovation when compared to the way their respective industries traditionally did business. While these and many other strategy innovations relied on technology to change the game, not all strategy innovation is based on technology.

Southwest Airline was a strategy innovator in the airline business. Its business model is based on offering customers low fares in exchange for their giving up such amenities as reassigned seating, other value-added services—all aspects of Southwest’s business model that different from competitors.

Price club retailing, a strategy innovation . category pioneered ware-house club retailing, a strategy….. Category killers with names like office depot, home depot, staples, borders, pets mart, IKEA, and compUSA, all pioneered new business models in their time traditional merchants were caught flat—footed in the 1980s when Wal-Mart pioneered a new business model and customers began voting for what they perceived to be a superior value proposition, killing off traditional competitors. Wal-Mart and other offered everyday low pricing to lure customers with a perception of greater value. As a result of their success, many traditional department stores and merchants were forced out of business.

NOT ALL INNOVATIONS JUMPED-START GROWTH

Not all innovations in these three arenas accelerated growth to the same extent. The degree to which an innovation adds value or creates new value for customers is the degree to which it adds to a company’s bottom line. What innovation-adept companies strive for, in addition to ongoing processes that keep the pipeline full, are high-potential ideas in each of these arenas. The ideas that changes the rules of competition. Ideas that moves the growth needle!

Not all innovations, of course, have an equal impact on customers, and certainly not on a company’s rate of growth or wealth-creating ability. All products, processes, and strategy innovations can be categorized further into three basics degree: incremental, substantial, and breakthrough.

INCREMENTAL INNOVATION

While small or even insignificant in degree of financial impact to the firms bottom line, incremental improvements can engender greater customer satisfaction increase the product or service efficiency and otherwise have positive impact. Similarly, process innovation of incremental degree increase productivity and lower cost for the firm.

Incremental innovations have this in customer in common: they seldom require more than required changes in the customers or company behavior to implement. 3M’s introduction of new color post-it.not qualifies as an incremental product innovation, while post-it notes represented a breakthrough product innovation. Implementing a suggestion program required employees to change behavior very little since submitting ideas is optional.

In the service sector, incremental innovation occurs when a hotel simplifies its guest check in producer a supermarket chain makes check approval easier than summoning the manager’ a bank redecorates its lobby; a retirement home upgrades its first class cabin to include fully reclining sleeper seats.

SUBSTANTIAL INNOVATION

Substantial innovation are mid-level in significance both to customers who benefit from them and to the sponsoring company that believe that they will significantly help the firm to grow and create new wealth. Substantial innovation of the product or service variety fall short of being breakthrough but enable and ensure that the organization meets or exceeds its goals to grow the business, increase market shares and lower its costsof doing the business (substantial level process innovation).

Substantial improvement in your existing products or services or introducing new-to-company products and services represents significant improvement for the both the service providing company and for the customers.

BREAKTHROGH INNOVATION

New products services or alteration of your strategy that yield a significant increase in revenues and net profits are breakthrough innovations. It is impossible to define in dollars and cents how much revenues an idea must bring to the top line to classify as a breakthrough because it depends on the size of your company and what it takes to significantly growth. So breakthrough must defined but need to be if you are serious about going after them. When we are at chemicals division of royal dutch/shell the answer was $100 million or more to the top line.

Process improvement that generates a significant breakthrough in costs or an equivalent increase in product out put are also breakthrough. Breakthrough inventions can sometimes leads to breakthrough the level innovations for numerous companies. Breakthrough inventions are giant leaps forward for human kind that lack proprietary parents and may not provide “first move advantage” to a single company, but instead spawn an entire new industry. The automobile innovation of electricity, the discovery of penicillin, the internet, and the world wide web are all breakthrough inventions. While the automobile was a breakthrough in how people transported themselves from place to place, no single company could claim to have benefited exclusive from having invented it or had the legally the protected right to the market. And it’s the same with the internet, television, and lots of other products.

On the other hand, some of the products, services, processes and business models do have propriety parents and simultaneously give temporary monopoly to the sponsoring firm—it is this type of innovation that focus on in this whole discussion.

TWO BREAKTHROGH EXAMPLE

When Gillette, facing intense competition from cheap disposable razors, decide to develop its sensors shaving in the early 1990s, the product became a breakthrough immediately. Radical innovationHardly. The market was familiar—men with whiskers. The product category was too familiar.

The innovation came into the strategic decision to go-up-market and not compete on price. And it came into the superior value it delivers to the users and difficult to copy and marketing campaign that was the result of a billion dollar investment.when Volkswagoen decided to lunch an updated, restyled the version of its beetle. That has been discontinued in North American markets due to an inability to meet strict emission standard in the 1970s, the results was an instant breakthrough for Volkswagen AG. Radical innovationHardly. Obvious moves for these two companiesNot at the

CONCLUSION

Only companies that can constantly brings imaginative, value added new products, services and value propositions to the market will survive and grow in a rapid changing economy. Yet, most companied today are frustrated by their ability to turn ideas into profitable realities. Their “innovation” process is almost an oxymoron. In the reality it is ad hoc, piecemeal,seat of the pants and heavily reliance on happy accidents.

This is decidedly not the case at a small but a rapidly-growingof companies. In deriving the growth through innovation, acclaimed author and consultant Robert B.Truck takes you behind the scenes inside the 23 innovation vanguard companies to benchmark how they have revamped their innovation approaches for growth profit and competitive advantage. Driving Growth through innovation doesn’t just described their leading edge methods. it show you step-by-step, how to map out and implement your own 21st century innovation .

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How has technology improvements impacted on filmmaking?

Introduction

Film as a medium is relatively young compared to the other media such as painting, theatre, literature and etc. Nevertheless, in relatively short period of time, film with its ability to tell different stories and trigger various emotions has quickly established itself as a powerful and influential art form that is loved by masses. As Douglas Trumbull, a film director and special effects supervisor responsible for effects in movies like 2001: Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, states:

‘’<..I feel that all movies are technical by their nature, it a technical art-form – it’s a photographic optical art form. It’s not like painting or sculpting or writing poetry or literature – it’s technical..> ’’

Douglas Trumbull, 2011[1]

From the very first recorded images film as an art form depended on technology and its sophistication. With various technological improvements and inventions filmmakers got more and more tools that they could use to tell their story. This essay is going to discuss how technology improvements had an impact on and shaped film production and industry. Why inventions like digital cinema and digital workflow had such a huge impact that revolutionised the way the movies are made, displayed and even perceived by the audienceHow and why digital cinema is expanding and being embraced not only by the independent productions but by high-budget studios as well?

Previous Filmmaking Methods

For the art forms such as painting or poetry most of us, given a pen and paper, would be able to write some kind of poem or draw a picture. Filmmaking is inherently a much more complicated process. Without a dedicated piece of equipment that is able to record images for display – films would not be made. To fully understand the benefits of the technological inventions such as, for example, non-linear editing systems or ability to film on a digital format one needs to know the history and understand what technology and practices were in place before such inventions.

For the most part of the filmmaking history the images where acquired by film cameras that used a film as a medium to store the pictures.

<..ln photographic cinema, light reflected from the scene creates an image by triggering chemical changes on the film stock. Those changes register in the molecular structure of the emulsion..>

David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, 2008[2]

Over time four main standard film formats were established – super 8mm, 16mm, 35mm and 70mm film, with millimetres representing how wide the film strip is. Usually a bigger size format brings a better image quality, thus, the 35mm format established itself as a standard format for theatrical releases.

‘’The 35mm film gauge has been associated with the theatrical distribution of motion pictures since the Classic Hollywood Studio Systems. The cost and limited access to equipment put 35mm filmmaking out of reach to industry outsiders.

Vincent Lobrutto, 2002[3]

Throughout the most of the cinematography history, film (being an analogue photography medium) offered an unmatchable picture quality and was the main medium used to acquire images that would be suitable for cinematic release. Although the technology in digital cameras was constantly improving, until late 1990’s the film picture quality was superior compared to the digital video.

<..One frame of 35mm motion picture film can contain the equivalent of over 12 million pixels (picture elements). This creates extremely high resolution and detail. One frame of broadcast quality video (not HD) can display about 350,000 pixels..>

David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, 2008[4]

However, shooting on film offered filmmakers an amazing picture quality – that came with the price. One of the biggest issues for any production that wants to use film as their recording medium is the amount of finances required to shoot and develop the film.

<..A feature-length film is a very long ribbon of images, about two miles for a two-hour movie. <..> Because each shot usually exists in several takes, because the film is shot out of story order, and because the master-shot/coverage approach yields so much footage, the editor’s job can be a huge one. A 1OO-minute feature, which amounts to about 9000 feet of 35mm film, may have been carved out of 500,000 feet of film..>

David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, 2008[5]

‘’<..What cost so much on ‘’El Mariachi’’ was the film stock because I wanted to shoot film, I’ve borrowed the camera, I’ve borrowed just about everything else but the film – I had to buy it. Develop it.. And then transfer it.. So those coasts would all be gone (from the budget)..>’’ [Robert Rodriguez talking about filming his first feature film – ‘’El Mariachi’’ ]

Robert Rodriguez, 2010[6]

That is why the costs of film stock and its development were out of reach for most of the independent filmmakers (Robert Rodriguez being a great exception).

Film Limitations

Shooting on film also meant a lot of workflow limitations. One of the few examples would be the limitations of the medium itself. Since the pictures were being exposed on film, they had to be photo-chemically developed in the laboratory before any reviewing could take place. Meaning that while the production crew was filming the scenes they had no 100% guarantees that the exposed images would have no errors. Slightest mistakes, like a peace of hair on the film-gate or a not correctly sealed film magazine, would mean that the acquired footage might be technically faulty and useless in the edit. Pre-digital film post-production workflow would also have loads of limitations. As even tasks like colour correction would require a photochemical treatment that would eventually be based on intelligent guesswork rather than knowledge on how the final outcome will look like.

The Dawn of Digital Technology

With an introduction of Digital Intermediate in 1970’s (when film is scanned and digitised in order to alter the imagery in post-production and the exposed back on film for release) and a huge spread in 1990’s, the film industry started to incorporate more and more digital technology into the workflow. The ability to transfer film scans into computer meant that imagery could now be manipulated in a non-linear and non-destructive fashion, which led to the huge benefits for the production. With the first photorealistic Computer Generated creatures developed and animated in 1993 (Jurassic Park) and the first completely Computer Generated feature-length film being released in 1995 (Toy Story), the film industry was starting to discover the true potential of digital technology.

In late 1990’s, digital technology in cameras was developed to the point where Hollywood’s A-list director George Lucas decided to use a prototype of the digital SONY HDW-F900 camera for his next feature film Star Wars: Episode II.

‘’The tests have convinced me that the familiar look and feel of motion picture film are fully present in this digital 24P system and that the picture quality between the two is indistinguishable on the large screen’’ George Lucas, Digital Camera Use Finalized, http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/bts/production/news20000409.html

George Lucas, 2000[7]

Robert Rodriguez was another famous Hollywood director who saw the benefits of digital technology and decided to incorporate it into his new movie-making tools:

He rented two soundstages and converted his garage into a post-production suite with 10 monitors, editing equipment, and a storyboard machine. Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams was shot entirely with hi-def digital cameras and edited at Troublemaker (Rodriguez newly set-up studio). The title credits for Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over begin with this: “A Robert Rodriguez Digital File.” The revolution was in full swing.

Wired, 2005[8]

The Benefits of Digital Filmmaking

Although in an ideal world movies would be made without having any kind-of restrictions, however, the reality is that every project has a budget that it needs to fit to.

It should never be forgotten that “Hollywood” is, first and foremost, about money and profits. The term art can usually be heard only on the night of Academy Award presentations. Bastian Cleve, Film Production Management, Third Edition p. 56

One of the biggest reasons why digital technology was embraced so quickly was its cost factor and the ability to cut corner in ‘’typical filmmaking’’. The ability to lose the expenses of purchasing a film stock and its development meant that a huge peace of budget now could be invested somewhere else or the project could be completed for less money. This became a huge factor for independent productions as the ‘’look’’ of filmic picture became much more accessible. Not only that, but by using digital cameras the whole filmmaking process in its essence could be simplified and various costs that were attached to the film workflow could be lost. For example, the camera crew in digital production could be much smaller as everything is being recorded to the tape or digital storage device and less people and effort is required to handle that type of medium.

Then there is the fact that the newer digital cameras like CANON 5D, RED ONE or RED EPIC are much more sensitive to the light than standard film cameras. This brings huge benefits when it comes to shooting in dark environments etc. As Greg and Colin Strauses, the Directors & Producers of their independent feature film, states:

A lot of the movie was shot on ISO 2000 – that’s four times the sensitivity of your standard ISO 500 35mm film stock that we would use for the night time shots. The thing that was revolutionary to us was that at 2000 ISO it opens up a whole new type of photography, and basically it enables the available light night time exterior in urban environment – you don’t have to light the entire city. You don’t have to light up the sides of the buildings, you don’t have generators and crews pre-rigging and pre-lighting scenes.. <…> you could use an iPhone now as a key-light on your talent..

Greg Strause, 2010 [9]

Although at first it might seem that the ability to use less light for filming might not have much importance, in reality the ability to shoot night-time scenes without hiring a lighting department etc. might result in huge budget savings, or even the final material look that, otherwise, the production would not be able to afford.

Having less people working on set might not only be easier for the management but could also save production money. This might also have an impact on the final feel and the aesthetics of the movie. As established before in this essay – filming something for a feature film, for example on the 35mm film, is not a one man’s job. In order to keep the production rolling fast there is a need for a crew. Camera crew, lighting crew, production assistants will all add up to the number of people working on-set. While at first this might not look as a big issue but the more people there is on set the more coordination everyone needs and the more pressure the director faces to make quick decisions that would allow the production to move on.

Steven Spielberg described this process greatly when he was asked in the interview about his early days of the 8mm filmmaking:

<..Actually, it was great when I flashback to being kid and making my 8mm movies its always at the time when I’m making a big 35mm movie where there is too many people and there is too much noise and I lose all the intimacy of being the director and all becomes a big mish-mash of big collaboration – which it needs to be…>

Steven Spielberg, 1998[10]

The crew size and people involved on-set could also affect the actors’ performance. Working with a big crew, simple things, such as moving from set to set or changing camera positions, can become a long and complicated process that could impact actor’s performance. If he or she needs to deliver an intimate or emotional piece then it can be much harder if the actor needs to wait before the whole camera crew moves in order to change the angle as the moments when actor is into his/her role could be lost.

By using the new digital technology it is possible to cut down drastically or even resign the crew – and still keep the production value high. By using the lightweight camera like RED EPIC, Canon 5D or any other digital format it is possible to shoot projects fully guerrilla style if needed and have the images completely fulfilling the quality level that is required for a theatrical release – something that would have been impossible with, for example, the 35mm film camera before.

A great example would be Gereth Edwards who wrote, filmed, directed and produced visual effects for his recent feature film ‘’Monsters’’ that has been theatrically released all around the world.

‘’It was a road movie really… we all fitted in the back of the van – it was very guerrilla. I was filming myself, we had a sound man, line producer and a Spanish equivalent and that was essentially the crew for most of it’’

Gereth Edwards, 2010[11]

The Monsters film project is really interesting on many levels and is a perfect example of what can be achieved even with a small crew and digital technology. One thing that certainly stands out with this project is that it was shot while travelling through South America without any locked story. While filming the scenes, the director had a rough idea on what his film is going to be about but the rest of the story was left for improvisation.

‘’<..We would jump-out, pick a scene, maybe have a conversation – maybe not.. Because its often be more realistic if even the actors would not know what’s going to happen..> ’’

While traveling the crew would record everything that they thought might be useful for the final edit. While one could argue that this type of filmmaking goes against any kind of film school or managing rules, the fact that Monsters was made in this way and got international theatrical release, illustrates the possibilities that digital technology has brought to the table. That type of filmmaking would be extremely expensive and probably impossible in the pre-digital era as even things like changing film magazines every so often (as standard 400 feet film magazine would hold only around 5 minutes of footage) would been a huge issue in that type of production. However, by shooting everything guerrilla style the Director managed to create a documentary feeling in the piece and that arguably helped to blend all the visual effects better and portray the sci-fi story in the more realistic fashion. It is interesting how the digital medium directly influenced the style that the filmmaker could establish in his work and how a totally different approach had to be taken should the project had to be done on film.

The Russian Ark is another great example that showcases how filmmakers managed to use new technology that they got available to them and produce something in the style that was never done before. By using a Sony digital film camera and recording the footage onto a dedicated high-speed RAID drives the filmmakers managed to record the Russian Ark film in one 96 minutes long un-interrupted steadicam shot (Russian Ark: The Masterworks Edition DVD). Yet again this type of approach could not be taken if the project would have been shot on film simply because of the format’s technical limitations (even if the required film length magazine would be invented the size and weight of it would have been unbearable for the steadycam operator).

It is interesting to see that digital technologies helped to rediscover some of the old technologies such as Stereo Filmmaking as well. One of the reasons why Stereoscopy failed to establish itself as a mainstream medium in 1950 was exactly because of the film’s technical limitations. At the time, in order to achieve a stereo effect it was necessary to use two film projectors running simultaneously – one for each eye. The two projectors had to project matching images at once on a frame-by-frame basis or, otherwise, the viewer would be introduced to the eye-strain[12]. For a viewable 3D display appropriate projectionist skills were required in order to match and run the film frames correctly. However, even if the projectionist tasks were completed successfully there was still the fact that the film was an analogue medium that had inherited flaws that were really presentable in a 3D screening. Every processed film roll had a different film-grain texture (especially noticeable in older stocks) and essentially even the two copies of the same film would not look identical. Then there was the fact that both copies of the film degrade (gathering dust and scratches) over time differently, which meant that after some usage the differences between the two film roles would only increase. As a result, the pictures would not line-up and the viewers’ brain would still try to solve the 3D effect from the two radically different pictures that would result in a headache. Since digital technology in its essence is based on numbers and mathematical codes the exact replication of the material becomes not such a big issue.

Post-production is another area where digital technology brought astonishing changes. Previously mentioned Gereth Edwards is a great illustration of how the digital post-production can be used to its full potential. Edwards shot over 100 hours of footage that was roughly edited together by an editor Colin Goudie on a laptop while traveling[13].

Edwards not only wrote, directed and shot his movie by himself he also produced visual effects and completed around 250 visual effects shots that were made as the filmmaker states himself: ‘’<..in my bedroom..>’’. By working on his personal computer from his house he managed to produce cinematic release level imagery in the time of five months.

The Downside

Although a lot of filmmakers including high-budget Hollywood filmmakers quickly adopted all the new digital technology and techniques, some people are still sceptical about it. A good example would be the creator of Cloverfield and Star Trek – J.J. Abrams, who is heavily known for his ‘’get everything you need in-camera’’ approach:

‘’I don’t mind shooting some stuff on greenscreen and we of course did <..> but the problem with me and greenscreen is that it’s like when you are recording music the last thing you want to do is say we will fix it in the mix – you want to get it right when you’re are recording it! Greenscreen is inherently fix it in the mix process…<..> it limits you in a lot of ways because you’re not able to completely understand the motivation of all the light and what surrounds the actors… The actors themselves have to make it up and there is odd disconnect and I think all these things add-up to this bizarre sort-of unreality..’’

J.J. Abrams, 2009[14]

Then there is another side of the medal of how easy it is to use new cameras and technology nowadays in the digital world. Filming in the pre-digital era the footage that was filmed on the day was pretty much the image that the viewer was going to see at the cinema. Naturally much more time was spent by the creators planning and preparing for the shoot as everyone wanted to shoot the best possible images on the day. The digital post-production workflow now allows to delay a lot of final decisions that used to be made before the actual principal photography, or on set to the very last minutes of the final delivery (colour correction, set design and etc).

The reality is that more and more production workflow is now based on how to better accommodate the post-production process. For example, the colour filters that used to be heavily used in the pre-digital era are almost out of fashion as most of the colouring is now done in the post-production suite, where the director can try out and apply hundreds and hundreds of different looks to their film. While at first it seems like a very positive idea to have as much control of the final product as possible to the very end of the filmmaking process, it has some downsides as well:

Unfortunately this miracle <..> to manipulate and fine-tune just about everything have resulted in furious production schedules and frantic, free-and-easy shooting with a ‘’damn the torpedoes ’’ attitude. This hectic pace has led to the phrase ‘’fix it in post’’ and is one of the factors in the high cost of movies today.

Mark Sawicki,2007 [15]

The ability to endlessly manipulate images in the post-production can be used as a great tool to furthermore enhance the image quality of the final picture that the audience is going to see. From adding extra actors on-set to wire removal and greenscreen replacements the post-production facilities got a reputation of the ‘’magical’’ ability to do anything with the footage. Naturally these services often started to be used to fix or cover mistakes that were made in production or even pre-production stages.

Right now we got movies that are out of control. The directors really don’t understand digital effects they just assume that somebody will be able to fix in post, no matter how many mistakes they going to make. <..> If you talk to any post production house you will see that they get stuff that is nothing but dismally screwed up…

Douglas Trumbull, 2011[16]

A ‘’screwed up’’ term could probably be used not only to describe the technical side of some of the filmmaking nowadays. While one could think that fewer technological limits and faster workflows could potentially allow filmmakers to concentrate more on the aspects of storytelling and create new original movies, however, the reality is rather different. Many of the Hollywood studios would rather use already tested stories and storytelling methods and concentrate more on the quantity rather than the quality of the projects.

<..let’s look ahead to what’s on the menu for this year [2011]: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children’s book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7 1/2 in the title.

Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens, Green Lantern, and Thor; X-Men: First Class; Transformers 3; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Rise of the Apes; Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2; The Hangover Part II; Winnie the Pooh; The Smurfs in 3D; Spy Kids 4; Fast Five and Final Destination 5; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Mark Harris, 2011[17]

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201102/the-day-the-movies-died-mark-harris?currentPage=1

It is strange and at the same time quite interesting to see that with all the filmmaking improvements that were made over the last few decades with the storytelling arguably having no limits, the mainstream cinema is dominated by remakes and stories that were already told many times before.

Conclusion

With the consumers’ level equipment getting cheaper and more sophisticated every year, the independent filmmakers are quickly chasing high-budget studio films in terms of the images’ quality and ‘’expensive look’’.

As Francis Ford Coppola, who is considered as one of the most influential Hollywood’s film director, states:

“Cinema is escaping being controlled by the financier, and that’s a wonderful thing. You don’t have to go hat-in-hand to some film distributor and say, ‘Please will you let me make a movie?”

Scott Kirsner, 2008[18]

The fact that by spending less than 1000? it is possible to get a camera and in theory match the picture quality of a Hollywood’s blockbuster film is on its own exciting. Technology brought the ability for the independent filmmakers to have an opportunity to really explore the filmmaking and do things that were possible only for high-budget productions before. The high-budget productions, on the other hand, are forced to think of new ways to create and present films that would still fascinate the viewers and attract them to the cinemas. With the 3D technology being heavily promoted by major studios and various other techniques being explored in cinemas, like wind and smells effects (Avatar Goes 4D in Korea, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118014803?refCatId=19), it seems that filmmaking yet again might be lifted by the technology to the new heights. As Douglas Trumbull stated:

‘’I think we really need to open it up. We are no longer limited by mechanical movements, celluloid film and sprocket plastic. We are all digital now and so let’s reconsider what movies are.’’

Douglas Trumbull, 2011[19]

References:

Books:

Bordwell, David & Thompson, Kristin (2008), “Film Art Introduction, Eight Edition”, p. 30

Sawicki, Mark (2007), “Filming The Fantastic – A Guide To Visual Effects”, p. xiii

Kirsner, Scott, (2008). Inventing the Movies: Hollywood’s Epic Battle Between Innovation and the Status Quo, from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs. Boston, MA: CinemaTech Books. p. 199

Lobrutto, Vincent (2003) The encyclopedia of American independent filmmaking, p. 389

Online:

Abrams, J.J. (2009), FxGuideTV #58: Star Trek Plus Now ILM [Motion Picture, streaming video]. Retrieved 9/04/2011 from http://www.fxguide.com

Edwards, Gereth (2010), FXguide Podcasts Skyline [Online]. Available from: http://www.fxguide.com/podcasts/Skyline/ [Accessed: 08/03/2011]

Edwards, Gereth (2010), Monsters Best Buy Featurette [Motion Picture, streaming video]. Retrieved 13/03/2011 from http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/monsters/best-buy-featurette

Gizmodo.com.au, (2010), Robert Rodriguez On How Technology Changed Filmmaking, [Motion Picture, streaming video]. Retrieved 22/03/2011 from http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/11/robert-rodriguez-on-how-technology-has-changed-filmmaking/

Harris, Mark The Day Movies Died, [Online] November 2009, Available from: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201102/the-day-the-movies-died-mark-harris?currentPage=1 [Accessed: 30/04/2011

StarWars.com, (2000), Digital Camera Use Finalized, [Online] April 2000, Available from: http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/bts/production/news20000409.html [Accessed: 20/04/2011]

Spielber, Steven (1998), Former Super 8 Filmmaker [Motion Picture, streaming video]. Retrieved 12/03/2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH_ya6E-N_A

Strause, Greg (2011), FXPodcast Skyline [Online]. Available from: http://www.fxguide.com/fxpodcasts/Skyline/ [Accessed: 08/03/2011]

Trumbull, Douglas (2011), FxGuideTV #104: Douglas Trumbull [Motion Picture, streaming video]. Retrieved 9/04/2011 from http://www.fxguide.com

WideScreen Movie Magazine, 3D by G.J.J. De Wan, [Online] November 2009, Available from: http://widescreenmovies.org/WSM11/GDW3D.htm [Accessed: 21/03/2011]

Wired, (2005), The Man Who Shot Sin City, [Online] April 2005, Available from: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.04/sincity.html [Accessed: 21/03/2011]

Categories
Free Essays

Investigate the various types of assessment, and how they impact the Design & Technology classroom

Introduction

In the essay I explore the contribution that assessment makes towards learning. I investigate the various types of assessment, and what impact they have on the learner, drawing upon my own experience in the Design Technology classroom. In particular, I review the summative and formative ways of assessing and conclude that formative assessment is more beneficial to the learner as they gain new knowledge and skills to inform their learning, with the feedback given through this process. Conversely, summative assessment can sometimes cause problems within the classroom as children try and ‘be the best’. To bring the essay to a close, I discuss ideas for the future regarding assessment in Design Technology and what I think should happen.

The term ‘assessment’ “is how pupils recognise achievement and make progress, and how teachers shape and personalise their teaching.” (QCA, 2009) In the past assessment was “seen as something distinct from learning;” (Chater, 1984, p4) contrasting this view in a recent review on assessment Daugherty (2002) found it to be:

One of the most powerful educational tools for promoting effective learning… the focus needs to be on helping teachers use assessment, as part of teaching and learning, in ways that will raise pupils’ achievement. (Daugherty, 2002)

Daugherty, a member of the Assessment Reform Group, is raising a well-founded point, as he is well researched into ‘assessment,’ making government policy but also works closely with teachers and local education authority staff to advance understanding of the roles, purposes and impacts of assessment. Teachers planning should include strategies to ensure that learners understand the goals they are pursuing and the criteria that will be applied in assessing their work.

OFSTED reports can often be seen as biased and its independence questioned, being dubbed the “Government’s ‘poodle’ during a Commons committee hearing” (Stewart, 2009) and inspections seen as an “instrument of state control” forcing teachers to follow politicians’ agendas.” (Shaw, 2009) Nevertheless, this report raises good points to be considered by teachers who strive to use assessment in their teaching, hence the citation.

This type of on-going assessment described in the report is known as formative assessment. It is common for assessment to be divided into either formative or summative categories for the purpose of considering different objectives for assessment practices, although they can overlap. Summative assessment is generally carried out at the end of a course or project. In Design Technology, summative assessments are typically used to assign students an end of topic grade. Formative assessment is generally carried out throughout a course or project and is used to aid learning.

Summative assessment is the assessment of learning and in Design Technology it provides evidence of student achievement for reporting and accountability purposes. Its main purpose is to make judgements about performance. An example of this is the norm-referenced tests (NRT), which classifies students. NRTs draw attention to the achievement differences between and among students to produce a dependable rank order of students across a continuum of achievement from high achievers to low achievers (Stiggins, 1994). Schools use this system to place pupils in ability groups, including Gifted and Talented. However, it is argued that “Assessment should be a powerful tool for learning, not merely a political solution to perceived problems over standards and accountability.” (ATL, 1996) This is reinforcing Daugherty’s idea, as it perceives assessment as a tool, a working progress- formative assessment, not an end product- summative assessment.

Formative assessment is Assessment for learning and in Design Technology it helps to inform the teaching and learning process by identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses. Its main purpose is to gather information.

Diagnostic assessment, which helps to identify specific learning strengths and needs, can fall into both categories. It determines learning targets and appropriate teaching and learning strategies to achieve them. This is important because:

Many learners have higher-level skills in some areas than in others. Diagnostic assessment happens initially at the beginning of a learning programme and subsequently when the need arises. (QIA, 2008)

Therefore; it can be summative, as it results in a grade and the student is placed in an ability group on what they already know. However, this “information is used to make links to progression routes and prepare for the next steps;” (QIA, 2008) thus becomes formative, as they discover the gaps in their knowledge and learn how to fill these gaps.

A type of formative assessment is a criterion-referenced test which determines, “what test takers can do and what they know, not how they compare to others.” (Anastasi, 1988, p102) Assessment for Learning ensures that pupils understand what they can do, but are also informed how to improve on what they find difficult, and what type of learning process they must take to achieve this.

This formative assessment:

Forms the direction of future learning and so the requirement of formative assessment is that the feedback given back to the learner helps the learner improve, but more importantly that the learner actually uses that information to improve. (Marshall, 2002, p48)

Feedback for learning in Design Technology is vital. The teacher will take pleasure in rewarding students with praises; however, there is more valuable feedback that they should receive, as Black & Wiliam found:

Pupils look for the ways to obtain the best marks rather than at the needs of their learning which these marks ought to reflect… They spend time and energy looking for clues to the ‘right answer’. (Black & Wiliam, 1998)

In Design Technology, a subject in which there is seldom a ‘right answer,’ it is essential that “we focus on promoting learning instead of encouraging students to seek the easiest way to get the best results.” (Branson, 2005, p76) This indicates that the summative assessment is preventing the student reaching their full potential through learning, as they want to be the best in the class; therefore, will rote learn and be ‘taught-to-the-test’ to achieve this top grade. This could mean that student is not learning, but remembering facts for the test, and once the test is over they will not retain much of the knowledge. Nevertheless, the summative results could be used as part of a formative assessment (Black & Wiliam, 1998) if the correct feedback was given to them instead of just a grade.

This feedback will only be effective if the quality of teacher-pupil interaction is high and provides, “the stimulus and help for pupils to take active responsibility for their own learning.”(Black & Wiliam, 1998) To create effective feedback we must “teach less and talk about learning more.” (Branson, 2005, p77) This is known as meta-learning which draws upon goals, strategies, effects, feelings and context of learning, each of which has significant personal and social dimensions:

Those who are advanced in meta-learning realise that what is learned (the outcome or the result) and how it is learned (the act or the process) are two inseparable aspects of learning. (Watkins, 2001)

If students practise these skills they will be able evaluate work successfully, apply their assessment criteria to their work and their peers’ work. Through this greater understanding of their own learning, the students will have the “ability of the performance” (Marshall, 2002, p57) and be able to apply the knowledge and strategies they have acquired to various contexts, transferring their skills to suit the situation.

Good day-to-day indications of students’ progress are tasks and questions that prompt learners to show their knowledge, skills and understanding. What learners say and do is then observed and interpreted, by teacher and peers, and judgements are made about how learning can be improved. These assessment processes are an important part of everyday classroom practice and involve both teachers and learners in reflection when talking about new targets. The questions posed should be open-ended, allowing the student to fully express themselves and ensuring that they will not ‘lose face,’ as there is not a right or wrong answer. If a student finds answering a question difficult, a peer can step in and help, which can have a positive effect on the class as there are “things that students will take from each other that they won’t take from a teacher.” (Marshall, 2002, p48) In turn, peer assessment helps develop self-assessment which promotes independent learning, helping children to take increasing responsibility for their own progress.

An example of good practice I have seen in an Design Technology classroom is ‘PEN marking’ Positive, Error, Next Time, in which students would pen mark their own work and assess each others work looking for two good aspects about the piece, and an improvement. This way the students are praising each other; therefore, they are not scared to suggest an improvement. Through assessing their peers work, they also find ways to improve their own. This is subjective as it is my own opinion, but does relate to what Marshall’s theory- that they will take from each other that they would not from a teacher, as several ‘wishes’ from the students sounded harsh but I found that in their next piece of work they had tried harder at it. However, the work may also have improved if the teacher had said it, so this theory is not infallible.

The OFSTED report states that:

Many pupils were still not clear about what their strengths and weaknesses were or how they might improve. (OFSTED, 2009, p14)

Assessment for learning states that for effective learning to take place students need to understand what it is they are trying to achieve, and want to achieve it. Understanding and commitment follows when they have a part in deciding goals and identifying criteria for assessing progress. Communicating assessment criteria involves discussing them with the students using terms that they can understand, providing examples of how the criteria can be met in practice and engaging learners in peer and self-assessment.I think the problem of pupils not being clear about their strengths and weaknesses can be solved with the introduction of Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP) into schools. The school where I am doing my placement is using the APP process for the first time this year, and so far are finding it successful. APP is a ‘systematic approach to periodic assessment that provides diagnostic information about individual pupils’ progress and management information about the attainment and progress of groups’. (DfCSF, 2008) A key purpose of APP is to inform and strengthen planning, teaching and learning. This aspect of APP can have a direct and positive impact on raising standards, and can assist in the personalisation of learning.

Based on the assessment focuses (AFs) that underpin National Curriculum assessment, the APP approach improves the quality and reliability of teacher assessment. My school have simplified the APP focuses and levels into student speak so they can fully understand the concept and purpose. All students in KS3 are now fully aware that they will have an APP assessment in Design Technology at the end of every half term. The assessment will be based upon the scheme of work studied over the half term. For example the last assessment was to write a character description: the scheme studied being fiction. The Design Technology teacher has an expectation that every individual child should attain two sub-levels a year; the student is also aware of this. Before the student completed the final assessment they assessed a Character Description supplied by the teacher, using the same AF’s that they were going to be assessed on. This allowed the students to see exactly what they had to do to achieve a Level 5, as one pupil pointed out that, “Even though they’ve put their ideas together in order Miss, they haven’t used paragraphs so they can’t get a Level 5 for AF3”. This process of evaluation helps the student progress in their work, as they can see clearly what they have to do to improve.

Ultimately, I think that the contribution of assessment has a huge impact on pupils’ learning; with well focused feedback, including thorough marking that identifies clear targets, students can progress and become independent learners, a foundation preparing for their independent life. I think that APP alongside Assessment for Learning is a good way for the student and the teacher to gauge progress, as the objectives are clear, and the ways to achieve them are made obvious through ‘pupil speak’. This does not mean that I think summative is an incorrect way of assessment, as I echo the thoughts of Black & Wiliam (1998) in that if a summative assessment is used to inform the student for progression then it can have a positive effect. When I start NQT year, I hope to be employed in a school that uses APP, and if not I will try and implement it, as I think it benefits students as much as it does the teacher.

Bibliography]

Anastasi, A. (1988). Psychological Testing. New York, New York: MacMillan Publishing Company

Association of Teachers and Lecturers. (1996). Doing our Level Best.

Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment, Kings College London. [Online] Available from: www.kcl.ac.uk/education/publications/Black%20Box.pdf [Accessed 20th October 2009]

Branson, J. (2005) ‘Assessment, recording and reporting’. In: Goodwyn, A & Branson, J. (eds). Teaching English: A Handbook for Primary and Secondary School Teachers. London: Routledge.

Chater, P. (1984) Marking & Assessment in English. London: Methuen & Co Ltd.

Daugherty R. (2002) Assessing for learning insides. [Online] 2002. Available from: http://www.assessment-reform-group.org/AssessInsides.pdf [Accessed 21st October 2009]

DfCSF. (2008) Assessing Pupils Progress (APP) In English. [Online] Aug 2008. Available from: http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/16051?uc=force_deep [Accessed 21st October 2009]

Marshall, B. (2002) ‘Thinking through Assessment: An Interview with Dylan Wiliam’. English in Education, 36 (3) p47-60.

OFSTED. (2009) English at the crossroads. London: Her Majesty’s

Stationery Office.

QCA. (2005) A national conversation on the future of English. [Online]. 2005. Available from: http://www.qcda.gov.uk/libraryAssets/media/qca-05-1835-playback-web.pdf [Accessed 21st October 2009]

QCA. (2009) Assessment key principles- National Curriculum. [Online]. June 2009. Available from: http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/key-stages-3-and-4/assessment/Assessment-key-principles/index.aspx?return=/key-stages-3-and-4/assessment/index.aspx [Accessed: 20th October 2009]

QIA. (2008) Initial and diagnostic assessment: a learner- centred process. [Online] 2008. Available from http://www.sfl-sw.org.uk/userfiles/files/Initial%2520and%2520Diagnostic%2520assessment%2520a%2520learner-centred%2520process.pdf [Accessed 21st October 2009]

Scriven, M. (1991). Evaluation thesaurus. 4th ed. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Shaw, M. 2009. ‘Ofsted inspections are means of state control’. Times Educational Supplement, 15 March. p.7

Stiggins, R.J. (1994). Student-Centered Classroom Assessment. New York: Merrill.

Watkins, C. (2001) ‘Learning about Learning Enhances Performance’ in National School Improvement Network Research Matters 13, London: Institute of Education.

William, S. (2009) ‘Ofsted accused of being ministerial ‘poodle’ over school report cards’. Times Educational Supplement, 10 July. p.33

Categories
Free Essays

Critical Study of LLM information technology and telecommunications law

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Recent advances in three areas — computer technology, telecommunications technology, and software and information technology — are changing lives in ways scarcely imagined less than two decades ago. These modern technologies are being combined, especially through the Internet, to link millions of people in every corner of the word, deals are struck, transactions completed, and decisions taken in a time-frame that would have seemed simply inconceivable a few years ago.

Shopping has evolved with growth of technology which has made it possible for people to conclude on line rather in store and with this came the advent of electronic transactions (E-Contacts). Electronic commerce (EC or e-commerce) describes the process of buying, selling, transferring, or exchanging products, services, or information via computer networks, including the Internet and a legal frame work that would regulate the buying and selling of goods at a distance has been created.

The aim of the European Union legislation in the field of distance selling is to put consumers who purchase goods or services through distance communication means in a similar position to consumers who buy goods or services in shops thereby creating confidence and certainty in distance contracts.

The Directive 1997/7/EC (Distance Selling Directive) was put in place to address the growing trend and provides a number of fundamental legal rights for consumers in order to ensure a high level of consumer protection throughout the EU. The E-commerce Directive 2000/31/EC was also adopted to provide a legal framework for the provision of Information Society Services within the European Union.

In the words of the European Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva. “Consumers and retailers are beginning to embrace e-commerce at national level but internal market barriers still persist online. The potential of the online internal market to deliver greater choice and lower price to consumers and new markets for retailers is considerable. We need to redouble our efforts to tackle the remaining borders.”

This essay is going to look at protection available to consumers under existing rules, particularly those concerning distance contracts and/or the provision of information society services, remedies available to John under the existing Legal framework, the challenges of cross border e – commerce in the EU and evaluate the proposals in the new framework.

2.0 THE DISTANCE SELLING DIRECTIVE 97/7/EC

The Distance Selling Directive applies to any consumer distance contract made under the law of an EU-Member State as well as the European Economic Area (EEA). The directive ensuring the protection of consumers within the EU in respect of distance contractusing “means of distance communication” has provided certain rights and obligations between a supplier and consumer.

Directive 97/7/EC applicable law consumer distance contracts within EU Member State as well as European Economic Area (EEA). The directive aims at ensuring a high level of protection for consumers within the EU by providing certain rights and obligations between a supplier and consumer when transacting at a distance using “means of distance communication.” It provides the following the rights:

According to the Directive the following consumer rights among others need to be respected:

Article 4 of the Directive provides the provision of comprehensive information by the supplier before the purchase.
Article 5 provides that the confirmation of the information by the supplier in (Art 4) t0 be in a durable medium( such as written confirmation)
The Consumer’s right to cancel the contract within a minimum of 7 working days without giving any reason and without penalty, except the cost of returning the goods (right of withdrawal) is provided for by Article 6.
Article 6(2) provides the consumer’s right to a refund within 30 days of cancellation, in the event that where the consumer cancels the contract.
Article 7 provides that the delivery of the goods or performance of the service by the supplier shall be wi within 30 days of the day after the consumer placed his order or where the goods or service ordered is not available inform the consumer of any alternative at the same price or a refund as soon as possible or within 30 days.
Article 8 Provides Protection from fraudulent use of payment cards by allowing a consumer to request cancellation of a payment where fraudulent use has been made of his payment card in connection with distance contracts covered by this Directive.
Article 12 The strength of every distance contract rest upon the prior information requirement as provided by Article 4 and must be complied with. In accordance with the directive the following prior information shall be furnished by the supplier to the consumer in good time prior to the conclusion of any distance contractstating:

“(a) the identity of the supplier and, in the case of contracts requiring payment in advance, his address;

(b) the main characteristics of the goods or services;

(c) the price of the goods or services including all taxes;

(d) delivery costs, where appropriate;

(e) the arrangements for payment, delivery or performance;

(f) the existence of a right of withdrawal, except in the cases referred to in Article 6 (3);

(g) the cost of using the means of distance communication, where it is calculated other than at the basic rate;

(h) the period for which the offer or the price remains valid;

(i) where appropriate, the minimum duration of the contract in the case of contracts for the supply of products or services to be performed permanently or recurrently.”

As regards John case it can be said that requirement of Article 4( 1) (a) (e) and (f), as stated above and that of ‘address’ ‘performance ‘ and a ‘right of withdrawal’ was not complied with. And the provisions of Art 5(1) which provides that consumer must receive written confirmation or confirmation in another durable medium available and accessible to him of the information referred to in Article 4 (1) (a) to (f), in good time during the performance of the contract was not complied with.

It can be categorically said that if the provisions of (Art 5(1)) was met as required John would not be having difficulty contacting the supplier seeking redress, because the ‘prior information’ in writing or a durable medium would have availed him of the ‘geographic address’ of the supplier , time for performance of the contract and his right of withdrawal.

Also taking a look at Art 7( 1)(97/7/EC) which states that “unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the supplier must execute the order within a maximum of 30 days from the day following that on which the consumer forwarded his order to the supplier; and also Art 7(2)(97/7/EC) Where a supplier fails to perform his side of the contract on the grounds that the goods or services ordered are unavailable, the consumer must be informed of this situation and must be able to obtain a refund of any sums he has paid as soon as possible and in any case within 30 days; and lastly Art7(3)(97/7/EC)which further states that hat the supplier may provide the consumer with goods or services of equivalent quality and price provided that this possibility was provided for prior to the conclusion of the contract or in the contract. With regards to the goods that were not delivered It can be said that John was not of the above information stated in Art 7(2) of the directive or even an equivalent as provided in 7 (3)

In the event that the contract is part performed and the issues of non delivery of the some of the goods ordered arises, items that John purchased which falls under the directive would be required to be listed.

Games Console
A tricycle
Music CD’s
An iPod
Box of Chocolates

3.0 THEE– COMMERCE DIRECTIVE 2000/31/EC

The E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC sets out principles and duties to reach a high standard of consumer protection.[14] The directive ensures “the free movement of “information society services” across the European Community and to encourage greater use of e-commerce by breaking down barriers across Europe and boost consumer confidence and trust by clarifying the rights and obligations of businesses and consumers”[15]

Remedies available to John under the provisions of this directive are going to be taken into considerations. Art 2(a) of the directive makes reference to the definition of “information society services”: within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Directive 98/34/EC as amended by Directive 98/48/EC; which provides defines an ‘ISS’ as

‘‘any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by means of electronic equipment for the processing (including digital compression) and storageof data, and at the individual request of a recipient of a service;’’(Art. 1(2)98/48/EC)

Considering the words ‘any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by means of electronic equipment’ the e-book accurately falls under it as John’s computer being the ‘equipment’ that would receive the e – book and John been the recipient of the service.

Art. 5 (1) of the E- Commerce directive provides general information requirements that an ISS provider must provide to recipients’ of the service easily, directly and permanently prior to the conclusion of the contract: An ISS “provider shall render easily, directly and permanently accessible to the recipients of the service and competent authorities, information: (a) the name of the service provider;

(b) the geographic address at which the service provider is established;

(c) the details of the service provider, including his electronic mail address, which allow him to be contacted rapidly and communicated with in a direct and effective manner;”(Art. 5(1)(a – c )2000/31/EC)

Taking a look at the provisions of Article 5(1) (a)-(c) the question now is if the online supplier meets the requirements for provision of an ISS. In John’s case a geographic address was not provided pursuant to Art. 5 (1) (b) an e – mail address was provided pursuant to Art. 5(1) (c) of the directive.

But considering the position of the court in the German case of Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbande – Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband eVV. deutsche internet versicherung AG[18] (‘’DIV Case’’) It was held by the courts that providing only an e – mail address as a sole means of contact does not comply with the provision of Art. 5(1) (c) of the directive stating categorically that

“…….in addition to its e – mail address other information which allows the service provider to be contacted rapidly…..”[19][Emphasis supplied]

That is it would be fundamental for other means of contact to be provided by the supplier. With regards to the decision of the court in the above case and the provisions of Article 5 (1)(c) the e – mail address of the online supplier cannot be said to fully comply with the provisions of Art. 5 (1) (c), This is because in the words of paragraph 17 of the Judgement “Thus, it is clear from the wording of Article 5(1)(c), and in particular the word ‘including’, that the Community legislature intended to require the service provider to supply recipients of

the service, in addition to its electronic mail address, with other information in order to achieve the result intended by that provision” That is the ISS provider is to provide details including its e – mail address to achieve the purpose of rapid communication in a direct and effective manner.

Borrowing the decision in the above case,the provision of Art 5(1) (c) is not fully satisfied by the on line supplier as ‘details of the service provider ’ which allow him to be contacted rapidly and communicated with in a direct and effective manner” is not provided, as this is evident in the fact it is taking a few days to get a response to e-mails which John has sent demanding redress.

The court in paragraph 20 of the Judgement further said that “Accordingly, the mention of the ‘electronic mail address’ in Article 5 (1)(c) of the Directive reflects the Community legislature’s wish to ensure that information giving access to an electronic communication is to be supplied by the service provider to the recipients of the service, but does not mean that it intended to dispense with other types of non-electronic communication which may be used in addition to it”

Further information is also provided for by Article 10 of the directive that except where expressly agreed otherwise at least the following information is given by the service provider clearly, comprehensibly and unambiguously and prior to the order being placed by the recipient of the service:

“(a) the different technical steps to follow to conclude the contract;

(b) whether or not the concluded contract will be filed by the service provider and whether it will be accessible;

(c) the technical means for identifying and correcting input errors prior to the placing of the order;

(d) the languages offered for the conclusion of the contract.”

Article 11 further provides that except when otherwise agreed by parties who are not consumers, that in cases where the recipient of the service places his order through technological means, the following principles apply:“the service provider has to acknowledge the receipt of the recipient’s order without undue delay and by electronic means; and the order and the acknowledgement of receipt are deemed to be received when the parties to whom

they are addressed are able to access them”In this circumstance there is no indication that any statement was in fact provided regarding the different technical steps John would take to conclude the contract or access the service requested , as John would be better informed. Information on how to identify and resolve input errors nor was language requirements also provided.

The statutory duty required by the directive to provide the requisite information for the conclusion of contract has not been fully complied with by the on line supplier. And also the acknowledgement of receipt as provided for by Article 11 was not sent to John.

The next question to ask is that are there any remedies available to John under the directives (97/7/ec & 2000/31/ec).

In accordance with the provisions of Article 6 under the distance selling directive the right of withdrawal can be exercised by John and where the right of withdrawal has been exercised the supplier shall be obliged to reimburse the sums paid by the consumer free of charge as soon as possible or within 30 days he shall only bear the cost of return of the goods.

Following the provisions of Art 6 John can exercise his right of withdrawal for the games console and tricycle. But by virtue of Art 6(3) which provides that “Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer may not exercise the right of withdrawal provided for in paragraph 1 in respect of contracts:

– for the provision of services if performance has begun, with the consumer’s agreement, before the end of the seven working day period referred to in paragraph 1,

– for the supply of goods or services the price of which is dependent on fluctuations in the financial market which cannot be controlled by the supplier,

– for the supply of goods made to the consumer’s specifications or clearly personalized or which, by reason of their nature, cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly,

– for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software which were unsealed by the consumer,

– for the supply of newspapers, periodicals and magazines,

– for gaming and lottery services”

John can only exercise his right of withdrawal for the music CD’s and games, if the goods have not been ‘unsealed.’ The iPod engraved with his child’s name also falls under the Art 6(3) because it is made to John’s specifications and personalized with engraving of his son’s name. The box of chocolate cannot be returned as it is liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly.

Pursuant to Art 7(1) of the directive “unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the supplier must execute the order within a maximum of 30 days from the day following that on which the consumer forwarded his order to the supplier” and since the goods have not been fully delivered and no refund of any sums he has paid as soon as possible and in any case within 30 days as stated in Art 7(2) and that the “supplier may provide the consumer with goods or services of equivalent quality and price provided that this possibility was provided for prior to the conclusion of the contract or in the contract… the cost of returning the goods following exercise of the right of withdrawal (by John)shall, in this case, be borne by the supplier”Art7(3)

By the provisions of Art 6(4) John can withdraw from the contract within a period of 3 months depending on the EU member state he is domiciled in and any credit agreement cancelled without penalty as there is no prior information providing for 7 days ‘cooling off period’

Art.11 provides ‘John’ with judicial or administrative redress thus he can approach the courts in his country’s court or an administrative body responsible for consumer protection, to ensure that the national provisions for the implementation of this Directive are applied.

By the provisions of Art. 12 consumer may not waive the rights conferred on him by the transposition of this Directive.

An effective means to deal with consumers’ complaints in respect of distance selling shall also be established as provided for by Art 17

In this regard the supplier has breached the provisions of Articles 4, 5, 6 & 11 of the directive.

An action for a breach of duty under the E- Commerce directive (2000/31/EC) to provide information prior to contract can also be brought by the customer by the provisions of Art 5 as the supplier did not state the different technical means in concluding the contract or an acknowledgement of receipt of the information in when accessed or, hence the supplier is in breach of Art 11As the required information were not provided by the ISS prior to the conclusion of the contract. The requirements are important as provided in Articles. 5,10 & 11 of the EC directive.

On the issue of exercising the right of withdrawal we refer to Recital 11 of the directive which provides that the E – commerce directive is subject to the protection in 97/7/EC with regards right of withdrawal under Art 6 97/7EC.

Also by Art 6(3) the e – book reader purchased by John, if he was able to access it, would be precluded by Art 6(3) because due to its nature it cannot be returned.

Article 17 & 18 also provides for out of court settlement and court. Complaints can be lay by the consumer through a consumer advocacy bureau such as the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net)

The same protection is also provided for in Art. 12 (2) of the 97/7/EC which guarantee’ s the consumer in the Europe even when the country is a not member of the European Union but has a close connection with the territory of one or more EU member states. However, subject

to Article 15(1) (c) of the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001) a consumer in Europe’s habitual domicile shall have Jurisdiction to entertain suit a filed against the trader who ‘directs his activities’ towards the consumers country or to several other countries including country and the contract falls within the scope of those activities, similarly the applicable law shall be that of the consumer’s habitual domicile if it can be found that the trader also ‘directs his activities’ towards that country or several other countries including that country as provided for in Art. 6 (1) (c) of the Rome I Regulation EC (593/2008).

4.0 CROSSING THE LINES: THE CHALLENGE OF CROSS BORDER E – COMMERCE IN THE EU

A 2007 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found consistent reasons “retailers don’t export everything from fear of fraud, concerns over logistics and payments, import laws and language barriers. Indeed, discussions about doing business globally and accepting international payments online sometimes conjure images of nightmarish complications — increased risk of fraudulent transactions, complex political or regulatory issues, and customs or taxation problems”

The European Commission in March 2009 published a detailed report on cross-border e-commerce .The report revealed that the gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce was widening. From 2006 to 2008, the share of EU consumers shopping online grew from 27% to 33% while cross border e-commerce remained more or less at the same level (6% to 7%).

Potential for cross-border online trade is also failing to materialize . 51% of EU27 retailers sell via the internet, but only 21% are currently conducting cross-border transactions, down from 29% in 2006 (in the EU25). The same proportion (21%) advertises cross-border. And retailers who do trade cross-border usually only sell to very few Member States: only 4% of those retailers trade with 10 or more Member States, most trade with one or two other Member States.

The issue of redress is the major constraint of cross border e – Commerce in the EU because in most cases goods requested are not delivered by the e – merchants. According to the ECC – Net ‘73 % of the complaints that was received in 2008 was for non delivery’ of the goods

or services ordered, while 15 % of the complaints was for delayed delivery and 7% was for partial delivery which is similar to the case of ‘John’ and e- toys4U.hk. This is due largely divergent consumer protection regimes in different Member states and non compliance of e – merchants with the directives.

For retailers in Europe, the fragmentation of consumer protection rules and other rules on VAT, recycling fees and levies are the main regulatory barriers to cross-border e-commerce. The national implementation of these rules differs markedly from one Member State to another, giving rise to a business environment that is complex, costly and unpredictable. The adoption of proposals to tackle these obstacles is therefore central to changing the behaviour of retailers and, as a result, the opportunities for consumers.

When trying to shop online consumers are faced with a number of problems in another country. Foreign online traders have severally refused to accept orders from consumers living in another country. As uncertainty about what to do or who to turn to should they experience a problem are experienced by consumers, especially if it comes to resolving a complaint with a foreign trader.

The fragmentation in the existing legislative framework is believed by the European commission not adequately protect consumers and creates internal market problems:

“The European Commission have cited the legal fragmentation of business-toconsumer rules as a barrier to the Internal Market and consumer confidence in crossborder shopping. Member States have different rules on distance and off-premises selling and these variations create unnecessary costs and disincentives for business when trading cross-border. In order to achieve a single set of European contract rules on consumer remedies, EU action is necessary to harmonise the legislative and regulatory framework across the 27 Member State”

To build consumer confidence and to promote cross-border consumer purchases within the EU, a new consumer rights directive has recently been proposed by the European Commission. If implemented, the Directive will replace four existing consumer directives, namely the Doorstep Selling Directive (85/577/EEC), the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive (93/13/EEC), the Distance Selling Directive (97/7/EC) and the Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive (1999/44/EC). The effect would be one of full harmonisation across each of the 27 member states.

5.0 ISSUES PROPOSED IN THE NEW CONSUMER PROTECTION DIRECTIVES

A higher level of consumer protection is ensured, establishing a real retail internal market, making it easier and less costly for traders to sell cross border and providing consumers with a larger choice and competitive prices.

The proposed Directive, specifically Articles 4 and 5, would establish minimum requirements for consumer protection.It would put in place EU wide rules covering:

PRE-CONTRACTUAL INFORMATION : A contract prior to conclusion , the Directive would require before concluding a contract the Directive would require key information such as, the main characteristics of the product, geographical address and identity of the trader, the price inclusive of taxes, all additional freight, delivery or postal charges etc to be provided by the trader to the consumer. As this would enable the consumer to make an informed choice.

RULES ON DELIVERY AND PASSING ON RISK TO THE CONSUMER (CURRENTLY NOT REGULATED AT EU LEVEL): the consumer would be protected against the risk of loss or damage to transported goods, the consumer would be protected, until he actually receives them. A maximum of 30 calendar days is allowed for the trader to deliver the goods to the consumer from signing the contract. In the event of late or non

delivery of a good, a right to a refund as soon as possible and no later than 7 days from the date of delivery can be exercised by the consumer.

COOLING OFF PERIODS (DISTANCE AND PRESSURE SALES): An EU wide cooling off period of 14 calendar days is introduced by the proposed directive, for items bought on line or during a visit from a trader to the consumer’s home, allowing time for the consumer to be able to change their mind, cancel the order, return the goods and get their money back.

REPAIRS, REPLACEMENT, AND GUARANTEES: A particular standard set of remedies would be made available to consumers by the proposed directive in respect of a faulty product (i.e. repair or replacement in the first place, followed by the reduction of the price or the reimbursement of money). In the event that a good is defective, the consumer would have the right to have it replaced or repaired within two years from the purchase or their money back.

UNFAIR CONTRACT TERMS: The proposed Directive would introduce a new list of unfair contract terms called the black list to be prohibited across the EU.

The proposed Directive would also strengthen consumer protection in other areas, including:

• Online auctions – Auctions (including e-auctions) would be required by the directive to meet standard information obligations(new) – price, geographical address of trader, delivery costs etc – but exempting auctions from the right of withdrawal, due to the nature of the auction bidding process.

• Pressure Selling – A broader new definition of direct selling contracts and other steps to close loopholes would be imposed by the proposed Directive. Due to the high number a high number of consumer complaints, the protection against pressure selling will be tightened up on several fronts. First, the definition of what is covered by consumer protection rules is made much wider. The definition of “off-premises contract” is broadened to avoid, as is the case at present, a large number of off- premises contracts falling outside the scope of the Doorstep Selling Directive. Pressure selling in the street, or at home parties, will now be covered.

Most importantly, there would be an extension of consumer protection to cover solicited visits which consumers will benefit from, which had been causing a high number of complaints. Facilitation of online supermarket sales with home delivery, and solicited craftsmen services, by clearly exempting them from the right of withdrawal. Is intended by the new rules

CONCLUSION

Consumer protection directives, definition of terms, legal regimes, differ in each countries, so does the protections vary.Big business responded by setting up shop in other member states while small and medium businesses remained within their National boundaries because of the high cost of complying with different national laws. With full harmonization in place, there is certainty for a consumer is in the UK that his rights are the same if he buys a product on – line at a distance from Germany or another member state. There is also greater certainty for the consumer and the trader across border. There would be a reduction in compliance cost

as regards businesses they will now be able to trade across the 27 EU member states using the same terms and conditions. Internal market will be able to gain the necessary impetus to actually be the single market envisaged by the Union as the gap between cross border transactions will be closed. Uniformity, Predictability and Certainty towards the Single Market can be said of full harmonization.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE AND THE ROLE OF THE WTO http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/ecom_e/special_study_e.pdf

E-Business and E-Commerce http://pdfcast.org/pdf/e-business-and-e-commerce

Gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce grows wider, says EU report http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/980

Europa-Consumer Affairs-Distance selling

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_int/safe_shop/dist_sell/index_en.htm

Distance contracts http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/protection_of_consumers/l32014_en.htm[1]

Article 2 (4) (97/7/EC) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31997L0007:EN:NOT

Art 4 (1) (a – h ) (97/7/EC) http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31997L0007:EN:NOT

Does harmonisation go far enoughThe E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC: implementation and sanctions http://inderscience.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,10,17;journal,10,10;linkingpublicationresults,1:120796,1

The Electronic Commerce Directive (00/31/ec) & The electronic Commerce (ECDIRECTIVE)Regulations 2002 (si 2002 No. 2013) http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dti.gov.uk/industries/ecommunications/electronic_commerce_directive_0031ec.html

Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) Official Journal L 178 , 17/07/2000 P. 0001 – 0016

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32000L0031:EN:HTML

ECJ C – 298/07 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:62007J0298:EN:NOT

Pia Messner v. Firma Stefan Kruger, C?489/07: the trader requested or a compensation for the use of the goods German consumer protection Law , the court held that such a compensation will amount to a charge which is not the intention of the Directive. http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/legal_service/arrets/07c489_en.pdf

The ECC – Net is a consumer complaints and advocacy body responsible for ensuring consumer protection in the EU http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/redress_cons/

Business without borders: A look at the New, Flat, cross-border payment opportunities http://www.tsys.com/thoughtLeadership/ngenuityInAction/current_issue/Spring09BusinessWithOutBordersPayPal.cfm

Consumers: online shopping increasingly popular in the EU, but development “held back” by barriers to cross border trade http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/354&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN

ECC – Net’s 2008 Annual Report http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/redress_cons/docs/ecc_annual_report_2008_en.pdf

Proposed Consumer Rights Directive http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/commons/lib/research/briefings/snha-05097.pdf

Commission of the European Communities, Green Paper on The Review of the Consumer Acquis,

08.02.2007, COM (2006) 744 final, http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights/cons_acquis_en.htm

Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights/cons_acquis_en.htm

Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights/cons_acquis_en.htm

Proposed Consumer Rights Directive http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/commons/lib/research/briefings/snha-05097.pdf

Dismantling barriers to cross-border online shopping. Frequently Asked Questions

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/475&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN

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Free Essays

An essay on hr problem in cognizant technology solutions, yyderabad, india

Introduction

This essay describes the recent HR problem faced by Cognizant Technology Solutions, Hyderabad, India one of the fastest growing IT Service Providing Companies, a subsidiary of Cognizant Head Quarters, New Jersey as heard from one of the associates within the company. The Organization faced the problem of retaining their experienced associates during the economic down-turn period or so called Recession period when the other competing companies fired many of their employees who have worked for more than half-a decade because of posing financial problems on the company in regard to wages and maintenance during that period. Started with around 264 associates to 10,000+ members (till date), they have contributed a lot to the Organization’s notable growth over a short period of 8 years at Hyderabad Off-shore Development Centre.

[ By Geeta Ramachandran, Sr. Executive – HR, Global Workforce Management (GWFM), CTS(H), Feb, 2006-(till date). ]

Key Words: Associates, Resources, Off-shore Development Centre, Business Continuity Plan, Work Force Management, Incentive Approach, Two-in-a-Box Module.

Background

Cognizant Technology Solutions, one of the leading Multi-National Companies started its Off-shore Development Centre (ODC) at Hyderabad, India in 2002 as a part of Global Expansion. It serves more than 500 clients belonging to various fields such as Banking & Financial Services, Health Care & Insurance, Communications, Consumer Goods, Energy & Utilities, Information, Media & Entertainment, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Retail, Technology, Transportation & Logistics, and Travel & Hospitality. The Company has recorded its highest growth in the 4th quarter of 2010. And announced 200% hike for their top performers during this quarter recovering from the recession blows. They have crossed the 10M strength in the same quarter globally.

[http://www.cognizant.com/aboutus/in news ]

Interventions

Recession is more often can be termed as one of the phases for readjustment in disequilibrium of capital management. Whenever a resource is released within an organization from the declining activities, they will be immediately shifting to the expanding industries. Recession or recovery is the first phase of readjustment process in this world of non-uniform capital and rigidities in adjustment processes starts with the realization of errors delivered under the false impression projected by easy credit. Downturn period in the global markets is considered as bad by concerning the nominative judgments about the different phases of the cycle.

[ “Capital in Disequilibrium: An Austrian Approach to Recession and Recovery” by Noah Yetter and John P. Cochran. ]

Multi-national companies are focused on getting the experienced staff which would allow them to have the feasibility of not spending additional investments on any other different training programs. Small scale organizations are more focused on fresher as they cannot bear huge pay to the experienced hires. By providing the well established environment to the employees so that the employees can work freely and can apply all thought process into reality. Because of this, there is a diversion among the managers whom to consider with high priority when financial matters are involved with the resource management techniques.

[ Resourcing in Business Logistics: The Art of Systematic Combining, by M. Jahre, L.E. Gadde H. Hakansson, D. Harrison, G. Persson, and G. Liber, Torkel Stromsten, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden, Book Review, Page No. 411-414.]

As there are financial prospects involved, it is always better to recruit fresh graduates and train them based on the requirements of business with the usage of proper forecasting techniques. If the resources belonging to an organization are homogenous in all aspects and all prices, wages, and interest rates are perfectly flexible in according to the organizational policies, then the recession or recovery process would be a single process which would be quick and practically painless.An experienced employee wages equal the 3-4 fresh graduates wages whose cost to company would be low when compared to former. It is always preferable to have those young minds which are innovative and creative at times and works smart in reaching the timely goals rather than being laborious for completion of tasks. And if the Organization thinks that an experienced employee needs to be retained with the organization, firm should assign them the multiple tasks up to the possible extent but not overloading them. By making the experienced resources responsible in some managerial positions and offering them the provision of consistent support and means for supervision from the top-level management to guide the new candidates in achieving service and delivery goals much to the satisfaction and delight of the customers.

[ “Estimating the impact of enterprise resource planning, project management decisions on post-implementation maintenance costs” by Meg Fryling, University at Albany, USA.]

In order to retain the experienced employees from the organization, one needs to build the strong belief about the future prospects of the employee ensuring about their role in the organization and more importantly job-safety. Cognizant has employed the same strategy during that turmoil and with the same strategy they achieved the tag of fastest growing IT Services Provider around the globe. Cognizant trained the people irrespective of experienced or a fresh candidate in the sector during the period to grab the opportunities in future. By making sure that the employees would fit into the requirements accordingly, and providing them the different options like self-learning, e-learning courses to learn and understand the new technologies rather than sticking to the existing technology which they have already learnt during their graduation and the same has applied over the years for the routine deliverables thus not allowing themselves to reach the further levels in contributing to the success of the organization.

[ “Leadership in the era of Economic Un-Certainty” by Charan. R, McGrawhill, 2009.]

[ “Managing a risk controversy: The Canadian Salmon Aquaculture industry’s responses to organized and local opposition” by Nathan Young; Mary Liston.]

Training and allowing them to understand, implement the new technologies might take some time initially but it makes the employee well-versed with the same. With the same strategy we can build the confidence in the people by spending whole-sum amount for training purpose as it helps in retaining the confidence of the employee on the management. After facing the initial phase of economic un-certainty, every Organization concentrated on cost-cuttings thus enabling the clients to trust the management with respect to the ROI and value of investments. This would reduce the revenue and profits to the company during that period and on a long-term basis, this result in maintaining the healthy relationship with the clients.

[“Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior to Explain Marketing Managers’ Perspectives on Sustainable Marketing” by Ahmed Shahriar Ferdous.]

Reallocation of the resources is another crucial factor which would create some distance between the employees and their families. Reallocation need to be carried out depending on the requirement and feasibility of the company. Depending on the designation, work-experience of a particular employee, he/she would be given the priority to serve the organization according not affecting the business continuity plan and meeting the deliverables in time. Regular Audits will be held at those which were shown to the clients at the start-up. Meeting the expectations of the customer in time is a technique which is possible only through dedicated resources for the organization. With the same approach, organizations build the reputation among the clients.

[ Estimating the impact of enterprise resource planning, project management decisions on post-implementation maintenance costs by Meg Fryling, University at Albany, USA.]

[Collaborative Behavior and the performance of the organizations by Andrew B. Whitford, Soo- young Lee, Taesik Yun, Chan Ju Sung.]

Resource Management within the organization should be considered as a high-priority issue which requires proper attention. Resource Planning and Resource Management according to the business needs to be scheduled. As Cognizant applies Two-In-A-Box Module, On-site/Offshore Delivery module, they tend to have more resource strength at off-shore than on-site as the CTC would be increasing if the on-boarded people are in large number. They do follow a policy of 1:3 ratios Onsite – Offshore resource strength because of which Cognizant resources would like to stay with the organization rather than opting for other organizations. And another way to look at it, the company offers huge incentives and various other activities alongside the regular work. Cognizant recruited graduates during recession period from universities who will be completing their graduation in another 6-8 months of time and gear up to face the global environment instead of firing the experienced hires. Meanwhile the organization can avail the time to plan accordingly and train them the different technologies to meet the expectations from the customers and serve them with high efficiency.

[By Rohit Eustachius, Executive – HR, Campus Talent Manager, CTS(H), Aug, 2006-(till date).]

Based on the above interventions for the problem, we can state that a mixture of fresh and experienced people is required in every industry and the same applies universally. With the help of experienced bunch, fresh employees into the company will learn key points and apply the same when it demands. Reduce the no. of experienced employees gradually and at the same time hire the fresh graduates to compensate work load and financial issues can be settled with less pay details.

[ “HR and IT Capabilities and Complementarities in Knowledge-Intensive Services” by Naresh Khatri, Alok Baveja, Narendra M. Agrawal and Gordon D. Brown. ]

Conclusion

Thus we can derive that problems relating to human resource management involves so many factors and all those factors should be considered when a problem needs a necessary action to be implemented to resolve the problem. Human Resource Management involves with financial issues which plays key role in organizational structure and helps in progress of the organization. This also reveal us how to invest in those crucial times of the market forecasting the future prospects and demands in mind. Resource planning, resource management are two important areas which would contribute to organizations success in the long-run prospects. In the resource planning or resource management, profitable expansion puts inflationary pressure on prices, as more requirement tries to be funded by the same pool of real resources, but this pressure isn’t always felt by all prices. Best returns on equity investments is possible, especially compared to the low returns generally available under depressed interest rates, which may draw excess profitable demand into the stock market, pushing prices to go up further. If the inflationary pressure of the original profitable expansion resulted in a general rise in prices, there would be a relative mild stock slump, and it reflects simply in the market’s realization as the firms are over-valued. But if the economy also experiences inflation in the asset price with little or no commodity price inflation, the stock correction ought to be quite severe, as the prices of stocks fall to reflect not only more realistic valuations of firms but also drastically lower demand for stocks. Easy credit props up the supra-normal demand for equity investments and they are spurred on by its effects, now by that excess amount plus a panic discount declines the demand which was forecasted, as investors who would otherwise have kept their money in stocks pull it out due to an increased in perceived risk. Once the period of increased risk with mass liquidation passes, investors will start to see that stocks are now underrated, and buy in again. This post-panic reawakening of equity investment will be a signal that the readjustment process is actually complete, and normal economic growth is continued. Tax cuts are helpful to the amplitude that they stimulate savings & investment and reduce the role of government in the economy, but implementing them as a means to stimulate consumption is a wrongheaded approach. Thus with the different approaches human resource management is a tough task as it involves multiple issues related enterprise resource planning, resource management, supply chain management etc. The research about the problem resulted in the following approaches to deal with the employees: Allowing the experienced employees to learn the new technologies by means of e-learning rather than attending the in-house training sessions separately thus reducing the cost to the company when the training programs are taken into consideration.

By recruiting the fresher from the universities and train them in different technologies accordingly in place of the experienced resources when the cost to company matters as the fresher would be paid less wages compared to the experienced by forecasting the future demand much in advance.

To reduce the cost to company by maintaining or retaining the productive resources who have contributed lot to the organization’s growth ensuring the customer satisfaction to the most possible extent.

By allocating senior resources to managerial positions to serve the newly hired resources to know in and out about the organization in detail and to gain expertise on the technologies they would apply.

Bibliography
International Human Resource Management: Managing People in a Multi National Context, 4th edition by Peter J.Dowling and Denice E. Welch.
Journal of International Consumer Marketing: Capital in Disequilibrium: An Austrian Approach to Recession and Recovery by Noah Yetter and John P. Cochran.
Journal of Global Marketing: [“Leadership in the era of Economic Un-Certainty” by Charan. R, McGrawhill, 2009.
Resourcing in Business Logistics: The Art of Systematic Combining, by M. Jahre, L.E. Gadde H. Hakansson, D. Harrison, G. Persson, and G. Liber, Torkel Stromsten, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden, Book Review, Page No. 411-414.
Journal of Risk Research: Applying the theory of planned behavior to study the health decisions related to potential risks by Z. Janet Yang; Katherine McComas; Geri Gay; John P. Leonard; Andrew J. Dannenberg; Hildy Dillon
Pages 1007 – 1026
Journal of Risk Research: Managing a risk controversy: The Canadian Salmon Aquaculture industry’s responses to organized and local opposition by Nathan Young; Mary Liston.
Journal on Enterprise Information Systems: Estimating the impact of enterprise resource planning, project management decisions on post-implementation maintenance costs by Meg Fryling, University at Albany, USA.
International Public Management Journal: Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior to Explain Marketing Managers’ Perspectives on Sustainable Marketing by Ahmed Shahriar Ferdous.
International Public Management Journal: Collaborative Behavior and the performance of the organizations by Andrew B. Whitford, Soo- young Lee, Taesik Yun, Chan Ju Sung.
International Journal of Human Resource Management: HR and IT Capabilities and Complementarities in Knowledge-Intensive Services by Naresh Khatri, Alok Baveja, Narendra M. Agrawal and Gordon D. Brown.
http://www.cognizant.com.

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Free Essays

Critical Study of developing battery technology

Introduction

The battery technology for electric vehicles is constantly improving the capability of its charging and lifespan, enabling a longer-lasting battery to be applied to a potential electric car avoiding the replacement problem (Bernardes, Espinosa & Tenorio, 2004). Various types of batteries has been employed through the history of electric vehicles, varying from lead-acid as in the first electric automobile to the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cell technology in the modern era improving in range and efficiency, remaining environmentally friendly.

According to Tesla Motors, “The battery pack in the Tesla Roadster is the result of innovative systems engineering and 20 years of advances in Lithium-ion cell technology”. The Li-ion cell provides power efficiency, reliability for the electric vehicles. However, there are two types of Li-ion batteries one uses a liquid or gel for the electrolyte, and the other type uses a solid polymer making a dual role as separator and electrolyte. (Fuhs, 2009)

Conclusion

The high-powered Tesla vehicles are supplemented by a series of Li-ion batteries shown in fig: 1.7, in addition the set of batteries are enclosed in a single steel casing designed to withstand considerable condition in the vehicle. As one of the main benefit of the structure pack, it works similar as the radiator system of ICE. It serves to maintain the appropriate temperature level of each cell through a liquid coolant which enables effective heat transfer within the system. Whenever the battery temperature rises above a set threshold, the system releases a liquid coolant in the pack to stabilise the temperature in extreme condition (Tesla Motors, 2010).

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Free Essays

Our science and technology have a quickly development. In the international marketplace, there are many unusual and high technology products.

Introduction

Today, our science and technology have a quickly development. In the international marketplace, there are many unusual and high technology products. They usually make our life to be more convenient and easier to solve the different problem.

However, the population growth in recent years, congenital blindness and blind people with acquired blindness, that the number for them was gradually increased. The blind people always need the help from walking stick, other people or guide dog to walk on the road. But there are no enough technology products to help the blind people that more easy way to know the obstructions in front of them.

Therefore, we thought that we should design a product to help the blind people. The present is required to assist the blind people with an electronic guide system, effective and immediate way to improve their life. We need to develop a product with convenience and low cost system is very important for them.

The product should include helping them to walk on the road without barriers, to take the bus, to purchase in the supermarket, to know the pedestrian signals, to arrive at the destinations and have an emergency call etc. Also, this product is used to mark the sound output to tell users the information. The blind people use of this system, they can get the useful of guide information easier without asking the strangers on the street. These are very important for themselves.

Finally, our team design to create a new product which fulfill the almost functions – it calls “Arm Channel”. We hope that after our product come out; it will cause the universal of guide system in the world. And the product cost will become lower and lower with the developed technology. Then make the blind people can be easily and more convenience to have a better quality of their meaningful life.

1. Background

The green land in a park, the blue sky, the sightseeing of the Victoria Park, I-pad, and 3D movie all of these can give people the visual and feeling of entertainment to people who are with the health of visual. Actually, somebody who locate in darkness world, they cannot see anything. They always rely on sense of sound, touch, smell and taste to living in their narrow community.

According to the different research of the marketing information of the blindness in Hong Kong, we found out the numbers of people who are with vision disorder; analyze their necessary in the normal dairy life and their problems in Hong Kong. Furthermore, we found out some major product which applied in Hong Kong and similar product in the world to carry out the comparison which related to the dairy life of the blindness.

Nowadays, there are about 73900 people with vision disorder in Hong Kong. They always rely on sound and sense of touch to detect the object from the surroundings. Then, the almost relevant products which sell in Hong Kong cannot fully satisfy the necessary with blind people. According to the article from the America foundation for blind (living in vision disorder), they noticed that the blind people need to learn the essential skill in vision loss, which include interdentally living, communication, mobility and low vision devices to adapt their dairy life. Therefore, in this project, we decide to invent the product which helps them to adapt the normal lift easily without learning the essential skill. After the comparison, we figure out our product is more functional than the other product in Hong Kong market and the similar product in the world. Also, the cost is reasonable too.

On the other hands, our product has a large range for development and improvement area in the future. And the market potential in Hong Kong and the world is very high. The main reason is the reasonable cost and the multiple functions can satisfy the necessary of the blindness.

2. Design Specifications

For our product – Arm Channel, we hope that the functions of product including helping them walk on the road without barriers, to take the bus, to purchase in the supermarket, to know the pedestrian signals, to arrive at the destinations and have an emergency call etc. And the main purpose of these functions should be totally dependent on themselves. Therefore, our team designs the five main themes which are suitable for our ideas and shown these below.

2.1 Voice Navigation System

Build in speaker;
To guide the user to the destinations;
Preset a new location for user to follow.

2.2 Article Identification

Build in speaker and digital camera;
To compare the goods and the goods photo in database .Then tell the user of the price, expire date and the name of the products when they are buying in anywhere.

2.3 Bus arrival Detection System

Build in speaker;
To identifies the bus number when it arrived and then tell the user.

2.4 Enquiry Service System

Build in simple machine connector box.
User can connect the call center for enquiry or emergency;
Download the new information to our product.

2.5 Barrier Detection System

Build in speaker;
To tell the user that has the barrier or not in front of them.

3. Marketing Strategy

In the Hong Kong market, the government plan to carry out the improvement of the public facility community, call “disability friends’, which include blind navigation system, blind person stone and write cane etc. These products are the common product in HK market now. But these products are not enough to satisfy their necessary, because they cannot buy something, take the transportation, and tell them the real location by themselves. Therefore, we directly against with these problem, we create our product – Arm Channel.

At the below table, there are divided 3 parts, that are 1) description the blindness products in HK market, 2) state their advantage and disadvantage of the products and 3) the functional comparison with our product.

3.1) Description the blindness products in HK market

Productfunction
Blind People Stone:Flooring and paving for blind people to show the direction or exit location.
Blind People Mobile PhoneThe blind people mobile phone is easy to use and carry. It can save one or two phone number in its memory. It also has a SOS function key on the mobile phone.
White CaneIt can help blind people to find out the Barrier in front of them
Guide DogThe Guide dog can guide the blind people to the destination safety
Navigate hermitHelp the blind navigate around the obstacles in their part, and thought them go to the destination using GPS
RFID StickTell them the location, signal for traffic light, distance between the destination and time to achieve
Guide shoeHelp the blind navigate around the obstacles in their part, and thought them go to the destination use GPS

3.2) The advantage and disadvantage of each product

Productadvantagedisadvantage
Blind People Stone:Its manufacture cost is not expensiveIts construction costs and period are very high and long.

Also, it produces sound pollution during the implementation.
Blind People Mobile PhoneIt is a good media for provide a communication method for the blind peopleIt can’t indicate the location for the user or show the destination direction to the user.
White CaneConvenient to find out the BarrierIt can’t indicate the location for the user or show the destination direction to the user
Guide DogSocial experience, autonomy for changing environment

Training a guide dog is too difficult and the prime cost is too high. It also has a life limited of the guide dog.

And cannot bring the dog into the bus or other transportation.
Navigate hermitConvenient to find out the Barrier

Can take the user to the right location easily as a long wayCan not help the to communicate to other person easily
RFID StickCan take the user to the right location easily, decrease the opportunity of traffic accident eventCan change the location voluntary

The technology is very expensive and cant take them as a long way
Guide shoeEffective for outdoor navigation,

Convenient to find out the BarrierThat make the user very inconvenient when there are very rough

3.3) Functional comparison with our product

Voice navigation

Article identification

Bus arrival detection

Barrier detection

enquiry service

Arm Channel

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Blind People Stone

N

N

N

Y

Y

Blind people mobile phone

Y

N

N

N

Y

White Cane

N

N

N

Y

N

Guide dog

N

N

N

Y

N

Navigate hermit

Y

N

N

Y

N

RFID Stick

Y

N

N

Y

N

Guide shoe

Y

N

N

Y

N

*(Y – YesN – No)

4. RFID Technology Specification

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking.

RFID technology makes it possible to give each product in a grocery store its own unique identifying number. Compare that to the situation today, with bar codes, where it is only possible to identify the brand and type of package. Furthermore, RFID tags can be read if passed within close enough proximity to an RFID tag reader.

The brief differences between the Barcode technology and RFID:

Parameter Bar Code RFID
Frequencies used for tag readingOptical frequenciesRadio frequencies
Type of communicationLine of sight communicationNon-line of sight communication
Data VolumePhysical limitation exists. It is very difficult to read a very long barcode.Can carry relatively large volume of data.
Range of data readabilityVery limited range, less than feet or two.Can be read up to several feet.
CostCheapExpensive, but likely to cost less as more industries adopt the technology.

Benefits of RFID

Can identify moving object that have tags embedded.
Can be used in different environments, including live stock, military
Non-line of sight identification of tags
Unaccompanied operations are possible, minimizing human errors and high cost.
Larger area of coverage. Up to several feet.
Automatic integration with back end software solutions provide end to end integration of data in real time
RFID can be used in addition to Bar Code.

5.1 Active and Passive RFID Tags:

There are primarily two types of RFID tags. One is active and the other is passive. An active tag is powered using internal battery, where a passive tag gets energized using a power from a tag reader. A passive RFID tag will not have a battery or any kind of power source by itself. It extracts the required energy from a reader. Hence, a passive RFID tag reader must be able to emit stronger electromagnetic signals, and in return, identify very weak signals from the passive RFID tag.

The primary differences between a Passive and Active RFID tags

Passive RFIDActive RFID
Power SourceExternal (Reader provided)Internal (Battery)
Tag ReadabilityOnly within the area covered by the reader, typically up to 3 meters.Can provide signals over an extended range, typically up to 100 meters..
EnergizeA passive tag is energized only when there is a reader present.An active tag is always energized.
Magnetic Field StrengthHigh, since the tag draws power from the electromagnetic field provided by the reader.Low, since the tag emits signals using internal battery source.
Shelf LifeVery high, ideally does not expire over a life time.Limited to about 5 years, the life of a battery.
Data storageLimited data storage, typically 128 bytes.Can store larger amounts of data.
CostCheapExpensive
SizeSmallerSlightly bulky (due to battery)

5.2 Operation of RFID Systems

Various components of the tag are as shown. Normally, the antenna is external to the tag chip, and large in size

The operation of the RFID tag is described belo

The reader continuously emits Radio Frequency carrier signals, and keeps observing the received RF signals for data.
The existence of tag (passive tag) modulates the RF field, and the same is detected by the reader.
The passive tag absorbs a small portion of the energy emitted by the reader, and starts sending modulated data when sufficient energy is acquired from the RF field produce by the reader. Note that the data modulation (modulation for 0s and 1s) is accomplished by either direct modulation or FSK or Phase modulation.
The reader demodulates the signals received from the tag antenna, and decodes the same for further processing.

6. Methodology

First, there is the introduction of the software and hardware devices that we used in our product.

Software:

1)Labview

2)Labview Vision module

3)MySQL Database

4)MS speech SDK5.1

5)AT command

Hardware:

6.1 Hardware communication Diagram:

6.2 The part of Enquiry Service System:

Enquiry service system includes emergency SMS and call center service function. We used the LabView to build up the software which is used to control the mobile phone to send the emergency SMS or make a call to call center. The communication protocol is used Bluetooth to build a connection between the UMPC and Mobile phone. Nowadays, there is the standard control command for mobile phone which is call ‘AT command’. Therefore, we can use the AT command to control the mobile phone to send the SMS or make a call.

Flow chart of Enquiry Service System:

6.3 The part of Article Identification:

The Article identification is used to identify the product function. The program that we used Labview Vision module will through the video camera to capture the real time video input. Then, it will load the article templates from our database and identify which template was matched to the input article video. According to the result, the program will read the article name through the ear phone to tell the user.

6.4 Article Identification Flow chart:

6.5 Voice Navigation System & Bus Arrival Detection System

Since, we installed the RFID tags in each locations and the bus. The user can through the LabView program and the RFID tags to analyze the location and the bus. First, the program will make the decoding and filtering when the RFID reader received the tags signal. Next, it will identify the location name or bus number by the tag ID from MySQL database. Moreover, it will use the MS speech SDK functions to do voice prompt. The user can through the ear phone to listen the location name or bus number.

6.6 Voice Navigation System & Bus Arrival Detection System Flow chart:

7. Cash Flow Forecast

Cost planning service

Cost and benefit

Proposed Budget Plan
PARTICULARSUNITCOST PER UNITTOTAL COST
box1

$10

$10

AI switch2

$10

$20

UM PC1

$5,000

$5,000

RFID Receiver1

$300

$300

RFID8

$10

$80

Part A

$5,410

ExpendituresUNITCOST PER UNITTOTAL COST
Banner1

$350

$350

Catalogs20

$5

$100

Bag1

$200

$200

Headphone1

$50

$50

Miscellaneous$500

$500

Part B

$1,200

PM & Maintenance feeUNITCOST PER UNITTOTAL COST
PM Cost1

5% of PartA

$270

Maintenance Fee1

10% of PartA+PartB

$660

PartC

$930

Total Cost( A+B+C ) :

$7,540

Proposed Benefits Plan
PlanA

PlanB

PlanC

Months/Plan price$138

$248

$398

12

$1,656

$2,976

$4,776

24

$3,312

$5,952

$9,552

Months/Product price$8,000

$7,500

$7,000

12

$9,656

$10,476

$11,776

24

$11,312

$13,452

$16,552

Net Benefits(Total Benefits – Product Cost )

Months/ Plan TypePlanA

PlanB

PlanC

12

$2,116

$2,936

$4,236

24

$3,772

$5,912

$9,012

Proposed Virtual Expenditures
Virtual ExpendituresUNIT

Time

COST PER UNIT COST
Team member time8 members2hrs(extra work)+3 hrs x 8 lessons

$100

$20,800

Consultation time$150

Workshop time$150

Total

$20,800

8. Advantage of our product

Advantage

In this section, there are divided as two parts, which are research result and comparison result with other product. In the research result, it is shown how many people with seeing difficulty and blind in Hong Kong, America and in the world. In the comparison result with other product, it is shown the different between our product and the other product in the world.

Research result

(Key points)

In Hong Kong, about 73 900 persons were with seeing difficulty, 6 500 people of them are blind, according to research of Hong Kong Cerise and Statistic Department. In 2000.
In America, about 10.5 million persons were with seeing difficulty; 10.5 million people of them are blind, according to research of America community survey in 2008.
In America, about 15 million persons were with seeing difficulty, according to research of Prevent Blindness of in 2009.
About 314 million persons were with seeing difficulty; 45 million people of them are blind, 87% are living in Developing Country, according to research of Would Health Organization. In May 2009.

Observation:

The marketing is not only Hong Kong, this is avoidable globally.
the result is shown the trendy is increasing
Our product should be user friendly and the cost need to reasonable.

Comparison result with other product

In the functional test, which refer to the page 6 (comparison with other product). Our product can carry out the basic function, such as barrier detection and voice navigation. But when we have the enquire service, which is the most important function, because most of the people need to take the mobile phone for communication every day. Our product has provided the basic and important function; the article indemnification and bus arrival function are the specific functions.

9. Project Lifecycles

We identify the project lifecycles with four phases:

The first phase in the project lifecycle is Project Initiation. We define the project purpose, scope and the justification for initiating it. We also need to find a suitably project team before the project planning phase.

In the product lifecycle, the curial part is project planning which is a guideline for the team during the project.

Throughout the project, groups of management take a role to monitor and control the deliverable being output throughout the project, such as quality control, time and risk management etc. The project can be performed the closure once all the deliverables has been produced.

Project closure includes releasing the final deliverables to the customers, assess and review to identify the level of project success and note any recommendation for future project

10. Project Planning

This is our project planning at semester 1

This is our project planning at semester 2

Conclusion

Technology has been being developed very fast in recent years; people get many advantages form the technology, people get more comfort to their life, what is that technologySuch as following:

1)Mobile phone makes people faster and easier to communication.

2)Video conferencing make people no need to by car, by plane for seeing his / her family and friends, we just need a computer with a web camera.

3)Internet makes people get information just in few seconds.

4)GPS makes people easier to go to anywhere; no matter you are driving or walking.

But why some people cannot get these advantages from the technologyThose people around the world, they live at any place of the world. Who is that peopleSuch as blinders!

What is the goal in our projectWhy we use technology to help blinders. We want blinders live comfortable, easier and go anywhere as they want!

From the beginning of the project, one of two kind of technology may be choose, one is GPS and another one is RFID. Why we have not choice GPSDue to GPS cannot be used inside a building, when a blinder inside a building, GPS cannot guide him / her to the destination.

Therefore we choice RFID for our project! RFID is rising technology, RFID has some advantages such as more accurate, installed inside buildings, some other technologies will be incorporated in our project such as Bluetooth, camera for thing identification.

What is the RFID used in our projectWe use RFID to build and guiding system which can guide the blinders easily to go to anywhere by himself or herself!

When the blinder want to go to somewhere, he / her can make a call to customer center to tell them where you want to go! They can know nowhere you are from the guiding system and they transmit the routing from the customer center to your guiding system to guide you to the destination!

Bluetooth is use for communication between the guiding system, hands free headset and mobile phone, you can make a call to customer center by press a button, when the connection between you and customer center, you can talk to customer center by the hands free headset. If you want to make a SOS call to the customer center, you can press the SOS button to make an emergency to customer center, the customer center can know where you are by the guiding system, and then customer center call people to help you, meanwhile when you pressed the SOS button, it will automatically send SMS to your family for notice them you are in trouble! They can know where you are from the customer center.

Camera is used to identify things or products, when you activate the camera identification function; the camera will let you know what the thing which is in front of youThis function can makes blinder shopping easier.

What are difficulties in our project?

When the subject of our project was decided, we had to decided how many functions the guiding system shall equippedSome functions had been decided should be include in the guiding system such as following:

1) Voice navigation

2)Article identification

3) Bus arrival detection system

4) Enquiry service system

5)Barrier detection system

First difficulty thing is that how big is our productHow we can minimize the size of the productFinally we decided minimize the size of the product is not our first priority, how to make the product must be placed in first priority, therefore minimize the size of the product will be placed at the last priority.

Second difficulty thing is that the detection range is too large, we want the detection range between 0.5 meter and 1 meter, therefore the accuracy will be increased and how we can shorten the detection range of the RFID systemWe decided to use some metal enclosure to enclose the RFID reader to reduce the output power of the reader, so the detection range of the RFID reader can be reduced.

Third difficulty thing is what software can be used for the announcement and speaking systemFrom our review and research, we found a software, we can modify it for speaking many sentences, it can be used to tell the user information.

How the identify a thing or product and tell the user what is itWe used another software to do it, this software can scan a photo which is taken by the camera in the system to compare with the building database, when the software find a match data, it will let the user know what is the thing or product he is facing.

We are individually testing each component into project, some function such as BUS ARRIVAL and BARRIER DETECTION are still pending and waiting us to incorporate into the guiding system after we complete one system other system will be incorporated into the guiding system one by one. When all functions are tested, we will start to combine them to a whole system.

In this project we act different characters in a company, such as following:

1)Managing director

2)Secretary

3)Finance

4) Project planning and control

5) Design

6) Quality control

7) Engineer

8)Sales and marketing

We have not try to run a project in Role Playing mode before, we were facing many challenges in this project, such as very tight progress, we do our best to face that challenge, at the end of this trimester, we produced a prototype guiding system, it can work, but it is not working perfect, due to the guiding system is under development, we will try to make it as good as possible at incoming trimester.

Finally we hope we can act any character better in the project and we will complete the project at incoming trimester.

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Free Essays

Technology has bring us to a new scenery where readily available is potentiality of both opportunity and coercion.

Introduction

Technology has bring us to a new scenery where readily available is potentiality of both opportunity and coercion. On top of the one side technology have redefined whatever we do (for example message, production, distribution etc.) is very easier. On the other hand it have increased unprincipled practices like pilfering others information, downloading inappropriate equipment, tools, information or data and stealing others acknowledgment card, credit card, number etc., and misuse it . (Whitaker, 1999; Sheikh et al., 2000).

People encompass to hide their secret. Departing online means that anything you converse can be read and tracked with no trouble. In present scenario we can exchange a few words with anyone everywhere in the world through easy source of internet. E-commerce and internet publicity are booming day by day, this change in the resources of communication have let enormous amount of our data and activities we did to be composed and stored in the databases of individuals who provide services like Internet service Providers (IPS) mobile and telephone operators, and others (Whitaker, 1999; Rauhofer, 2008 Laudon and Laudon, 2009).

Information technologies facilitate in collection of information, storing and retrieving them when needed. It helps managers of different levels and other workers of the organisation in making decision, and maintaining coordination and control (Whitaker, 1999; Laudon and Laudon 2009). Today’s technological infrastructure has allowed us to access information easily and hence increased their value as well. Anything which can be digitized in a form of bits is information. Information has different values (for instance entertainment value, educational value etc.). The technology has made possible the delivery of information to the end users (Shapiro and Varian, 1999).

The present article therefore critically, examine the affect of privacy about clients or customers and employees into relation with the companies. Within order to carry on so a apparent view of privacy , and how information are used and store is analysed first. This will be follow by how big business corporation are using advance technology to supervise workforce and how they are jamboree information from the clients are described

Subsequent to that issue concerning clients privacy and workforce privacy are deiscussed. The succeeding section will talk about about whether privacy matters or not. The final conclusion is drained from all the debate. Nevertheless, there are numerous who dispute that privacy is deceased and we should gain knowledge of to get over it., also there are a number of individuals who say there ought to be privacy and if any person tries to break the privacy they should be punshied.

Domain of study:

Clients or customers confidential information privacy means to make them relaxing in disclose their personal information as necessary by the administration (Hsu and Kuo, 2003; Sheikh et al., 2000; Akcura et al., 2009). According to the words of Westin (1967) privacy is persons concern to manage terms and conditions under which his or her personal statistics is composed and used, personal data means the objects or figures or information which is linked with an identifiable personality. On or after business direct of view privacy is building customers at simplicity disclose their information essential for connection advertising. (Resnick and Montania, 2003)

Exploring information in the outside world.

Over the history of few years customers are more worried about the defeat of privacy because of the degeneration state of Internet which inculde of junk e-mail, track of users piece of paper narration from beginning to end like cookies and undesired contribution and giving out of user information for purpose incompatible with the original one, we can take the example of the case of America Online which sell its consumers information such as private information, monetary information and current or previous or any othere internet deeds etc. (Milberg et al., 1995; Wanget et al., 1998; cited by Hsu and Kuo, 2003).

Here the challenge is that for the customers is about that they doesn’t know who is accumulate their data and what is through with the information. Private information is composed from the consumer so that the seller can make a long term connection with the clients, if people are influenced that the corporation comply with privacy policies and rules then they may not be uncertain to share their information and as well as they might trounce with the unease related to privacy (Resnick and Montania, 2003). However, there are only a small number of people who in fact read the policies and rules. Depnding on the report by Jupiter Media Metrix (Cyber Atlas, 2002) 40 percent providers or users understand the privacy policies earlier than construction a purchase .(Resnick and Montania, 2003). On the whole privacy concerned and not enthusiastic or agreed to share private information was seen as a danger or hazard to e-commerce by Clinton Administration. According to Green (1998) a community opinion review has originate that for the reason that of privacy concern and individuals who are not online do not determination to go online. Other survey (Georgia Tech Research Corporation 1997, Privacy and American Business 1997) has create that users who are online refute to give information or supply false information if the location be unsuccessful to show why their information are being composed and how it is leaving to be used (Culnan, 2000).

Collection of information and usage:

According to Resnick and Montania (2003), the retailers collect the information from the customers in two ways:

a) active collection (client declared data).

b) inactive collection (behavioural and purchase information)

The retailer can agree on the customers’ preference by:

Click stream Tracking: it is a tool that track the data about the customer activities and amass them in a record. It accounts the location you have logged in or visited and pages you visited on your place, time used up on every site and what you have purchase etc.,
Collaborative filter: it refers to a software that track users actions on a spot which compare the information it gains about users performance, so that it can forecast what the client want in the container of other client with similar concentration we can go for an example of amazon.com.

According to the collected information the vendor or the retailer can then be familiar with about clients or the customers’ buying routine and their preference and use these information to particularly goal at advertising. The world famous search engine Google has completed more than ten billion dollars in the year 2006 from online ad’s. (Laudon and Laudon ,2003)

Technology and Organization:

The progression in the information technology has render a lot of rules and policies and laws of slight or no outcome. There are some technical trends that are accountable for ethical quandary and they comprise the trend of twice computing supremacy in every 18 months and the collision of this trend has ended association rely on computer system for well-organized and efficient operation. The technical development has distorted the method we do business. The establishment should act in response with the change taking position in order to stay spirited in todays’ ever altering environment. One feature of the management to direct with the changes is to go after the technological ethics and set of laws. Organisations must classify the policy as on how they are going to make use of the possessions and what is the penalty are for misusing it (Sheikh et al., 2000). Latest data or information technical infrastructure has not only shaped opportunities but trouble as well, managers of the associations or organisations need to deal with these issues and be attentive of and greeting the influence of information scheme, so that they can get reimburse from the new technology they have taken (Laudon and Laudon, 2003).

Several business managers be short of in information which marks in wrong conclusion , that is the cause why mainly of them rely on guesses and the result is not definite. In the end it reduce sales and clients as well, information technologies have facilitate manager to make use of concurrent data whereas making decision if we take the example of one of the biggest Bell operating companies in the United States called Verizon Corporation uses a Web based digital control panel which provide real time information concerning customers acquiescent network recital of each neighbourhood and damaged chart. Utilizing the data they get can obtain immediate deed for repair and preservation.(Laudon and Laudon, 2009) The organisations should distinguish among public and private, if workforce are to be monitor they must be knowledgeable before dispense. Generally all organisations these days use video cameras at way in and exit and frequently in parking and elevators. The cause behind this is for the protection and security of the regulars, clients, customers, staffs, equipments and the place as well. They can keep hold of and amass the tape for a exact period after that the tape should be shattered. This means information have to be held till its rationale for collecting vestiges and must be smashed when the purpose is satisfied. (Sheikh et al., 2000; CMA Management 2005)

Information systems deliberate data in computer records which has extremely probability to be access by other. Consequently these kind of data are additional prone to fault, fraud and mistreatment therefore those organisations that depends mainly on digitized system knowledge heavy defeat when the scheme fails. Consequently company needs to be responsive and take extra step to protect the information and make certain , that their system is running healthy (Laudon and Laudon; 2003).

Usually corporate privacy cover clients privacy and employees privacy., any breach in the privacy can charge a enormous loss to the organisation not only in financial form but it also wounded its reputation in the marketplace United Kingdom Financial Services Authority (FSA) fine nearly ?1 million with Nationwide Building Society for the seepage of information next the stealing of a laptop from an member of staff in 2006. Within the company had to expend a massive amount to notify the customers of the risk they had to tolerate. Therefore extreme concern must be known to make certain that the information whether composed in document or digitized form must be reserved safely and shattered after the work is done (Carlson, 2006; Eric, 2010). Internet is more susceptible because it is unlock to all anyone can make use of or mishandling it. While internet become a fraction of the organisational system, the organisations system might be at risk as well. Organisations must be unbolt to the internal workforce and external party like clients, regulars, suppliers and trader and their information must be kept confidential when they are automatically transmitted. By means of doing so only the trade or business can get advantage from electronic commerce (Laudon and laudon; 2003).

Privacy issues in – relation to Customers

Organizations nowadays take on e-commerce to gather huge data of regulars, they can then propose superior military to customers, which will increase consumer worth and their faithfulness too. In addition they can split the information by means of third parties and boost their profits from cross selling. With the intention of this, the reason why customers in the era of electronic business are worried about the information composed by the organisations. Although, organisations have influenced their customers that their database are safe and sound and will not be collective with anyone inactive the customers are worried. (Akcura et al., 2009) Nearly everyone the commercial activities, we create gives information about our exchange routine and choices. In the year 1990 Lotus Corporation have developed a CD-ROM and bring in the marketplace which contain generated Information (TGI). It clearly shows the buying ways or patterns and profits of 120 millions individuals of United States. Later than the remonstration has been made Lotus was strained to withdraw the manufactured goods or proucts (Brin, 1998). According to the Carole Lane in ‘Naked in Cyberspace’ just commencement with the name and address, it is without difficulty could possible to find out what you do; what is your spouse and children name, which car you use and how much you give for tax, over all of your information just in little hours (Brin ,1998).

In the majority of the supermarkets they concern a club certificate like Tosco Club Card, Sainsbury’s Nectar Card etc. Clients or Customers sign their card before paying in order to get bonus and discount. Nearly everyone of us understand this as now the supermarket will correlate our exchange pattern in a record so that the company can think likely our needs, which is helpful both for the corporation and us as well. Although a number of privacy advocates discover it as frightening to picture expressive all the details of the card (Brin, 1998).

Google is the famous and number one tool people use to search any kind of information on the internet. It maintains the records of all search engines and IP addresses for nearly two years. The company identify users with a unique cookie. Thus, the most troubling factor to privacy experts is the amount of information it has collected from its customers (Vaas, 2007). The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had outlined the information that Google accumulate from its users:

Google and you

Technology What it track

Google search Any explore or search term a user enters

Google Desktop Index of a users’ computer files, e-mails,

music, chat and Web browser history

Google Talk Instant message chats between users

Google Mail User’s e-mail history; default setting

retains e-mails indefinitely

Google Calendar User’s schedule

Google OrkutSocial networking tool stores personal

data, such as name and location

Google Reader The ATOM and RSS feeds that a user reads

Google Video orYouTube Videos watched by a user

The other division which has knowledgeable a momentous change in message and storage owing to advance skill or knowledge is medical field. The exercise to uphold medical evidence of patients by electronic means could help to get rid of human errors. On the other hand these compensation come with linked risks as well. The privacy of the patients information could be at risk while store on a web server which can possibly access from any place in the earth. Privacy human rights Clearinghouse (2005) has claim that over 218 million data has been stolen since January 2005 which consist at least 34 million of medical information Consequently, in spite of having a number of payback of Electronic Health Records (EHR), readily available are some salient risks concerning client privacy (Clarke et al., 2009).

Privacy issues in relation to Employees

The privacy of workforce has become an budding issue of apprehension mainly to executive, supervisors and workers. While there is complexity in monitoring and controlling the workers technology has provide employers with contemporary and advance resources of monitoring workforce at work. Technology enables employers to evidence each and the whole obsession employees do. Employers in many countries like Canada, Japan etc. use monitoring as a output tools (Conlon, 1997; Guftey and West, 1996).

Technology have made the work of human Resource professional easier to maintain enormous data of history and in attendance employees. Their job is to manage the activities of the company like: recruitment, training, promotion and to keep evidence. In several organisations Human Resource professionals might be touching and modify the individual information of workers than any other section So, it seems that they are the one who are possible to harm personal information than others. A folder of personal information of workers is human Resource Information System (HRIS). It use a relational catalogue to store up and make a distinction all the files that are concurrent by some general elements (for e.g. ID number or name or date of birth etc.) which tolerate other department and brushwood to access information (Hubbard et al., 1998; Eric, 2010). The apply of HRIS has better accuracy and data irretrievability. But as the idea of privacy evolve Human Resource managers have to think and take steps to protected HRIS by humanizing and as long as training to workers and making them conscious of the issues, tuition employees to sign off correctly using passwords to protecte facts and not allowing to split passwords with anybody else and others. By focusing on the reason and quantity of data composed HR managers can reduce privacy actions and preserve high moral principles (Eric, 2010).

There has been a tremendous increase on monitoring workers behaviours over the last ten years (Brown, 1996). According to managers, it is essential for the business to ensure staffs accountability by spying on them, tracking all the e-mails, phone calls, logging trips to the bathroom etc. but the opponents of this concept regards it as violating human rights (Brin, 1998).

Another area of privacy litigation is monitoring of e-mail. Many employees assume that e-mail messages are private and confidential and cannot be seen by others, but their assumption is not fully right. One of the privacy advocates Marc Rotenberg said that “E-mail is more like a postcard than a sealed letter” (Guftey and West, 1996). A new technology which is seeing growing is genetic screening of employees by which employers can screen genetic composition of employees which indicate biological predispositions. By checking the pre-employment data employers can then reject those employees who have more possibility to fall sick. The selected employees may be then given a smart identity with a micro-chip through which management can track whatever the employees do (Sloane, 1992; Hurd, 1990; Olian, 1984 cited by Brown, 1996 )

According to Brown (1996) privacy must be judged and maintained correctly. According to him organisations must constantly scan and assess the privacy need. If there is correct balance between rights, policies and practices, the outcome is positive for both individual and organisation. But if there is incorrect balance then the result is negative such as increased conflict, violation and potential litigation. This can be illustrated in figure as below:

Chart: outcomes of privacy practices and workers needs by Brown (1986).

For that reason managers must endeavour to keep up employee safety and protect their privacy and human rights and reduce disruption in the place of work (Guftey and West, 1996).

According to the isolation or privacy advocate John P. Barlow it is good, not to have any covert because everybody would be more more contented and safer if people does not have no matter which to hide, no one can go alongside anyone (Brin ,1998). At the present time people divide information online with no caring in relation to privacy. The interview by MSNBC with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, he alleged if somebody doesn’t want persons to know what he or she is doing online, he or she should not be exploit it online. Additional he argue that if anybody is penetrating some location it doesn’t indicate that he or she wants to share the information through others. There are some responsive information which are classified and which he or she doesn’t want others to identify (Rapoza, 2010). Consequently it seems that if persons think and judge that privacy is dead they won’t care about it (Rapoza, 2010). Other than there are many other people who argue that there should be privacy. People these days are misusing technology. We can take an example of e-monitoring abuse is the case of Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland during 1987. A hidden camera was placed in a nurse’s locker room to monitor suspected theft, later the recording was broadcasted on TV monitor which was seen by security chief (male). After complaints the camera was removed (Guftey and West, 1996).

Conclusion

Technology has urbanized so far, that there is no such obsession in the globe which is not exaggerated by it. Technical advancement have made the procedure of meeting storing and retrieve of data simple, fast growth in information and technology has prearranged rise to the subject on privacy. Individuals are more anxious about privacy these days than they used to be. In conversation about privacy, privacy differ in itself. According to the Google CEO individuals who are frightened and doesn’t want whatever thing to be joint with anyone, it is enhanced not to go on-line. In this twenty first century, there are barely few persons who don’t go online. People nowadays; use social networking like facebook, twitter which show that people today doesn’t care about privacy.

In the company of the change in time, the way by which organization used to observe and manage workforce has been distorted. Regardless of the reimbursement from technology it bring hazard to individuals as well. The essential one is threat to privacy. Close at hand are still persons who believe with the intention of there should be privacy and it is their human precise. It is obvious that to run a business we have to gather information about regulars and workforce at workplace. But the direct of centre slander in to what degree employee’s information and customer’s facts should be together. Since privacy breaches, many fake cases are rising in digit like: using others acknowledgement, credit card, using other identity, disclose other private data for the tremble of money or amusing etc. There are at a standstill debate and issues regarding privacy. For that reason, it would be advantageous to all if knowledge or technology is seen in a constructive rather than in a pessimistic way. The only object is while adopting new-fangled technologies individuals should think about using it correctly and exactly so that everybody could get benefits.

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Effects of technology change on Sony Corp

Introduction

Sony Corporation is one of the world’s top electronic company, based in Tokyo Japan. Sony came in to existence in 1946 and since then well known for its quality products. The main products of the company are

Audio: Home audio, portable audio, etc.
Video: Video cameras, digital still cameras, and DVD-Video players/recorders, and Digital-broadcasting receiving systems
Televisions: LCD televisions
Information and communications: PC, printer system, broadcast and professional use audio/video/monitors and other professional-use equipment
Semiconductors: LCD, CCD and other semiconductors
Electronic components: Optical pickups, batteries, audio/video/data recording media, and data recording systems

The changes undergone by businesses in different industry have been largely driven by technological change and globalization, and partly by changes in the regulatory environment. Consolidation in the industry continues, but it takes different forms as the dominant industries corporations have redirected their consolidation policy, shifting from diversification and horizontal integration to targeted expansion into the new technologies. Thus, companies in the media sectors are quickly embracing the new technologies through acquisitions or alliances/partnerships with new media start-ups.the following chart shows the company organizational data of Sony corporation.

Sony is world’s one of the major electronic company which obviously involve a lot of technological change management.Technologcal change presents many opportunities as well threats that must be taken into account while planning strategies. Technological innovation can dramatically influence the organization’s products services markets, suppliers, distributors, competitor, customers, manufacturing processes, marketing practices, and a competitive position. Sony being an electronic company has a major challenge of technological up gradation at all time to maintain the market position. Technological improvement can open up new markets which result in propagation of new and improved products. It also changes the relative cost position in an industry and provides existing products absolution. Hence technological changes involve both opportunity and threats with it.

Sony Corp have been calling on a great criticism to boost up its profitability as the company has facing extreme pressure from other companies offering lower cost and gained an edge in the key market segments as flat panel TVs. Sony is the pioneer that first introduced the portable music to the industry but now embarrassingly Apple Computer Inc took the technology edge over it by introducing iPod player and iTunes online store. Sony is only now coming out with competing portable players. Sony Corp now desperately needs a pace of innovation by changing itself to the changing trends to maintain its competitive position in the market. First it has to see deeply inside the characteristics of technological change and that are it is changing at a greater sale, it’s getting cheaper becoming easily available and touching lives in more and mare areas. These can also be seen as the challenges related to technological change in the businesses. Technological change has its effects such as

A product life cycle is reduced.
New things will make old products skills knowledge obsolete necessitating continuous change.
Competition has become from unexpected quarters.
Customer demand has been changed they are always after new and improved products.

Threats of technological change:

There are certain threats associated with the technological change that can be

Technological change might need to change the structure of the company, if the company is attuned to the changes or are unwilling to change it can become obsolete.
The characteristics of the international consumer are changing. These changes can influence industries by changing the types and quantity of products and services desired.
Rapid change in demand and increasing number of competitors is another threat for the company.

Opportunities associated with technology change:

“Perception is one’s reality”. Customer perception about the company that the company is good or has improved, product and service evolves the opportunity for its success.
New Knowledge is a significant source of entrepreneurial opportunity. For example, developing a wide array of innovative products that keep the customer associated with the company products.

Implementation of theories of change

Schumpeter (1936) argued that economic development emerged when ‘new combinations New combinations might be new product, new method, new market, new supply source or industry re-organisation. Sony focus is towards continuous improvement of product development introducing new improved manufacturing methods finding new supplier sources to earn more over less spending.

Michael Porter (1979) has provided a model to better understand the industry context in which the firm operates to develop the edge over the rival firms. According to him industrial firm is influenced by five forces that determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market towards it. These are as follows

Threats of entry
Industry competitors
Bargaining power of supplier
Bargaining power of buyer
Threats of substitute.

Now we will study the Sony Corp strategy around Porters five force model.

Industry competitors

The intensity of competitors is the major determinant of the competitiveness of the industry. According to Porter, company should determine the extent to which the company’s value will be taken away by the head-to-head competition. When the competition among the firms is low the company is a sound company. To take the edge over the competitors the company can take several competitive moves.

Temporary change in price for the time according to the demand and buyers ability.
Improving product differentiation through innovation in manufacturing process or product itself.
By effective use of distribution channel.
Exploiting relations with suppliers.

Technology advancement can reduce the level of competition. Companies that successfully introduce new technology, can easily charge higher prices and achieve higher profits, until competitors copy them or introduce substitute. Technological advancement can protect the company from competition.

Threats of entry

Potential and existing competitors can influence the profitability of the company. The threats of new rivals are based on the market entry barriers. Profitable business attract new firm which can result in new entrants and ultimately reduce the profitability. Therefore barriers should be placed for entry. Our strategy will be reduced pricing, brand equity and differentiation of product.

Threat of substitute products

The substitute product refers to the similar product introduce by other rivales.The threat of substitute product exist when the demand of the product is effected by the price change of substitute product. The company should observe the buyer propensity to substitute, number of substitute product available in the market and the quality and standard of substitute product to plan accordingly for the need of change.

Bargaining power of buyer

The determinants, through which buyer power can be judged, are the size and the concentration of customers. Other factors are the extent to which the buyers are informed and the concentration or differentiation of the competitors. So the company will focus to educate the consumer with necessary information.

Effects of technological change on Sony Corp

Innovation and advancements in technology open new path ways and provide new competitive advantages that are more powerful than existing ones. The latest trend in technological advancement is towards computers lasers, robotics, satellite networks, fiber optics, biometrics cloning, and other related areas that have paved the way for significant operational improvements.

Moving forward, the company continues to make effective use of its brand, intellectual property and other assets, and to create and increase the value technology development. Intense competition and new market trends are the current threat for SONY. There are new businesses entering in the industry so, company has to maintain its position and market share by proving new inventions to the industry at lower price.

Technological shift is crucial for success for all businesses in the today’s competitive environment.Advances in computing and telecommunications have widespread implications changing the way we live and work in.above all globalization process has increased both the spread and the speed of change and the competitive pressures. There are five important factors for a successful technological shift.

Levels of knowledge and expertise/ absorptive capacity
Active R&D to develop sufficient tacit knowledge
Investment in R&D to gain high value results.
An open trading environment.
Human capital investment.

Technological improvements are need at all time if the technological change is not fast enough competitors will take the edge and you loss the potential profits. Company gain the profit when it will manage to introduce product before anyone else opportunity can come up in the various stages of the process as researchers and technicians continue to work for the monumental breakthrough.

Improved research and development:

The base for technological shift is to improve the research and development department of the company to the greater extent. There are certain strategically steps the company has taken to improve the research and development for the company’s products.

The firms has decentralise their R&D to benefit from different areas of excellence from the world.
Developed the environment of knowledge sharing from different research institutes in the world.
Built strong relations with leading economies of the world and receive implied knowledge transfers.
Arranged many R&D related events to search for the new ideas to flourish the company product.

Objective of Sony R&D:

New ways of entertainment are emerging where people can easily share their personal content with others over the network or automatically organize their content according to their personal profile. Sony R&D aims to create new value based on the linked concepts of “inspiration” and “shared experience” and to thus strengthen products and applications. Mission for Sony R&D is “Technology for Inspiration and Shared Experience.”As we are moving into the era of connectivity and networking the need of technological shift is very important. The need is for inventing new applications that generate new kinds of inspiration and shared experiences.

Steps taken by Sony Corp to incorporate technological change to gain competitive edge:

Sony Corp is one of the largest movie, music and consumer electronics companies in the world but now they have planned closing down its Connect Music Store in Europe and the U.S. by keeping in view the technological change in these sectors.
Instead Sony has planned to add Microsoft’s Windows Media technology to its new music players and allowing consumers to download copy-protected content from numerous Windows Media-compatible music stores on the Internet.
The two new Sony players have video storage and playback capabilities and are the first in the digital players from the company not tied down to Sony‘s ATRAC (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) audio format.
Sony has improved Walkman products which offer great resolution, a bright screen, high-quality sound and a long battery life. The idea behind that is to provide the customers the choice to use multiple music sources.
Sony Corporation today announced the commercialization of the world’s first demodulator LSI for high-definition television use conforming to the “DVB-T2”*2 (Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial 2) terrestrial digital broadcast standard adopted in the UK

Conclusion and recommendations

According to my research and analysis of the Sony Corp company strategy of continuous research and development is in the right direction. Company idea of invention and innovation and keep on improving things is what makes the company more powerful in terms of profit gains. It is a social process and increasingly dependent upon organised teams. Therefore company focus on developing efficient teams with new and innovative ideas. In the current market demand knowledge sharing is very important to bring about constant innovation to gain competitive advantage. The new source of competitive advantage rests on this ability to share knowledge and to innovate. Sony management of knowledge sharing between subsidiaries, between organisations and their customers and along and across networks is absolute. In my view the effect made by the company for technological transfer between the developed and developing worlds will prove to be profitable in the terms of economic gains and as well reputation of the company increase. In short Introducing new products with increased functionality and quality always get attention of the customer and it also helps in revenue generation. Despite of all the effects made by the company to focus on technology improvement and invention and innovation of new and improved products, company also needs to pay attention towards its competitors low price products which might attract the consumer. Companies coming from new markets are introducing new similar products at lower prices so educating customer about the product should also be the part of strategic planning of the company.

Reference
The Associated Press: New Sony CEO may signal strategy change
Carlota Perez, 2001. Technological change and opportunities for development as a moving target:
V S Rama Rao, January 1, 2010.Entrepreneurial opportunities- changes in technology:
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/technology/rd/index.html
http://www.smarthouse.com.au/iPods_And_Portable_Players/MP4_Players/C6W8Q5N9
http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/porter.shtml

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Free Essays

Impact of Technology on Higher Education

Abstract

Powerful economic, technical and social trends facilitated by the advent of the internet are revolutionizing traditional concepts of business, economics, education and learning (Feuer, Towne & Shavelson, 2002). The effects are more profound on higher education. This proposal seeks to examine the impact of technology in higher education in the UK. The research will employ a quantitative approach to data collection and analysis. The use of surveys will be utilized by the researcher. The study will be based on a survey of higher education institutions in the UK, drawn from HEIDI database. Conclusion will be drawn based on the findings obtained

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction to the study

The widespread use of technology is changing the social, political, economic and cultural fabric of life. Technological innovation, long a hallmark of academic research, is now impacting on the process of teaching and learning in higher educations. Once the domain of ground based classrooms is now occurring on-demand, synchronously or asynchronously around the globe. This can be seen in Warwick Business School (WBS), which has seen its annual intake grow a third since 2008 partly because of the rising interest from developing countries which value British Education and also due to a growing recognition that quality MBAs can be obtained through distance learning format (Kovel-Jarboe, 2010).

Education is now possible through electronic sources using outreach and in-house programmatic learning (Anderson & Dexter, 2005). The factual learning that once characterized post-grad professions such as engineering, law, medicine and business is now better taught by well-developed electronic programs. Sophisticated learning-management systems, distance education and the opportunity to collaborate with major research partners globally are some of the transformational benefits that Universities are currently embracing (Slavin, 2002). Undoubtedly, technology is changing the curricula and spawning rich forms of online research and collaboration (Anderson & Dexter, 2005).

1.2 Problem statement

There is a growing consensus that higher education institutions in UK need reforms so as to meet the challenges of the knowledge society and its citizens. As part of an ongoing examination, the impact of technology on teaching and learning in higher institutions is under scrutiny. This proposal thus seeks to examine the impact of technology on higher education, in particular the use of technology as a learning enabler in higher institutions in UK.

1.3 Research Objectives

The primary goal of this analysis is to answer the following question: what are the impacts of technology on learning in higher educationAs a result the following are the research objectives:

Ascertain the various approaches through which technology has been integrated into learning in higher education
Examine to what extent technology has been used as a learning enabler in higher education institutions in UK.
To infer the correlation between technology effect on higher education and the overall performance of these institutions.
2. Literature review

Two major themes dominate existing literature regarding the impact of technology on teaching and learning in higher institutions. Firstly, an increased awareness on the changes occurring within the traditional education system. Secondly, recognizing the need for efficient management of these changes.

2.1 Literature review summary

According to Foster et al (1999), the prime motivator for the integration of technology in higher education institutions is mainly the “external forces”. These forces have the power to influence institutional decisions. Edwards (1997), whilst recognizing that change is inherent in many areas of the society, identified the library and information services as the most prone area to change due to technological advancement

Carlson (2000) cited the issue of integration of technology with instruction as the major challenge facing higher educations. Carlson (2000) stated further that academe was lagging behind the society at large in the application of some of the technology trends like personal digital assistant devices which higher institutions have not been able to integrate into their networks. He also identified e-commerce services as another area in which the academe was lagging behind the private sector in its use and application.

Ehrmann (1999) described three main revolutions that had occurred in education. He identified the third revolution as the technology revolution which was made possible by computing, video and telecommunication. This brought about more learners and inevitably changed the way in which higher education delivers its services.

Levine (2000) identified new technologies as the major driving force to the changes in university and college systems. Other forces cited in his article include: entrance of commercial organizations in higher education, shifting demographics, move from industrial to information society and the changing relationships between higher institutions and federal and state government.

Dickey (2005) conducted case studies of educational institutions. In one of the studies, Dickey (2005) used the Active World environment in an undergraduate business-computing course. While in another similar study, he used an object modeling course. From these case studies, Dickey (2005) concluded that the use of new technologies such as Virtual reality, social media, gaming and mobile devices presented with it various opportunities including self-defining the learning context, promoting collaborative and cooperative learning, and creating interactive experience with models or materials that may not be replicable in a traditional classroom. From what can be discerned, most existing literature emphasizes the imperative need of developing ICT in higher education.

2.3 Research question

As a result, this analysis has been inclined to answer the following two research questions:

What are the impacts of technology on higher education in the UK
To what extent has technology been used as a learning enabler in higher education institutions in UK
3.Research methodology

3.1 Research philosophy

A research philosophy is a belief about the way data concerning a particular phenomenon should be collected and analyzed (Saunders et al, 2009). In order to understand and interpret the impact of technology on higher education institutions in UK, we certainly need ways to viewing it. The philosophical perspective that is to be deployed to inform the research approach in this analysis is the positivism philosophy.

3.2 Research approaches

Two major paradigms are often employed in research analysis namely: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative approach is a formal, objective and systematic process that utilizes numerical data in obtaining information. Generalizability, objectivity and numbers are features that are often associated with quantitative approaches. On the other hand, qualitative methodologies are of the view that the world is holistic and that there is not a single reality.

3.3 Research strategy

In selecting the research strategy for this analysis, the nature of the perceived connection between the theory and research question, as well as the philosophical perspective will be influential as both the qualitative and quantitative research strategies differ greatly in this respect. Quantitative approach originates from a positivist perspective that holds that holds that objective knowledge can be derived from direct observations or experience. Whereas qualitative approach stems from the intepretivist philosophical perspective which is concerned with understanding and interpreting phenomena through meanings which people attach to them. Quantitative strategy will be chosen over qualitative strategy due to reliability, generalizability and the fact that quantitative results are often more accurate and perhaps more representative. The use of survey and a focus group will be employed by the researcher.

3.4 Data collection

Data for this study will be based on a survey of higher education institutions drawn from HEIDI database. HEIDI comprises of an online database containing statistics on all higher education institutions in the UK. This database enables comparison of data for higher education institutions in the UK by allowing the researcher access to data on National student survey, UCAS data, Admission data, Universities UK pattern data, and HESA performance indicators data among others.

3.5 Data analysis.

There is evidence of allocation of central resources to support activities that focus on aspects of teaching and learning which yield significant impacts in terms of improving access, effectiveness of teaching, and widening participation (Anderson & Dexter, 2005). Therefore, a strong emphasis on the development of new ICT related pedagogy and E-learning fueled by technological advancement is a big step of the universities in enforcing the professionalism.

3.6 Reliability, validity & Generalizability

A survey generally gathers data at a particular point in time so as to establish the relationship that exists between events (Dillman, 1978). The importance of survey lies in its appeal to universality and its ability to establish a degree of confidence from a set of findings (Hutchinson, 2004). Its popularity is due in large to its utility on countless research situations.

However, the use of survey as a research instrument has been criticized with some researchers citing potential difficulties of survey administration. Nevertheless, this study will adopt survey method as a tool for collecting its data. In order to improve on the content validity, the survey will be designed, formulated and implemented in a manner that follows recommendations from various authors. In particular, the recommendations on survey piloting, layout and questionnaire design by Churchill (1991), Dillman (1978) and Conant et al (1990) will be adopted.

3.7 Ethical issues

The proliferation of technology in higher institutions is more likely to bring with certain ethical issues that need to be addressed. One of the scariest ethical issues is that technology allows ISPs to voluntary disclose content and other information in situations deemed to be of emergency. Another anticipated ethical issue is that technology may open doors for law enforcement agencies to secretly install softwares via Trojan horse emails. These are but some of the ethical issues that may arise.

3.8 Research limitations

Some of the limitations that might be encountered by the researcher are discussed in this section. There is no correct research method for determining what delivery method leads to one student becoming more engaged that another. Statistics alone do not reveal why one student prefer taking a fully online program while another prefer taking a ground class. Also the research will be limited to institutions within the UK.

4. Conclusion

With the above taken into account, it can be concluded that this research proposal is of paramount importance. This research will contribute to the profound analysis on the impact of technology on higher education in UK. Conclusion will be drawn based on the findings obtained from the study.

5. Time scale

Stages (Months)

6. Reference

Anderson, R. E., & Dexter, S. (2005), School technology leadership: An empirical investigation

of prevalence and effect, Educational Administration Quarterly, 41(1), 49-82.

Carlson, S. (2000), Campus survey finds that adding technology to teaching is a top

Issue, The Chronicle of Higher Education, p A46.

Churchill.G.A (1991), Marketing research: Methodological foundations, London, The Dryden press

Conant.J.S, Mokwa.M.P, Varadarajan.P.R & Cooke.R.A (1990), strategic types, distinctive marketing competencies and organizational performance: A multiple measures study, Strategic management journal, vol 11, pp.365-383

Dickey. M. D. (2005), Brave New (Interactive) Worlds: A Review of the Design Affordances and Constraints of Two 3D Virtual Worlds as Interactive Learning Environments, Interactive Learning Environments, 13(1-2), 121-137.

Dillman (1978), Mail and telephone surveys: The total design method, New York, Wiley publishers

Edwards, C. (1997), Change and Uncertainty in Academic Libraries, Ariadne, Available URL: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue11/main/

Bull, J. & Zakrzewski, S. (1997), Implementing Learning Technologies: A University -Wide

Approach, Active Learning. No. 6

Ehrmann, S. C. (1999), Technology’s grand challenges in academe, Bulletin of the

American Association of University Professors, pp. 42-46.

Feuer, M., Towne, L., & Shavelson, R. (2002), Scientific culture and educational research.

Educational Researcher, 31(8), 4-14.

Foster, J, Bowskill, N, Lally, V, McConnell, D (1999), Preparing for networked collaborative learning: an institutional view, European Conference on Educational Research, Lahti, Finland, 22-25 September 1999. Available at: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/

Hutchinson (2004), Effects of supervisory behavior: The role of individual differences among sales people, Journal of Marketting, vol 53, pp.40-50

Kovel-Jarboe, P. (2010), The Changing Contexts of Higher Education and Four Possible Futures for Distance Education: Issues Challenging Education, University of Minnesota. Available URL:

http://horizon.unc.edu/projects/issues/papers/kovel.asp

Levine, A. E. (2000), The future of colleges: 9 inevitable changes, The Chronicle of

Higher Education, pp. B10-B11.

Slavin.R. (2002), Evidence-based education policies: Transforming educational practice and

research. Educational Researcher, 31(7), 15-21.

Categories
Free Essays

Using Technology as a Tool to Improve Teaching and Learning Processes

Abstract

A research proposal setting out a planned study concerned with the use of ICT in education, and looking particularly at how ICT can be used to make teaching the classics of English literature more relevant to today’s teenagers. An introduction looks at the background for the study, and its rationale, while subsequent sections set out the proposed methodology in detail.

1. Introduction / Background to Study

This study is motivated by the need to discover the best ways to make English literature relevant to adolescents today. After all, in order to teach dusty, old 19th Century novels or Shakespeare or even modern day novels to groups of children/teenagers that are used to the language of the iPhone and the Xbox represents a challenge to most English teachers. However, it could also be said to represent an opportunity to ensure that these same English texts are brought alive in some way, showing how they continue to be relevant to young people today.Young people are typically large-scale producers of digital communications (Lewis and Moje 2009), and the phenomenon of texting means they are likely to write more than adolescents of 20 years ago. As such, an exploration of classic texts is arguably particularly relevant to their experiences.

The study is also informed by the role currently played by ICT in teaching. The aim of this part of the assignment is to understand how the spread of ICT can benefit education systems worldwide as well as the students being taught. It will also look at whether and how ICT can affect the outcomes of education with a world divided between the digital natives (those who have grown up after the spread of digital technology) and the digital immigrants (those who have had to learn how to use new ICT skills) (Lankshear and Knobel 2007). However, beyond this debate is a related debate: whether there are any benefits to using technology (and specifically ICT) in the classroom. Within the modern schoolroom the division is such that there are times when digital immigrants are teaching the digital natives using latest technologies with which the latter are sometimes more familiar. There is a related question which this brings up: is ICT always be beneficial to students, or can it be relied upon too much.

There are many subjects in which ICT has a definite place. Maths and science-based subjects seem to benefit from the interactivity that ICT can offer especially in terms of how Powerpoint and interactive whiteboards can be used for the benefit of students. Pitler (2009) suggests that the use of technology within the classroom can increase ‘student learning, understanding and achievement’ when applied efficiently (Pitler: 2009: 3). However, some critics note that technology can also be relied upon too much.Part of the challenge that teachers and educationalists face with technology’s use in education is that not enough is known about the technology used within education before it is utilised (Trucano: 2008). Only afterwards are the educational implications actually thought about. With both of these views in mind it could be argued that the teacher is in a position to consider the use of various programs or applications regarding their ‘appropriateness to learning objectives’ (Evans et al: 2009: 183) and whether they really need ICT to augment the learning of their students. There is also a question of whether ICT is appropriate to all subjects. While it is widely accepted within the UK that it has a role in all subjects, allowing pupils to produce well-presented work, for example (Capel 2005), there is perhaps an argument to be made that it should play a smaller role in subjects including English.

Another relevant point is raised by a research by Connolly and Ward (2008) entitled ‘Let them Eat Shakespeare’. In this study, they strove to question the placing of English Literature teaching and its list of prescribed authors in a 21st Century environment filled with ever-advancing technologies and changing ideologies. They point out that there are cultural, social and political forces in play which mean that the National Curriculum reflects a set of decisions made by those in power regarding what should and should not be acceptable to study, and also means that “proscribed authors are a force that acts against both democracy and the development of critical citizenship” (Connolly and Ward 2008, p. 21-22). Should many of the authors currently taught be rejected not because of issues about making them relevant, but because they reflect an unquestioned exercise in power and political control Perhaps, they suggest, a critical attitude towards dominant texts is what should be fostered?

In this context, the current study has been designed to investigate whether, by creative use of new digital technologies, ICT can have a place at the very heart of the English curriculum and help make classic works of literature relevant to students today.It also addresses the question of why such classic works might be relevant to students, and therefore why they should form part of the curriculum.

It is felt that this study can add to the body of knowledge already available. As technological changes occur at a rapid rate, academic research needs to be current in order to keep up-to-date with new types of technology, advances in ICT and new teaching approaches. In this context, it seems clear that more educational research needs to be done. In particular, it seems to be the case that teachers in general have an increasing challenge in enabling their students to learn. This fact seems to be consolidated by findings from Truscano (2008) and NATE (National Association for the Teaching of English) in 2011 which stated that English as a discipline has an ‘additional duty to educate….in the critical study of media and electronic texts’ (NATE: 2011: www.nate.org.uk [onine]). It is interesting to note that NATE (2011) emphasised the word ‘critical’ when discussing teaching students regarding electronic texts. This means that teachers (and especially English teachers) seem to be given the responsibility of enabling students to have the aptitude to think critically about the ICT they use as well as the texts that they read. In addition to the aims outlined above, this study will also address how teachers can help students take a more critical perspective on both the ICT they use and the texts they read.

2. Ethics Checklist

Does your research involve human participantsYES
Does your research involve accessing personal, sensitive or confidential dataYES
Does your research involve ‘relevant material’ as defined by the Human Tissue Act (2004)NO
Does your research involve participants who are 16 years and over who lack capacity to consent and therefore fall under the Mental Capacity Act (2005)NO
Will the study involve NHS patients, staff or premises or Social Services users, staff or premisesNO

3. Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework for this study can be expressed as a series of related questions, below. Each inspires further questions and / or answers

Is it necessary to make classics relevant to children today?

Yes: children today write more than before
No:
Debatable: ‘classics’ are determined by wider political and cultural power relationships. Need foster questioning attitude

How can we best make the classics relevant to children today?

What is specific about current situation – IT / Digital Technologies
Use of iPhone / Xbox / texting / personal computing

What is the Current nature of ICT teaching in schools?

Should all subjects embrace ICT equally
What tools are currently used within English classroom
What is current use of film / video technology
Can better / more creative use be made of film / video technology to facilitate student’s engagement with key texts

4. Research Methodology

The study proposed uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative research techniques, with a focus upon qualitative techniques. Qualitative research focuses upon small scale collection of data, looking at one or two particular incidences. It is primarily concerned with textual responses. It contrasts with quantitative studies, which are typically larger scale and collect data in numeric form. Quantitative studies primarily follow a scientific model of reality and knowledge in which a testable hypothesis is generated prior to data collection. Qualitative data, while lacking the statistical vigour of quantitative studies, can offer insight into the richness of experience (Babbie 2010). The researcher has elected to use mixed methods in order to capture the fullness of the area under study. It is a flexible approach that allows the researcher to build upon findings as they emerge, and which can incorporate reliability with detailed studies of participant experiences (Hesse-Biber and Leavy 2010).

The study also uses the approach of triangulation. Essentially, triangulation is used to ensure that the researcher is able to use at least three types of data (hence, triangulation) to either back up, complement or oppose other data that has been gathered. In many ways it is like a three-part jigsaw puzzle where when every piece of it is put in place then the picture is complete. However, Flick (2009) suggests that triangulation does not always have to be used in every context and that there are several questions that need to be asked by the researcher before it is (Flick: 2009: 446-447). These include the usual issues of cost and time as well as suitability to the topic being studied and legal issues (Flick: 2009: 447).Flick (2009) also suggests that the quality of the triangulation being used would need to be questioned and suggested several ways to do this. One of these methods of quality control was to do with the researcher being able to ‘combine’ methods effectively and asking about the ‘relevance’ that each single method had in the research: for example do the methods each address different levels relevant to the subject In other words, the researcher needs to ask him/herself whether the triangulation serves its purpose and how. It was felt that this approach, despite greater time and money costs, was justified in this instance in order to understand all aspects of the situation considered: the ways in which a film / video intervention might be used to make classic works of literature more relevant. The idea behind the use of triangulation of research methods that will be employed within this research project is therefore to establish a relationship between the research methodologies that would be employed and to integrate their results into a cohesive whole. The results of the questionnaires, the data obtained from the interviews as well as the data obtained from observations will be taken together and analysed to see if they support each other, and in what areas (if any) they seem to produce contradictory results.

5. Data Collection Tools

The study will look at two groups of students in year 10. This does raise an issue about sample size. If the sample of people questioned or observed is too large then there is too much evidence for the researcher to deal with and the data becomes too unwieldy to calculate accurately given the limited resources available to the present researcher. However, if the research sample is too small then the researcher does not have enough data to go on (Jacobsen 2011). In this case, the sample used also has to be representative of a larger group of pupils and has to reflect the social reality of the school in which the project is taking place as well as its surrounding area. Therefore, in order for the data to be truly valid it ideally needs to have a cross-section of pupils from all abilities and ethnicities.While these constraints would perhaps dictate a different approach in an ideal situation without constraints of time, access or money, in this situation the researcher was limited to educational groups to which she could easily obtain access.

For this study, the focus will be on two Year 10 English Literature classes who are learning ‘Macbeth’ as part of their GCSE coursework. Two interventions were designed as part of the study. Each of two groups, as part of the project, will be examining the scene where the Witches meet Macbeth and Banquo (Act 1 Scene 3). Firstly, both groups will be given a scene on a handout with questions on it relating to the scene and how it relates to the play as a whole, which they work on in pairs.Different film clips of the scene from different versions of Macbeth will be shown to them on YouTube. The students will then be given the task of answering questions on these clips. The questions will cover a number of areas including camera angles, special effects and character positioning, and how these can add meaning to the play. In another session, the pupils will be using the same act and scene of the play and acting it out in the sports hall.These sessions, and the experiences of being involved in them, will be the subject of the data collected during this study. The reason behind the two different interventions is to ensure that all learning styles (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) are catered for over the two groups.

One of the groups (Group 1) will also be given their own laptops and their own wiki with which they can discuss different aspects of the play and this scene in particular while the second group (Group 2) will not be given any additional use of ICT in order to achieve the goal of re-enacting their own version of the scene. Group 2 will therefore function as a control group to assess the extent to which these additional tools facilitate learning.

Three types of method will be used to collect data: questionnaire, face-to-face interview, and ethnographic observation. These will be discussed in greater detail below. For all of these research methodologies there are both advantages and disadvantages in an educational environment especially if the researcher also teaches.

Questionnaires will be given out at the end of the sessions with the pupils and will be given to both groups. The questionnaires will contain a mixture of open, closed and Likert scale questions which will ensure that the results include both quantitative and qualitative data. Open questions are one where the respondent can express their general thoughts on a subject, for example “what did you find good about that experience”. There are no suggested answers, rather respondents should be encouraged to state everything that comes to mind on the topic. By contrast, closed questions offer a set answer list, from which respondents can chose one or more answers.This allows easy analysis of the data, although can limit the depth of the response. Likert scales are a special type of closed question in which answers from a sequential scale, perhaps from “I agree strongly” through “I neither agree nor disagree” to “I disagree strongly” (Bryman and Bell 2007). The design of the questionnaire for this study, including various question types, is intended to elicit a wide range of data, and make the process of triangulation easier, as results can be checked against each other (McNiff and Whitehead: 2009: 179).The questions in the questionnaire will ask students about their perceptions of the technologies used in classrooms, for example the extent to which they felt their learning was improved by individual technologies.A pilot questionnaire will be used to ensure that the questions included are the most appropriate, are easy to ask, and can be easily understood, and can improve the questionnaire in other ways (Cohen et al 2007).

It was felt that questionnaires offer advantages in the environment studied. They are, that is, relatively easy to distribute and, if they are administered correctly, are also unobtrusive. They should also take relatively little time for the participants to fill in. The advantage also with using questionnaires with students is that they can be incorporated into the lesson that they are doing. The teacher is able to hand them out, ensure they are filled in, and collect them without too much difficulty.However, the researcher is aware that there are also disadvantages with questionnaires within the educational environment. The educational researcher has to make sure that the questionnaires are anonymous or students have to at least be given the choice to give their name or not, in order to provide adequate confidentiality. Students might be reluctant to give their thoughts if they feel they are likely to be held accountable for their reactions. Questionnaires are also limited in the types of data that can be gathered. The range of types of questions needs to be varied in order to ensure that there is breadth of data both qualitative and quantitative. In order to ensure that ethical considerations in this research are fulfilled, both the head teacher and the Head of Faculty will be shown the questionnaires and the research proposal so that they are informed exactly what the project is all about. A declaration will also be drafted to accompany the questionnaire, to inform the students who fill it in of the confidentiality of the data they give, of their rights to withdraw from the study at any time, and giving an overview of the purpose of the study.

In addition to the questionnaires, the study will also collect face-to-face interviews with the students, about their perceptions of what they have learned. Again, these interviews would be based around perceptions that Year 10 students have regarding ICT use in the classroom. These interviews would use mostly open questions and would be semi-formal in order to produce a more conducive atmosphere. Face-to-face techniques have some advantages, for example they allow the researcher to help the respondent better understand the question (without leading the respondent in a particular direction), and they can generate fuller responses as the interviewer can make use of techniques of probing (Cohen et al 2007).Semi-structured interviews have advantages when used in an educational environment as they can be used as part of the assignment or lesson. They also offer more scope for the collection of more detailed and richer responses. As Burns (2009) suggests:

The aim of a semi-structured interview is to enable you to make some kind of comparison across your participants’ responses, but also to allow for individual diversity and flexibility (Burns: 2009: 75).

They can also enable the interviewee to be more relaxed and at home with the interviewing process thus enabling more information to flow (Burns 2009).

On the other hand, one disadvantage with the semi-structured interview is the concept of interviewer interference. This is the idea that the person doing the interviewing would hypothetically be in the position of affecting the outcome of the interview by asking leading questions that, either accidentally or intentionally, lead the interviewee into answering the question in a certain way.Bell and Opie (2002) as cited in Bell (2005) state that this can be a way of ‘overweighting’ the research to suit the interviewer’s bias and would therefore distort the figures produced. Bell (2005) goes on to say that researchers need to be ‘wise and vigilant, critical of our interpretation of the data, regularly question our practice and….triangulate’ (Bell: 2005: 167). This kind of reflective practice has its place both for teachers and for researchers.

In addition to the interviews with the students, a further 30 semi-structured, face-to-face interviews will also be carried out amongst teachers, looking at their relationship with the technology they use. These interviews will usually take place within the classroom and will be pre-appointed to cater for their busy daily schedule. Prior approval will also be obtained from the head teacher for these interviews and she will also be interviewed herself on the same topic. Her semi-structured interview may be worded differently as she is directly involved with how ICT is utilised within her school.

Finally the study will also include ethnographic observations of students within their learning environment, to see how they and the teacher interact with ICT (especially compared with ‘digital immigrant’ teachers). The purpose of ethnographic observation is to observe from an insider’s point of view (Bell: 2005: 17). In this case, observations will be carried out over a 2 week period, and the researcher will observe in the classroom situation how pupils from different classes and from different backgrounds interact with the teacher and whatever electronic learning and teaching aids they may use.The researcher will incorporate techniques from action research, such as interacting with the subjects under study (Greenwood 1999), in order to make their presence seem more ‘natural’ and accepted by the students. As well as this, the lessons that will be taught as part of the project will give the researcher the opportunity to observe how the students interact with the technology.

In terms of educational research, this type of approach involves contact with, and close observation of, the pupils that are being observed. It has many advantages: for example it allows the researcher to share perspectives with the people studied, in a way which is not allowed by other means. The researcher is able “to understand better why they act in the way that they do and to see things as those involved see things” (Bell: 2005:17). However, Bell (2005) as well as other critics, also cite a number of disadvantages with ethnographic observation such as time issues. One main challenge with ethnographic observation is the issue of representativeness. That is, to what extent can the findings in small-scale studies of this type be generalised and allow more wide-sweeping conclusionsIn this case, what may be typical of that particular group being studied may not be typical of another group within the school. So the validity of this project might be called into question, because the observed behaviour or views collected may not be typical of the whole school. I aim to overcome this drawback by including other types of research, and by setting the study in the context of the literature review, which will draw upon findings from other studies.

6. Proposed Schedule
JanFebMarAprilMayJuneJuly
Research Design
Planning
Literature Review
Data Collection
Data Analysis
Dissertation Draft
Final Dissertation

Research design – – – – Planning – – – – Literature review – – – – Data collection – – – – – Data analysis – – – – – Dissertation production Draft – – – Final – – – –
7. References

Babbie, E R (2010) The Practice of Social Research (12th edn.), Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2007) Business research methods (2nd edn), Oxford University Press, Oxon.

Burns, A (2009), Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching: A Guide for Practitioners, Routledge, Abingdon

Capel, S A (2005) Learning to teach subjects in the secondary school (4th edn), Taylor and Francis, UK

Cohen, L, Manion, L and Morrison, K (2007) Research methods in education (6h edn.), Routledge, UK

Evans, C, Midgley, A, Rigby, P, Warham, L and Woolnough, P,(2009), Teaching English, SAGE Publications, London

Flick, U (2009), An Introduction to Qualitative Research (4th edn.), SAGE Publications, London

Greenwood, D J (1999) Action research: from practice to writing in an international action research development program, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam.

Hesse-Biber, S N and Leavy, P (2010) Handbook of Emergent Methods, Guilford Press, USA

Jaconsen, A (2011) Introduction to health research methods: a practical guide, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, MA

Lankshear, C and Knobel, M (2006), New Literacies: Everyday practices and classroom learning, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK

Lewis, J and Moje, E B (2009) Essential questions in adolescent literacy: teachers and researchers describe what works in classrooms, Guilford Press, USA

Pitler, H (2007), Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, MidContinent Research for Education and Learning, Denver Colorado USA

NATE (2011), ‘ICT and the teaching of English: National Curriculum Review 2011’, [online] available at: NATE, London www.nate.org.uk/index.php?page=62 [accessed 20th January 2012)

Truscano, M (2008), Knowledge Maps: ICTs in Education, Infodev, Washington DC, USA

Ward, S and Connolly, R, (2008), ‘Let them Eat Shakespeare’, The Curriculum Journal, 19:4.