The American Academy of Business Journal
Vol. 14 * Num.. 1 * March 2008
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC * ISSN: 1540–7780
Online Computer Library Center * OCLC: 805078765
National Library of Australia * NLA: 42709473
The Cambridge Social Science Citation Index, CSSCI
Peer-reviewed Scholarly Journal
Refereed Academic Journal
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Consumer Loyalty – A Synthesis, Conceptual Framework, and Research Propositions
Dr. Lance Gentry, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO
Dr. Morris Kalliny, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO
Numerous conceptual and empirical studies utilize the loyalty construct as a core part of their theoretical work. These studies purport to explain if and why loyal consumers are more profitable for firms, mental models of satisfaction and loyalty, and guidelines for marketing strategies. However an objective view of the literature shows little progress in approximately eighty years of research. In this article, the authors propose a conceptual definition of consumer loyalty, synthesize and discuss the probable factors of loyalty within a framework that is useful to scholars and practitioners. In 1923, Copeland wrote an article describing the theoretical relationship between brands and consumers’ buying habits. Albeit with different terminology, he described a continuum of consumer loyalty that incorporated both behavior and attitude. Throughout the next eight decades researchers have argued for measurements of loyalty that were strictly behaviorally based (e.g., Burford, Enis, and Paul, 1971; Cunningham, 1956; Passingham, 1998; Olsen, 2002; Tucker, 1964) or strictly attitudinal based (e.g., Bennett and Kassarijian, 1972; Guest, 1942; Jain, Pinson, and Malhotra, 1987; Perry, 1969). Many others have echoed Copeland’s original thought and argued for a two-dimensional construct with both behavioral and attitudinal components (e.g., Backman, 1991; Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Day, 1969; Gahwiler and Havitz, 1988; Newman and Werbel, 1973; Oliver, 1999; Pritchard, Howard, and Havitz, 1992). Tucker (1964) strongly advocated using a purely behavioral measure of loyalty, not because he dismissed the importance of attitudes, but because he predicted scholarly “chaos” would ensue if attitudes were included in the operationizations of loyalty. In Jacoby and Chestnut's (1978) extensive review of the brand loyalty literature, they found that most, if not all, of it suffered from extensive problems and that the results would probably not stand up to rigorous empirical analysis. "Despite more than 300 published studies, BL [Brand Loyalty] research is kept afloat more because of promise than results."
The 3D Transformational Leadership Model
Dr. Eli Konorti, P. Eng., University of British Columbia, Canada
One of the most interesting topics of all times is leadership. Bass (1990) stated, “The study of history has been the study of leaders–what they did and why they did it” (p. 3). The first studies of leadership centered on theory. Researchers and scholars sought to identify leaders’ styles and compare them to the demands or conditions of society. In later years, as leadership became a topic of empirical study, researchers, academics, and scholars alike attempted to understand and define leadership. Definitions such as process, power, initiation of structure, influence, and others began to emerge. Bass (1990) postulated that scholars and researchers have debated and deliberated the definition of leadership for many years. Bass wrote that there are as many definitions of leadership as there are people attempting to define leadership. However, as one looks at the evolution of the leadership field, a trend emerges. The earlier definitions identified leadership as a movement and one that consisted of individual traits and physical characteristics (Bass, 1990). In later years, scholars used the term inducing compliance to describe the role of the leader. More recently, the view of leadership has become one of influencing relationships, initiating structure, and achieving goals (Friedman & Langbert, 2000). Starting in the early 1930s, theorists used pictorial models to explain their theories. The first few theories on leadership centered on types of leadership such as autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire (Wren, 1990). Theorists later expanded the field of leadership to include human attributes such as ability and intellect. The leadership continuum started with the study of traits and proceeded to behavioral, situational, and eventually, contingency theories. Leadership models shifted their focus to leader traits and personality. For example, Wren (1990) wrote, “Charisma returned to leadership theory” (p. 386). These leadership models ranged from simple to very complex.
Supply Chain Expansion Using AHP, ILP and Scenario-Planning
Dr. Ruhul Sarker, University of New South Wales ADFA, Canberra, Australia
Dr. Sajjad Zahir, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
A strategic supply chain decision problem is solved and results are illustrated with an example. First, a mathematical model is formulated for selection of facility locations by minimizing various costs. Uncertainties in future demand and other parameters are dealt with using a scenario based planning method. Finally, an AHP method utilizes several non-cost criteria to produce an integrated decision. The results of this research can be considered as the groundwork for the design of a computer-based decision support system (DSS) that will be able to meet real world needs effectively. A supply chain is “an integrated process wherein a number of various business entities (i.e., suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers) work together in an effort to acquire raw materials/ingredients/components, convert these raw materials/ingredients /components into specified final products, and deliver these final products to retailers” (Beamon, 1998). At the end of the chain, the retailers sell the products directly to the customers. A supply chain is usually characterized by a forward flow of materials and a backward flow of information between the business entities. Managing a supply chain requires operational level decisions. A supply chain operates on its existing business entities, with their facility locations and the network connecting those locations. Designing a supply chain is an important strategic decision in all organizations. Its importance has increased further as more organizations have been realizing the possibilities of gaining additional value for their customers by restructuring the supply chain. In fact, the growing awareness of the positive impact of supply chain management on organizations’ competitiveness, profitability, and strategic advantage has made supply chain a truly strategic issue and thus it has received increased attention everywhere (O’Laughlin and Copacino, 1994; Clinton and Calantone, 1997). Strategic decisions require information projection for many years in to the future.
Determinants of Consumer Trust of Virtual Word-of-Mouth: An Observation Study from a Retail Website
Dr. Shahana Sen, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ
Research in communication has found that audiences establish a speaker’s credibility by his or her reputation, experiences and knowledge, as well as how much he or she can be trusted in a given situation. Extending this research, consumer psychologists have found that the persuasive power of person-to-person word-of-mouth communication is higher than marketer-generated communication, such as advertising and promotion. In this paper, we study consumers’ trust and consequently their perceptions of the helpfulness of virtual word-of-mouth, in the form of consumer reviews on the Web, that consumers have been increasingly relying upon, and test our propositions using observation data from an e-retail Website. Enabled by new information technologies, today’s consumers have real-time access to information, insight and analysis, giving them an unprecedented arsenal to help make purchase decisions (Delloitte, 2007). According to the Delloitte study, to build their knowledge arsenals, consumers are turning to virtual word-of-mouth (or e-WOM) in the form of online consumer reviews in large numbers, and these reviews are having a considerable impact on their purchase decisions. According to the Deloitte Consumer Products Group survey, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet. Of these, more than eight in 10 (82 percent) say their purchase decisions have been directly influenced by the reviews, either influencing them to buy a different product than the one they had originally been thinking about purchasing, or confirming the original purchase intention. The impact of word-of-mouth (WOM) on consumer decision-making has long been established by consumer psychologists (Brown and Reingen 1987; Feldman and Spencer 1965; Herr, Kardes and Kim 1991; among others). WOM information has been described as the most powerful form of marketing communication, and studies have shown that users find WOM more believable than commercially generated information (Hutton and Mulhern 2002). However, while e-WOM has some characteristics in common with traditional WOM, it is distinctive in that it shares other characteristics with marketer-generated communications, such as advertising, and additionally has unique ones of its own.
Intertemporal Linkages Between Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Markets Surrounding the Handover of Hong Kong
Dr. Joseph French, University of Northern Colorado, CO
The linkages between the stock markets of Hong Kong and Shanghai are examined in this paper for the period before, during and after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong. Return relationships of the two markets are shown to have changed after the handover. Variance decomposition and Granger Causality indicate an increasingly important role of the Shanghai stock market relative to that of the Hong Kong stock market. The two markets are shown to be cointegrated and results indicate that this cointegration has increased after the handover. The existence of linkages across different national stock markets has important implications for investors who are seeking diversification opportunities internationally. When linkages suggest co-movement between different markets, any one market would be representative of the behavior of the group of markets. This would effectively reduce the scope for portfolio diversification possibilities. This implication has increased interest in the topic of market linkages and led many researchers to investigate whether different markets are interrelated. This paper looks at the intemporal linkages between the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets for the periods before, during and after the handover of Hong Kong. The linkages across markets that will be examined include contemporaneous co-movements, causal relationships, responses to cross-market shocks, and long-run interdependence. The handover of Hong Kong to China was a historic event that has real economic implications for the countries of the Asia-Pacific Rim. That is why this event in history is not just symbolic, not is it a question solely of political ownership. The stated objective of the Chinese government is to develop Shanghai into a leading financial center by the year 2010 (Asian pacific report).
Dividend Policy Decisions
Dr. Gurdeep Chawla, National University, California
A company’s earnings are either distributed to shareholders or reinvested to finance projects. Dividend policy decisions involve level or amount of earnings that should be distributed to shareholders. Scholars have developed several theories to help managers in formulating dividend policies but the theories do not provide a hard-and-fast rule or clear guidelines. Actually, theories contradict each other by stating dividend policy is irrelevant to a firm’s value, advocating high dividends in some cases, and recommending low dividends in other cases. Empirical research has been inconclusive and does not validate a dividend theory. However, it has been helpful in explaining companies’ dividend policies, and investors’ reactions to dividend policies and changes in dividend policies. Managerial decisions in real world are usually guided by scholarly research and theories, and market and industry practices.This paper describes the dividend theories, dividend policies, and the factors managers consider important in formulating dividend policies. The paper begins with a review of literature and a discussion of dividend theories. It is followed by a description of dividend policies of companies in real world. Finally, managers’ view and important factors with regards to dividend policies are discussed.Merton Miller and Franco Modigliani (MM), the winners of Nobel prizes for their work in finance area, have argued (1) that a company’s dividend policy is irrelevant to its value. In other words, companies can pay no dividends, low dividends, or high dividends without impacting their stock prices. MM emphasized that a company’s value depends upon the types of investments it makes, the associated business risk, and the earnings generated. They argued that investors can generate their own dividends by selling their stock.
Reaching the Underserved: How a Summer Business Program Influences First Generation Students to Attend College
Dr. Issam Ghazzawi, University of La Verne, CA
Christine Jagannathan, University of La Verne, CA
This paper represents an outcome assessment of a community outreach program that targeted underserved students from three Southern California Unified School Districts. The outreach program was developed with a mission to overcome issues that usually restrict the college ambitions of the targeted population. Fifty junior high school students (27 women and 23 men) participated in a three-week business camp that introduced them to topics such as management and organization, marketing, finance and accounting, economics, and creating an organization website. All classes were delivered by volunteered professors of the College of Business and Public Management at the University of La Verne in conjunction with participating business and community leaders. Before the program, 78% of participants indicated their willingness to go to college, while in the post assessment survey 96% indicated their desire to attend college. Only 2% indicated as “not sure” and 2% abstained due to illness. The widening of college enrollment gaps based on race are striking when compared to the narrowing racial gaps in high school and test performance over the same period (Kane, 2001). Additionally, large gaps in college-going exist because of family income. According to Ellwood and Kane (2000): Eighty percent (80%) of the students from the top income quartile attended some type of post secondary institution within 20 months of their high school graduation, as compared with fifty-seven percent (57%) of those from the lowest income quartiles. The gaps by family income were particularly large in four-year college entrance, with 55 percent of the highest income youth attending a four-year college at some point and only 29% of the lowest income youth (p.3-4). The authors also noted that while college enrollment rates for all income groups grew between the high school classes of 1980/82 and 1992, such increases were larger for students who came from middle and higher income levels families.
A Multi-Criteria Decision Support System for Selecting Cell Phone Services
Andre Yang, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada
Dr. Sajjad Zahir, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada
Dr. Brian Dobing, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada
An increasing number of companies now provide cell phones for their employees. However, these organizations find selecting cell phone services to be complex with literally hundreds of rate plans, coverage areas and other factors to consider. A cell phone service vendor selection decision support system is designed and developed to determine the most cost-effective vendor and plans. Current business plans including pooling plans, designed for business users in the local market are incorporated into this system. A Search Decision Rule (SDR)-based algorithm, written in VB.NET, determines the most cost-effective vendor and plans. Critical non-cost factors which affect the selection process are determined from a survey conducted in the local community. Finally, an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)-based decision model is adopted to facilitate this decision-making process. Cell phones have achieved high levels of market penetration in a relatively short time. According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA, 2006), more than half of all Canadians are cell phone customers and 47% of all phone connections in Canada are wireless. For many organizations, equipping their employees with cell phones is an accepted operational cost. The industry-analyst firm Yankee Group estimates that businesses now spend a quarter of their telecommunications budgets on cell phone expenses (Allianceone, 2006). In Massachusetts, over 10% of cell phone bills are paid by employers (Cummings & Smith, 2005). Most areas have multiple cell phone service providers, and each typically provides a wide variety of plans with different cost structures. One Canadian company, which is admittedly in the business of helping organizations reduce their cell phone costs, claims that most companies are actually spending 20-50% more than they need to (Allianceone, 2006). There are several reasons for this. First, finding the most cost-effective plan from among so many choices is complex and time-consuming.
The Restructuring of the Banking Sector in Turkey After the Last Financial Crisis and Its Cost
Dr. Ýlhan Uludag, Professor, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the costs of the Banking Sector Restructuring Program. The results shows us that especially the state-owned banks has experienced the most radical change during this process. The process of restructuring the state-owned banks has four subheadings; i) Financial Restructuring, ii) Operational and Technological Restructuring, iii) Organizational and Human Resources Systems and iv) Market Structure. The most remarkable point in this whole process was the costs resulting from high interests paid by the state-owned banks in order to fund their short term debts and daily liquidity requirements. Consequently it is obvious that banking crises create additional taxes and lead to a decline in spending in countries in addition to a burden created in terms of lost national income. This burden is shouldered by the citizens of the country. Conditions prevailing in the banking sector were one of the main reasons behind the last financial crises witnessed in November 2000 and February 2001 in our country. Although necessary regulations were enacted in the sector in terms of regulation, supervision, and risk management as part of the stability program launched before the crisis, they could not be fully put into force yet. In addition, failure to take necessary steps in order to find lasting solutions to problems facing the sector has made the banking crisis unavoidable. Efficient operation of the banking sector, its failure to perform its intermediation functions due to the funding of public debts, high risks taken due to the exchange rate policy in force, and finally negative effects of the state-owned banks on the market mechanism may be listed as the main reasons for the banking crisis. The restructuring of the sector has been based on four fundamental factors aimed at achieving the following goals;
The Persuasive Effect of Popularity Claims in Advertising: An Informational Social Influence Perspective
Yu-Yeh Chiu, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
This study explores the persuasiveness of popularity claims embedded in advertising and determines that popularity claims delivered by highly expert sources lead to higher advertising believability and more favorable brand attitudes than those from inexpert sources. In addition, consumers’ ad skepticism moderates the effects of popularity claims. Results of the experiment suggest that when consumers’ ad skepticism is low, popularity claims with highly credible sources yield higher advertising believability and more favorable brand attitudes than popularity claims from less credible sources. However, when consumers’ ad skepticism is high, there is no difference between popularity claims, regardless of the credibility of the sources. Marketing literature demonstrates that others’ opinions can influence a consumer’s evaluation of a product (Burnkrant and Cousineau, 1975; Cohen and Golden, 1972; Wooten and Reed II, 1998). The potency of this social influence on a person’s attitude and behavior can be great, especially if exerted by a majority (Areni, Ferrell, and Wilcox 2000; Darke et al., 1998; Mackie, 1987; Maheswaran and Chaiken, 1991). Processes of social influence also likely occur in an advertising context. For example, advertisers and marketers often use popularity claims in an attempt to persuade consumers by asserting that a majority of consumers prefer, are satisfied by, or use the advertised product. Actual advertisements featuring popularity claims use a variety of sources, including Crest’s famous claim that “eight out of ten dentists recommend Crest.”
A Study on Process Capability Index Applied to Banking Service
Chui-Yen Chen, Yuan-Ze University and Lecturer, Chin-Min Institute of Technology, Taiwan
With Taiwan's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), local banks not only face local rivals, but also foreign competitors. Operating under a violent, competitive business climate, banks’ ability to overcome obstacles and survive the bloody competition will depend on whether their own business management is efficient and the quality of service can meet customers’ expectations and demands. Generally, available banking service can be classified into local and international service affairs. Banks will focus on both local and international customers by opening dedicated service windows. To allow for highly efficient and flexible service, banks oftentimes establish windows for common services, with engagement availabilities for both local and international banking service. The number of common service windows for both services should take into consideration workload during peak hours and off-peak hours. This research focuses on experimental subjects from general commercial banks. The process capability index (PCI) is applied to explore the efficiency of banking service during both peak hours and off-peak hours. The aim of this study is to make banking service vested with high efficiency and improved service quality. These advantages will attract more customer sources for banking management. For 20 years, our economic conditions have continued developing. Our government recognizes that further improved industries must be based on banking services marked by high efficiency and quality. Thus, the Finance Ministry, abiding by the bank codes stipulated and amended in July 1989, permitted the opening of 15 new banks in June 1991. Banks that had been at ease for a long time started to face new competition. People are free to select any bank they wish and this situation places banks in a business climate full of competitors. With Taiwan's entry into the WTO, however, local banks not only face local rivals, but also encounter foreign competitors.
A Resource Allocation Process Model of Firm’s New Technology in China: Based on Mechanical Industry Case
Dr. Zhilong Tian, Huazhong University of Science & Technology (HUST), Wuhan City, China
Wenchuan Wei, Huazhong University of Science & Technology (HUST), Wuhan City, China
Through a case study based on a firm in the mechanical industry, we find that the investment decision-making of firm’s new product technology is a process of selection, bargaining and studying over time, and spreading over multilevel of the management. It is influenced by Strategic context, organization context, organization distinctive capability, customers and capital providers. Those new product technologies that are in alignment with a firm's strategy ,organization measures and rewards system will be more likely to won the favor of strategic capital. This paper provides us with a new insight into analyzing firm's behavioral pattern and its evolving process. In the process of transforming to the market economy, the enterprises in China have encountered some problems: backwards of technology, lack of creativeness in technology, dependence on introduction and short of international competition. These problems have drawn the attention of the government, scholars and entrepreneurs. How to make a decision on technology investment of new products becomes a valuable research field. Most of the researches made by scholars have been focused on the meaning of technological innovation, the process of technological innovation, the spread of innovation, assessment of risks, and management etc (Amabile,1988; Rusell & Russel, 1992; Fujiaji,1996; Luowei, Lianyanhua & Fangxin,1995). However, in the past 20 years, as industrial environment and technological trend changes, most of researches concerning investment decision on new products technology in China have adopted such quantitative method as projects optimization decision models and financial management theories to help enterprises make decisions, while ignoring the selection behaviors performed by all-ranked managers who compete for scarce internal resources, and organizational context and motivation system, information system, strategy context, investors, customers’ demand etc.
Weather, Investor Sentiment and Stock Market Returns:Evidence from Taiwan
Hui-Chu Shu, National Taiwan University
This study examines the influence of weather on stock market returns and investor sentiment in the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The weather variables examined consist of temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. The empirical results show that the stock market returns and investor sentiment are significantly correlated with weather: the better the weather, the higher the returns and investor sentiment. Notably, this weather effect is more pronounced for individuals than for institutions. The findings of this study support the psychological argument that weather influences investor mood, which in turn alters investing behavior, and hence stock prices. Moreover, individual investors are demonstrated to be more likely to diverge from rationality in investments than are institutional investors. Building on the foundations of rational behavior and the efficient market, traditional financial theory assumes people always assess the accuracy and probability of possible outcomes with the aim of maximizing expected utility, and that asset prices will correctly and immediately reflect all of the correlated information. However, more and more empirical studies have found some anomalies in stock markets which cannot be perfectly explained in traditional ways. Therefore, financial economists have attempted to interpret the real phenomenon of the financial market from the prospect of cognitive psychology; hence, the field of behavioral finance emerged and opened a new area of economic and financial research. Weather has long played an important role in human life, and the impact of weather on mood and behavior has been well explored by psychologists (e.g. See the reviews of Howarth and Hoffman, 1984, and Keller, et al., 2005). As behavioral finance becomes one of the mainstream theories, the relationship between weather and stock returns has attracted considerable attention. Drawing on psychological literature, some studies have argued that the mood fluctuations induced by weather actually influence investors’ evaluations of assets, even though weather is irrelevant to asset fundamentals.
Bankruptcy Costs and Bond Valuation
Dr. Yan Alice Xie, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI
Dr. Howard Qi, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI
Dr. Hongming Huang, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Bankruptcy costs are an important factor in valuing a firm and its debt. The Leland-Toft (1996) model is one of the most important firm valuation models that consider bankruptcy costs and corporate debt tax shields. However, it treats bankruptcy costs as a fraction of the (unobserved) endogenously determined bankruptcy threshold, making the model difficult to test empirically and implement in practice. This paper provides an approach to solve these difficulties. Our model is easier to implement and test while preserving the attractive features of the Leland-Toft model, such as endogenously determined leverage. Bankruptcy costs are an important factor in valuing a firm and its debt. While many firm valuation models built on the tradeoff theory come up with the consensus that the default likelihood and bankruptcy costs are two major factors for pricing a risky bond, how to measure bankruptcy costs and account for them in a model still pose great challenges to empirical tests and model application. For example, models by Leland (1994), and Leland and Toft (1996) (hereafter the LT model) show how to endogenously optimize capital structure and thereby predict the bond value. However, in their models bankruptcy costs are measured as a fraction of the endogenously determined bankruptcy threshold. Despite the elegance of the model, one difficulty is that the threshold is unobserved and therefore the bankruptcy costs may be difficult to accurately account for. Empirically, this makes advanced empirical methods such as Maximum Likelihood and Kalman Filter less reliable. This paper develops a model by modifying the LT model to address this issue. In particular, we measure bankruptcy costs based on bond’s face value. This allows us to incorporate bankruptcy costs more accurately in the model because of the greater availability of the data. At the same time, we preserve the desirable features of the original LT model, such as the endogeneity in optimizing the capital structure. Next we review the issues in greater details. Leland and Toft (1996) propose a tradeoff model that endogenously determines the bankruptcy boundary by maximizing equity value and firm value at the expense of bondholders.
Health, Human Capital and Economic Growth: An International Comparison Study
Mei-Luan Huang, Nan-Jeon Institute of Technology, Tainan, Taiwan
Jen-Te Hwang, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan
Mei-Rong Chen, Bureau of National Health Insurance, Taiwan
In recent years, the studies of the relationship between health human capital and economic growth are gradually increasing. This study adopts Cobb-Douglas production function and uses panel data from 1993 to 2003 of OECD countries as well as Taiwan to conduct an empirical study. The aim of this study is to explore the influence, the contribution rate and the human capital external effect of the healthy human capital, the education human capital, and the physical capital grows in the economy respectively. The results of this study show that the human capital contributes most to the economic growth of OECD country and Taiwan. Especially, the human capital in health human capital is the largest factor, education human capital is the second, and the human capital external effect is the next. Although the contribution rate of health human capital of high income country group is lower than the low income country group, the high income country group human capital has the external effect. The high income country group enhances relatively education human capital and physical capital with the external economy effect. However, the contribution of healthy human capital in low income country group directly reflects in health human capital, therefore the human capital does not have the external effect. Economic growth has been the goal of endeavor of every country and it is also an important indicator for measuring the life quality of people of a country. Hence, economic growth has long been the center of gravity of study of macroeconomics. In the view point of macroeconomics, the two main production factors in economic growth are labor and capital, and the total production function of a country may be simplified as Q=F (L,K), when Q represents production, L represents labor production factor and K represents capital production factor. The dynamics and source behind economic growth of a country are, before industrial revolution, growth in labor and after industrial revolution, accumulation of capital. In the traditional economic growth theories, they stress mostly in labor and capital. Therefore, Nurkse (1953) believed that the developing countries with ample supply of labor, as long as there is sufficient capital, the economy will naturally take off. However, the facts showed that with labor and capital, the rapid economic development is not warranted.
Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality: The Case of Croatia
Jelena Legcevic, J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia
The conceptualization of service quality and the development of measurement tools and techniques aimed at assessing service quality and customer satisfaction levels have been a central theme of recent years. The research has examined the customer expectations and perceptions of service quality in health sector, using the original version of SERVQUAL instrument. The research hypothesis is that, between the expected and obtained service, there is a gap regarding dimensions of reliability, trust, tangibility, complaisance and identification between the service provider and service user. The goal of this paper is to measure the customer satisfaction and service quality in Croatia, i.e. in the Croatian health sector. The research has been carried out in the city of Osijek and its wider surrounding and 434 patients were surveyed regarding the service quality of the general practice doctors. Data were collected using questionnaires in two parts. The first part is concerned with patient’s perceptions of their health care doctor in general, while the second part is concerned with health care doctor in particular. The results have emphasized a negative gap between perception and expectation of given type of service. The biggest negative gaps are noted in dimensions of reliability and identification, which shows that patients are the least satisfied with promptness of doctor’s services and trust in the medical staff. The application of quality-management practices by manufacturers and service providers has become increasingly widespread. Quality is considered to be one of the management’s crucial competitive priorities and a prerequisite for the sustenance and growth of firms. The quest for quality improvement has become a highly desired objective in today´ s intensive competitive markets.
Marketing a European Experience to the Less Traveled
Patricia P. Carver, Bellarmine University, Kentucky
Dr. John T. Byrd, Bellarmine University, Kentucky
This article describes an innovative approach to implementing international experience programs in business schools in which resources have limited the number of interested students, particularly where working part time to pay tuition is a necessity. The article discusses the need for international experiences due to globalization, reasons for students not selecting courses which enable them to travel abroad, and an approach to overcoming obstacles. Finally, a description is provided of the content and approach of a small liberal arts school with an AACSB business program. This program is based on the rationale that global awareness is critical to success for the business student in today’s global society, but must be realistic given the nature of the student body and resources available to them. In the past several years, numerous business schools have attempted to internationalize their curriculums, students, and faculty. Accreditation bodies insist on expanding assessment activities at the program and course level. There have also been efforts at developing a model for international business courses that connect learning objectives to delivery methods. (Kashlak et al) Suggestions have also been made that the globalization of business education involves more than additional courses. This view focuses on building alliances with schools internationally. (Green et al) We have also seen attempts to rank and assess the quality of programs as well as the criteria. In this instance, faculty quality, research and the number and range of international business courses were the most mentioned criteria. (Ball et al) There is no doubt, that globalization is becoming an increasingly important issue in business education, and that experiencing different cultures is a value-added dimension of any program. Business schools in the U.S. have historically ignored the cultural dimension of education, and the business community has become increasingly cognizant of this fact. With the growth that has taken place in international business, student demand for knowledge about foreign business has increased. (Adler etc.) Increasingly, students are seeking international work and immersing themselves in other cultures and languages.
The Impact of Data Mining on the Managerial Decision-Making Process: A Strategic Approach
Dr. Adem Ogut, University of Selcuk, Konya, Turkey
Ayþe Kocabacak, University of Selcuk, Konya, Turkey
M. Tahir Demirsel, University of Selcuk, Konya, Turkey
The amount of data using by business enterprises seems to go on and on increasing, and there is no end in sight. Among these data clusters, organizations should extract the effective data in order to make appropriate decisions. Organizations need effective tools for making correct, appropriate and informed business decisions. In this context, data mining is one of the powerful technology supporting companies for several decision making issues such as customer attrition, customer retention, customer segmentation, cross-selling, fraud detection, risk management, targeted ads, sales forecast, payment or default analysis, and internal control. In the light of these considerations, the goal of this paper is to capture the state of data mining utilization for strategic decision making processes in the business organizations. Furthermore, the future trends about data mining as one of the commonly used tools for the mamagerial decision-making process are elaborated. Companies collect and store huge volumes of data about their operations and their customers as part of their daily business in order to make effective managerial decisions (Klosgen and Zytkow, 2002). Data exist both within an organization and also outside its boundaries. By combining elements of these resources and analyzing data variables with apposite methodologies, firms can increase their understanding of how effectively their strategic initiatives perform in the competitive environment (Kudyba, 2004). In this context, data mining is a collection of techniques providing an efficient way of analyzing these voluminous databases in order to succeed in the business life. Data mining was emerged in late 1980s and developed in 1990s. It has its foundations in the fields of statistics and a specialized area within artificial intelligence (AI) known as machine learning. Each field has its own rules and techniques for problem solving. A basic difference between a statistical technique and a machine learning technique is in the assumptions, in other words, the nature of the data to be processed (Roiger and Geatz, 2003).
A Study on E-Resource Needs for the Dept. of Hospitality Management Students
Mu-Chen Wu, Hungkuang University Library and Chung Hua University, Taiwan
Professor Ling-Feng Hsieh, Chung Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
University libraries have undergone major changes in terms of information collection, production, conveyance, and use following information and communication technology development in recent years. As stated in many literatures, E-resource is the most frequently used, and preferred type of information for teachers and students from different departments. E-resource covers: Online full-text and retrieval database, E-journal, E-newsletter, E-reference resource, and internet resource etc. Hospitality Management is one of the most popular courses at the moment. It is also the core service industry in the country. In recent years, Dept. of Hospitality Management has been established in colleges and universities in the nation. It has also become one of the development focuses for many schools. On the part of these schools, considerable amounts of resources have been put tin to enhance the teaching environment, and maintain advantageousness when competing against other schools. The author has devoted in university library education for over 10 years. He has worked as the supervisor for the university library for the past 10 years. He not only taught students of Dept. of Hospitality Management on library resource applications, he also played the role of a consultant during resource collection. Therefore, based on the E-resource needs of students of Dept. of Hospitality Management, analysis and studies are conducted in this research through questionnaire surveys and statistical methods. Hopefully, the students’ actual E-resource needs will be found. E-resource related data is expected to be collected for students of Dept. of Hospitality Management in the future, which shall serve as reference during decision-making. University libraries have undergone major changes in terms of information collection, production, conveyance, and use following information and communication technology development in recent years. As stated in many literatures, E-resource is the most frequently used, and preferred type of information for teachers and students from different departments. E-resource covers: Online full-text and retrieval database, E-journal, E-newsletter, E-reference resource, and internet resource etc.
Workers’ Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment: Mediator Variable Relationships of Organizational Commitment Factors
Dr. Haluk Tanrýverdi, Sakarya University, Turkey
The objectives of this study are to: 1) examine the relationships between workers’ job satisfaction and the affective and continuance commitment dimensions of organizational commitment; 2) to decide whether a mediator variable exists between job satisfaction and organizational commitment factors; 3) and to understand the influence of demographic factors such as the workers’ age, educational background, job position in the organization, and gender on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. To examine the relationships between job satisfaction and organizational commitment, this research surveyed 595 people working at small, medium, and large organizations operating in the Marmara region in Turkey. Data collected are analyzed using SPSS 15.0 and are evaluated by being subjected to factor analysis, reliability analysis (Cronbach’s alpha), regression, and correlation analysis. The more a worker takes pleasure in his/her work, the more satisfaction he/she will get from his/her work. On the other hand, dissatisfaction indicates that the worker is not content with the organization’s reward policies and level of organizational development. The main difference between the concepts of job satisfaction and organizational commitment can be summarized as: “I love my job” and “I love the organization I work for.” While job satisfaction relates to the worker’s attitudes toward his/her job, organizational commitment relates to the worker’s attitudes toward the organization for which he/she works. Despite job satisfaction, it is thought that organizational commitment occurs slowly, and is not affected by the daily flow of the job; whereas job satisfaction is more easily influenced by workflow. Organizational commitment expresses how bonded the worker feels toward the organization. It is believed that organizational commitment affects organizational performance positively; in this framework, organizational commitment decreases undesired traits such as late arrivals, absenteeism, and turnover. Important factors that inspire people to work are accomplishing expectations as a result of their exertion, and that they will be happy in proportion to the extent that these expectations are fulfilled.
Large Firms & Small Firms: Job Quality, Innovation and Economic Development
Dr. Richard Judd, University of Illinois at Springfield, IL
Dr. Ronald D. McNeil, University of Illinois at Springfield, IL
Economic development strategies and methods must change. Why? Competition for new plants or companies to locate in communities no longer comes from other communities, counties or states. Competition for plants and companies has become global in today’s flat economic landscape. Globalization of services and production along with markets for goods, capital, services and currencies impacts decision-making for all companies. However, within the United States, most federal programs for economic development are written for the economy of the 20th century, not that of the 21st century. In order to successfully compete in the global environment, some experts are abandoning traditional approaches to economic development. Rather than relying solely on recruiting large firms with tax breaks, financial incentives and other inducements, more progressive economic development experts are beginning to extend efforts to support the growth of existing enterprises and to promote the practice of building businesses from the ground up. The 21st Century Economic Development Model has three complementary features which were not part of the 20th century approach to economic development. The three features of the 21st Century Economic Development Model are: (1) development and support of entrepreneurs and small businesses; (2) expansion and improvement of the infrastructure; and (3) development or recruitment of a skilled and educated workforce. These new approaches are founded upon improved education from kindergarten through higher education; infrastructure development by the community, region, state, and country; creation and maintenance of an attractive business climate; and improvement in the quality of life within a community. The over-riding reason for the change in approach to economic development is clear: experience demonstrates that economic development strategies for attracting large firms are unlikely to be fruitful and, even if successful, may come at a great cost.
Total Quality Management Underpins Information Quality Management
Mary Levis, Dublin City University, Ireland
Dr. Malcolm Brady, Dublin City University, Ireland
Dr. Markus Helfert, Dublin City University, Ireland
The importance of quality is widely acknowledged throughout the world, not only for avoiding failure and reducing costs but also for gaining competitive advantage. The focus of this article is to reflect on two approaches of quality management that have gained popularity during the last decades: Total Quality Management (TQM) and Information Quality Management (IQM).The goal of this study is trace the roots of Information Quality to the Total Quality philosophy of the quality gurus that gained popularity in the 1960's such as Deming, Crosby, Juran, Feigenbaum and Ishikawa, and illustrate how TQM underpins IQM. Professionals rely on data to successfully carry out their work and the quality of their information source impacts on their decisions. According to , poor data quality costs the typical company from 10% to 20% of revenue. The goal of Information Quality Management (IQM) is to increase the value of high quality information assets . Poor information quality is a barrier to effective decision making. What signifies useful information for a manager may not be deemed useful information to the worker on the ground . On a daily basis the media reports on the impact of poor quality in the healthcare sector ,,,,. The traditional approach to quality predominantly focuses on the technical aspects of quality paying little attention to the soft systems (human side) of quality . This article reflects on two quality approaches that have gained popularity during the last decades: Total Quality Management (TQM) and Information Quality Management (IQM). We will attempt to trace the roots of IQM to the TQM philosophy instigated by the quality gurus, which will show how TQM underpins IQM. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section 2 will trace the evolution of quality and its many definitions. Section 3 defines TQM. Sections 4 outlines IQM, Section 5 shows how TQM underpins IQM. Section 6 gives a summary and conclusions.
Leadership Competencies in Job Advertisements
Dr. Muberra Yüksel, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey
Being in an era where old patterns no longer function, leadership as a future-oriented directing role gained even more significance in the 21st century. Lack of transparency, accountability and credibility of both financial and ethical issues as a consequence of inadequate leadership have led to numerous scandals and eroded the reputation and legitimacy of both numerous leaders as well as institutions, lately. In response to these challenges to leadership, never before has the need for leadership in organizations been so great. These issues, have demanded further look into leadership competencies as the key intangibles that leverage strategic competitive advantage and consequently, recruitment of the right leaders has become a significant challenge for all organizations, recently. Prior research have mostly focused on leadership styles and compared these styles against each other. The significance of competencies of leaders particularly in executive search and their advertising has been mostly overlooked (Jenn, 2005). Although competency models of leadership and assessments are often largely employed for recruitment along with training and development, in the latter the competencies are designed through an overhaul of conventional contextual framework and used more effectively (Naquin & Holton, 2006). While the core behavioral characteristics for an effective leader are examined extensively by the US studies (e.g., Bernthal, Paul R. & Wellins, Richard, 2006) the common occupational norms among the EU member countries (e.g., Becking, Koen & Hopman, Nikol, 2005) are also being explored based on task versus relationship oriented leadership. What leadership competencies are used for attracting and selecting the desired leaders for today’s leaders in job advertisements is the main research question. Probing into the differences between the competencies chosen for advertisements of different levels of hierarchy and if the key leadership competencies are in line with the global or regional competence norms are other aims of this study.
Objects Discovery in Database Systems
Dr. Qiyang Chen, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ
The paper presents a framework of database reverse engineering processes that recover the semantic objects and relational patterns from existing relational database tables. This framework is for extracting hidden structures in order to construct a new model that benefits from object orientation and perspectives. Some major issues and strategies that occur with existing reverse engineering approaches are discussed. One problem concerns the extensive amount of information that must be gathered either automatically or from users (designers). Another problem concerns the actual state of legacy databases that may lack of original design blueprint due to various changes. The main idea is to form an intermediate schema that involves both relations and objects structures. Database systems are essential as sources of competitive advantage for organizations. These systems play a central role since they have to incorporate fast changes resulting from the evolutions that characterize nowadays business world. Many existing database systems are referred as legacy systems that are undergoing numerous updates by generations of analysts, database administrators, users, or database developers. They generally suffer from poor documentation either on original design or subsequent updates. Furthermore, uncontrolled modifications introduce inconsistencies in structures and data. They become to be troublesome since they are no longer able to effectively support new and frequent changes that are necessary to organizations to gain competitive advantages.
Asset Allocation and the Solo Practitioner
Dr. Ricardo M. Ulivi, Professor, California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA
Lidia Luminita Pop., California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA
This paper recommends an easy to implement, disciplined approach to asset allocation by following the asset allocation policies of CalPERS - the largest public pension fund in the United States – which manages close to $250 billion on behalf of nearly 1,500,000 individuals, and has a research staff of nearly 180 professionals. They mostly manage money for retirees, so their investment objectives will be similar to the clients of a solo practitioner. The authors of this paper have tried to examine whether a solo practitioner can match the performance results achieved by CalPERS by following their asset allocation policies and using iShares ETFs to implement these policies. The authors obtained CalPERS asset allocations since 1984, and replicated it for the period ending June 30, from 1996 to 2006. They then chose iShares ETFs, as the vehicles with which to implement the asset allocation policies. For the chosen time period, the average return for the Simulated CalPERS portfolio was 9.41% gross of fees and transaction costs. This result is nearly identical to the actual performance of CalPERS for the same period, or 9.51%. In summary, following CalPERS’ asset allocation policies will give solo practitioners a disciplined and proven approach developed by a major money manager, at no cost since the asset allocation data is available on the CalPERS website.
A Fuzzy MCDM Application for Evaluation of Factoring from the Purchaser’s Perspective
Prof. Chih-Young Hung, National Chiao-Tung University, Institute of Management of Technology, Taiwan
Yi-Hui Chiang, National Chiao-Tung University, Institute of Management of Technology &
Ta-Hwa Institute of Technology, Department of International Trade, Taiwan, R.O.C
Factoring is a financial service that enables companies to sell their accounts receivable to a factor in exchange for cash. The market for factoring in Taiwan has been growing at substantial rates, and most banking institutions are now actively offering the service. In this paper, we present a fuzzy multiple criteria decision-making (FMCDM) approach to factoring evaluation from the perspective of the purchaser. By evaluating the client, compliance with firm policy and the customer, the FMCDM approach is applied to investigate the A/R purchase for factoring industries in Taiwan. Examples of three alternatives are used to illustrate the process of choosing the best alternative, and we find the difference between the factoring operation and traditional credit policy in the decision-making process. International factoring in the modern, unpredictable global market could be difficult unless firms have appropriate evaluation strategies. We believe that our study provides a scientific framework for making critical decisions on factoring proposals.
The Impact of Innovation and Competitive Intensity on Positional Advantage and Firm Performance
Dr. Weijun He, Huazhong University of Science and Technology & Three Gorges University, P.R. China
Dr. Ming Nie, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei Province, P.R.C
Innovation has been long considered to be a pivotal factor for establishing a competitive edge. However, there has been little empirical work with regard to the conversion of innovation into positional advantage which in turn facilitates firm performance and its contextual dependence. The paper aims to investigate the impact of innovation on positional advantage and firm performance, and to examine the moderating effect of competitive intensity. A conceptual framework is tested on the basis of developing structural equation models using data from a survey of 238 optoelectronic firms in Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone in P.R. China. The results indicate that innovation plays an important role directly and indirectly, through the creation of positional advantage, in enhancing firm performance. The findings also show that the effects of innovation on positional advantage and firm performance are contingent on competitive intensity. The author discusses the theoretical and managerial implications in light of the empirical findings.
The Role of Knowledge Management for Achieving to World-Class Manufacturing
Dr. Mohammad R.Hamidizadeh, Management & Accounting College, Shahid Beheshti University
Dr. Hassan Farsijani, Management & Accounting College, Shahid Beheshti University
The range of techniques associated with competitive manufacturing has expanded rapidly since the inception of MRP in the 1960s. Schonberger (1986) integrated these techniques into the generic term world-class manufacturing (WCM). The range and sophistication of these techniques place WCM status beyond the aspirations and competence of many enterprises. In order to have sufficient level on WCM Knowledge can be managed like the other production assets KM appeared in this area. Knowledge management is as an open and a dynamic system that use different feedback loops and functions to update and promote the organizational knowledge. For the most part, knowledge management efforts have focused on developing new applications of information technology to support the capture, retrieval, and distribution of explicit knowledge. The paper explores how the concept of knowledge management can be made relevant to WCM culture, through three case studies based on small to large sized manufacturing companies experiencing both rapid growth and increasing international competition. The result of this pilot study indicates that the major obstacle to implementing a WCM culture is the lack of expertise or resources in conducting the lack of employees’ understanding, education and training in carrying out the process.
A Study on Parallel Blended Learning: A Case of a Beauty Course in the Beauty Science Department of Chienkuo Technology University
Pei-Ling Wu, Chienkuo Technology University
Jaw-Sin Su, Chinese Culture University
Ching-San Chiang, Chienkuo Technology University
To extend the concept of blended learning, a combination of horizontal extended and vertical extended learning can be used. In this study, we developed the parallel blended learning model, as different resources may be used at one time to teach by a blend of traditional learning. The course related to beauty was developed by using three teaching methods: sample demonstration, theory, exercises and demonstration, and a combination of all three. The curriculum plan, the execution of that plan, and the evaluation of the effect and achievement would be given. To prove that the parallel blended learning model can be used in a university course, a second year course in the Beauty Science Department of Cheinkuo Technology University in central Taiwan was used as the example of this case study. The title of this course was Beauty Performance. It was determined that the most efficient model of teaching was the course taught by a team of teachers, with an all-in-one beauty center.
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