The Business Review, Cambridge

Vol. 21 * Number 1 * Summer. 2013

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC   *   ISSN 1553 - 5827 

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The Expanding Business Landscape of Minority-Owned Firms in the United States, 2002-2007

Dr. Falih M. Alsaaty, Bowie State University, MD

 

ABSTRACT

The aim of this paper was to investigate the share of minority-owned firms in business ownership in the United States and explore their sector distribution from 2002 to 2007. The paper found that the firms’ business landscape had been rapidly expanding as market opportunities became more plentiful, and legal incentives made it more attractive for minority entrepreneurs to invest. Although the overwhelming majority of the firms are small with limited resources, their contributions to the country’s economic growth and prosperity are undeniable. It is highly likely that their role will accelerate in the future with improvement in the country’s economic environment. As is the case with the small business community in general, minority-owned firms need to acquire additional national support to become pervasive and economically more influential.  The United States has in recent years witnessed a rapid increase in the creation of business firms and in the diversity of their ownership. For instance, the number of employer and non-employer firms increased from 23 million in 2002 to 27.1 million in 2007, an increase of 18 percent. As is well-known, the U.S. private sector is the lifeline of the county’s economic system. The economy is built upon and sustained by founding and growing a constant flow of business firms. The contributions of the firms to the country’s economic and technological power are enormous and widely discussed in the literature (e.g., Bruce, Deskins, Hill, and Rork, 2009; Ahlstrom, 2010; Libaers and Meyer, 2011; Spilling, 2011). An important – and rapidly growing – segment of the business landscape in the United States is the minority-owned firms. Ownership diversity is the embodiment of the country’s cultural, religious, and educational freedom and variety. The U.S. Census Bureau provides data for businesses owned by female, equally male/female, and ‘some other race’. The Bureau also classifies ownership of minority-owned businesses into five major categories, as follows:

 

Commodities as an Asset Class: A Time-Varying Analysis of Investment Performance

Dr. Mitchell Ratner, Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ

 

ABSTRACT

Given the importance of asset co-movement in the reduction of portfolio risk, this study examines the relationship between commodities and U.S. equities from 1991-2010.  GARCH dynamic conditional correlation (DCC) analysis indicates low, but volatile correlations between U.S. equities and commodities.  A GARCH-in-mean model is applied to identify common macroeconomic shocks to the DCC model.  A sensitivity analysis performed on a hypothetical portfolio of historical data finds that long-term commodity investment provides a small benefit as a defensive asset given its low correlation with U.S. equities.  However, the diversification benefit (or loss) from commodity investment is dependent on the type of commodity investment selected.  The sensitivity analysis is repeated using a bootstrap simulation procedure to verify the potential benefits of commodities in a long-term portfolio.Imperfect correlation among investments is the foundation of most asset allocation strategies.  The potential benefit of portfolio diversification increases for investors who identify assets that have relatively low correlation with U.S. stocks.  As global equity markets continue to converge, investors need to seek out alternative assets to further gain from diversification.  Commodities are considered assets that move with relative independence from stocks.  In addition to diversification benefits, commodity holdings can serve as stand-alone investments.  Derivative contracts on commodities, long the domain of hedgers and speculators, have been available in the U.S. since the 19th century.  Given the evolution of investing, investors now have the opportunity to easily purchase commodity-based investments using mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and exchange traded notes (ETNs). This study investigates the impact of commodity investment on a portfolio of U.S. equities from 1991-2010.  It is demonstrated that the relatively low time-varying correlation of commodities with the U.S. stock market offers potential portfolio risk reduction, but is dependent on the type of commodity investment selected.  The co-movement between assets is calculated through the use of a GARCH dynamic conditional correlation (DCC) model.  The influence of macroeconomic variables on the DCC estimates between commodities and U.S. stocks is examined with a GARCH-in-mean model. 

 

Large Shareholders and Firms’ Information Asymmetry

Dr. Joseph E. Trainor, St. John’s University, Queens, New York

 

ABSTRACT

Legislators and regulators alike have begun to recognize the important role that large shareholders play in corporate monitoring and recently passed legislation which allows these influential owners greater rights into corporate affairs.  I investigate the association between large shareholders and firms’ information asymmetry.  Specifically, I identify firms’ largest shareholders and construct two measures of ownership heterogeneity based on the type and monitoring aggressiveness of the large shareholders present in a firm.  Applying these measures, I examine whether large shareholder heterogeneity is associated with the variation in firms’ information asymmetry.  Using bid-ask spreads as a measure of information asymmetry between firm insiders and outsiders, I find that the presence of large shareholders is positively associated with firms’ information asymmetry.  These findings are consistent with economic bonding theory and suggest that large shareholders contribute to the information gap between firm insiders and outsiders.  The implications of this study should be of interest to investors, regulators, and other capital market participants.  Specifically, investors and creditors may find the results helpful in evaluating current and future investment decisions.  Regulators may also use the results when considering the impact of recent regulatory changes that allow these influential owners greater rights into corporate affairs.  I investigate the association between large shareholders and firms' information asymmetry.  Specifically, I examine whether the type and monitoring aggressiveness of large shareholders present in a firm are associated with firms' information asymmetry. The recent economic downturns, increased large shareholder activism, and new Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules allowing large shareholders greater proxy access motivate my research.  Prior research suggests that large shareholders are able to influence a variety of corporate policies, such as investment strategy, manager compensation, and finance decisions, but little evidence exists on how large shareholders are related to firms' level of information asymmetry.  In those instances when the extant accounting literature does consider the role of large shareholders, an implicit assumption is that all large shareholders share similar investment preferences, skills, and monitoring ability.

 

I.R.S. Agents Have Unckecked Discretion: U.S. District Court Holds that Actions Taken By IRS Agents in Their Official Capacity Are Immune from A Bivens Lawsuit

Dr. Kay M. Poston, Professor and Dr. Brad R. Johnson, Francis Marion University, Florence, S.C.

 

INTRODUCTION

In Johnson v. Barr, infra., individual taxpayers complained against individual I.R.S. agents for money damages in a “personal capacity” claim, within the context of a Bivens action. In addition, the taxpayers prayed for equitable relief (i.e., declaratory and injunctive relief) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 & 2202 to enjoin the individual I.R.S. agents from depriving the taxpayers of their procedural due process rights (to “notice” and “opportunity to be heard”) under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In Johnson, et al. v. Barr, et al., CA No. 7:11-cv-104 (E.D.N.C. October 1, 2012) (Doc 31), the U.S. District Court ordered the individual taxpayers’ complaint dismissed in its entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In dismissing the complaint, the Court held that actions taken by individual I.R.S. agents, within the context of an I.R.S. tax audit, are immune from “personal capacity” claims in a Bivens lawsuit, if such actions are taken by the individual I.R.S. agents in their official capacity. In addition, the Court held that actions taken by individual I.R.S. agents, within the context of an I.R.S. tax audit, are immune from declaratory and injunctive relief, if such actions are taken by the individual I.R.S. agents in their official capacity. Based upon its holdings, the Court determined that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction and ordered the taxpayers’ complaint dismissed. By means of a case study approach, this article argues that Johnson v. Barr, supra., has debilitating implications for taxpayers who are subject to (1) an adverse audit examination of their federal income tax returns and (2) subsequent assessment and collection of taxes, interest and penalties. Specifically, within the context of an adverse audit, the fact that an I.R.S. agent has unchecked discretion, with regard to actions taken in his official capacity, has a debilitating effect upon the taxpayer (and the taxpayer’s representative) in arguing against adverse tax positions taken by said agent. More specifically, if the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s representative know that the I.R.S. agent, acting in his official capacity within the context of an tax audit, can act with impunity in a manner that deprives the taxpayer of her civil rights, which would otherwise be protected by the U.S. Constitution in a Bivens action, the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s representative will remain impotent in responding to the IRS agent, for fear of retaliation.

 

The Effects of Piracy and Counterfeiting on the International Economy

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

Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

 

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates Devalue of Real Money, Inflation or Price Increases, Businesses Face Loss, Confidence and Acceptability of Currency Decreases, Consumer Goods, Software, Music, and Movies - Illegal Downloading or Simply a File Sharing and their effects on business and countries. Pirating is when one intentionally copies the name, shape, or look of another product in order to steal the initial product's sales.  There is a plethora of ways that one can commit an act of piracy.  The range can go from similar or sound alike names to the forgery of pharmaceuticals to the production of fake auto and airplane replacement parts.  Losses from these illegal and unethical practices are estimated to be $200 billion per year, and growing at a very fast pace.  In this paper, we will be discussing different types of piracy, counterfeiting and things of that nature while also discussing its effects at the international level. A growing issue revolving around international trade is the concern of counterfeiting. Counterfeiting can occur in many different ways, each taking its toll on a countries economic position.  Counterfeiting for the purposes of this study is the fraudulent replication of a product which is then passed off as a genuine product.  Commonly counterfeited products include but are not limited to: currency, clothing and consumer goods, software, music and other intellectual properties. Criminology offers two possible means as a way to combat a criminal behavior, these are preventives and deterrents.  The purpose of a preventive measure is to raise the costs of engaging in the criminal activity by making the offender spend more money and effort in order to effectively commit the crime.  A country’s measure at making currency more difficult to replicate is an example of a preventive measure.  As currencies are improved to prevent replication, a counterfeiter will be forced to spend more money to be able to effectively copy the currency. The purpose of a deterrent is to create a legal sanction to keep individuals from engaging in the illegal activity in the first place. An example of a deterrent is fines associated with littering or speeding.  They are designed to keep one from engaging in that activity.  As with any other crime preventive and deterrent controls have been put in place to fight against computer hardware and software abuse and the piracy of other goods (BSA, 2009).

 

Corporate Misdeeds: Unanticipated Consequences

Dr. John F. Hulpke, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

 

ABSTRACT

In 1758, Benjamin Franklin wrote "for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost."  In 1966 General Motors used dirty tricks to discredit Ralph Nader instead of improving auto safety. GM’s tricks were discovered and Nader became famous. After a lawsuit with GM, Nader was also financially secure. GM created Ralph Nader.  In the year 2000, Nader ran for the US presidency. In Florida where Bush received a few hundred more votes than Gore, Nader received 97,000 votes. Without these votes for Nader, the results would have been different for the year 2000 US presidential election. One can credit the Bush victory to General Motors.  Would we have started working on Global Climate Change sooner if Gore had won? No one can say, but we can say, GM misdeeds were one factor leading to the election of George W. Bush in 2001, and Al Gore was NOT elected US president.  As Barry Mitnick puts it, “Indeed, for a topic as old and widely studied as corporate political activity (CPA), it is astonishing how little we know” (Mitnick, 1993).  Although we still know little, we do have a base from which to continue. The role of business in US elections serves as one point of beginning. Thus scholars are appropriately looking at campaign financing (Mizruchi, 1992), "soft money" (Beaver, 1998; Sorauf, 1992),  Political Action Committees (PACs) (Eismeier & Pollack, 1988; Milyo, Primo, & Groseclose, 2000), lobbying (Levitan & Cooper, 1984), and similar topics. Other researchers have looked at corporate influence in Washington and other capitals (Mintz & Cohen, 1976). Individual case studies may help start the analytic process. Some have taken the case approach to look at corporate misconduct and the governing process (Estes, 1996). In the next few pages we will build on these earlier works to consider one question: Can corporate misdeeds be connected to the year 2000 US presidential election? In such a close election, any of a number of things could be said to have made the difference. With a little imagination, one can even say that misdeeds of one firm, General Motors, put George W. Bush in the White House.  Much will be said and written about the selection of George W. Bush as 41st president of the United States of America.  Some will point to the fact that the loser in the race, Vice President Al Gore, lost the vote in his home state of Tennessee. Others point to Arkansas, another state Bush won although Gore "should" have won.

 

Marketing Using Your Website

Dr. Stacy M. P. Schmidt, California State University, Bakersfield

Dr. David L. Ralph, The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management, Pepperdine University

 

ABSTRACT

Now that the technology world upon us and the ability to research is at the consumers’ finger tips it is vital now more than ever to have a website.  A website is used as a marketing tool in a variety of ways.  A website is most commonly used to provide a means to share information on the company and the products or services directly to the consumer.  Consumers can use a website to research about the technical specifications, product features, warranties, and uses of a product or service.  Video tutorials of products and services can be made available to consumers through the website as well demonstrating how to use, troubleshoot, or just an overview of the product.  The website as a marketing tool is so valuable and used so widely it is vital that attention is paid to the website regularly to assure proper functioning and accuracy of information or it can change from a marketing tool that is positive to a negative aspect of the company and can even be detrimental to the company.  Companies are often amazed and shocked when they are informed of problems with their websites that they were never aware of.  The fact that outsiders are identifying the issues in itself is an indicator of a problem.  Companies are often neglecting their websites because they themselves are not using the website and forget to keep it up to date and working properly or some even think someone else was “taking care of that”.  One company was horrified to find out from this review that the links in their website actually took the customer directly to the competitor.   This paper shows a case study of three companies that have failed to maintain their website as a marketing tool and the results of the neglect or have not fully used the website to its potential.  Now that the technology world upon us and the ability to research is at the consumers’ finger tips it is vital now more than ever to have a website.  A website is used as a marketing tool in a variety of ways.  A website is described by Downes (2007) as a “window to the outside world” that is often the “first point of contact for a perspective customer”.  In addition, he found that a successful business utilizes a marketing strategy of maintaining a website to promote their business.

 

The Valuation Effects of International Cross-Listings

Dr. Olga Dodd, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

 

ABSTRACT

The study examines the valuation effects of cross-listings and compares the gains in corporate valuation that result from cross-listing on the US, UK, and continental European stock exchanges. The findings suggest that, on average, cross-listing of shares enhances corporate valuation but the gains are dependent on the destination market. In particular, cross-listing in the US results in significant positive excess returns, while cross-listings in the UK and continental Europe do not enhance corporate valuation. Further, the study examines the variation in the valuation effects of cross-listings depending on the firm’s home market, firm characteristics and listing characteristics. The findings suggest that cross-listings in the US result in more significant increase in valuation for small firms, for firms that list their shares abroad for the first time, for firms that do not raise new equity capital in the US following the cross-listing and for firms that did not have an OTC trading in the US before the cross-listing. Analysis of the variation of the valuation effects of cross-listings in continental Europe show that some European cross-listings create value. Particularly, cross-listings in Europe increase corporate valuation for firms from the UK and Ireland, for firms that that list their shares abroad for the first time and for firms that raise new equity capital in the foreign market following the cross-listing. Overall, the findings suggest that international cross-listing is beneficial for firms and their shareholders. However, there are significant variations in the implications of cross-listings for different firms and across different foreign destination markets.  Despite the globalization and integration of the world financial markets firms continue for cross-list, i.e. list their shares on foreign stock exchanges in addition to listing shares in the home market. This trend generated debate among academics and practitioners concerning the benefits of international cross-listings. Although managers may be motivated to cross-list by such considerations as the improved prestige, image and visibility of the firm to customers and investors (Bancel and Mittoo, 2001), the primary objective of cross-listing is a reduction in the firm’s costs of capital and, accordingly, improved corporate valuation (Chouinard and D’Souza, 2003-2004). Traditionally, the valuation gains from cross-listing are attributed to overcoming market segmentation and making a firm’s shares accessible to investors who, because of investment barriers, would otherwise find it less advantageous to hold the shares. This potentially increases the shareholder base and risk sharing, which in turn leads to a lower cost of capital and a higher corporate valuation (Stulz, 1981; Errunza and Miller, 2000).

 

The Rise of Asia and North American Economic Integration: A Canadian Perspective

Dr. Igor M. Paramonov, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, AB, Canada

 

ABSTRACT

The notion that the world’s economic center of gravity is moving toward Asia is well known.  But what is less well known is how North American powers should respond to the rise of China, India, Indonesia and other Asian nation-states.   Americans approach the issue mostly in terms of security and challenges to U.S. supremacy. Canadians and Mexicans consider Asian reemergence to be an economic matter.  This paper addresses the necessity of balancing Canada’s growing engagement with China and other Asian emerging economies with its ongoing commitment to North American integration, as well as its long-standing, critically-important relationship with the United States in particular.  The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) still regulates the bulk of continental commerce.  Disintegration from immediate neighbors and neglect of increasingly important Mexico could have costly repercussions for Canadian businesses.  This paper examines leading causes of the recent acceleration of Canada’s involvement with Asia and explores the benefits and costs of different venues for engagement, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), bilateral agreements, and other possible options.  A “NAFTA 2 + China” formula is suggested in order to modernize the 20-year old agreement while simultaneously harmonizing the interests of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in trade and investment with China.  For almost two hundred years Canada has been steadily gravitating south toward its neighbor’s giant economy.  Initial bilateral relations with the United States eventually transformed into a trilateral free trade agreement which added Mexico.  Following its implementation, NAFTA has contributed to a dramatic increase in trade and investment.  The governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico declare that, “NAFTA has helped to stimulate economic growth and create higher-paying jobs across North America. It has also paved the way for greater market competition and enhanced choice and purchasing power for North American consumers, families, farmers, and businesses” (NAFTANOW, n.d.).

 

Ka ‘Ike o nā Kanaka Maoli System of Sustainability: Designing a Sustainable Business and Economic Paradigm for the Future

Dr. Larson Ng, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

 

ABSTRACT

Having to be dependent on the outside World for its economic survival since the turn of the 20th century, Hawaiʻi must begin rethinking the way it thinks, practices, and teaches business and economics. Given its dependency on foreign oil and long surrendering its agricultural might have further rendered Hawaiʻi’s long-term business and economic sustainability in doubt. As a result, the following paper will introduce a revised model for business and economic sustainability, which not only incorporates contemporary, but Native Hawaiian knowledge of sustainability as well as perspectives of profit and production. In 2005, Hawaiʻi’s State Legislature enacted a measure that allowed a sustainability task force to be formed (Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability Task Force, 2007). This task force would be made of members from both the public and private sector. Once assembled, these individuals basically attempted to answer what direction was Hawaiʻi as a whole was headed and what direction should Hawaiʻi really be going? At the end of their efforts, their work led to the enacting of the Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability Plan that detailed strategy and tactics for Hawaiʻi to reach this goal.  As the task force went about their planning they would be keeping in mind six critical concepts (Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability Task Force, 2007). The first would be that of Kanaka Maoli, where it was agreed that Hawaiʻi’s indigenous people, her Native Hawaiians, would take an active role within the planning process. The second would be that of ahupua‘a, where the Native Hawaiian resource and behavioral management system would be incorporated in the plan that they were to draft.  The third involved education that not only included that the general population of Hawaiʻi be informed of what the task force was doing, but incorporating concepts of sustainability within Hawaiʻi’s educational curriculum, specifically in the realm of teacher preparation, professional development, curriculum development and assessment, and course requirements in sustainability.

 

The Link between Family Firm Culture and Performance: A Study in Both a Developed and a Developing Economy

Dr. William David Brice, Menlo College, Atherton, CA

Dr. Wayne D. Jones, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

 

ABSTRACT

This study examines the link between family firm culture and performance using data collected from 149 family firms in the United States and Ukraine, which are countries with very different cultures and stages of national development in order to provide greater cross-cultural validity of the findings. Family firm literature provides some guidance in understanding how culture affects organizations, although little actual empirical evidence has been collected to substantiate this. Results indicate a number of cultural attributes correlate with certain measures of performance. This study may be extended to include non-family firms to evaluate the implications of corporate culture on performance.  Family-owned firms represent significant parts of the economy in many countries and are a fertile area of research. While the relationship between family firm culture and organizational performance has been debated in the literature, few studies have included definitive empirical evidence testing this relationship. Family firms in two very different countries were surveyed in order to better understand this phenomenon and help assure that any resulting effects are not country culture specific.  Todorovic and McNaughton (2007) point out that country culture may in fact be an inhibitor of entrepreneurship. Strength of culture and values of adaptability are predictive of firm performance (Gordon and DiTomaso, 2007), while a nation’s culture can have an effect on firm culture and consequently impact firm performance (Halkos et al., 2008). Moreover, Naor et al. (2010) contend that firm culture has a greater influence on performance than national culture.  Research on family-owned businesses suggests that family firms outperform nonfamily firms and that family culture may be a source of competitive advantage (Eddleston et al., 2008). These types of businesses are more likely than other types of organization in maintaining their culture between generations (Gersick et al., 1997) and if certain cultural values that are valuable to success are embedded into the firm, this may also lead to a competitive advantage. The inability of competing organizations to imitate these important capabilities over time may even lead to a sustained competitive advantage (Barney, 1986).

 

Is Corporate Social Responsibility A Determinant Factor on Revenue and Profits? A Study on Top 100 Canadian Manufacturing Companies

Dr. Cenap Ilter, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton Alberta Canada

 

ABSTRACT

This study explores the effects of Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR) activities on reveue and profits of the top 100 manufacturing companies of Canada. Each company`s most recent annual report (2010 or 2009) has been studied and CSR activities have been noted. The data then analyzed to measure the effects of three major CSR activity headings, namely employee, environment and community on revenue and profit. The analysis consist of each major activity and its related categories. Firstly, each activity and its categories individually matched against revenue and results are analysed. Secondly activities and their categories jointly matched agains revenue and profit and results are analysed. Thirdly, the impact of activities are analysed to substantiate if there is a relation between a particular industry and CSR activities. Findings show that, profit sharing, design of ecofriendly products, membership to an international environmental organization, supporting community`s health and arts and culture are the categories that effect companies` revenue and profitability and CSR issues are not industry specific on the contrary it is an across the board issue.  There are at least two types of consequential theory. The first-advocated by only a few consequentialist-is a version of what philosophers call ethical egoism. It construes right action as action whose consequences, considered among all the alternatives, maximizes my good-that is, action that benefits me the most or harms me the least. The second type-advocated by most consequentialists-denies that right action concerns only me. Rather, right action must maximize overall good; that is it must maximize good (or minimize bad) from the standpoint of entire human community. The best-accepted label for this type of consequentialism is utilitarianism (Donaldson & Werhane, 2008).  John Stuart Mill is a great admirer of Comte, with large criticisms to make. He admires not only the positivist account of nature and history, but also the general proposal for a social cultivation of extended sympathy. In Utilitarianism (1861), he argues that a program like Comte’s is necessary if we are ever to move people from individual self-interest to general utility—and that Comte has already shown that such an extension of sympathy is possible (Nussbaum, 2011). 

 

An Assessment of Corporate Governance Practices in Central and Eastern Europe

Dr. Camelia S. Ferrua Rotaru, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX

 

ABSTRACT

This paper analyzes the current state of corporate governance in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe in the areas of disclosure, transparency, and enforcement mechanisms. Our focus is on investigating the extent to which any information is disclosed to investors through public channels, such as websites. The striking finding is that disclosure in Eastern and Central European countries is weak, if present at all. This weak disclosure environment in which Eastern and Central European economies operate may prove problematic for the future development of these countries as it could lead not only to poor valuations, but also to reluctance on the part of investors to invest in the companies. Thus, firms in need of external capital should voluntarily choose to increase disclosure, select independent boards, and enforce disciplinary mechanisms that improve investor protection.  Many studies have discussed corporate governance in emerging markets, but few focus on Eastern and Central European countries. Moreover, when this region is studied, the methodologies and research data are rarely transparent. Discussing the progress in the region is important because these countries often present attractive investment opportunities where cash flow performance is strong relative to market valuations. Foreign direct investment in the region has increased tremendously following the collapse of communism, and the region has the potential to draw foreign investors. As a matter of fact, the total value of mergers and acquisitions in the region has reached $90 billion, a 76.5 percent increase over the 2004 level, with foreign direct investment playing a significant role in the M&A portfolios of these countries (Bartlett, 2006).  Nonetheless, despite increased levels of foreign direct investment, discrepancies between cash flow growth rates and market valuations of publicly listed firms in Eastern and Central European countries persist as a result of political, economic, and regulatory conditions in the region. A survey by Patel, Balic and Bwarkira (2002) analyzed the corporate governance disclosure practices (in terms of ownership structure, financial transparency, board and management structure) of 354 firms in 19 emerging markets documenting significant differences among countries.

 

Economic Impact of Wood Pellet Co-firing for Power Generation on Forest-based Economies in Southwest Alabama

Dr. Ellene Kebede, Professor and Edinam Adozssi, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Dr. Gbenga Ojumu, Assistant Professor, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX

 

ABSTRACT

Coal is the major feedstock for power generation in Alabama. This paper assessed the direct and indirect economic impacts of co-firing coal with wood pellet for power generation. Two sizes of wood pellet plants and a regional input-output model were used for the analysis. The results showed that the economic impact increases with the size of the plant. Wood pellet production will have a multiplier effect on the economy, especially in forest-related services, retail stores, the health service industry, and tax revenue for the government. Domestic wood pellet production can reduce the use of imported coal, allow the use of local woody biomass, and create economic activities in Alabama’s rural communities. A policy to support the production of wood pellet will serve to encourage the use of wood for power generation and the local economy.  The increase in fossil fuel prices and the world dependency on fossil fuel lead to the recognition of renewable energy as a substitute. The United States legislated energy policy to reduce dependence on foreign petroleum and encourage renewable energy that can also enhance the domestic economy. The emphasis has been on producing biofuels from field crops such as corn, sorghum, and oilseeds. Recently, however, advanced biofuels derived from non-food feedstocks such as switchgrass, agricultural residue, and woody biomass have received growing attention and are considered to be the future of the biofuels industry (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2010). Regulations grouped under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) were designed to increase energy production from renewable materials. The policy, a result of legislation passed in 1978 under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, mandated increased energy production from renewable resources. The regulations introduced guidelines that a minimum percentage of electricity supply be produced from renewable energy sources and producers with a certified renewable energy generator earn certificates for every unit of electricity they produce (Cory and Swezey, 2007).  The renewable energy certificate is an incentive for electricity producers to use a renewable resource in their generate power generation operations.

 

What Do Employers Expect Business School Graduates to Know about Information Technology?

Dr. Prasad Bingi, Dr. Ahmad Karim, and Dr. Ali Rassuli

Indiana-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN

 

ABSTRACT

A survey was conducted to gauge the opinions of major corporations in one of the industrial regions in the Midwestern part of USA regarding needed IT (1) knowledge and skills of undergraduate business students.  Historically, the state was heavily tied to automotive industry.  However, in the last three decades, in addition to automotive industry it has a very large presence of other heavy manufacturing as well as in financial, high tech and health-related industries.  A sample of 16 top employers comprising of manufacturing, accounting and finance industries in the region participated in a survey conducted in 2011.  The IT skills and knowledge are categorized into three broad types: (i) productivity and communication skills using popular productivity software tools, (ii) knowledge and skills of using enterprise applications and business intelligence (BI) tools, and (iii) general IT knowledge. We observe that both manufacturing and accounting and finance groups expect students to be proficient with productivity and communication tools.  However, we find major differences between manufacturing, and accounting and finance firms regarding knowledge and skills in using enterprise applications and BI tools.  Manufacturing firms expressed greater expectation of knowledge of these applications than accounting and finance companies.  Similarly, we find more manufacturing firms expecting general IT knowledge than accounting and finance firms.   Suggestions are also made regarding curricular changes.  The world is becoming a global village and businesses are making fundamental shifts in the way they organize and operate in the new economy.  Information technology has been a key player in this transformation and in the past few decades it has been accelerating the globalization phenomenon.  IT affects all companies – big and small and also pervades all aspects of a modern organization.  The dramatic reductions in cost of obtaining, processing and transmitting information are changing the way we do business. They enable companies to manage their far-flung resources by real-time sharing of information across multiple business units, coordinate work processes, cooperate with employees located in different parts of the world, accelerate product development, and quickly customize products and services to suit the needs of the local markets.

 

Factors Affecting Occupational Choice in Papua New Guinea

Dr. Murray Prideaux, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Dr. A. B. M. Rabiul Alam Beg, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

 

ABSTRACT

    

                A modified multinomial logit model, estimated by the robust maximum likelihood method, is used to investigate the degree to which ‘nationally significant’ leadership barriers and personal characteristics affect individual occupational choice in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Despite the changing nature of occupations, increasing influence of ‘western’ leadership and management practices and the impact of gender, there is a paucity of literature investigating the most significant factors influencing occupational choice in PNG’s predominately patriarchal society. By combining ‘nationally significant’ leadership barrier variables and personal characteristics, this study develops an occupational choice model that predicts the probability that an individual will choose one of four occupations considered in this study. Empirical analysis based on survey data, finds statistically significant impact of leadership barrier variables and all individual characteristics, except gender, in predicting occupational choice in PNG.  Two important gaps in the extant literature guide this research. First, the role of  leadership influencing occupational choice is scarcely addressed by previous research .  However, no empirical studies have considered leadership barriers as possible predictors of occupational choice in developing nations and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in particular. Prideaux and Beg found that culture, traditions, values, environment, language, tribal groupings, and leadership barriers also need to be considered when investigating  the role of leadership and occupational choice in emerging countries such as PNG.  PNG provides a rich and complex canvas to investigate occupational choice and leadership issues. For example, c

 

Metropolis-Hastings Algorithm in Integrated Moving Average of Time Series

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

 

ABSTRACT

This paper explains how to apply the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm to simulate random variates of unknown parameters for the Integrated Moving Average (IMA) model of financial time series under Bayesian inference. IMA model is a stochastic model to represent a homogeneous nonstationary time series open observed in financial sector.  In Bayesian inference, unknown parameters of a stochastic model are random vectors which have a certain type of multivariate probability density function.  Once a set of data is observed, the unknown random vector is represented by a posterior density function which is proportional to multiplication of a prior density and a likelihood function of the observed data. Bayesian output analysis is mainly based on the simulation from the posterior density function. Except simple case, direct simulation from the posterior density function is not feasible. Metropolis-Hastings algorithm is one of Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods to simulate random variates from a posterior density. Using the real economic data which fit well with IMA, this paper shows how to set up a posterior density of unknown vectors of the IMA model and then explores how to simulate from the posterior density using a Metropolis-Hastings algorithm.  Many business and economic time series show a homogeneous nonstationary pattern which is homogeneous except in level and/or slope. Such behavior can be modeled using Integrated Moving Average (Box et al., 1994). Allowing for the differences, time series data show stationary pattern around the mean of the time series data. This homogeneous nonstationary pattern represents certain types of disturbance occurring in industrial and financial processes.  Bayesian Inference treats unknown parameters in a stochastic model as a vector of random variables. Using a prior knowledge about the unknown vector and information from data, Bayesians represent the unknown vector using a probability density function, called posterior density. A set of statistical inferences about the vector is available using random variates simulated from the posterior density. Often it is not feasible to simulate random variates directly from the posterior density since the form of the density is not a form for which a set of random variates is simulated directly.

 

Critical Media Literacy and its use in the Teaching of Economics

Dr. Joseph D. Ongeri, Professor of Economics, Spartanburg Methodist College, Spartanburg, SC

 

INTRODUCTION

Different people depending on what their subject matter is focused on shaping have defined critical media literacy differently. For example, Dates & Mascaro, (2005) writing on African Americans in film and television, see media, popular culture, especially films and television as a powerful agent for change. They contend that television was a chosen instrument of revolution during the American civil rights movements. Hedley, (2002) on the other hand argue, “through its application of technological advances, popular culture in modernity has been able to define what is real” (p. 202). This is becoming real, because people have actually internalized media as their way of life. In their study on the role of pop culture in teaching, Tisdell & Thonpson, (2005) found that entertainment media is a part of everyday life for most adults, including college student.  Critical media literacy basically involves the reading of images critically, interpreting the sounds, and seeing how media texts produce meaning in a multiplicity of ways (Kellner 1989 and 1995a). Interestingly, media are a central part of our life experiences from childhood to adulthood, training in critical media literacy therefore, should ideally have begun early in life and continue into adulthood, as new technologies are constantly evolving with new media (Tisdell & Thompson, 2005).  And because of this, a number of scholars, like Masterman, (1989) have been long associated with helping start media literacy pedagogy. His book Teaching the Media is the most frequently cited in the literature on the topic as a key text.  Other early attempts to develop a critical media pedagogy focusing primarily on cultivating media literacy and multicultural education include the work of Schwoch, White, & Reilly, (1992) who first recognized that media are a form of pedagogy which construct social-economic knowledge that require critical dissection as a way of teaching. These authors clearly demonstrated that media images, discourse, symbols, and narratives constitute social meanings and subjectivities in life. Critically looking at the dominant forms of media domains, the authors developed a critical pedagogy of representation that dissects the values, meanings, and ideologies as constructed by different media.

 

 Performance of Banks in Ghana; Is It Bank Specific or Inflation Driven?

Dr. Lord Mensah and Prof. J. M. Frimpong

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), PMB, Kumasi, Ghana

 

ABSTRACT

In this paper, we use bank specific variables and macroeconomic inflation data between 1988 and 2011 to test their relationship with the performance of banks in Ghana. The simple time series regression shows that there is a strong positive relationship between economic value added (EVA) bank performance measure and the bank specific variables such as the cost to income ratio, the liquid assets and the total asset. We find EVA as a bank performance measure is strongly determined by liquid assets and total assets. Inflation does not show any significant relationship with bank performance. In effect, the performance of banks in Ghana is bank specific and it is mainly determined by size of the bank (total assets as a proxy) and liquid assets, that is size, deposits and short-term funding matters in the Ghanaian-banking sector. The results from the paper indicate that the gains to the banks are therefore real and not inflation driven. No wonder there has been a tremendous influx of banking institutions into the Ghanaian economy in recent times.  The attention on the determinants of performance in the banking sector of a specific country is emphasized because of the fact that most countries have a bank based financial system. The literature on the determinants of bank performance is enormous. However, empirical evidence clearly shows that, studies focusing on Ghana’s financial sector are still scanty and limited. Even existing studies suggest the need for further investigation into the factors that determined bank performance. Further investigation of the Ghanaian banking system is important given the perception by the media that the sector was insulated from the recent world financial crisis. The crisis revived the analysis on the determinants of bank performance all over the world. This contended that sound and lucrative banking system is best able to bear any unforeseen negative shocks thus ensuring financial stability.  Our studies on banks’ profitability would provide more elaborate and current information that is important for the policy in the banking sector and scholarly literature.

 

The Development and Validation of New Product Idea Screening Criteria for New Consumer Product Development in Thailand

Dr. Pawill Puriwat and Dr. Suchart Tripopsakul, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

 

ABSTRACT

New product development (NPD) is one of the most critical strategies for firms. The screening of new product ideas is also critically important in the NPD process.  Previous researches associated with new product screening criteria have focused heavily on new industrial products.  Since the nature of consumer products largely differs from industrial products, this study attempts to develop the customized set of new product idea screening criteria for the consumer product industry.  According to member firms of the Food Processing Industry club in February 2011, 227 companies were chosen as a research sample. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test our proposed model.  The research shows that the model of new product idea screening criteria in consumer product industries composed of 10 new product idea screening criteria (Strategic fit, Market structure, Financial, Technology and Production, Branding, Product and Packaging, Pricing, Channel of distribution and saleforces, Promotion and communication, and Risk and uncertainty criteria) and 3 main components of new product success measurement (Financial, Market, and Customer based performance) fitted with the empirical data, determined from the Chi-square values = 540.290, and not statistical significance (p = 0.764) at degrees of freedom (df = 295) indicated that model not different from the empirical data.  Goodness of fit index (GFI = 0.819), and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA = 0.048). The results show that Strategic fit criteria have the highest positive effect to new product success in consumer product industries in Thailand.  The second highest is Financial criteria, and Market structure criteria have the third highest positive effect to new product success.  Successful new product development (NPD) has become one of the most important strategies for many firms since they have to cope with more intense competition, quicker changes in technology, and dynamic economic situations.  Existing product becomes obsolete more quickly, and firms need to replace those obsolete products with new and better products.  Unfortunately, the successful rate of NPD project is very low. According to Cooper’s study (2001), the success rate of NPD is less than 15 percent. 

 

Raising ESP Learners’ Business English Collocation Performance Through Blended Instruction

Dr. Bi-fen Chang, Kun-shan University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

This study aims to investigate the effect of the blended instruction on business English collocation learning for the students at Kun-shan University of Technology in Taiwan.  To achieve the purpose, the researcher recruited 95 undergraduate freshmen in the department of international trade.  The study was conducted for 16 weeks.  The control group (CG) received traditional business English collocation instruction (traditional BECI); while the experimental group (the EG) received blended business English collocation instruction (blended BECI).  Based on the data analysis, the major findings of the study are summarized as follows.  First, there is a significant difference in the CG’s business English collocation performance before and after the study; so is that in the EG’s.  In addition, there is a significant difference in the performance between the CG and the EG after the study.  Second, there is a significant difference in the CG’s business English collocation performance in terms of five types of lexical collocation before and after the BECI, so is that in the EG’s.  Third, the most frequent errors types were verb adverb type and the noun of noun type in the pretest.  The noun of noun type, the adjective noun type and the adverb adjective type errors occurred most frequently in the post-test.  Finally, there is a significant difference between the EG’s and the CG’s performance on untaught business English collocation after the study.  With the rapid development of economic globalization, business English has attracted interests and awareness for people to communicate with others in the 21st century (Graddol, 1997 & 2006).  Over the past decades, the growth of international trade and economic globalization has made business English a must for intercultural communication (Tsai, 2007).  Thus, the importance of global English in the professional context and concomitant demand for business people in the international trade has been growing recently (Gui-min, 2008).

 

Client Importance, Institutional Improvements, and Audit Quality in Taiwan: An Individual Auditor Level Analysis

Dr. Yue-Duan Guan, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan

Jye-Lih Wang, Ernst & Young, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

This study examines how the regulatory and legal changes in Taiwan after the Procomp scandal affected the relationship between client importance and audit quality. Using a sample of Taiwanese public companies during the period from 1998 to 2007, we find that audit partners allowed their important clients more discretionary accruals in the pre-Procomp period(1998-2003). However, in the post-Procomp period, we find that audit partners are no longer allowing their important clients as lenient earnings management as before because severe sanctions and civil lawsuits brought against audit partners involved in the Procomp scandal have prompted audit partners to prioritize the costs of compromising quality over the economic benefits gained from important clients. Our results provide the empirical evidence that confirms that improvements in the legal and regulatory environment restrain the undue influences of large clients on audit quality.  This study examines the relationship between client importance and audit quality pre- and post-Procomp scandal in Taiwan at the audit partner level. Prior studies state that auditors are faced with two conflicting incentives when performing audit service for important clients. On one hand, auditors tend to compromise themselves with important clients because they are more economically dependent on important clients. On the other hand, a compromise with important clients leads to audit failure once an issue occurs and is found; auditors will face more litigation costs and reputation losses since important clients have more stakeholders involved.  Previous related research largely based on audit market in the United States, usually found auditors are even more conservative in auditing important clients because they are more concerned  about reputation protection and litigation avoidance than economic dependence(Reynolds and Francis, 2000; Hunt and Lulseged, 2007). Compared to the audit environment in the United States, auditors in Taiwan face lower litigation risk and audit partners, instead of audit firm, bear most of the legal liability. Therefore, this study examines the relationship between client importance and audit quality in the lower litigation risk environment of Taiwan and measures the client importance on the audit partner level.

 

Supervisors’ Characteristics During Orientation: Development of a Scale

Dr. Hussein Ismail and Lama Naccache, Lebanese American University, Beirut

 

ABSTRACT

Employee orientation is an important activity which aims to familiarize employees with a new job at the firm to ensure proper organizational functioning. Studies have shown that orientation has been associated with positive organizational outcomes such as increased productivity, motivation, and loyalty. However, existing research has generally neglected the role of the supervisors’ characteristics during the orientation. Based on a sample of employees and supervisors, the study aims to develop a scale for future researchers to explore associations between certain supervisory traits and outcomes. Based on the findings, 47 characteristics make up the scale. Form a practical point of view, the study also identifies the supervisors’ characteristics deemed important for conducting effective orientation. Discussion and conclusions are presented.  According to the American Society for Training & Development organizations spent an estimated $125.9 billion on employee learning and development in 2009.   Companies are becoming more aware of the importance of employee orientation. The organization sees it as a growing technique to stay competitive and expand its market presence. It is also an important tool that helps employees strengthen their confidence in their decision making and elevates their efficiency and effectiveness. Orientation has been positively linked to increased employee satisfaction and increased job performance to name a few (Bates, 2004; Baumruk, 2004; Harter et al., 2002; Richman, 2006).  Researchers (Gommersall & Meyers 1996; Meglino, Denisi, Youngblood, & Williams, 1988; Waung, 1995) have studied the impact of specific elements on orientation such as reducing stress and providing realistic job previews. A well designed orientation provides positive return for the employer in many ways: employee productivity, loyalty, retention, and contribution (Chen, 2010). Organizational orientation can be defined as the process by which employees learn about and adapt to new jobs, roles, and the culture of the workplace (Fisher, 1986; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Klein & Weaver (2000) defined orientation as the process of teaching those knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) important to the job. It’s the process that educates the new employee about the history, goals, values, people, politics, and language of an organization.

 

The Effect of E-Relationship Quality on E- Loyalty: An Empirical Study on the Hotel Industry in Egypt

Dr. Ahmed Samir Roushdy, Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, Egypt

 

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this research is to identify significant antecedents of e-relationship quality, Examine the relationship between the antecedents of e-relationship quality, and e-loyalty, and Investigate whether switching costs or involvement moderate the effects of e-relationship quality on e-loyalty in hotel industry. An online survey was administered to collect data. All measures were taken directly or adapted from previous studies on marketing. The researcher used a multi-step approach, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach, and AMOS 5.0 to achieve the purposes of this research. The findings show three main results. First, the most influential dimension affecting e-loyalty was transactional function, followed by relational function and communicational function. Second, e-relationship quality, consisting of e-trust and e-satisfaction is positively related to e-loyalty. Third, switching costs had a moderating effect on the link: the effect of e- relationship quality on e-loyalty in customers is high when switching costs are perceived to be low rather than high.  The advent of the internet is having a major impact in the way in which communications between companies and consumers are conducted and maintained in the evolving marketing panorama. Many of these changes have been characterized and explicated in unconnected links with marketing communication processes, which influenced consumer behavior in the evolving interactive marketplace (Park and Sirakaya, 2007). “Communicational function refers to the use of Internet as customer service tool to disseminate information and answer to all enquiries from customers. Examples of this tool include email, chat rooms or bulletin board, and simply Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” (Ab Hamid, 2005). In this study, communicational function is a tool to provide e-marketing service and to exchange information between buyers and sellers not only in response to a customer’s inquiry, but also to maintain customer relationships. The communicational function may involve the exchange of information through the website, e-marketing, complaint handling, customer support on the web, and e-promotional activities such as e-newsletters, thank-you and birthday messages, and special promotions.  Website design and website security are the primary features that encourage transactions between customer and company. Security is the feature through which online customers may build online trust; consumers who become trusting eventually make additional online transactions. Website designs can expect more transactions between a customer and a company (Heinonen and Strandvik, 2009). The design of websites has been widely studied from multiple points of view, most of them have identified the factors that could determine the degree of acceptation of the websites (e.g. Hoque and Lohse, 1999; Childers et al., 2001; Liang and Lai, 2002; Kim and Stoel, 2004; Wilde et al., 2004; Go¨rn et al., 2004).

 

A Model of Firm Adoption of the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy Upon SMEs

Dr. Sasitorn Mahakunajirakul and Dr. Guntalee Ruenrom

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

 

ABSTRACT

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy (PSE) focuses on the Buddhist “middle path” as the principle for sustainable development of the Thai people at all levels. The PSE includes three elements: moderation, reasonableness, and self-immunity; as well as two conditions: knowledge and morality.  This research is empirical research that represents the first systematic approach to developing a conceptual framework, the first empirical test of the factors that help firms seeking higher levels of PSE adoption, and the first examination of the consequences of these factors for the performance of SMEs. Structural equation modeling was used to validate the proposed model and to test the hypotheses. The research results can help SMEs develop marketing strategies and business plans based on the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy (PSE). Applying the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy (PSE) into business practices would help SMEs move toward the goal of business sustainability in the long run.  The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy (PSE) of His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand was first officially introduced in 1974 to provide guidance on appropriate conduct covering numerous aspects of life. It focuses on the “middle path” as the guiding principle for Thai people’s behavior and way of life at all levels.  The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy supports the process of increasing global interdependence as well as the dependence of people on their natural environment through self-sufficiency. The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy (PSE) provides guidelines for Thailand and other developing countries on how to better benefit from globalization and on how to achieve sustainability (NESDB, 2000; Tantivejkul, 2011).  In 1997, during the Asian economic crisis, Thai executives and economists began to pay attention to the PSE. Firms which had adopted the PSE recovered at a faster rate (UNDP, 2007). The PSE is based on the Buddhist principle of the “middle path” (Puntasen, 2003; Wattanasupachoke, 2009). The PSE includes three elements: moderation, reasonableness, and self-immunity, and two conditions for the philosophy to work: knowledge and morality (Piboolsravut and Sufficiency Economy Working Group, 2003). King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy is an important tool to manage capitalism and to provide a process for happiness development applicable to all levels of practice (Kantabutra, 2006).  At present, SMEs represent the majority of Thailand's firms. However, there have been few studies of firm adoption of the PSE from a business perspective. SMEs still misunderstand how to apply this Philosophy in their business practices.

 

Obstacles Affecting the Efficiency of Mutual Funds in the Saudi Financial Market

Dr. Abdallah Barakat, Shaqra University, Saudi Arabia

 

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to identify the obstacles affecting the efficiency of mutual funds in the Saudi financial market. To this end, 24 fund managers working in the Saudi financial market were selected, at the end of September 2010. Of the (24) questionnaires distributed, 19 were returned and contained sufficient responses for analysis, a response rate of 79.17%. Several statistical methods were used to analyze the data, such as frequency distributions and averages and computational test (v) mono.  The study indicates the needs to keep pace with developments in the financial market, to study the surrounding environment, to determine ways in which it can make funds operate more efficiently, and to improve the scientific and practical training of managers of mutual funds. It is likewise important to broaden the base of people who are able to manage mutual funds to overcome the problem of scarcity of talent. Furthermore, different ways of investing in funds should be developed to meet the needs of all customers. Fund managers should pay attention to diversification and asset allocation, which help the fund to reduce its risks, and develop plans and strategies for marketing funds, including increasing their investor bases and entering new categories of investments. Future studies should characterize the constraints that affect the efficiency of finds and propose ways to overcome these constraints. Mutual funds were first developed and offered in financial markets in the 1940s. It is necessary for the organization of the markets that mutual funds provide investors with detailed statements on their financial situation and investment policies.  Studies in Europe and the USA have shown that the establishment of such funds had a significant impact on the allocation of savings to investments. Countries have been able to take advantage of the long history of these experiences, which facilitate the investment process in many of these countries.  Despite the importance of mutual funds in the development and increased efficiency and effectiveness of financial markets, these funds face many obstacles that limit their own efficiency and effectiveness. The present study aims to shed light on the most important of these obstacles and propose some solutions to overcome them.  This study shows the importance of identifying task constraints affecting the efficiency of mutual funds in the Saudi financial market, which is especially important given the novelty of mutual funds in the Saudi stock market.

 

Rivertown, USA, A Marketing Research Case Study

Dr. Annette Ryerson, Carroll College, Helena, MT

 

ABSTRACT

It is often challenging as an instructor of Marketing Research to find appropriate case studies that teach the key concepts of survey design and implementation to use in class.  A real world case has been modified to hide the identity and to encourage in class learning.  The steps in this case emphasize problem introduction, development of objectives, development of questionnaire and finally, survey distribution and collection. This case provides the foundational information involved in the development of a real marketing research project.  The case can be used to illustrate the steps involved in a typical marketing research project. The case is basic enough to be used in a general Marketing course, but advanced enough to use for undergraduate Marketing Research.  It is possible to stop along the way to discuss each stage of the research process.  The complaints were still coming in, six months later.  The business owners were disappointed about their level of sales from the previous summer.  Motivating the local businesses was not going to be an easy endeavor.  There were the thoughts running through Samantha Martin’s head as she prepared for her monthly Chamber meeting.  Samantha was Director of the Convention and visitor’s Bureau (CVB) for Rivertown, USA and she had big concerns. In spite of the tremendous visitor traffic during the peak summer season (over one million visitors), the business owners in Rivertown were not convinced that they had been effective in enticing a reasonable share of nearby lake recreation area traffic into downtown Rivertown.  What could business owners do to lure visitors away from the lakes in the recreation area and bring them into the town of Rivertown for dining, shopping, supplies and other purchases?  How do small businesses thrive in a summer tourist environment when they are not convinced that the bulk of their business comes from tourism? Samantha received funding and permission to contract with a local marketing research firm to perform a summer long survey of visitors to the Rivertown recreation area.  Unlike package and resort vacation options, this research takes place in a recreation area where it is possible to spend quality time with friends and family while enjoying camping, boating, fishing and other water-based activities. 

 

Development of Accreditation in the Developing Countries

Tarek Elsmuai and Chris McCollin, Nottingham Trent University, UK

 

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the current accreditation status in Tunisia and to examine employees and management satisfaction, attitudes and perceptions of organisations, the Tunisian Accreditation Council (TUNAC) and the Central Laboratory for Analyses and Testing (LACE) toward the development of a National accreditation body in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011. The implementation of ISO/IEC 17011 and ISO/IEC 17025 depend on how these standards are perceived by both employees and accreditation’s organisations in the developing countries themselves. The present study is exploratory in nature and it used quantitative questionnaires and it sought to collect data about employees and management satisfaction, attitudes and perceptions towards ISO/IEC 17011 and ISO/IEC 17025 through a structured delivery and collection questionnaires. Forty five questionnaires were sent to respondents in the Tunisian Accreditation Council and the Central Laboratory for analyses and testing with a response rate of 89.9 %. Data of nineteen variables were analysed for satisfaction, frequencies, similarities and differences. The analysis has led to development of the main important factors that have different satisfaction between the TUNAC and LACE and shows similarities and differences between the two organisations.  Accreditation of laboratories has been a subject of considerable interest because product quality guarantee has become one of the prime factors to be considered at the present time of highly competitive industrial activity. Accreditation is still a new issue for the laboratories in North Africa. Laboratories in the developing countries need to establish a new strategy on accreditation focusing on the difficulties and barriers of implementation in order to be able to survive, compete, and protect customers’ health and safety minimum requirements (Shihub, 2009).   This paper provides preliminary research on literature on quality assurance and accreditation introduction and implementation in the developing countries. As Tunisia does has a national accreditation body and because the main aim of this study is to investigate the current accreditation status in Tunisia, the researcher decided to collect primary data for this part of the research from Tunisia.

 

Prerequisites and Approaches in Implementation of Risk-Based Regulation of Pension Funds

Dr. Alen Stojanovic, Professor and Dr. Jaksa Kristo, Senior Assistant

Faculty of Economics & Business Zagreb, University of Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

Funded pension funds are an essential part of financial sector and a foundation of pension savings. This fact imposes a need for an adequate regulation of pension funds, so their business activities could ensure stable and sustainable pensions. The financial crisis had a significant impact on assets and profitability of pension funds, as important institutional investors with long-term investment strategy. Regulation of funded pension funds is extremely heterogeneous and, in most countries, leaning on simple rules-based regulation, which is essentially based on different investment limits, in order to create preconditions for their business stability. On the other side, risk-based regulation applied in conduct of business of banks and insurers, is still not developed in part of pension funds. The consultation process for development of risk-based regulation of Institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORP) has already started in the European Union. This paper examines assumptions and approaches to development of risk-based regulation of pension funds. Key advantages and disadvantages of this form of regulation are pointed out, as well as restrictions and particularities of its implementation in business activities of pension funds. Special attention is given to creating new regulation of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORP) in the European Union based on standards and demands of risk-based regulation.  Pension funds all over the world are under the influence of constant changes from economic, demographic, social and financial surroundings. Due to these changes, there is a strong tendency towards transition of pension systems from those based on public pay-as-you-go system to a system that is based on a funded pension savings, being either of mandatory or voluntary character in various forms of pension schemes.  Funded pension savings are usually savings in pension funds that invest raised funds of beneficiaries in the long term, during their working life, in order to ensure pension benefits. Therefore, the primary goals for pension funds are safety, preserving value and capitalization of pension savings that should ensure appropriate and sustainable pension benefits.

 

Business Value Added Management and Company’s Financial Performance

Dr. Zeljana Aljinovic Barac, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Dr. Ljerka Markota, RRIF Plus d.o.o., Zagreb, Croatia

Dr. Vinko Belak, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

 

ABSTRACT

Business value added is a complex multilayer category whose elements are conflicting from the perspective of the company. Elements of the value added structure are: salaries, wages and employee compensations; interests; income taxes and net profit. The aim of this paper is to research and analyze the interrelation of value added management activities and company’s financial performance. The research hypothesis is that adequate strategic approach to revenue management, cost management, human resources management and capital investments management affect the overall financial performance in different business cycle phases. The verification of empirical evidence is provided by the survey on the sample of the Croatian large companies. Respondents' standpoints on the importance of strategic areas, as well as their opinions on frequency of using specific strategic activities in different phases of business cycle, i.e. expansion, stagnation and recession are researched. Obtained results show that managers have different priority ranking of strategic business value added management areas and use different strategic activities with regard to phase of business cycle in order to achieve the best financial result.  The role and importance of managerial accounting has significantly increased over the time, especially with the separation of ownership and control functions in the company. Today, managers have mostly strategic approach with highlights on the identification, measurement and management of the activities that added value to a company. Business value added can be defined as the difference between revenues and costs of purchased or produced goods and services. Its elements are: salaries, wages and employee compensations; interests; income taxes and net profit. In such a context, the aim of managers is to increase business added value by optimal value added management, and thus to improve financial performance and to enhance the shareholders’ value. According to Aljinovic Barac, Markota and Belak findings (2012), higher business added value generates higher profits, so the companies which have a better financial performance creates more business value added, and vice versa.

 

Bargaining over Market Share Delegation in Strategic Incentive Games

Dr. Ya-Chin Wang, Department of Finance and Banking, Kun Shan University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

In many cases of modern corporate governance, the business performance of a firm relates to the bargaining power and incentive scheme of managerial delegation. The bargaining over sales delegation or relative performance delegation changing the equilibrium outcomes has been shown in van Witteloostuijn et al. (2007), yet it has not considered the decision-making on market share delegation. This paper aims to fill the gap by introducing market share delegation on such issues, and compares the choice of the incentive contracts from three types of compensation schemes, which include sales-quantity, relative-performance and market-share delegation. It finds that market share delegation produces the highest profit when the bargaining power is not so strong, even though it always generates the lower output and social welfare. It is worth realizing that the bargaining power of the managers plays a crucial role for incentive schemes. The major difference of the present paper is when the bargaining power increases, output, profit, and social welfare all increase.  In most modern enterprises, corporate governance establishes a framework of managerial delegation (principal-agent theory) between owner and manager, where the owner (principal) seeks to maximize profit, but the manager (agent) may be more concerned with sales (Vickers, 1985; Fershtman and Judd, 1987; Sklivas, 1987:VFJS hereafter), relative performance (Miller and Pazgal, 2001, 2002, 2005: henceforth MP), or market share (Jansen et al., 2007; Ritz, 2008; Wang et al. 2009; Wang and Wang, 2010), rather than profits only. In such a delegation game, each owner delegates the market decisions to his manager, whose objective function is rewarded by a linear combination of profits and another incentive variable. Consequently, the business performance of a firm relates to different schemes of managerial delegation. Adopting a sales delegation, VFJS have described that owners can conduct the quantity-setting (price-setting) managers to a more (less) aggressive behavior for the sake of market competition in an oligopolistic environment. As a result, the incentive game corresponds with higher (lower) outputs and lower (higher) prices than does the classical Cournot (Bertrand) model. This strategic policy is generally used as an instrument to enhance profit optimization. There is empirical evidence (Baker et al.1988; Jensen and Murphy, 1990) indicating that the top manager’s compensation is positively associated with profit and performance.

 

Computing Bias and Information Pricing Factor

Dr. Wen-Chyan Ke, National Taipei University, Taiwan

Dr. Hsiou-Wei William Lin, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

The prior studies note that the floating-point exception (FPE) in computing may lead to underestimation of the probability of informed trading (PIN), which interests market microstructure empiricists. This study further finds that the FPE bias may result in the underestimated coefficients of market beta in the regression for assets pricing. Namely, the FPE bias may contaminate the tests for pricing, and should be eliminated in the further studies.  The structural model proposed by Easley et al. (1996; 2002) allows researchers to estimate the probability of informed trading (PIN), which is widely employed in market microstructure studies. As of August, 2012, Google Scholar lists 904 citations for Easley et al. (1996) and 1,018 citations for their 2002 study, along with 1,290 results for “probability of informed trading.” To estimate PIN via the maximum likelihood method, researchers simply need to count the number of buyer- and seller-initiated trades (hereafter, buys and sells) for each stock on each trading day. Boehmer et al. (2007) state that such requirement is more innocuous than it appears. Their comment is that PIN enables researchers to address questions that have not been amenable to empirical investigation before (e.g. Grammig et al., 2001; Easley et al., 2002; Aslan et al., 2007; Duarte and Young, 2009).  This paper aims to explore the extent to which floating-point exception (hereafter also referred to as FPE) bias has distorted the results of prior studies related to the information pricing factor. Large daily numbers of buyer- and seller-initiated trades (buys and sells) lead to the FPE in computing the likelihood function of PIN model proposed by Easley et al. (1996; 2002), which in turn causes an underestimated PIN. Lin and Ke (2011) find such phenomenon and name it as FPE bias.  Obviously, the market beta and size effect in the asset pricing are related to the trading frequency. Therefore, this study investigates the spurious impact of FPE bias on some empirical market microstructure tests, which typically adopt the PIN model of Easley et al. (1996; 2002).

 

Exploring Factors Influencing Consumer Adoption on Mobile Commerce Services

Dr. Ya-Wen Yu and Kanlaya Buahom, Asia University, Liou-Feng Road, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.

 

ABSTRACT

Mobile commerce conducted commercial transactions through mobile devices (e.g. mobile pad and smart phone) using telecommunication network. Mobile commerce providing new opportunities to both service providers and users; the efficient use of mobile commerce helps the companies to reduce cost, improve service quality, and realize profits by targeting new customers. As well as changing the way certain information-related activities are conducted. The objective of this study is to investigate factors influencing consumers’ intention to use Mobile commerce services. By discovering which factors encourage consumer’s intention to use mobile commerce services combining with Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) as the framework of this study. Hence, we use the Structure Equation Modeling (SEM) to evaluate and find key factors. Discerning the most motivating aspects in particular, this study could help online marketers to do better promotion for their Mobile commerce on internet platform and help to pave the way for future research on the topic. This study offers several implications for service providers in regards to marketing Mobile commerce solution to increase consumers’ intention to use these services.  Mobile devices are widely accepted due to the convenience and it will evolve into personal trusted devices which pack users identity, purchasing power and benefiting various aspects of their daily lives. Thus, in order to survive in business, companies have been pressured to improve their customer services. For this purpose, the companies should see mobile commerce as a new and more interactive way for doing business. The capabilities of mobile commerce lead to rapid increase in its application in the last little while (Wang & Liao, 2007; Yang, 2005). Mobile commerce offers great opportunities and adds more benefits for the business both to service providers and users. From the service providers’ point of view, mobile commerce opens up unexpected market value, greater productivity and higher profitability than fixed PC-based data networks or E-commerce (Pattamavorakun & Pattamavorakun, 2010). Because mobile commerce has lower level of investment for establishing and developing the service, Mobile networks size can be increased quicker and more cost-efficient than E-commerce networks even in the country which have difficult geography or poor economic conditions (Dholakia & Dholakia, 2004).

 

Cloud-Ontology Based of Nuclear Medicine Healthcare Cloud in Department of Nuclear Medicine

Jui-Jen Chen, Engineer and Dr. Shu-Hua Huang

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical Center

Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC

 

ABSTRACT

Nowadays, patients usually take more than 3 drugs for diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Hence, nuclear medicine physicians should be very careful about the medication history of each patient and ensure that their medication will not cause false positive or false negative imaging results, because either condition will interfere with adequate treatment of the patient and result in a wrong diagnosis. The aim of the present paper is to develop a nuclear medicine healthcare cloud for scintiphotography of Chang Gung Memorial hospital at Kaohsiung. Composed of four sub-cloud, including Medication History Collect Agent Cloud (MHCC), Medication History Search Cloud (MHSC), Patient Medication Consultation Cloud (PMCC), and Patient Medication Alert Cloud (PMAC), this nuclear medicine healthcare cloud for scintiphotography is expected to support decision making of nuclear medicine examination, improve accuracy of image reading, and offer detailed data for further research. The ultimate goal of this system is to ensure patient safety.  In recent years, “patient safety” has become an important focus of medical centers and been viewed as a fundamental issue by both government-run and private medical institutions. In nuclear medicine, the purpose of imaging is to examine physiological functions; in diagnostic radiography, the purpose of imaging is to detect abnormity of organ size, shape, and location. Medication causes significant impacts on nuclear medicine imaging, but this issue is seldom discussed in academics or in practice. To confirm if a specific drug influences a certain imaging test, nuclear medicine physicians need to consult extant theses, journals or other publications “e.g. Gamuts in Nuclear Medicine, 1995” or rely on experiences of their teachers or predecessors “e.g. performing the test several times or applying different tests to verify the result for specific cases”. Other issues, such as whether different duration or dosage of medication also affects uptakes, have never been addressed or are usually discussed with one case of examination

 

The Relationship Between Work/Family Demands, Personality and Work Family Conflict

Dr. Ann Lin, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taoyuan, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

With the shift of demographic layout of the workplace changing constantly, as more women enter the workforce result significant increase in number of dual-earner families, and as new organizational hiring practices lead to more diversity in the work environment, both researchers and employers have become increasingly interested in understanding the consequences of work-family conflict.  Present study investigates the relationship between work demand and work-family conflict among working class. Personality factors as conscientiousness and neuroticism are tested as mediators of this relationship. As hypothesized, the relationship between work demand and work-family balance was mediated by those two personality factors.  Work and family represent two of the most important parts of adult life. Ideally, work fulfilled individual financial needs and develops sense of accomplishment; family is a place for attaining happiness and companionship. However, nowadays adults are facing challenges to find balance between these life domains.  Recent decades have seen great changes in family life, including increases in dual-earner households, single-parent families and greater numbers of employed adults who are also caring for elderly (Neal & Hammer, 2007). That also mean many employees are juggling paid work and unpaid family work concurrently. Work–family conflicts are a common source of stress and have been linked to employees’ health and family functioning (e.g., Almeida, Wethington, & Chandler, 1999; Frone, 2000; Greenhaus, Allen, & Spector, 2006), as well as labor market decisions and fertility decisions (Stone, 2007).  Over the past decades, Industrial/Organizational Psychologists and other researchers attempted to gain a better understanding of the work-family conflict construct and different causal models for explaining how conflict affects individuals. Research that examines work-family conflict has advanced over the last few decades and has led to the development of theoretical models, empirical studies, and organization-sponsored work-family initiatives.  Previous researchers have recognized numerous consequences of the construct, including work related outcomes, non work-related outcomes, and stress-related outcomes (Allen, Herst, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000), stressing the potentially negative effects of WFC for both individuals and organizations. Regarding antecedents, researchers have found support for role-related variables and personality variables ( Byron, 200, Frone, 2003), though comparatively less research has been conducted on the latter.

 

Does Government Ownership and Disclosure Affect Performance and Stability of the GCC Banking Sector?

Dr.  Ritab Al-Khouri, Professor, Qatar University, Qatar

 

ABSTRACT

This paper studies empirically the effect of government ownership and the level of disclosure on the performance and the stability of banks, controlling for regulations, concentration, bank and country specific characteristics. The sample used covers 59 banks in six countries which comprise the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), for the period from 2004 to 2010. To test our hypotheses, two methodologies are implemented:  The first is the Generalized Least Square Random Effect (GLS RE) methodology; and the second is the Generalized Method of Moment (GMM) methodology, which controls for the endogeneity and the omitted variable problems that occur in this kind of studies.  Contrary to expectations, we find that governmentally owned banks are more stable than their counterparts.  However, there is very limited evidence on the negative relationship between government ownership and bank performance.  As documented in the literature, bank size is positively and significantly related to bank profitability and negatively related to risk taking.  The level of disclosure negatively affect bank performance, indicating that investors may not view information disclosed by the bank as reliable or may not be able to interpret correctly the information disclosed. Therefore, this might have reduced the positive effect of disclosure on stability and bank valuation.  In addition, the increase in the level of concentration of the banking sector lowers the bank stability.  High concentration (measure of the level of competition) by banks is perceived negatively by investors and consequently more competitive environments are considered to permit greater stability in banking systems.  Therefore, policy makers should consider the possibility of opening their markets for more foreign banks and other regional banks to improve the competition in the market. Finally, the impact of bank regulations on bank risk taking is negligible.  In this paper we analyze the performance and the risk taking by banks, their level of disclosure, government ownership, concentration, and national bank regulations. The paper measures whether bank performance and risk taking varies with the level of disclosure, and government ownership structure of each bank. In addition, we examine whether the bank risk and performance is affected by national regulations, and banking concentration.  This research utilizes data from the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) banks during the 1998-2010 period, which includes the financial crisis of 2006-2008. The six GCC countries include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Kuwait (K), Bahrain (B), Qatar (Q) and Oman (O).

 

Effect of Traditional Turkish Offering Culture and Tourist Satisfaction

Dr. Onur Gorkem, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey

Rana Allahyari Sani and Dr. Yuksel Ozturk, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey

 

ABSTRACT

 

In the historical process, the tradition of hospitality and offering has always been a characteristic feature of Turkish society. Turks have been generous in sharing even their limited facilities to make all foreign or familiar guests comfortable. This generosity has been continued in abundance and famine, war and peace disregarding any interests. But the global economic system has taken economic dimensions on tourism concepts such as guests, offering, and guest satisfaction. In highly competitive tourism industry, businesses have made guest satisfaction inevitable due to protect their existing guests and to gain new ones. Besides the service quality of businesses, guest satisfaction requires the businesses to be intimate with their guests. Accordingly, how the hospitality of the tourism businesses reflects guest satisfaction is a curious subject.  The aim of this study is to measure the effect of Turkish offering, presented by tourism businesses on tourist satisfaction, loyalty and recommendation decision. The research carried out in spring 2012 among Turkish citizens with different demographic characteristics via field scanning method. Questionnaire technique was used as a data collection tool. The research evaluated the participants' perceptions towards the hospitality and offering culture and their satisfaction level of offering service, offered by tourism businesses. Research findings put forth offering services had a positive and high level of effect on guest satisfaction, loyalty and recommendation decision.  Guests are very important in Turkish culture. Anatolian people kept the door open to guests all the time whether familiar to them or not. Guests who are accepted as "God's guest" have been perceived as a relic. Guests are welcomed very well during its sojourn in, if possible there is not a flaw in entertainment. Guests and the offering services are inseparable concepts in Turkish culture. A offering service refers to food, beverage and other services, offered to guests without any expectation of response. The foundation of the offering service philosophy is based on sharing and intimacy. Money has no validity in the presentation and acceptance of the offering services.  

 

The Effect of Humor, Celebrity Endorsement and Popular Music on TV Ad Recall: A Customer Based Perspective in Egypt

Noha Refaie, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt

Prof. Farid El Sahn, University of Bahrain

Dr. Passent Tantawi, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt

 

ABSTRACT

Egyptians are now exposed to large amounts of advertisements daily and they respond differently to these advertisements and sometimes do not respond at all. Advertising however does not work immediately, because the customers do not make purchase decisions immediately after viewing the ad, and this is when the role of memory and recall becomes vital. This is due to the fact that when the purchase decision is made, people usually depend on the memory of the advertisement.  The main purpose of this study is therefore to provide better understanding of advertising recall in Egypt and identify what factors are involved in making people remember advertisements. The study tackles three main factors that were the most occurring in previous studies. A model was formulated and hypotheses were devised in order to test for the relationship between the independent variables (humor, celebrity and popular music) and advertising recall, which is the dependent variable in the study.  The study is a quantitative one and an experiment was conducted in order to test these hypotheses. The results showed that humor had the highest effect on advertising recall relative to the rest of the factors. In addition, it uncovered many aspects regarding the Egyptian consumers and highlighted some factors to be considered by and recommended for advertisers and agencies.  Advertising is a powerful force and plays a critical social and economic role. Our attitudes, lifestyles and culture are being shaped and affected in countless ways by advertising (Berger, 2001). This is why advertising has always been under high levels of criticism and controversy (Elif and Handan, 2007). However, growing amount of clutter in all kinds of advertising media has made it difficult for advertisers to grab the attention and interest of the viewers (Clow and Baack, 2002).

 

An Examination of the Factors Affecting Voters’ Intention to Participate in the Presidential Elections in Egypt

Ziad El Sahn, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt

Prof. Farid El Sahn, University of Bahrain

Dr. Passent Tantawi, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt

 

ABSTRACT

In the last period, the political environment in Egypt has witnessed major events. After the 25th of January revolution, Egypt is heading toward the formation of a democratic state. The constitution has been amended to facilitate the formation of political parties and several candidates are running for presidential elections. In this challenging environment, political parties and presidency candidates are trying to implement political marketing techniques to attract voters through their campaigns. Hence, the aim of this study is to measure the factors that affect voters’ intention to participate in the elections, in order to implement  The design of this research was descriptive with a hypothesis testing nature. A quantitative data collection method was used in this research. Self administered questionnaires were distributed to measure the relationship between the involvement components, subjective norm components, rational components, and psychological components, and voting intention. The sample drawn was from Alexandria, a probability area sampling technique was used to collect 405 usable questionnaires.  The results of the data analysis have showed that all the variables included in this research have an effect in determining the voting intention of Alexandrians’ voters. Therefore, these variables should be taken into consideration when designing political campaigns or when addressing voters. Also, the findings have showed that certain variables have a stronger significant effect on voting intention. These variables namely are: Political efficacy, perceived usefulness of voting, response involvement, perceived difference between the parties, and political trust.  Nowadays, political parties are facing an increased competition due to the world movement toward democracy and the expansion of political organizations. Democracy flourishes in any country on the diversity of opinions, productive criticism, competition and alternative policy choices. Debate and discussion are the twin engines of democracy; they are the pillars on which representative government rests (Linus, 2008). Therefore, political practices should be exercised solely through approved competitive approaches and strategies (Jeter, 2003). Hence, political parties adopt different ideologies and strategies to achieve their political goals and objectives.

 

A Qualitative Exploration of the Factors Affecting Foreign Direct Investment Inflows in Egypt

Menat Hussein, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt

Professor. M. Farid El Sahn, University of Bahrain

 

ABSTRACT

Egypt has been experiencing drastic changes since the Egyptian revolution took place in January 2011, among these changes is the decrease in FDI inflows in addition to the shutting down of existing foreign investments. The political situation in Egypt was the main reason behind such decrease in FDI inflows which requires actions by the government to overcome. Among the concerns of the government, place branding should play a major role due to its positive impact on countries as well as the forms of attraction it entails.  The main purpose of this study is to provide a better understanding of the factors that affect foreign investors’ location consideration for foreign direct investment. The study is mainly concerned with exploring the effect of political risk and place brand equity variables on foreign investors’ consideration set as well as other factors that may affect foreign investors’ decision.  The study is qualitative in nature where interviews were conducted with foreign investors’, CEOs, and top managers from the service sector who are involved in location decisions. The results showed that political risk and place brand equity variables have a significant effect on foreign investors’ consideration and decisions to invest in a particular country, in addition to other variables that have come to sight during the course of the interviews. Accordingly, the study has resulted in a number of recommendations for government officials in order to increase the number of FDI inflows in Egypt.  Following the Egyptian revolution, the Arab Republic of Egypt’s resources have been limited due to many various reasons; regular strikes, shut downs of many factories and spending with no output generated (Sallam, 2011). Egypt has been suffering a situation of political instability which has already been present and unfortunately accelerated after the revolution. This has affected the country’s economy in different ways among them is the effect it had on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). According to Ngowi (2001) the reason behind the developing countries’ little attractiveness of FDI is that these countries are considered as highly risky and politically and institutionally unstable and unpredictable.  

 

Importance of Shale Gas Extraction for Social and Economic Growth in Poland

Dr. Sylwia Słupik, University of Economics in Katowice, Katowice, Poland

 

ABSTRACT

Over several recent years, oil companies both worldwide and in Poland have shown great interest in prospecting and extracting from unconventional gas deposits. Shale gas extraction will have played a central role in shaping the Polish energy market and will have attracted substantial amounts of projects related to energy security. This paper aims to find the factors key for shale gas extraction in Poland. Furthermore, it discusses prospects for development of this market, challenges and barriers to exploration of unconventional gas deposits it faces. Also determined were potential social and economic benefits the Polish economy could reap. In order to take advantage of development opportunities to create an economy based on unconventional gas resources, Poland needs a viable shale gas strategy today. In its denouement the paper discusses conclusions and recommendations formed by the author about key elements of such strategy.  Oil and gas prices rising on a regular basis, as well as running low conventional deposit resources have recently sparked a growing interest in unconventional hydrocarbons reservoirs. Fast-paced development and propagation of innovative natural gas extraction technologies under conditions of ever-growing energy demand stirred up a Europe-wide discussion on opportunities lying in unconventional exploration methods.  Natural gas (mainly methane) is the most commonly occurring in nature fossil fuel. Compared to black and brown coal as well as petroleum, it releases fewer greenhouse gases emissions, and does not produce any hazardous waste (as opposed to nuclear energy). Because countries like Poland are heavily reliant on coal energy supplies, natural gas creates an ecologically viable alternative. Introduction of an alternative power supply to Polish energy mix would near it to fulfilling rigorous CO2 emissions caps imposed by EU climatic and energy policy. For gas to become an alternative, clean source of energy, new yet long-term reliable and well-explored sources of gas have to be found.

 

The Relationship between Transformational and Transactional Leadership Styles and Innovation Commitment and Output at Commercial Software Companies

Dr. Eric Golla and Dr. Robert Johnson, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

 

ABSTRACT

This study examined whether a relationship exists between transformational and transactional leadership styles and innovation commitment and innovation output variables at companies in the commercial software industry.  The study used a correlation design to obtain and analyze data from CEOs, Presidents, and employees of software companies to calculate the relationships.  The results provided insight into the relationships that may assist companies in leadership training and employee hiring, investment due diligence, and leadership culture at software companies.  Innovation is important throughout the world, and leadership style appears to influence innovation in different industries (Amar, Hentrich, & Hlupic, 2009).  Benefits of innovation, such as software innovation, are not without risk, as software innovation failure may cost shareholders and taxpayers billions of dollars each year (Charette, 2005).  Even with the high risk and cost of software innovation, Internet and software companies on average allocate a high proportion of revenue to research and development at 13% (Jaruzelski & Dehoff, 2008).  Increasing the number of successful innovations can provide challenges and benefits for leaders.  Challenges may include understanding how best to introduce new products and enhancements, increase revenue through innovation, and optimally allocate expenses between innovation and existing products.  Benefits of innovation may include improvements in incremental revenue, market share, and cost reduction (Brache, 2008).  Matzler et al. (2008) researched the relationship between transformational leadership and innovation at small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).  Their study did not research the relationship of innovation to other leadership styles, such as transactional, and did not focus on a specific industry.  The literature review identified a problem that leadership styles at commercial software companies may reduce the commitment to innovation, the number of innovations, and the percentage of revenue from innovations. Software innovation is unique because software developers can modify the innovation (Smith, 2008) without mechanically or structurally tearing down and recreating the product.  This flexibility appears to require flexible and knowledgeable leadership to understand the cost, time, risks, and benefits of project modifications during the software innovation phases (Smith, 2008). 

 

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