Due to the setbacks on the international scene and the wave of cacophonic financial scandals affecting large international groups, the new Islamic finance industry is not immune despite its initial resistance. The purpose of this paper is to understand and analyze the meaning of the Corporate Governance (CG) concept in Moroccan Islamic banking systems with specific reference to their institutions. The research objective is to identify also the path taken and adopted by these banks recently set up in Morocco. The foundation is rooted in shari'a, in particular, no stakeholder (the shareholding approach) must be harmed, and the ethical value is reflected into these parties’ behavior. We chose a qualitative method, semi-structured interviews where six managers provided answers about their banking systems. Since these respondents held a senior position (directors) within their organizations, it is felt that they are well placed and have the necessary knowledge to provide us with information to answer the questions asked. The results identified the orientation of participating banks and assessing how governance works, while determining which party is fovoured: shareholders, stakeholders or both. This study discusses the favorable condition to the harmonization of the regulations and therefore a better integration between Islamic finance and conventional ones in the economic context of Morocco.
The Observatory of Sustainability of the Algarve Region for Tourism (OBSERVE) will be a valuable tool to assess the sustainability of this region. The OBSERVE tool is designed to provide data and maintain an up-to-date, consistent set of indicators defined to describe the region on the environmental, sociocultural, economic and institutional domains. This ongoing two-year project has the active participation of the Algarve’s stakeholders, since they were consulted and asked to participate in the discussion for the indicators proposal. The environmental and sociocultural indicators chosen must indicate the characteristics of the region and should be in alignment with other global systems used to monitor the sustainability. This paper presents a review of sustainability indicators systems that support the first proposal for the environmental and sociocultural indicators. Others constraints are discussed, namely the existing data and the data available in digital platforms in a format suitable for automatic importation to the platform of OBSERVE. It is intended that OBSERVE will be a valuable tool to assess the sustainability of the region of Algarve.
The accreditation process of engineering degree programmes is based on various reports evaluated by the relevant governing bodies of the institution of higher education. One of the aforementioned reports for the accreditation process is a self-assessment report which is to be completed by the applying institution. This paper seeks to emphasise the importance of analysis of internal quality management systems and self-examination processes in the engineering accreditation processes. A description of how the programme fulfils the criteria should be given. Relevant stakeholders all need to contribute in the writing and structuring of the self-assessment report. The last step is to gather evidence in the form of supporting documentation. In conclusion, the paper also identifies learning outcomes in a case study in seeking accreditation from an international relevant professional body.
In the higher education setting, there is a current trend in society toward greater openness and transparency. The economic, social and political changes that have occurred in recent years in public sector universities (particularly the New Public Management, the Bologna Process and the emergence of the “third mission”) call for a wider disclosure of value created by universities to support fundraising activities, to ensure accountability in the use of public funds and the outcomes of research and teaching, as well as close relationships with industries and territories. The paper has two purposes: 1) to explore the intellectual capital (IC) disclosure in Spanish universities through their websites, and 2) to identify university profiles. This study applies a content analysis to analyze the institutional websites of Spanish public universities and a cluster analysis. The analysis reveals that Spanish universities’ website content usually relates to human capital, while structural and relational capitals are less widely disclosed. Our research identifies three behavioral profiles of Spanish universities with regard to the online disclosure of IC (universities more proactive, universities less proactive and universities adopt a middle position in this regard. The results can serve as encouragement to university managers to enhance online IC disclosure to meet the information needs of university stakeholders.
The article analyzes state support and policy mechanisms aimed at driving tourism as one of the vibrant and rapidly developing economies. State programs and long-range strategic roadmaps and previous programs execution, results and their impact on the particular countries economy have been raised during the research. This theme provides a useful framework for discussions with a wider range of stakeholders as the implications arising are of importance both for academics and practitioners engaged in hospitality and tourism development and research. The impact that tourism has on sustainable regional development in emerging markets is highly substantial. For Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, and Russia, with their rich natural resources and cultural heritage, tourism can be an important basis for economic expansion, and a way to form an acceptable image of the countries as safe, open, hospitable, and complex.
South Africa, a water scarce country, experiences the phenomenon that its life supporting natural water resources is seriously threatened by the users that are totally dependent on it. South Africa is globally applauded to have of the best and most progressive water laws and policies. There are however growing concerns regarding natural water resource quality deterioration and a critical void in the management of natural resources and compliance to policies due to increasing institutional uncertainties and failures. These are in accordance with concerns of many South African researchers and practitioners that call for a change in paradigm from talk to practice and a more constructive, practical approach to governance challenges in the management of water resources. A qualitative theory-building case study through longitudinal action research was conducted from 2014 to 2017. The research assessed whether a strategic positioned institutional agent can be parlayed to facilitate and execute WRM on catchment level by engaging multiple stakeholders in a polycentric setting. Through a critical realist approach a distinction was made between ex ante self-deterministic human behaviour in the realist realm, and ex post governance-management in the constructivist realm. A congruence analysis, including Toulmin’s method of argumentation analysis, was utilised. The study evaluated the unique case of a self-steering local water management institution, the Impala Water Users Association (WUA) in the Pongola River catchment in the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Exploiting prevailing water resource threats, it expanded its ancillary functions from 20,000 to 300,000 ha. Embarking on WRM activities, it addressed natural water system quality assessments, social awareness, knowledge support, and threats, such as: soil erosion, waste and effluent into water systems, coal mining, and water security dimensions; through structured engagement with 21 different catchment stakeholders. By implementing a proposed polycentric governance-management model on a catchment scale, the WUA achieved to fill the void. It developed a foundation and capacity to protect the resilience of the natural environment that is critical for freshwater resources to ensure long-term water security of the Pongola River basin. Further work is recommended on appropriate statutory delegations, mechanisms of sustainable funding, sufficient penetration of knowledge to local levels to catalyse behaviour change, incentivised support from professionals, back-to-back expansion of WUAs to alleviate scale and cost burdens, and the creation of catchment data monitoring and compilation centres.
Lebanon electricity crisis continues to escalate. Rationing hours still apply across the country but with different rates. The capital Beirut is subjected to 3 hours cut while other cities, town and villages may endure 9 to 14 hours of power shortage. To mitigate this situation, private diesel generators distributed illegally all over the country are being used to bridge the gap in power supply. Almost each building in large cities has its own generator and individual villages may have more than one generator supplying their loads. These generators together with their private networks form incomplete and ill-designed and managed microgrids (MG) but can be further developed to become renewable energy-based MG operating in island- or grid-connected modes. This paper will analyze the potential of introducing MG to help resolve the energy crisis in Lebanon. It will investigate the usefulness of developing MG under the prevailing situation of existing private power supply service providers and in light of the developed national energy policy that supports renewable energy development. A case study on a distribution feeder in a rural area will be analyzed using HOMER software to demonstrate the usefulness of introducing photovoltaic (PV) arrays along the existing diesel generators for all the stakeholders; namely, the developers, the customers, the utility and the community at large. Policy recommendations regarding MG development in Lebanon will be presented on the basis of the accumulated experience in private generation and the privatization and public-private partnership laws.
Corporate governance has become a crucial issue in both the business and academic world as a result of world-wide financial scandals and lack of trust in corporate practices. There is no doubt that in order to thrive and attain growth in the market, a company must earn the trust of its stakeholders by consistently delivering on its commitments. Directors of the companies thus comprehend the importance of upfront communication with relevant stakeholders to increase their confidence. The authors of this article argue that practicing good corporate governance is not enough in this highly competitive market place; corporate leaders need to market their good corporate governance practices in order to make the company more attractive to investors. This article also contends that the strength of corporate governance relies wholly upon the extent to which it is communicated simply, effectively and unceasingly to its stakeholders. The main objective of this study, therefore, is to explore the importance of branding good corporate governance in order to increase corporate brand equity, attract investors, and capture market share. A structured questionnaire comprising three sections and a total of 34 questions was prepared and surveyed by the authors among respondents residing in Bangladesh and who also have an academic and corporate background, to investigate the potential impact of branding good corporate governance in the market place. High mean values for individual questions and overall section depict that communicating and branding good corporate governance to the stakeholders will not only boost the investors’ confidence but also increase the corporate brand equity, yielding both profitable and sustainable business environment.
There are many modes of transport. Among them, maritime transport is a major transportation mode of international trade. In the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma), water transportation served as one of the most important modes of transport for country's exports and imports. Getting the accurate information and data-gathering activity are the most important aspects for any study field. Therefore, in this research, a historical review of the development of ports in Myanmar and how they have changed had been carried out. All the relevant literature and documents have also been reviewed, studied, and organized. The sources of collected data are from reports, journals, internet, as well as from the publications of authorized organizations and international associations. To get better understanding about real situation of maritime transport and logistics in Myanmar; current condition of existing ports, expansion and on-going projects, and future port development plans are described successively. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to build up a comprehensive picture of maritime transport and logistics, in addition to border trade within ASEAN and Myanmar. It will help for academic researchers, decision makers, and stakeholders for national planning as well as for the local and foreign investors to recognize current situation of maritime transport and logistics in Myanmar.
A paradigm shift is a process. The process of implementing inclusive education, a system constructed to support all learners, requires planning, identification, experimentation, and evaluation. In this vein, the purpose of the present study was to evaluate the capacity of one Brazilian state school systems to provide special education students with a quality inclusive education. This study originated at the behest of concerned families of students with special needs who filed complaints with the Municipality of Bauru, São Paulo. These families claimed, 1) children with learning differences and educational needs had not been identified for services, and 2) those who had been identified had not received sufficient specialized educational assistance (SEA) in schools across the City of Bauru. Hence, the Office of Civil Rights for the state of São Paulo (Ministério Público de São Paulo) summoned the local higher education institution, UNESP, to design a research study to investigate these allegations. In this exploratory study, descriptive data were gathered from all elementary and middle schools including 58 state schools and 17 city schools, for a total of 75 schools overall. Data collection consisted of each school's annual strategic action plan, surveys and interviews with all school stakeholders to determine their perceptions of the inclusive education available to students with Special Education Needs (SEN). The data were collected as one of four stages in a larger study which also included field observations of a focal students' experience and a continuing education course for all teachers and administrators in both state and city schools. For the purposes of this study, the researchers were interested in understanding the perceptions of school staff, parents, and students across all schools. Therefore, documents and surveys from 75 schools were analyzed for adherence to federal legislation guaranteeing students with SEN the right to special education assistance within the regular school setting. Results shows that while some schools recognized the legal rights of SEN students to receive special education, the plans to actually deliver services were absent. In conclusion, the results of this study revealed both school staff and families have insufficient planning and accessibility resources, and the schools have inadequate infrastructure for full-time support to SEN students, i.e., structures and systems to support the identification of SEN and delivery of services within schools of Bauru, SP. Having identified the areas of need, the city is now prepared to take next steps in the process toward preparing all schools to be inclusive.
After natural disasters, displaced people (DP) require important numbers of housing units, which have to be erected quickly due to emergency pressures. These tight timeframes can cause the multiplication of the environmental construction impacts. These negative impacts worsen the already high energy consumption and pollution caused by the building sector. Indeed, post-disaster housing, which is often carried out without pre-planning, usually causes high negative environmental impacts, besides other economic and social impacts. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a suitable strategy to deal with this problem which also takes into account the instability of its causes, like changing ratio between rural and urban population. To this end, this study aims to present a model that assists decision-makers to choose the most suitable building technology for post-disaster housing units. This model focuses on the alternatives sustainability and fulfillment of the stakeholders’ satisfactions. Four building technologies have been analyzed to determine the most sustainability technology and to validate the presented model. In 2003, Bam earthquake DP had their temporary housing units (THUs) built using these four technologies: autoclaved aerated concrete blocks (AAC), concrete masonry unit (CMU), pressed reeds panel (PR), and 3D sandwich panel (3D). The results of this analysis confirm that PR and CMU obtain the highest sustainability indexes. However, the second life scenario of THUs could have considerable impacts on the results.
The world is expected to experience growth in the number of ageing population, and this will bring about high cost of providing care for these valuable citizens. In addition, many of these live with chronic diseases that come with old age. Providing adequate care in the face of rising costs and dwindling personnel can be challenging. However, advances in technologies and emergence of the Internet of Things are providing a way to address these challenges while improving care giving. This study proposes the integration of recommendation systems into homecare to provide real-time recommendations for effective management of people receiving care at home and those living with chronic diseases. Using the simplified Training Logic Concept, stakeholders and requirements were identified. Specific requirements were gathered from people living with cancer. The solution designed has two components namely home and community, to enhance recommendations sharing for effective care giving. The community component of the design was implemented with the development of a mobile app called Recommendations Sharing Community for Aged and Chronically Ill People (ReSCAP). This component has illustrated the possibility of real-time recommendations, improved recommendations sharing among care receivers and between a physician and care receivers. Full implementation will increase access to health data for better care decision making.
The collaboration among physicians during episodes of care for a hospitalised patient has a significant contribution towards effective health outcome. This research aims at improving this health outcome by analysing the attributes of patient-sharing physician collaboration network (PCN) on hospital data. To accomplish this goal, we present a research framework that explores the impact of several types of attributes (such as clique and clan) of PCN on hospitalisation cost and hospital length of stay. We use electronic health insurance claim dataset to construct and explore PCNs. Each PCN is categorised as ‘low’ and ‘high’ in terms of hospitalisation cost and length of stay. The results from the proposed model show that the clique and clan of PCNs affect the hospitalisation cost and length of stay. The clique and clan of PCNs show the difference between ‘low’ and ‘high’ PCNs in terms of hospitalisation cost and length of stay. The findings and insights from this research can potentially help the healthcare stakeholders to better formulate the policy in order to improve quality of care while reducing cost.
Empty container repositioning is a fundamental problem faced by the shipping industry. The virtual container yard is a novel strategy underpinning the container interchange between carriers that could substantially reduce this ever-increasing shipping cost. This paper evaluates the shipping industry perception of the virtual container yard using chi-square tests. It examines if the carriers perceive that the selected independent variables, namely culture, organization, decision, marketing, attitudes, legal, independent, complexity, and stakeholders of carriers, impact the efficiency and benefits of the virtual container yard. There are two major findings of the research. Firstly, carriers view that complexity, attitudes, and stakeholders may impact the effectiveness of container interchange and may influence the perceived benefits of the virtual container yard. Secondly, the three factors of legal, organization, and decision influence only the perceived benefits of the virtual container yard. Accordingly, the implementation of the virtual container yard will be influenced by six key factors, namely complexity, attitudes, stakeholders, legal, organization and decision. Since the virtual container yard could reduce overall shipping costs, it is vital to examine the carriers’ perception of this concept.
Worldwide and mainly in the European Union, many standards, regulations, models and systems exists for the evaluation and identification of stakeholders’ requirements of individual universities and higher education (HE) in general. All systems are targeting to measure or evaluate the Universities’ Quality Assurance Systems and the services offered to the recipients of HE, mainly the students. Numerous surveys were conducted in the past either by each university or by organized bodies to identify the students’ satisfaction or to evaluate to what extent these requirements are fulfilled. In this paper, the main results of an ongoing 6-year joint research will be presented very briefly. This research deals with an in depth investigation of student’s satisfaction, students personal requirements, a cup analysis among these two parameters and compares different universities. Through this research an attempt will be made to address four very important questions in higher education establishments (HEE): (1) Are there any common requirements, parameters, good practices or questions that apply to a large number of universities that will assure that students’ requirements are fulfilled? (2) Up to what extent the individual programs of HEE fulfil the requirements of the stakeholders? (3) Are there any similarities on specific programs among European HEE? (4) To what extent the knowledge acquired in a specific course program is utilized or used in a specific country? For the execution of the research an internationally accepted questionnaire(s) was used to evaluate up to what extent the students’ requirements and satisfaction were fulfilled in 2012 and five years later (2017). Samples of students and or universities were taken from many European Universities. The questionnaires used, the sampling method and methodology adopted, as well as the comparison tables and results will be very valuable to any university that is willing to follow the same route and methodology or compare the results with their own HHE. Apart from the unique methodology, valuable results are demonstrated from the four case studies. There is a great difference between the student’s expectations or importance from what they are getting from their universities (in all parameters they are getting less). When there is a crisis or budget cut in HEE there is a direct impact to students. There are many differences on subjects taught in European universities.
Egypt has countless prestigious buildings and diversity of cultural heritage which are located in many cities. Most of the researchers, archaeologists, stakeholders and governmental bodies are paying more attention to the big cities such as Cairo and Alexandria, due to the country’s centralization nature. However, there are other historic cities that are grossly neglected and in need of emergency conservation. For instance, Port Said which is a former colonial city that was established in nineteenth century located at the edge of the northeast Egyptian coast between the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal. This city is chosen because it presents one of the important Egyptian archaeological sites that archive Egyptian architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries. The historic urban fabric is divided into three main districts; the Arab, the European (Al-Afrang), and Port Fouad. The European district is selected to be the research case study as it has culture diversity, significant buildings, and includes the largest number of the listed heritage buildings in Port Said. Based on questionnaires and interviews, since 2003 several initiative trials have been taken by Alliance Francaise, the National Organization for Urban Harmony (NOUH), some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and few number of community residents to highlight the important city legacy and protect it from being demolished. Unfortunately, the limitation of their participation in decision-making policies is considered a crucial threat facing sustainable heritage conservation. Therefore, encouraging the local community to participate in their architecture heritage conservation would create a self-confident one, capable of making decisions for the city’s future development. This paper aims to investigate the role of the local inhabitants in protecting their buildings heritage through listing the community level of participations twice (2012 and 2018) in preserving their heritage based on the ladder citizen participation approach. Also, it is to encourage community participation in order to promote city architecture conservation, heritage management, and sustainable development. The methodology followed in this empirical research involves using several data assembly methods such as structural observations, questionnaires, interviews, and mental mapping. The questionnaire was distributed among 92 local inhabitants aged 18-60 years. However, the outset of this research at the beginning demonstrated the majority negative attitude, motivation, and confidence of the local inhabitants’ role to safeguard their architectural heritage. Over time, there was a change in the negative attitudes. Therefore, raising public awareness and encouraging community participation by providing them with a real opportunity to take part in the decision-making. This may lead to a positive relationship between the community residents and the built heritage, which is essential for promoting its preservation and sustainable development.
Construction Industry has been evolving since the development of Building Information Modelling (BIM). This technological process is unstoppable; it is out to the market with remarkable case studies of solving the long industry’s history of fragmentation. This industry has been changing over time; United States has recorded the most significant development in construction digitalization, Australia, United Kingdom and some other developed nations are also amongst promoters of BIM process and its development. Recently, a developing country like China and Malaysia are keying into the industry’s digital shift, while very little move is seen in South Africa whose development is considered higher and perhaps leader in the digital transition amongst the African countries. To authors’ best knowledge, Nigerian construction industry has never engaged in BIM discussions hence has no attention at national level. Consequently, Nigeria has no “Noteworthy BIM publications.” Decision makers and key stakeholders need to be informed on the current trend of the industry’s development (BIM in specific) and the opportunities of adopting this digitalization trend in relation to the identified challenges. BIM concept can be traced mostly in Architectural practices than engineering practices in Nigeria. A superficial BIM practice is found to be at organisational level only and operating a model based - “BIM stage 1.” Research to adopting this innovation has received very little attention. This piece of work is literature review based, aimed at exploring BIM in Nigeria and its prospects. The exploration reveals limitations in the literature availability as to extensive research in the development of BIM in the country. Numerous challenges were noticed including building collapse, inefficiencies, cost overrun and late project delivery. BIM has potentials to overcome the above challenges and even beyond. Low level of BIM adoption with reasonable level of awareness is noticed. However, lack of policy and guideline as well as serious lack of experts in the field are amongst the major barriers to BIM adoption. The industry needs to embrace BIM to possibly compete with its global counterpart.
The impact of common buildings on climate and environment has prompted people to get involved in the green building standards aimed at implementing rating tools or certifications. Thus, green building rating systems were introduced to the construction industry, and the demand for certified green buildings has increased gradually and succeeded considerably in enhancing people’s environmental awareness. However, the existing certification process has been unsatisfactory in attracting stakeholders and/or professionals who are actively engaged in adopting a rating system. It is because they have faced recurring barriers regarding limited information in understanding the rating process, time-consuming procedures and higher costs, which have a direct influence on pursuing green building rating systems. To promote the achievement of green building certifications within the building industry more successfully, this paper aims at designing a Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT) framework that can help stakeholders and/or professionals engaged in the construction industry to clarify their basic knowledge, timeframe and extra costs needed to activate a green building certification. First, taking the first steps towards the rating tool seems to be complicated because of upfront commitment to understanding the overall rating procedure is required. This conceptual PAT framework can increase basic knowledge of the rating tool and the certification process, mainly in terms of all resources or information of each credit requirements. Second, the assessment process of rating tools is generally known as a “lengthy and time-consuming system”, contributing to unenthusiastic reactions concerning green building projects. The proposed framework can predict the timeframe needed to identify how long it will take for a green project to process each credit requirement and the documentation required from the beginning of the certification process to final approval. Finally, most people often have the initial perception that pursuing green building certification costs more than constructing a non-green building, which makes it more difficult to execute rating tools. To overcome this issue, this PAT will help users to estimate the extra expenses such as certification fees and third-party contributions based on the track of the amount of time it takes to implement the rating tool throughout all the related stages. Also, it can prevent unexpected or hidden costs occurring in the process of assessment. Therefore, this proposed PAT framework can be recommended as an effective method to support the decision-making of inexperienced users and play an important role in promoting green building certification.
Websites are becoming a major component of an organization’s success in our ever globalizing competitive world. The website symbolizes an organization, interacting or projecting an organization’s principles, culture, values, vision, and perspectives. It is an interface connecting organizations and their clients. The university, as an academic institution, makes use of a website to communicate and offer computing services to its stakeholders (students, staff, host community, university management etc). Unfortunately, website designers often give more consideration to the technology, organizational structure and business objectives of the university than to the usability of the site. Website designers end up designing university websites which do not meet the needs of the primary users. This empirical study investigated the Benue State University website from the point view of students. This research was realized by using a standardized website usability questionnaire based on the five factors of usability defined by WAMMI (Website Analysis and Measurement Inventory): attractiveness, controllability, efficiency, learnability and helpfulness. The result of the investigation showed that the university website (https://portal.bsum.edu.ng/) has neutral usability level because of the usability issues associated with the website. The research recommended feasible solutions to improve the usability of the website from the users’ perspective and also provided a modified usability model that will be used for better evaluation of the Benue State University website.
Worldwide, improving tourism competitiveness has been on the agendas of many stakeholders of the hotel sector, and they seem to have agreed that one of the best ways to compete is via the implementation of electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM). In so doing, the organizations enjoy strategic positioning on the competitive market by managing better not only the customers but, other business components including knowledge and employee management. Over the recent years, the tourism industry in Mauritius has witnessed a drastic economic boom at international and national levels; providing a new outlook to boost business performance through existing and potential customers. E-CRM has been one of the management tools used to achieving this position. Thus, this insightful context- Mauritius- was opted for the study. The aim was to assess the effectiveness of e-CRM as a strategic tool in the hotel sector in Mauritius through the implementation of business strategy to create competitive advantage and impact on the business performance. To achieve the objectives of the study, a quantitative research methodology was adopted and the research revealed that e-CRM is indeed an effective strategic tool in the hotel industry in Mauritius that can provide a competitive advantage and impact positively on the organization’s performance.
Construction industry plays a significant role in fulfilling the major requirements of the human being. It is one of the major constituents of every developed country. Although the construction industry of both the developing and developed countries encompasses a major part of the economy, and millions of rupees are utilized every year on various kinds of construction projects. But, this industry is facing numerous hurdles in terms of its budget and timely completion. Construction projects generally consist of several phases like planning, designing, execution, and finishing. This research study aims to determine the significant factors of time overrun in pre-construction planning (PCP) phase of construction projects in Pakistan. Questionnaires were distributed by various means and responses of respondents were compiled and collected data were then analyzed through a statistical technique using SPSS version 24. Major causes of time overrun in pre-construction planning phase; which is an extremely important phase of construction projects, were revealed. The research conclusion will provide a pathway for stakeholders to pay attention to the mentioned causes to overcome the major issue of time overrun.
Usability testing (UT) is one of the vital steps in the User-centred design (UCD) process when designing a product. In an e-commerce ecosystem, UT becomes primary as new products, features, and services are launched very frequently. And, there are losses attached to the company if an unusable and inefficient product is put out to market and is rejected by customers. This paper tries to answer why UT is important in the product life-cycle of an E-commerce ecosystem. Secondary user research was conducted to find out work patterns, development methods, type of stakeholders, and technology constraints, etc. of a typical E-commerce company. Qualitative user interviews were conducted with product managers and designers to find out the structure, project planning, product management method and role of the design team in a mid-level company. The paper tries to address the usual apprehensions of the company to inculcate UT within the team. As well, it stresses upon factors like monetary resources, lack of usability expert, narrow timelines, and lack of understanding of higher management as some primary reasons. Outsourcing UT to vendors is also very prevalent with mid-level e-commerce companies, but it has its own severe repercussions like very little team involvement, huge cost, misinterpretation of the findings, elongated timelines, and lack of empathy towards the customer, etc. The shortfalls of the unavailability of a UT process in place within the team and conducting UT through vendors are bad user experiences for customers while interacting with the product, badly designed products which are neither useful and nor utilitarian. As a result, companies see dipping conversions rates in apps and websites, huge bounce rates and increased uninstall rates. Thus, there was a need for a more lean UT system in place which could solve all these issues for the company. This paper highlights on optimizing the UT process with a collaborative method. The degree of optimization and structure of collaborative method is the highlight of this paper. Collaborative method of UT is one in which the centralised design team of the company takes for conducting and analysing the UT. The UT is usually a formative kind where designers take findings into account and uses in the ideation process. The success of collaborative method of UT is due to its ability to sync with the product management method employed by the company or team. The collaborative methods focus on engaging various teams (design, marketing, product, administration, IT, etc.) each with its own defined roles and responsibility in conducting a smooth UT with users In-house. The paper finally highlights the positive results of collaborative UT method after conducting more than 100 In-lab interviews with users across the different lines of businesses. Some of which are the improvement of interaction between stakeholders and the design team, empathy towards users, improved design iteration, better sanity check of design solutions, optimization of time and money, effective and efficient design solution. The future scope of collaborative UT is to make this method leaner, by reducing the number of days to complete the entire project starting from planning between teams to publishing the UT report.
From August to December of 2016, a diagnostic and strategic planning study was carried out on the supply chain of the company Agropecuaria GABO S.A. de C.V. The final product of the study was the development of the strategic plan and a project portfolio to meet the demands of the three links in the supply chain of the Roma tomato exported annually to the United States of America. In this project, the strategic objective of ensuring the proper handling of the product was selected and one of the goals associated with this was the employment of quantitative methods to support decision making. Considering the antecedents, the objective of this case study was to develop a model to analyze the behavioral dynamics in the distribution chain, from the logistics of storage and shipment of Roma tomato in 81-case pallets (11.5 kg per case), to the two pre-cooling rooms and eventual loading onto transports, seeking to reduce the bottleneck and the associated costs by means of a dynamic interface. The methodology used was that of system dynamics, considering four phases that were adapted to the purpose of the study: 1) the conceptualization phase; 2) the formulation phase; 3) the evaluation phase; and 4) the communication phase. The main practical conclusions lead to the possibility of reducing both the bottlenecks in the cooling rooms and the costs by simulating scenarios and modifying certain policies. Furthermore, the creation of the dynamic interface between the model and the stakeholders was achieved by generating interaction with buttons and simple instructions that allow making modifications and observing diverse behaviors.
Local administrations are facing established targets on sustainable development from different disciplines at the heart of different city departments. Nevertheless, some of these targets, such as CO2 reduction, relate to two or more disciplines, as it is the case of sustainable mobility and energy plans (SUMP & SECAP/SEAP). This opens up the possibility to efficiently cooperate among different city departments and to create and develop harmonized spatial plans by using available resources and together achieving more ambitious goals in cities. The steps of the harmonization processes developed result in the identification of areas to achieve common strategic objectives. Harmonization, in other words, helps different departments in local authorities to work together and optimize the use or resources by sharing the same vision, involving key stakeholders, and promoting common data assessment to better optimize the resources. A methodology to promote resilient city planning via the harmonization of sustainable mobility and energy plans is presented in this paper. In order to validate the proposed methodology, a representative city engaged in an innovation process in efficient spatial planning is used as a case study. The harmonization process of sustainable mobility and energy plans covers identifying matching targets between different fields, developing different spatial plans with dual benefit and common indicators guaranteeing the continuous improvement of the harmonized plans. The proposed methodology supports local administrations in consistent spatial planning, considering both energy efficiency and sustainable mobility. Thus, municipalities can use their human and economic resources efficiently. This guarantees an efficient upgrade of land use plans integrating energy and mobility aspects in order to achieve sustainability targets, as well as to improve the wellbeing of its citizens.
The stakeholders’ pressure on corporate managers to maintain firm’s profitability has created economic incentives for management to engage in earnings management practices. Therefore, this study examines the effects of audit quality and corporate governance on earnings management of quoted deposit money banks (DMBs) in Nigeria. This study specifically investigates the influence of audit tenure, audit fee, board independence, and board size on earnings management of DMBs. Explanatory research design was employed in carrying out the study while secondary data were sourced from the annual reports and accounts of all the 15 quoted DMBs in Nigerian Stock Exchange as at December 31, 2015 for a period of 10 years covering from 2006 to 2015. The data obtained for the study were analyzed using panel regression analysis approach. The findings reveal that board independence has a negative significant effect on earnings management at a 5% level of significance (p=0.002), while audit fee has a positive significant effect on earnings management at a 5% level of significance (p=0.013) and audit tenure has a negative significant effect on earnings management of DMBs at a 5% level of significance (p=0.003). Surprisingly, board size was statistically not significant at a 5% level of significance (p=0.086). The study concludes that high audit quality and sound corporate governance could improve the earnings quality of DMBs. Hence, the study recommends that the authorities saddled with the responsibility of banking supervision in Nigeria such the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and CBN to advise the National Assembly in Nigeria to pass into law the three years professional requirement for audit tenure.
'Driving What’s Next' is a strong campaign of the new administration of De La Salle Lipa in promoting social innovation in quality education. The new leadership directs social innovation in quality education in the institutional directions and initiatives to address real-world challenges with real-world solutions. This research under study aims to qualify the commitment of the institution to extend the Lasallian quality human and Christian education to all, as expressed in the Institution’s new mission-vision statement. The Classic Grounded Theory methodology is employed in the process of generating concepts in reference to the documents, a series of meetings, focus group discussions and other related activities that account for the conceptualization and formulation of the new mission-vision along with the new education innovation framework. Notably, Driving What’s Next is the emergent theory that encapsulates the commitment of giving quality human and Christian education to all. It directs the new leadership in driving social innovation in quality education initiatives. Correspondingly, Driving What’s Next is continually resolved through four interrelated strategies also termed as the institution's four strategic directions, namely: (1) driving social innovation in quality education, (2) embracing our shared humanity and championing social inclusion and justice initiatives, (3) creating sustainable futures and (4) engaging diverse stakeholders in our shared mission. Significantly, the four strategic directions capture and integrate the 17 UN sustainable development goals, making the innovative curriculum locally and globally relevant. To conclude, the main concern of the new administration and how it is continually resolved, provide meaningful and fun learning experiences and promote a new way of learning in the light of the 21st century skills among the members of the academic community including stakeholders and extended communities at large, which are defined as: learning together and by association (collaboration), learning through engagement (communication), learning by design (creativity) and learning with social impact (critical thinking).