WSEAS CONFERENCES. WSEAS, Unifying the Science

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 Volume 6,  2009
Print ISSN: 1109-9526
E-ISSN: 2224-2899








Issue 1, Volume 6, January 2009

Title of the Paper: A New Traceability System for SMEs with Open Source Software


Authors: Yasuo Uchida, Seigo Matsuno, Tatsuhiro Tamaki, Takao Ito

Abstract: Corporations are currently making progress in their efforts toward traceability, against the backdrop of practical realization of the automatic identification technologies such as RF tags and 2D barcodes. In order to consistently manage and access various types of product-related history information throughout the supply chain, it is necessary to develop information networks and databases for sharing that information between firms, and EDI systems play a central role in that context. The main contribution of this paper is to propose a new distributed traceability system based on open source software which is particularly suitable for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In this paper, we first conduct an exploratory analysis of factors involved in the adoption of traceability systems by small and medium enterprises, based on a review of previous research on traceability and questionnaire survey data. And then we examine the current situation and issues of RF tags, 2D barcodes and EDI systems, and their linkage with in-house backend systems. Furthermore, we propose a new model of the traceability system using open source software which is suitable for small and medium enterprises based on the above analysis, and discuss the model's managerial implications.

Keywords: Traceability Systems, Small and Medium Enterprises, Open Source Software, Supply Chain, 2D barcodes, EDI

Title of the Paper: The Study of the Correlation among Personality Traits, Leadership Competence and Organizational Performance


Authors: Meng-Long Shih, Shouhua Lin, Shu-Hua Hsiao, Liang Ming Huang, Chaochang Chiu, K. Y. Chen

Abstract: The administration and management of a farmer’s associations are governed by Farmer’s Association Act and Regulations of Credit Division of a Farmer’s Association to ensure a solid and solvent management of a farmer-oriented financial institution, guarantee the benefits and privileges of account holders, and promote the economic development and prosperity of the communities for farmers and fishermen. This study intends to explore the correlation among personality traits, leadership competence and organizational performance. The methods include data envelopment analysis and structural equation modeling. The findings suggest that the leader’s charisma demonstrated by the chief executive director serve as an important intermediated variable for affecting the performance of the management of Farmers’ Association and propose suggestions for the management. The indicators of personality traits of chief executive directors in a farmer’s association should be taken into consideration in the election of a chief executive director. As well, the indicators of leadership competence of chief executive directors in a farmer’s association should be taken into consideration in the election of a chief executive director.

Keywords: Operational performance, Data envelopment analysis, Structural equation modeling, Personality traits, Farmers’ organization, Leadership

Title of the Paper: Maintenance Policies and Buffer Sizing: An Optimization Model


Authors: Teresa Murino, Elpidio Romano, Pasquale Zoppoli

Abstract: In production, stops due to maintenance create imbalances within the system. Let's assume that you have a series of n machines and that the i stops. In this case the i+1 would be able to continue to work only as long as stocks were available on the machine, while the i-1 could continue to work only if there was the possibility that its production would be at least temporarily placed on the machine. Therefore it is normal in order to contain the system imbalances, due to maintenance stops, introduce some buffers. In this paper we propose a simulation model to define the optimal dimension of the buffer, with regards to the maintenance policy that is applied to the production system. The model can simulate a system of units that can have very different characteristics, such as productivity or reliability, and also we can simulate an inter-operational buffer between them. The model is based on the concept of thresholds which, when crossed by the parameter of wear, determine different maintenance interventions. The cost optimization consists in determining, by simulation, at what value the thresholds should be fixed to minimize the overall maintenance cost. We use the model to determine the buffer dimension trend depending on the cost of the buffer.

Keywords: Maintenance buffer, condition based maintenance, simulation, buffer, optimization

Title of the Paper: Hybrid Remanufacturing/Manufacturing Systems: Secondary Markets Issues and Opportunities


Authors: M. Gallo, L. Guerra, G. Guizzi

Abstract: In this paper secondary markets opportunities for hybrid remanufacturing/manufacturing systems will be analyzed. Recovering options allow increasing product’s inherent value recovery rate and it have been experimented by many manufacturers for several years. Particularly, the remanufacturing has been receiving great attention from many OEMs. In this case, the joint presence of high quality returns and demand for such products on secondary markets (e.g. emerging markets), makes the management deciding about allocating these units on these secondary markets rather than remanufacturing them and supplying the primary market. To gain insight into such a system a simulation model has been developed by means of Arena and a statistical analysis of data obtained from some experimental campaigns has been carried out. In this way, the factors that mainly impact on system performance and the operating conditions in which selling on the secondary market is more profitable will be identified.

Keywords: Strategic analysis, Quality uncertainty, Remanufacturing, Secondary markets, Simulation

Title of the Paper: Economy Efficiency for Renewable Energy Sources in Greece


Authors: Evangelos C. Tsiblostefanakis, Koralia A. Mantouka

Abstract: Energy is one of the most valuable social goods. A very important of the social economy is the search and discovering of new energy sources, the most efficient management and saving of existent energy resources, as well as environment protection. In this paper the contribution of public funding energy projects for producing electricity from RES sectors, to investment efficiency, will be examined. The Renewable Energy Sources under investigation in this paper are: Wind Energy, Solar Energy and Hydro Energy. There will be established for the numerical indeces for measuring and comparing financial efficiency of different energy investments (eg IRR – Internal rate of return and NPV – Net Present Value).

Keywords: Energy, RES, IRR, NPV, Greece

Issue 2, Volume 6, February 2009

Title of the Paper: Implementation of a Knowledge Management Tool within a VDO Network: Preliminary Results


Authors: Paolo Taticchi, Flavio Tonelli, Eduardo Hernandez, Luca Cagnazzo

Abstract: This paper presents a Knowledge Management (KM) software tool which has been designed to support managing implementation of best practices and improvement initiatives within a VDO (Virtual Development Office) Network. A VDO Network is an organization integrated by SMEs, with a particular form of governance. Furthermore, the KM tool enables building a knowledge base of key capabilities available to a VDO to support decision-making and responding effectively to new business opportunities. KM tool acts not only as a repository for knowledge pertaining to improvement initiatives, but it also drives SMEs to apply and share that knowledge within the wider VDO Enterprise Network. The availability of KM tools for SMEs is rare. This is more evident for Enterprise Networks. The KM tool can be easily modified to address better the requirements of the user (VDO) due to its flexible architecture.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing, Virtual Development Office, SMEs

Title of the Paper: OLAP Technique – An It&C Support for Marketing Managers Decision-Making Process (Case Study: Sales Multidimensional Analysis Applied in Hotel Services Industry)


Authors: Adrian Micu, Angela-Eliza Micu, Alexandru Capatina

Abstract: In order to generate the enthusiasm and implicitly, the customers loyalty, every organization must efficiently manage a marketing database The information stocked in the databases (gathered by means of the direct contacts with the sales representatives, as a result of some marketing researches, registrations on the companies' websites, etc) allow an efficient management of the customers' portfolio, the determination of a customer profile and an efficient position of the offers on the market by means of the on-line analytical processing (OLAP) technique. In this paper, we emphasize the main capabilities of a CRM software that we developed and applied on the customers' portfolio of a Romanian hotel. The multidimensional analysis of the sales applied to the information about customers stored in the software's database using OLAP technique provides a real support for the marketing managers' decision making process. By testing the functions of this software, we reveal the possibilities to create a personalized CRM strategy, to determine customers' profitability using a RFM model and to determine the best offer positioning, taking into account the distribution of sales according to the most important segmentation criteria, using online analytical processing.

Keywords: CRM software, online analytical processing, sales multidimensional analysis, hotel services management

Title of the Paper: Determination of a Cause and Effect Decision Making Model for Leisure Farm’s Service Quality in Taiwan


Authors: Zen-Pin Lin, Ray Wang, Ming-Lang Tseng

Abstract: Causal and effect analysis influences the effectiveness of decision-making and the consumer behaviour. The complex relationship between cause and effect as well as the fuzzy nature of human life make the casual and effect analysis difficult. This research applies a fuzzy DEMATEL method for group decision-making to gather group ideas and analyze the cause and effect relationship of complex problems in fuzzy environments. Procedures of the fuzzy DEMATEL method are presented. Using the fuzzy DEMATEL procedures, a set of service quality criteria involved are separated into the cause and effect groups for helping decision-makers focus on those criteria that provide great influence. An empirical study applies the fuzzy DEMATEL method to the service quality expectation of Taiwanese leisure farms. This study used purpose sampling, a total of 215 valid instruments collected from Beijing tourists’ perception on service quality. The result and contribution are discussed.

Keywords: Service quality expectation, fuzzy logic, Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL)

Title of the Paper: The Analysis of Store Image Concerning the Visual Point Tacking of the Consumers on Viewing the Window Display


Authors: Wen-Cheng Wang, Ying-Hsiu Chen, Chen-Yuan Kao

Abstract: The models of global economy, society, culture and business have changed greatly as a result of the improvement of scientific development and the standard of living. Window display has propagandized media effect. Consumers can get fashion information from shop windows; stores can attract consumers and stimulate their purchase desire. The main purpose of window display is to attraction consumer’s attention, deliver the product’s information and induce consumer’s memory connection. Therefore, vision composition of window display can create psychological feeling and emotion and it will be the first store image information received by consumers; it mainly influences consumer’s decision of whether to stay or make a purchase and so it turns out to be the key factor which determines the success of window display. This research is based on the multitudinous conditions of the vision requirement and the numerous complicated formations of the window display in order to satisfy the visual perception. Through the measurement of the eye-tracker equipment (Face Lab), we seek to understand while the consumers are viewing the window display, how can the various design affect the visual focus and the route production of the consumers. Therefore, it is known through the result of this research’s experiment that 1) when the subject is viewing the windows display, the first visual focus is placed on the central position of the windows, and the visual tracking is been emphasized on the displayed products; 2) The different display position of the products will cast an effect on the concentration distribution of the subjects when viewing the window display; 3) generally speaking, when the subjects are viewing the window display samples, the order of the first five fixation points of the visual tracking transit in a clock-wise direction, the first is to view the displayed products, and then it’s the project, the properties and the background of the theme; 4) the difference in the design of the window display is the cause for the different visual landingpoints of the consumers, moreover, the concentrated region of the visual tracking will be different as well.

Keywords: Store Image, Window Display, Eye Tracking

Issue 3, Volume 6, March 2009

Title of the Paper: Towards Profitability on the Financial Markets; A Discriminant Analysis Approach


Authors: Stefan Alexandru Ionescu, Cristiana Stefania Murgoci, Camelia Monica Gheorghe, Emilia Ionescu

Abstract: In this paper we tried to group in three classes the companies listed without interruption for 6 years from Bucharest Stock Exchange. We used cluster analysis, namely an iterative method of clustering, the k-means algorithm. Using data results, we have made tests for the three classes of prediction using discriminant analysis. Fisher's functions have helped us to make predictions on the affiliation of a new listed company on one of the 3 classes of risk. In this study, emphasis was placed on the liquidity of companies, but also on how efficient are used the raw materials, the basic elements in the current financial crisis. This should give us a clearer picture of companies that are ready to get over this difficult time.

Keywords: Discriminant analysis, Cluster analysis, Pattern recognition, Stock exchange, Portfolio analysis, Classifiers

Title of the Paper: The Transmission Mechanism of Monetary Policy in Romania


Authors: Stefan Alexandru Ionescu, Andreea Raluca Voicu, Alexandru Ionescu

Abstract: As concerns the process to traverse the macroeconomics analysis reasoning of the budgetary earnings and expenses, there shall be crossed the phases whose target consists in defining and understanding the „the balanced production” term. The issue of the consequences generated by the increase of the real quantity of money on the interest rate from the transmission mechanism point of view is by means of the monetary policy management mechanism that the National Bank shall control the money stock as an independent variable, and, consequently, shall also control the interest rate and the available income as associate variables. The multiplier modelling process can make it possible to render evident a possible interaction between the central bank and the other banks as concerns the money offer. This interaction implies an adjustment mechanism that consists in re-defining the monetary base, in re-formulating the multiplier, and in studying the money – credit relationship.

Keywords: Macroeconomics modeling, cybernetic systems, money supply, multiplier process, interest rate, monetary base

Title of the Paper: Economic Comparison of Conventional and Optimum Scheduling of the Electric Transmission/Distribution Substations in Jeddah City Using the Net Present Value


Authors: Said Ali Hassan, Ibrahim A. El-Darrab

Abstract: This paper focuses on the electricity field in Jeddah city. It is devoted to predicting and economically scheduling the needed number of electric transmission/distribution substations for long-term time horizon (10 years). Forecasting is based on predicting the electricity total demand in each year and then finding the needed number of substations for each year. The forecasting is used to predict the projected annual total consumptions for years from 2009 to 2018 using an artificial Neural Network (ANN) depending on the historical data for six predictor variables for the time period 1979-2008. Scheduling is based on a dynamic programming model under the constraints of needed demand and budget availability. The objective function is to minimize the total cost; the decision variables are the number of transmission/distribution substations to be built in each year (stage). The state of the system is the number of transmission/distribution substations still required in remaining years. The optimum schedule for constructing and operating the substations is found and compared with the conventional method of scheduling used by the company. The comparison is based on the net present value for both alternatives. The net present value (NPV) = 1446.783 and 1748.981 millions Saudi Riyals (SR) for the optimal and the conventional schedules, respectively. So the NPV for the optimal schedule saves SR 302.198 millions, i.e. about 17% over the planning horizon of the next 10 years.

Keywords: Net Present Value, Dynamic Programming, Electric Transmission/Distribution Substations, Scheduling

Title of the Paper: Database Marketing Intelligence Supported by Ontologies


Authors: Filipe Pinto, Manuel Filipe Santos, Alzira Marques

Abstract: Marketing departments handles with a great volume of data which are normally task or marketing activity dependent. This requires the use of certain, and perhaps unique, specific knowledge background and framework. This article aims to introduce an almost unexplored research at marketing field: the ontological approach to the Database Marketing process. We propose a framework supported by ontologies and knowledge extraction from databases techniques. Therefore this paper has two purposes: to integrate the ontological approach into Database Marketing and to create a domain ontology, a knowledge base that will enhance the entire process at both levels, marketing and knowledge extraction techniques. In order to structure and systematize the marketing concepts, Action Research methodology has been applied. At the end of this research the ontologies will be used to pre-generalize the Database Marketing knowledge through a knowledge base.

Keywords: Ontologies, Database Marketing, Knowledge Extraction Process, Action Research

Title of the Paper: Data Mining Strategies and Methods to Develop Microfinance Market - Use Case Currency Exchange


Authors: Hameed Ullah Khan, Zahid Ullah, Maqsood Mahmud

Abstract: The intrinsic characteristics of data mining are being inculcated in the market of microfinance. The use case that is brought under our consideration is of Currency Exchange. The idea was conceived and perceived by the current financial crises in the world market in the year 2008-09.The financial recession in world wide compelled individuals to think and start micro businesses rather than macro businesses. In our paper we conceived and designed some algorithms by using data mining techniques to have general micro currency exchange businesses for a developing country. Our algorithm processes two years historical data of currency rates and applies data mining strategies. The "Median Method" and "Rise & Fall Method" with probabilistic approach are being presented. It can be applied to N year’s data with unless desired results are achieved. This is to give best choice to micro currency business men to take decision either to buy or to sell currency. Some previous currency rates (i.e. Ups & Down) are also recorded from a popular bank of Canada & currency open markets as a proof of concept using our algorithm. The statistical and graphical analysis are being made on the data. Our algorithm can be efficiently used by all those who wish to initialize a small business (Cottage Industries) with a profitable income with less investment. Our research will lead to a new dimension in the fields of Micro finance and Data mining.

Keywords: Data mining strategies , Microfinance, Currency Exchange, Rise and Falls Method

Issue 4, Volume 6, April 2009

Title of the Paper: System-Theoretic Foundations of the Theory of Economic Policy


Authors: Reinhard Neck

Abstract: In this paper, we formulate a dynamic theory of economic policy using some concepts and axioms of mathematical system theory. First, the notion of a dynamic economic system is characterized axiomatically. Then the basic problem of the theory of economic policy as introduced by Tinbergen and Theil is expressed as a control problem for a dynamic economic system. In this way, a more general framework for the theory of economic policy than available so far can be developed in terms of mathematical system theory. Finally, we discuss some extensions of the framework, in particular to economic policy problems with more than one decision-maker.

Keywords: Dynamic system, system theory, control theory, economics, economic policy, modeling

Title of the Paper: Estimating Spatial Heterogeneous Panel Data: An Information-Theoretic Approach


Authors: Rosa Bernardini Papalia

Abstract: This paper introduces an entropy-based estimation strategy for spatial heterogeneous panel data models where separate processes for each unit are considered. The starting point is a general model specification which account for both temporal and spatial lagged effects in a panel data context by treating individual relationships as a system of seemingly unrelated regression equations. An empirical application is provided to demonstrate practical implementation of the GME estimator when one has to deal with estimation of ill-posed or ill-conditioned models in analyzing spatial structures.

Keywords: Heterogeneous panel data, Generalized maximum entropy estimation, Spatial models

Title of the Paper: Artificial Neural Network Model for Estimating the Female and Male Population in Working Age in Venezuela


Authors: Samaria Munoz-Bravo, Anna Perez-Mendez, Francklin Rivas-Echeverria

Abstract: This work presents an Artificial Neural Networks application for estimating the female and male population with working age in Venezuela. This model will predict future values of the Venezuelan population with working age, which will help in decision making at governmental, firms and institutions responsible for Venezuelan social security, in order to improve the functioning of the labor market both female and male. For the creation of the model it is used the previous year values related to the employed, unemployed and inactive population (out of the labor force).

Keywords: Labor Force, Regression Analysis, Artificial Neural Networks

Title of the Paper: Improvement's Methodology, under Uncertainty, of the Management of a Public Transportation Service


Authors: Catalin Popescu, Tatiana Cucu, Luminita Ion, Y. Ducq, Augustin Mitu

Abstract: To be attractive, a self-service public transportation (bicycles or cars) have to ensure to the subscribers a degree of availability without fault. Our work is focused in the development of a methodology to aid decision makers to ensure the balance between the stations, to test new locations for the car-sharing stations. This work proposes a hybrid method based on concepts resulting from fuzzy logic, optimization and the theory of the beliefs, making it possible to model the preferences of the subscribers and to determine the maximum utilization ratio of the stations. The manager of a car-sharing service can based on this step for better planning the activities of his team and to reduce the cost of unavailability and the exploitation. Performance indicators are defined for it and the optimization is based on the modelling of preferences of customers.

Keywords: Car-sharing, grid GRAI, use rate of a service, customers’ needs, fuzzy logic, uncertainty

Issue 5, Volume 6, May 2009

Title of the Paper: A Managerial Approach Regarding the Romanian Municipal Bonds Market in Regional Context


Authors: Mirela Matei, Catalin Popescu, Mariana Eftimie

Abstract: The universe of bonds is huge because the innovative process is very intense. For this reason, the issuers have multiple choices in order to finance their activity and the investors have many possibilities to buy different types of bonds. In Romania, the offer of bonds is limited, the public securities being the most important type of bonds listed on exchange. The municipal bonds are new instruments used by many Romanian local authorities in order to finance their development’s activity. These securities are important not only for issuers, but also for local and foreign investors. Many of these securities are traded on the official Romanian stock market - the Bucharest Stock Exchange. For many years, the municipal bonds were the only securities traded on the bonds market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange. In time, even if the dimensions of this market have grown, the share has decreased because new bonds are listed on official stock exchange: corporate bonds and treasury bonds.

Keywords: Bond, securities, municipalities, loan, interest rate, capital market, maturity

Title of the Paper: Nonlinear Forecasting using Nonparametric Transfer Function Models


Authors: Jun M. Liu

Abstract: The focus of this paper is using nonparametric transfer function models in forecasting. Nonparametric smoothing methods are used to model the relationship between variables (the transfer function) and the noise is modeled as an Autoregressive Moving Average (ARMA) process. The transfer function is estimated jointly with the ARMA parameters. Nonparametric smoothing methods are flexible thus can be used to model highly nonlinear relationships between variables. In this paper polynomial splines are used to model the transfer function. Modeling noise term as an ARMA process removes the serial correlation so the transfer function can be estimated efficiently. As a result, the nonparametric transfer function model can generate accurate forecasts when the transfer function is highly nonlinear with unknown functional form. The proposed polynomial splines-based estimator is also highly computationally efficient. The performance of nonparametric transfer function models is demonstrated in this paper by forecasting river flow based on temperature and precipitation. A comparison of the results show that the performance of this model is better than some widely accepted benchmark models.

Keywords: Nonparametric smoothing, Time series, Forecast

Title of the Paper: Green Environmental Business


Authors: Davorin Kralj

Abstract: The process of market globalization has lead to many changes. Corporate responsibility now extends to encompass not only the needs of employees, but also the environment and society as a whole. The article focuses on green environmental business as a part of global marketing. Integrated marketing management integrates the requirements of sustainable green development and environmental excellence. The world is today facing unique environmental challenges. The idea that business has a responsibility other than producing goods and services is not new. Corporate responsibility now extends to encompass not only the needs of employees, but also the environment and society as a whole. As industry grows in strength and importance, it is also is being called upon to share the benefits of its growth with members of society. The article focuses on Sustainable Green Business as a way for sustainable development. PESTLE analysis is a useful tool for understanding the industry situation as a whole, and is often used in conjunction with a SWOT analysis to assess the situation of an individual business.

Keywords: Business, environment, management, PESTLE analysis, sustainable development

Title of the Paper: Application of Experiential Marketing Strategy to Identify Factors Affecting Guests' Leisure Behaviour in Taiwan Hot-Spring Hotel


Authors: Kuo-Ming Lin, Chia-Ming Chang, Zen-Pin Lin, Ming-Lang Tseng, Lawrence W. Lan

Abstract: Understanding the experiential outcomes of guests' stay is becoming increasingly important for developing practicable marketing strategies in hot-spring hotel service economy. This paper proposes a conceptual framework to explicate the causal hypotheses among experiential marketing, perceived experiential value, guest satisfaction, and guest loyalty. A questionnaire survey is conducted to the guests staying in hot-spring hotels and structural equation modeling approach is used to test and validate the hypothesized relationships. The results indicate that all causal relationships are statistically significant except for the relationship between perceived experiential value and guest loyalty. The present study provides an in-depth understanding of the hot-spring hotel guests' repurchase decision-making intention. The findings can facilitate the hotel practitioners to develop more practical marketing strategies.

Keywords: Experiential marketing, guest loyalty, guest satisfaction, hot-spring hotel, perceived experiential value, structural equation modeling

Title of the Paper: A Quantitative Operational Risk Management Model


Authors: Aleksandra Brdar Turk

Abstract: A possible modified use of the New Basel Accord’s LDA capital adequacy calculation method is proposed, including expert’s estimates in addition to available historical data and using calculation methods from the Extreme Value Theory (EVT). In financial institutions with short histories the operational risk losses follow a fat-tailed distribution from the EVT, which is why an EVT-based model is most suitable for their analysis. In cases of small historical data samples the addition of experts’ estimates and the use of simulated data provides for both a simple and a reliable model to be used for operational risk management by identifying key business areas and key risk factors in both smaller financial institution as well as larger financial institutions, sub-divided into smaller comprehensive sections.

Keywords: Operational risk, Extreme value theory, Quantitative model

Issue 6, Volume 6, June 2009

Title of the Paper: An Empirical Study of Supplier Development Practices in a Developing Economy - SMEs Perspective


Authors: Nadeem Kureshi, Faheem Qureshi, Ali Sajid

Abstract: SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) sector forms as much as 99% of business entities around the world. While SMEs in developed economies are getting fair attention of policy makers, those in developing economies, particularly in South Asia, are yet to get such attention. Being the primary suppliers to most exporting firms, or being exporters themselves, the performance of SMEs can be fairly expected to contribute to industrial development and growth of an economy. With the recent emphasis by businesses around the world on "core-competence", more and more activities are being outsourced to SMEs in developing economies. However the performance and business practices of SMEs in developing economies remain much lower than those of SMEs from developed economies. Considering the lack of required policy support for SMEs, effective Supplier Development by large buyers presents a potent tool for developing the performance and business practices of SMEs in developing economies. Based on the literature base addressing current supplier development practices around the globe, particularly in developing economies, this paper presents the results of a survey of Supplier Development activities undertaken by manufacturing rms in Pakistan. The results offer an insight into the most and least used techniques with discussion on the reasons of adoption or otherwise. The results will be of interest to large firms that outsource their business activities to South Asia.

Keywords: SMEs, Supplier Development, Outsourcing, Developing Economies, Pakistan, Extended Enterprise

Title of the Paper: Organisation and Operation of the Romanian Capital Market


Authors: Mirela Matei, Catalin Popescu, Mariana Eftimie

Abstract: The European exchanges are in a development process that means consolidation through mergers and acquisitions and also, innovation of structured and derivatives products. The Romanian capital market has a marginal position on European continent because of its small dimensions and modest offer of derivatives products. Some steps have been made in the development process in Romania, but some measures must be taken in the future: the launch of commodities derivatives, the calculation of new stock indices and mergers between the Romanian exchanges.

Keywords: Capital market, exchange, derivatives, innovation, crises

Title of the Paper: A Competency-Based Model for the Success of an Entrepreneurial Start-Up


Authors: Wei-Wen Wu

Abstract: Many people envy entrepreneurs and want to emulate them as a road to wealth, fame, and freedom. A large number of works have argued about what makes a person act entrepreneurially, and various traits and characteristics of entrepreneurs have been enthusiastically discussed. This study focuses on one particular point: how to facilitate a person’s efforts to become a small firm entrepreneur through competency assessment and development. To this end, this study proposes an entrepreneur competency model and employs the rough set theory (RST) and the best attribute-value (BAV) to investigate whether there are diverse competencies between small firm entrepreneurs and large firm managers. The results of this study indicate that the small firm entrepreneur generally excels in “building a mechanism for talent development”, while a large firm manager is good at “knowing the different urgency of elements of a problem” or “making feasible solutions for actions”. Thus, if a large firm manager wants to emulate a small firm entrepreneur, the suggestion is to de-emphasize methodical thinking and paper work, and to undertake more human networking.

Keywords: Entrepreneur, competency model, rough set theory, best attribute-value

Title of the Paper: Optimization Framework for Road Network Directed by Unblocked Reliability for Given Network Topology and Inelastic Demand with Stochastic User Equilibrium


Authors: Shujun Hou, Naoki Maruyama, Masafumi Hirota, Seizo Kato

Abstract: To provide more reliable service for drivers, it is necessary to establish an optimization framework in which a reliability index is adopted as a performance index to evaluate road networks. First, a modified fourlevel model of unblocked reliability (link, path, Origin-Destination pair and entire road network) is proposed, in which the unblocked reliabilities of the Origin-Destination pair and the entire road network are formulated by the law of total probability when the unblocked reliability of path is a conditional probability. Then, a bi-level program is established based on the new model of unblocked reliability since planners design the road network and drivers respond the change in the road network. The objective function of the upper-level program is the maximized balance between the unblocked reliability of the entire road network and the road network expansion ratio which implies cost of improving the road network. The program equivalent of Stochastic User Equilibrium is adopted as the lower-level model so as to achieve consistency in route choices and to model the congestion effect in the road network. Next, a set of link capacity expansions is determined as a planning scheme by solving the bi-level program. This planning scheme not only improves the link of lower reliability but also takes into account the performance of the Origin-Destination pair and the entire road network. The proposed optimization framework is capable of improving the road network to its highest possible reliability level with a minimum scale of road network expansion.

Keywords: Road Network Planning, Bi-level Program, Unblocked Reliability, Stochastic User Equilibrium, Logit loading model

Issue 7, Volume 6, July 2009

Title of the Paper: A Framework for Assessment and Implementation of Product-Service Systems Strategies: Learning From an Action Research in the Health-Care Sector


Authors: Flavio Tonelli, Paolo Taticchi, Elena Starnini Sue

Abstract: Product-Service Systems (PSS) are new business strategies moving and extending the product value towards its functional usage and related required services. From a theoretical point of view the PSS concept is known since a decade and many Authors reported reasonable possible success factors: higher profits over the entire life-cycle, diminished environmental burden, and localization of required services. Many researchers reported very interesting experiments in large enterprises, typically specialized in functional goods production, while only few researches have been performed for small and medium enterprises (SME). From the flexibility point of view, SMEs seem to be facilitated in approaching a PSS business strategy, thanks to the rapid re-organization of their value-chain/supply-chain (VC/SC), but, on the other hand, requiring a structured, and interrelated approach in order to assess and implement such a strategy. This paper presents the learning from an action research (AR) in the health-care sector. AR has been used in order to experience a PSS initiative and therefore define, develop, and test a complete framework for assessing and implementing PSS strategies. Reflection on the story in the light of the experience and the theory is presented, as well as extrapolation to a broader context and articulation of usable knowledge.

Keywords: Business strategy, Product-service systems, Small-medium enterprises, Action Research, Health-care

Title of the Paper: The B2B Market: Corporate Social Responsibility or Corporate Social Responsiveness?


Authors: Michal Kubenka, Renata Myskova

Abstract: Initially it was the corporate social responsibility concept; later other similar concepts have emerged. Corporate social responsiveness turned out to be a significant alternative concept. This article deals with a corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social responsiveness (CSR2) and the analysis of usage on B2B market. Company research in industry was carried out in the Czech Republic. The aim was to determine whether the CSR or CSR2 concept penetrated into the firms and their supplier-customer relationships. Specifically, the research focused on the enterprise approach to CSR and CSR2 concept and evaluation of suppliers based on CSR criteria. The question is what concept penetrated into practice – it is CSR or CSR2?

Keywords: CSR, CSR2, B2B market, CSR levels, brand switching, CSR benefits, stakeholder, RDAP scale

Title of the Paper: Cluster and Factor Analysis of Structural Economic Indicators for Selected European Countries


Authors: Natasa Kurnoga Zivadinovic, Ksenija Dumicic, Anita Ceh Casni

Abstract: The last wave of EU enlargement ended on 1st January 2007 with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. Many countries of the South-Eastern Europe aspire to join the EU. Croatia appears to be the next prospective member, so the aim of this paper was to classify Croatia and EU 27 Member States according to the structural economic indicators. These countries were gathered into homogenous groups in terms of the following structural economic indicators: GDP per capita, total employment rate, comparative price levels, employment rate of older workers, long term unemployment and productivity of national economies expressed in relation to the European Union (EU-27) average. Firstly, the cluster analysis was used on three structural economic indicators: GDP per capita, total employment rate and comparative price levels. The hierarchical cluster analysis and non-hierarchical cluster analysis were applied and gave similar results. The factor analysis was then provided to find out the common factors of six structural economic indicators: GDP per capita, total employment rate, comparative price levels, employment rate of older workers, long term unemployment and productivity of national economies. Two factors were extracted and the factor scores for each observation were calculated. The factor scores were used in further cluster analysis and again similar results of classification was given.

Keywords: Classification, Structural economic indicators, Multivariate methods, Hierarchical cluster analysis, Non-hierarchical cluster analysis, Factor analysis

Title of the Paper: Infiltration of the "New Japanese-Style Management System" for an Enterprise Union––Case Study of a Japanese Electrical Appliance Company


Authors: Toru Fukumoto

Abstract: The “New Japanese-Style Management System” was introduced by the Japan Business Federation in 1995 to reinforce the “Three Sacred Treasures” that are peculiar to the management style in Japan. This paper investigates the penetration and influence of the New Japanese-Style Management System on the enterprise union and union members as well as labor-management relations by providing examples such as testimonials and documents. The purpose of this is to observe how the union deals with various company measures and how these measures are exchanged between the union and management. This paper treats a certain electrical equipment manufacturer and its labor union to conduct this research.

Keywords: Three Sacred Treasures, New Japanese-Style Management System, Enterprise Union, Case Study

Title of the Paper: Reporting Frameworks for Financial Instruments in Czech: Czech Accounting Practices versus International Financial Reporting Standards


Authors: Jiri Strouhal

Abstract: During last decades financial accounting faces the shift of financial reporting paradigms from historical costs accounting towards fair value concept. The most visible item of this change is reporting for financial instruments, particularly for financial derivatives. The research presents the particular approach of the analyzed area, namely identifying the particularities of reporting for financial instruments in correspondence to IFRS, through both theoretical description and empirical analysis, and continuously linking the findings to the actual knowledge stage and theories developed in the field. The results show a high level of similarity between Czech accounting principles and IFRS for reporting of financial instruments.

Keywords: Financial Instruments, Financial Reporting, IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), Czech Republic, Historical Costs Accounting, Fair Value Accounting

Title of the Paper: The Impact of the Economic Crises on Romanian Labour Market


Authors: Daniela Zirra

Abstract: The international economic crisis, initially emerging as a series of financial disruptions in the world’s highly developed countries, has severely destabilized all the sectors of our daily life, whether economic, social, cultural or otherwise. The labour market is the most afflicted area given its particular sensibility to negative stimuli. The important role played by this market (it ensures the labour supply in relation to the employment demand of firms), is no longer a new concept. Therefore, we can say that the Romanian labour market represents a good example to illustrate the difficulty of creating the conditions that could make labour supply more adaptive and flexible in a very dynamic business environment, satisfying a very exigent labour demand taking into account the technology evolution and building high quality new work places. In the last almost two decades, the evolution of the Romanian labour market was spectacular, by comparison to the analogue phenomena in the developed countries of the European Union. The transformations undergone by the labour market have been quite profuse and their impact on the environment significant. One of the most important ones being that the global economic crises generated a reduction of the general economic activity. As a direct consequence of this evolution, the labour market suffered a strong imbalance, a lot of Romanian workers are returning for a safe work place in Romania, but the national economy is not capable to help them. The subject of this paper is to make some appreciations about what could happen in the future and how the Romanian firms and authorities could react to one of the biggest issue of economic crises, respectively the unemployment and the instability of the work places in a very disturbing economic environment.

Keywords: Labour market, Economic environment, Economic crises, Unemployment, Work place, Instability, Dynamic

Title of the Paper: The Competitiveness of the Tourist Destination on the Future Tourism Market


Authors: Melinda Candea, Felicia-Aurelia Stancioiu, Mirela Mazilu, Roxana Cristina Marinescu

Abstract: The motto “action, not beautiful words” should guide the national policies of tourism from any country, starting from the compliance with the typical responsibilities taken to the following levels: national, provincial, regional, local. Also, in the government of a tourist destination we must take into account the cycle of life of the respective destination. Any model postulates the fact that the tourist destinations tend to experiment five distinct development stages: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation and stagnation. According to the reaction of the managers of the destination in stagnation, various scenarios are possible, ncluding the decline, stabilisation, rejuvenating and reinvention. Within the consolidation and the stagnation stages, the managers must intervene and act in order to avoid the unwanted decline of the respective tourist destination. That is why, it is very important to organise a Destination Management (DMO – Destination Management Organisation), whose stages of governance ensure the destination sustainability, too. The more difficult such an action is, when the destination Drobeta – The Danube Bend – Ponoare, although endowed with an exceptional natural potential, which has offered a priority place in the excellent European destinations list (the 4th place) – a pilot project for promoting this region started by the European Commission – because of the lack of a coherent development strategy and of a management and of a sustainable development of the destination.

Keywords: Tourism, sustainable, destination, revival, re-launching, strategy

Title of the Paper: Skills for Future Engineers: Challenges for Universities in Bulgaria


Authors: Elissaveta Gourova, Yanka Todorova, Nikolay Gourov

Abstract: The paper considers the global challenges for universities, and the emerging models in higher education. It highlights the debates for e-skills in Europe and for skills needs of future engineers. A special focus is made on the educational environment in Bulgaria and the trends in last decade which have influenced the development of universities. The paper presents results of surveys carried out in two leading universities in Bulgaria – Sofia University and Technical University - Sofia, and the problems of skills and competences of their staff, organizational environment, as well as of collaboration with external stakeholders. On this base are considered some main steps towards improving the education framework in both universities, and putting it into a more strategic way.

Keywords: Engineering skills and competences, education environment, university models, factors

Issue 8, Volume 6, August 2009

Title of the Paper: Error-Based Learning Processes on Financial Markets


Authors: Dima Bogdan, Pirtea Marilen Gabriel, Cristea Stefana

Abstract: A critical issue in financial markets’ research is the debate between the academic orthodox approach of the Efficient Markets’ Hypothesis and the critics rising from the behavioral finance paradigm and practice. Several alternative explanations have been proposed in order to provide a more realistic description of the financial markets’ inner mechanisms. This debate’s importance consists in the implications of the adopted point of view on the assessment of the financial markets’ predictability degree. [4], [5] proposed a unified approach labeled as Adaptive Markets Hypothesis. Thus, from a practical point of view, the main issue consists in providing a pertinent answer to the next question: Is an active portfolio management able to provide better results that a passive “follow the market on long-run” strategy? If in adaptive models the markets are considered to display, at least in a certain sense, a degree of predictability, then, one of the major difficulties in supplying empirical evidences is the requirement of knowing ex ante the “exact” forecast model used by the economic subjects. The aim of this study is providing a solution to this problem inspired by the transduction’s (supervised learning) algorithms. Our main output consists in the thesis that the forecasting errors matter for price formation in financial markets. So, despite the fact that nor the theoretical foundations nor the empirical evidences are conclusive, we argue that the nature of the “exact” learning mechanisms can be seen as one of the key variables in investors’ decisions and markets evolution. There is a significant positive payoff of a more detailed study of such mechanisms inside an extended framework of financial markets as complex systems.

Keywords: Financial markets, FTSE 100, Adaptive Markets Hypothesis, forecasting algorithms, forecasting errors, adaptive mechanisms

Title of the Paper: Is Cultural Tourism Attractive in Transylvania? A Focus on Cluj and Sibiu Counties, Romania


Authors: Alexandra Viorica Dulau, Monica Maria Coros

Abstract: The current paper aims at sketching the manner how both native and foreign visitors perceive, appreciate and, why not, intend to consume the cultural tourism offer of Transylvania, a Romanian region. The article is elaborated on the findings of an Internet based research study that was carried out at the beginning of this year, findings that are correlated to the ones obtained in two previous personal researches. Cluj and Sibiu, two Romanian counties belonging to Transylvania, represent the focus points of our paper. Why were they chosen? Cluj is a major economic center of Romania, while Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture in 2007. This paper tries to contribute to the identification of the possible answers to several questions. Is Transylvania’s cultural heritage attractive to tourists? Do foreigners travel to Romania for cultural purposes? Are the Romanians still interested in cultural activities? Transylvania’s potential related to the development of cultural tourism is extremely valuable for the region’s branding process.

Keywords: Cultural tourism, Cultural heritage, Cluj County, Sibiu County, Transylvania, Romania, Economic crisis, Tourism development and branding

Title of the Paper: The Place of Religious Tourism in Romania's Tourist Industry


Authors: Magdalena Vorzsak, Carmen Maria Gut

Abstract: At global level, the industry of tourism represents the most dynamic activity sector, the most important generator of workplaces, and a source of recovery for the national economy. Specialists consider that, in the global perspective, travel and tourism, together with information technology and telecommunications will be the three industries of services with the highest turnover. Religious tourism is an essential component of cultural tourism. This form of tourism exists for centuries and shows some features of pilgrimage proper, but has undergone considerable changes, nevertheless. Nowadays, religious tourism involves high educational and cultural level of the tourists, which would allow appreciation of cultural-religious sights from the point of view of the architecture, value construction, spiritual significance and content of works of art. In the present paper the authors realized a comparative analysis of the Romanian religious tourism and the sector of tourism in general and highlighted the main issues this sector is currently confronted with.

Keywords: Tourism, religious tourism, SWOT analysis, development strategies, development perspectives, Romania

Title of the Paper: Evaluation of Worker Productivity Improvement Criteria using Interpretive Structural Modeling and Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process


Authors: Chi-Horng Liao, Ming-Lang Tseng

Abstract: In recent years, many printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing firms have looked upon worker productivity improvement as the means by which they could improve their firm performance. This paper uses the critical factors and interpretive structural modeling (ISM) that determine the structure of analytical hierarchical process model in fuzzy environment. Fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) based methodology be discussed to tackle the different decision criteria in a hierarchical structure in the improvement of worker productivity. The findings advocate that these manufacturing firms would thereby the hierarchical model to setup the priorities of the worker productivity improvement. The result finds that the best practice is most critical factor to overall objective.

Keywords: Worker productivity improvement, interpretive structural modeling, fuzzy analytical hierarchical process

Title of the Paper: The Effects of Time-limited Pressure and Perceived Value on Consumers' Intention to Purchase: A Study of Travel Fairs


Authors: Hsien-Lun Wong, Tsung-Yi Shen, Chung-Yi Yan, Mei-Chi Tsai

Abstract: In this paper we establish a consolidated framework to verify the association of consumers’ purchase intention under the time-limited situation, by employing the linear structure equation model for data test. The questionnaire sample collected from consumers visiting two annual International Travel Fairs in Taiwan, 2007. The empirical results indicate that time-limited pressure has positive significant influence on perceived value and purchase intention. In addition, perceived value is served as a mediating factor between the relationship of time-limited pressure and purchase intention. The results would provide tourism businesses with a beneficial reference for planning a marketing strategy.

Keywords: Time-limited pressure, perceived value, purchase intention, linear structure equation model, travel fairs

Title of the Paper: Generic Project Success and Project Management Success Criteria and Factors: Literature Review and Survey


Authors: Morteza Shokri-Ghasabeh, Kamyar Kavousi-Chabok

Abstract: This paper covers a thorough literature review on “Project Success” and “The Generic Project Success Criteria and Factors”. In recent times, it has become a common belief that project success is defined by meeting the time, cost and quality requirements of organizations. However, there are some important project success criteria (PSCs) and factors (PSFs) which often get neglected when it comes to evaluating a project. The results of a survey, conducted by the researchers, show that to the contrary of what is mentioned in the literature, “Top Management Support” turned out to be the most important measure of project success. “Time” and “Quality” and their process, on the other hand, were not considered as critical success criteria. In fact, a controversial discovery is that some so called project success factors could potentially be considered as criteria for evaluating projects. This paper suggests the necessity of further investigations on the discrepancy between theoretical project success criteria and factors and those considered important in industry. In fact, the paper’s authors believe that this controversy occurs because projects’ stakeholders have different definitions of project success. Moreover, the survey presents a balance between the numbers of respondents who believe that project success is deemed project management success and the respondents, who consider that this is not necessarily true.

Keywords: Project Success, Project Success Criteria, Project Success Factors, Project Failure

Title of the Paper: Location Problems Solving by Spreadsheets


Authors: Wen-Chen Lee, Neng-Shu Yang

Abstract: Location problems have been the focus of considerable attention both in research and practice for many years. Numerous extensions have been described to broaden its appeal and enhance its applicability. This study proposes a spreadsheet approach for three well-known facility location problems, the p-median problem (PMP), capacitated p-median (CPMP), and maximal covering location problem (MCLP). The advantages of the method are not only relatively simple but are also effectively used, maintained and updated by users. The results show that the spreadsheet approach can generate good solutions, including conditions descriptions of location and allocation, within a reasonable process time. For some instances, the solutions obtained by this method are better than those by state of the art approaches. In addition, most location problems can also apply this approach.

Keywords: Location problems, p-median problem, capacitated p-median problem, maximal covering location problem, spreadsheets

Issue 9, Volume 6, September 2009

Title of the Paper: Decision Processes in Public Organizations


Authors: Sylvia Encheva, Sharil Tumin

Abstract: Application of binary Analytic Hierarchy Process in a decision process related to public sector is in the main focus of this work. We argue that the standard nine point scale based rating system used by the classical Analytic Hierarchy Process is not the most optimal one with respect to decision processes in the majority of public organizations. This mainly because it requires a lot of resources that such organizations do not have. Therefore a simpler rating system like binary or ternary point scale can be used instead. At the same time simpler rating systems are not very effective when a large number of criteria is involved since pairwise comparisons with respect to different criteria might end up with the same evaluation due to lack of alternatives.

Keywords: Cooperation, multi-criteria decision-making, AHP

Title of the Paper: Differences in the Development of New Services between Developed and Developing Financial Markets


Authors: Majda Bastic, Mojca Nekrep

Abstract: There is a lack of literature regarding development of service innovations in developing financial markets. The study addresses the factors influencing the success/failure of innovations in developing financial markets. We hypothesized that the factors such as new service development process, quality of service, organizational culture and knowledge have the significant impact while market characteristics have no impact on the success of new financial services. The hypotheses are tested on the sample of 60 innovations offered on Slovenian financial market, as one of the developing financial markets. The discrepancies between the development of financial innovations in developing and developed markets with respect to the impact of these factors are also revealed. The most important differences referred to the impact of two factors, i.e. market characteristics, and technical development and technical activities.

Keywords: Innovation, Financial Service, Success Factors, Slovenia

Title of the Paper: Information Quality Improvement as a Measure of Business Intelligence System Benefits


Authors: Jurij Jaklic, Pedro Simoes Coelho, Ales Popovic

Abstract: Since business intelligence systems’ impact on performance is first of all long-termed and indirect, most measures of business value are not sufficiently close to immediate influence of such systems and therefore not suitable to justify investments into business intelligence systems in real business environments. Thus, measures related to increased information quality as a result of business intelligence systems introduction are commonly used. The purpose of this study is to test how much does implementation of business intelligence systems actually contribute to solving the major issues regarding information quality. Empirical data were collected through a survey of Slovenian medium and large size organizations. Quantitative analysis was carried out on the data, which related to 181 medium and large size organizations. The results of the analysis show that business intelligence systems actually have a positive impact on both segments of information quality, namely content quality and media quality. However, the impact of business intelligence systems on media quality is stronger, while the quality of content is more important for making better business decisions and providing higher business value of business intelligence systems. Thus, there is still a gap between available information quality and knowledge workers’ needs, in other words – key information quality problems still exist.

Keywords: Analytics, Business intelligence, Business intelligence systems maturity, Data integration, Information quality, PLS methodology

Issue 10, Volume 6, October 2009

Title of the Paper: Project Tracking using a Metrics Binder Analysis (MBA) Model on Software Project Initiatives (SPI)


Authors: Evangelos Markopoulos, Georgios Alexopoulos, Nikolitsa Bouzoukou, Javier Bilbao

Abstract: Project management and software project management in particular is about managing the implementation effort required towards the completion of a project in time, budget and quality. The management effort is based heavily on project tracking techniques and practices were the project implementation progress is closely monitored and analyzed. This paper presents a project tracking model based primarily on the project requirements and its implementation evolution through the project lifecycle. The tracking process is supported by a set of metrics which cumulatively collaborate, since day one of the project implementation, towards the interpretation of the real project progress via various measurements and results continuously. This live project tracking system is a metric binder analysis for software projects and initiatives, were more than 30 metrics are bind together, creating an accurate, practical and realistic picture of the project progress for the entire project or for any of its components, all the way down to its requirements.

Keywords: Software Metrics, Project Management, Project Tracking, Software Quality Engineering

Title of the Paper: Measuring Financial and Business Operation Impacts, of Software Project Initiatives and Investments, using Project Tracking MarkPoints on the Project Volume


Authors: Evangelos Markopoulos, Nikolitsa Bouzoukou, Georgios Alexopoulos, Javier Bilbao

Abstract: Measuring the size of a project has always been a challenge in all the disciplines involved in project management. In software project management, defining a measurement unit for a project is even more difficult since the unique characteristics of the software make it invisible and untouchable, and therefore much more difficult to be measured. This paper presents a model that can contribute towards this issue. The MarkPoint presented can be considered as a sizing and measurement unit to a software project. The MarkPoints are based on the requirements of a project where their initial weighted distribution per requirement, implementation phase and other project elements makes the project size needed for the management of the project. The paper initially states the need for such models in the business world and defines the excepted environment for them to be applied successfully. The model and the overall concept is approach from a business and financial perspective, since it’s a business oriented approach driven by business needs and expectations in managing software project and investments.

Keywords: Software Economics, Project Management, Project Tracking, Software Sizing, Project Volume Metrics

Title of the Paper: To Trust or not to Trust: The Influence of Regional Culture and Gender on Economic Behavior in an EU-Non EU Trust Game


Authors: Larissa-Margareta Batrancea

Abstract: My paper tries to see if there are any economic behavioral differences between EU and Non-EU citizens under the influence of regional culture and gender, in a one-shot version of trust game played by students of different nationalities at Universita degli Studi di Brescia, Italy. During twenty-four experimental sessions participants, both senders and receivers, have not discriminated against when playing with partners from a different region or of different gender.

Keywords: Trust, trustworthiness, European Union, economic behavior, experiment, regional culture, gender

Issue 11, Volume 6, November 2009

Title of the Paper: Matching TRIZ Engineering Parameters to Human Factors Issues in Manufacturing


Authors: Denis A. Coelho

Abstract: An overview of the development of the TRIZ problem solving approach is provided in the first part of this paper. Having emerged in Russia in 1946, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving Technique (TRIZ) has been commonly used in the USA and Europe in the last few decades. TRIZ, as a method, has been used successfully to solve problems such as many of those typically arising during the process of product development, as reviewed in the second part of the paper. While the TRIZ method is also considered fit to address human factors problems in manufacturing, straightforward application would benefit from a resource gathering supporting knowledge and techniques. In the third part, analysis of previous work leads to suggest that new TRIZ method users might benefit from specific guidance in the interpretation of the engineering parameters in the contradiction matrix, considering human factors problems in manufacturing. A tentative correspondence is proposed in the fourth part between human factors issues in manufacturing and the engineering parameters in the matrix. The paper concludes emphasizing the need to further extract and categorize human factors and ergonomics principles and understand and analyze them under the light of the 40 inventive principles of TRIZ.

Keywords: Industrial engineering, Inventive principles, Contradiction, Resource for new users

Title of the Paper: A Fuzzy Approach to Compare Human Performance in Industrial Plants and Service-Providing Companies


Authors: Edson Pacheco Paladini

Abstract: This paper presents basic concepts of fuzzy logic area used to structure an evaluation process of the performance levels of human resources who operate in both - industrial and service providing organizations. A model has been developed to each sector. The models use specific mechanisms for comparing performance seeking to define suitable standards for achieving operational, tactical and strategic goals defined by productive organizations. Some essential criteria were used for the performance evaluation, which involve Strategic Management (competitive differentiation in terms of products, services and processes); Tactical Management (human resources management) and Operational Area (management of the productive process). The results of the practical applications in industrial organizations and in service-providing companies were described and discussed. A comparative method to detect specific characteristics of each sector is described. The performance standards compose what can be called an ideal profile of decision-making agents in industrial and service-providing organizations.

Keywords: Human performance; services and industrial goods; fuzzy approach to evaluation

Title of the Paper: The Contribution of Adaptive Selling to Positive Word-of-Mouth in Malaysian Computer Retail Business


Authors: Maznah Wan Omar, Kamaruzaman Jusoff, Mohd Noor Mohd Ali

Abstract: The application of salesperson adaptive selling skills and sales presentation skills by a salesperson during their interaction with customers in the sales situation can have a significant effect on customer intention to promote through word-of-mouth in the Malaysian Computer retail business. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relations between salesperson adaptive selling skills, positive word-of-mouth and the relative roles played by cognitive satisfaction in the development of customer satisfaction which will lead to customer’s intention to promote through word-of-mouth in a computer retail setting in Malaysia. This will then lead to increased benefits for the organization in the form of customer loyalty. The cognitive evaluation of customer satisfaction was found to explain customer loyalty in a retail setting significantly. This finding holds importance to those retailers who have been able to generate high expectations in the eyes of their customers.

Keywords: Adaptive Selling, Cognitive Satisfaction, Word-of-Mouth, Customer Loyalty, Malaysian Computer Retail Business

Issue 12, Volume 6, December 2009

Title of the Paper: The Study of ISO9001 Processes as Basis for Business Explicit Knowledge


Authors: S.-C. Lee

Abstract: Our research invited the electronic and electrical manufacturer as the samplings those owned the ISO9001 certification that was widely recognized as the practical formality and normality of flow in firms. Based on business size, we distinguished the research factors affecting by asset amount, employee number and establishing period. According to the tendency and cross analysis, we found that almost are significantly centered on the product realization knowledge, and the higher amount of asset, the more number of employee that appears then the business flow is more positive influenced by product realization knowledge. It means that firm should pay more treatments on business flows when investing of asset or growing of employee. Against previous work, our contribution has clearly demonstrated that the business practical flow especially on the product realization as explicit knowledge is stronger influenced by business size; also, four propositions were from the nine inferences in the conclusion as well.

Keywords: Knowledge management, Business flows, ISO9001, Electronic and Electrical

Title of the Paper: An Empirical Case Study on the Service Quality for Traditional Chinese Medical Clinics


Authors: Yung-Chia Chang, Tsan-Ming Chang

Abstract: Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry introduced “A Service Quality Model.” and further explored the gap between expected quality customers having before receiving the service and perceived quality customers regarding after receiving the service (they call this gap as the perceived service quality gap). In their methodology, customers are asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding both expected and perceived service after they received the service. Since both expected and perceived service quality are rated in one single questionnaire, it is questionable that the results obtained can effectively convey the differences of the gap as originally defined. This research proposed a Service Quality Diagnosis Model to re-explore the perceived service quality gap. A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic in Taiwan is used as an example to demonstrate the proposed approach. The first stage of the proposed approach involved developing a suitable scale containing the key service factors to measure the service quality of TCM clinics. The second phase of the proposed approach explored the service quality of the case TCM clinic by analyzing the results obtained from questionnaire filled out by its patients. Different from any exist approach, respondents need to fill out two questionnaires separately before and after they receive services. The proposed research successfully divided perceived service quality into three types: ideal quality, unacceptable quality and satisfactory quality. As with enterprise diagnosis, the research results can effectively help managers to identify abnormalities in current service quality and further to recommend in-time solutions to the problems or countermeasures for continuous improvement.

Keywords: Service quality, Expected service, Perceived service, Traditional Chinese medicine clinic

Title of the Paper: Knowledge Audit Concepts, Processes and Practice


Authors: Elissaveta Gourova, Albena Antonova, Yanka Todorova

Abstract: The paper considers the importance of knowledge management in the new economy, and focuses on the concept of knowledge audit and its need for developing and monitoring the knowledge management implementation. A special focus is made on knowledge audit concept and the approaches and processes proposed and used in practice. The paper highlights also some tools utilized in knowledge audit and the metrics used for knowledge measurement and evaluation of knowledge management benefits for organizations. A special attention is paid on balanced scorecard methodology and social network analysis use in knowledge audit. A new extended knowledge audit approach is proposed and some measurement considerations. The paper presents results of surveys carried out in some small and medium organizations for determining the knowledge management needs and usage, as well as knowledge audit pilot results.

Keywords: Knowledge audit, knowledge metrics, knowledge management, knowledge audit approaches

Title of the Paper: National and International Financial Reporting Rules: Testing the Compatibility of Czech Reporting from the SMEs Perspective


Authors: Jiri Strouhal, Libuse Mullerova, Zdenka Cardova, Marie Pasekova

Abstract: There is a strong pressure from investors to report accounting items using fair value concept upon economic boom. The financial crisis period may raise an issue of revival of conservative concepts in financial reporting, e.g. historical costs measurement and application of prudence principle. Conceptual solution of valuation issues need not to come out from current economic situation and it is impossible to change this concept every time when economic conditions tend to change. Unsystematically changes of valuation concepts may conduce to instability of economic system. This paper performs a comparative analysis of reporting under national standards of Czech Republic and International Financial Reporting Standards with the special focus on small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The results show significant compatibility of reporting under both regulations.

Keywords: Financial Reporting, IFRS, Investors, Czech Republic, Compatibility Tests, Comparative Analysis, SMEs

Title of the Paper: Incentive Effects on the Decision to Utilize e-Tax and Motor OSS in Japan


Authors: Hiroyuki Kawaguchi

Abstract: The author conducted a survey of 100 administrative scriveners who file tax returns in regards to whether or not they utilize e-filing and tax payment systems for national taxes (e-Tax) at the time of filing income tax returns as well as in regards to factors that resulted or did not result in such utilization. According to the survey results, a 5,000 yen tax credit is considered to serve as an incentive to promote e-Tax utilization. Those who continue to utilize e-Tax also tend to be interested in other incentives. On the other hand, a demographic exists who choose not to utilize e-Tax regardless of the monetary incentive, indicating the limitation of the monetary incentive. Meanwhile, the same survey was also conducted in regards to one stop service for procedures relating to automobile ownership (Motor OSS) governed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, but the number of cases of utilization was zero. As a nationwide trend, the rate of utilization was 0.7% (11,175 vehicles), indicating a stagnant rate of utilization. The author assumed that a policy to design effective incentives can be established by comparing incentive factors for e-Tax with those for Motor OSS and analyzing the differences, and for that purpose prepared a buyer persona (virtual character) in consideration of the background on the side of an automobile buyer. Incentives that are effective in the case that this buyer persona utilizes Motor OSS were investigated and analyzed. As a result, it was found that monetary incentives for automobile buyers to utilize Motor OSS were not effective, including the incentive that does not require attachments as well as one stop service itself.

Keywords: E-Tax, Motor OSS, Decision Making, Monetary Incentive, e-Government, Online Application, Questionnaire Survey, Persona Model

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