WSEAS CONFERENCES. WSEAS, Unifying the Science

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 Volume 7,  2010
Print ISSN: 1109-9526
E-ISSN: 2224-2899








Issue 1, Volume 7, January 2010

Title of the Paper: Adoption and Use of E-Government Services: A Case Study on E-Procurement in Malaysia


Authors: Maniam Kaliannan, Halimah Awang

Abstract: The edge of the Information Age, where information has become the cutting edge of global competition, has thrust the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the fore front of the national socio-economic development. ICT has been recognized as a strategic enabling tool to support the growth of the economy as well as enhance the quality of life of the population. The public sector in Malaysia is going through period of rapid change. The government’s leading role in spearheading the surge forward into the information age has compelled the public sector to lead the way. The Government launched the Electronic Government (e-Government) initiative to reinvent itself to lead the country into the Information Age. Implementation of Electronic Procurement (e-Procurement or locally known as e-Perolehan) is regarded as one of the major milestones in government’s effort to reduce corruption thus enhancing accountability and transparency of government procurement. There are six procurement modules being implemented since 1999. The aim of the government is to make all the suppliers and federal government agencies become electronic procurement enabled users by the year 2010. This paper looks at some of empirical findings from the survey conducted regarding the government suppliers readiness in adopting and using the e-Procurement system. The general findings show that the suppliers have positive perception about information technology and the use of Internet to do their business transactions; hence they are ready to use the e-Procurement system. Even though there are some positive development of e-Procurement in terms of the acceptance and usage, there are also many problems and challenges faced by both the buyer community i.e. government, and seller community i.e. suppliers. The paper provides some recommendations to improve the current practice to encourage more suppliers to grab the opportunity and benefit fully from the e-Procurement initiative in Malaysia.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technology, e-Government, e-Procurement, Adoption

Title of the Paper: Information Systems in the Knowledge Based Economy


Authors: Aura-Mihaela Mocanu, Daniela Litan, Stefan Olaru, Adrian Munteanu

Abstract: In business we can deal with critical and urgent decisions every day and the performance of our work depends on their quality. Due to the modern technology and the Internet, the amount of available information has increased considerably. In order to structure this amount of information and to create knowledge from it, executive information systems became a must for each competitive enterprise. The performance of an information system which could generate complete analysis and forecasting in seconds is very important. The most critical component for success of the modern enterprise is its ability to take advantage of all available information - both internal and external. The IT solutions designed to address these challenges have been developed in two different approaches: structured data management (BI - Business Intelligence) and unstructured content management (KM - Knowledge Management). Business intelligence systems are helping answer questions that are mandatory in making good and profitable decisions. Using the knowledge within an organization can increase the competitive advantage on the market, and considering this as an important asset can be used as a production input factor for company’s line of business. But, behind an executive information system there is actually a data warehouse.

Keywords: Business intelligence, competitive intelligence, data warehouse, geographical information system, knowledge contribution

Title of the Paper: Turning Points in Business Process Orientation Maturity Model: An East European Survey


Authors: Nikola Vlahovic, Ljubica Milanovic, Rok Skrinjar

Abstract: Companies worldwide are embracing Business Process Orientation (BPO) in order to improve their overall performance. Over the past few years methodologies for analyzing maturity state of BPO have been developed. Maturity model consists of a number of stages through which companies evolve as they increase the adoption of process oriented practices. Understanding the transition between different stages of BPO is of utmost importance for enabling governance and superior execution of these processes. In this paper we present the investigation of turning points between different stages of BPO in the business setting in transitional economies of East European countries, specifically Croatia and Slovenia. Using an acknowledged data mining technique of classification and regression trees (C&RT) turning points are detected based on survey results obtained in 2008. These findings present invaluable guidelines for any business that strives to achieve more efficient business processes.

Keywords: Business Process Orientation, Maturity Models, Turning Points, Datamining, Decision Trees

Title of the Paper: Market Index Biases and Minimum Risk Indices


Authors: Jordi Andreu, Salvador Torra

Abstract: Markets, in the real world, are not efficient zero-sum games where hypotheses of the CAPM are fulfilled. Then, it is easy to conclude the market portfolio is not located on Markowitz’s efficient frontier, and passive investments (and indexing) are not optimal but biased. In this paper, we define and analyze biases suffered by passive investors: the sample, construction, efficiency and active biases and tracking error are presented. We propose Minimum Risk Indices (MRI) as an alternative to deal with to market index biases, and to provide investors with portfolios closer to the efficient frontier, that is, more optimal investment possibilities. MRI (using a Parametric Value-at-Risk Minimization approach) are calculated for three stock markets achieving interesting results. Our indices are less risky and more profitable than current Market Indices in the Argentinean and Spanish markets, facing that way the Efficient Market Hypothesis. Two innovations must be outlined: an error dimension has been included in the backtesting and the Sharpe’s Ratio has been used to select the ‘best’ MRI.

Keywords: Index Biases, Passive Investing, Market Indices, VaR, Portfolio Optimization, Minimum Risk Indices

Issue 2, Volume 7, April 2010

Title of the Paper: The Effects of Service Encounter and Experiential Value on Consumer Purchasing Behavior


Authors: Hsien-Lun Wong, Mei-Chi Tsai

Abstract: This paper proposes a conceptual framework to examine the relationship between the service encounter, the experiential value and purchase intention. A structural equation model (SEM) is employed to validate and test three hypotheses. The data used for model test is obtained from the customers visiting to the beauty stores in Taiwan. A survey of researcher is conducted with 245 valid questionnaire received. The empirical results that three aspects of the experiential value (feel, act, relate) have significant effects on purchasing behavior. The conclusions will be of use as a beneficial reference for the management when deciding service strategy.

Keywords: Service encounter, Experiential value, Purchasing behavior, Structure equation model

Title of the Paper: A Demand-Response Routing Model for Traffic Signal Maintenance Operations with Time-Dependent Travel Times


Authors: Chao-Hua Chen, Kai-I Liao

Abstract: This study is aimed at planning traffic signal maintenance work using a demand-response routing model with time-dependent travel times. The routing model was able to produce timely maintenance routes for each maintenance vehicle compatible to the daily inspection plan and randomly revealed malfunctioning traffic signals. Three modules, the route-generating module, the decision-support module and the time-evolution module, constituted the model framework, and Genetic Algorithms (GAs) were used to solve for dynamic maintenance routes. Furthermore, different service strategies with different routing procedures based upon a case reconstructed from real world data were designed and tested to reflect the concerns for practical applications. Evaluation results show the routing model is flexible in structure and feasible enough for practical applications.

Keywords: Traffic Signal Maintenance Operations, Demand-Response Routing Model, Time-Dependent Travel Time, Genetic Algorithms

Title of the Paper: Impact of Change Management Implementation in a Production System – A Croatian Experience


Authors: Krunoslav Skrlec, Nikola Vlahovic

Abstract: The increasing dynamics of business systems generate more frequent changes in external and internal organizational factors and the need for faster adjustment of business systems to these changes. This trend has greatly increased the development of business information systems as more relevant information becomes accessible from the targeted markets. In this paper we analyze the production sector in the Republic of Croatia which is insufficiently adapted to these new conditions. Each change in the business system renders specific overall effects which, at times, may not be as expected. The objective of this study is to point out problems that occur while introducing changes inside a production system and the adjusting mechanisms within the information system. In the conclusion of the paper a few guidelines for top management based on recent survey will be presented.

Keywords: Change management, Business information systems, Production systems, Manufacturing, Management

Title of the Paper: Techno-Economic Model for Policy Assessment to Optimize Spectrum Frequency Utilization Study Case: Frequency Fee for FWA and GSM Services in Indonesia


Authors: Ismail, Suhono H. Supangkat, Hendrawan, Basuki Y. Iskandar

Abstract: Radio frequency spectrum is a limited resource, owned and regulated by government. Each telecommunication providers, which use radio frequency spectrum, has the obligation to pay frequency fee. Currently, frequency fee, called as “Biaya Hak Spektrum Frekuensi” (BHP-F), for the cellular and fixed wireless access (FWA) services are calculated based on the number of frequency spectrum channel that being used (aperture based). This method is considered obsolete for cellular and FWA services BHP-F, not only this method has technical problem but also calculation based on aperture is hampering the utilization of frequency spectrum. International telecommunication Union (ITU), through ITU-R SM 2012-2 recommends about BHP-F formula based on frequency spectrum spectral, which can promote the frequency spectrum utilization. The policy of changing BHP-F from aperture based to spectral based will affects in economic especially to GSM and FWA industries. The policy also will affect to government goals to increase frequency spectrum utilization and to have proper non-tax government income. To assessment this policy, we need proper model. This paper will propose a techno-economic model to evaluate the impact of the new policy. In this paper, we use cellular and FWA services as case study.

Keywords: Frequency Fee, cellular and fixed wireless access services, utilization, techno-economic

Title of the Paper: Assessing Trust in E-Commerce Website based on Ranking of Trust Attributes


Authors: Muhammad Rushdi Rusli, Ab. Razak Che-Hussin, Halina Mohamed Dahlan

Abstract: Trust has become one of most importance criterion in order to establish the e-Commerce. Previous study has shown that, there are five most important trust attributes that should be placed in an e-Commerce website. However, consumers may not know about the trust attributes and incapable to search the attributes manually especially for the new consumers. Besides, there are no proper tools available that can help the consumers to search all five trust attributes in an e-Commerce website. In order to overcome the problem, tool that can search the trust attributes should be develop to help the customer to assess the trustworthiness level of an e-Commerce website. Since this study only focus on e-Commerce websites in United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and Malaysia, data from the websites have been collected to create patterns using regular expressions. Observation has shown that most of trust attributes are located in "Homepage" and "Contact us" pages. The proposed patterns then are applied into the prototype and the practicability of the prototype has been tested. ROC has been used to assign weight to each attributes depending on the rank of the importance of the trust attributes to help the customer to assess and making a decision about the trustworthiness of an e-Commerce website. Precision, recall and f-measure have been used to measure the performance of the prototype and the results show that the system performs almost same result by using manual search.

Keywords: Information Extraction, Regular Expression, e-Commerce, Trust

Title of the Paper: Crisis of Fair Value Measurement? Some Defense of the Best of All Bad Measurement Bases


Authors: Carmen Giorgiana Bonaci, Dumitru Matis, Jiri Strouhal

Abstract: Many people points towards fair value accounting for financial instruments as being one of the major aggressors of financial crisis. We argue that it is just another case of shooting the messenger, by proving where things really went wrong, and who could be considered responsible within the formed vicious cycle. The results show that fair value accounting is nothing but a “scapegoat”, while the ones who are now asking a restriction in the scope of fair value accounting should take more responsibility for their actions. An objective point of view implies making a clearer distinction between accounting and prudential concerns. Fair value cannot be considered guilty for the actual financial crisis, but only a messenger of it, case in which some reactions can be understood, because we all know the general reaction towards the manager. In other words, the concept of fair value has the role to bring us as close as possible to reality, fact that could be realized through a correct implementation and a greater transparency, if used properly. Concluding by Churchill words about democracy: “it is the worst system with the exception of all others”.

Keywords: Fair Value, Financial Crisis, Historical Costs, Accounting Measurement, Value Relevance, Prudential Concerns

Title of the Paper: On Reducing the Number of Existing Cycles in Connected Graphs Obtained from Comparison Matrices


Authors: Sylvia Encheva

Abstract: Both classical Analytic Hierarchy Process and Analytic Network Process appear to be somewhat laborious for application in projects with restricted budgets. Their binary and ternary versions seem to be quite sufficient for a reasonably small amount of alternatives and criteria. Occurrences of ’ties’ in a ternary AHP is considered in particular in this work. Correlations between the number of ’ties’ and the total number of cycles in a connected graph associated with a comparison matrix are discussed.

Keywords: Imprecision, uncertainty, consistency, multi-criteria decision-making, ternary AHP

Title of the Paper: Strategic Business Process Insourcing: Insights of an Action Research in the Railway Sector


Authors: Marco Mosca, Flavio Tonelli, Roberto Revetria, Paolo Taticchi

Abstract: The academic literature on Business Process Outsourcing is relevant, offering a well-structured background and very interesting case studies. By the other hand, little research effort has been performed for Business Process Insourcing, which in contrast to the traditional view of outsourcing, where the outsourcer and vendor are separate players, sets the delegation of a pull of operations to a co-shared, but stand-alone, business entity that specializes in that operations. Thus, managers and experts, considering BPI strategies, are claiming for rigorous methodologies to support this critical transition in a practical way. In this paper, insights from an action research, in relation to a BPI strategy chosen by a multinational organization operating in the railway sector (Bombardier Transportation, BT) is reported. According to this strategy, the creation and starting phases of an engineering centre, co-shared by BT and Infotech (a selected Indian engineering services vendor), namely BTECI (Bombardier Transportation Engineering Centre India), are analyzed and reported. The knowledge contribution of this work is about the empirical evidence of a set of methodologies and tools useful to a BPI implementation strategy through the clear evidence of hidden problems and potential implementation pitfalls.

Keywords: Strategic Out-Sourcing, In-Sourcing, Action Research, Railway Sector, Case Study

Title of the Paper: Evaluating the Credit Management of Micro-Enterprises


Authors: Fennee Chong

Abstract: This study assesses the credit management of micro-enterprises in East Malaysia. The micro- enterprises in Malaysia form 80 percent of the Malaysian SMEs and play a significant role in the country’s development. Similar to the micro-enterprises in the West and those in the developing countries, securing financing and credit management remain challenging to this group of enterprises. Other than evaluating the credit repayment practices, this study also examined whether factors such as education level, indebtedness as well as capacity to repay credit affects repayment performance. Findings showed that about 59 percent of the respondents did not pay their loans on time. Level of education attained by respondents reported a significant predictive power over their credit management practices. A higher level of education level attained implies better credit management. Besides, it was also found that there was a significant gap between genders in terms of credit management. Meanwhile, higher total liability per month was found to be significantly associated with a higher level of loan defaults. Finally, respondents’ financial capability, represented by household income, was proved as not having any significant impact on the credit management of micro- enterprises.

Keywords: Credit management, SMEs, Micro-enterprises, Indebtedness, Financial capacity

Title of the Paper: Conceptual Aspects of Shadow Economy


Authors: Irina Gabriela Radulescu, Catalin Popescu, Mirela Matei

Abstract: The paper tries to analyse the interaction between shadow and official economy. Because there is a real interest in defining shadow economies in economic literature the paper tries to present different point of views regarding the shadow economy definitions. Also, there are presented in details the illegal activities by emphasize the existent controversies about their inclusion in national account or not. The author also presents the causes and effects of the illegal side of global economy.

Keywords: Shadow economy, official economy, hidden activity, tax evasion, black market, dualism

Title of the Paper: Human Resource Management – A Key Point for SUCCESS Project


Authors: Catalin Popescu, Augustin Mitu, Daniela Uta, Luminita Ion

Abstract: The theory for Human Resource Management (HRM) fallows different aspects of the way that companies or institutions organize their human resources (HR). This theory is also applicable for projects that have, as partners, different public or private organizations. The particularities of projects require a particular HRM, specific actions and different approaches of HR. For multinational projects the activities of HRM differ in content from the classic activities. Activities like planning and integrating HR are the most important ones and by themselves can decide the success of a project. Other important activities for projects’ HRM like: creating a communicational frame that supports complex information exchange, an equitable system of retribution for employees with different economic and social background – start defining a new form of HRM. In the case of CIVITAS – SUCCESS HR activities were implemented less based on existing, specific, theory and more based on the experience of previous projects implemented within the European Community. In the science of management most of the time theory is born out of working experience and international projects like CIVITAS SUCCESS demands a new approach of HRM.

Keywords: Human resource theory, experience, specific activities, international partner, retribution system

Issue 3, Volume 7, July 2010

Title of the Paper: Energy Saving and the Contribution of Green Marketing to Behavioural Change


Authors: Arminda Do Paco, Lilia Varejao

Abstract: The consumption of energy resources has significantly increased in over the years. One of the sectors where this increase has been most notorious is in the domestic sector. Given the environmental and economic costs that this tendency brings with it, it has become necessary to reduce energy consumption. The aim of this study is to find which factors most influence the behaviour of individuals in relation to energy saving. At the same time, an attempt is also made to understand whether advertising campaigns seeking to raise awareness about the need to save energy resources exert any influence over behaviour. The results show that advertising campaigns are highlighted by individuals in general as a good way of raising awareness about the need to save energy resources, even though they do not point to this as the factor that most influences their energy saving behaviour.

Keywords: Environment, energy saving, green marketing, consumer behavior, communication

Title of the Paper: Sport for All – Implementation Modern Methods of Performance Management


Authors: Dana Badau, Adina Camarda, Sorin Serbanoiu, Tudor Virgil, Dragos Bondoc-Ionescu

Abstract: The need to evaluate performance management in sports for all, that is the sport instructors as managers, is determined by the accurate and optimum need of dimensioning and distributing objectives, by the method of improvement for these staff categories and by the need to diminish risks, which are caused by keeping or promoting incompetent persons in management positions. It is no longer a secret for anyone that one of the most difficult challenges managers face in contemporary organizations is performance management. Within activities specific to sports for all, nowadays, the evaluation of sport instructor-managers is not accomplished on the basis of specific criteria, as the case of trainer – managers involved in performance sport. Our purpose is to elaborate evaluation criteria for sport instructor-managers so that their evaluation is made according to performance management, by commeasuring and comparing results, by the physical-intellectual potential, professional and managerial potential, according to the objectives and requirements of the position held , therefore being eliminated the subjectivism and hazard of evaluation.

Keywords: Performance management, evaluation criteria, sports for all, sport instructor, managers, efficiency, and activity optimization

Title of the Paper: The Management of Changing the Attitudes of the Factors Involved in the Tourism Industry


Authors: Adina Camarda, Plesea Doru, Dana Badau

Abstract: Acting as travel plan organizers, travel agencies can perform a series of actions that lead to the implementation of sustainable tourism. In the context of the entire tourist plan implementation process, travel agencies must take into account the quality of the scenery, the architecture specific to each area, the role played by the tourist in the environment transformation and protection, the transportation means used, as well as all the activities that shall be part of the marketed tourism product; these should not conflict with any of the environment components.

Keywords: Sustainable tourism, implementation, factors, attitudes, promotion, research variables, selective research, environment protection

Title of the Paper: Acceptance Level of Push Technology-based Online Shopping Widget among Malaysians: Application of Technology Acceptance Theory


Authors: Lee Yean Hooi, Mohd Azam Osman, Rosnah Idrus, Tan Shiang-Yen

Abstract: Nowadays, online shopping information such as new product release, promotion, and other news are mostly retrieved manually by prospective buyers from individual website or webpage, which is entailed enormous efforts, time-consuming and often lead to information overload. The tool or method used in this scenario is known as pull-technology. As a solution, this study proposed an online shopping widget which automatically retrieves relevant online shopping information from various sources at single point of time based on the concept of push technology. In relevant to this, the objective of this paper is to investigate the acceptance level of the proposed online shopping widget among Malaysians, through applying technology acceptance theory in questionnaire survey. The findings of this study imply that the overall acceptance level of Malaysians toward the proposed online shopping widget is considered as relatively low. In addition, the result of this study also suggested that perceived usefulness of the sidebar widget is the strongest antecedent which led to the intention of use of the online shopping widget. This study has provided a foundation to both practitioners (e.g. software developers) and academicians for understanding of the acceptance level of similar push technology-based online shopping widget, and the characteristics the online shopping widget (especially usefulness and ease-of-use) should incorporated in order to enhance acceptance level among prospective users.

Keywords: Online shopping, Push technology, Technology acceptance theory, Sidebar widget

Title of the Paper: Optimal Minmax Analysis of the Market Equilibrium by Generalizing Cobweb and Laffer Models


Authors: Codruta Cornelia Dura, Ilie Mitran, Imola Driga

Abstract: Equilibrium can be described as an ideal market situation, in which the interests of economic agents are best served, and the resources are allocated and used based on certain criteria and at a normal level of efficiency for every stage. Market equilibrium is derived from a problem specific to non-cooperative game theory with zero-sum and two players. In order to analyze market equilibrium, the main issue is to determine the equilibrium price in different situations: knowing the functions of supply and demand, knowing the elasticity of these functions, taking into account the existence of income tax etc. The results presented in this paper are broad and dwell on the well-known results for Cobweb and Laffer models. An important advantage of these findings is that they are convenient in terms of calculations and they have interesting economic interpretations.

Keywords: Equilibrium price, supply-demand relation, the elasticity of the supply function, the elasticity of the demand function, the equation of price dynamics, the dynamic index of prices

Title of the Paper: Application of Risk Management in Modeling International Cereal Trade


Authors: Costel Nistor, Mihaela-Carmen Muntean, Rozalia Nistor

Abstract: Over the last two decades, risk management in the economic activity as well as its implications on the economic entities brought about an explosive development of technical and methodological approaches of the concept. This aspect occurred over a period of increase of interdependence degree of the economic systems and acceleration of the information flow. As a result of this process, the diversity of technical and methodological approaches was explained strictly on a disciplinary basis, being founded on a number of criteria varying from the commercial, financial or investment ones up to the psycho-sociological or philosophical ones. This particular approach of risk may induce to the economic receiver the perception of non-systematization of the accomplished analytic constructions and of dynamics of chaos in this new universe of economic knowledge. Any activity or economic effort is based on a number of unknown and uncertain factors or opportunities simply because its subject is located in the future. There are sometimes situations where the uncertainty is too high, making it virtually impossible because a decision or goal in itself or the way that it can achieve are not sufficiently defined, or that risks could be totally destructive.

Keywords: Risk, uncertainty, variable, risk cost, futures contracts, forward contracts

Title of the Paper: Accounting for Derivatives: Hedging or Trading?


Authors: Jiri Strouhal, Carmen G. Bonaci, Dumitru Matis

Abstract: Paper performs an analysis of the Czech and Romanian derivatives market through a deductive approach, starting from the macroeconomic picture of emergent capital markets of Central and Eastern Europe, and then moving to the specific case of Czech Republic and Romania. Findings reveal potential sources of information asymmetry which might put the informational advantage in the hands of some parties involved in derivatives trading. The very low level of information reported on derivatives operations might be the signal of an alarming situation concerning the characteristics of accounting information that already had its way through the current crisis.

Keywords: Hedging, Hedge Accounting, IFRS, Fair Value, Financial Derivatives, Risk Management

Title of the Paper: Competitiveness of Developing Regions in Romania


Authors: Mihaela-Carmen Muntean, Rozalia Nistor, Costel Nistor

Abstract: Emphasizing the importance of regional competitiveness has increased in recent years increasingly more power and size. Since the first EU report on competitiveness which reported worrying trends regarding the competitive advantage both in global and local, to present the Community strategic guidelines that give priority to regional competitiveness, the issue became "headline" to European level policy formulation. Regionaldistribution of development resources is closely linked to local capacity to effectively use common factors appointed prominent entrepreneurship. Some regional trends are explained by an emerging entrepreneurial potential, regardless of geography or some other bill cliches deterministic.

Keywords: Region, regional development, competitiveness, European Union

Title of the Paper: Simulation of Companies Operational Activities using Computers


Authors: Rozalia Nistor, Costel Nistor, Mihaela-Carmen Muntean

Abstract: In this paper, we emphasize the simulation of a decision making process applied to an international transport company from Romania. Our goal was to establish the most efficient decision, having in view three alternatives: acquisition of one additional truck, acquisition of two additional trucks and the outsourcing supplementary requests of transport services, over the trucks fleet capacity of the company, to other specialized transport companies. In view to determine mathematically the best decision, we applied the decision tree method, in the conditions in which the company’s manager offered us a feasibility analysis concerning these alternatives. We also reveal in this paper the opportunity provided by DELMS software functions, which reduce the time involved by solving this decision problem.

Keywords: Modeling, simulation, decision, software, optimization, efficiency, resources

Title of the Paper: Fiscal Reforms - Romania's Integrating Actions to EMU


Authors: Monica Susanu

Abstract: As a direct absolute drawing rule to the public authority’s disposal, taxes are also the main regulators and engines of the social and economic system. However, their functions’ exacerbation by growing the fiscal burden could lead to very negative social and economic consequences, since an old saying predicted that “it might kill the goose with the golden eggs”. The estimation of the fiscal burden derives from a classic index that expresses the part of GDP that state takes as taxes and that might be relatively bigger in the developed countries than in the developing ones, directly connected with the whole volume of the national revenue. Associated with the fiscal policy, the term of fiscal pressure is widely spread in the literature and indicates the magnitude of the national revenue redistribution through taxes. Generally, it is a specialized word that expresses the average of the fiscal burden’s intensity as a tax-payers’ obligation to the central and local public authority. The amplitude and dynamics of the fiscal pressure is measured and estimated through the fiscal taxation ratio that is established by law or fiscal regulations. It is a fiscal coefficient expressing the very share of the national revenue taken by the state and is calculated as a percentage ratio for tax payments/revenues to the GDP considering. There are three ratios usually employed (low ratios, high ratios and optimum ratios) according to the average values of the fiscal taxation ratios on relatively long term of a certain country or group of countries, and by reference to the average ratios existing at a given moment in the countries at the top of world economy as well. To a certain extent, the present rise of the Romania’s economy and social development reflects the existing global tendencies which are materialized in what the specialists call the transitional path towards the informational society, i.e. the society of knowledge and consciousness. As another challenge for the country, the integrative process requires the substantiation of a strategy that aims at gradually catching up with the countries that have developed within normal parameters along the trajectory of social and economic progress. Both support and motivation, the present Romania’s struggle for integration in the European Union is actually an effort towards its social and economic second modernity. Being permanently interdependent with other macro-economic processes and policies, tax planning and tax policy play an important role both in ensuring and improving the financial stability and in sustaining an adequate environment for all economic activities. Although their different approaches and methods, tax planning and tax policy deal with the management of the accumulated public financial resources, i.e., the dynamics of fiscal pressure itself. The present study aims at analyzing the impact of fiscal reforms as reflected in the dynamics of the fiscal pressure from the perspective of various tax ratios and also the way it was felt against the integration in the euro zone background. Considering the context of the global financial turbulences, the paper intends to offer a mirror of the efforts Romania made towards the challenge that were faced up to now and that are still to be faced in the years to come.

Keywords: Value added tax, corporate/profit tax, personal income tax, public finance, fiscal policy

Title of the Paper: Reflections Concerning Some Collaborative Systems Portal-Based Approaches


Authors: Mihaela I. Muntean

Abstract: In the present global economy, strongly influenced by IT and information systems evolution, the modern organizations try to face the new economy challenges. It is certain, that the enterprise’s performance will depend on the capacity to sustain collaborative work. It is obvious, that all collaborative environments (workgroups, communities of practice, collaborative enterprises) are based on knowledge and between collaboration and knowledge management there is a strong interdependence. Effective collaboration unlocks the potential of the collective knowledge and intellectual capital of the organization and its networks of business partners, suppliers and customers. At the core of true collaboration is the ability to share and catalogue knowledge, ideas, standards, best practices, and lessons learned and to be able to retrieve that knowledge from anywhere at any time. The evolution of information systems in these collaborative environments led to the sudden necessity to adopt, for maintaining the virtual activities and processes, the latest technologies/systems, which are capable to support integrated collaboration in business services. In these environments, portal-based IT platforms will integrate multi-agent collaborative systems, collaborative tools, different enterprise applications and other useful information systems. All considerations have a strong research background, our portal-based proposal for sustaining collaboration and knowledge management in organizations being subject of some Romanian research projects that are fitting in the European research demarches.

Keywords: Collaboration, collaborative environments, knowledge management, collaborative systems, knowledge portals

Issue 4, Volume 7, October 2010

Title of the Paper: Six Sigma for Big Companies and SMEs: Evidences from Literature


Authors: Luca Cagnazzo, Paolo Taticchi

Abstract: Six Sigma (SS) methodology is nowadays one of the most used approaches in the Quality Management field since its benefits, coming from the improvement of the process outputs quality by identifying and removing the causes of defects and variability in manufacturing and business processes. Thus, literature on the SS topic is exponentially increased during last decades; the vast number of works on the SS field represents a good opportunity for a structured literature review of the articles, in order to understand the evolutions of the concept, the fields of its application and possible evolution for further studies. The literature review has been carried out by using a chronological review of the main SS approaches developed both for large and small companies, in order to highlight particular aspects of the SS literature and some applications of the SS methodology. The evaluation of the papers found in literature is carried out through a Strengths-Weaknesses criterion. Moreover, for those treating the application of the SS methodology into both big companies both Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), an assessment has been carried out based on the accordance with some milestones identified as necessary for every SS system. Finally the paper argues the possible further developments of the research field.

Keywords: Six Sigma, DMAIC, Literature Review, SMEs

Title of the Paper: Benefits, Barriers and Pitfalls Coming from the ISO 9000 Implementation: The Impact on Business Performances


Authors: Luca Cagnazzo, Paolo Taticchi, Francesco Fuiano

Abstract: Total quality management is from a decade an important and useful organizational system for increasing companies’ competitiveness, by optimizing processes with a particular focus on the customer. Among all the methodologies, ISO 9000 certification is one of the most common and recognized approaches for the benefits of the companies that decide to implement it. Several studies have been conducted in literature, presenting some important impacts of the ISO 9000 on the companies’ performances. Due to the vast number of works, a classification of the main impacts of ISO 9000 on the principle business performances is needed. The findings coming from the literature review analysis are therefore validated through a survey extended at 366 companies. The resulting information of the investigation are coherent with those studied in literature, even if some key aspects are extremely focused on a restricted set of impact areas. The investigation allow the author to identify the main impacting dimensions of ISO 9000 on the performances of the companies. Moreover the barriers and pitfalls for a successful ISO 9000 certification are presented, furnishing details for overcome these issues.

Keywords: ISO 9000, Business Performance, Literature review, Survey

Title of the Paper: Generalized Maximum Entropy Estimation of Spatial Panel Interaction Models


Authors: Rosa Bernardini Papalia

Abstract: Flow data are viewed as cross-classified data, and spatial interaction models are reformulated as log-linear models. According to this view, we introduce a spatial panel data model and we derive a Generalized Maximum Entropy – based estimation formulation. The estimator we propose has the advantage of being consistent with the underlying data generation process and eventually with the restrictions implied by some non sample information or by past empirical evidence by also controlling for collinearity and endogeneity problems.

Keywords: Maximum entropy estimation, spatial panel data models, spatial Interaction models

Title of the Paper: A Novel Factor Decomposition of Productivity Differentials: Evidence from Foreign Owned and Domestic Firms in Italy


Authors: Rosa Bernardini Papalia, Pinuccia Calia

Abstract: Using the idea of the multidimensional generalization of the Duncans’ index, the productivity per worker differentials across groups of firms can be decomposed into different components attributed to differences in: sectoral productivity, investment in human and physical capital, size and other determinants. More specifically, for decomposing group productivity differentials we propose an Oaxaca’s decomposition – based approach which assumes a Reimer’s weighting scheme. An application of the decomposing method aimed at evaluating productivity differences across foreign owned and domestic firms in the Italian manufacturing sector is also provided.

Keywords: Productivity, Foreign acquisitions, Oaxaca decomposition

Title of the Paper: Key Components and Operability Evaluation of Internal Controls for Risk Assessment Modeling in IT Audit


Authors: Cristian Amancei, Traian Surcel

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to present some directions to improve the implementation methodology of an audit process, from the analysis of tolerance to IT systems unavailability for organizations in a critical situation caused by the materialization of IT vulnerabilities. The article follows a series of key components of IT risk management process, proposing practical elements for risk control, internal controls operability analysis and aggregation of results, providing a deterministic model process. The use of predefined questionnaires and risk matrix can help the services providers to adapt to the market and maintain the service quality. These practical elements can be found in the proposed IT audit questionnaire, along with a workflow process in seven steps for the audit mission.

Keywords: IT systems tolerance, risk areas and subareas, control evaluation, risk assessment, IT risk, IT audit steps, audit questionnaires

Title of the Paper: The Relationship between Unemployment Rate and the Size of the Shadow Economy. The Case of United States


Authors: Adriana Anamaria Alexandru, Ion Dobre, Catalin Corneliu Ghinararu

Abstract: The paper aims to investigate the nature of the relationship between unemployment rate(UR) and the size of the U.S.A. shadow economy(SE) measured as % of official GDP for the period 1980-2009, using cointegration and granger causality tests. The size of the shadow economy estimated using the MIMIC model is decreasing over the last two periods, achieving the value of about 7.3% of official GDP at the middle of 2009. The empirical results point out the existence of a long-run relationship between the variables and a unidirectional causation that runs from unemployment rate to shadow economy. We extend the classical Okun’s law, in order to estimate the relationship between growth rate of official economy, unemployment rate and the size of the shadow economy. The results reveal a significant direct relationship between shadow economy and the unemployment rate and an indirect relation between shadow economy and growth of official sector.

Keywords: Shadow economy, unemployment rate, MIMIC model, Johansen approach, VECM, Granger causality, Okun law

Title of the Paper: Romanian Seaside. Website on Summer Offers


Authors: Mirela-Catrinel Voicu, Marilen Pirtea, Roxana Ioana Varga

Abstract: In this paper we propose a model of website for presentation of the summer offers in Romanian Black Sea resorts. On the presented hotels, we have the following information: hotel description, hotel facilities, hotel room types and their amenities, facilities for children, image and video files and the stay rate according with the stay date of start, number of nights and meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner). On the site, the tourist can find out if the travel agency has offers according to his preferences. These preferences refer to the features presented above.

Keywords: Website, travel agency, summer offers, Java, database

Title of the Paper: Local Cuisine – Always an Important Decisional Factor in International Tourism


Authors: Mihaela-Carmen Muntean, Costel Nistor, Rozalia Nistor, Daniela Sarpe

Abstract: Cuisine always aroused curiosity and attention and increasingly more people are concerned about the origin of culinary products. Thus, culinary tourism is an important sector of cultural tourism. If in the past this type of tourism was practiced in rural areas, more and more restaurants today the most important European cities promote traditional dishes of the area you are visiting. Whether you call it culinary travel, or gourmet cooking, this method of travel and taste the finest wines and traditional dishes and appreciated attracts many tourists, this form of tourism becoming a niche market with great potential. Oenological tourism is a relative concept „virgin” and less popular on our land. With the emergence and importance given lifestyle, involved and organic cuisine, increased tourism and interest in oenology.

Keywords: Gourmet tourism, gastronomy, oenological tourism, wine culture, Romanian cuisine, wineries

Title of the Paper: Tyrolean Management Can be Applied in Romanian Mountain Tourism?


Authors: Rozalia Nistor, Costel Nistor, Mihaela-Carmen Muntean

Abstract: Prahova Valley is a major tourist center, one of the most popular tourist destinations in our country. This is primarily due to natural and human resources, but also accessible area. Prahova Valley resorts meet operating throughout the year, increasing the role of tourism in the economy. Austria is a country wheretourism marketing is applied, with the best results. After a thorough analysis of the problem we have identified ways that have been successfully imposed on the tourist market using innovative marketing techniques. In Austria, mountain tourism started from the idea that any city can have such a status to be exploited. It shall be made known by a particular brand, a brand quality through more investment and confidence in their potential, these are the methods they use to policy makers to develop and maintain a real tourism industry.

Keywords: Tourism market, mountain tourism, tourism marketing, tourism potential, tourism development strategies, tourism product, tourism brand

Title of the Paper: The Place of the Public Administration and Gastronomic Heritage in the Destination Branding and Tourism Promotion


Authors: Alexandra Viorica Dulau, Monica Maria Coros, Marius Emil Coros

Abstract: Romania’s tourism has already known many attempts of promoting its potential and even of discovering, elaborating and communicating a tourist destination brand. We believe that this industry, which seems to be affected by the lack of international competitiveness, still has many opportunities to benefit of. For the present research, we have taken into consideration to discuss the relationships that may be established between the local public administration, specialized restaurants and branded tourist destinations. In this respect, we have built a case study aiming at revealing the way in which public administrations, respectively public alimentation facilities contribute to the development of Romania’s tourist industry. We have assumed that the websites of the city-halls from county residencies and those of specialized restaurants are equally important (yet inefficiently used) message carriers for the tourist offers of destinations that host them. Our analysis includes a number of 42 city-halls and of 169 Romanian restaurants that are authorized by both the former Ministry of Tourism and today’s Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism to provide a specialized gastronomic offer. We have tried to identify the answers to several questions: Are city-hall websites proper promotion tools of local tourism? Do city-hall websites promote local gastronomy? Is Romania’s cultural heritage promoted by the websites for specialized restaurants? Do restaurants focus on attracting foreign visitors? Does Transylvania enjoy a better promotion of its tourist potential through the local restaurants’ websites than the rest of the country? The findings of our paper rely on thorough analyses of the websites of the identified city-halls and specialized restaurants.

Keywords: Romania, Specialized restaurants, Public administration, Websites, (Gastronomic) tourism promotion

Title of the Paper: Development of Port Management in the Transport Economy


Authors: Mihaela-Carmen Muntean, Daniela Nechita, Costel Nistor, Daniela Sarpe

Abstract: Transport has been considered as the subsystem of a technologic system that incorporates both production and transports itself thus leading to several important consequences, which may be identified in the steps of a modern port developing. Setting up an effective organization is the essential factor deriving from its managerial capacity in the competitive economy we strive after. This capacity is not only a fundamental attribute but the conditioning parameter and guarantor of organizations sustainability and longevity in an effervescent environment that is continuously changing of the competitive economy. In such a context, the present paper is an important means of emphasizing the management importance in a separate area of the real economy, namely the port economy. The paper presents two major issues brought about by the current and future development of transport industry in port activity, namely those related to port reform and defining elements of port management in order to substantiate a viable program. Like all economic entities in the port sector as well, management is looking for through various objectives, enabling the port management to accomplish the intended goals, to adopt measures and courses of actions and development which comply with the environment in which they evolve.

Keywords: Port, port companies, shipment, port management, port reform, port activities, port service

Title of the Paper: Housing Market and Financial Crisis


Authors: Milena Lopreite, Antonio Scarpino

Abstract: In times when the financial and economic crisis is experimented after the Great Depression, this event has had serious consequences on the real estate sector and consequently on very vast urban areas. The process of the “urbanised reutilization” that has produced the contemporary city began quickly there. The city changed in consequence of the market and it is the same market that redefined the terms of the interventions ex-post. After subprime loans market crash where it was thought to have endless possibilities of growth, are we able to define the consequences that the crisis will have on the post-contemporary cities of Europe? Is it possible to foresee sceneries or visions of intervention and try to identify models of development without excessive waste of resources? We can start analyzing the cases that have before others restarted to go up the economic cycle again, and verify how this affected the processes of transformation of the post-contemporary city.

Keywords: Housing market, economic cycle, business, panic, animal spirits, urbanization

Title of the Paper: Professional Tourism – Before and After Economic Crisis in the Hotel Industry from Timisoara, Romania


Authors: Carmen Babaita, Marilen Pirtea, Andreia Ispas

Abstract: The economic crisis should be seen as an opportunity to find ingenious solutions, devised at management level to increase the competitiveness of the hotel market, according to prices and quality service. This study synthesizes information on the concept of professional tourism and its associated terms and how the global economic crisis has affected the financial this valuable segment, particularly in tourism industry. The research was conducted in two periods (before and during the economic crisis) and targeted 13 hotels of 3 and 4 stars from the hotel market in Timisoara. We propose a series of related research solutions regarding the tourism product and services from the hospitality field, which is in the position of finding new ways to attract and retain potential business customers. The research method is quantitative and the data were collected by questionnaire. Data interpretation was performed in SPSS, a statistical research program.

Keywords: Business tourism, MICE sector, leisure, tourist motivation, competitiveness, economic and financial crisis

Title of the Paper: A Model of Decision Support System in Economy


Authors: Diana A. Tarnaveanu

Abstract: It is crucial to design and implement decision support systems to assist the manager because of the diversity and the large amount of data stocked in an organization. The concept of decision support system (DSS) defines any information technology focused on supporting the decision process. For a manager, informatics and the using of information technologies always meant formalizing the routine activities, those laws of existence and manifestation that can be described. The “casualty” fact is transformed into a “standardized” fact, elaborating behavioral conducts possible to use depending of the specificity of the situation occurred. The importance of interpreting is vital, from the information dimension to the strategic one. Information technologies are applied, separately and together, in management and decision modeling. They offer modeling instruments being able to automate the processes. The use of the decision and the context of decision making are two key aspects that characterize the utility of the decision models. In the decision making process are used data, information and knowledge corroborated with the manifestation of reasoning stated by the intelligence and experience of the decisional factor. Artificial intelligence proved its applicability in management using specific technologies such as expert systems (capable of offering the expertise in a specific knowledge domain) and decision support systems (a system that brings together the intellectual resources of a person with computer capabilities in order to improve the quality of the decisions). In this paper we present a model of decision support system implemented in tourism.

Keywords: Information technology, axiomatization, production rules, decision support systems, DSS

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