Sunday, February 16, 2020

Financial analysis of BMW and Kraft Foods Essay

Financial analysis of BMW and Kraft Foods - Essay Example The researcher states that the profitability ratios of both the companies depict that Kraft Foods has higher profitability in terms of high operating margin, net profit margin and return on equity. Besides, both the firms had maintained their current ratio above 1. With respect to interest coverage ratio, BMW had higher rank than Kraft Foods which indicates that it has strong financial strength in the industry. The current economic crisis of 2008 had impacted on the financial performance of BMW Group. Due to bad financial condition, the spending of customers had reduced considerably which impacted on the expenditure on vehicles. As a result, the automobile industry had faced drop in sales volume. BMW Group was also unable to evade the impact of financial crisis and therefore the group income had reduced by 5% in the year 2008 to 53,197 million Euros. As the international economy was recovering from the clutches of economic crisis by the end of the year 2010, BMW Group was able to rec over its financial position in the automobile market. The global automobile industry has also become stabilised to certain degree. In 2010, BMW Group had experienced severe increase in sales revenue by 19.3% than 2009 to 60,477 million Euros. Kraft Foods is a financially stable company with revenues of 40.4 billion USD in the year 2009. In the year 2009, the total value of net assets of the company was 25.9 billion USD. Despite bad economic conditions, the revenue of Kraft Foods was slightly affected. In 2007, the net revenue was 35,858 million USD which had increased to 41,932 million USD in 2008 (Kraft Foods Inc, 2010). Ratio Analysis Valuation Ratio Price-Earnings (P/E) Ratio Price-Earnings or P/E Ratio is the ratio of organisation’s share price with earning per share. From the analysis of BMW, it can be observed that the earnings per share of BMW Group had decreased considerably in the time of 2008 to 2009 to 0.49 Euro and 0.31 Euro and increased in 2010 to 4.91 Euro. His torically, the P/E ratio of BMW Group was strong and was always more than the industry average which is around 15-25. In the year 2007, the P/E ratio was below average i.e. 8.5 which had increased to 11.98 in 2010 (BMW Group, 2008; 2010). The price earnings ratio of Kraft Foods was

Monday, February 3, 2020

Politics of Japans Constitutional Reform Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 words

Politics of Japans Constitutional Reform - Essay Example Meanwhile the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the leading opposition party, is also developing a constitutional revision proposal. While one considers that the postwar constitution has never been amended, the historical significance of these developments is inevitable. This progress among the country's leading parties comes from the fact of nearly a decade of public opinion surveys which shows that majority of the citizens of Japan are in favor in changing their constitution. Taking into consideration these recent developments, Watanabe Osamu, a Hitotsubashi University professor who closely follows constitutional politics, declares: "Constitutional revision has now been placed on the political calendar for the first time in the postwar era."1 Although the contemporary revision debate includes controversial issues such as the role of the emperor, the reorganization of local government, the separation of powers, and the basic rights of citizens, one passage in particular continues to cast a shadow over the entire enterprise: Article Nine, the famous "peace clause" renouncing the possession and use of force for settling international disputes which for the longest time had been the primary target of revisionist fervor. Article Nine was at the center of the first serious revision debate in the 1950s and controversies arising from its treatment helped to stir up the contemporary revision movement in the 1990s. There are numerous reasons why many constitutional reformists have long sought to change Article Nine. For some, it serves as an obstruction to the recognition of the nation's sovereignty. This idea comes from the fact that the postwar constitution was drafted under the U.S. occupation, and Article Nine, whatever its accurate origins are, was one of the three nonnegotiable demands by General Douglas Macarthur imposed on the Japanese after the wars. Thus, it is not a surprise that reformists frequently qualify Article Nine as an adjective of "U.S.-imposed." While for others on the other hand, the peace clause is a hindrance to national muscularity. As stated in the article, elucidations of the article's sweeping language have placed limitations on Japan's military and its capability to use force in foreign affairs. Every now and then these constraints have complicated Japan's relationship with its lone coalition partner, the United States, as well as efforts to increase Japanese influ ence in the United Nations. Lastly, there are some who favor revision because they see Article Nine as a barrier to the honesty of the nation as a whole. Following major reinterpretations in the early 1950s, Article Nine has been continuously parsed in ways both large and small as the domestic and international political landscapes have shifted. Consequently, it may be argued, Japanese security policy no longer mirrors a stern interpretation of the peace clause, and the constitution should thus be brought into line with reality. These arguments are not new. In fact, reformists have advanced various versions since the 1950s which raises two important questions. First, why has Article Nine survived so long without amendment Second, why has the Article Nine issue returned to the political agenda with such force in recent years Interpretation of Article Nine Article Nine is a political manifesto that serves as a declaration of general principle confining state action. In this sense, it is similar to

Saturday, January 25, 2020

User Perceptions of Web 2.0

User Perceptions of Web 2.0 Abstract With the advent of the internet and the evolution of e-business, the widely held perception is that we operate in a know ledged-based economy. Many organisations have realised that changing and adapting their business processes to leverage information technology is vital for sustainability. The traditional paradigm of focusing on products has gradually eroded and organisational rhetoric has shifted towards services. In fact the notion has been permeated that the customer has taken centre stage in corporate strategy . Focus is now drawn to building sustainable relationships with customers and involving them in the decision making processes. Customers are now involved in core organisational processes such as development of new products and services. Customers services in the traditional approach has mainly consisted of assisting customers before or after the purchase of products. With the customer taking a central theme in organisational strategy and with the introduction of Informatio n technology as an enabler of organisational change . IT Organisations have looked at information systems such as Customer relationship management solutions to manage all aspects of customer communications. CRM systems have been rolled out with the promise to enhance operational efficiency and productivity in organisations. CRMs are supposed to help IT Organisations understand their customers better. Most customer services in knowledge based Organisations now rely on knowledge bases and CRMs. However it seems that in spite of all these information systems and organisational efforts , many IT organisations have yet to fully harness the capabilities of e-business and gain competitive advantage by leveraging the customers as co-creators and co-producers of knowledge. Notions such as self-service are not as pervasive as one would expect. It is arguably true that some IT organisations have attempted with belated success to establish a true symbiotic relationship with their customers. The refore this study will attempt to encourage the use of web 2.0 by exploring the user perceptions of users in web 2.0 specifically in customer services. Qualitative research was carried out through semi-structured interviews focussing on the social , personal, cognitive and affective perception of users when participating in web 2.0 (Blogs, virtual forums, etc))within support activities. The analysis of the data was carried out using the Users and Acceptance framework . Implications for research and practice highlight organisational culture as a very important prerequisite for the use and acceptance of web 2.0 enabled technology. CHAPTER 1 Introduction The constant innovation of software products has invariably driven the need for customers to understand and use the ever evolving products effectively (Dholakia et al , 2009).As a result of this organisations rely predominantly on the acquisition of a service support contract defined as pre-sales and post sales support contracts to enable these organisations to learn about the product, assist in using the product and ultimately solving problems during the use of the software ( Gray and Durcikova 2006). An indirect advantage of a support contract provides organisations with information about their customers to personalise the pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase experiences (Kohlbacher, 2008). Some firms supplement this employee-based service support model with virtual customer communities ( (Mathwick, Wiertz, and de Ruyter 2008) such as Ebay (Dholakia et al , 2009).In fact Mills and Morris (1986) argue that customers can thus become partial employees by taking over some service functions that are normally carried out by employees. This implies that some firms successfully leverage their relationships with their customers to derive further value creation. This view falls in line with the argument that organisations should build better relationships with their customers with the aim to retaining customers (Lemon, White, and Winer (2002),; not only because the growth of the internet and rapid technological progress has lead to increasing market transparency thus making it difficult to achieve long lasting differentiation (Hande Kimilog?lu and Hu ¨lya Zarali) , but also because customer loyalty can be directly linked to organisational profitability. Loyal customers have higher customer retention rates, use a larger share of their category spending to the organisation, and are more likely to recommend others to become customers of the firm (Reichheld and Earl Sasser, 1990; Zeithaml, 2000; Keiningham, 2007). A new perspective is being heralded that organisations can leverage web2.0 to build closer relationships with customers (Forrester). Web 2.0 encompasses a range of interactive tools and social communications techniques like blogs, podcasts and social networks (Chaffey, 2008).This is because the rapid spread of high speed internet access has enabled the participation and interaction that encourages user created content,creation of communities. The power of web 2.0 technologies such as Facebook and Myspace with 300 millions users arguably exemplies how popular and successful and relevant web 2.0 can be (Chaffey, 2008). Traditionally the verb networking describes the Machiavellian stance of creating and sustaining interpersonal connections and using these for commercial gain (Iacobucci) .Therefore one can be conclude that organisations should innovate on their services and leverage the internet to improve their brands recognition and improve customer loyalty. Interestingly within organisational studies the fostering of relationships to improve customer loyalty and serve customers better is the main reason why organisations deploy customer relationship management systems. In fact some (Chen ,Popovich; 2003 ) define CRM as an integrated approach to managing relationships by focusing on customer retention and relationship building facilitated by the advances in information technology. Others on the otherhand see CRM as a central knowledge management system.Still yet other emphasise the insight that organisations can gain from using CRM systems especially in marketing , segmenting and targeting (Colt.). While all these views possibly suggest that CRM can provide the relationship management , knowledge and insight to leverage the relationship between customers and organisations, it appears CRM falls short in practise to live up to these claims ; in fact Gibbert et al., ( 2002) claim that CRM leaves knowledge residing in customers. Similarly Zaltman (2003) argues that current CRM implementations are restricted to collecting and managing data and information while ignoring tacit information. This shortcomings of CRM has seen some researchers segment and reconceptualise some domains in CRM such as Customer Knowledge Management that deals with tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge and relationship management in customer services (davenport et a, 2001, Gibbert et al , 2002 ). While the importance of web 2.0 technologies such social networking is accepted (Forrester, Chaffeh) many researchers suggest that its impact in organisations has not been thoroughly investigated (Castilla et al. (2000). Therefore the aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of social media in customer service organisations . Data is gathered through an a questionnaire to participants to evaluate the potential and potential impact of web 2.0 technologies on customer services. RESEARCH FOCUS This dissertation intends to explore the use of web 2.0 information systems within customer services of an information technology organisation based in the united states with support centres in the united kingdom, Australia and India. The main themes this research seeks to explore are: How users perceive the Web 2.0 and its relation to their Cognitive needs that describes the acquisition of information, knowledge and understanding. Understand how the affective needs (Emotion, pleasure, feelings.) of users who participate in a firms web 2.0 information systems affiliate with the organisation Understand how Personal integrative ( Credibility, stability, status) are affected by participation in an organisations web 2.0 initiatives understand the impact of web 2.0 on users and the building of communities ( Social integrative) Aim and Objectives Aim The aim for this dissertation is to explore the user perceptions of web 2.0 within a technical support department specifically in an ICT organisations. Objectives Carry out a literature review of CRM within the organisational context and link to knowledge management and enterprise agiliy Examine Web 2.0 and review contemporary web 2.0 literature and its consequences for centralised versus decentralised (localised, contextualised) planning and decision processes in social systems; clarify key characteristics of Web 2.0 technologies and their potential to enhance networking and collaboration among peers in communities of practice; assess the potential of the communication and collaboration features of Web 2.0 tools for creating and exchanging knowledge in corporate information systems; outline the potential of Web 2.0 technologies to foster employee empowerment through collaboration and interaction; and finally draw conclusions for the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in organisations Research Approach In order to explore the user perceptions of web 2.0 within customer services, qualitative interpretive research will be carried out.Qualitative research appears more appropriate for this study as it will provide information into what each particular user perceives the usefulness of web2.0 . Because such information is more subjective in nature , it is therefore better approached using qualitative research. The essence of this qualitative research will be interpretive in nature into uncovering information about the human perception, feelings, opinions and thoughts (Fonow and Cook ,1991). Observatory research while being useful is limited to solely identifying behaviour however not understanding reasons behind that behaviour and does not include important details such as the context of users. This is not enough insight for the purpose of this research as there is a clear need to ascertain both the behaviour as well as attitudes behind these. Additionally quantitative research acquires data through the assumption that social facts can always be measured on the assumption that they have an objective reality. Thus not identifying that user attitudes and perceptions can be influenced by emotions and as a result fail to gain a deeper insight to motivation and behaviour. Dissertation Outline This section outlines and briefly describes the structure of the dissertation : CHAPTER 1: Technical Support This chapter is an introduction of the dissertation highlighting the research area with a presentation of the aims and objectives of the research CHAPTER 2: Literature Review This chapter is a critical review of existing literature on call centre. It also discusses contemporary theories and perspectives relating to the Technical support. It also discusses the use of information systems within the context of this dissertation CHAPTER 3: Research Methodology will describe and articulate the research methodology. This also includes information about the design of the research and the Organisation Chapter 4: Research findings and Analysis This chapter presents the case study, the findings from the semi-structured interviews conducted in the organization using the Users and gratification (UG)theory as the conceptual lens for the discussion. Chapter Five :Analysis and discusses the result of the research. Each hypothesis is investigated for any acceptance or rejection of the proposed framework designed for each hypothesis. Concluding this section will be a discussion of limitations arising from developing this research. Chapter 5: Conclusion This will discuss the implications of the research findings in practise while also suggesting some recommendations for future research. CHAPTER 2 Theoretical Perspectives on customer relationship management systems Technical Support Customer relationship Management There are diverse views on why organisations implement customer relationship management systems. Ngai (2005) suggests that the CRM have been primarily used to automate processes. Senge et al (1999) suggests that Organisations need to continuously change and adapt to changing environment and assert that Customer relationship management systems are key to this process. Stein and Smith (2009) suggest that if properly organized and applied, information can become the knowledge that defines the mission, form and strategy of an Organisation and associate CRM with theories such as the adaptive enterprise. This view is shared by Sun et al (2006) who suggest the primary purpose of CRMs as adaptive learning. In this context adaptive learning is defined as the process of predicting information from large databases to identify valuable customers, the ability to learn about the preferences of these valuable customers , forecast future behavioural patterns and estimate customer value. The rapid gr owth of the internet (chaffey, 2008) and the current limitations of existing CRM implementations (Gibbert et al, 2002) has seen some It has been established that organisations must exploit existing competencies,technologies, and knowledge (March, 1991) , improvise (Orlikowski) and also pursue knowledge about unknown possibilities for competitive action (Sambamurthy, 2003).It has being In fact the notion of organisational agility is often permeated and is described as a combination of customer agility, partnering agility, and operational agility (Cronin 2000). The underlying perspectives seem therefore to suggest that Organisations operate in continuously changing environments, it appears that Organisations are expected to be agile. Agility There are some divergent views which suggest how companies should attain enterprise agility. The underlying concept behind all these definitions relies on these organisations sensing changes and responding accordingly. Some advocate absorptive capacity (Zahra, 2002) which suggests the capability (dynamic) to create and utilize knowledge. While others suggest enterprise agility that builds upon other theories in management theory such as dynamic capability, strategic flexibility, market orientation and absorptive capacity (Overby 2006). Chaffen (2008) highlights strategic agility as the an organisations ability to innovate and so gain competitive advantage within a market place by monitoring changes within an organisationss marketplace and then to efficiently evaluate alternative strategies and then select review and implement appropriate candidate strategies. Nambisan (2002) postulates that agility is important for organisations and argues that customers serve three valuable roles namely as a source of innovation ideas, as co-creators who help in the development and design of innovative products and services, and finally users help in testing the product or in assisting other users learn about new products or services.Others (Kohli and Jaworski 1990) underline the more strategic advantages of Customer agility and suggest it helps organisations gain market intelligence and in detecting competitive action opportunities. However it seems CRMs are not only implemented for firms to gain agility or intelligence. This raises the question about what Organisations expect from CRM implementations. It appears the role of the customer within organisations has gained increased focus.In that light Kohli Jaworski (1990) postulate that customers play a central strategy in organisations. (Fornell et al , 2006) have done some empirical studies and suggest that there is a direct link between customer relationship activity and firm performance. Similarly Lemon, White, and Winer (2002) highlight the marketing trend of building long lasting relationships with customers for better competitiveness. Agrawal (2003) suggests CRMs are central to the task of making an organisation customer centric and maintains that this is the most certain way of increasing value to organisations and profitability to the organisations. The Information centric view of CRM has also been delineated with Peppers and Rogers (1999) highlighing th e technological aspects of customer relationship management and arguing that CRMs are technology solutions that extend separate databases and sales force automation tools to link sales marketing efforts to improving targeting efforts. From these viewpoints, one could suggest that the ultimate objective behind CRM initiatives is ultimately about managing relationships with customers . The proposition is that if organisations build better relationships with customers, this would ultimately lead to better competitive abilities and can lead to long term competitiveness and sustainability. This appears simplistic and deterministic and there is research evidence to suggest that some CRM initiatives have not met these objectives, for example Rigby et al (2002) argue that CRM initiatives have alienated long-term customers and employees. Customer relationship Management Definition Within the scope of this study the definition of Customer relationship management systems will be aligned with Chen and Popowich (2003) that define CRMs as a combination of people ,processes and technology that seek to provide understanding of customers. According to Chen and Popovich (2003) a CRM system is a complex application that mines customer data, creates a comprehensive view of key customers, and predicts their purchasing patterns. CRMs support business strategy and assist in the building of long term relationships with the customer. Chen and Popowich (2003) also maintain that although CRM is enabled by technology, it is not a technology solution because the key processes are carried out by people and these need clear understanding of the objectives of key decisions. Although the term CRM seems to have a ubiquitous definition that focuses on relationship management with customers, Greenberg (2004) claims that Customer relationship management systems can be interpreted in thre e distinct ways; (1) Data-driven CRM that leans on Information technology and centres around the integration customer information using applications, interfaces, and automation tools. (2) Process-driven CRM builds around organisational practices and rules and seeks to automate organisational processes for better efficiency. (3) people-driven CRM focuses on the job of executives and employees in utilizing face-to-face communication to process relationship management. The underlying proposition is that CRM while being technologically enabled requires company-wide, cross-functional, customer-focused business process re-engineering to be successful. CRM has arguably cemented its position as an important organisational construct with Forrester research postulating the growth of the CRM industry will reach 11 billion dollars annually by 2010 (Forrester,2008). In spite of this apparent success of CRM, there are diverging views on its efficiency and suitability to dealing with issues raised with customer support services departments and as such Chen, Popovich (2003) postulate that CRM is a combination of People, process and technology that need to provide understanding of customer needs to support a business strategy. This suggests that organisational structure is an important facet of CRM. Similarly some suggest that the key to organisation success is rooted in the ability to sense environmental change and respond readily (Overby2006). The environment in this context are the strategic and operational conditions such as regulatory changes, technological advancement and increased customer demands. Thus the point is made for the agile enterprise. Agility is defined as the ability of an (inter-connected) organization to detect changes, opportunities and threats in its business environment and to provide speedy and focused responses to customers, as well as other stakeholders, by reconfiguring resources and processes, and through strategic partnerships and alliances. The argument can thus be made that organisations need to derive more from the information at their disposal to ensure better decisions. In the context of the internet , it can be argued that with the low cost entry barrier offered by the internet , organisations now require unique selling points to differentiate their products and retain their existing customers. This has caused the customer support services departments to emerge as one of the most importan t parts of organisations. Perhaps because customers must learn continuously to keep abreast of innovations (Dholakia et al , 2009).Attracting a new customer is more expensive than retaining a customer (Chaffey , 2006). The Role of Information Systems The role of information technology on agility is often referred to as indirect (Overby, 2006). This view suggests that IT provides the infrastructure upon which other business functions and processes rely. Information technologies such as decision support systems, data warehouses, and OLAP tools can facilitate the development of knowledge through real-time data monitoring, pattern identification and scenario modelling. This enhances the organisation sensing capabilities by providing managers with high-quality information about the state of the business, which helps them, identify emerging opportunities.Others (Sambamurthy et al, 2003) suggest that information technology investments and capabilities influence firm performance through a nomological network of three significant organizational capabilities (agility, digital options, and entrepreneurial alertness) and strategic processes (capability-building, entrepreneurial action, and co evolutionary adaptation)..The essence of their ar gument appears to be that organizations with better information technology are better at making decisions. One can therefore infer from these arguments that organisations should use Information technology as an enabler which enables them to sense and perceive changes in their environment and respond effectively (the fastest response is not necessarily the best response). The role of information technology and its impact on CRM initiatives has been greatly discussed. According to Tamminga and OHalloran (2000) the increasing use of the Internet by customers has important ramifications for CRM because of what is expected in terms of customer management . Along these lines Petrissans (2000) maintains that information technology automation solutions such as FAQ (frequently asked questions ) and interactive voice response systems can increase operational efficiency. Furthermore Sandoe et al. (2001) suggest that information technology development such as business intelligence through data warehousing and data mining are very important for the effectiveness of CRM systems Fundamentally it appears the role of information technology on enterprise ability and agility is often referred to as indirect (Overby, 2006). This view maintains that IT provides the infrastructure upon which other business functions and processes rely. Information technologies such as dec ision support systems, data warehouses, and CRM can facilitate the development of knowledge through real-time data monitoring, pattern identification and scenario modelling. This enhances the organisation sensing capabilities by providing managers with high-quality information about the state of the business, which helps them, identify emerging opportunities. One could argue from these research perspectives that technological advances are lead deterministically to better CRM systems, however it seems this is not the case ;for example Chen and Popowich (2004) claim that for some organisations CRM is simply a technology solution that consolidates disparate databases and sales force automation tools to bridge sales and marketing functions in order to improve sales efforts. This view is shared by Reinartz et al (2004) who suggest that one of the reasons for the disappointing results of many CRM initiatives can be attributed to the overemphasis on CRM as an information technology solutio n. As a result Coltman (2004) correctly argues that Information technology must be applied in the right way to derive business value and claims that Information technology impacts organizational performance via intermediate business processes, requires complementary organizational resources such as workplace practices and structures and is influenced by the external environment. Data , Information and Knowledge Plato suggested that knowledge could only be derived from that which is believed and is true, typically called justified true belief.Earl (1994) advocates that data has to be interpersonal or objective and postulates 4 levels of knowledge needed to understand organizational information events are collected and processed to generate Data , data is manipulated and interpreted to generate information and information leads to knowledge.Sveiby suggests that information is meaningless, but becomes meaningful knowledge when it is interpreted. Polanyi (1966) defines knowledge as a construct that cannot be separated from its social context, similarly Toumi,1999) posits that data should include the context within which it was captured to ensure that it can be understood and interpreted correctly. The main underpinnings of these schools of thoughts seem to underline the importance of tacit and subjective knowledge. Tacit knowledge is defined as personal; context specific and therefore hard to formalize and communicate (includes cognitive and technical elements) This is in contrast with proponents of explicit knowledge who advocate that knowledge should be objective , that is knowledge that is transmittable in formal systematic language (Nonaka and Takenchi 1995). CRM and the internet The growth and success of the internet has been emphatic as 10.000 new pages are added each day (chaffey, 2008). This success has been fuelled by the increase in broadband adoption alongside the low cost of the internet (chaffey 2008).The internet has because of its low barrier to entry and . Not only has the internet seen the introduction of new concepts such as e-business and forced organisations to evaluate organisational silos or constructs but it has introduced new technologies such as blogs, social networks, RSS that are collectively now known as web 2. 0.Petrohoff (2008) suggests that social media is not just these new technologies enabled by the internet but is more about a community that interact with each other on an ongoing basis. The growth of the CRM industry as impressive as it seems cannot compare with the explosive growth of the internet that has catapulted ecommerce to centre stage with the value of sales alone in 2008 estimated at  £222.9bn in the united kingdom (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/ecom1109.pdf). This indicates that the ecommerce has become an important medium for companies to reach customers more easily.. The notion is thus permeated that rapid advancements in technology are leading to increasing transparency of marketing activities, thus making it difficult to achieve long-lasting differentiation (Hande Kimilog?lu and Hu ¨lya Zarali. 2008).While some (CA? LIN GURA?U et al , 2003) claim that the low entry barriers, the market size and the relatively low costs of online business activities have created a situation of intense competition and suggest that organisations therefore need to build brand loyalty and manage their relationships with customers better for long term viability .O thers on the otherhand see the potential offered by the internet such as high speed, cost effectiveness, constant availability, efficiency in transferring information, and integrated and individualised nature are major drivers and strengths for CRM applications (Bauer et al., 2002; Frawley, 2000). Thus a new conceptualization of CRM has been derived to accommodate the possibilities offered by the internet,wireless media and e-mail, denoted by E-CRM (chaffey and smith , 2008) with the goal of acquiring and retaining customers online using organisational websites The role of People in CRM implementations has been examined by some researchers and there appears to be divergent views. Rigby et al (2003) suggest that although CRM are used to automate processes; these processes cannot manage customer relationships that deviate from the norm for example CRM is not as effective for relationship building as face to face communication . Davenport et al (2004) concur with this and argue that two distinct types of knowledge is generated by Organisations through customer information processing, namely tacit and implicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is generated through the processes of the CRM information system such as recording the actions of customers during communication .Explicit is therefore defined as knowledge that can be articulated ,documented and made accessible. This is contrasted with tacit knowledge generated during interaction with customers but cannot be documented and made accessible. Davenport et al (2004) therefore claim that for orga nisations to embark on successful CRM initiatives, human processes can complement and overcome the deficiencies in the technology led CRM implementations. This is also highlighted by Stringfellow, Nie, and Bowen (2004) who suggest CRM systems require complex channels to elicit the emotional needs of customers that cannot be met with standard CRM systems. As a result of this, they conclude that CRM systems are technology-rich but knowledge-poor. Therefore indeed the usefulness of CRM is limited when dealing with unstructured information and tacit knowledge. And some (Markus et al 2002) therefore correctly argue that Organisations need emergent knowledge processes . Emergent knowledge processes are organizational activities that exhibit three characteristics in combination: (1) deliberations with no best structure or sequence, (2) knowledge requirements include both general and tacit knowledge distributed across experts and non-experts, and (3) highly unpredictable actor set in term of job role or prior knowledge (Markus, et al., 2002). Web 2.0 : communication, cooperation, collaboration and connection. Musser and OReilly ( 2006) defines the WEB 2.0 as the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them . Oreilly gives a comprehensive definition and suggests that Web 2.0 is a range of interactive emergent tools and social communication techniques such as Blogs, Podcasts and social networks that are aimed at increasing user participation and interaction on the web (Albrecht et al., 2007; Berners-Lee et al., 2006; Kerres, 2006; McAfee, 2006;Musser and OReilly, 2006; OReilly, 2005; Seufert, 2007). This implies that web 2.0 is an umbrella term that underlines a new paradigm of capabilities made possible by the pervasiveness or rather near ubiquity of internet. Some highlight the web 2.0 as the breaking down of organisational silos Oberhelman (). In fact Oberhelman () postulates that Web 2.0 refers generally to web tools that, rather than serve as a forum for authorities to impart information to a passive, receptive audience, actually invite site visitors to comment,collaborate, and edit information, creating a more distributed form of authority in which the boundaries between site creator and visitor are blurred. This view is shared by Graham (2005) who posits that

Friday, January 17, 2020

Technological Momentum and Education

Hughes presents a case for talking about technological momentum as a point between two opposite ideas; social constructivism and technological determinism. This raises questions as to what exactly the relationship is between technological momentum and soft determinism. Both ideas deal with the effect society has on technology and the effect that technology has on society. I will argue that while both ideas seem to be the same, there are important distinctions to make between the two. One is that Hughes’s idea of technological momentum is time dependent.So it is sensitive to society, culture, and the changes that occur to a technological system as it matures. On the other hand, soft determinism doesn’t distinguish between when a system will tend to be affected most by society, and when that technological system will have the most influence on society. In his essay, Thomas Hughes presents a case for technological momentum. The idea of technological momentum lies between t he extremes of social constructivism and technological determinism. Social constructivism is when social or cultural forces determine technological change.Technological determinism, on the other hand, is the idea that technical forces determine social and cultural changes (Smith, 102). Within his essay Hughes points out how technological systems evolve during their lifetime to fall under either of these extremes. According to Hughes, the maturity of the system often times dictates its influence on society and the impression the society itself can have on the technological system. One might point out that the idea of technological momentum is similar to the idea of soft determinism.The soft view of determinism is the belief that technological changes drives social change, but social pressures also influence it. Both of the ideas use the view that technology effects society, and that society effects technology. The ideas of technological momentum and soft determinism are very similar in the ways that they view the relationship between society and technology, as both state that social development shapes and is shaped by technology (Smith, 102). However there are important distinctions between the two that prove that they are indeed different.One important distinction to make between technological momentum and soft determinism is that Hughes’s technological momentum is time dependent and takes into account the multitude of changes that a technological system undergoes during its lifetime. Hughes emphasizes that a young or less complex system will be influenced more by society than influence society, which maintains the social constructivist’s view that it is primarily society that influences technology and technological change within the system.Ultimately, technological momentum and soft determinism are not two concepts referring to the same idea because of the emphasis Hughes puts on time and the maturity of the technological system, and how that pl ays a role in whether it’s technologically deterministic or socially constructed. In his essay Technological Momentum, Hughes uses examples of various technological systems to help support his claims. His example for a system that both shaped and was shaped by society is EBASCO. The Electric Bond and Share Company (EBASCO) was an American electric utility holding company of the 1920’s.EBASCO provided financial, management, and engineering construction services for the utility companies. There are multiple instances of social construction within EBASCO’s history. Hughes begins illustrating the social constructivism side of the spectrum by showing the technological forces that helped shape the EBASCO system. â€Å"The spread of alternating (polyphase) current after 1900, for instance, greatly affected, even determined, the history of the early utilities that had used direct current, for these had to change their generators and related equipment to alternating cur rent or fail in the face of competition. Smith, 106-107)† This example demonstrates how EBASCO was technologically influenced by society. If the new alternating current technology hadn’t been gaining popularity at the time, EBASCO wouldn’t have been forced to change their equipment to keep up with the competition. Not only did external technological forces shape EBASCO’s technical core, but economic ones did as well. Hughes points out the political forces that shaped the EBASCO system during its evolution. â€Å"Small urban utilities became regional ones and then faced new political or regulatory forces as state governments took over jurisdiction from the cities.Regulations also caused technical changes (Smith, 107). † This political influence shaped the EBASCO system as well. As the state governments took over they implemented guidelines that pushed for changes within the EBASCO system if they wished to stay in business. In addition to political an d technical influences, Hughes uses an example of geographical forces playing a role in EBASCO’s development. He states â€Å"As the regional utilities of the EBASCO system expanded, the confronted geographical realities as they sought cooling water, hydroelectric sites, and mine-mouth locations (Smith, 107). Hughes would say that these geographical issues played a role in EBASCO’s development as they had to discover a way to work around some forms of geography and while learning the most efficient means to utilize the other. Hughes would say that from a social constructivists’ standpoint, these technological, economic, political, and geographic forces all, with varying levels of intensity, influenced the EBASCO system during its development. While all of these social components did influence EBASO over time, Hughes claims that â€Å"the interaction of technological systems and society is not symmetrical over time (Smith, 108). Here, Hughes emphasizes his clai m that as a system becomes larger and more complex, it gathers momentum and becomes less shaped by and more the shaper of its environment. By the 1920’s the EBASCO system was now a large technological system with capital investment, customers, and influence on local, state, and federal governments. The company also largely interacted with many industries and communities. Hughes claims that these various components added to the momentum of the EBASCO system. Hughes also uses an example of another technological system in his essay to show the role of technological determinism.As merchant ships began to be replaced by submarines during World War I, the United States attempted to increase its supply of nitrogen compounds. They selected a process that required large amounts of electricity so the government had to construct a hydroelectric dam and power station. However, before the nitrogen-fixing facilities being built near the dam were completed, the war ended. Now, the supply of synthetic nitrogen compounds exceeded the demand. The U. S. government was left not only with process facilities but also a very large dam and power plant (Smith, pg 110).In 1933, however, a hydroelectric, flood-control, soil- reclamation, and regional development project sponsored by Senator George Norris and the Roosevelt administration and presided over by the Tennessee Valley Authority became created. The technological momentum of the dam had carried over from WWI to the New Deal (Smith, pg 111). Hughes views this process of creating a technological system and observing it go beyond its original purpose and going on to shape the society in which it resides as a prime example of technological determinism.Hughes sums up the technological determinism present in the hydroelectric dam example by stating that â€Å"this durable artifact acted over time like a magnetic field attracting plans and projects suited to its characteristics. Systems of artifacts are not neutral forces; they tend to shape the environment in particular ways (Smith, pg 111). † In his essay, Hughes has some claims about when social constructivism would be the dominant influence and when technological determinism would be the stronger influence.Hughes’s idea of technological momentum can be described as a spectrum that determines the way a technological system is manipulated. On one end you have social constructivism. On this end Hughes claims that younger developing systems tend to be on this end of the spectrum because they are more open to sociocultural influence. On the other end of the spectrum lies technological determinism. Hughes claims that technological systems that are technologically deterministic tend to be the more mature systems because they are older and prove to be more independent of outside influences and therefore more deterministic in nature.By defining technological momentum as being time dependent Hughes maintains that the concept of technological moment um avoids the â€Å"extremism of both technological determinism and social construction by presenting a more complex, flexible, time-dependent, and persuasive explanation of technological change (Smith, 104). † One objection to my claim might be the fact that just because soft determinism doesn’t explicitly address time doesn’t mean that it doesn’t consider time because it would be difficult for a technological system to be socially constructed and technologically deterministic at the same time.My response would be that while it may be assumed that only one action can be done at a given time, it is not specifically stated in the description. The idea of technological momentum looks at time within the context of the maturity of the technological system. Soft determinism looks solely at whether a system can be both socially constructed and technologically deterministic, but not how this may change overtime due to the maturity of the system and the momentum it has gained.In conclusion, Hughes explains his idea of technological momentum by placing it on a spectrum with social constructivism on one end and technological determinism on the other. Technol ogical momentum is related to soft determinism because of the effect society has on society and the effect that technology has on that society. However, it is important to make an important distinction regarding time. Hughes’s technological determinism is time dependent so it is sensitive to society, culture, and the changes that occur to a technological system as it matures.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Christmas Tree Worm Facts

The Christmas Tree Worm is a colorful marine worm with beautiful, spiraling plumes that resemble a fir tree. These animals can be a variety of colors, including  red, orange, yellow, blue and white. The Christmas tree shape shown in the image is the animals radioles, which can be up to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Each worm has two of these plumes, which are used for feeding and respiration. The rest of the worms body is in a tube in the coral, which is formed after the larval worm settles on the coral and then the coral grows around the worm.The worms  legs (parapodia) and bristles (chatae) protected within the tube are about twice as large as the portion of the worm visible above the coral.   If it worm feels threatened, it can withdraw into its tube to protect itself. Classification: Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: AnnelidaClass: PolychaetaSubclass: CanalipalpataOrder: SabellidaFamily: SerpulidaeGenus: Spirobranchus Habitat of the Christmas Tree Worm The Christmas tree worm lives on tropical coral reefs throughout the world, in relatively shallow waters less than 100 feet deep. They seem to prefer certain coral species.   The tubes that Christmas tree worms live in can be up to about 8 inches long and are constructed of calcium carbonate.The worm produces the tube by excreting calcium carbonate that it obtains from ingesting sand grains and other particles that contain calcium. The tube may be much longer than the  worm, which is thought to be an adaptation that allows the worm to withdraw fully into its tube when it needs protection. When the worm withdraws into the tube, it can seal it tight using a trapdoor-like structure called an operculum. This operculum is equipped with spines to fend off predators. Feeding The Christmas tree worm feeds by trapping plankton and other small particles on their plumes. Cilia then pass the food to the worms mouth. Reproduction There are male and female Christmas tree worms. They reproduce by sending eggs and sperm into the water. These gametes are created within the worms abdominal segments. Fertilized eggs develop into larvae that live as plankton for nine to 12 days and then settle on coral, where they produce a mucus tube that develops into a calcareous tube. These worms are thought to be capable of living over 40 years. Conservation Christmas tree worm populations are thought to be stable. While they arent harvested for food, they are popular with divers and underwater photographers and may be harvested for the aquarium trade. Potential threats to the worms include habitat loss, climate change and ocean acidification, which could affect their ability to build their calcareous tubes. The presence or absence of a healthy Christmas tree worm population can also indicate the health of the coral reef.   Sources De Martini, C. 2011. : Christmas Tree WormSpirobranchus sp.. Great Barrier Reef Invertebrates. University of Queensland. Accessed November 29, 2015Frazer, J. 2012. The Overlooked Joy of the Christmas Tree Worm. Scientific American. Accessed November 28, 2015.Hunte, W., Marsden, J.R. and B.E. Conlin. 1990. Habitat selection in the tropical polychaete Spirobranchus giganteus. Marine Biology 104:101-107.Kurpriyanova, E. 2015. Exploring the Diversity of Christmas Treet Worms in Indo-Pacific Coral Reefs. Australian Museum. Accessed November 28, 2015.Nishi, E. and M. Nishihira. 1996. Age-estimation of the Christmas tree worm Spirobranchus giganteus (Polychaeta, Serpulidae) living buried in the coral skeleton from the coral-growth band of the host coral. Fisheries Science 62(3):400-403.NOAA National Ocean Service. What Are Christmas Tree Worms?NOAA Encyclopedia of the Sanctuaries. Christmas Tree Worm.SeaLifeBase. (Pallas, 1766): Christmas Tree WormSpirobranchus giganteus. Accessed November 29, 2015.University of Queensland.  Great Barrier Reef Invertebrates: Spirobranchus giganteus.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Theories of Evolution Essay Example - Free Essay Example

Sample details Pages: 6 Words: 1805 Downloads: 5 Date added: 2017/06/26 Category Biology Essay Type Review Topics: Evolution Essay Did you like this example? Introduction In general, the term evolution can imply a drastic or gradual change from a very broad perspective. Life on earth, the universe,galaxies, as also the earth in general have evolved through millions of years. In this essay we consider only one aspect of evolution emphasizing on evolution as a biological tool for change among species and consider fossil record as supportive of both evolution theories and also the other theories contrary to evolution. Don’t waste time! Our writers will create an original "Theories of Evolution Essay Example" essay for you Create order Evolution is the central unifying concept, a theory that successfully connects biology, palaeontology and other branches of science. Evolution is a gradual descent of organisms accompanied by changes that help the organisms to adjust and adapt to the surroundings. Descent with modifications as Darwin contended implies changes in organisms in successive generations (Mayr, 1976). These changes are triggered by the derivation of new species and there is a change in the properties of populations of organisms and these properties tend to transcend the lifetime of any single individual. Newers pecies are modified versions of older species. Although, individual organisms do not biologically evolve,populations evolve when heritable genetic materials are transmitted from one generation to another. Biological evolution can range from very limited changes to drastic transformations on a large scale changing the entire special together and bringing in new forms. Evolution can thus be d efined as inheritable changes in populations of species that are spread and transmitted over many generations (Zimmer, 2002). It is also more scientifically defined as changes in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool carried through different generations as understood in the Darwinian version of the theory(Dawkins, 1989). Evolution studies are supported by detecting changes in gene frequency within a population and the fact that the theory of evolution emphasizes on a common ancestor, only indicates that two or more species show successive heritable changes in populations since they are separated from each other as distinct forms (Allen and Briggs, 1989). Most popular definitions of evolution however highlight not the transmission of heritable traits and changes but the processes of diversity that has given rise to millions of species from the most primitive organisms. Here however we move on to the evidence for and against evolution theories and the role of fossil recor d in this context. Some researchers claim that the theory of evolution has been supported by four primary sources that serve as evidence (Zimmer, 2002; Allenand Briggs, 1989): The fossil record that tracks changes in early and primitive forms of life The anatomical and chemical similarities in the constitutions of different species. The genetic changes observed and recorded in several living organisms over several generations The geographical spread and distribution of species that seems to suggest a definite pattern, and The Fossil Record Fossils are buried in rock layers as indentations of dead plant and animal materials. The totality of these artefacts and their impressions on the rock formations is considered a fossil record. Fossil record as we have briefly mentioned is the primary source of evidence supporting the theory of evolution and the gaps in these records ironically also forms the bone of contention taken up by anti-evolution theorists. Fossil records are used by scientists to understand the process of evolution in general, and the subsequent changes in several species at several times of the earths existence(Donovan and Paul, 1998). The Fossil Record seems to provide an important clue to the changes in primitive and even now extinct species and this definitely helps us to frame a conceptual graph on how evolution has taken shape. Fossil and rock record forms the primary source of evidence collected by scientists for nearly400 years and the consequent database obtained is mainly observational. The fossil record among all other evidence gives a large database of documented changes in past life on earth. The use of Fossil record to study life forms on earth dates back to pre-Darwinian times and the changes in life forms could be studied from a sequence of layers of sedimentary rocks and fossils of different groups of species were found in each of these successive layers (SA, 1982).Sedimentary rocks are found widely across the earths surface and are formed when small particles of sand, mud or gravel, shell or other materials withered off by water or wind accumulates in sea beds and oceans. As these sediments pileup they bury shells, leaves, bones, and parts of living organisms. Layers of sediments are thus formed for every large period of time and all these layers become subsequently cemented to each other to become different layers of sandstone,limestone, shale and so on. Within these layers of sedimentary rocks the plant and animal remains become buried as fossils an d are later revealed as fossil records (Allen and Briggs, 1989). From these fossil records several species have been identified, some of which are extinct and some of which have traits transitional between different major groups of organisms. Fossils of transitional forms actually give considerable evidence of species evolution over time. However there is not enough evidence through fossil records to conclusively prove evolution, as there are still talks of missing links as very few and according to some, no transitional forms have been actually discovered. The Fossil record data available to us is incomplete and in conclusive at present. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,William Smith, a British Engineer observed different assemblages of fossils preserved at different levels and different ages of rocks. These assemblages succeeded one another in a regular and determinable order (cited in, Wikipedia,2004). This was further bolstered by the fact that rocks collected from different locations showed similar fossil formations according to the different times they represented. Smith named this correlation of rock fossil data as the principle of faunal succession. The occurrence of faunal succession was one of the primary arguments of Darwin who used fossil evidence as supporting the theory of evolution. Various modern approaches to the theory of evolution have been recently developed. Mayr claims that the theory of Punctuation for instance has two basic points that most or all evolutionary change occurs during speciation events, and most species usually enter a phase of total stasis after the end of the speciation process (which involves formation of new species). Speciation thus involves transformation of species in geological time (Erwin and Anstey, 1995). Formation of new species is explained either by phyletic gradualism or a gradual steady transformation of species by phyletic evolution highlighting the deficiency of the fossil records, or by sympatric saltational speciation that highlighted punctuational equilibria and branching of species rather than transformation as lineages as the real explanation for evolution (Mayr and Provine, 1998). Biologists like Gould and Eldredge have also supported punctuation theories. Richard Dawkins on the other hand stresses on the principle of gene multiplication where genes as replicators seems to be the focal point of defining evolution (Sterelny, 2001). In quite an important paper Volkenstein (1987) suggests that there can be no contradiction between punctuated equilibrium and phyletic gradualism if synergetics and theory of information are incorporated within the theory of evolution. Punct ualism can be seen as phase transition maintaining the directionality of evolution. Volkenstein argues that Punctualism, non-adaptationism and neutralism form the triad of internally connected features of evolution. Problems with Fossil Records Of course at that point, the absence of a proper theory of evolution prevented Smith or other researchers from providing an explanation of the actual cause of faunal succession. The cause of faunal succession as is known today is mainly due to evolution of organisms and species that change,transform or become completely extinct, leaving behind their traces on earth as fossils. Age of rocks and the changes in species features are both determined by fossil record and faunal succession used as tools in bio stratigraphy. However fossil data show extremely few records of transitional species,organisms that can conclusively suggest how and when evolution of new and different species occurred (Donovan and Paul, 1998). Darwin himself suggested that the geological record itself is imperfect and incomplete and this is further strengthened by the fact that transitional species were short lived and had very narrow geographical range. Radiometric and Carbon dating have made it possible to identify fossils more than 3.5 billion years old and have indicated that animal species may have appeared abruptly, a phenomenon which Darwin himself found difficult to accept. Even though one or two forms of organisms which may be considered as transient have been identified, there are no records of transitional plants and thus an evolutionary plant history could not be drawn as of yet. Along with these issues it has also been seen that most of the fossils found are of species which have existing forms and are either similar to existing species or are completely identical. The intermediate temporary stages as serve to act, as links between two related species seems to have been completely downplayed by the fossil data obtained. Animals seem to have remained more or less unchanged through all these years. Despite the collection of a huge number of fossils,nearly all of them being fossils of presently existing animals have created problems for the theory of evolution. It is a general belief that based on fossil discoveries already made, there will be little or no evidence that evolution had actually occurred and continues to occur (Donovan and Paul,1998). If animals die a natural death, they are usually decomposed even before being fossilized. However during sudden catastrophes can bury the animals and embed them deep in the earth. Some rocks and organisms that transformed to show fossils for years and decades were actually deposited within a short period of time. Although Darwin based his arguments heavily on fossil record, most scientists now believe that fossil record is actually incompatible with evolutionary theory as no transitional links or intermediate forms have been discovered among this huge collection of fossils in all these years. This suggests that there is no real evidential data that the theory of evolution is in fact true. There is no evidence of partially evolved species or intermediate forms either in the past or in the pr esent fossil record and the fossil record available is quite representative of all fossil data that will ever be collected. Evolution seems to point out towards more undefined and partially evolved species, fact completely undermined by available fossil record that shows well-defined organisms rather than gradual gradations. The incomplete fossil record is the primary bone of contention in the evolutionary debate and seems to give an edge to non-evolutionists. Conclusion: Considering all the aspects of the debate and gaps in fossil records and weighing this against evolution theories highlighting either generational transformation of lineages or drastic changes and speciation at specific periods, we can conclude that available gaps in fossil record may be more indicative and supportive towards speciation and abrupt changes rather than gradual evolution through phyletic transformation.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Challenges of College Education Essay - 530 Words

Many college scholars have attended school prior to college for twelve of more years of their life. During the first twelve years the students undergo many obstacles some of which are trivial and some are more difficult. Even though all have experienced more than a decade of schooling, many students are still not prepared for the demands of college level education. Even though previous education is supposed to prepare students for college, college education is much more difficult because it demands extra time and effort from students and provides less guidance from instructors. The higher standard and quality of education, first, demands greater time and effort from students. In preschool, elementary, middle and even high school,†¦show more content†¦The required agenda involves teaching only basics of the subjects. However, at a collegiate standard, all students are adults meaning they are accountable for the outcomes of their education. The assignments and the required ef forts to study are the sole responsibility of the students to complete on their own. In college, less time is allotted in class; therefore, students must take personal time to dedicate to their education. The courses are oriented at a faster pace and the quantity and quality of education is increased over the shorter period of time. More topics are covered with more detailed intensity. Extra energy must be exerted from the students to completely master and understand the subjects. Compiling onto the extra workload, the students also receive minimal guidance from the instructors. Less guidance is given to the individual students and larger class size is another great challenge college education endows. Lower-level education has a smaller student to teacher ratio. The students are given more individual counseling because no class exceeds twenty-five or thirty students. In contrary, at most universities, classes can exceed two hundred students. Given the designated time to cover the to pics, there is not enough time to cover the subject material thoroughly and also provide the individual assistance necessary for some students to completely comprehend. Furthermore, unlike teachers of intermediate education, college professors many times do notShow MoreRelatedThe Challenges Of ASD Students In College Education801 Words   |  4 Pagespostsecondary education. Semi-sturcured interviews were held with managers and directors of disability/accessibility services in 5 different community colleges. The purpose of the research is to find out the challenges that ASD students are facing and the ways of improving this transitioning process. 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