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Growing rice is an intensive business. But, in China where it is the primary food crop, mechanisation has not reached maturity, although it is as high as 90 per cent in some provinces. Writing in the International Journal of Information Technology and Management, researchers have looked at the fuel consumption index and the working efficiency index as the main basis for a rice transfer machine.
Xin Yang and Zhenxiang Zeng of the School of Economics and Management, Hebei University of Technology, Jinyu Wei of the School of Management, at Tianjin University of Technology, and Xinjiang Cai of Yanshan University, explain how they have determined the best model for an optimal working ratio and efficiency, which not only satisfies the requirements of a short payback period on investment but also gives the operator long service life of the equipment.
The team explains that in most areas of China, manual handling is still the main way in which harvested rice is taken from field to transportation. Of course, given that rice grows in wet land, those fields are still wet, muddy after the harvest and manual handling is slow, inefficient, and uncomfortable for the handlers. "This problem cannot be ignored, because the traditional way has become the bottleneck of the realisation of full mechanisation of the rice farming," the team explains. The insights gained from the team’s analysis of mechanical picking could ultimately boost the amount of mechanization in other provinces allowing rice farming to become more efficient as the population continues to grow.
Yang, X., Zeng, Z., Wei, J. and Cai, X. (2019) 'The research on the selection of the rice transfer machine', Int. J. Information Technology and Management, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp.63-73.
- We don't need no education...well...
The rock group Pink Floyd famously proferred that "we don't need no education" while singer Alice Cooper celebrated the fact that "school's out!". But, we do need education, just not necessarily provided in the traditional style of lectures.
Can blended learning that avoids the conventional lecture structure be a useful tool in higher education? An experiment by Kevin Anthony Jones of the School of Computer Engineering, at Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore and Ravi Sharma of the School of Business, at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand, suggests might be so in the teaching of software engineering.
The pair has chronicled a ten-year blended learning program at a leading technological university where the concept of online courses and the technology are already very familiar to educators and students alike. However, over the course of ten years the outcomes were not quite what might have been expected from a technological starting point.
"Though there were few technical problems, it required behavioural changes from teachers and learners, thus unearthing a host of socio-technical issues, challenges, and conundrums," the team reports in the International Journal of Digital Enterprise Technology. They add that "Education is a changing journey, not a prescribed destination, where learners, teachers, and administrators must reinvent themselves to harness the positive in this disruptive innovation of blended learning – closely related to flipped classroom – which combines eLearning with face-to-face and peer, interactions in problem-based learning."
The bottom line is that while blended learning has many benefits it does not necessarily lead to better delivery outcomes cost savings. Nevertheless, it makes higher education a more customisable proposition that can be adapted for different learning styles and so make it more accessible to a wider range of students.
Jones, K.A. and Sharma, R.S. (2019) 'An experiment in blended learning: higher education without lectures?', Int. J. Digital Enterprise Technology, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.241–275.
Can consumerism ever by environmentally friendly, or "green" to use the common vernacular? And, how does going green tally with customer satisfaction? Researchers in Taiwan are developing a green customer satisfaction index (GCSI) model to explore green consumer behaviour. The model takes into account various factors including perceived quality, corporate social responsibility, expectation, brand image, perceived value, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty.
The research shows that perceived quality has a positive impact on green corporate social responsibility. That perceived quality positive effects perceived value, satisfaction, and loyalty. Also that corporate social responsibility improves brand image. Brand image has a positive impact on perceived value and perceived value positively correlates with satisfaction. Finally, satisfaction has a positive impact on loyalty and expectation positively effects perceived quality and brand image.
The bottom line then is that "When the customer's expectations are higher, the enterprise will pay more attention and strive to meet the customer's expectations which in turn improves the enterprise's perceived quality and brand image." However, the research found that customer expectation has no significant effect on green perceived value and satisfaction.
"Green consumption can drive changes in the mainstream consumption patterns and, prompt companies to introduce green products that, meet customer and environmental protection needs," explains Kuang-Heng Shih of the Department of International Business Administration, at the Chinese Culture University, Taipei City. "Green products not only enhance business but also benefit social and environmental sustainability," he adds, paraphrasing earlier work that the present research corroborates.
The work focused on interviewing customers of three eco-smart hotels in northern Taiwan and thus has limitations but the extension of the modelling to a wider geographical region and beyond the hospitality industry could also reveal implications for the greening of other areas of consumerism.
Shih, K-H. (2018) 'The grass is greener: developing and implementing a green consumer satisfaction index', Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp.573–591.
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From the ancient amphora to the Californian carafe, how does wine change through time and is this most traditional of skills as susceptible to innovation as other areas of human endeavour?
Writing in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Julien Granata, Beysül Aytaç, and David Roubaud of Montpellier Business School in France discuss developments through history into the modern world of business clusters in the wine industry. They suggest that while wine suppliers focus on technical innovations, winegrowers develop organisational innovations to address the problems they face such as a lack of resources, climate change and other issues.
Historically, innovation has been perceived as giving rise to both creation and progress while at the same time bringing about substitutions. The net effect of this is that the sum of the technical advances, social progress, and new skills created through innovation always add up to more than the job losses that change entails and the obsolescence of some products. That said, disruptive innovators rarely usurp the old-school approaches and products entirely even if they might take up some of the slack in the market. Californian wine-growing clusters might offer innovation but they are at the bottom line still selling containers of wine just as the ancient Egyptians did in seventh millennium BCE.
Granata, J., Aytaç, B. and Roubaud, D. (2019) 'Innovation developments in the wine industry: a journey from the amphorae of old to the California wine cluster', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp.249–255.
- Beauty is in the algorithm of the beholder
Manal El Rhazi, Arsalane Zarghili, Aicha Majda, and Anissa Bouzalmat of the Intelligent Systems and Applications Laboratory at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, in Fez, Morocco, together with Ayat Allah Oufkir of the University's Medical Center of Biomedical and Translational Research, are investigating facial beauty analysis by age and gender.
Writing in the International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications, the team explains that our faces are the first source of information we see and while beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder and perhaps more than skin deep, attractiveness is often tied very closely to the first sight of a person's face. As such, several studies have been conducted in aesthetic medicine and image processing that might allow attractiveness to be measured in the adult human face.
The team has now proposed an automatic procedure for the analysis of "facial beauty". In their approach, they first detect the face zone on an image and its feature areas, they then present a novel method to extract features and analyse aesthetic qualities.
"Experimental results show that our method can extract the features corners accurately for the majority of faces presented in the European Conference on Visual Perception in Utrecht (ECVP) and Faculdade de Engenharia Industrial (FEI) images databases," they report. They add "That there exists a difference in the facial beauty analysis by gender and age, due to anatomical differences in specific facial areas between the categories."
The main difference by gender is observed in the forehead and chin while the main differences by age take place in areas like the eyebrows, nose and the chin. The eyebrows descend from a high position to a lower one which makes the eyes look smaller, and thus suggestively less attractive. Similarly, the nasal tip descends gradually causing enlargement of the nose, and the chin descends in the same manner as the nose and eyebrows, aspects of facial characteristics that are often considered less appealing than their opposite.
El Rhazi, M., Zarghili, A. Majda, A., Bouzalmat, A. and Oufkir, A.A. (2019) 'Facial beauty analysis by age and gender', Int. J. Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications, Vol. 18, Nos. 1/2, pp.179–203.
DOI: tunnel sickness
Snejina Michailova of The University of Auckland Business School in New Zealand and Nigel Holden of Leeds University Business School, UK, offer the intriguing question: How can research on culture in international business be made more interesting? Writing in the European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, they suggest that an oft-overlooked aspect of business research is its potential for "interestingness". They suggest that this is a curious omission from existing reviews and analyses.
The pair has now looked at two interconnected issues that sociologists and management scholars have wrestled with for quite some time: namely, what exactly is interesting research and why does it matter? They have made the suggestion that contextualization is important and have highlighted the need for more research into language. Moreover, they advance the case for research into intracultural variation.
"Conducting research on these three topics involves a break with national value systems, on the one hand, and the embrace of non-cultural variables, on the other," the team writes. "The current shifts and changes in the world open up new vistas of truly interesting research, at which international business scholars can and indeed should be at the forefront."
They suggest that when we consider the BRIC countries and so-called emerging markets, the context of the USA as the "default business nation" for benchmarking activity is not necessarily the best approach and moreover is somewhat restrictive.
"The shift in the world's economic centre of gravity opens up new vistas of truly interesting research, at which cross-cultural management scholars as a specialist sub-group of IB scholars can and indeed should be at the forefront," the team concludes.
Michailova, S. and Holden, N.J. (2019) 'How can research on culture in international business be made more interesting?', European J. Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.1–12.
- The employee voice
What does it mean for a worker to have a "voice"? The moral and sociological implications are more far complicated than a cursory listen to employee voice…or silence…might at first suggest. The employee voice might influence suggestion-box systems, grievance systems, dispute reporting and resolution, whistle-blowing, issue selling, upward influence with management, voice through collective representation, also known as unionisation, employee participation, and employee involvement in the management or company development.
Now, a US team has used advanced bibliometric mapping tools to plot the sciencebase of the voice and silence literature. "Our findings indicate that employee silence and employee voice are terms that are largely claimed by the organisational behaviour (OB) and human resource management (HRM) literature," the team reports in the International Journal of Bibliometrics in Business and Management.
Debra Casey of Temple University, Philadelphia and Steven McMillan of Penn State University, Abington, both in Pennsylvania, USA, explain how they examined 376 articles, notes, and book chapters from the Web of Science (WoS) system. Importantly, from the perspective of reviewing the literature in this area and understanding the sociological and political implications, they found that the terms are defined much more narrowly in this part of the literature than they are in the industrial relations or employment relations disciplines, where one might imagine a clearer definition of the terms might be even more important.
"One of the benefits of using bibliometric techniques is that they provide a quantitative analysis that many times confirms what the astute researcher already knows," the team reports. "We hope that by further exploring and clarifying this important area of scholarship, both seasoned scholars and those new to this area will have a better appreciation of their own 'invisible college' and how to make good use of it," they add.
Casey, D.L. and McMillan, G.S. (2019) 'Employee voice and silence: a bibliometric analysis of the literature', Int. J. Bibliometrics in Business and Management, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.251-266.
- Massive open online courses (MOOCs)
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been widely adopted by higher education institutions for teaching more widely on-campus courses. Writing in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning, a team from Hong Kong explain how they have carried out case studies and examined best practice for running a MOOC.
Kam Cheong Li and Billy Tak-Ming Wong of The Open University of Hong Kong, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China, demonstrated three principles that can help with the development and ongoing maintenance of MOOCs. First, the division of labour in the implementation of a MOOC is important. Secondly, technology must be used effectively. Finally, a MOOC must be adaptable so that a course might be redesigned based on teacher and learner experience with the MOOC. They point out that there are many diverse ways in which MOOCs have been implemented on-campus, specifically.
MOOCs allow huge numbers of students to participate in a course at the same time in far greater numbers than is possible with a conventional on-campus lecture and tutorial approach to teaching. It has also been demonstrated in the past that MOOCs can be used to improve accessibility, equity and inclusiveness of education given that many people might be excludes from a conventional course for any number of reasons depending on personal circumstances and geopolitics of a particular campus.
"Following the trend of adopting online technology for teaching in higher educational institutions, this study illustrates how 'online technology can be used to deliver hybrid courses with reduced class time without compromising student outcomes'," the team concludes.
Li, K.C. and Wong, B.T-M. (2019) 'Advancing teaching with massive open online courses: a review of case studies', Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp.141-155.
- Gaming system helps with autism diagnosis
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects communication, social skills and other behaviours. Characteristic of some cases in both children and adults is repetitive movements or unusual behaviour - stereotyped movements.
A research team from France and Morocco describe in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, an automated detection system for diagnosing stereotyped movements that uses the motion detector system of the "Kinect" video game. The Kinect system is based on a webcam type peripheral computer device that allows the player to control the computer through movements and gestures (as well as spoken commands via a microphone input). The Kinect was originally an add-on for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console.
The team of Maha Jazouli of Sidi Mohamed Benabdellah University, in Fez, Morocco, and colleagues have used a $P Point-Cloud Recogniser to identify multi-stroke gestures as point clouds as recorded by the webcam component of the Kinect and its processing system for gesture and movement determination. Their new methodology can automatically detect five stereotypical motor movements: body rocking, hand flapping, finger flapping, hand on the face, and hands behind back.
The researchers report that for many people with ASD tested using this system, satisfactory results were obtained in identifying stereotyped movements. They suggest that the system might be used in a clinical setting or in the home as a temporary smart surveillance system to augment early diagnosis of ASD by expert clinicians.
Jazouli, M., Majda, A., Merad, D., Aalouane, R. and Zarghili, A. (2019) 'Automatic detection of stereotyped movements in autistic children using the Kinect sensor', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp.201-220.
- Searching for side effects
Extracting relevant information from the scientific literature about side effects and adverse drug reactions to pharmaceutical products is an important part of data mining in this area. Writing in the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics, a team from China has developed a new search strategy that offers the optimal trade-off between retrieving pertinent abstracts and coping with the vast amounts of information available.
The team's "corpus-oriented perspective on terminologies" of side effect and ADRs could be, they suggest, an important tool in a thriving area of pharmaceutical research and development – drug repurposing.
Alex Chengyu Fang of the Department of Linguistics and Translation, at City University of Hong Kong, Yemao Liu, Yaping Lu, and Jingbo Xia of the College of Informatics at Huazhong Agricultural University, Jing Cao of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China, describe their approach as offering a useful compromise between the relevance of the content retrieved given a large body of work. The terms "side effects" and "adverse drug reactions" are commonly used interchangeably and the latter might in some sense be considered a euphemism of the former term used by members of the public.
Indeed, side effects and ADRs are synonyms. The two, of course, have many hyponyms, terms that are essentially related to examples of both side effects and ADRs, which by definition are the hypernyms to those hyponyms. These terms too must be retrievable by any data mining algorithm that analyses a body of work and is intent on seeking relevant abstracts discussing the "hypernyms. Phrases such as "adverse drug event", "drug toxicity", "undesirable effects", and others all fall into the same clade and so must be involved in the retrieval.
Fang, A.C., Liu, Y., Lu, Y., Cao, J. and Xia, J. (2018) 'A corpus-oriented perspective on terminologies of side effect and adverse reaction in support of text retrieval for drug repurposing', Int. J. Data Mining and Bioinformatics, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp.269–286.
New Editor for International Journal of Healthcare Policy
Prof. Djamel Eddine Laouisset from the Northeastern Institute of Technology in Algeria has been appointed to take over editorship of the 855-916-2034.
New Editor for International Journal of Information Systems and Management
Prof. Yue Guo from King's College London in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the 9042087613. The journal's previous Editor in Chief, Prof. Eldon Li, will remain with the journal as Honorary Editor in Chief.
International Journal of Computational Materials Science and Surface Engineering Board Member wins national award
Prof. Yanxiong Liu, one of the Editorial Board Members of the International Journal of Computational Materials Science and Surface Engineering, is the second person-in-charge of the project "The Technology and Equipment of Combined Fine Blanking Process For High Precision and High strength Mid-Thick Plate Structural Components", which recently won Second Prize in the 2018 National Technological Invention Award.
The series of innovative achievements of the project has promoted the transformation and upgrading of mid-thick plates from blank production to precision manufacturing, thus greatly increasing the precision performance and production efficiency of mid-thick plate structural components, improving the working environment of workers, and achieving high-quality, highly efficient and green manufacturing.
More details are (214) 649-9078.
International Journal of Comparative Management announces 2017-2018 awards
The International Journal of Comparative Management's Editor in Chief, Prof. K.S. Reddy, after consulting his senior editorial board members, is pleased to announce the following awards for 2017-2018:
- Best Paper Award: Dr. Saif-ud-Din (King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia), Prof. Vishwanath V. Baba (McMaster University, Canada) and Prof. Louise Tourigny (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, USA) for the following paper: Emotional exhaustion and its consequences: a comparative study of nurses in India and China. International Journal of Comparative Management 2018, 1(1), 65-90
- Highly Commended Paper Award: Prof. Thierry Warin (HEC Montréal, Canada) and William Sanger (Polytechnique Montréal, Canada) for the following paper: Connectivity and closeness among international financial institutions: a network theory perspective. International Journal of Comparative Management 2018, 1(3), 225-254
- Outstanding Reviewers for 2017-2018: Prof. Virginia Bodolica (American University of Sharjah, UAE); Assoc. Prof. Sarah Philipson (University of Gävle, Sweden); Prof. Mario Henrique Ogasavara (ESPM: Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, Brazil); Prof. Tanuja Agarwala (University of Delhi, India); Dr. Jones Odei Mensah (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa); Dr. Imlak Shaikh (Management Development Institute Gurgaon, India)
New Editor for International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management
Associate Prof. Li (Juliet) Hui from Tianjin University of Technology in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management.