Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 1914

World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology

[Economics and Management Engineering]

Online ISSN : 1307-6892

1914 A Context-Centric Chatbot for Cryptocurrency Using the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers Neural Networks

Authors: Qitao Xie, Qingquan Zhang, Xiaofei Zhang, Di Tian, Ruixuan Wen, Ting Zhu, Ping Yi, Xin Li

Abstract:

Inspired by the recent movement of digital currency, we are building a question answering system concerning the subject of cryptocurrency using Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT). The motivation behind this work is to properly assist digital currency investors by directing them to the corresponding knowledge bases that can offer them help and increase the querying speed. BERT, one of newest language models in natural language processing, was investigated to improve the quality of generated responses. We studied different combinations of hyperparameters of the BERT model to obtain the best fit responses. Further, we created an intelligent chatbot for cryptocurrency using BERT. A chatbot using BERT shows great potential for the further advancement of a cryptocurrency market tool. We show that the BERT neural networks generalize well to other tasks by applying it successfully to cryptocurrency.

Keywords: Deep learning, Cryptocurrency, chatbot, BERT

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1913 Stochastic Impact Analysis of COVID-19 on Karachi Stock Exchange

Authors: Syeda Maria Ali Shah, Asif Mansoor, Talat Sharafat Rehmani, Safia Mirza

Abstract:

The stock market of any country acts as a predictor of the economy. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the global financial markets. Besides, it has also critically affected the economy of Pakistan. In this study, we consider the role of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) with regard to the Pakistan Stock Exchange and quantify the impact on macroeconomic variables in presence of COVID-19. The suitable macroeconomic variables are used to quantify the impact of COVID-19 by developing the stochastic model. The sufficiency of the computed model is attained by means of available techniques in the literature. The estimated equations are used to forecast the impact of pandemic on macroeconomic variables. The constructed model can help the policymakers take counteractive measures for restricting the influence of viruses on the Karachi Stock Market.

Keywords: Forecasting, macroeconomic variables, Karachi stock market, stochastic model, COVID-19

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1912 Uneven Development: Structural Changes and Income Outcomes across States in Malaysia

Authors: Siti Aiysyah Tumin

Abstract:

This paper looks at the nature of structural changes—the transition of employment from agriculture, to manufacturing, then to different types of services—in different states in Malaysia and links it to income outcomes for households and workers. Specifically, this paper investigates the conditional association between the concentration of different economic activities and income outcomes (household incomes and employee wages) in almost four decades. Using publicly available state-level employment and income data, we found that significant wage premium was associated with “modern” services (finance, real estate, professional, information and communication), which are urban-based services sectors that employ a larger proportion of skilled and educated workers. However, employment in manufacturing and other services subsectors was significantly associated with a lower income dispersion and inequality, alluding to their importance in welfare improvements.

Keywords: Employment, Structural Change, labour market, wages

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1911 Digital Individual Benefit Statement: The Use of a Triangulation Methodology to Design a Digital Platform for Switzerland

Authors: Catherine Equey Balzli

Abstract:

Old age retirement pensions are an important concern among the Swiss but estimating one’s income after retirement is difficult due to the Swiss insurance system’s complexity. This project’s aim is to prepare for developing a digital platform that will allow individuals to plan for retirement in a simplified manner. The main objective of the platform will be to give individuals the tools to check that their savings and retirement benefits will allow them to continue the lifestyle to which they are accustomed once they are retired. The research results from qualitative (focus group) and quantitative (survey) methodologies, recommend the scope and functionalities for a digital platform to be developed. A main outcome is the need to limit the platform’s scope to old-age pension only (excluding survivors’ or disability pensions, for instance). Furthermore, an outcome regarding the functionalities is the proposition of scenarios such as early retirement, changes to income, or modifications to personal status. The development of the digital platform will be a subsequent project.

Keywords: digital platform, benefit statement, retirement financial planning, social insurances

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1910 Contextual Enablers and Behaviour Outputs for Action of Knowledge Workers

Authors: Juan-Gabriel Cegarra-Navarro, Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Denise Bedford

Abstract:

This paper provides guidelines for what constitutes a knowledge worker. Many graduates from non-managerial domains adopt, at some point in their professional careers, management roles at different levels, ranging from team leaders through to executive leadership. This is particularly relevant for professionals from an engineering background. Moving from a technical to an executive-level requires an understanding of those behaviour management techniques that can motivate and support individuals and their performance. Further, the transition to management also demands a shift of contextual enablers from tangible to intangible resources, which allows individuals to create new capacities, competencies, and capabilities. In this dynamic process, the knowledge worker becomes that key individual who can help members of the management board to transform information into relevant knowledge. However, despite its relevance in shaping the future of the organization in its transition to the knowledge economy, the role of a knowledge worker has not yet been studied to an appropriate level in the current literature. In this study, the authors review both the contextual enablers and behaviour outputs related to the role of the knowledge worker and relate these to their ability to deal with everyday management issues such as knowledge heterogeneity, varying motivations, information overload, or outdated information. This study highlights that the aggregate of capacities, competences and capabilities (CCCs) can be defined as knowledge structures, the study proposes several contextual enablers and behaviour outputs that knowledge workers can use to work cooperatively, acquire, distribute and knowledge. Therefore, this study contributes to a better comprehension of how CCCs can be managed at different levels through their contextual enablers and behaviour outputs.

Keywords: capabilities, knowledge workers, competences, capacities, knowledge structures

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1909 Government of Ghana’s Budget: An Assessment of Its Compliance with Fundamental Budgeting Principles

Authors: Mohammed Sani Abdulai

Abstract:

Public sector budgeting, all over the world, is underpinned by some universally accepted principles of sound budget management such as budget unity, universality, annuality, and a balanced budget. These traditional principles, though fundamental, had, in recent years, been augmented by the more modern principles of budgeting within fiscal objective, alignment with medium-term strategic plans as well as the observance of such related concepts as transparency, openness and accessibility. In this paper, we have endeavored to shed light, from literature and practice, on the meaning and purposes of such fundamental budgeting principles. We have also assessed the extent to which the Government of Ghana’s budget complies with the four traditional principles of budget unity, universality, annuality, and a balanced budget and the three out of the ten modern principles of budgetary governance of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We did so by using a qualitative method of review and analysis of existing documents and the performance assessment reports on Ghana’s Public Financial Management (PFM) measured using such frameworks as the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA), the Open Budget Survey (OBS) and its Index (OBI), the reports and action plans of Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT). Other performance assessment reports that were relied on included, but not limited to, the Joint Evaluation Report of PFM in Ghana, 2001-2010, and the Joint Evaluation of Budget Support to Ghana, 2005-2015. We have, through this paper, brought to the fore the lessons that could be learned on how those budgetary principles undergird the Government of Ghana’s budget formulation, execution, accounting, control, and oversight. These lessons include, but are not limited to, the need for both scholars and practitioners in the PFM space to be aware of the impact of those principles on public sector budgeting.

Keywords: Universality, public expenditure and financial accountability, annulaity, balanced budget, budget unity, budgetary principles, OECD’s principles on budgetary governance, open budget index

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1908 Banking Risk Management between the Prudential and the Operational Approaches

Authors: Mustapha Achibane, Imane Allam

Abstract:

Since the nineties, all Moroccan banking institutions have to respect an arsenal of prudential ratios. The respect of these prudential measures aims to ensure the financial system stability. In order to do so, regulatory authorities tried to reduce the financial and operational risks incurred by the banking entities. Meanwhile, regulatory authorities demanded a balance sheet management work from banks. They also asked them to establish a management control system to manage operational risk, as well as an effort in terms of incurred risk-based commitments. Therefore, the prudential approach has a macroeconomic nature and it is presented as a determinant of the operational, microeconomic approach. This operational approach takes the form of a strategy that each banking entity must develop to manage the different banking risks. This study seeks to analyze the problem of risk management between the prudential and the operational approaches. It was processed through a literature review followed by an analysis of the Moroccan banking sector’s performance. At first, we will reconcile the inductive logic and then, the analytical one. The first approach consists of analyzing the phenomenon from a normative and conceptual perspective, while the second one will consist of considering the Moroccan banking system and analyzing the behavior of Moroccan banking entities in terms of risk management and performance. The results identified a favorable growth in terms of performance, despite the huge provisioning effort made to meet the international standards and the harmonization of the regulations.

Keywords: Risk management, Financial Intermediation, banking performance, operational approach, prudential standards

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1907 Exploring Dynamics of Regional Creative Economy

Authors: Ari Lindeman, Melina Maunula, Jani Kiviranta, Ronja Pölkki

Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to build a vision of the utilization of creative industry competences in industrial and services firms connected to Kymenlaakso region, Finland, smart specialization focus areas. Research indicates that creativity and the use of creative industry’s inputs can enhance innovation and competitiveness. Currently creative methods and services are underutilized in regional businesses and the added value they provide is not well grasped. Methodologically, the research adopts a qualitative exploratory approach. Data is collected in multiple ways including a survey, focus groups, and interviews. Theoretically, the paper contributes to the discussion about the use creative industry competences in regional development, and argues for building regional creative economy ecosystems in close co-operation with regional strategies and traditional industries rather than as treating regional creative industry ecosystem initiatives separate from them. The practical contribution of the paper is the creative vision for the use of regional authorities in updating smart specialization strategy as well as boosting industrial and creative & cultural sectors’ competitiveness. The paper also illustrates a research-based model of vision building.

Keywords: Business, Vision, Regional Development, cooperation, Creative Economy

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1906 Stochastic Optimization of a Vendor-Managed Inventory Problem in a Two-Echelon Supply Chain

Authors: Bita Payami-Shabestari, Dariush Eslami

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to develop a multi-product economic production quantity model under vendor management inventory policy and restrictions including limited warehouse space, budget, and number of orders, average shortage time and maximum permissible shortage. Since the “costs” cannot be predicted with certainty, it is assumed that data behave under uncertain environment. The problem is first formulated into the framework of a bi-objective of multi-product economic production quantity model. Then, the problem is solved with three multi-objective decision-making (MODM) methods. Then following this, three methods had been compared on information on the optimal value of the two objective functions and the central processing unit (CPU) time with the statistical analysis method and the multi-attribute decision-making (MADM). The results are compared with statistical analysis method and the MADM. The results of the study demonstrate that augmented-constraint in terms of optimal value of the two objective functions and the CPU time perform better than global criteria, and goal programming. Sensitivity analysis is done to illustrate the effect of parameter variations on the optimal solution. The contribution of this research is the use of random costs data in developing a multi-product economic production quantity model under vendor management inventory policy with several constraints.

Keywords: Supply Chain Management, economic production quantity, random cost, vendor-managed inventory

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1905 Maternal Health Outcome and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Dynamic Panel Analysis

Authors: Okwan Frank

Abstract:

Maternal health outcome is one of the major population development challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region has the highest maternal mortality ratio, despite the progressive economic growth in the region during the global economic crisis. It has been hypothesized that increase in economic growth will reduce the level of maternal mortality. The purpose of this study is to investigate the existence of the negative relationship between health outcome proxy by maternal mortality ratio and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study used the Pooled Mean Group estimator of ARDL Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) and the Kao test for cointegration to examine the short-run and long-run relationship between maternal mortality and economic growth. The results of the cointegration test showed the existence of a long-run relationship between the variables considered for the study. The long-run result of the Pooled Mean group estimates confirmed the hypothesis of an inverse relationship between maternal health outcome proxy by maternal mortality ratio and economic growth proxy by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Thus increasing economic growth by investing in the health care systems to reduce pregnancy and childbirth complications will help reduce maternal mortality in the sub-region.

Keywords: Economic growth, Sub-Saharan Africa, maternal mortality, pool mean group

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1904 Gender Justice and Feminist Self-Management Practices in the Solidarity Economy: A Quantitative Analysis of the Factors that Impact Enterprises Formed by Women in Brazil

Authors: Maria de Nazaré Moraes Soares, Silvia Maria Dias Pedro Rebouças, José Carlos Lázaro

Abstract:

The Solidarity Economy (SE) acts in the re-articulation of the economic field to the other spheres of social action. The significant participation of women in SE resulted in the formation of a national network of self-managed enterprises in Brazil: The Solidarity and Feminist Economy Network (SFEN). The objective of the research is to identify factors of gender justice and feminist self-management practices that adhere to the reality of women in SE enterprises. The conceptual apparatus related to feminist studies in this research covers Nancy Fraser approaches on gender justice, and Patricia Yancey Martin approaches on feminist management practices, and authors of postcolonial feminism such as Mohanty and Maria Lugones, who lead the discussion to peripheral contexts, a necessary perspective when observing the women’s movement in SE. The research has a quantitative nature in the phases of data collection and analysis. The data collection was performed through two data sources: the database mapped in Brazil in 2010-2013 by the National Information System in Solidary Economy and 150 questionnaires with women from 16 enterprises in SFEN, in a state of Brazilian northeast. The data were analyzed using the multivariate statistical technique of Factor Analysis. The results show that the factors that define gender justice and feminist self-management practices in SE are interrelated in several levels, proving statistically the intersectional condition of the issue of women. The evidence from the quantitative analysis allowed us to understand the dimensions of gender justice and feminist management practices intersectionality; in this sense, the non-distribution of domestic work interferes in non-representation of women in public spaces, especially in peripheral contexts. The study contributes with important reflections to the studies of this area and can be complemented in the future with a qualitative research that approaches the perspective of women in the context of the SE self-management paradigm.

Keywords: Gender Justice, Self-management, solidarity economy, feminist management practices

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1903 Women's Employment Issues in Georgia and Solutions Based on European Experience

Authors: N. Damenia, E. Kharaishvili, N. Sagareishvili, M. Saghareishvili

Abstract:

Women's Employment is one of the most important issues in the global economy. The article discusses the stated topic in Georgia, through historical content, Soviet experience, and modern perspectives. The paper discusses segmentation insa terms of employment and related problems. Based on statistical analysis, women's unemployment rate and its factors are analyzed. The level of employment of women in Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) is discussed and is compared with Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia). The study analyzes women’s level of development, according to the average age of marriage and migration level. The focus is on Georgia's Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, which includes economic, social, trade and political issues. One part of it is gender equality at workplaces. According to the research, the average monthly remuneration of women managers in the financial and insurance sector equaled to 1044.6 Georgian Lari, while in overall business sector average monthly remuneration equaled to 961.1 GEL. Average salaries are increasing; however, the employment rate remains problematic. For example, in 2017, 74.6% of men and 50.8% of women were employed from a total workforce. It is also interesting that the proportion of men and women at managerial positions is 29% (women) to 71% (men). Based on the results, the main recommendation for government and civil society is to consider women as a part of the country’s economic development. In this aspect, the experience of developed countries should be considered. It is important to create additional jobs in urban or rural areas and help migrant women return and use their working resources properly.

Keywords: employment of women, segregation in terms of employment, women's employment level in Transcaucasia, migration level

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1902 Dialogue Meetings as an Arena for Collaboration and Reflection among Researchers and Practitioners

Authors: Kerstin Grunden, Ann Svensson, Berit Forsman, Christina Karlsson, Ayman Obeid

Abstract:

The research question of the article is to explore whether the dialogue meetings method could be relevant for reflective learning among researchers and practitioners when welfare technology should be implemented in municipalities, or not. A testbed was planned to be implemented in a retirement home in a Swedish municipality, and the practitioners worked with a pre-study of that testbed. In the article, the dialogue between the researchers and the practitioners in the dialogue meetings is described and analyzed. The potential of dialogue meetings as an arena for learning and reflection among researchers and practitioners is discussed. The research methodology approach is participatory action research with mixed methods (dialogue meetings, focus groups, participant observations). The main findings from the dialogue meetings were that the researchers learned more about the use of traditional research methods, and the practitioners learned more about how they could improve their use of the methods to facilitate change processes in their organization. These findings have the potential both for the researchers and the practitioners to result in more relevant use of research methods in change processes in organizations. It is concluded that dialogue meetings could be relevant for reflective learning among researchers and practitioners when welfare technology should be implemented in a health care organization.

Keywords: Implementation, Welfare Technology, reflection, participatory action research, dialogue meetings, test bed

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1901 Employment Promotion and Its Role in Counteracting Unemployment during the Financial Crisis in the USA

Authors: Beata Wentura-Dudek

Abstract:

In the United States in 2007-2010 before the crisis, the US labour market policy focused mainly on providing residents with unemployment insurance, after the recession this policy changed. The aim of the article was to present quantitative research presenting the most effective labor market instruments contributing to reducing unemployment during the crisis in the USA. The article presents research based on the analysis of available documents and statistical data. The results of the conducted research show that the most effective forms of counteracting unemployment at that time were: direct job creation, job search assistance, subsidized employment, training and employment promotion using new technologies, including social media.

Keywords: Social Media, training, lifelong learning, Unemployment, Tax, Financial Crisis, Companies, labour market, United States, job creation, employment promotion, employment agencies, job search assistance, subsidized employment

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1900 Machine Learning Techniques in Bank Credit Analysis

Authors: Fernanda M. Assef, Maria Teresinha A. Steiner

Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to compare and discuss better classifier algorithm options for credit risk assessment by applying different Machine Learning techniques. Using records from a Brazilian financial institution, this study uses a database of 5,432 companies that are clients of the bank, where 2,600 clients are classified as non-defaulters, 1,551 are classified as defaulters and 1,281 are temporarily defaulters, meaning that the clients are overdue on their payments for up 180 days. For each case, a total of 15 attributes was considered for a one-against-all assessment using four different techniques: Artificial Neural Networks Multilayer Perceptron (ANN-MLP), Artificial Neural Networks Radial Basis Functions (ANN-RBF), Logistic Regression (LR) and finally Support Vector Machines (SVM). For each method, different parameters were analyzed in order to obtain different results when the best of each technique was compared. Initially the data were coded in thermometer code (numerical attributes) or dummy coding (for nominal attributes). The methods were then evaluated for each parameter and the best result of each technique was compared in terms of accuracy, false positives, false negatives, true positives and true negatives. This comparison showed that the best method, in terms of accuracy, was ANN-RBF (79.20% for non-defaulter classification, 97.74% for defaulters and 75.37% for the temporarily defaulter classification). However, the best accuracy does not always represent the best technique. For instance, on the classification of temporarily defaulters, this technique, in terms of false positives, was surpassed by SVM, which had the lowest rate (0.07%) of false positive classifications. All these intrinsic details are discussed considering the results found, and an overview of what was presented is shown in the conclusion of this study.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Networks, Machine Learning, Support Vector Machines, Logistic Regression, credit risk assessment, ANNs, Classifier algorithms

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1899 Perceived Risks in Business-to-Consumer Online Contracts: An Empirical Study in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Shaya Alshahrani

Abstract:

Perceived risks play a major role in consumer intentions, behaviors, attitudes, and decisions about online shopping in the KSA. This paper investigates the influence of six perceived risk dimensions on Saudi consumers: product risk, information risk, financial risk, privacy and security risk, delivery risk, and terms and conditions risk empirically. To ensure the success of this study, a random survey was distributed to reflect the consumers’ perceived risk and to enable the generalization of the results. Data were collected from 323 respondents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA): 50 who had never shopped online and 273 who had done so. The results indicated that all six risks influenced the respondents’ perceptions of online shopping. The non-online shoppers perceived financial and delivery risks as the most significant barriers to online shopping. This was followed closely by performance, information, and privacy and security risks. Terms and conditions were perceived as less significant. The online consumers considered delivery and performance risks to be the most significant influences on internet shopping. This was followed closely by information and terms and conditions. Financial and privacy and security risks were perceived as less significant. This paper argues that introducing adequate legal solutions to addressing related problems arising from this study is an urgent need. This may enhance consumer trust in the KSA online market, increase consumers’ intentions regarding online shopping, and improve consumer protection.

Keywords: E-Commerce, Saudi Arabia, consumer protection, Online shopping, online contracts, perceived risk

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1898 A Case Study on Barriers in Total Productive Maintenance Implementation in the Abu Dhabi Power Industry

Authors: A. Alseiari, P. Farrell

Abstract:

Maintenance has evolved into an imperative function, and contributes significantly to efficient and effective equipment performance. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is an ideal approach to support the development and implementation of operation performance improvement. It systematically aims to understand the function of equipment, the service quality relationship with equipment and the probable critical equipment failure conditions. Implementation of TPM programmes need strategic planning and there has been little research applied in this area within Middle-East power plants. In the power sector of Abu Dhabi, technologically and strategically, the power industry is extremely important, and it thus needs effective and efficient equipment management support. The aim of this paper is to investigate barriers to successful TPM implementation in the Abu Dhabi power industry. The study has been conducted in the context of a leading power company in the UAE. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 employees, including maintenance and operation staff, and senior managers. The findings of this research identified seven key barriers, thus: managerial; organisational; cultural; financial; educational; communications; and auditing. With respect to the understanding of these barriers and obstacles in TPM implementation, the findings can contribute towards improved equipment operations and maintenance in power organisations.

Keywords: critical success factors, organisational culture, Abu Dhabi Power Industry, TPM implementation, key barriers

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1897 A Robust Optimization Method for Service Quality Improvement in Health Care Systems under Budget Uncertainty

Authors: H. Ashrafi, S. Ebrahimi, H. Kamalzadeh

Abstract:

With the development of business competition, it is important for healthcare providers to improve their service qualities. In order to improve service quality of a clinic, four important dimensions are defined: tangibles, responsiveness, empathy, and reliability. Moreover, there are several service stages in hospitals such as financial screening and examination. One of the most challenging limitations for improving service quality is budget which impressively affects the service quality. In this paper, we present an approach to address budget uncertainty and provide guidelines for service resource allocation. In this paper, a service quality improvement approach is proposed which can be adopted to multistage service processes to improve service quality, while controlling the costs. A multi-objective function based on the importance of each area and dimension is defined to link operational variables to service quality dimensions. The results demonstrate that our approach is not ultra-conservative and it shows the actual condition very well. Moreover, it is shown that different strategies can affect the number of employees in different stages.

Keywords: Robust Optimization, budget uncertainty, service quality assessment, healthcare resource allocation

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1896 Critical Psychosocial Risk Treatment for Engineers and Technicians

Authors: R. Berglund, T. Backström, M. Bellgran

Abstract:

This study explores how management addresses psychosocial risks in seven teams of engineers and technicians in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. The sample is from an ongoing quasi-experiment about psychosocial risk management in a manufacturing company in Sweden. Each of the seven teams belongs to one of two clusters: a positive cluster or a negative cluster. The positive cluster reports a significantly positive change in psychosocial risk levels between two time-points and the negative cluster reports a significantly negative change. The data are collected using semi-structured interviews. The results of the computer aided thematic analysis show that there are more differences than similarities when comparing the risk treatment actions taken between the two clusters. Findings show that the managers in the positive cluster use more enabling actions that foster and support formal and informal relationship building. In contrast, managers that use less enabling actions hinder the development of positive group processes and contribute negative changes in psychosocial risk levels. This exploratory study sheds some light on how management can influence significant positive and negative changes in psychosocial risk levels during a risk management process.

Keywords: Risk management, psychosocial, group process model, risk treatment

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1895 Implementation of the Quality Management System and Development of Organizational Learning: Case of Three Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Morocco

Authors: Abdelghani Boudiaf

Abstract:

The profusion of studies relating to the concept of organizational learning shows the importance that has been given to this concept in the management sciences. A few years ago, companies leaned towards ISO 9001 certification; this requires the implementation of the quality management system (QMS). In order for this objective to be achieved, companies must have a set of skills, which pushes them to develop learning through continuous training. The results of empirical research have shown that implementation of the QMS in the company promotes the development of learning. It should also be noted that several types of learning are developed in this sense. Given the nature of skills development is normative in the context of the quality demarche, companies are obliged to qualify and improve the skills of their human resources. Continuous training is the keystone to develop the necessary learning. To carry out continuous training, companies need to be able to identify their real needs by developing training plans based on well-defined engineering. The training process goes obviously through several stages. Initially, training has a general aspect, that is to say, it focuses on topics and actions of a general nature. Subsequently, this is done in a more targeted and more precise way to accompany the evolution of the QMS and also to make the changes decided each time (change of working method, change of practices, change of objectives, change of mentality, etc.). To answer our problematic we opted for the method of qualitative research. It should be noted that the case study method crosses several data collection techniques to explain and understand a phenomenon. Three cases of companies were studied as part of this research work using different data collection techniques related to this method.

Keywords: Organizational learning, Skills Development, quality management system, continuous training, changing mentalities

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1894 Technological Advancement in Fashion Online Retailing: A Comparative Study of Pakistan and UK Fashion E-Commerce

Authors: Sadia Idrees, Gianpaolo Vignali, Simeon Gill

Abstract:

The study aims to establish the virtual size and fit technology features to enhance fashion online retailing platforms, utilising digital human measurements to provide customised style and function to consumers. A few firms in the UK have launched advanced interactive fashion shopping domains for personalised shopping globally, aided by the latest internet technology. Virtual size and fit interfaces have a great potential to provide a personalised better-fitted garment to promote mass customisation globally. Made-to-measure clothing, consuming unstitched fabric is a common practice offered by fashion brands in Pakistan. This product is regarded as economical and sustainable to be utilised by consumers in Pakistan. Although the manual sizing system is practiced to sell garments online, virtual size and fit visualisation and recommendation technologies are uncommon in Pakistani fashion interfaces. A comparative assessment of Pakistani fashion brand websites and UK technology-driven fashion interfaces was conducted to highlight the vast potential of the virtual size and fit technology. The results indicated that web 2.0 technology adopted by Pakistani apparel brands has limited features, whereas companies practicing web 3.0 technology provide interactive online real-store shopping experience leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and globalisation of brands.

Keywords: E-Commerce, mass customization, virtual size and fit, web 3.0 technology

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1893 Knowledge Management in Academic: A Perspective of Academic Research Contribution to Economic Development of a Nation

Authors: Hilary J. Watsilla, Narasimha R. Vajjhala

Abstract:

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made information access easier and affordable. Academic research has also benefited from this, with online journals and academic resource readily available by the click of a button. However, there are limited ways of assessing and controlling the quality of the academic research mostly in public institution. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a significant number of universities and young population. The quality of knowledge created by academic researchers, however, needs to be evaluated due to the high number of predatory journals published by academia. The purpose of this qualitative study is to look at the knowledge creation, acquisition, and assimilation process by academic researchers in public universities in Nigeria. Qualitative research will be carried out using in-depth interviews and observations. Academic researchers will be interviewed and absorptive capacity theory will be used as the theoretical framework to guide the research. The findings from this study should help understand the impact of ICT on the knowledge creation process in academic research and to understand how ICT can affect the quality of knowledge produced by researchers. The findings from this study should help add value to the existing body of knowledge on the quality of academic research, especially in Africa where there is limited availability of quality academic research. As this study is limited to Nigerian universities, the outcome may not be generalized to other developing countries.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, Academic Research, Research, Information and Communication Technology, knowledge creation, University

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1892 Understanding How Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Are Conducted through the Real Estate Sector in the Middle East and North Africa Region

Authors: Haytham Yassine

Abstract:

This research seeks to identify how money laundering activities are executed through the real estate sector. This article provides academics with literature on the topic and provides scholars, and practitioners with a better understanding of the risks and challenges involved. Data are gathered through survey in the Middle East and North Africa region and review of the available research. The results of the analysis will help identifying the factors attracting criminals to the real estate sector and develop an understanding of the methods used to launder illicit funds through this sector and the indicators of suspicion for reporting entities. Further analysis reveals the risks posed by money laundering and terrorist financing on the real estate sector and challenges facing states in this regard.

Keywords: Money Laundering, terrorism financing, Middle East and North Africa, real estate sector

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1891 Cultural Effects on the Performance of Non- Profit and For-Profit Microfinance Institutions

Authors: Patrick M. Stanton, William R. McCumber

Abstract:

Using a large dataset of more than 2,400 individual microfinance institutions (MFIs) from 120 countries from 1999 to 2016, this study finds that nearly half of the international MFIs operate as for-profit institutions. Formal institutions (business regulatory environment, property rights, social protection, and a developed financial sector) impact the likelihood of MFIs being for-profit across countries. Cultural differences across countries (power distance, individualism, masculinity, and indulgence) seem to be a factor in the legal status of the MFI (non-profit or for-profit). MFIs in countries with stronger formal institutions, a greater degree of power distance, and a higher degree of collectivism experience better financial and social performance.

Keywords: International Finance, non-profit, microfinance institutions, Hofstede cultural dimensions

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1890 The Strategic Engine Model: Redefined Strategy Structure, as per Market-and Resource-Based Theory Application, Tested in the Automotive Industry

Authors: Krassimir Todorov

Abstract:

The purpose of the paper is to redefine the levels of structure of corporate, business and functional strategies that were established over the past several decades, to a conceptual model, consisting of corporate, business and operations strategies, that are reinforced by functional strategies. We will propose a conceptual framework of different perspectives in the role of strategic operations as a separate strategic place and reposition the remaining functional strategies as supporting tools, existing at all three levels. The proposed model is called ‘the strategic engine’, since the mutual relationships of its ingredients are identical with main elements and working principle of the internal combustion engine. Based on theoretical essence, related to every strategic level, we will prove that the strategic engine model is useful for managers seeking to safeguard the competitive advantage of their companies. Each strategy level is researched through its basic elements. At the corporate level we examine the scope of firm’s product, the vertical and geographical coverage. At the business level, the point of interest is limited to the SWOT analysis’ basic elements. While at operations level, the key research issue relates to the scope of the following performance indicators: cost, quality, speed, flexibility and dependability. In this relationship, the paper provides a different view for the role of operations strategy within the overall strategy concept. We will prove that the theoretical essence of operations goes far beyond the scope of traditionally accepted business functions. Exploring the applications of Resource-based theory and Market-based theory within the strategic levels framework, we will prove that there is a logical consequence of the theoretical impact in corporate, business and operations strategy – at every strategic level, the validity of one theory is substituted to the level of the other. Practical application of the conceptual model is tested in automotive industry. Actually, the proposed theoretical concept is inspired by a leading global automotive group – Inchcape PLC, listed on the London Stock Exchange, and constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Keywords: Business Strategy, Corporate Strategy, Operations Strategy, functional strategies

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1889 Risk Assessment of Building Information Modelling Adoption in Construction Projects

Authors: Amirhossein Karamoozian, Desheng Wu, Behzad Abbasnejad

Abstract:

Building information modelling (BIM) is a new technology to enhance the efficiency of project management in the construction industry. In addition to the potential benefits of this useful technology, there are various risks and obstacles to applying it in construction projects. In this study, a decision making approach is presented for risk assessment in BIM adoption in construction projects. Various risk factors of exerting BIM during different phases of the project lifecycle are identified with the help of Delphi method, experts’ opinions and related literature. Afterward, Shannon’s entropy and Fuzzy TOPSIS (Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Situation) are applied to derive priorities of the identified risk factors. Results indicated that lack of knowledge between professional engineers about workflows in BIM and conflict of opinions between different stakeholders are the risk factors with the highest priority.

Keywords: Risk, bim, Construction Projects, fuzzy TOPSIS, Shannon’s entropy

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1888 Predicting the Success of Bank Telemarketing Using Artificial Neural Network

Authors: Mokrane Selma

Abstract:

The shift towards decision making (DM) based on artificial intelligence (AI) techniques will change the way in which consumer markets and our societies function. Through AI, predictive analytics is being used by businesses to identify these patterns and major trends with the objective to improve the DM and influence future business outcomes. This paper proposes an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) approach to predict the success of telemarketing calls for selling bank long-term deposits. To validate the proposed model, we uses the bank marketing data of 41188 phone calls. The ANN attains 98.93% of accuracy which outperforms other conventional classifiers and confirms that it is credible and valuable approach for telemarketing campaign managers.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Decision Making, prediction, Artificial Neural Network, bank telemarketing

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1887 A Multiple Linear Regression Model to Predict the Price of Cement in Nigeria

Authors: Kenneth M. Oba

Abstract:

This study investigated factors affecting the price of cement in Nigeria, and developed a mathematical model that can predict future cement prices. Cement is key in the Nigerian construction industry. The changes in price caused by certain factors could affect economic and infrastructural development; hence there is need for proper proactive planning. Secondary data were collected from published information on cement between 2014 and 2019. In addition, questionnaires were sent to some domestic cement retailers in Port Harcourt in Nigeria, to obtain the actual prices of cement between the same periods. The study revealed that the most critical factors affecting the price of cement in Nigeria are inflation rate, population growth rate, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate. With the use of data from United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and Central Bank of Nigeria databases, amongst others, a Multiple Linear Regression model was formulated. The model was used to predict the price of cement for 2020-2025. The model was then tested with 95% confidence level, using a two-tailed t-test and an F-test, resulting in an R2 of 0.8428 and R2 (adj.) of 0.6069. The results of the tests and the correlation factors confirm the model to be fit and adequate. This study will equip researchers and stakeholders in the construction industry with information for planning, monitoring, and management of present and future construction projects that involve the use of cement.

Keywords: multiple linear regression model, Nigerian construction industry, price prediction, Cement price

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1886 Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure, Tax Aggressiveness and Sustainability Report Assurance: Evidence from Thailand

Authors: Eko Budi Santoso, Kazia Laturette, Stanislaus Adnanto Mastan

Abstract:

This study aims to examine the association between disclosure of social responsibility and tax aggressiveness in developing countries, namely Thailand. This is due to the increasing trend of disclosure of social responsibility in developing countries, even though this disclosure of information is still voluntary. On the other hand, developing countries have low taxation rate and investor protection infrastructures that allow the disclosure of social responsibility to be used opportunistically as a tool to fool the attainment of interests. This study also examines the role of assurance on the association between corporate social responsibility disclosure and tax aggressiveness. The assurance aims to provide confidence that the disclosure of social responsibility by the company is valid. This research builds an index to measure the disclosure of social responsibility based on the rules issued by the innovative Global Reporting. The results of the study are based on a sample of publicly traded companies in Thailand, which showed a positive association between disclosure of corporate social responsibility and tax aggressiveness, but it was further discovered that these results were mitigated by the existence of assurance against disclosure of corporate social responsibility. The results of this study indicate that the disclosure of corporate social responsibility can show that the company cares about the issue of social responsibility but does not automatically make the company as one that holds ethical values ​​in its business practices.

Keywords: Business Ethics, corporate social responsibility disclosure, tax aggressiveness, sustainability assurance

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1885 Providing a Practical Model to Reduce Maintenance Costs: A Case Study in Golgohar Company

Authors: Iman Atighi, Jalal Soleimannejad, Ahmad Akbarinasab, Saeid Moradpour

Abstract:

In the past, we could increase profit by increasing product prices. But in the new decade, a competitive market does not let us to increase profit with increase prices. Therefore, the only way to increase profit will be reduce costs. A significant percentage of production costs are the maintenance costs, and analysis of these costs could achieve more profit. Most maintenance strategies such as RCM (Reliability-Center-Maintenance), TPM (Total Productivity Maintenance), PM (Preventive Maintenance) etc., are trying to reduce maintenance costs. In this paper, decreasing the maintenance costs of Concentration Plant of Golgohar Company (GEG) was examined by using of MTBF (Mean Time between Failures) and MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) analyses. These analyses showed that instead of buying new machines and increasing costs in order to promote capacity, the improving of MTBF and MTTR indexes would solve capacity problems in the best way and decrease costs.

Keywords: Maintainability, maintenance costs, golgohar iron ore mining & industrial company, reliability-center-maintenance

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