Sunday, August 24, 2014

National versus International Education

With international business growing a greater need for educating students to compete on international markets is important. Subtle differences exist between national and international education. The type of education will determine the direction the educational process takes.  A paper by Nisbet (2014) delves into defining these two concepts to better understand how the different focuses impact the perspective of graduates. 

National education emphasis national curriculum while international education may follow national curriculum but focuses learning on international markets. Students in national programs seek to understand the most important concepts in their field while international education puts that information into a global perspective. 

There are some important differences in terms of histories. Education accompanies stories and definitions that develop a perspective. National education places a greater emphasis on teaching national values while global education focuses more on international values required for working in international markets. 

National education is successful in places like China that are trying to hold together people from different geographies, cultures and identities. It is an educational plan that supports national identity and national growth. We see examples of this with high levels of nationalist business decisions and paternalistic governmental styles. 

National and global education often exist within the same university and throughout a country. National education is what we see in public education that attempts to socialize and educate societal members for productive work based in Industrial Age thinking. Global education would naturally seek to socialize to the standards of international organizations. 

Global education requires students to think beyond their local towns and nations to see how business is conducted on international markets. Ideas such as international law, business, accounting, economics, communication, and cultural awareness are common in international business schools. Graduates would be more focused on the international arena and plan on working in those fields. 

Nisbet, I. (2014) International education and national education – can they co-exist? International Schools Journal, XXXIII, (2)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Art Review: “Ugly Duchess” by Quentin Matsy

“Ugly Duchess” by Quentin Matsys is either an attempt to mock vanity or based upon a real person suffering from Paget’s disease. Quinten Massys was a Flemish artist who painted the picture in 1513 leaving many pondering its meaning (1). To many it is a picture of an old lady attempting to look beautiful with all the accessories of a wealthy person. The items we buy and the impressions we give others cannot hide our beauty or ugliness to the world. 

Such a painting could also be as simple as an expression of age. The problem with fleeting beauty is that it is a slow process of decline where a once beautiful women fights against its demise by becoming more accessorized and gaudy in her dressing style. The same happens to men who desire to keep the strength and vigor of their youth alive and well through superficial means. 

We hope to cover our flaws with cosmetics, fancy clothing, and expensive accessories but we only manage to make ourselves look less attractive by covering that which is natural about us. Each of us have something that makes us different, attractive, or unique and true beauty is that which is carried from the inside but is most often praised from the outside. 

Some believe it was an attempt to ridicule an old woman who was donning clothing much too young for her age. Others believe she may have been beautiful on the outside and ugly on the inside. The painting being an expression of the authors disdain for false impressions. No one is sure as the author never explained the meaning of the production. 

It is also possible the woman in the photo was beautiful but suffered from Paget’s disease that causes certain joints and bones to swell. Under these conditions the overall image of a person becomes distorted to the point that they lose much of their attractiveness. It becomes a disease we stare at or turn away in disgust from ensuring that we remember the picture.

Either way the painting is somewhat shocking and can lead one to think about its overall meaning and purpose. Because the hideous creature in the picture looks much like an ogre in expensive clothing the image of Fiona in Shrek seems to take precedence. She was once a beautiful princess but when she became an ogre that beauty declined even though she is wearing the exact same clothing. A lesson can be found. Instead of focusing on your outsides, develop that inner beauty which is longer lasting.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Enhancing Solutions through Developing Social Capital

There is value in our social networks beyond that which serves our immediate needs. Social capital is the ability to use social networks to accomplish something that cannot be done alone. Business social networks are commonly used in areas ranging from product development to supply-chain management. On a wider scale, social capital can be matched with open innovation through appropriate Internet and physical channel expansions to develop something new for economic development. 

We must only think of how each person enters an economic system through their own particular way of viewing the world. They are defined by their background, education, skill set, cultures, experiences and social networks to view topics from a particular vantage point. Problems are defined based upon how they understand them through historically perceived practical solutions.

As these elements begin to act and interact with each other they create new definitions on how to see problems and potential solutions. The longer they interact solving a significant problem the more likely they will share mutual definitions and perspectives. It is a process of social learning and thought construction based in social construction mechanisms of elemental interaction. 

Few relevant solutions come from a single vantage point. All sustainable solutions are socially negotiated to develop new premises and conclusions. It is the changing of perspective, a focus on the solution, and the enactment of a plan that changes the reality of network members. Philosophical reality can be defined as a perspective of communicated why and why nots that enhance shared explanations.

With open-mindedness and active listening people begin to adjust their perspective and understand the factors in new and unique ways. This adjustment often leads to new solutions for complex problems and greater heights of awareness for involved members. It becomes something bigger than themselves that leads to enlightenment about the nature of life and best paths forward for a people, organization, city or nation. 

Mathews and Marzec (2012) studied social capital from varying industry perspectives and developed a model that fits well with operational management. One can see the similarities on how it applies to wider platforms and networks that improve upon social innovation and economic development. Using relational, cognitive, and structural capital it is possible to enhance HR practices to turn initial social capital into resulting social capital that produces meaningful solutions for a wide group of stakeholders. 

Brookes, N. et al., (2007) Analyzing social capital to improve product development team performance: action-research investigations in the aerospace industry with TRW and GKN. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 54 (4), 814–830.

Choo, A. et. al. (2007) Method and context perspectives on learning and knowledge creation
in quality management. Journal of Operations Management, 25 (4), 918–931.

Cousins, P.D., et al., (2006). Creating supply chain relational capital: the impact of formal and informal socialization processes. Journal of Operations Management, 24 (6), 851–863.

Granovetter, M. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78 (6), 1360–1380.

Mathews, R. & Marzec, P. (2012). Social capital, a theory for operations management: a systematic review of the evidence. International Journal of Production Research, 50 (24). 

Singer, M. et. al. (2008). A static model of cooperation for group-based incentive plans.
International Journal of Production Economics, 115 (2), 492–501.