Showing posts with label research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label research. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Can Innovative Clusters Protect the Economy from Recession?

Recessions can be brutal and countries often suffer from the magnitude of global changes and shifts that can impact their economic well-being. While they search for solutions to strengthen their economic position among lower cost emerging nations they should consider the benefits of developing clusters. According to a study entitled Coping with Economic Crisis-The Role of Clusters published in European Planning Studies, clusters offer a ray of hope in fortifying an economy from recession.

When the global economy adjusts there will be winners and losers. Some nations will pick up additional manufacturing while others will lose manufacturing. When times are good more people will be employed, while when times are bad people will be unemployed.  Europe and the U.S. has lost jobs over the past few decades due to the cheaper cost of manufacturing in places like China, Asia and India.

The only true competitive position that Western countries can make is to be more innovative and development oriented than emerging nations. They must lead the market with new products and services in order to ensure their offers gain the most market attention and interest. Clusters offer an opportunity to capitalize on Western ingenuity in a way that keeps manufacturing and jobs at home; even when the global economy shifts.

The study looked at Norwegian clusters and used surveys and data from four cluster organizations to determine how they acted under economic pressure (Skalholt & Thune, 2014). The economic time-frame use for the study was a recession from 2009 to 2010. They looked for innovative strategies, roles and activities of the clusters during the crisis, and the differences in behaviors of mature clusters.

The study found that mature clusters adapted to economic recessions by putting forward new innovative strategies, increasing collaboration with other businesses, and engaging in developing their workforce. A big concern was that lenders slowed down available investment capital and this choked off innovation. The study highlights that when monies were available, clusters were able to overcome challenges by developing new innovative products/services even while the global market was slowing.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Science Starts with a Question, Not a Conclusion

Science is the perpetual pursuit of truth. It explores, identifies, investigates and forms models to predict future events. Models are applied to new instances and are tested against their natural environment to ensure that they are valid under similar situations. Science rests on asking questions. If science starts with a conclusion, the entire process of investigation becomes invalid.

A person who jumps quickly to a conclusion without appropriate fact finding often does so based on their personal and subjective perspective. The conclusion is more about the investigator’s personality and goals than it is about truth. The researcher projects their bias into the study and skews the results; the entire report becomes invalidated.

Starting with a question ensures that all possible outcomes are considered as an explanation. The researcher should not selectively accept and reject relevant information without ensuring they are outside the scope of the study. An accurate picture is created when all of the competing information is included in the study and used to draw logical conclusions.

The process of investigation is so important that we have developed a scientific method of balances and controls. The discovery process rigidly defines how to investigate a problem to help limit investigator bias that inadvertently seeps into the study. Ensuring scientific exploration follows appropriately methodology leads to higher relevance, validity and internal consistency of the study.

I have seen researchers push for a conclusion before designing the study. Even though they may not be aware of it, the investigator designs the entire study to justify their point.  They were not able to see the obvious and more parsimonious answers in front of them because they were perceptual blind to alternative explanations.

Whether one is conducting academic research, investigating a corporate problem, is a law enforcement investigator, or trying to replicate previous studies it is important to start with a question and not an answer. A question creates a better reflection of truth by logically moving to an unknown conclusion.

Training researchers to approach complex problems with the right mindset helps in generating better results that can be applied to predict future events. As the models change, develop, and adjust they become more accurate with each repetitive investigation. Only through openness of thought and exactness of measurement will new discoveries lead to higher performance. Each investigator should seek truth above confirmation of self-beliefs and bias.

Do you have a question or an answer? “By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.” Peter Abelard (French Philosopher)

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Power of Perceiving - The Secret of Entrepreneurship

Perception is a powerful way to create opportunities. It is so powerful that it can change lives and spark opportunities in abundance. Entrepreneurship is about perceiving differences and then capitalizing on those differences through applicable market solutions. Perception is created by years of hard work that culminates into a moment of clarity and innovative inspiration.

Entrepreneurial insight is derived from connecting lots of information together in a way that creates new products or services. This development relies on experience with the product, exploring uses of the product, and finding ways to improve the product. When education, experience, motivation come together, a new perception is created that leads to innovation.

Perception is not a passive process and requires the full engagement of the individual. Finding innovative market solutions relies on gathering and interpreting information. Information can come from formal research or experimentation with different solutions. The more someone is familiar with a product or issue, the more they can perceive areas of improvement.

Entrepreneurship actively interprets information. People assume that the body takes in information from its senses and passively records that information without interpretation. Perception is strongly influenced by experience, education, cultural values that interpret information from the body’s sensory receptors (Curry, Meyer, & McKnney, (2006). Our past experiences help us create meaningful use of information.

Two people can look at the same problem and see different solutions precisely because they are interpreting information differently. Entrepreneurs have developed cognitive models that allow them to find potential solutions through a process of connecting and deconstructing information to find similarities among elements. Reconstructing elements creates new products and services.

The problem-solving model they use is learned over years to create an effective approach. This is one reason success results from years of failure. Failure is only part of the learning process of establishing a successful model. Once the model has been developed it can be applied to many other locations with higher rates of success. Thomas Edison was invented thousands of products based upon the effectiveness of his model.

The secret of entrepreneurship rests in perceiving things in new ways and finding that which no one else has yet seen. It is a process of turning the unseen into the seen. Capitalizing on the perception requires the ability to find value in the solutions and market those solutions to others. Once an effective mental model has been built it will continue to use successful processes to detect new problems and find solutions that lead to innovation.

Curry, D., Meyer, J. & McKnney, J. (2006). Seeing versus perceiving: what you see isn’t always what you get. Professional Safety, 51 (6)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why is Learning How to Write Well in College Important?

Students often ask why they should develop strong writing skills when they are studying business, and its principles take precedence. Students have a hard time understanding how grammar, spelling, formatting, sentence structure, and focus can improve their job prospects.If they know it but can’t say it, they are going to have a hard time highlighting themselves.

What they miss is a perspective of how writing impacts every other action they take at work. Whether one is writing an email, creating a resume, finishing a report or preparing a speech writing is a major part of communicating in a way that improves effectiveness. If a person cannot communicate well, they are also unlikely to obtain the highest paid jobs.

Effective writing communication is a sign of clarity of thought. A person who can write concisely, powerfully, and with focus is seen as a person who understands the material. If a paper mixes topics, is hard to follow, and is full of errors it is unlikely that it will be viewed seriously. In competition with other information, a well-written paper draws more attention.

Writing reflects well on the reader, and potential employers see this writing as a reflection of the quality of the candidate. Those that can write well portray a professional image and can find themselves moving up the ranks faster.Their ideas will have more legitimacy.

Even though writing well takes a time to develop, in many cases years, it is beneficial to implement the professor’s feedback as much as possible. The more feedback a student incorporates into their papers, the faster they will learn new habits that become ingrained into their writing style. As new learning takes place again, and the quality slowly rises.

Don’t expect to be a greater writer quickly. I have written for years and consistently find mistakes, grammar issues, and ways that things can stated clearer in my  works. Most of the time, this is a direct result of not reviewing work enough times to ensure that major mistakes are discovered and fixed. With time and patience, your writing will improve as well.

Some tips on Improving Writing:

-Proofread your work a couple of times.

-Run your work through a spell and grammar checker.

-Use headings to separate major themes.

-Cover a single thought per paragraph.

-Connect paragraphs like you would connect ideas.

-Each section should have multiple paragraphs.

-Use a thesis statement in the introduction.

-Ensure the conclusion is drawn from the information in the paper. .

-Remove excess sentences that don’t contribute to the content of the paper.

-Define terms, ideas, and theories.

-Review your paper from the perspective of a reader and write accordingly.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Short-term versus Long-Term Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is a major component of business planning that sets the course of action that leads to either business success or business failure. Short-term thinking can be problematic as resources are wasted fixing potholes and gaining immediate results without considering long-term solutions. Executives that focus exclusively on short-term results sometimes leave their organizations in worse shape.

A great portion of our day is engaged in crisis management where new problems arise and we must deal with them immediately before the they spread. This process can be effective in the short run but can damage the company in the long-term when the root of the problem is not addressed. The crisis situations will continue to spread and grow as the underlying issues spread.

A strategy should focus on limiting the damage caused by crisis problems while ensuring the root problem is still being addressed. Executives who think short-term will see immediate results but will often damage long-term organizational performance. Jumping from fire to fire is a reactive strategy.

Long-term thinking can save the company money in the future by increasing competitiveness. When the company doesn’t have the ability to implement a long-term strategy, plenty of resources are wasted on counter-productive activities.

For example, a business many continue facing shut-downs due to dilapidated infrastructure. The production line breaks down frequently and requires heavy maintenance to keep going. It has a poor design and raises per product cost leaving a company slowly but surely less competitive by the year.

A long-term thinking will assess the long-term goals of the company and the strategy to get there to determine how to handle this problem. Instead of hiring new maintenance workers and dumping more money into a poor system the long-term thinker invests in a cutting-edge system that affords more adaptability to the production system.

Short-term and long-term strategy can work together. Short-term strategies can fix or minimize immediate problems through proper crisis management but will not ignore the needs of deeper problems. Short-term goals can build into long-term goals that lead to a stronger competitive stance.

Executives should ensure that short-term solutions do not supplant the long-term needs of the company. Even though solving immediate problems is attractive, it is the resolution of long-term issues that separates the exceptional executives from the rest of the herd. Developing a stronger strategy helps to reduce the frequency of short-term distractions by fixing fundamental competitive problems.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Call for Papers: 2015 International Business Conference New York City

Date: 2nd to 6th August 2015
New York, United States of America
Proposal Deadline: July 7th 2015

Join us at our 2015 International Business Conference in New York City, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel! The conference provides a forum for faculty and administrators to present their research on all aspects of business/education.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Report on Cyberbullying in Online Higher Education

Donna DiMatteo-Gibson, PhD

Paula J. Zobisch, PhD

Andree Swanson, EdD

The research in cyberbullying has been heavily focused on elementary and secondary education; however, cyberbullying permeates throughout online higher education. The challenges regarding bullying in higher education are the need to define cyberbullying, detect cyberbullying, and how to respond to cyberbullying when it is occurring. Policies and best practices must be in place to minimize these occurrences for students and professors. Procedures on what students and faculty can utilize will be recommended based on survey results.

Literature Review

Misawa and Rowland (2015) reviewed academic bullying as it takes place in adult education, higher education, continuing education, and professional education. Misawa and Rowland found that in higher education, cyberbullying frequently was focused on racism and homophobia. Unbelievably, Misawa and Rowland also found evidence of gender and race cyberbullying. In fact, they found that faculty were often mean to one another.

Morgan (2012) in a review of cyberbullying found that because of the anonymity of individuals on the Internet, they found a form of bravery by threatening others through the veil of the Internet. “The higher degree of anonymity afforded to students on the Internet allows bullies to have less fear of disciplinary action as a result of their nefarious activity” (Morgan, 2012, p. 175). Morgan stressed that a plan needs to be in place to deal with the inevitable attack. “Unfortunately, many teachers do not have enough training of knowledge on how to respond to bullying” (p. 176).

Rivituso (2014) conducted a study using Bandura’s Theory of Tradic Reciprocal Determinism and the General Strain Theory as a framework. Six themes emerged:

1) repeated instances leading to feelings of vulnerability and fear; 2) distrust of technology and mistrust of people; 3) the value of friends in college and their impact on victim self-esteem; 4) self-control in response to lack of control over cyberbullying instances; 5) feelings of stress, depression, and embarrassment; 6) frustration leading to self-blame. (Rivituso, 2014, para. Abstract)

A 2013 study surveyed 202 online faculty members who were asked whether or not the faculty member could identify what constitutes cyberbullying and if the faculty member understood how to cope with cyberbullying. The findings from the study indicated that 50% of the faculty who had experienced cyberbullying (Smith, Minor, & Brashen, 2012). Although very few studies have been conducted that assess cyberbullying at the higher education online level (Eskey, Taylor, & Eskey, Jr., 2014a; Eskey & Eskey, Jr., 2014b; Smith, Minor, & et al.), the findings were supported by Smith et al. whose study results showed 17% to 30% of faculty had experienced some type of cyberbullying.

The findings of the studies indicate educational institutions need to address the issue of cyberbullying as well as methods to cope and/or reduce cyberbullying. Methods could include faculty training as well as addressing the issue of cyberbullying in the school’s faculty and student handbooks (Eskey et al., 2014a; Eskey & Eskey, Jr., 2014b). An organization’s legal department should be able to provide insight into potential policies and protocols.

Washington (2015) specifically addressed cyberbullying and the law. “To date, 18 states have laws to address cyberbullying, compared with 49 states, all except Montana, having laws to address bullying (Hinduja & Patching, 2013)” (Washington, 2015, p. 24). Although state laws focus on the k-12 arena, nowhere (federal or state) addresses cyberbullying. In 2009, a cyberbullying prevention act was introduced into Congress, but was not successfully passed. Specifically, the business college in this current study has campuses in California, Colorado, and Iowa, thus, these states were reviewed for their legislation on cyberbullying.

Results and Discussion

Our study has shown that cyberbullying is a serious issue that must be addressed when it comes to faculty teaching at online schools. The importance of investigating cyberbullying and netiquette issues within online institutions was emphasized. Also, the complexities in regards to defining cyberbullying and how to best respond to these issues was addressed. Our study addressed that recognizing what is and is not cyberbullying is an ongoing task; however, recognizing differences between cyberbullying and netiquette was not a concern. Even though a majority of our participants indicated that they knew how to respond to cyberbullying issues, there was still a sizable percentage that did not.

Our study addressed differences between netiquette and cyberbullying. By obtaining this survey data, we highlighted the importance of schools ensuring that online faculty understand what are netiquette and cyberbullying issues as well as outlining how to respond to such instances.

Concluding Comments

The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge and understanding of cyberbullying and netiquette within the school of business at an online university. Faculty, both part-time and full-time, were asked questions regarding their understanding of cyberbullying, netiquette, and how to respond to it and report it. Based on the data from this study, the researchers created a list of best practices for creating policies, procedures, and implementing training. The researchers developed a list of best practices for incorporating an awareness and reporting of cyberbullying and netiquette issues:

1. Review current faculty policies and procedures.

a. Are they current?

b. Do they address the procedures for faculty to report and respond to cyberbullying?

c. Provide examples

2. Review current student policies and procedures.

a. Are they current?

b. Do they address the address appropriate netiquette?

c. Provide examples

3. Create a cyberbullying email or hotline for faculty to report cyberbullying.

a. Ensure a response to faculty within 24 hours

b. Assign a trained person to respond to emails

4. Create faculty training via webinar, tutorial, and or job aid on how to recognize and report cyberbullying and inappropriate netiquette.

We had many strengths that came out of this study. The strengths were that the researchers focused on one online school of business, which helped to focus our research efforts. These results can be generalized to other schools and online faculty by replicating the study through different online colleges and universities. Another strength that we experienced was that the Dean of the school supported the study and provided the researchers with a specific database of faculty addresses. This helped to connect with this particular sample of participants. The researchers attempted another study by reaching online faculty through social media (Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter) and did not have success that we had hoped. In regards to the limitations of the study, the participants self-reported on cyberbullying or netiquette instances. An observation style experiment may result in different perspectives on cyberbullying and netiquette especially since the literature has indicated that sometimes cyberbullying occurs but online faculty do not recognize certain instances as cyberbullying Participants may also have experience teaching at other online colleges or universities that may have different policies, procedures, and experiences and this can add to our results.

***This is an excerpt from a paper that will be presented at the DLA 2015 Conference (***