Archive for February, 2017

Work-Life Balance on the Productivity at Work

February 27, 2017

Work-Life Balance on the Productivity at Work
Introduction
In light of the expanding requirement for a work-life balance of specialists, an expanding number of enterprises are receiving outcomes that add to the fulfillment of laborer work-life balance. These exercises incorporate youngster care or family-mind leave schedules, flexible working game plans, and the foundation of divisions for advancing work-life balance outcomes. Do enterprises actualize these work-life balance exercises to accomplish business advantages, for example, profitability increments or upper hands? Several reviews in business and work financial matters writing have explored the correlation between work-life balance exercises and enterprise execution validations, for example, specialize spirit, outcome, stress, and non-appearance, and also enterprise benefit and profitability (Bryson et al., 2007). Be that as it may, their outcomes have been fairly uncertain. The writing recommends that work-life balance outcomes conceivably enhance company execution by lessening specialist outcome and truancy and by improving selecting viability. In any case, regarding that, the appropriation rates of work-life balance exercises are by and large low, this paper decide the nearness of certain enterprise attributes that help work-life balance exercises to altogether enhance business execution. For instance, the bigger the association’s settled business costs, the more they advantage from work-life balance outcomes. In particular, for operations that put seriously in enterprise-particular aptitudes for their laborers or those that bring about huge contracting costs, work-life balance exercises are more financially savvy since they may save money on the alteration cost of work and win returns on the association’s man’s venture as work-life balance exercises diminish outcome and non-attendance. In this way, this paper guesses that special enterprise attributes add to the constructive outcomes of work-life balance exercises on business efficiency making these enterprises more inclined to embrace them.
By concentrating on enterprise qualities, for example, settled work costs, this paper looks at the impacts of work-life balance exercises on enterprise efficiency utilizing board information of Japanese companies for the years ‘92, ‘98, ‘04, ‘07, and ‘08. As an immediate validation of enterprise profitability, this paper utilizes add up to element efficiency (Total Factory Production) that is reliably assessed by applying the strategy employed as a part of Levinsohn & Petrin (2012). Since Total Factory Production mirrors an association’s innovation level and development potential over the long-term, this paper trust that it is a solid validation for recognizing the impacts of work-life balance exercises on enterprise execution. Favorable position of utilizing Japanese company information is that several enterprises in Japan acquire expansive settled work costs. Japanese enterprises had since a long time ago stressed representative is preparing to keep in mind the end goal to help laborers aggregate enterprise-particular man’s abilities (Wooldridge, 2009). Subsequently, by watching enterprise conduct, this paper recognizes the organizations that bring about extensively settled work costs and look at whether work-life balance outcomes effects affect those organizations.
Theoretical Framework
The following equation has been deployed in this case
Yit = f (Ait (work-life balanceit ,hi ,trend),Lit ,Kit ),     (1)

where Yit is value added, Ait is Total Factory Production, Lit is the input of labour of each man, Kit is capital input, work-life balanceit is a variable indicating work-life balance exercises adopted by enterprise i until year t, ηi is enterprise-special characteristics, and trend is the time trend term.
A central problem in the estimated of the creation work at the enterprise level is the connection between imperceptible profitability stuns and input level. Companies extend their contribution to reaction to a positive profitability stun. Unless impacting for an undetectable profitability stun, standard minimum square (OLS) gauges endure an endogenous inclination that stems from the correlation. Petrin & Levinsohn (2012) demonstrate that middle of the road data sources may take care of the synchronization issue. Subsequently, this approach ought to give a superior validation of undetectable stuns. This paper utilizes the Levinsohn and Petrin procedure for evaluating Total Factory Production at the enterprise level because our example incorporates little and medium companies that report 0 venture. In the case of evaluating enterprise-level Total Factory Production, this paper recognizes normal and low maintenance laborers and regard the quantity of hours of working with these specialists. It is common for work contribution to be validated by the number of representatives in light of information restrictions. Nonetheless, because some work-life balance exercises are proposed to urge representatives to decrease extra time hours, it is essential to regard the adjustments in hours of working. Since our information has the regular hours been working, this paper builds a person-hour base work input marker and utilize it when assessing enterprise-level Total Factory Production.
Rather than especially assessing condition (1), this article first gauge the generation work using the Levinsohn and Petrin system and characterize enterprise-level Total Factory Production as a lingering as per condition (2).
-1
Ait = f    (Yit ,Lit ,Kit ) .     (2)

Then, this paper run the regression model represented by equation (3) and examine whether
work-life balance exercises affect Total Factory Production.
Ait = g(work-life balanceit ,hi ,trend)     (3)
It is critical to control for enterprise-particular attributes in condition (3) on account of the likelihood that work-life balance outcomes have been received more by large and elite enterprises. Superior enterprises might have the capacity to manage the cost of the presentation of work-life balance exercises. Then again, bigger enterprises may confront the societal weight to receive work-life balance outcomes as a piece of Corporate Social Duty. Accordingly, if enterprises with possibly higher Total Factory Production receive more work-life balance exercises, the work-life balance rehearse variable (work-life balance) ought to be viewed as endogenous, that is, not autonomous of enterprise-particular qualities (ηi) (Bryson et al., 2007).
Data
The information utilized as a part of this paper is acquired from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s directing the Basic Survey of Business and Activities. The Basic Survey of Business and Activities is a yearly board review that started in 1991 and accumulates agent insights on Japanese enterprises with at least 50 standard representatives, incorporating those occupied with mining, assembling, power and gas, discount, retail, and a few administration ventures. The overview catches a far-reaching picture of Japanese enterprises, including their essential money related data, business arrangement, R&D exercises, IT use, and remote direct ventures. Take note of that the business creation of the Basic Survey of Business and Activities is pretty much not quite the same as all enterprises directing business in Japan (Morikawa, 2010). Since the Basic Survey of Business and Activities is led by Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the studied enterprises are gathered in the assembling and discount/retail areas. For instance, the rates of the assembling and discount/retail areas in 2007 in the Basic Survey of Business and Activities are 57 percent and 37 percent, individually, while those in the Establishment and Enterprise Census, gathered by the Statistics Bureau, are 30 percent and 22 percent, separately. Subsequently, it ought to be noticed that the conclusions acquired in this review are gotten from information that is gathered in the two previously mentioned segments.
Econometric Method
Factors identified with Total Factory Production, for example, esteem included, work information, and capital stock, are acquired basically from the Basic Survey of Business and Activities. This paper figure esteem included by subtracting the expenses for the middle contributions from an association’s aggregate deals. Concerning middle of the road input, this paper computes it as takes after Cost of offers + Operating expenses − Wage bills and Depreciation costs. Both deals and middle of the road input expenses are emptied by the yield and information deflators of the Japan Industry Productivity (JIP) Database (Giardinia & Rüdiger, 2008). This paper utilizes the emptied Tangible Asset as an intermediary for capital stock. The capital stock deflator is ascertained at the business level as the proportion of capital stock to substantial resources given Financial Statements Statistics of Corporations by Industry (Ministry of Finance). This paper concentrate on the accompanying work-life balance rehearses: 1) youngster mind leave over the legitimate least, 2) family-mind leave over the lawful least, 3) transient working framework (other than youngster care and family mind leave), 4) strategic scheduling framework, 5) restricting work area inside the neighborhood) foundation of a division to advance work-life balance exercises and 7) authoritative endeavors to decrease additional time. Since the sorts of work-life balance exercises shift, this paper first concentrates on the work-life balance outcome file that is the quantity of work-life balance exercises that an enterprise received until the earlier year. This paper likewise concentrates on each of the individual exercises and look at how the impacts of work-life balance exercises developed throughout the years after its selection.
Results
The results are depicted in the table below:

Dependent variable = ln(Total Factory Production)
(1)
RE    (2)
FE    (3)
FE    (4)
FE    (5)
FE    (6)
FE
work-life balance exercise index
Cross terms
Large enterprise dummy
Manufacturing dummy
Labor hoarding dummy
IT usage dummy    0.042**
(0.012)    0.013
(0.017)    -0.015
(0.023)
0.055+
(0.030)    -0.090**
(0.020)
0.189**
(0.026)    -0.022
(0.022)
0.068*
(0.030)    -0.022
(0.020)
0.040+
(0.021)
Trend
Constant    0.018**
(0.002)
-37.426**
(3.744)    0.020**
(0.002)
-41.516**
(4.024)    0.020**
(0.002)
-41.892**
(4.029)    0.020**
(0.002)
-41.299**
(3.987)    0.020**
(0.002)
-41.623**
(4.025)    0.040**
(0.004)
-81.369**
(7.328)
Sample size    5,169    5,169    5,169    5,169    5,169    3,949

The principal segment in Table 2 demonstrates the estimated consequences of the arbitrary impact display in which time-invariant enterprise-settled impacts are not controlled. This paper discovers an inherently positive coefficient for the work-life balance outcome list, showing that more work-life balance exercises are connected with higher Total Factory Production. Notwithstanding, in the wake of impacting for the time-invariant enterprise-settled impacts in the second section, this paper find that the work-life balance outcome file is inconsequential (Freeman & Kathryn, 2009). This outcome infers that there is no causal correlation in which the work-life balance outcomes increment enterprise Total Factory Production in the wake of impacting for the time-invariant endogenous nature in receiving work-life balance outcomes. This paper deduces that the positive connection between work-life balance exercises and Total Factory Production appeared in the primary section of Table 2 is in all probability because of invert causality, wherein enterprises with possibly higher profitability have a tendency to embrace more work-life balance exercises.
Work-life balance exercises may have had some beneficial outcomes on Total Factory Production relying upon enterprise attributes. Keeping in mind the end goal to research this, this paper included cross terms of the work-life balance outcome record with a few enterprise attributes to the settled impact estimates, the consequences of which are appeared in the segments 3–6 in Table 2. The third and fourth sections demonstrate the estimated comes about when this paper include the cross terms for vast enterprise fakers (those with more than three hundred representatives) and assembling fakers, separately. In either case, this article watches positive noteworthy coefficients for the cross terms, demonstrating that work-life balance rehearses effects affect enterprise profitability, given that the enterprise has more than three hundred laborers or it is a piece of the assembling business. One of the elements usually watched for vast and assembled Japanese enterprises is work storing. Since the Basic Survey of Business and Activities records yearly data on aggregate deals and the quantity of general representatives of every enterprise, this paper can figure the unpredictability of consistent (perpetual) workers with respect to yield: the change of the quantity of customary representatives partitioned by that of aggregate deals amid the period 1998–2008. Utilizing this variable as an intermediary for the level of business modification (or the reverse of work storing for normal representatives), this paper can think about enterprise conduct for work accumulating. It is demonstrated that the relative instability of general work to yield for assembling enterprises with more than three hundred laborers is littler than that for different enterprises. This shows the likelihood that work-life balance rehearses effects affect Total Factory Production in labor-accumulating enterprises. The fifth section of Table 2 demonstrates the estimated comes about after this paper includes a cross term with a fake variable for work accumulating that takes the estimated of 1 if an enterprise has a relative unpredictability of consistent representatives not as much as the middle and 0. The table demonstrates that the coefficient of the cross term is fundamentally positive. This outcome infers that the more the organizations cause expansive settled business costs, the more they advantage from work-life balance rehearses because those exercises diminish outcome and non-attendance. Along these lines, enterprises may save money on the conformity expenses of a business or win returns on man’s speculation. In the last section of Table 2, this paper incorporates a cross term of an IT-use variable that takes the estimated of 1 if the enterprise utilized electronic trade and 0. This paper discovers an inherently positive coefficient for the cross term, inferring that higher IT fixation permits enterprises to take the more prominent favorable position of work-life balance exercises.
Conclusion
The decision that organizations with extensively settled expenses of business may profit by work-life balance exercises is predictable with the discoveries in past reviews. The impacts of work-life balance exercises on enterprise profitability vanishes once administration exercises are controlled. This proposes the enterprise-settled impacts that this paper control for in the estimated ought to incorporate enterprise administration outcomes. That is, the organizations executing more work-life balance exercises are probably going to have better administration outcomes, and in this manner, the estimates that control for enterprise-settled impacts or administration exercises may have proposed no causal impacts of work-life balance exercises on enterprise efficiency. Be that as it may, notwithstanding when impacting for enterprise-settled impacts, this paper of enterprise the presence of causal impacts for enterprises with special qualities, for example, those having huge settled work costs. One of the suggestions from this finding is that organizations with these attributes may profit by the execution of work-life balance exercises.

Reference List
Bryson, A., Rafael, G., Tobias, K., & Paul, W., 2007. “The diffusion of workplace voice and high-commitment human resource management practices in Britain, 1984–1998,” Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol.16, No.3, pp. 395-426.
Freeman, R. B. & Kathryn, L. S. eds., 2009. International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms, The University of Chicago Press.
Giardinia, A. & Rüdiger, K., 2008) “Effects of work-family human resource practices: a longitudinal perspective,” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol.19, No.11, pp. 2079-2094.
Morikawa, M., 2010. “Labor unions and productivity: an empirical analysis using Japanese firm-level data,” Labour Economics, Vol.17, No.6, pp. 1030-1103.
Petrin, A. & Levinsohn, J., 2012. Measuring aggregate productivity growth using plant-level data, forthcoming in Rand Journal of Economics.
Wooldridge, J., 2009. “On estimating firm-level production functions using proxy variables to control for unobservable,” Economic Letters, Vol.104, pp. 112-114.

 

 

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Total Factory Production    0.320    0.340    0.340
(0.170)    (0.180)    (0.160)
Work-Life Balance practices
Child-care leave above legal minimum

Adoption dummy    0.180    0.230    0.200
(0.380)    (0.420)    (0.400)
Years of the adoption    2000    2000    2001
(6.990)    (6.980)    (7.470)
Family-care leave above legal minimum

Adoption dummy    0.150    0.190    0.170
(0.360)    (0.400)    (0.380)
Years of the adoption    2000    1999    2000
(5.720)    (5.900)    (5.810)
Short-time working system

Adoption dummy    0.100    0.090    0.090
(0.300)    (0.280)    (0.290)
Years of the adoption    2002    2002    2002
(5.900)    (5.180)    (5.730)
Flextime system

Adoption dummy    0.150    0.200    0.180
(0.360)    (0.400)    (0.380)
Years of the adoption    1999    1997    1998
(7.280)    (7.790)    (7.530)
Practice to limit work location within local area

Adoption dummy    0.06    0.10    0.040
(0.24)    (0.30)    (0.190)
Years of the adoption    1996    1998    1994
(13.320)    (8.490)    (16.80)
Establishment of department to promote Work-Life Balance practice

Adoption dummy    0.120    0.170    0.150
(0.330)    (0.370)    (0.350)
Years of the adoption    2006    2006    2006
(2.740)
Organizational efforts to reduce overtime hours    (2.830)    (2.700)
Adoption dummy    0.300    0.300    0.310
(0.460)    (0.460)    (0.460)
Years of the adoption    2004    2004    2004
(5.960)    (5.650)    (6.490)
Number of firms    1,292.0    527.0    581.0

Notes: 1. numbers in parentheses are standard deviations.

Effects of each Work-Life Balance practice on firm’s Total Factory Production

Dependent variable = ln(Total Factory Production)
(1)
Child-care leave above legal
minimum    (2)
Family-care leave above legal
Minimum    (3)
Short-time working system    (4)
Flextime system    (5)
Practice to limit work location in local area    (6)    (7)
Establishment Organizational of dept. to efforts to
promote    reduce
Work-Life Balance practice overtime
Work-Life Balance practice adoption dummy
Cross terms with
Large firm dummy    -0.0560
(0.0600)
0.1430
(0.0840)    -0.0020
(0.0670) 0.1270
(0.1120)    -0.0260
(0.0560)
-0.0300
(0.0940)    -0.0370
(0.0790) 0.0220
(0.1130)    -0.3270
(0.1930)
0.3590
(0.2000)    -0.0250
(0.0950)
0.1930
(0.1170)    -0.0060
(0.0380) 0.0930
(0.0670)

Work-Life Balance practice adoption dummy
Cross terms with
Manufacturing dummy    -0.1430
(0.0580)
0.2800
(0.0820)    -0.1810
(0.0740)
0.4010
(0.1020)    -0.1610
(0.0700)
0.2490
(0.0870)    -0.1940
(0.0730)
0.3090
(0.1080)    -0.1500
(0.0910)
0.2580
(0.1200)    -0.1710
(0.0890)
0.4020
(0.1100)    -0.1720
(0.0410)
0.3600
(0.0580)

Work-Life Balance practice adoption dummy
Cross terms with
Labor hoarding dummy    0.0040
(0.0650) 0.0120
(0.0850)    0.0490
(0.0750)
-0.0010
(0.1080)    -0.0570
(0.0630) 0.0370
(0.0910)    0.0130
(0.1140)
-0.0660
(0.1270)    -0.0800
(0.0730) 0.0520
(0.1500)    -0.0450
(0.0680)
0.2870
(0.1080)    -0.1160
(0.0410)
0.2840
(0.0600)

Work-Life Balance practice adoption dummy
Cross terms with
IT usage dummy    -0.0620
(0.0570)
0.1400
(0.0620)    -0.1650
(0.0670)
0.2190
(0.0650)    -0.0260
(0.0640)
-0.0500
(0.0610)    -0.0830
(0.0810)
-0.0280
(0.0630)    -0.1750
(0.1520) 0.1090
(0.0960)    -0.0410
(0.0610)
0.1410
(0.0800)    0.0410
(0.0400) -0.0240
(0.0450)

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An Analysis on the Strategic Planning Process

February 26, 2017

Abstract

This research work will focus on comprehending the meaning, significance and process of strategic change cycle in a detailed manner. Bryson (2011) has developed an effective model that comprises of ten steps to assist an organization in the development of the strategies. By following these stages, an organization can develop the right strategies and implement them in an effective manner. During the course of this research work, the researcher will focus on discussing the ten steps of the strategic change cycle in detail with the help of different examples. The researcher will focus on a secondary research to conclude to the paper. This is a form of research under which the already existing literature is collected, studied and analyzed to draw a relevant conclusion. Hence, the researcher will focus on using text books, academic journals, newspapers, magazines etc.

Keywords: Strategic Planning, Strategy

Introduction

A strategic change cycle is mainly utilized to correlate the planning process of an organization with the vision, mission and values of an organization (Bryson, 2011). This implies that an organization should focus developing its strategies that may assist it to accomplish its long run vision. This will assist the organization in managing the entire organization in a strategic manner in order to gain a sustained growth in the future.  The key objective of the strategic change cycle is to make sure that the organization continues to provide maximum value to the stakeholders by undertaking the right strategies at the right time. With the help of the strategic change cycle, the organization should also ensure that a proper vigilance is kept on the internal and external environment to understand the future challenges and opportunities. Hence, this is one of the key concepts that may assist an organization to gain success.

Steps in the strategic planning process

  • Initiate and agree on a strategic planning process

This is the first step of the strategic planning process that aims at initiating the entire process in the organization. This implies that someone from within the organization should negotiate an agreement with the decision makers regarding a comprehensive planning process and the key steps that are involved in the same. It is quite obvious that an individual or an entire group should focus on undertaking this first step and initiating the entire process. This individual or group should understand who are the decision makers in the organization and who all should be involved in the strategic planning process. This will assist in developing an effective understanding and smoothening of the entire process. It should be noted that the key decision makers should agree on the following –

  • The aims and objectives of the strategic planning process
  • The key steps that are involved in the process
  • The individuals, groups or departments to be engaged in the execution and implementation
  • The form and timing of report
  • The role and function of every individual engaged in the process
  • The required resources for the execution and implementation
  • Any other positive or negative aspect that is associated with the entire process

Key terms: Strategic planning, Resource identification

 

  • Identify organizational mandates

Before the execution of the strategic planning process it is highly essential to understand the organizational mandates. These are considered as the ‘musts’ or the restrictions that are imposed on the organization by the article of associations, relevant legislation policies, ordinance, charters and many more. It should be noted that every organization should operate within the boundary of their mandates. If an organization goes beyond or goes against any of the mandate then it may be considered as unethical or immoral by the stakeholders and the entire society. The other mandates from the government, political and legal scenario is also crucial to be maintained. No organization should go against the laws prevailing in a country or state. For instance, when Wal-Mart entered the UK market, it lowered the prices of its products to magnetize the target audience and take the market share away from Tesco (its closest competitor in the UK). However, lowering the prices to such a huge extent goes against the pricing laws of the country and hence the government penalized Wal-Mart for undertaking unfair competition (Azad, 2009). Since Wal-Mart was taking losses on several product categories to gain the market share, it was penalized by the court of law (Needham, 2012). Another example can be in reference to the mandate on the environmental laws. In the UK, the environmental laws are very effective and they expect all the organizations to undertake environment friendly activities. Taking this into consideration, Wal-Mart had to invest an additional $ 1, 000, 00 to make sure that the packaging of its private label products is much more environment friendly (Azad, 2011, p51).

Key terms: Mandates, Business environment

  • Clarify organizational mission and values

It is highly essential for an organization to communicate its mission and values in an effective manner. This is mainly because the mission and value statement may assist the stakeholders and the entire society in developing a proper understanding of the organization’s business and its ethics. The mission of an organization is the statement that justifies its existence in the market, the business that it will undertake, the target audience that it will cater and the other useful information for the stakeholders. It should be noted that the mission statement of an organization should be short and crisp so that it is easily understood by all. Similarly, the organization should also develop a value statement that should throw light on its values towards the employees, customers and all the stakeholders that are associated with the organization.

Key terms: Mission, Vision, Value statement

  • Assess the external and internal environment to comprehend the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats

Business environment is the most crucial force that should be understood by the strategic planners. According to Baker (2000), business environment is a set of all those forces that may have a direct or indirect impact on the operations of an organization. This business environment of an organization is divided into two parts i.e. internal and external environment. The internal environment factors are inside the organization and are highly controllable by the management. For instance, men, money, material, machinery and many more are considered as the internal environment variables for an organization. The external environment is a set of all those factors that are outside the organization and are highly uncontrollable (Blythe, 2001). This implies that the organization has no control on the external environment variables. The external environment variables are mainly represented with the help of PESTLE analysis i.e. political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal and environmental factors. It is highly essential for every organization to study and comprehend the business environment at the right time so that the business strategies can be planned in an effective manner. Apart from this, the analysis on business environment can also assist an organization in understanding its strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal to an organization and hence can be studied easily with the help of an internal environment analysis. Similarly, the opportunities and threats are external and can be very conveniently judged with the help of the external environmental analysis.

Key terms: Internal environment, External environment

  • Identification of the strategic issues

The strategic issues are the fundamental key questions or problems that the organization is facing at present or may face in the near future. It should be noted that the company may not get affected by a strategic issue at present but such problems may create a lot of hassles for the organization in the near future. For instance, the increasing attrition rate of an organization is a strategic issue. It may not affect the company’s performance today but it can definitely affect the future performance of the company. The first four steps of the strategic planning process can also assist an organization in comprehending the strategic issues. This implies that an organization can easily determine the strategic issues. by initiating the planning process, understanding the mandates, evaluating the current practices and matching them with the mission and vision statements and analyzing the business environment variables to comprehend the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Apart from this, an organization can also undertake a lot of brainstorming activities, quality circles and the other thinking techniques to make sure that all the strategic issues are well identified and resolved. This may assist the organization in gaining a sustained growth. There are three main components of strategic issue identification. They are –

  1. The issue should be ideally defined in a single paragraph. This is necessary to maintain clarity and transparency
  2. The entire team should write down the factors that are acting as a fundamental challenge to the organization
  3. The team should also list the consequences of the failure to address the strategic issues.

Key terms: Planning process, Strategic issues

  • Formulate strategies to manage the issues

A strategy can be defined as a blueprint that can assist an organization in taking the future decisions with high efficiency. It is very much important for every organization to make sure that the right strategies are formulated at the right time so that the organization can gain a sustained growth. If an organization is unable to formulate the right strategies then it may become difficult to even survive in the long future. There are numerous approaches and method with the help of which an organization can prepare its future strategies (Needham, 2012). However, in the research work, the author has focused on two main approaches. The first approach is the five part approach under which the organization follows a five step approach to better prepare its strategies for the long run. The second approach is the mapping process under which the organization has to create relationships within the different variables in order to develop better strategies. No matter which approach an organization follows, it should be understood that by developing the right strategies, an organization can succeed in the long run and provide high satisfaction to the stakeholders. The most interesting thing about this step was to undertake innovative process that is used to develop the new strategies.

Key terms: Strategic development, Brainstorming

 

  • Review and adopt the strategies or the strategic plan

After developing the right strategies at the right time, the organization has to make sure that the strategies are effectively reviewed. This implies that the organization should comprehend its present goals, objectives and then review whether the developed strategies will assist in accomplishing them or not. Apart from this, the organization should also review the internal and external environment to make sure that they understand whether the developed strategies are in synchronization with the business environment. For this, the organization should create a team or an official to make sure that the review is undertaken in an effective manner. The most interesting part of this step is to develop the right means of reviewing the strategies. It is not an easy task for the organizations to review the entire strategic plans but with the help of this step, an organization can easily do the same.

Key terms: Review, Monitoring, Strategic plans

  • Establish and effective organization vision

Vision of an organization is always defined as a long run dream that highlights where it wants to reach in the future. As per many experts, it is highly essential for an organization to develop its vision statement. This is a direct signal of clarity, transparency and credibility of an organization. The strategies of the organization should enable it to accomplish the vision in an effective manner. It should also be noted that the vision may or may not be accomplished but it is a communication to all the stakeholders of the company. Also, it must be noted that the stakeholders also expect an organization to develop a clear cut vision because it tells the value that can be derived (Frost, 2015). The mission and value statement of an organization should also compliment the vision statement of an organization. Hence, this is the most important statement for an organization.

Key terms: Vision

  • Develop and effective implementation process

The implementation of the strategic plan is also a very crucial stage of the entire strategic planning process. This is mainly because without an effective implementation, it is not possible to be successful and gain a sustained growth. The organization has to make sure that it arranges all the necessary resources for the implementation of the strategies. For instance, there are three main resources that are very much required for the implementation of the strategies. They are money, employees and technology. With the help of these three resources, an organization may implement the strategies in an effective manner. However, the resources may differ from one organization to another. Apart from this, the organization should also create and action plan and steps that the entire planning process will go through. It is also advised that the organization should understand the expected results and milestones which may assist the organization in the evaluation process later on. Lastly, the organization should also focus on creating an effective communication system during the implementation system. Communication is the heart and soul of a business enterprise and hence it is highly required to create an effective communication plan for the implementation of the business strategies.

Key terms: Implementation, Resource management

  • Reassess strategies and the strategic planning process

After the implementation of the strategic planning process, the organization should again reassess all the strategies and the entire process. This will assist the organization in evaluating whether the strategies have been implemented in an effective manner or not. In the previous stage, the organization has also developed some expected results and the milestone that the organization should accomplish with the mentioned strategies (Sharma, 2016). Hence, these benchmarks can now assist the organization in reassessing or evaluating whether the strategies are implemented in an effective manner or not. The strategic planning process should be reassessed to comprehend its strength and weaknesses. This may also assist the organization and act as a future reference. This implies that whenever the organization is preparing a strategic planning process in the future, it can learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the previous plans. Hence, this can act as a reference for the future strategic plans.

Key terms: Reassessing process, Benchmarking

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be very well stated that strategic management plan is highly crucial for the success of an organization. Bryson (2011) has developed an effective model that comprises of ten steps to assist an organization in the development of the strategies. By following these stages, an organization can develop the right strategies and implement them in an effective manner.

 

 

 

References

Azad, P. (2009). Retail Management. APH publishing Corp

Azad, P. (2011). Marketing Management. APH Publishing Corp, New Delhi

Baker, M. (2000).Marketing Management and Strategy. 3rd edition, Macmillan Business.

Blythe, J. (2001). Essentials of Marketing. 2nd edition, Prentice Hall

Bryson, J. M. (2011). Bryson on Strategic Planning : Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations : A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement (4). Hoboken. US: Jossey-Bass.

Frost, S. (2015). What elements must be taken into consideration when developing the communication policy designed?. Houston Chronicle.

Needham, D. (2012). Business for Higher Awards. Oxford, England: Heinemann.

Sharma, S. (2016). Strategic planning in nonprofit companies. The Marketing Masterminds journal

 

 

 

 

The Odyssey

February 24, 2017

The Connection between Modern Day Navy Veterans and ‘The Odyssey.’
There is an ostensible association between the events taking place in ‘The Odyssey’ and the experience gained by modern day Navy veterans. First, the Navy operates on and in water, which is not their instinctive locale. The journey while working on the water is long. Therefore, patience is a key player in this type of experience. On the other hand, patience is an essential virtue Odysseus of ‘The Odyssey’ would need to go through the challenges that faced him including wistfulness successfully. For instance, he was offered an exceptional gift by Calypso (immortality) which was very tempting (Homer 372), but he rejected it because all he wanted was to see his home and wife. He was impatient. Therefore, with several other instances, it is professed that the experiences Odysseus gained in his journey are customarily similar to those achieved by modern day Navy veterans. This article will create this connection by discussing the events taking place in ‘The Odyssey’ and an experience shared by a modern day veteran, Mr. Tiedeman, through an exclusive interview.
Fortitude is the central correspondence between ‘The Odyssey’ and the modern day Navy veterans. As Mr. Tiedeman narrates during the interview, it requires one to be patient when he or she operates in and on the water. He says, “… physically, mentally, emotionally, it’s rough.” As well, it is clear that the Navy takes an extended period operating in and on the water and, therefore, it requires one to endure in the environment as described by Tiedeman. During the interview, he also mentioned patience as a fundamental virtue when one is a Navy. “Patience is all you require…” he responded to one of the students who investigated from him on how the Navy could endure the extended period in and on the water. Indeed, an individual can suffer from depression if he or she operates in a “rough” environment, especially when away from his or her home and family. Fundamentally, the Navy can serve a mission of safeguarding the borders, which takes them a long time before seeing their relatives. On top of that, the Navy also endures a lot of challenges including real life threats, for example, working at the malaria endemic African coast.
On the other hand, the necessity of fortitude is apparent in ‘The Odyssey,’ especially when it comes to Odysseus. In particular, ‘The Odyssey’ depicts the challenges one faces when returning from war. However, it could be an excellent idea to analyze the challenges Odysseus faced during the war so that they are compared with the ones Mr. Tiedeman suffered. With that, the comparison after the war will take a constructive angle, that is, what one positively learns after returning from war. During the war, Odysseus was mainly confronted with reminiscence. Therefore, Odysseus was commonly referred to as the Son of Pain because of the pain he underwent during the war (Homer 387). At some instance, Odysseus rejected Calypso’s immortality gift because he was more patient for the affection for his wife and home. However, in spite of his impatience, he emerged a hero after the war.
In conclusion, individuals do not only get affected after returning from war, but they also gain some valuable experiences. After the war, individuals can have post-traumatic disorders and physical damages, but they also learn to be patient. Both Mr. Tiedeman and Odysseus learned to be patient after returning from war. During the war, they could inevitably hold on their affection for their relatives and homes hence great patience. Overall, patience is a positive virtue everyone needs in life. Therefore, it is imperative to as well concentrate on the valuable experiences individuals gain after returning from war.

Work Cited
Homer., m. The Odyssey Of Homer. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row. Print.
Interview With Mr.Tiedeman. 2017. Audio Recording.

Mindset and Gender Influence

February 24, 2017

Gender and mindset in academic performance

Gender and mindset have an effect on academic performance as well as motivation which leads to the development of stereotypes. For instance, boys are thought to be good performers in mathematics and sciences while the girls are said to be good in languages. It is not clearly known whether the differences in these different subjects based on gender differences is affected by the gender or it is just a mindset among the parents, students, and teachers. Therefore there is a need to determine whether these differences are affected by gender based on the stereotypes which exist. Some reports indicate that is not actually the gender which affects the academic performance, but rather the level of masculinity and femininity among the students. The desire for achievements and self-motivation is a mindset in the feminine gender while the mindset of succeeding is in the masculine gender (Tuwor & Sossou, 2008). However, there is a need for all stakeholders in education to make sure that they do away with the existing mindsets on the students and themselves too. Moreover, these stakeholders need to make the students develop both the feminine and masculine mindsets in all subjects so that they can perform relatively well. As a matter of fact, there are no subjects who are hard or easy for a certain gender than the other but it are the mindset and stereotypes that make all the notable and existing differences.

 

Features Gender and mindset in academic performance

The real differences that exist in academic performance per subjects among the different genders are also due to the variations in terms of motivation and belief in oneself when handling the respective subjects. For instance, the boys have a higher level of self-belief and a positive mindset in mathematics and science subjects than the girls because many people view these subjects are viewed to be the boys’ subjects. In most cases, it is the beliefs which determine the level of motivation regarding the academic performance in subjects (Tuwor & Sossou, 2008). Some subjects like science and mathematics were developed many years ago as a result of the trade development. These subjects were the tools of work which drove the economy through discoveries but it is the men who were working while the women were taking care of their husbands and sons. Therefore it was only men who were allowed and had an opportunity to study sciences and mathematics. Therefore as knowledge in these concepts went deep, it is only the men who managed to learn more while the women received only a basic learning. In most cases, the females say that their average performance in mathematics and sciences is due to the dedication that they put in these subjects. Moreover, they argue that the failure in these subjects is due to other factors such as failure to understand the concepts and low level of intelligence. On the other hand, the male students attribute their good performance in these subjects to internal intelligence, interest, and abilities. Poor performance in these subjects in males is linked to external factors such as lack of support from the teachers. At the end of the day, these psychological behaviors in academic performance become a blame game which makes the males and females students to develop a positive mindset towards certain subjects.

 

The aims of the study

It is therefore believed that differences in academic performance between girls and boys are solely dependent on the mindsets which come from the students themselves. The variations again stem from the fact that most people have attitudes towards certain subjects depending on the mindsets that they have towards a certain gender. The effects of these mindsets based on gender may make the students make unrealistic career choices and fail to meet some lifetime expectations. The aim of this study, therefore, will be to determine the relationship between academic performance among the boys and girls in Demax mixed high school in Qatar. Moreover, the study will determine the correlation between motivation, mindset, and performance in science and mathematics subjects. This will involve the students first and second levels of study who attend the same classes

 

Study design

This study will examine the mindsets and academic performance in various subjects with respect to gender differences. The study participants will be 200 in total that is, 100 boys and 100 girls aged between 14 to 18 years of age. Half of the students will be in level one while the other half will be in level two of study. A second survey will be done on 10 teachers to get their responses and views regarding the mindset and gender in terms of academic performance in some subjects. The ratio of the boys to girl’s students will be equal to rule out the possibility of gender bias. First, the form of informed consent will be read and signed by each of the participating teachers and students (Martin, 2007). Therefore, interviews will be administered to each study participant individually so as not to influence each others’ responses outcomes. The variables to be addressed in this study will be subject attitudes through self-assessment and past skills, mindsets regarding the approach of mathematics and sciences. The lifetime goals that the students have in life will also evaluate alongside the value of learning science and mathematics subjects. The achievement goals will split into two within the questionnaires so as to explore the performance approaches approach like pleasing the teacher as well as the performance avoidance approach like fearing to appear foolish in front of other students.

The resulting data will be coded, cleaned and analyzed using statistical software SPSS 22 to make meaningful conclusions about the association between gender and mindset in academic performance. The results will be summarized in tables and charts with the test of correlation among some variables clearly presented.

 

Ethical issues

Although this research is very important, there several ethical issues which need to be observed. For instance, confidentiality of the responses should be kept a secret so as assure them on the safety of the collected information. Respect for the rights and dignity of the respondents should be maintained so that they comfortable during the interviews. This includes but not limited to the way the research psychologists approach the respondents. The results from a psychology research also need to be communicated back to the respondents so that they can be beneficiaries of the research outcomes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Martin, D. W. (2007). Doing psychology experiments. Cengage Learning.

 

Tuwor, T., & Sossou, M. A. (2008). Gender discrimination and education in West Africa: strategies for maintaining girls in school. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12(4), 363-379.

 

The Goods and the Bad of Facebook

February 24, 2017

The Goods and the Bad of Facebook

Introduction

Facebook is currently the largest social media platform in the world. It is used in the whole world but it still its meritand demerits . Facebook is free and a public social media where it’s possible to meet many people. There is control over message to and from and also control on who follow you and who you follow. Video chatting is also possible on Facebook and still you can embed video and photos.Most event organizers uses Facebook to promote their events since Facebook is known of having large population connected to it.Still it can be used as a tool of distraction from face to face interaction with fellow people within your surroundings.

To register yourself on Facebook, you ought to give your personal details such as; your name, date of birth and others. Giving of  personal information is what makes it dangerous since that information can be used by an enemy to soil you and your character (Boon and Sinclair,2009). Many people also find freedom from Facebook which they think life has stolen from them previously such as friendship and love. This way, people end up being removed from reality of life. In the end, they end up being addicted to Facebook and they can’t make it without it. It becomes part and parcel of their life. The worst is when people with fake identity who are predators takes advantage from those who are serious and ends up misusing them.

In academic institutions, a lot of students spend a lot of time in Facebook. Time spend online is taken away from studies, extracurricular activities and other social interactions (Kalpidou M., Costin, D. &Morris, 2011). Indeed most students’ social skills suffer since most of them avoid the discomfort of real-life social interaction. Also some can isolate themselves from people they come across but who they feel they don’t need to know. When students’ disclosure illegal activities such as drug abuse on online platform such as Facebook, the same information can be retrieved and be used when such students come under investigation for related crime.

Besides these demerits of Facebook, it has its good side. We are able to know what is happening in our surroundings and in the whole world almost instantly. People share online on events happening on their environs instantly as it happens. News reach to the recipients within shortest time.  Also we are able to keep in touch with our relatives and friends (Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. 2007). This makes it more interesting and faster since before maybe you had to travel long distance to visit them. Now with Facebook you chat daily and any time you think of chatting with them. Sharing of information with relatives is also faster and convenient to all users.

We are able to post anything from everywhere at any time with Facebook. This makes channeling of information faster. All news that may not be covered by other news channel are possibly covered by Facebook. Such news may be taken to be minute but such information may be well received by those people in social media. Also it gives a chance for feedback by “like” and “dislike” options from the whole population on Facebook. This feedback when well used it gives room for improvement on different areas. Such feedback may not be available on normal interaction since it’s not possible to cover such huge number like the one covered by Facebook within such a short time. For those who would like to advertise their business, Facebook gives the best platform since it host millions of people. The advertisement is free of charge since it’s not charged. Also it makes it possible to reach many possible customers within a very short time.

From the above discussion, Facebook has its benefits and demerits. Even with the bad things about Facebook such as distraction and addiction, the goods things such as social interaction and sharing information outweighs the bad side of it. Also Facebook has brought together a very big population which can be used advantageously such as in advertisement.

 

 

 

 

References

Boon, S. & Sinclair, C. (2009). A world I don’t inhabit; disquiet and identity in second life and Facebook Educational Media International, 46(2), 99-110.

Kirkpatrick, D. (2010). The Facebook effect: The inside story of the company that is connecting the world. New York; Simon &Schuster.

Kuss, D., &Griffiths, M.D. (2011). Addiction to social networks on the internet. A literature review of empirical research. International Journal of environmental and public health, 8, 3528-3552

Kietzmann, .H, Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I.P., (2011) ‘Social Media? Get serious! Understanding the functional blocks of social media.’ Business Horizon, 54(3), 241-251

 

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH PROPOSAL: EDUCATION

February 23, 2017

Executive summary
There are several models that need to be adopted in an education system. Qatar which has increasing needs for skilled people to advance its economy needs to ensure that appropriate models are adopted. The STEAM model will be analyzed in this research so as to ensure that the students realize their full potential and meet the increasing demands of Qatar. This will be a questionnaire based survey targeting secondary schools and Universities at all categories in Qatar. The data will be analyzed using SPSS version 22 and data presented as means in tables and charts. The results from this study will ensure that relevant measures are taken to ensure that the STEAM model is adopted in education institutions to meet its objectives in line with the national vision 2030 in Qatar.

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background information
The increasing development projects and globalization have brought about dynamic changes in the labor markets. This means that there needs to be technologies and expertise developed to cope up and match these new economic sectors (Al-Ghanim, et al., 2014). The people trained in the academic institutions need to have the proper skills that are needed in the economy. This calls for the education systems to be changed so that they can suit the needs of the economy. For instance, the system of education can be interdisciplinary such that there can be an interaction in terms of problem-solving (Stasz et al., 2008). Moreover, there need to be technical specialties in the labor markets that are suited for the economic needs. The Gulf region has therefore put in place measures that aim at meeting the ever-changing economic dynamics. Much emphasis has been put on the knowledge-based economy through various planning protocols. This has been prompted following the shortage of skilled labor in the Gulf economies as a result of weaknesses in the education system. These problems arose due to a mismatch that has existed for long between the outcomes of education and the labor market. The education system was thus not able to provide the required professional in both scientific and other crucial areas such as industries and research. The various changes in education, therefore, need to be geared towards matching the outcomes of education with the professional needs of the society.
The STEAM program has been proposed for adoption within the Qatar education systems (Jolly, 2014). These programs make sure that the students who are being trained at all levels of education are ready to fit well in various places of work which are rich in terms of knowledge in Qatar. There is a growing need to inspire the students in Qatar to adopt the careers that are related to STEAM and take pride in them (Park & Lee, 2014). Some of the partners of STEAM program include the Maersk oil company. Some projects that the partners are undertaking in partnership with STEAM include the exploration of ICT in education and the Go robot project (Bidgood et al., 2010). All these and other education reforms are aimed at the realization of the Qatar national vision 2030. In terms of leadership in the education sector, Qatar relies on the K 12 system. This system is important because it views the education as a key factor for both social and economic aspects. However, the STEAM program in Qatar schools has not been widely adopted due to various weaknesses in terms of policy implementation. This research, therefore, aims at finding a STEAM Education school Model in order to develop the full potential for Qatar citizens in the process of coming up with skilled people (Kim & Choi, 2012). This needs to create research opportunities in training institutions, develop beneficial programs of education and train teachers to adopt collaboration strategies to strengthen the reality of STEM.
1.2 Objectives
1.2.1 Broad objective
Finding STEAM Education school Model in order to develop full potential Qatari citizens creating skilled people.
1.2.2 Specific objectives
Evaluation of the STEAM education model in selected Qatar schools
Improvement in the adoption of STEAM model
1.3 Hypothesis
1.3.1 Null hypothesis
The STEAM education model does not have any effect on the creation of skills among the students in Qatar.
1.3.2 Alternate hypothesis
The STEAM model in education makes the people develop their skills and realize their potential.
1.4 Statement of the problem
The students and generally all the citizens of Qatar have not been able to develop their full potential in form of skills. Therefore there is a need to use various programs in learning institutions so as the students can get the required skills early in their careers. The adoption of information technology tools enables the citizens to have hands-on skills for the needs of the economic sector of Qatar.
1.5 Justification
The teaching of entrepreneurship skills to the secondary and university students is useful in the creation of a current generation of creative entrepreneurs. These individuals need to take risks so as to venture in various economic initiatives. STEAM program is aimed at diversifying the economy of Qatar by large. The post-program evaluation enables the students and other citizens in developing critical thinking. The teachers need to develop standard programs and relevant training so that they can get skills and behaviors that enable them to pass them to students. These programs are able to expand the ranks of the students and need to be made compulsory in primary, secondary and University levels.

2.0 Literature review
2.1 Education in Qatar
Education in Qatar had not yet been adopted before the discovery of oil mining. Those days, the informal education involved the teaching of Quran in mosques. The children were also taught how to read and write in Kuttab, an informal system which involved both boys and girls. With time, the Doha education system came in which majorly focused on geography, mathematics, history and Islamic religion among other disciplines (Rostron, 2009). Later on, there have been schools that are funded by the government to support more education opportunities in Qatar. With these came some private schools which are placed in three different categories (Khodr, 2011). The community schools are those that deal with expatriated children such as those of Americans, Indians, Bretons and Pakistan’s. The second type is the private Arabic schools that majorly follow the Arabic curriculum based on their traditions. The third type of school is the international schools which use a foreign system of education and since it includes both expatriates as well as the Qatar students, it does not receive any form of sponsorship (Kobaisi, 1979).
2.2 The Ministry of Education in Qatar
The ministry of education in Qatar provides fully funded education to the Qatar children and those of expatriates who are employed by the government of Qatar. This has led to a growth in the literacy levels within a short period of time. This success has been attributed to the centralized nature of the ministry of education which oversees the progress of both public and private education (Greene, 2015). The ministry of education in Qatar is divided into various sections that include: finance, cultural affairs, administration and educational matters.
This ministry hires teachers from other Arabian countries and allocates them to respective schools. There are reports that most teachers are female indicating that most men do not train in this profession whereas the country is in dire need of teachers. Most girls’ school’s teachers are Qatari while most teachers in most schools are from other Arabian countries. The ministry of education conducts an evaluation but does not offer relevant professional development programs to the teachers before hiring them (Codd, 2005). The content and nature of the curriculum taught at each level of education is solely determined by the ministry of education of Qatar. Since the ministry considers the development of curriculum, it is the best to be used for the adoption of the STEM program.
2.3 Entrepreneurship education
Kuratko, 2005 argues that entrepreneurship is very important for the development and sustaining of various sectors of the economy. This form of education is also important for developing intentions, attitudes, and aspirations for individuals to start up and manage their economic ventures. Entrepreneurship education should also help the students in developing a mindset which is beneficial in the economic development of a nation in general. To achieve this, the students who are undergoing Entrepreneurship education should be able to have skills for finding out, acting and making the value of all opportunities that are at their disposal (Peterman & Kennedy, 2003). Qatar is mostly endowed with gas and oil and thus none of its citizens is really said to be unemployed. However, the government intends to adopt entrepreneurship strategies in order to diversify its economy. This includes the adoption of various programs, strategies, and regulations that aim at modernizing their business operations (Wilson et al., 2007).
For instance, the INJAZ Qatar is involved in offers education to the students regarding the needs of the workplaces, financial matters, and entrepreneurship. According to Salti, 2008, this organization aims at making sure that the skills of the people are used in the economy, youth are linked to successful business people and that the students are able to be innovative and be creative in generating new ideas. The program is mostly taught in schools and universities by professionals from different sectors.
2.4 National vision 2030 in Qatar
Qatar in its national vision 2010 aims to equip its citizens in order to be able to meet its growing needs. For instance, the curriculum should have training programs which are able to respond to both current as well as the future needs of the country (Scharfenort, 2012). These learning programs are aimed to be long enough such that every Qatar child is equipped with motivation and skills which have a significant contribution to the society. The government of Qatar aims at funding the scientific research which is conducted in private and public universities and international organizations.
2.5 Policies of the teachers
According to Collinson et al., 2009, the policies of teachers in schools are very crucial because they improve the quality of the services that they develop. This then translates to the quality of the knowledge which is passed down to the students who are future leaders. The ideal teacher for employment in a learning institution is one who has a positive attitude and aptitude. The government of Qatar should understand the reasons as to why most people do not like teaching profession. To encourage more teachers, the government should raise their salaries, improve the working standards and address their career prospects. The curriculum should be revised more often so as to that leadership issues can be attended to. The teachers need to be trained to adopt various programs which enable them to make career paths for their students.

Qatar has also adopted the Teach for Qatar policy in order to raise the standards of its teachers. This organization has prioritized mathematics, science and English language as the key drivers for economic development. Furthermore Loucks-Horsley et al., 2009 arguse that the creation of a knowledge base economy in Qatar there is every need reform the whole education system such that it is suited to address the needs of the country through the training of highly qualified individuals. This research will enhance the promotion of social cohesion to uphold the cultural and economical values of Qatar so that there can be a constructive relationship between this country and its neighbors.

3.0 Methodology
3.1 study design
This study will employ a questionnaire based form of the survey in twenty secondary schools and forty Universities where the STEM program has been adopted. However, before the tool is administered, the participants will need to fill a consent form to participate in the study. This tool will be issued to a total of 300 participants i.e. 100 from secondary schools and 200 from universities. It will be detailed enough so as to understand the level of implementation, the key components of the program and the weaknesses of the programs. The level of satisfaction will also be evaluated between several categories of schools that are, the community, private and international schools in Qatar. This survey will be administered to both students as well as the teachers so as to determine their level of satisfaction. The validity of the details of the questionnaire will be tested especially to determine the attitude of the students towards the mathematics and science based subjects with regards to the STEAM model in education. In an effort to determine the level of accuracy of the results and feedbacks in this questionnaire, a validity test will be carried out. Furthermore, there are several factors whose effects can directly affect the responses. These factors include age, type of school (community and international) and the gender of the respondents. Bearing in mind that there are non-Arabic speaking students and teachers in Qatar, the questionnaires will be designed in two languages; English and Arabic.
3.2 Data analysis
Data will be coded, cleaned and analyzed using SPSS software version 22. The means, mode and standard deviation will be calculated and recorded on tables (Norušis, 2006). The data on frequencies will be presented in form of tables and charts. Chi-square will be used to test for independence between the variables. This will be necessary to make a test for the null hypothesis at p=0.05.

References

Al-Ghanim, K. A., Al-Maadeed, M. A., & Al-Thani, N. J. (2014). impact of innovative learning environment based on research activities on secondary school students’attitude towards research and their self-efficacy. European Journal of Educational Sciences (EJES), 300.
Bidgood, B. A., Wilkie, H., & Katchaluba, A. (2010). Releasing the steam: An evaluation of the supporting tempers, emotions, and anger management (STEAM) program for elementary and adolescent-age children. Social Work with Groups, 33(2-3), 160-174.
Codd, J. (2005). Teachers as ‘managed professionals’ in the global education industry: The New Zealand experience. Educational review, 57(2), 193-206.
Collinson, V., Kozina, E., Kate Lin, Y. H., Ling, L., Matheson, I., Newcombe, L., & Zogla, I. (2009). Professional development for teachers: A world of change. European journal of teacher education, 32(1), 3-19.
Greene, P. G. (2015). Entrepreneurship Education: A Global Consideration from Practice to Policy Around the World (Doctoral dissertation).
Jolly, A. (2014). STEM vs. STEAM: Do the arts belong. Education Week, 18.
Khodr, H. (2011). The dynamics of international education in Qatar: Exploring the policy drivers behind the development of Education City. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 2(6), 514-525.
Kim, G. S., & Choi, S. Y. (2012). The effects of the creative problem solving ability and scientific attitude through the science-based STEAM program in the elementary gifted students. Journal of Korean Elementary Science Education, 31(2), 216-226.
Kirby, D. A. (2004). Entrepreneurship education: can business schools meet the challenge?. Education+ training, 46(8/9), 510-519.
Kobaisi, A. J. (1979). The Development of Education in Qatar, 1950-1977 With an Analysis of Some Educational Problems (Doctoral dissertation, Durham University).
Kuratko, D. F. (2005). The emergence of entrepreneurship education: Development, trends, and challenges. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 29(5), 577-598.
Loucks-Horsley, S., Stiles, K. E., Mundry, S., & Hewson, P. W. (Eds.). (2009). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Corwin Press.
Norušis, M. J. (2006). SPSS 14.0 guide to data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Park, B. Y., & Lee, H. (2014). Development and Application of Systems Thinking-based STEAM Education Program to Improve Secondary Science Gifted and Talented Students’ Systems Thinking Skill. Journal of Gifted/Talented Education, 24(3), 421-444.
Peterman, N. E., & Kennedy, J. (2003). Enterprise education: Influencing students’ perceptions of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 28(2), 129-144.
Rostron, M. (2009). Liberal arts education in Qatar: Intercultural perspectives. Intercultural Education, 20(3), 219-229.
Salti, S. (2008). Students Incorporated: INJAZ on a mission to send Arab youth to Planet Free Enterprise. innovations, 3(4), 89-98.
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PETROBRAS CORPORATION- BRAZIL

February 22, 2017

 

 

Table of Contents

1     Introduction. 3

1.1      Background of the case. 3

2     Critical analysis of the internationalisation strategies. 4

2.1      Current Internationalisation pattern  4

2.2      Theories of Internationalisation. 6

2.2.1       Sequential Theory (Uppsala model) 7

2.3      Critical assessment of the current Internationalisation strategies. 8

2.3.1       Joint ventures. 9

3     Recommendation. 10

3.1      Recommended Future strategic direction. 10

3.1.1       Proposed strategy. 10

3.1.2       Porter’s Generic Strategy. 11

3.1.3       Ghemawat’s Strategic choices. 12

4     Conclusion. 13

5     References. 14

 

1          Introduction

The first part of the current report is a critical analysis of the internationalisation strategies embraced by Petrobras, a petroleum company headquartered in Brazil. The background section presents the major patterns and trends in the international business activity of this company. The current internationalisation pattern in the company is identified and categorised into the appropriate internationalisation theory. A critical assessment of the current internationalisation strategies is provided and the specific strategy in current use identified as development of joint ventures. It is recognised that Petrobras enjoys a number of benefits by using joint ventures as an internationalisation strategy. This analysis is followed by a recommendation on the most appropriate strategy to allow Petrobras to maintain or improve its competitive advantage. This is classified as a differentiation strategy and linked to the right Ghemawat’s strategic approach.

1.1        Background of the case

Petrobras is a multinational corporation doing business in the petroleum industry and headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Fleury & Fleury 2011). It has operations in six business areas, each contributing a certain amount of revenue to the total revenue collection of the company. To begin with, Petrobras generates most of its revenue from refining, transportation and marketing of oil in Brazil. Another significant source of the company’s revenue is exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs). It is also involved in the distribution of oil products such as biodiesel, natural gas, and ethanol to various wholesalers in Brazil. Production of biofuels such as biodiesel and related products has been another revenue-generating activity associated with Petrobras (Musacchio, Goldberg & Pinho 2009). Excess electricity and sugar are produced by the company using sugarcane bagasse. Petrobras is challenged by the increased competition in the international oil market especially in the regions it has launched international investments. It has to consider better ways of improve its competitive advantage since almost 10% of its production is based outside Brazil. Most of this production takes place in South American countries such as Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia. Other international investments are in Japan, United States, Mexico, Namibia, Gabon, Benin, and Nigeria (Clifton, Comín & Díaz-Fuentes 2011). These areas, just like the rest of the world, are experiencing an increase in the desire for a carbon-free world.  The fear of changes in the world’s climatic conditions as a result of inappropriate use of energy has encouraged environmentalists to advocate for the use of less fossil fuel and more of renewable energy (Gupta 2013). At the same time, Petrobras has to operate in a market characterised by an increase in the demand for energy and slumping oil prices.

2          Critical analysis of the internationalisation strategies

2.1        Current Internationalisation pattern

The internationalisation pattern used by the Petrobras can be described as a systematic one since it uses a single strategy at a go. Once one strategy has been explored extensively, the company considers pursuing another strategy. At the same time, the company prefers expanding to a single country at a time to avoid the risks associated with expansion to multiple countries in a simultaneous manner. In 1972, for example, Petrobras expanded into Colombia to with an aim of exploring and producing oil and gas. This was the initial aim of expanding into Colombia and can be described as a resource-seeking strategy. After acquiring the resources, the company was to be involved in retailing and distribution of the acquired resources. Therefore, it can be said that the second reason why Petrobras expanded into Colombia was to seek a new market. As argued by Ang & Ding (2006) resource-seeking strategies should be pursed before marketing-seeking strategies if a company is to succeed in its internationalisation process. This may be the major reason why Petrobras embarked on resource-seeking expansions into Libya, Iraq, Angola, and the United States in 1974, 1978, 1979 and 1987 respectively. Although the company was involved in some market-seeking and strategic asset-seeking activities, resource-seeking activities were its major focus (Cuervo-Cazurra & Dau 2009).

Every phase of the sequential expansion embraced by Petrobras was determined by the prevailing national or international conditions. The first phase, the phase majorly based on resource-seeking activities, started in the early 1970s mainly due to the prevailing oil crisis. Petrobras wanted to minimise the country’s dependence on external sources of oil and oil products. Banalieva & Dhanaraj (2013) avowed that an internationalisation strategy must start with experimentation, which was considered by Petrobras before market liberalisation took place in 1988. In this first phase, Petrobras was able to acquire resources in with countries known to have friendly relations with Brazil. This was an opportunity to internationalise into Colombia, North America, and the Middle East.

The second phase of Petrobras started after the market liberalisation that took place between 1988 and 1997. This is described as defensive internationalisation and was mainly based on strategic-asset-seeking. During this period, the company was involved in a number of acquisitions of foreign ventures in the oil industry. The government aimed at protecting Petrobras from the local economic crisis that followed the economic crisis. Political instability prevailed during this time and there were fears of reform reversals.

2.2        Theories of Internationalisation

According to Cuervo-Cazurra et al (2014), there are three major theories of internationalisation, which include the Network Model, the Transaction Cost Theory, and the Upssala Model. It should be appreciated that the internationalisation process is very complex, making it necessary for different scholars to develop these theories to allow companies achieve internationalisation with ease. According to the Uppsala theory, firms must pursue success in their home country before expanding into neighbouring and other countries of the world in that order (Kuramoto Gonzalez & Kindl da Cunha 2012).  Therefore, the first approach is to expand into geographically or culturally close countries before expanding into geographically and culturally distant countries. As far as Petrobras is involved, the strategy was the most appropriate in making sure that challenges were minimised in the process of expanding into Latin American nations and the rest of the world. When this theory is embraced by a company, it is important to start with traditional exports before implementing demanding modes of operation such as sales subsidiaries in the foreign nation or at the company level.

Petrobras had also to consider the transaction cost theories when expanding into foreign markets. This theory focuses on costs involved in the internationalisation process and possible effects of these costs on the firm’s choice of a certain market. The effect of the costs on the mode of entering in the new market is also considered in the Transaction Cost theory. Transaction cost is the most important factor affecting the success of an internationalisation strategy. In the internationalisation process, costs may be incurred in information search about the target foreign market, customers, products, and negotiation (Bass & Chakrabarty 2014).

The network model or theory of internationalisation has an influence on the internationalisation process at Petrobras. This theory views the market as a system of industrial and social relationships (Dantas & Bell 2009). The new markets targeted by Petrobras are made up of different players such as suppliers, customers, competitors, friends, and friends. Therefore, Petrobras should assess its relationships with other parties in the market before making any strategic decision.

2.2.1      Sequential Theory (Uppsala model)

Among the identified theories of internationalisation, the sequential theory or the Uppsala model is the most important in explaining the expansion journey followed by Petrobras. This theory proposes that the firm must gain experience in the domestic market before expending into foreign markets. This model was well considered by Petrobras in its internationalisation strategy. This is because the company initially focused on establishing production bases in geographically close nations such as Colombia in 1972 and Argentina in 1993. According to the Uppsala model, a country may be considered close to another in terms of culture and allow a firm to expand into such a country in its initial stages of expanding into foreign markets. For this reason, culturally close countries were initially considered by Petrobras in its internationalisation process. For example, the company expanded into nations such as Libya in 1974, Iraq in 1978, and Angola in 1979.

The Uppsala model insists that a company expanding into a foreign country should initially trade in its traditional exports before considering trade in other areas, products, and services. This provision was considered by Petrobras in its internationalisation process since the initial aim was to seek resources in regional and global markets. Later, the company started developing and trading in more innovative products and services.

Although the Uppsala model has continually allowed Petrobras and other companies to successfully expand into foreign markets, it is associated with some drawbacks. To being with, it is evident that the model is very deterministic since its principles are determined by time evolution. The country where the firm is located or it is planning to expand to has a great influence on the approach to be taken in the expansion process. Therefore, the interdependencies between markets in Brazil and markets in other nations are not recognised by the Uppsala model.

2.3        Critical assessment of the current Internationalisation strategies

There are different modes of entry to a foreign market to be considered by a company interested in improving its global presence. Each of these modes or strategies has its own advantages and disadvantages, which must be considered before selecting the most suitable internationalisation strategy (Duanmu 2014). Petrobras has used most of the strategies to some extent, although a specific strategy is currently in use since its strategies are utilised in a sequential manner rather than in a simultaneous manner.

The use of wholly owned subsidiaries can be used by oil companies and companies in other industries to expand into a foreign market. In this mode of entry, the extending company owns all the stock of the subsidiaries. The company can either achieve this by setting up another operation in the foreign land or acquiring all the assets of an established firm in the target country. Petrobras has used this strategy to some extent, with the examples of Petrobras Netherlands BV in the Netherlands and BRASPETRO Oil Services Company in Cayman Islands.  The company also acquired an energy group in Argentina known as Perez Companc in an effort to expand into the oil market in Argentina. The disadvantage associated with this mode of entry into a foreign market is that it is associated with a high initial cost. However, wholly owned subsidiaries are easier to control than joint ventures (Cantwell, Dunning & Lundan 2010). Therefore, Petrobras can find it easy to make strategic decisions.

As another method of entry into a foreign market, Petrobras embarked on exporting its oil products to countries such as Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia. This was done to avoid the high cost involved in the establishment of manufacturing operation in a new market in the initial stages of the internationalisation process. After a good capital base was established, the company considered other capital-intensive entry modes. Formation of joint ventures is another method that can be used by firms to penetrate foreign markets and is described below.

2.3.1      Joint ventures

The internationalisation in current use at Petrobras is formation of joint ventures. A joint venture is involves coming together of two or more companies through a formal arrangement to be carry out a business activity that will yield mutual benefits (Cerny 2010). The benefits associated with joint ventures have allowed Petrobras to deal with political, economic, and legal issues that arise when a business has an international presence. A good example of a joint venture has been the partnership between Petrobras and BTG Pactual, with business activities in various parts of Africa. BTG Pactual has a better understanding of the political, social and economic challenges of the African countries involved, including Namibia, Angola and Tanzania. Therefore, information from BTG Pactual about such issues is of great importance to Petrobras when making political, economic, and social decisions. The same case applies to other joint ventures maintained by the company.

Joint ventures have also allowed Petrobras to deal with the challenges associated with international HRM. Some people may not be willing to relocate from their country to serve work in a wholly owned subsidiary in a foreign country. By setting up joint ventures, Petrobras has given most of these individuals an opportunity to serve a global company while in the home country. International marketing issues have also been handled by some of the joint ventures maintained by Petrobras. For example, Petrobras has been able to trade with nations that have poor relationships with Brazil. This is achieved by developing a joint venture with a company based in a country with a good relationship with Brazil. As far as international logistics issues are concerned, the company uses the joint ventures in different countries as warehouses for products meant for other destinations. Therefore, it can be concluded that the joint venture strategy has been highly successful since Petrobras has gained access to diverse human resources, technology, distribution networks and new markets. However, the success of this strategy has been challenged by some issues, such as cultural and communication barriers.

3          Recommendation

3.1        Recommended Future strategic direction

Despite the fact that the previous and current strategies have allowed Petrobras to gain some competitive advantage in the international market, a better strategic direction is required in the future.

3.1.1      Proposed strategy

Research shows that more and more companies are taking advantage of green packaging materials regardless of the sector or industry they are operating in (Campos, Tolmasquim & Alveal 2006). Green packaging materials are materials that can allow the product users to reduce the level of environmental pollution. Therefore, Petrobras can take advantage of this preference to become more competitive in the oil and gas industry. Paperboard dispensers can be used to replace plastic materials used to create storage materials for oil-based products. Such dispensers are environmentally friendly since they are biodegradable. Moreover, this strategy should be extended to cover a change in the aspects of labels on packaging materials used by the company. The amount of glue utilised and the weight of the labelling material should be considered when implementing the changes.

A company involved in sustainable packaging is in a better position to acquire more customers than a company in the same industry that does not embrace such a strategy (Carvalho, Costa & Duysters 2010). This is especially true for companies in the oil and gas industry since most of the customers in this industry are educated and differentiate between a packaging material which is friendly to the environment and the one with the potential to pollute the environment (Choudhury & Khanna 2014). The cost benefit of using green packaging materials will allow Petrobras to reduce its cost of operation. A reduction in the cost of operation will translate into improved profits. Consequently, the increased profits will be used by the company in production improvement and provision of better services or even after sale services. Such changes have a great potential to attract more customers. The cost-benefits may involve a reduction in improper packaging-related lawsuits and lower price of green packaging materials than conventional packaging materials.  This strategy can be made more effective by making sure that the label on the packaging materials has a message advising the user to dispose the material in the right way. When making these changes, Petrobras must do a research on the packaging materials and messages used by its competitors to make sure that the changes embraced will be unique.

3.1.2      Porter’s Generic Strategy

There are three Porter’s generic strategies that can be used by companies to gain competitive advantage in their respective markets. The three are focus, differentiation and cost leadership. Cost leadership involves lowering the price of product or service below the market price through a reduction in the cost of production (Murray 2008). Differentiation strategy involves improving the firm’s products and/or services to make the more attractive and different from those of its competitors. Companies using the focus strategy concentrate on serving a specific niche market. They make effort to understand the factors that shape demand and supply in that market to develop niche-specific products and services (Hood 2015). From these definitions, the strategy recommended for Petrobras should be categorised into the class of differentiation strategies. This is because the primary reason for making these changes will be to make the firm’s products more environmentally friendly than those packaged by their competitors, hence making them more attracting.

3.1.3      Ghemawat’s Strategic choices

According to Ghemawat’s global strategy framework, there are three generic approachs to be considered by companies when creating a global value. These include adaptation, aggregation and arbitrage. Adaptation is achieved through a change in one or more aspects of the product or service offered by the company (Ghemawat 2002). On the other hands, aggregation involves creation of economies of scale to deal with differences. In such a case, the company takes advantage of similarities among various geographies as opposed to making adaptations to meet a certain specification. Lastly, arbitrage is where a company exploits the differences among markets, such as buying goods at a low price in one market and selling them at a higher price in another market (Ghemawat 2002). From these definitions, it is clear that the differentiation strategy recommended for Petrobras falls on the adaptation approach. This is because the company will be required to make changes in its packaging material and label to take advantage of the increasing demand for environmentally friendly packaging materials. Consumers in markets served by Petrobras are expected to recognise a change in the packing material used by the company a few days or months after the implementation of the changes. Most of them will shift from their current supplier to Petrobras, allowing Petrobras to gain a competitive advantage in its markets.

4          Conclusion

It can be concluded that Petrobras has enjoyed a significant level of success in its effort to expand into foreign markets. From the report, it is clear that the use of joint ventures to penetrate new markets is more effective than other approachs. Furthermore, companies in the gas and oil industry can successfully enter a foreign market if a sequential strategy is embraced. Petrobras will need to rethink its role in minimising environmental pollution. This should involve making appropriate changes to the packaging materials and product labels as described in the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5          References

Ang, J, & Ding, D 2006, ‘Government ownership and the performance of government-linked companies: The case of Singapore’, Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Vol.16, No.1, pp.64-88.

Banalieva, R, & Dhanaraj, C 2013, ‘Home-regional orientation in international expansion strategies’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.44, No.2, pp.89-116.

Bass, A & Chakrabarty, S 2014, ‘Resource security: Competition for global resources, strategic intent, and governments as owners. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.961-979.

Campos, F, Tolmasquim, T, & Alveal, C 2006, ‘Restructuring the oil segment in South America: Public policy, private capital and energy integration. Oil & Gas Science and Technology-Revue de l’IFP, Vol.61No.3, pp.415-431.

Cantwell, J, Dunning, H., & Lundan, S 2010, ‘An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.41, No.4, pp.567-586.

Carvalho, F, Costa, I, & Duysters, G 2010, Global Players from Brazil: drivers and challenges in the Internationalisation process of Brazilian firms, Maastricht: UNU-MERIT, Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology.

Cerny, P 2010, ‘Paradoxes of the competition state: The dynamics of political globalization. Government and opposition, Vol.32, pp.2, pp.251-274.

Choudhury, P, & Khanna, T 2014, ‘Toward resource independence – Why state-owned entities become multinationals: An empirical study of India’s public R&D laboratories’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.943-960.

Clifton, J, Comín, F, & Díaz-Fuentes, D 2011, ‘From national monopoly to multinational corporation: How regulation shaped the road towards telecommunications internationalisation. Business History, Vol.53, No.5, pp.761-781.

Cuervo-Cazurra, A, & Dau, L 2009, ‘Promarket reforms and firm profitability in developing countries’, Academy of Management Journal, Vol.52, No.6, pp.1348-1368.

Cuervo-Cazurra, A, Inkpen, A, Musacchio, A, & Ramaswamy, K 2014, ‘Governments as owners: State-owned multinational companies’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.919-942.

Dantas, E, & Bell, M 2009, ‘Latecomer firms and the emergence and development of knowledge networks: The case of Petrobras in Brazil’, Research Policy, Vol.38, No.5, pp.829-844.

Duanmu, J 2014, ‘State-owned MNCs and host country expropriation risk: The role of home state soft power and economic gunboat diplomacy. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.1044-1060.

Fleury, A & Fleury, M 2011, Brazilian Multinationals: Competences for Internationalisation, Cambridge University Press.

Ghemawat, P 2002, ‘Competition and business strategy in historical perspective’, Business history review, Vol.76, No.1, pp.37-74.

Gupta, N 2013, ‘Partial privatization and firm performance’, The Journal of Finance, Vol.60, No.2, pp.987-1015.

Hood, C 2015, ‘Contemporary public management: A new global paradigm?. Public Policy and Administration, Vol.10, No.104-117.

Kuramoto Gonzalez, R, & Kindl da Cunha, S 2012, ‘Internationalisation process and technological capability trajectory of Iguaçu’, Journal of technology management & innovation, Vol.7, No.2, pp.117-130.

Murray, A, 2008, ‘A contingency view of Porter’s “generic strategies’. Academy of Management Review, Vol.13, No.3, pp.390-400.

Musacchio, A, Goldberg, L, & Pinho, R 2009, Petrobras in Ecuador, Harvard Business Review.

 

 

 

IMPACT OF SOCIO-CULTURAL LANDSCAPE ON INEQUITY AND STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN A NATIONAL SETTING

February 22, 2017

Background

The year 2009 marked one of the revolutionary moments in the history of Australian educational regime. It is during this particular year that it held a high-profile convention consisting of the territory, state and Commonwealth Ministers of Education. Convening under the auspices of Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) in Melbourne, Victoria state capital, the respective education Ministers adopted a Declaration guaranteeing a set of educational goals for the young Australian population (Perso, 2012). In what has now become known as The Melbourne Declaration (MCEETYA, 2008), the declaration enumerated some educational Goals. The first Goal under the Melbourne Declaration obligates the Australian government to ensure that the Australian educational system is one that furthers equity and excellence. All the respective parties expressed their intention and goodwill to pursue a broad spectrum of measures to operationalize and promote the attainment of the goal. The efforts included but not limited to the following: First, every level of a government committed to providing access to high-quality schooling to every student that is non-discriminatory on any grounds such as gender, culture, geographic location or socio-economic background and ethnicity. Secondly, the governments at their respective jurisdictions committed themselves to basing the schooling system on values and principles that promote local cultural knowledge as well as tap into the experiences of indigenous students as the core learning foundation. Likewise, the various levels of government vowed to partner with the local communities on every aspect of the educational process such as bolstering the learning outcome expectations of the indigenous students. The third line of action was to institute mechanisms to upgrade and streamline the learning outcomes of the indigenous learners with those of the other non-indigenous students. Fourthly, the governments through their respective departments of education committed to ouster all forms of socio-economic disadvantages which has historically been a significant player in tilting the scales against the needy students with respect to learning outcomes. Moreover, modality adopted by the governments was to use the schooling process as an essential tool tailored towards cultivating and promoting a cohesive society where religious, social and cultural diversity is appreciated and respected.

It is against this background that the scope of the current paper is anchored. It is unequivocal from the Melbourne Declaration, and one can correctly infer that, in part, the objective of the Declaration was to mitigate the impacts of socio-cultural factors that perpetuate inequity in terms of access and attainment of quality education as well as student performance nationally. A quick glean at the first Goal of the Declaration reveals at least three of such factors. The latter include the socio-economic status of the students, gender, race and ethnicity (Tyler, 2011). The paper will, therefore, endeavor to canvass all the elements mentioned above independently. In so doing, the paper intends to examine the current situation critically, the nature of the policy intervention measures proposed by the Melbourne Declaration and other policy documents and the extent of implementing such interventions. Based on the research findings, the paper will enumerate elaborate recommendations to the State Minister of Educations going forward.

The Statistics

A 2015 study conducted by Centre for International Research on Education Systems (Lamb, Jackson, Walstab & Huo, 2015) demonstrates that educational inequality in Australia is persistently escalating. According to the study, one in every four young Australians is left behind as the gap between the poor and rich students stretches further. The latter is a reflection of the reality that the Australian education system is not working for a larger population of the Australian children. The same study further reveals that Australia has perhaps one of the most segregated learning systems. Notably, a majority of students are shifting or joining private schools, a situation that has led to most public schools steadily acquiring residual status. The preceding, according to the study report, is because of the families that have the advantage of cultural social, economic and cultural capital hence can send their children to very high-end private schools with state-of-the-art curriculum and extra-curriculum facilities that befit their so-called socioeconomic and cultural classes. Additionally, the report shows that eighty-five per centum (85%) of children from indigenous communities attend public schools representing a larger percentage of the population of poor students in public schools (Lamb, Jackson, Walstab & Huo, 2015).

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) through a 2015 report also revealed that the educational inequities in Australia are relatively high compared to the average of developed countries (OECD, 2016). The report published in 2016 further establishes that there is a solid connection between students’ performance or achievement and their respective socio-economic backgrounds. Strictly speaking, the report shows that students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds achieve relatively lower performances than their counterparts from well-to-do families. Furthermore, other studies also document that it is not just the social and economic factor that contributes to the inequities and disparity in student performances. Other factors that induce such outcomes include gender, race and ethnicity and so forth (Sheehan, 2012).

Socio-economic status

According to Educational opportunity in Australia 2015 report (Mitchell Institute, 2015), family background of a student was discovered to still play a major role in determining the path the student will take academically. It has a significant influence despite the government’s active efforts to enhance equity and opportunities for all the students regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. The study shows that socio-economic status of the student’s family background is at the summit of the list of factors that impact access to educational opportunity considered during the research. The survey infers that the present system is ineffective for most of the economically and socially disadvantaged students. The study further shows that the different outcomes are as a result of differences in terms of accessibility of educational services. Based on this finding, the study reports that most of the economically disadvantaged students are likely to spend few hours of their early childhood education, register relatively lower class attendance rates as well develop the propensity of dropping out of school and never joining universities.

But what exactly is socio-economic status? There is no single definition of what is meant by the phrase. The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines socio-economic status (SES) in relation to the peoples’ access to social and material resources and their ability to take part in social activities (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011). Bradley and Corwyn (2002) views SES as constituting an assessment of capital for instance, human capital, financial capital and social capital that relates to a person’s welfare. The American Psychological Association in their Psychology Dictionary (2007) defines socio-economic status as the position a person occupies on the social and economic scale. The socio-economic status of an individual or group of persons culminates into the formation of various social classes in the society. As such, individuals with higher socio-economic capital occupy a high position on the social class ladder while those with low socio-economic power will occupy lower positions along the very same ladder. Individuals, therefore, have different levels of access to essential social and economic resources depending on which position they hold on the social ladder. The latter realities transcend the Australian education sector as well.

Under this arrangement (as previously indicated), students or learners who come from high social class background tend to access better (private) schools with state-of-the-art educational facilities and overly-qualified instructors alongside other high-end privileges that accompany them belong in such schools. Inversely, research demonstrates that learners who come from the low socio-economic status backgrounds tend to performance dismally that those from high social status (Considine, 2001; Graetz, 1995). The studies also take into account the fact that other factors such as the innate ability as well play an imperative role in determining the educational outcomes of the students. Such studies indicate that learners from low socio-economic status families or backgrounds are more likely to exhibit lower levels of comprehension, literacy, and numeracy. Additionally, this group of students has relative lower retentive memory hence are more likely to drop out of school, experience problems with their studies such as the tendency to develop negative attitudes towards school. Moreover, school to employment transition rates is low among such category of learners as noted by Margot (2013).

Gender

Another socio-cultural factor influencing equity and educational performance in most Australian schools is gender. Studies reveal that educational performance tends to vary in relation to sex of the student (Horne, 2000). Specifically, studies show that girls enjoy an educational advantage in comparison to boys especially in literacy (Buckingham, 1999). Some factors account for this escalating gender gap within the Australian educational system. According to Buckingham, these include gender biases (where reading is viewed as not being a boy’s thing), the biological dissimilarities, socio-economic elements, the mode of teaching, the curricula design and assessment mode. Buckingham suggests that because of adoption of an approach where the teaching of grammar, for instance, is less structured a good number of male learners may potentially have been weakened. A rather more important socio-economic explanation to leverage in this gender gap debate is that fact that studies have shown girls to out-perform the boys regardless of the side of the socio-economic scale the argument tilts towards (Teese et al., 1995).

Yet another sinister argument would be: what of a boy or girl who studies in an environment where gender inequality affects both of them on a scale of balance concurrently or alternatively? What would become of the academic performance of the boy or girl who studies in an environment where gender inequality is prevalent? Sheehan (2012) argues that each may potentially develop the mental disposition that since they see and experience such disparities in their learning institutions that gender inequality is everywhere including in employment opportunities later in life. As a result, they may not be able to attach any premiums or incentives on the need to cultivate more effort in their academics. The latter will potentially have adverse consequences on their cumulative educational performance. That is not desirable of any learning system.

 

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are also significant variables when it comes to educational inequities and performance in most learning institutions across the globe. In Australia, race still permeates some learning agencies and at different levels of education despite Australia being multi-ethnic and multi-racial. According to Margot (2013), the populace falls into two broad categories, the indigenous and the non-indigenous population.  The racial and ethnic diversity notwithstanding, there still exists discrimination along the lines mentioned above. And sadly, the same has degenerated into our education system. Gulson (2006) describes racism as the categorization of another person or groups of persons by an individual or group of individual based on their physical appearances such as skin pigmentation, hair or eye coloration. Similarly, Ninetta (2009) defines ethnicity as the group of individuals with a commonly shared culture.

The Australian education system, like the American system, is one that is built on the principle of non-discrimination where everyone has a fair shot to fully exploit their potentials. However, because of the deeply entrenched racial disparities and ethnic norms that are highly segregative, discrimination in the education system is still a growing concern (Forrest & Dunn, 2006). Students feel alienated and sometimes result in them losing self-esteem and confidence in their academic abilities because of the ethnic and racial inequality and discrimination. The overall effect is likely diminished educational performance.

Policy Interventions

The question at this point goes to the nature of policy interventions the policy interventions proposed by the Melbourne Declaration and whether implementation of such interventions is adequateimplemented and if at all, any other executive response alternatives augment the existing ones.

On Gender, the New South Wales government has instituted the Boys’ and Girls’

Education Strategy in line with the first goal of the Melbourne Declaration. The policy intends to aid all the New South Wales government schools to initiate a strategic approach to addressing gender as an educational issue. The object of the strategy is to protect student participation, achievement or performance from effects that emanate from gender-based issues or limited gender roles expectations. The current strategy is anchored upon six primary objectives including to assist boys and girls achieve their full educational potentials without gender limitations and to create awareness among students, parents, and students to fully appreciate the impact of gender within the context of their learning environments including gender implications on their educational performance and achievements.

Nationally, there is the National Action Plan for the Education of Girls 1993-97 which is national educational policy aimed at promoting education among the girls. The policy prioritizes among other things the examination of gender constructions, protection of girls at risk, stemming motivated harassments and so forth. Furthermore, although numerous studies have recommended a national framework to cater for the educational interests of the boy child adequately, there exists no such comprehensive national policy yet.

On Race and Ethnicity, the Australian government’s anti-racism education policy is meticulously pronounced in The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century of 1999. The most express anti-racism in the education system is captured by goal 3.1 which aspires for a socially just schooling system so as safeguard the learners from inculcating adverse impacts of discrimination on any ground including culture, geographical and socio-economic background.

Finally, on Socio-economic status, there is no robust regime of national policies to cater for the socio-economic disadvantages that are still a major obstacle towards educational access especially among the low-income families and communities. Despite the lack of an elaborate policy framework in existence, some interventions have been undertaken by the national government including directing more resources and funds to regions where there is greatest needed. However, an improved participation and corporation at all the levels of government is necessary due to the complexity of the educational inequalities and different performance outcomes that are traceable to different levels of engagements as well as participation.

 

Recommendations

The national government in collaboration with the other levels of governments has fronted a concerted effort to address itself to the myriad of challenges that are the result of the social and cultural implications on inequities and educational performance in the education system. That notwithstanding, some recommendations for policy reforms and considerations for administrative review by the State Minister for Education can still lie. They include the following.

First, the State Minister for Education should do more to enhance certainty and compliment the educational performance by focusing on the formulation of national policies that will further stem the current inequalities. It is worth noting that some of the current inequalities are the result of system-level policies such as policies regarding funding. A good example of the poor funding policies is where States fund the government schools with inadequate top-us from the Commonwealth (Harrington, 2013). Inversely, the Commonwealth funds private schools with to-ups from the States. As a policy reform, States funding of private schools should be scrapped off and the Commonwealth be allowed to fully cater for educational costs in private school. Moreover, the Commonwealth should increase of funding budget for government schools. The rationale lies in the fact that it is the government schools that enroll a bigger percentage of students from low income backgrounds.

Secondly, the Minister should direct his ministry to develop further policies, in conjunction with other stakeholders that would cause a reduction in the economic disparities in various Australian schools. Such policies should focus on reducing student residualization, enhancing access to quality teachers, furthering useful and practical school improvement practices. Some of the current policies further the disparity in the schooling process by creating different types of schools and allowing streaming of students on the basis of academic ability. As a policy reform intervention, the proposed policies should revert such kind of discriminatory policies. The reforms should ensure a reduction in the amount of school fees payable and outlaw selective admissions.

Finally, the Minister is advised to initiate and fast track the formulation of further policies especially those that cater for the seemingly growing lack of attention to the educational plight of the boy child. Nationally, there is the National Action Plan for the Education of Girls 1993-97. The policy has enhanced the national campaign for education for the girl child to the extent that studies have shown (supra) that the boy child has gradually been ignored. A robust all-inclusive national policy framework should therefore be crafted to bring on board the educational concerns for both gender so that the boy child is not written off in the quest for girl child empowerment.

 

 

References

American Psychological Association. (2007). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington,

DC: Author.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011, August 15). Main features – socioeconomic status. Retrieved February 4, 2017, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4250.0.55.001Main+Features32009.

Bradley, R. H., & Corwyn, R. F. (2002). Socioeconomic status and child development.

Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 371–399.

Buckingham, J. (1999). The puzzle of boys. educational decline: a review of the

evidence. Issue Analysis, No.9, Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney.

Considine, G. (2001). Factors influencing the educational performance of students from disadvantaged backgrounds 1. Retrieved from https://www.sprc.unsw.edu.au/media/SPRCFile/NSPC01_7_Considine_Zappala.pdf.

Forrest, J. and Dunn, K. (2006b). ‘Core’ culture hegemony and multiculturalism: perceptions of the privileged position of Australians with British backgrounds, Ethnicities, 6, pp. 237–264.

Graetz, B. (1995). Socio-economic status in education research and policy. in John

Ainley et al., Socio-economic Status and School Education DEET/ACER Canberra.

Gulson, K. (2006). A white veneer: Education policy, space and ‘race’ in the inner city. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 27(2), 259-274.

Harrington, M. (2013). Funding the national plan for school improvement: An explanation. Retrieved from http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/library/prspub/2548143/upload_binary/2548143.pdf;fileType=application/pdf.

Horne,             R. (2000). The performance of males and females in school and tertiary education., Australian Quarterly, 72 (5/6), 21-26. Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.

Lamb, S, Jackson, J, Walstab, A & Huo, S. (2015). Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out, Centre for International Research on Education Systems, Victoria University, for the Mitchell Institute, Melbourne: Mitchell Institute.

Margot, F. (2013). Achievement gaps in Australia: what NAPLAN reveals about education inequality in Australia, Race Ethnicity and Education, 16:1, 80-102.

MCEETYA. (2008). The Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians.

Mitchell Institute. (2017). Socio-economic disadvantage and educational opportunity persistently linked. Retrieved February 4, 2017, from http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/fact-sheets/socio-economic-disadvantage-and-educational-opportunity-persistently-linked/.

Ninetta, S. (2009). Teaching in culturally diverse contexts: what knowledge about ‘self’ and ‘others’ do teachers need? Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 35:1, 33-45.

OECD. (2016). Economic policy reforms: Going for growth. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from http://www.oecd.org/eco/growth/goingforgrowth.htm.

Perso, T.F. (2012). Cultural Responsiveness and School Education: With particular focus on

Australia’s First Peoples; A Review & Synthesis of the Literature. Menzies School of Health. Research, Centre for Child Development and Education, Darwin Northern Territory.

Sheehan, K. (2012). Does Gender Inequality in Education Affect Educational Outcomes?

Tyler, S. (2011). Transforming inequality in the classroom: Not as easy as it sounds.

Teese, R., Davies, M., Charlton, M., & Polesel, J (1995), Who Wins at School? Boys

and Girls in Australian Secondary Education, Macmillan, Sydney.

 

Close reading

February 21, 2017

Close reading

 

  1. Excerpt: I have been in the midst of those roaring lions, and savage bears, that feared neither God, nor man, nor the devil, by night and day, alone and in company, sleeping all sorts together, and yet not one of them ever offered me the least abuse of unchastity to me, in word or action.  Though some are ready to say I speak it for my own credit; but I speak it in the presence of God, and to His Glory.  God’s power is as great now, and as sufficient to save, as when He preserved Daniel in the lion’s den; or the three children in the fiery furnace.

Answer: This excerpt has a conspicuous meaning of a character wrapped up in an uneasy situation. The passage could also be interpreted to mean the animosity and cruelty of the environment in which the character lives. However, God’s power depicts the essence of believing that some supernatural power exists that can turn bad situations around to opportunities. The theme supported is religion. The perspective upholds the fact that God delivers the believers from any sort of bad omen.

  1. Excerpt: PROCTOR, with a cry of his whole soul:  Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!  [Note to students:  Please keep in mind that there is no historical record of the real John Proctor being asked to pin his name on the church door, or making any comment about his name.

Answer:  Proctor may be literally viewed as a committed religionist. The character’s close association with the church indicates a person leading modern Christian life. However, an in-depth analysis proctor notices the illiteracy in him. He wonders how he would live without his name after being requested to pin it on the wall as part of confession. The excerpt enhances the theme of righteousness in the society. Proctor is depicted as an honest, religious, and blunt-spoken character.

  1. Excerpt: Young Goodman Brown came forth, at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife.  And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.  “Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “pr’y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed tonight.  A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes.  Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”  “My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee.  My journey, as though callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done ‘twixt now and sunrise.  What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost though doubt me already, and we but three months married!”

Answer: A superficial analysis could fail to establish the nature of Brown’s job. Faith’s plea to spend a night with her husband is interpreted to mean the couple spent most of the time apart. The encounter is essential in highlighting the plight of women left alone as their husbands pursue economic goals. Family ties are part of the themes of the story. The use of Goodman’s family and the accompanying nature of life express the mounting need for husband and wife reunion.

  1. Excerpt: “[Faith is] a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.” [Thought young Goodman Brown].

With this excellent resolve for his future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose.  He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind.  It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that, with lonely footsteps, he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.

Answer: Goodman Brown appears held up by his job that prevents the character from spending time with his wife. Although the passage can be interpreted differently, it is almost unnoticed that Brown succumbs to Faith’s plea and chooses to appreciate the woman more than the job. In fact, Goodman hopes to stay close to the beautiful wife even after the one night requested.

  1. Excerpt: At the close of the services, the people hurried out with indecorous confusion, eager to communicate their pent-up amazement, and conscious of lighter spirits the moment they lost sight of the black veil. Some gathered in little circles, huddled closely together, with their mouths all whispering in the center; some went homeward alone, wrapt in silent meditation; some talked loudly, and profaned the Sabbath day with ostentatious laughter. A few shook their sagacious heads, intimating that they could penetrate the mystery; while one or two affirmed that there was no mystery at all, but only that Mr. Hooper’s eyes were so weakened by the midnight lamp, as to require a shade. After a brief interval, forth came good Mr. Hooper also, in the rear of his flock. Turning his veiled face from one group to another, he paid due reverence to the hoary heads, saluted the middle aged with kind dignity as their friend and spiritual guide, greeted the young with mingled authority and love, and laid his hands on the little children’s heads to bless them. Such was always his custom on the Sabbath day. Strange and bewildered looks repaid him for his courtesy.

Answer: Mr. Hooper’s congregation might have had an idea of the nature of mystery before as the superficial concept means. However, the scene turned out scary after witnessing an unexpected activity. Elizabeth’s reactions were not part of the expectations of the crowd. Therefore, the excerpt furthers the theme of supernatural powers among people. The disappearance of the black veil and Elizabeth’s abnormal reaction adds to the mystery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biology of the Brain

February 21, 2017

Biology of the Brain

  1. What research evidence supports the “lock and key” model for the mode of action neurotransmitter?

The binding that exists between the neurotransmitter sites and those of the receptors is always articulated as a lock-and-key correlation since the neurotransmitters fit in specific locations of receptors in a similar manner in which a key fits in a given lock. To begin with, the presynaptic vesicle frees the neurotransmitter and passes through the synapse where it binds to a receptor that postsynaptic. This type of chemical incident results in a sequence of electrical occasions.

When binding occurs to other receptors, there is the opening of channels in the neurotransmitters located in the nerve membrane that permits ions to drift unremittingly in the neuron. These ramifications are accountable for the modifications in membrane prospective essential in the transmitting of messages along the nerve fibers and between neurons (American Psychiatric Association, 1983).

  1. What can you deduce about the biology of schizophrenia from the fact that haloperidol, a dopamine-receptor antagonist, is successfully used to treat schizophrenia?

A deduction that is made in relation to the treatment of schizophrenia through the use of haloperidol in this case is that haloperidol is a type of antipsychotics (Brisch, Saniotis, Wolf, Bielau, Bernstein, Steiner, & Henneberg, 2014). These are considered to be dopamine antagonists where haloperidol is employed in the relieving of symptoms of schizophrenia among other problems that hinder the proper thinking of an individual, the nature of feeling and also the behavior. Prescription of haloperidol is used to control these symptoms together with a long-acting or ‘depot’ injection. This medication is known to rebalance dopamine so as to improve the patient’s reported situation. Haloperidol is used to block dopamine receptors through receptor antagonism.

Moreover, according to Brisch (2014), the relieving of these symptoms varies among the different groups of people. For example, individuals with a heart condition or blood vessel problems, breathing problems, prostate, liver or kidney problems among other problems should first seek the doctor’s advice before taking this medication. Haloperidol is only considered to be effective only if the medication is taken properly and the dose is completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Top of Form

American Psychiatric Association. (1983). Psychiatry update: The American Psychiatric Association annual review. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Press.

Bottom of Form

Brisch, R., Saniotis, A., Wolf, R., Bielau, H., Bernstein, H. G., Steiner, J., … & Henneberg, M. (2014). The role of dopamine in schizophrenia from a neurobiological and evolutionary perspective: old fashioned, but still in vogue. Frontiers in psychiatry, 5, 47.