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  • What does it mean for a worker to have a "voice"? The moral and sociological implications are more far complicated than a cursory listen to employee voice…or silence…might at first suggest. The employee voice might influence suggestion-box systems, grievance systems, dispute reporting and resolution, whistle-blowing, issue selling, upward influence with management, voice through collective representation, also known as unionisation, employee participation, and employee involvement in the management or company development.

    Now, a US team has used advanced bibliometric mapping tools to plot the sciencebase of the voice and silence literature. "Our findings indicate that employee silence and employee voice are terms that are largely claimed by the organisational behaviour (OB) and human resource management (HRM) literature," the team reports in the International Journal of Bibliometrics in Business and Management.

    Debra Casey of Temple University, Philadelphia and Steven McMillan of Penn State University, Abington, both in Pennsylvania, USA, explain how they examined 376 articles, notes, and book chapters from the Web of Science (WoS) system. Importantly, from the perspective of reviewing the literature in this area and understanding the sociological and political implications, they found that the terms are defined much more narrowly in this part of the literature than they are in the industrial relations or employment relations disciplines, where one might imagine a clearer definition of the terms might be even more important.

    "One of the benefits of using bibliometric techniques is that they provide a quantitative analysis that many times confirms what the astute researcher already knows," the team reports. "We hope that by further exploring and clarifying this important area of scholarship, both seasoned scholars and those new to this area will have a better appreciation of their own 'invisible college' and how to make good use of it," they add.

    Casey, D.L. and McMillan, G.S. (2019) 'Employee voice and silence: a bibliometric analysis of the literature', Int. J. Bibliometrics in Business and Management, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.251-266.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBBM.2019.097729

  • Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been widely adopted by higher education institutions for teaching more widely on-campus courses. Writing in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning, a team from Hong Kong explain how they have carried out case studies and examined best practice for running a MOOC.

    Kam Cheong Li and Billy Tak-Ming Wong of The Open University of Hong Kong, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China, demonstrated three principles that can help with the development and ongoing maintenance of MOOCs. First, the division of labour in the implementation of a MOOC is important. Secondly, technology must be used effectively. Finally, a MOOC must be adaptable so that a course might be redesigned based on teacher and learner experience with the MOOC. They point out that there are many diverse ways in which MOOCs have been implemented on-campus, specifically.

    MOOCs allow huge numbers of students to participate in a course at the same time in far greater numbers than is possible with a conventional on-campus lecture and tutorial approach to teaching. It has also been demonstrated in the past that MOOCs can be used to improve accessibility, equity and inclusiveness of education given that many people might be excludes from a conventional course for any number of reasons depending on personal circumstances and geopolitics of a particular campus.

    "Following the trend of adopting online technology for teaching in higher educational institutions, this study illustrates how 'online technology can be used to deliver hybrid courses with reduced class time without compromising student outcomes'," the team concludes.

    Li, K.C. and Wong, B.T-M. (2019) 'Advancing teaching with massive open online courses: a review of case studies', Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp.141-155.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2019.097660

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects communication, social skills and other behaviours. Characteristic of some cases in both children and adults is repetitive movements or unusual behaviour - stereotyped movements.

    A research team from France and Morocco describe in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, an automated detection system for diagnosing stereotyped movements that uses the motion detector system of the "Kinect" video game. The Kinect system is based on a webcam type peripheral computer device that allows the player to control the computer through movements and gestures (as well as spoken commands via a microphone input). The Kinect was originally an add-on for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console.

    The team of Maha Jazouli of Sidi Mohamed Benabdellah University, in Fez, Morocco, and colleagues have used a $P Point-Cloud Recogniser to identify multi-stroke gestures as point clouds as recorded by the webcam component of the Kinect and its processing system for gesture and movement determination. Their new methodology can automatically detect five stereotypical motor movements: body rocking, hand flapping, finger flapping, hand on the face, and hands behind back.

    The researchers report that for many people with ASD tested using this system, satisfactory results were obtained in identifying stereotyped movements. They suggest that the system might be used in a clinical setting or in the home as a temporary smart surveillance system to augment early diagnosis of ASD by expert clinicians.

    Jazouli, M., Majda, A., Merad, D., Aalouane, R. and Zarghili, A. (2019) 'Automatic detection of stereotyped movements in autistic children using the Kinect sensor', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp.201-220.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2019.097621

  • Extracting relevant information from the scientific literature about side effects and adverse drug reactions to pharmaceutical products is an important part of data mining in this area. Writing in the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics, a team from China has developed a new search strategy that offers the optimal trade-off between retrieving pertinent abstracts and coping with the vast amounts of information available.

    The team's "corpus-oriented perspective on terminologies" of side effect and ADRs could be, they suggest, an important tool in a thriving area of pharmaceutical research and development – drug repurposing.

    Alex Chengyu Fang of the Department of Linguistics and Translation, at City University of Hong Kong, Yemao Liu, Yaping Lu, and Jingbo Xia of the College of Informatics at Huazhong Agricultural University, Jing Cao of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China, describe their approach as offering a useful compromise between the relevance of the content retrieved given a large body of work. The terms "side effects" and "adverse drug reactions" are commonly used interchangeably and the latter might in some sense be considered a euphemism of the former term used by members of the public.

    Indeed, side effects and ADRs are synonyms. The two, of course, have many hyponyms, terms that are essentially related to examples of both side effects and ADRs, which by definition are the hypernyms to those hyponyms. These terms too must be retrievable by any data mining algorithm that analyses a body of work and is intent on seeking relevant abstracts discussing the "hypernyms. Phrases such as "adverse drug event", "drug toxicity", "undesirable effects", and others all fall into the same clade and so must be involved in the retrieval.

    Fang, A.C., Liu, Y., Lu, Y., Cao, J. and Xia, J. (2018) 'A corpus-oriented perspective on terminologies of side effect and adverse reaction in support of text retrieval for drug repurposing', Int. J. Data Mining and Bioinformatics, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp.269–286.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDMB.2018.097684

  • Rice straw is the waste product of growing rice. Normally, it is simply burned adding sooty pollution to the local air and nudging up atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. What if there were a better alternative to simply burning this material? Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management a team from India offer an alternative. Pardeep Aggarwal and Anu Prashaant of Amity University in Gautam Budh Nagar, India, suggest that rice straw could instead be utilized for power generation or bioethanol production.

    Unfortunately, the team explains, some farmers believe that rice straw open burning can remove weeds, control diseases and release nutrients for the next crop. There is little evidence that rice straw burning does anything but pollute. Rice straw length, low elevation land, and even the great distance from farmhouse to farmland are additional factors that influence the field burning of rice straw. Rice straw cannot be used as cattle feed either and there is very little time between successive crops to do much with the fields other than eradicating the stubble.

    In order to make the alternative proposition viable both commercially and logistically, they explain that there is a need for a sustainable supply chain management of rice straw. At the moment, there is but a single 12-megawatt power plant that uses 100% rice straw as its fuel, one million tonnes annually, but that is a fraction of the tonnage of this agricultural waste product. The team points out that the numbers of rice straw power plants in China too is low and actually falling. However, the environmental and economic benefits of utilizing a ubiquitous waste product could make power production and bioethanol production tenable given the right geopolitical conditions.

    The team concludes from the study that "only when such infrastructure with proactive planning is available, a secured supply of rice straw can be maintained for continuous year-long operations of a power plant."

    Aggarwal, P. and Prashaant, A. (2019) 'Economic utilisation of rice straw – an effort for preventing social hazard', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp.97-112.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2019.097606

  • Spirituality is good for the bottom line, according to research from India. Writing in the International Journal of Business Excellence, researchers from Anna University, in Chennai explain how spiritual theories in India are based on the principle of unanimity, integrating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of people through dharma (righteousness). They point out that the Bhagavad Gita highlights the practice of spirituality and ethics in the workplace. In their paper, they review twenty years of research into the spiritual aspects of business practice in this context and define workplace spirituality from a new perspective. They also delineate its dimensions as a persistent positive state of work environment that promotes spiritual awakening and enhances business ethics.

    The team suggests that there is a need for a new wave of spirituality in business suggesting that workers must carry out their tasks not only with their brain and limbs but also with heart and spirit. They add that "Western" thought has often been concerned with spirituality and finding links to "Eastern" philosophy. "Workplace spirituality is applicable to practically every organization," they suggest, in the West or the East.

    The team has extended the theory of the positive relationship between workplace spirituality and business ethics. Indeed, they suggest that supporting and nurturing spiritual practices in an organisation can maximize the “triple bottom line": people, profit, and planet.

    Srilalitha, R. and Supriya, M.V. (2019) 'Workplace spirituality: insights from the Bhagavad Gita', Int. J. Business Excellence, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.210–229.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2019.097544

  • Electronic health records (EHRs) are becoming more and more prevalent. There is thus an increased risk of data leaks, breaches or other ways in which personal and private medical information might be compromised. As such, a team from India has now described an efficient two-stage encryption for securing personal health records stored "in the cloud".

    KrishnaKeerthi Chennam and Lakshmi Muddana of Gitam University, in Hyderabad, explain how accessibility to remote servers for the storage of huge amounts of data – the storage aspect of cloud – computing is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to on-site data storage. Given the vast amounts of medical information stored in patient records, this is a useful alternative for any healthcare facility. The cloud approach also means that patient EHRs are more readily available to a healthcare worker regardless of their location, whether with the patient in their home, at the doctor's surgery, in hospital, in an ambulance en route to another site, or perhaps even at the scene of an accident.

    Regardless there is a critical need for EHRs to be safe from the prying eyes of third parties whether simply other members of the public, unconnected health workers or those with malicious intent. The team explains how their approach uses a hierarchical clustering algorithm that determines the different user roles associated with the EHRs. Once clustering is done twofish-based encryption algorithm is used to lock down the data. The team's novel approach to encryption has lower encryption and decryption times than other approaches.

    Chennam, K. and Muddana, L. (2018) 'An efficient two stage encryption for securing personal health records in cloud computing', Int. J. Services Operations and Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.277–296.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSOI.2018.097487

  • Bullying is as old as humanity, but in today"s world of ubiquitous and always-connected devices, there is a whole realm of bullying that can take place out of sight but be just as devastating to its victims – cyberbullying. Detecting and so having the opportunity to prevent cyberbullying in open online forums and social networking sites, for instance, requires technology that can automatically detect trollish and thuggish behaviour. Once detected, the problems that victims face might be addressed but more importantly, the cyberbullies might be shut down or otherwise punished.

    Writing in the International Journal of Autonomic Computing, a team from India reveals their algorithm which detects and weighs the words in forums and calculates whether or not particular clusters of words are associated with cyberbullying behaviour.

    The team explains the problem and why it matters so much: "Cyberbullying has emerged as a major problem along with the recent development of online communication and social media. Cyberbullying has also been extensively recognised as a serious national health problem, in which victims demonstrate a significantly high risk of suicidal ideation," they write. They add that "This proposed framework shows better results while the action is to stop the online users becoming the victims of cyberbully."

    Sheeba, J.I., Devaneyan, S.P. and Tata, P. (2018) "Improved cyberbully detection techniques using multiple correlation coefficient from forum corpus", Int. J. Autonomic Computing, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.152–171.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJAC.2018.097620

  • The presence of tiny deposits of calcified tissue in the breast remains an important indicator of early breast cancer. However, the standard diagnostic, the X-ray mammogram, cannot always distinguish between benign tissue artifacts and such microcalcifications because there is a great diversity in the shape, size, and distributions of these deposits. Moreover, there is only very the low contrast between malignant, cancerous areas and the surrounding bright structures in the mammogram.

    Writing in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, a team from Algeria explain how they have devised an effective approach based on mathematical morphology for detection of microcalcifications in digitized mammograms. The approach first extracts the breast area from the image, removes unwanted artifacts and then boosts contrast and eliminates noise from the image.

    The team has now tested their approach on 22 mammograms with a known outcome. They successfully compared the "diagnoses" they obtained with their technology with a radiological expert manual examination of the mammograms. The team says that their approach is quick and very effective, especially in terms of sensitivity. They suggest that a digital analysis of this sort could be used to complement conventional examination of mammograms by a radiologist and perhaps help to reduce the number of false positives and false negatives that occur with X-ray mammography.

    Hadjidj, I., Feroui, A., Belgherbi, A. and Bessaid, A. (2019) 'Microcalcifications segmentation from mammograms for breast cancer detection', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp.1–16.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIJBET.2019.096877

  • The question of how much energy a virus needs to replicate in its host translates into how likely a single infection is to become an epidemic. Writing in the International Journal of Exergy, Sevgi Eylül Ferahcan, Ayse Selcen Semerciöz, and Mustafa Özilgen of the Department of Food Engineering, at Yeditepe University, in Istanbul, Turkey, explain how poliovirus is an RNA virus which proliferates in the host's intestines ultimately leading to a crippling disease.

    Despite its apparent eradication through extensive worldwide vaccination, there have been major polio epidemics in modern times. In 1988, 350,000 cases were reported. The team has calculated mass, energy, and exergy balances to show that the energy and exergy leeched from a host cell by a single virus are 4.65 × 10-19 and 3.35 × 10–17 kilojoules, respectively. During the 1988 epidemic, a total of 1.627 × 10–9 kJ of energy and 1.174 × 10–7 kJ of exergy was exploited by the multitude of viruses in infecting more than a third of a million people. The energy and exergy are used in the biochemical machinations of replicating the virus and its RNA by exploiting the molecular machinery of the host cells.

    These are small numbers in terms of energy and exergy, as such the team argues that it is the almost vanishingly small figures that facilitate the spread of the virus to epidemic levels so readily. It almost makes the disease "going viral" inevitable, the team suggests. As such, it serves as a cautionary tale that we must be ever vigilant as old and new viral diseases emerge or pay the toll in the huge numbers of people that might be afflicted during an epidemic.

    Ferahcan, S.E., Semerciöz, A.S. and Özilgen, M. (2019) 'Extremely small energy requirement by poliovirus to proliferate itself is the key to an outbreak of an epidemic', Int. J. Exergy, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp.1–28.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEX.2019.097269

News

New Editor for International Journal of Healthcare Policy

Prof. Djamel Eddine Laouisset from the Northeastern Institute of Technology in Algeria has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Healthcare Policy.

New Editor for International Journal of Information Systems and Management

Prof. Yue Guo from King's College London in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Information Systems and Management. The journal's previous Editor in Chief, Prof. Eldon Li, will remain with the journal as Honorary Editor in Chief.

International Journal of Computational Materials Science and Surface Engineering Board Member wins national award

Prof. Yanxiong Liu, one of the Editorial Board Members of the International Journal of Computational Materials Science and Surface Engineering, is the second person-in-charge of the project "The Technology and Equipment of Combined Fine Blanking Process For High Precision and High strength Mid-Thick Plate Structural Components", which recently won Second Prize in the 2018 National Technological Invention Award.

The series of innovative achievements of the project has promoted the transformation and upgrading of mid-thick plates from blank production to precision manufacturing, thus greatly increasing the precision performance and production efficiency of mid-thick plate structural components, improving the working environment of workers, and achieving high-quality, highly efficient and green manufacturing.

More details are available here.

International Journal of Comparative Management announces 2017-2018 awards

The International Journal of Comparative Management's Editor in Chief, Prof. K.S. Reddy, after consulting his senior editorial board members, is pleased to announce the following awards for 2017-2018:

  • Best Paper Award: Dr. Saif-ud-Din (King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia), Prof. Vishwanath V. Baba (McMaster University, Canada) and Prof. Louise Tourigny (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, USA) for the following paper: Emotional exhaustion and its consequences: a comparative study of nurses in India and China. International Journal of Comparative Management 2018, 1(1), 65-90
  • Highly Commended Paper Award: Prof. Thierry Warin (HEC Montréal, Canada) and William Sanger (Polytechnique Montréal, Canada) for the following paper: Connectivity and closeness among international financial institutions: a network theory perspective. International Journal of Comparative Management 2018, 1(3), 225-254
  • Outstanding Reviewers for 2017-2018: Prof. Virginia Bodolica (American University of Sharjah, UAE); Assoc. Prof. Sarah Philipson (University of Gävle, Sweden); Prof. Mario Henrique Ogasavara (ESPM: Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, Brazil); Prof. Tanuja Agarwala (University of Delhi, India); Dr. Jones Odei Mensah (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa); Dr. Imlak Shaikh (Management Development Institute Gurgaon, India)

New Editor for International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management

Associate Prof. Li (Juliet) Hui from Tianjin University of Technology in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management.