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- Emotional intelligence makes the virtual team work
Research from a team in India published in the International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management looks at the notion of "emotional intelligence" in the context of virtual teams. While it demonstrates an obvious relationship, the literature is still in the nascent stage and so precludes solid conclusions.
Anu Singh Lather of Ambedkar University in Delhi and Simran Kaur of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University are well aware that research into emotional intelligence and its effects in virtual teams is still in its infancy and so hoped to offer new insights through a systematic review of the research literature as it stands. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability of individuals to recognize and manage their own emotions, as well as to understand and effectively respond to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into several key components, including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.
These components allow individuals to navigate complex social situations, build strong relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, and communicate effectively with others.
In the public sector, emotional intelligence is particularly important for managers and leaders, who need to be able to build trust and rapport with employees, collaborate effectively with other organizations, and respond to the needs and concerns of the public. By cultivating emotional intelligence, public sector employees can improve their ability to communicate, manage conflicts, and build strong, collaborative relationships with others, ultimately leading to more effective and efficient public services.
There is a wealth of information about how emotional intelligence affects our interactions in the "offline" world, but how it plays out in the virtual environments of online video conferencing, for instance, might well be different. Indeed, many virtual teams are built ad hoc and may exist only transiently unlike the more obvious teams present in the physical workplace. Even those virtual teams that are well-established and meet regularly will most likely have a very different dynamic to a team that meets face-to-face.
The team has reviewed a range of papers published during the first couple of decades of the 21st Century on the subject of emotional intelligence in virtual teams. They find that emotional intelligence is, of course, important. A relationship between virtual team performance and emotional intelligence of the team members was obvious from the research. However, there still remains a dearth of high-quality research published in this area and so we cannot yet extract a clear understanding of the factors that affect emotional intelligence in this online realm.
Given the pressures that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, there will likely be research from the period following the team's original review that will fill some of the gaps in this research field in the coming months and years and provide new insights into the emotional intelligence of virtual teams. If, as they say, teamwork makes the dream work, then emotional intelligence is the back-end code to make the virtual team work.
Lather, A.S. and Kaur, S. (2023) 'Systematic review of emotional intelligence in virtual teams', Int. J. Public Sector Performance Management, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.149–164.
Branding and image are usually something that those with something to sell are obsessed with. If you're marketing a product or service or even just touting your celebrity to gain traction, new opportunities, and lucrative endorsement contracts it is a given, you have to create a brand. So, why are so many consumers also obsessed with this idea of branding, of creating a personal brand, even when they have nothing to sell. Indeed, it is usually the opposite, they are following the marketers and the salespeople with a view to buying.
Writing in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, a team from Germany has considered the notion of "My brand. My selfie"
Anne Mareike Flaswinkel, Markus Rump, and Reinhold Decker of the Department of Business Administration and Economics at Bielefeld University discuss how consumers often take brand-selfies. Photos of themselves with a brand for which they have a liking in close proximity, adorning their bodies, or otherwise prominently on display in the image. Given the modern wont for sharing anything and everything with all and sundry via the ubiquitous world of social media, brand-selfies and opinions can spread quickly. Indeed, it is this kind of activity that underpins something "going viral". Moreover, some consumers even position themselves as brand ambassadors and influencers with a view to gaining benefits associated with a given brand.
The team has carried out a cross-sectional study to identify brand identification as a strong predictor of consumer intention to portray themselves with a brand in a brand-selfie. They suggest that feelings of belonging and reward have a significant impact on such posts. The team has found a distinction between consumer motivations for posting brand-selfies and general selfies. They conclude that this kind of free marketing and advertising, for that is essentially what it is, has implications for marketers looking to incorporate selfie marketing into their marketing strategy.
"In an age when smartphones are an integral part of our daily lives, consumers are more reliant on information technology than ever before," the team writes. "Every day, an increasing number of people use social media and move around in the digital world. For many of us, the idea of life without technology is unfathomable." They add that their work could pave the way to a deeper understanding of the complexity of consumer motivations and offer suggestions on how marketers can benefit from brand-selfies and indeed encourage loyal consumers to increase their loyalty and activity in this context.
"Selfies [and brand-selfies] are a cultural phenomenon and a prevalent component of social media, and it remains relevant to understand why consumers display themselves with brands in such personal images," the team concludes.
Flaswinkel, A.M., Rump, M. and Decker, R. (2023) 'My brand, my self(ie) – why consumers portray themselves in brand-selfies', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 18, Nos. 2/3, pp.310–334.
- Will AI be sinister or singular?
What we might loosely refer to as artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of our daily lives, from mobile phone voice assistants to self-driving cars. That said, many of the tools and technologies we refer to as AI, while seemingly intelligent are actually computer algorithms trained on large amounts of data to perform in a certain way. The chat bots and image generators that are frequently in the news are models that simulate neural networks to create apparently novel content from a prompt or question. We are certainly a long way from the sci-fi notion of artificial intelligence as meaning sentience in machines.
Nevertheless, researchers writing in the International Journal of Smart Technology and Learning have looked at how the concepts of artificial intelligence sit alongside what we perceive as human intelligence. We commonly think of the brain as being the most complicated object in the known universe. It is the result of billions of years of evolution, is self aware and capable of incredible creative and destructive thoughts all seemingly emerging from the interactions of billions of nerve cells within our so-called grey matter.
We know that human intelligence encompasses a wide range of abilities, including problem-solving, learning, creating new ideas, and remembering details…and critically being aware of all of this. In contrast, what we consider to be AI at this point in technological history is defined as systems that can perform tasks that are typically done by experienced humans or can be used to assist less experienced individuals perform certain tasks more efficiently. There is not yet any allusion to sentience in AI.
However, as AI becomes more and more sophisticated could it perhaps advance towards the notion of the singularity put forward by author Vernor Steffen Vinge and later discussed in depth by futurologist Ray Kurzweil? The singularity being the point at which technology does indeed become sentient and then perceives humanity itself as redundant to its wants and needs. As such, there are pressing ethical and moral questions to be answered in terms of whether AI will always be our helpful guide in so many tasks or whether it could eventually lead us to darker place from which humanity might not return.
Even experts in the field are uncertain about how to answer the questions. Of course, if history teaches us anything it is that regardless of whether we answer the moral questions, there will always be people willing to take us down the path that divides us morally and ethically.
In his paper, Jonathan Michael Spector of the Department of Learning Technologies at the College of Information at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, USA, points out that while the human brain may well be the product of millions of years of evolution and is highly adaptable to the "modern" problems we face and capable of finding solutions, physically it has changed very little in many millennia. We are born with the same physiology as our prehistoric ancestors, after all. By contrast, we are almost at the point where AI tools are beginning to improve other AI tools…which some observers see as the next step towards the technological singularity.
Spector hopes his article will trigger conversations about the future of AI and human intelligence. As we continue to develop and integrate AI into our lives, it is, he suggests, very important for us to consider the implications and impact it will have on us as individuals and as a society.
Spector, J.M. (2023) 'Human and artificial intelligence in education', Int. J. Smart Technology and Learning, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.163–167.
- Road traffic accidents and mobile phone addiction
Research in the International Journal of Vehicle Safety looks at the relationship between mobile phone addiction and road traffic accidents in two groups of drivers those who were involved in an accident and those who were not. The team surveyed 240 drivers about their mobile phone use, split between the two groups and found, perhaps obviously, that the drivers who revealed themselves to have an "addiction" to mobile phone use were more likely to have been injured in a road traffic accident than the ones who were not addicted.
Afarin Akhavan and Adel Ashrafi of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the Science and Arts University and Gholam Hossein Halvani, Moein Nemati, and Rohollah Fallah Madvari of the Department of Occupational Health Engineering at the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran, write that road traffic accidents are listed as the leading cause of death by the World Health Organisation with some 20 to 50 million people dying each year in such accidents.
The mortality rate in low-income countries is significantly higher than in richer nations. Iran suffers disproportionately from road traffic deaths, with an incidence of five times the global average. Increasing numbers of vehicles on our roads, changes in lifestyle and driving behaviour seem to be nudging those figures upwards each year. The team hoped to identify a relatively recent factor that may be contributing to the increasing number of deaths on the roads – mobile phone addiction – and focused on one of the regions in Iran, Khuzestan, where the accident rate is notably higher than elsewhere.
Given that earlier research suggests that 93 percent of accidents are caused by human behaviour rather than vehicle or road failure, with tiredness and distractions being responsible for many. Of course, the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited in many places and limited to hands-free use, there is inevitably a large number of drivers who continue to use their devices despite the obvious risks. The demonstration of a direct link between mobile phone addiction and road traffic accidents points to the need for more research into this phenomenon and perhaps ways to combat mobile phone addiction, as well as the need to educate drivers who are users in an effort to reduce the deaths on Iranian roads and elsewhere.
Akhavan, A., Ashrafi, A., Halvani, G.H., Nemati, M. and Madvari, R.F. (2022) 'Relationship between mobile phone addiction and driving accidents in two groups of drivers with and without accidents', Int. J. Vehicle Safety, Vol. 12, Nos. 3/4, pp.344–352.
- AI disentangles quantum patents
A new study in the International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, demonstrates how so-called artificial intelligence (AI) techniques can be used instead of conventional text analysis to disentangle information from a large body of work. Proof of principle was undertaken using a patents database and focusing on research and technologies utilising the field of quantum science. The specific case revealed interesting dynamics concerning global innovation and national organisational profiles pertaining to competition in this area between China and the USA.
Zeki Can Seskir of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Kelvin W. Willoughby of the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Germany, built an operating definition of quantum technology and then used AI to create a global patent database. The approach allowed them to extract pertinent information in this field that could be useful to policymakers and managers looking to understand international innovation in this field. The same approach might work just as well in other fields. The approach blended human analysis and AI processing of the body of work.
Billions of Euros and dollars are being ploughed into the burgeoning area of quantum technology with the aim of bringing discoveries and innovations "out of the lab and into the market".
Quantum technology (QT) refers to a broad range of emerging technologies that build on the principles of quantum mechanics to develop innovative and disruptive applications. Quantum mechanics is a field of physical science that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century as our understanding and experiments with atoms and their constituent parts as well as energy began to evolve. Many of the findings confound common sense and yet reveal themselves to represent a valid model of physical reality in many settings. Indeed, semiconductors, lasers, and transistors, and electronics in general rely on an understanding of quantum mechanics and as our understanding develops so too will the technology.
Quantum technology uses the often paradoxical properties of subatomic particles, such as superposition, entanglement, and wave-particle duality, to achieve things that cannot be done with classical systems based on earlier models of the subatomic realm. Examples of quantum technologies include quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum cryptography, quantum sensing, and quantum metrology, among others. Quantum technology could soon change the way in which finance, healthcare, energy, transportation, and security, are undertaken as well as leading to advances in science and engineering.
Seskir, Z.C. and Willoughby, K.W. (2023) 'Global innovation and competition in quantum technology, viewed through the lens of patents and artificial intelligence', Int. J. Intellectual Property Management, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.40–61.
- A slimline tonic for the pharmaceutical industry
Research in the International Journal of Services and Operations Management, has looked at the pharmaceutical industry in Jordan from the perspective of lean manufacturing practices and operations demonstrating that a lean approach can be beneficial to costs, speed, and reliability in the industry but does not apparently affect quality or innovation significantly.
The concept of lean operations is an approach to manufacturing that emphasizes the elimination of waste and the optimization of efficiency. It was first developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1950s and has since been adopted by many other manufacturers. The goal of lean operations is to create value for customers while minimizing waste, such as overproduction, defects, excess inventory, unnecessary movement, waiting, over-processing, and unused talent. A number of tools and techniques are used to facilitate lean operations, such as value stream mapping, continuous flow, pull systems, standard work, visual management, error-proofing, and continuous improvement.
Abdel-Aziz Ahmad Sharabati of the Business Faculty at the Middle East University in Amman, Jordan, surveyed 116 managers from 10 of 14 Jordanian pharmaceutical manufacturing organizations on how lean operations are used in their organisations. Alongside the above findings, the work also showed that lead-time, setup time, inspection time, and delivery time were significant factors in determining a company's competitive advantage, while inventory was not.
The work suggests that similar research might be usefully carried out in other industries across Jordan and in the pharmaceutical industry in other countries to see whether the findings are more widely applicable. In an increasingly globalised world, this research could help companies recognise what needs to be done to improve their competitive edge in the face of international competition. Of course, for the pharmaceutical industry itself, any such changes in practices and operations must also comply with regulations in the industry at the national and international level.
Sharabati, A-A.A. (2023) 'Lean operations and competitive advantage in the pharmaceutical industry', Int. J. Services and Operations Management, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp.293–316.
- Beyond the Bucks: supporter recognition is key to crowdfunding success
Crowdfunding is an approach to raising money to kickstart a project or business venture. It usually involves soliciting small contributions from a large number of people, often via the internet. The idea behind crowdfunding is that many people can pool their money together to support a project, which can make it possible for entrepreneurs, artists, and other creatives to get the funding they need to turn their ideas into reality. The supporters are often rewarded with early access to a product or service once it becomes available or exclusive rewards, such as special editions, signed versions, or attractive paraphernalia associated with the product or its creators.
The approach allows entrepreneurs and creatives to sidestep the traditional gatekeepers of funding, such as banks and venture capitalists. They can engage with potential investors who have an intrinsic interest in supporting innovative projects and ideas rather than simply looking for a return on a financial investment. Some supporters will even be keen to feel that they are part of a pioneering community around the venture. Another aspect of crowdfunding is that the supporters can give direct and invaluable feedback to the creatives and entrepreneurs about their offering.
Much of the research into crowdfunding that has been carried out over the years, focuses on how trust is established and maintained around the transactions and relationships. Writing in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, an international team considers that "recognition" rather than trust per se should be a focus of theoretical frameworks aimed at improving our understanding of the dynamics of crowdfunding.
Jack Wroldsen of the Orfalea College of Business at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, USA and Djamchid Assadi of the Burgundy School of Business, Campus Lyon, France, explain that recognition, or the sphere of solidarity, is what emphasises the mutual relationships and respect between entrepreneurs and supporters and how these translate into value for the former and meaning for the latter in the realm of crowdfunding. The team has undertaken several case studies to demonstrate where recognition is present or absent and how this impacts the outcomes of a given project. Overall, they suggest that the concept of recognition, rather than trust alone, provides a more accurate and holistic view of crowdfunding.
The team shows that recognition involves nurturing a reciprocal relationship of mutual respect, not simply maintaining trust. In the case study where the crowdfunding relationship was broken, they explain, it was not that erstwhile supporters lost trust in the venture it was that they were ultimately excluded from the community of collaborators, early-adopters, and developers that had built up around the product. They were no longer recognised.
Wroldsen, J. and Assadi, D. (2023) 'Trust is not recognition: an exploration of revolts in crowdfunding', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Vol. 27, Nos. 1/2, pp.1–18.
- Social media impact on government policy
A review and meta-analysis of the appropriate research literature spanning 2010 to 2020, shows that social media has played a significant role in shaping government policies. The work is published in the publication Electronic Government, an International Journal.
Social media refers to websites and applications, mobile apps, that allow users to create, share, and exchange information and content with others in virtual communities and networks. The concept is often referred to as Web 2.0 to contrast it with Web 1.0, which largely involved the traditional model of users passively consuming the output from websites in much the same way as they had for generations of consumers of newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts. Social media gained traction in the early 2000s, with platforms such as Myspace and Friendster, which quickly gathered users and demonstrated some of the potential of this new online realm.
It was not until the launch of Facebook in 2004 that social media began to revolutionize the way people communicate and connect online. Of the services that emerged at the time and soon after, several are still active and represent a large proportion of online activity for many people. These various services are often at the centre of controversial activity. During the period of 2010-2020, social media became even more pervasive and diverse, with platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat becoming so popular that they displaced conventional news and entertainment sources for many people.
Social media is used in a wide range of sectors, including politics, business, education, news, and entertainment. Politicians have frequently exploited social media to help them fulfill their agenda and aspirations. Businesses find new ways to engage with putative customers but occasionally also see the negative impact of going viral when their activities are controversial. The same happens for celebrities and others. In education, social media has been used as a tool for online learning and communication between students and teachers and was a boon during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, some aspects of social media use still retain their utility. In entertainment, social media has become a world of so-called influencers, a new breed of celebrity whose talents may not lie in the traditional fields of art, music, or acting, but nevertheless allow them to gather an audience around them, build a personal brand to whatever end they can imagine.
Now, Achmad Nurmandi, Herpita Wahyuni, Salahudin, and Isnaini Muallidin of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta in Indonesia, and Maria Dolores Guillamon of the University of Murcia in Spain used a method known as meta-modelling to process several hundred documents from the literature published in that decade-long period. They hoped to determine what researchers had found during the period regarding the influence of social media on public policymaking and governance through data acquisition, opinion tracking, fast data processing, and public opinion analysis and measurement. Critically, the work looked at the impact on scientific developments in social media and government policies.
The team writes that "The use of social media in various policymaking processes has had a significant effect." They add that "Open access can make public spaces understandable and help achieve common goals." They conclude that "Future research should examine approaches to making reliable policies and promoting transparency through social media."
Nurmandi, A., Wahyuni, H., Guillamon, M.D., Salahudin and Muallidin, I. (2023) 'Social media use for public policymaking cycle: a meta-analysis', Electronic Government, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp.123–145.
- Finding your feet on civvy street: navigating a second career after military service
A nation's armed forces rely on personnel to defend that nation through their strength, determination, and ability to adapt to modern warfare whether their role is on land, sea, or in the air. In most countries, young recruits join the military willingly as a career choice. There are, of course, some countries that have national service, or conscription. This might also change in times of conflict. Those who sign up are generally well aware that their careers will have a duration that is far shorter than that of someone working in civilian life in general, unless of course, they rise through the ranks to the upper echelons of service, when retirement might come later.
Commonly military personnel will complete their service between the ages of 35 and 50, perhaps having joined when they reached adulthood or shortly thereafter. Civilian employment generally sees individuals reaching "retirement" age in their mid to late 60s, although that age varies considerably and in some places people tend to retire before they reach 60, in others, there is a push to raise the retirement age to 70 to ensure an active workforce in the face of an aging population.
Given the much younger retirement age of military personnel, there is generally a pressing need for those retiring from the armed forces to seek out a second career. These individuals are often highly skilled and disciplined and should be seen as a valuable, national asset with talents that can be used to allow them to earn a good living as well as play their part in society after their military service is complete. However, many veterans struggle to find appropriate second careers. This problem is often exacerbated by physical and mental health problems that may have arisen during active service, for example, in peacekeeping activities or war zones.
The issue of age at retirement can also be a problem for those leaving service later in life and hoping to jump into a new career when they may be many years older than others seeking training and employment in a given sector, such as construction or commercial driving.
A study in the International Journal of Society Systems Science by a team from the Mittal School of Business at the Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, India, has looked at how strategies and principles might be developed to help ex-military personnel, veterans, determine their need and desire for a second career after military service and to assess those aspirations realistically.
The team of Sarabjit Singh Walia and Rajesh Verma suggest that their findings are crucial for society as a whole but in particular for helping veterans who have dedicated their lives to serving their country. The team highlights many of the challenges veterans face when transitioning from the military and finding themselves back on what is colloquially known as "civvy street", in civilian life, in other words. They highlight the need for support and resources to assist with this transition.
The team points out that employers may need education so that they can learn to recognize the value of taking on military veterans and so open up new opportunities where unique skills and experience can be used. Conversely, training for ex-military personnel that focuses on self-employment and entrepreneurship could be a focus for those who see a second career outside the realm of conventional employment.
The work looks specifically at the armed forces of India and reveals the differences in transition needs for those leaving the army, the navy, and the airforce. Although points out that, ultimately, all such personnel, once they change out of their uniforms find themselves in a similar position on civvy street. There is a pressing need to address society's shortcomings in order to help retiring military personnel make a successful transition from service back into civilian life.
Walia, S.S. and Verma, R. (2022) 'Second career – availability and aspirations of ex-servicemen', Int. J. Society Systems Science, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.163–179.
- Seeing greenwashing companies true colours
Research in the International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development shows that there is a gap between the environmental messages given to consumers in verbal or visual form and the perception of and trust in those messages and whether consumers recognise some of them as nothing more than greenwashing.
Greenwashing is a neologism that refers to the scurrilous actions of some companies or organisations using misleading marketing tactics to create a false impression that their products or services are environmentally friendly or sustainable when they are not. The term "greenwashing" is a play on the term "whitewashing," which refers to the practice of covering up or hiding negative information. Greenwashing is used to conceal unsustainable or environmentally harmful practices. If consumers recognise greenwashing, then the company's fake appeal to environmentally conscious consumers in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market will be stymied.
Kenny Basso, Jandir Pauli, Priscila Cerutti, Marcia Perin, Vitor Francisco Dalla Corte, and Leila Dal Moro in the Faculdade Meridional, IMED, Brazil carried out a single-factor experiment. In this experiment, participants were shown either text or image-based materials. The researchers found that those individuals exposed to the text format materials engaged with it far less than those exposed to an image. Indeed, those people presented with images were more likely to be suspicious of greenwashing than the text-only group because they were more likely to engage with the material.
The findings of this study highlight the need for consumers to be wary of greenwashing tactics used by companies. The use of images is more engaging and so makes it harder for greenwashing claims by unethical companies to be accepted by consumers.
As climate change and environmental problems continue to be pressing global issues, it is crucial that companies and consumers work together towards more sustainable practices. This study sheds light on the need for more transparent communication from companies, and the importance of consumers educating themselves and taking a proactive role in buying from companies that do not greenwash their products and services.
Basso, K., Pauli, J., Cerutti, P., Perin, M., Dalla Corte, V.F. and Moro, L.D. (2023) 'Greenwash, show your true colours: how verbal and visual messages influence consumers' perception?', Int. J. Environment and Sustainable Development, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp.210–225.
Associate Prof. Ping Wang appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Computers in Healthcare
Associate Prof. Ping Wang from James Madison University in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Computers in Healthcare.
Prof. Daphne Halkias appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Environment, Workplace and Employment
Prof. Daphne Halkias from École des Ponts ParisTech in France has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Environment, Workplace and Employment.
International Journal of Business and Globalisation is now an open access-only journal
We are pleased to announce that the International Journal of Business and Globalisation is now an Open Access-only journal. All accepted articles submitted from March 2023 onwards will be Open Access, and will require an article processing charge of US $1500.
Associate Prof. Chongying Wang appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Electronic Healthcare
Associate Prof. Chongying Wang from Nankai University in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Electronic Healthcare.
Prof. Omid Mahian appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Renewable Energy Technology
Prof. Omid Mahian from Xi'an Jiaotong University and Imperial College London has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Renewable Energy Technology.