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  • Lean principles and lean management are business principles that aim to make manufacturing and other processes more efficient by only have the absolute requisite resources to hand at the right time in any given stage of the process. Thus, excess starting materials, equipment, and essentially redundant staff do not increase the burden on storage, systems, waste disposal, and other factors any one of which might reduce efficiency and so profits.

    Now, writing in the International Journal of Intelligent Enterprise, a team from India, discusses the implications of running a lean operation on employee job satisfaction. A. Varadaraj and S. Ananth of the Alliance School of Business, at Alliance University, in Bangalore, suggest that "Lean has shown visible effects in enhancing productivity, reducing wastage of time and materials while still maintaining customer satisfaction as well as employee satisfaction." Part of the overall lean philosophy is about people understanding their motives and aspirations and lean relies on always focusing on employee motivation and work performance.

    The team has carried out a detailed survey of employees working in a lean environment and used various statistical tools to analyse the results. They found that employees with a positive attitude coupled with good leadership style both play a vital role in the continuous improvement of lean implementation and have a big influence on job satisfaction. That said, they also found that "A dedicated employee can help the organisation to achieve its goals and benefits only when the leadership appreciates their contribution in the workplace."

    In order to be most effective, there has to be good awareness among employees of how lean can benefit them and the company they work for in different ways, training and management must also be positively linked to the whole ethos and what is commonly referred to as work-life balance must be maintained at an optimal level for the sake of employee job satisfaction and to the benefit of the organisation.

    Varadaraj, A. and Ananth, S. (2020) 'The effect of lean on job satisfaction', Int. J. Intelligent Enterprise, Vol. 7, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.137–154.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIE.2020.104651

  • Marriage and motherhood are almost universal in India, writes a team from Amity University. They then ask in the International Journal of Gender Studies in Developing Societies, whether women have a choice in this matter or whether society so effectively defines their roles almost from birth that the majority do not recognise that there is a choice at all.

    Priya Gupta of the Amity School of Fine Arts and Mili Sharma Amity School of Communication additionally ask whether those women who are in fact career-oriented can enjoy motherhood without marriage. They have studied the issues via focus group discussions, spread across four strata in the hope of answering some of the questions that face women in Indian society as it develops. They introduce the concept of "single mothers by choice" or what one might more colloquially call "choice moms" in a pseudo-American vernacular. Moreover, they argue the case of a choice for career women in India to use surrogacy and in vitro fertilisation for their aspirations of motherhood outside of marriage.

    Those involved in the study were well aware that many women sacrifice their burgeoning careers to marry and have children. But, they were also aware of celebrity women who had taken unconventional routes to motherhood. Various advantages were perceived by the women in the study of unconventional approaches.

    Most respondents believed that their feminine identity can remain intact, and they can retain their independence by side-stepping marriage in their lives, which challenges the patriarchy. However, many were torn on the idea of motherhood without marriage, or even a male partner, given society's entrenched views on such matters. Indian society is changing, but there remain obstacles in the path of women hoping to have a career, avoid marriage, but still take the option of becoming a mother.

    Gupta, P. and Sharma, M. (2020) 'Role of media in motivating career-oriented females in challenging the norms of patriarchy', Int. J. Gender Studies in Developing Societies, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp.243–255.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJGSDS.2020.104605

  • Virtual reality could be used as a powerful marketing tool for urban tourism. Natasha Moorhouse of the Faculty of Business and Law at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom discusses the details in the International Journal of Technology Marketing.

    "In an increasingly complex and global marketplace, it is vital that urban tourism destinations develop novel marketing strategies to differentiate, remain competitive, and ultimately attract and retain visitors to facilitate long-term tourism growth," she writes. Virtual reality has been long anticipated in tourism marketing, offering those selling destination experiences the opportunity to share the wonders of different places from the comfort of the travel agent office or even the holidaymaker's home. But, adoption has been slow despite the potential. Marketers need to understand better the possibilities of these tools as well as their limitations in order to give consumers the best opportunities.

    Moorhouse's work contributes exploratory work that could offer valuable insights into the various factors associated with virtual reality tools in this context. She puts particular emphasis on the marketing of urban destinations. Virtual reality will remain a challenge for many tour operators and the public perception of such systems may well slow the uptake. However, there is also the potential for embedding virtual reality into the detailed planning of a trip allowing the traveler to investigate places in detail before they map out their itinerary.

    Of course, it might be in the age of lowering our collective carbon footprint, that virtual reality tourism could be a less costly alternative to travel, both financially and environmentally.

    Moorhouse, N. (2019) 'Virtual reality as an urban tourism destination marketing tool', Int. J. Technology Marketing, Vol. 13, Nos. 3/4, pp.285–306.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2019.104599

  • Data mining and extraction of knowledge from disparate sources is big data, big business. But, how does the search software cope with entities that are mentioned where only part of their name is used or a name is hyphenated when it normally isn't? Research published in the International Journal of Intelligent Information and Database Systems reveals details of a new approach to improving named entity recognition and disambiguation in news headlines.

    Jayendra Barua and Rajdeep Niyogi of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, at the Indian Institute of Technology, in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India, explain that their approach to such an analysis of current news headlines builds on a trained algorithm that has been taught to remove the hyphens and complete incomplete names to remove ambiguity.

    The team's evaluation of their novel approach shows that it works with approximately 10 percent greater accuracy than conventional systems and so could improve the automated retrieval of news associated with particular companies, organizations, events, public figures, and other entities of interest to those data mining the news. The system works well with newsfeeds, such as the RSS type of newsfeed generated by regularly updated websites. Headlines from such sources might commonly be longer than conventional newspaper headlines but are nevertheless succinct, commonly being ten or fewer words long. Each word might then be important in a data mining context and so disambiguation is critical.

    Barua, J. and Niyogi, R. (2019) 'Improving named entity recognition and disambiguation in news headlines', Int. J. Intelligent Information and Database Systems, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.279–303.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIIDS.2019.104530

  • A new study by researchers in the USA suggests that the use of social media can sometimes have a negative impact on a work project and sometimes correlate positively with success. Writing in the International Journal of Information Technology and Management, the team suggests that using one of the most well-known social media systems, Facebook can have a negative effect on project success whereas LinkedIn has a positive effect.

    Joseph Vithayathil of the School of Business at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Majid Dadgar of the School of Management at the University of San Francisco, and Kalu Osiri of the College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, based their conclusions on an empirical study that analysed the relationship between the use of social media at work and project success at work.

    It is well known to employers and employees that workers somehow find time during working hours to use Facebook, LinkedIn, personal Google Mail, Youtube, and many other apps and services unrelated to their work. There are numerous examples of employees being fired for using online services during the working day for personal reasons, such as online shopping, sharing photos and updates, and simply chatting to friends. The rationale is that the use of such services will inevitably have a detrimental effect on work and project success, individual implications for morale aside. Social media use continues unabated regardless of employer perception.

    However, the US team has shown that for educated employees their use of LinkedIn, which is often considered a more business and work-related social media platform, correlates positively with project success at work. It may well be that this particular social media service is considered less flippant than others and is used for creating and building contacts at the professional level as well as gaining information pertinent to one's employment.

    Vithayathil, J., Dadgar, M. and Osiri, J.K. (2020) 'Does social media use at work lower productivity?', Int. J. Information Technology and Management, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp.47–67.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJITM.2020.104504

  • Millions living on the Indian sub-continent aspire to ownership of the technological breakthroughs, smartphones, tablet computers, etc that are now almost ubiquitous in other countries. The question of sustainability arises as does the notion of a so-called "green" economics when considering the huge numbers involved.

    A new report in the International Journal of Green Economics, discusses one aspect of technology that might allow such issues to be addressed to some extent. Namely, the idea that a large proportion of the population with disposable income is keen to own and use such technology but also quite well aware of the consequences in terms of material resources, waste and pollution, and climate change. Might those born in the two to three decades from the mid-1960s onwards, the so-called "Generation X" and their successors the "Millennials" perhaps be more inclined to take a refurbished mobile phone rather than a brand-new gadget in the name of "saving the planet".

    Prathamesh Mhatre formerly of Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences in Bangalore and Hosur Srinivasan Srivatsa of the M.S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, in Karnataka, India, point out that in the face of consumer pressure born of environmental concern, many companies have been forced to implement refurbishment, recycling, and reuse strategies. This not only gives them a new market but will hopefully have the benefits that consumers are hoping to see in terms of an improved environment.

    The team surveyed people born after the so-called "Baby boom" of 1946 to 1964, thus during the approximate periods 1964 to 1980 and then onwards to about 1997, representing "Generation X" and the "Millennial" generation. They looked at purchase intention of people in those two groups living in metropolitan cities of India and analysed their data using Structural Equation Modelling.

    "Attitude towards refurbishment, perceived risk and perceived benefit have a significant impact on the purchase intention of Generation X consumers," the team found. Gen X consumers seek direct benefits from purchasing refurbished phones, in other words. "By contrast, the results for Millennials show that product knowledge, perceived risk, attitude towards refurbishment and subjective norm significantly impact their purchase intention, the team reports. The results contradict earlier studies that suggested that behavioural control does not affect purchase intention and suggests that theoretical models do not always assess different demographics correctly.

    Mhatre, P. and Srivatsa, H.S. (2019) 'Modelling the purchase intention of millennial and Generation X consumers, towards refurbished mobile phones in India', Int. J. Green Economics, Vol. 13, Nos. 3/4, pp.257–275.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJGE.2019.104512

  • A new approach to encryption could improve user perception of cloud computing services where the users are concerned about private or personal data being exposed to third parties. Writing in the International Journal of Cloud Computing, the team outlines a proposed homomorphic encryption system.

    Homomorphic encryption was developed more than a decade ago and represented something of a significant breakthrough in security. By definition, it allows computations to be carried out on a ciphertext (the user's data in the cloud service, for instance), generating an result that is still encrypted but when decrypted by the user matches exactly the result that would be obtained if the same computational operations had been carried out on the user's plain-text as opposed to the uploaded ciphertext. It is thus very useful for ensuring the privacy of data uploaded to cloud and other outsourced computer services.

    Despite all the benefits of cloud computing, the very nature of the services wherein a user by necessity must share data with a third party, the cloud service provider, means that there are endless issues of trust. Indeed, many users have not adopted cloud services because they recognise that those services being in a different domain to their own personal or private system offers malicious third parties an opportunity to access their data in a way that would not be possible if that data were held only on the user's domain. The use of sophisticated tools such as homomorphic encryption adds a layer or reassurance that should open up cloud services to all but the most neurotic of user at least within limits.

    Swathi, V. and Vani, M.P. (2019) 'Secure cloud computing using homomorphic construction', Int. J. Cloud Computing, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.354-370.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJCC.2019.104498

  • Scientists working in medical research, biology, cellular studies, and in understanding bacteria and other pathogens often need to know about temperature rises and falls in the systems on which they focus. Many processes involve heat production and tracking those changes can get to the core of understanding a process, diagnosing a disease or perhaps investigating whether a pharmaceutical, such as an antibiotic, will work.

    Now, Joohyun Lee and Il Doh of the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, in Daejeon, South Korea, have developed a tiny device that measures otherwise undetectable heat changes. They describe their "chip calorimeter" in the International Journal of Nanotechnology. The devices is based on a thermopile made from bismuth and aluminium and can detect sub-microwatt changes in the energy levels, and thus the heat generated by very small scale systems such as cell samples or bacterial cultures.

    The chip calorimeter measures 8 by 10 millimetres and comprises four identical measurement units. A platinum electrode to generate heats in the centre and two thermopiles on both sides of the heater and maintains the device at a known temperature within a range of 20 millikelvin, this is technically the furnace and acts as a baseline for the system so that any heat increase from a sample can be detected. The whole device is supported on a membrane of silicon nitride just 1 micrometre thick. "Any heat generation by sample or heater in the area of the inner thermopile connection induces temperature difference between the outer and the inner connections so that it produces voltage signal measurable with a nanovoltmeter," the team explains.

    The chip calorimeter could ultimately be employed in measuring metabolic heat of cells for antibiotic research, changes in environmental samples, and temperature changes associated with disease for diagnosis, the team writes.

    Lee, J. and Doh, I. (2019) 'Development of chip calorimeter based on Bi/Al thermopile for biological sample measurement', Int. J. Nanotechnol., Vol. 16, Nos. 4/5, pp.281–288.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2019.104473

  • Predicting the damage caused by a hurricane might be possible thanks to an analysis of semantic web resources, according to work published in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering.

    Quang-Khai Tran and Sa-kwang Song of the Department of Big Data Science at the University of Science and Technology in South Korea, explain that they have created an algorithm trained with reported damage from 48 sites in the USA hit by five different hurricanes. The algorithm can then show the damage that would be seen six hours after landfall of other hurricanes based on the statistics. It works well even with sparse and incomplete data sets, the team reports, which could be important in the face of climate change and very variable weather reporting.

    "[The system] was able to estimate the damage levels in several scenarios even if two-thirds of the relevant weather information was unavailable," the team writes. Of course, additional information and training can only improve the system.

    In the current version of the algorithm, the team explains that their statistical components should ultimately be able to cope with real-time streaming data with some additional development of a kind outlined in the paper. The system might then be able to predict damage should we once more see hurricanes of the scale and devastation of Katrina in the USA in 2005, cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, and super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.

    Tran, Q-K. and Song, S-k. (2019) 'Learning pattern of hurricane damage levels using semantic web resources', Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp.492–500.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJCSE.2019.104435

  • Researchers in China have investigated what we mean by "information overload" in the context of a social media application, WeChat. Their findings have implications for those who use and run such services as well as other researchers in the field and psychosocial practitioners.

    Writing in the International Journal of Mobile Communications, the team reports how the amount of information received and the length of content correlates with user perceptions of information overload as one might expect. However, the number of subscriptions within the service that a user has was not a significant factor in this perception. However, the perception of information overload was associated with negative emotions and an increased (but ongoing) intention to discontinue usage. Negative emotions and this urge to disconnect from the service was higher with a higher level of experience.

    Information overload has been defined as the point at which users of any given service receive so much information in a short space of time that they no longer have the capacity to process all of that information satisfactorily and this leads to stress or anxiety and diminished decision-making ability for those people.

    "Living in a [so-called] digital society, we are bombarded with information whether or not we actively seek it," the team writes. "We are all affected by the increasing number of sources from which information emanates." They add that "Recognising the antecedents and consequences of information overload can help us to prevent it or at least deal with it."

    Zhang, X., Ma, L., Zhang, G. and Wang, G-S. (2020) 'An integrated model of the antecedents and consequences of perceived information overload using WeChat as an example', Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp.19–40.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2020.104419

News

New Editor for Latin American Journal of Management for Sustainable Development

Associate Prof. Luciana Oranges Cezarino from the Federal University of Uberlandia in Brazil has been appointed to take over editorship of the Latin American Journal of Management for Sustainable Development. She will be joined by a new Executive Editor, Prof. Lara Bartocci Liboni of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

New Editor for International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising

Associate Prof. Jesús García-Madariaga from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising.

New Editor for International Journal of Ocean Systems Management

Prof. José António Correia from the University of Porto in Portugal has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Ocean Systems Management.

New Editor for World Review of Intermodal Transportation Research

Associate Prof. Violeta Roso from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden has been appointed to take over editorship of the World Review of Intermodal Transportation Research.

New Editor for International Journal of Management in Education

Dr. Vesna Skrbinjek from the International School for Social and Business Studies in Slovenia has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Management in Education. The previous Editor in Chief, Prof. Dr. Dušan Lesjak, will remain with the journal as Honorary Editor.