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  • Research in the International Journal of Procurement Management has looked at donor-funded procurement within Zimbabwe's public health medical laboratory services. The work based on a survey of 221 healthcare professionals and administrative personnel shows that operational efficiency relies mostly on strategic planning.

    Crossman Mayavo and Fanny Saruchera of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, studied the Ministry of Health and Childcare using a mixed-method approach to analyse the data. They applied statistical techniques, such as structural equation modelling, to get the most from the data and to show what were the most important factors influencing procurement effectiveness.

    The team found that the donation recipient planning process is an important mediator that affects the effectiveness of donor-funded procurement. In contrast, the donation implementation process does not affect outcomes to the same degree. The work suggests that strategic planning is critical to success, rather than simply relying on implementation efforts to maximize the benefits of donor-funded projects.

    This work sits in the broader context of the enormous global health funding that is directed towards lower and middle-income countries, especially developing nations in Africa. It also points to the issues of dependency, mismanagement, and corruption that persist across the continent. Mismanagement and corruption can, of course, undermine the improvements finding might bring and are exacerbated by goverment-level challenges and bureaucratic inefficiencies.

    In Zimbabwe, the study shows that effective donor-funded procurement works best if a lead donor is present, if stakeholder collaborations are fostered, if there is transparency in fund allocation, and strong leadership support. In addition, the recruitment of competent personnel is important, as is the efficient management of the necessary logistics. These determinants serve as mediators, significantly enhancing procurement outcomes by bridging the gap between donor recipient planning and actual procurement effectiveness.

    The findings could have implications beyond Zimbabwe. Strategic planning and strong leadership are perhaps obvious components of a successful system and this will apply to other developing nations. The team urges policymakers to cultivate environments that support effective donor-funded procurement and so ensure that their healthcare institutions are not only well-equipped but also well-managed.

    Mayavo, C. and Saruchera, F. (2024) 'Donor-funded procurement determinants and effectiveness of procurement in the public health medical laboratory services: examining the mediating factors', Int. J. Procurement Management, Vol. 20, No. 5, pp.1–19.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJPM.2024.138755

  • Research in the International Journal of Electronic Healthcare has looked at how different monetisation models affect the pricing of health software for mobile devices on the two major app platforms, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The findings from the work could be used by developers, healthcare providers, and users alike to understand the market for such apps.

    Natália Lemos, Cláudia Cardoso, and Cândida Sofia Machado of the Polytechnic University of Cávado and Ave in Barcelos, Portugal, used a censored regression model to pinpoint key factors that determine the price of health apps that users expect to pay. This then points to how additional approaches to monetisation might be used to lower the initial cost of an app, with the likes of advertising-based approaches to revenue generation having the greatest impact.

    The healthcare sector is facing mounting pressure as an aging population faces chronic disease. Moreover, patients are more demanding than ever of their healthcare providers. However, as is almost always the case, budgets and staff are limited resources. New technology might supplement conventional healthcare provision and help patients find ways to improve their quality of life even when suffering from a chronic illness. Indeed, digital and mobile technology have already changed healthcare delivery, improved productivity, efficiency, equity, and quality in many ways. So-called e-Health, which integrates electronic communication and information technology, and m-Health, which focuses on mobile and wireless technologies, are both advancing healthcare provision.

    Many health apps work to make facile connections between patients and healthcare providers. The larger the user base, the greater impact a given platform can have on patients and improve health outcomes for them. But, in order to be economically sustainable, there is a balance to be struck in terms of what the apps offer, the resources they need, and the cost to providers and patients.

    This new work shows that many users are not necessarily happy to pay a large up-front cost for an app, but are happy to see advertising if that keeps the app price low. This effect is more pronounced among Google Play Store users compared to those on Apple's App Store. However, such ad-based models do detract from the user experience as they are a distraction and be a waste of a user's time on the app in question. In addition, there is growing concern that some apps are monetised through third parties, selling on data and information about their users, which brings with it privacy and security concerns, something that is an especially sensitive issue in the health sector.

    The team found, however, that there are alternatives that can make an app economically viable. For instance, if in-app purchases are offered this does not affect whether users will pay a given initial download price but does open up the possibility of additional revenue for providers and developers. This study focused mainly on Europe and more specifically the market for healthcare apps in Portugal. There is thus potential to extend the work to see whether it might be generalised to the wider and obviously vast international app markets.

    Lemos, N., Cardoso, C. and Machado, C.S. (2023) 'Monetisation strategies for health apps: evidence from Apple's App Store and Google Play Store', Int. J. Electronic Healthcare, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.295–310.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEH.2023.138254

  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in global markets is increasing day by day. The results are often mixed, with outcomes influenced strongly by how employees perceive the use of AI within their workplace.

    A study in the International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management has looked at the psychological dimension of the perception of AI and has focused on what might be referred to as AI ambidexterity. This ambidexterity embodies the two sides of AI – its capacity to perform both routine and innovative tasks. —and its impact on breakthrough innovation engagement. Shahan Bin Tariq and Jian Zhang of the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, China and Faheem Gul Gilal of the Sukkur IBA University in Sindh, Pakistan, surveyed 337 employees in Pakistan's high-tech sector and used social exchange theory (SET) and the resource-based view (RBV) to analyse their opinions regarding AI and how difference affect innovation.

    Business is marked by globalization and shifting consumer demands. This has compelled companies to innovate continuously to gain or maintain a competitive edge. Some commentators suggest that the innovative use of AI, is critical to business innovation, and many businesses agree and are investing heavily in this fledgling technology.

    Of course, as with any new technology there are mixed results and outcomes and while there are supporters there are also inevitably detractors. If employees perceive a threat to their livelihoods, then they are perhaps more likely to have a negative opinion towards that threat. Yet, there is also the potential for AI to make their jobs easier in many ways and open up new opportunities for creativity and innovation.

    AI ambidexterity could improve the strategic agility and innovation capacity of many different types of company. The researchers found that there can be both positive and negative employee perceptions, but where the relationship works best seems to be in the concept of hybrid intelligence. In hybrid intelligence, AI's predictive abilities are combined with human intuition and decision-making to solve problems more effectively.

    With transformational leadership, this synergy of human and artificial intelligence might be moderated for the benefit of the companies using it without disenfranchising employees. The study concludes that as AI evolves and matures, a nuanced approach to its implementation and a recognition of its impact on employees in companies using it needs to be taken.

    Tariq, S.B., Zhang, J. and Gilal, F.G. (2024) 'Stepping into the future: unravelling breakthrough innovations through AI ambidexterity, hybrid intelligence, and transformational leadership', Int. J. Information Systems and Change Management, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.3–29.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJISCM.2024.138078

  • Generation Y, Gen Y, is commonly referred to the Millennial generation. It usually includes individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-to-late 1990s or early 2000s. This generation follows Generation X and precedes Generation Z. The Millennials, it is said, grew up during the transition to digital technology and the rise of the internet, and this has shaped their perspectives, behaviour, and the way they use technology and media. They are often characterized as tech-savvy, adaptable, and socially conscious, with a strong affinity for social media and digital communication platforms. However, this can be said of individuals from preceding or subsequent generations too.

    A study in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, has looked at Gen Y consumer attitudes in the light of marketing content on social media. Nor Azimah Kamaruddin of the Universiti Utara Malaysia, and Lennora Putit and Amily Fikry of the Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, have investigated how advertising content, crucial for business and marketing success, seeks to engage audiences effectively.

    The team used qualitative methods, such as focus group discussions, to uncover prevalent attitudes among Millennial social media users and their attitudes to marketing content on Facebook, Instagram, and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

    The team found that attitudes varied from positive (I like), negative (I don't like), and vague (I don't know), as one might have anticipated. Positive attitudes typically stem from content that resonates with the interests of users or their values, leading to actions more "liking" or "sharing" of such content. Conversely, negative attitudes arose from being presented with content that conflicted with user preferences or values. This had the potential to produce a "thumbs down", a dislike, or negative comments. The team found that the "don't-knows" with their vague response to marketing content, were often curious nevertheless and sometimes shared content despite initial uncertainty.

    While, the bottom line in marketing is always about purchasing behaviour and thus sales, the focus has shifted to some degree to concepts such as viral reach, which can lead to widespread content dissemination that then brings with it the sales way beyond conventional campaigns or traditional word-of-mouth. However, marketers face many challenges in understanding what motivates social media users and how to trigger that much sought after virality of content.

    The present study has moved away from the binary "like-dislike" assessment of user behaviour to include those who are virally curious, the vague attitudes and the don't-knows that might lead to viral reach. This new understanding could give business a better way to develop tailored marketing strategies for social media.

    Kamaruddin, N.A., Putit, L. and Fikry, A. (2024) 'I like, I don't like, I don't know: consumers' attitude towards marketing content in social media from Gen Y glasses', Int. J. Electronic Marketing and Retailing, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.308–329.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2024.138300

  • The classic "secretary problem" involves interviewing job candidates in a random order. Candidates are interviewed one by one, and the interviewer ranks them. After each interview, the interviewer must either accept or reject the candidate. If they accept a candidate, the process stops; otherwise, the next candidate is interviewed and so on. Of course, if a candidate is accepted then a subsequent candidate who may well be better suited to the job will never be interviewed and so never selected. Nevertheless, the goal is to maximize the probability of selecting the best candidate.

    Since its introduction in the 1950s, this problem has been researched extensively because it is a fundamental example of optimal stopping problems. Many variants of the problem, such as multiple choices, regret-permit, and weighted versions, have been studied.

    Research in the International Journal of Mathematics in Operational Research has looked at a variant on the secretary problem. Yu Wu of Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, explains that in this variant the interviewer has a "look-ahead privilege" and can see some of the details regarding subsequent candidates before making a decision about the current interviewee at each step. Wu defines the degree of look-ahead privilege as the number of candidates interviewed between the first interview and the final decision.

    In one sense, this version of the problem is a more realistic sequential interviewing scenario wherein the interviewer may well have seen the resumes of all candidates or perhaps even have met them all before the interviewing process begins. This contrasts with the blind sequential interviewing of the classic problem and allows a decision to be deferred until subsequent candidates have been interviewed. It should therefore allow a better decision to be made regarding the choice of candidate who is offered the job. This is the first time this variant has been studied in detail in this way.

    Wu has proposed a general optimal decision strategy framework to maximize the probability of selecting the best candidate. He focuses on a specific look-ahead privilege structure, applying the strategy framework to derive a closed-form probability of success. This provides for an optimal strategy. Computational experiments have been carried out to explore the relationships between the various factors in the process and to show how this variant of the problem can be solved.

    Wu, Y. (2024) 'Decision-making analysis for a new variant of the classical secretary problem', Int. J. Mathematics in Operational Research, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp.305–316.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMOR.2024.138054

  • A review in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution has looked at research into the impact of climate change on the coastal environments of small islands. The study covers the literature from 1985 to 2021, and offers new insights into the deleterious effects of human activities on small island coasts. Lorenzo Carlos Quesada-Ruiz of the University of Seville and Carolina Peña-Alonso of the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, examined more than 500 papers, which focused broadly on North Atlantic and North Pacific islands and highlighted the effects of various human activities on ecosystem services.

    Human actions, including climate change, environmental policy, and tourism, have been identified as important factors that are detrimentally affecting delicate ecosystems. Factors such as increasing populations, technological advancements, and an increase in tourist activities have put increased pressure on small island coastal regions in many different ways. This pressure has disrupted ecosystem balances and led to increased vulnerability to natural disasters and climate extremes.

    In addition, the review shows that of major concern are habitat loss, biodiversity decline, shoreline alterations, and landscape degradation. Activities like maritime trade, fishing, agriculture, urbanization, and infrastructure development have exacerbated the problems and pose ongoing threats to both ecosystems and local populations. Moreover, the looming threat of climate change, with its projections of sea level rise and more frequent extreme storm events, will further compound the vulnerabilities, particularly for islands that have dense coastal populations.

    In their review, Quesada-Ruiz and Peña-Alonso emphasize the importance of understanding the complex interactions between human activities and coastal ecosystems with a view to developing effective mitigation strategies to manage the worst effects.

    For some areas, marine litter, extractive activities, and the lack of management of protected areas, remain underexplored in the research literature. The team points out that there are also methodological gaps, including limited integration of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and sparse utilization of data-driven models. This, their review suggests, highlights the need for more comprehensive approaches to coastal environmental research.

    Quesada-Ruiz, L.C. and Peña-Alonso, C. (2023) 'Studies of environmental coastal impacts in small islands: a review', Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 72, Nos. 2/3/4, pp.99–128.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2023.137972

  • The year 2022 saw the death of composer Monty Norman, perhaps best known for the iconic James Bond theme. 2022 also marked the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise itself with Dr No being the first in a long list of films to use Norman's psychedelic big band sound with the twangy guitar. That same year also saw a legal precedent being set by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in the world of trademarks. US company Danjaq LLC which holds the copyright for the James Bond film franchise successful registered a segment of the James Bond theme as a trademark.

    This trademark decision reflects the evolving nature of intellectual property protection, especially concerning audio branding in the film industry. By securing a trademark for this well-known portion of the original James Bond theme, Danjaq LLC, has shown just how important music and sounds can be for branding.

    Writing in the International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, Alexandros Antoniou of Essex Law School at the University of Essex in Colchester, UK discusses the intricacies of trademark law and how this particular case played out, legally speaking. He points out that for a sound to qualify as a trademark, it must be distinctive enough that the average consumer associates it exclusively with a particular source. Common sounds, such as the two-tone chime of a doorbell or the sound of a cuckoo clock, usually do not reach this legal threshold and so cannot be trademarked. Conversely, aural themes that much longer are usually protected by copyright as creative works. The familiar snippet of the James Bond theme associated with the fictional spy with the licence to kill is recognised around the world and has a strong association with the film franchise. It is sufficiently long as to be non-trivial and short enough to meet the criteria of a sonic trademark.

    Of course, a creative work, even rendered as a snippet, is also covered by copyright law so that nobody can use said work without the appropriate permissions from the holder of the copyright. The dual protection of the James Bond theme through both copyright and trademark law gives the owners of this intellectual property even greater advantages. Copyright protects the original creative work, granting exclusive rights to the creator for a limited period—the creator's life plus 70 years. The trademark protection can be renewed indefinitely, potentially allowing perpetual control over this musical snippet. The owner's of the film franchise can therefore safeguard their sonic identity against unauthorized use and exploit it for profit or other ends almost in perpetuity with legal protection with a view to making a killing. The legal spectre suggests that it's not only diamonds that are forever, after all.

    However, adds Antoniou, the overlap of trademark and copyright protections raises important questions about the balance between protecting intellectual property and fostering cultural innovation. Copyright law aims to promote creativity by eventually releasing works into the public domain, while trademark law can extend protection indefinitely, potentially limiting access to cultural works. The legal decision regarding the James Bond theme highlights the need for careful regulation to prevent the abuse of trademark rights, ensuring they do not stifle creativity and innovation.

    Antoniou, A. (2024) "The registration of an iconic movie theme as a trade mark: only 'diamonds are forever'", Int. J. Intellectual Property Management, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp.300–308.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2024.138332

  • A study in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing has provided new insights into social media influencers, particularly focusing on those in the women's fashion sector on the well-known image and video sharing platform Instagram. In a departure from the approach taken by earlier studies, Jens K. Perret of the International School of Management in Cologne, Germany, has used network statistics and centrality measures to establish a model of influencer importance within their network.

    Perret analysed data from 255 influencers covering a four-year period. Influencers are loosely defined as individuals, or even companies, that have a significant online presence and influence on one or more social media platforms. They typically have a large number of followers and a high level of engagement with that audience in terms of their sharing of content and approval by their fans. Topics such as fashion, beauty, lifestyle, fitness, and gaming have many prominent influencers. Influencers often work with brands to promote products or services to their followers, and so can have an important effect on marketing strategies for companies.

    The work has found four main factors contributing to an influencer's significance: followers, reach, engagement rate, and posting frequency. Through regression analysis and artificial neural networks, Perret examined just how consistent these factors were in affecting the influencer's relationships.

    The practical implications of the work are that it offers a methodology for evaluating an influencer's importance using readily available metrics. This could streamline the influencer selection process for companies seeking to recruit influencers for their marketing campaigns. It also provides solid evidence that could be used in fair compensation negotiations between companies and influencers.

    While the study focused on Instagram, the same approach could work just as well with other social media platforms and even in other cultural contexts. This could open up the possibility of related research into social media dynamics and influencer marketing.

    Perret, J.K. (2024) 'Who influences the influencer – a network analytical study of an influencer's peer-based importance', Int. J. Electronic Marketing and Retailing, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.370–392.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2024.138301

  • As technologists search for approaches to reduce our global carbon footprint and stave off the worst ravages of climate change, they are turning to an old friend – hydrogen. The potential of hydrogen fuel cells for generating power is enormous although not without issues. Writing in the International Journal of Sustainable Aviation, a team from the UK and Romania discusses hydrogen-powered aircraft. The concept of replacing carbon-rich jet fuel with zero-carbon hydrogen is high on the agenda.

    The team has compared the performance of a regional aircraft, the ATR 72-600, using three different propulsion systems: conventional jet fuel, direct hydrogen combustion, and hydrogen fuel cells. Bassam Rakhshani and Tony Leslie of the University of the West of Scotland in Paisley, UK, and Alexandru Stan of Premium Aerotec Ghimbav (Airbus) in Romania used Simulink, a computational tool, to model and analyse power requirements, fuel consumption, propulsion efficiency, and emissions.

    The findings show that hydrogen propulsion, either through direct combustion in a jet engine or using fuel cells, reduces fuel mass significantly. Specifically, hydrogen fuel cells achieve a 50% reduction, and direct hydrogen combustion an 80% reduction compared to traditional jet fuel. This efficiency is attributed to hydrogen's higher energy density when compared to conventional jet fuel. However, the researchers also found a significant drawback: the increased weight from hydrogen storage, which negatively impacts overall aircraft performance.

    The aviation industry is estimated to contribute 2-3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and that percentage is set to double by 2050. There thus remains an urgent need to make aviation more sustainable. As it stands, hydrogen propulsion, alongside electric propulsion, could be the answer, but new technology is needed to overcome that storage weight-gain problem in order to achieve near-zero aircraft carbon emissions.

    The transition to hydrogen-powered aircraft has other challenges: shorter operational ranges with current technology, lower passenger capacity, higher operational costs, and the need for new refuelling infrastructure. There are also the safety issues to consider. Nevertheless, the companies are looking at how they might retrofit their aircraft. It is possible that the development of novel storage systems might address some of these issues.

    Rakhshani, B., Stan, A. and Leslie, T. (2024) 'A steady-state model-based evaluation of performance characteristics and feasibility analysis of retrofit hydrogen-powered aircraft configurations', Int. J. Sustainable Aviation, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.99–123.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSA.2024.138699

  • Research in the World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development discusses how the integration of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing can bring about significant change in agriculture. This point is particularly relevant in South Korea, where there is a growing demand for affordable, nutritious, and healthy food.

    The research by Sean Watts of the International Business Keimyung Adams College at KeiMyung University in Daegu, South Korea, and colleagues in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam, focuses on Samsung as a leading player in IoT and the role it might play in improving efficiency and sustainability in agriculture.

    The team has taken a mixed-methodology approach, including qualitative action-based research, to investigate how a company might expand its IoT services into South Korean agriculture. Surveys conducted with representatives from the South Korean Farmers' Agricultural Association (Nonghyup) identified four promising IoT-based smart grid initiatives. The research points out that despite Samsung's strong brand presence and the potential benefits of IoT, its use in South Korean farming is still limited and not yet widely recognized.

    The combination of AI and IoT could lead to new opportunities for a company well positioned to support farmers in their quest for improved efficiency and the demands of sustainability given the environmental and socioeconomic issues we currently face globally. There is also the potential for consumers to use technological advancements to grow their own food in kitchen gardens and on allotments more effectively. This would extend the benefits of IoT technology well beyond conventional farming environments.

    Globally, a lack of food security affects almost 700 million people where they lack easy and affordable access to sufficient, nutritious, and safe food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In Asia, a grain deficit of 10.8 million tonnes has resulted in well over 300 million people facing food insecurity, a crisis surpassed only by Sub-Saharan Africa. If the global population expands by 1.7 billion by the year 2050, the pressure on food production resources will worsen. Technological solutions might be the only way to continue to put food on the table.

    Watts, S., Hoa, N.T.T., Martens, W., Doan, D.T. and Guzman, A. (2024) 'An examination of internet of things in the South Korean agricultural industry: the case of Samsung', World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.374–396.
    DOI: 10.1504/WREMSD.2024.138282

News

Prof. Dmitry Ivanov appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Integrated Supply Management

Prof. Dmitry Ivanov from the Berlin School of Economics and Law in Germany has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Integrated Supply Management. Prof. Ivanov and Inderscience's Editorial Office send their sincere thanks to Dr. Ajay Das, the journal's previous Editor in Chief, who will remain involved in the journal as a member of its Advisory Board.

Associate Prof. Maoqing Zhang appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Complexity in Applied Science and Technology

Associate Prof. Maoqing Zhang from Henan University of Technology in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Complexity in Applied Science and Technology.

International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets is now an open access-only journal

We are pleased to announce that the International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets is now an Open Access-only journal. All accepted articles submitted from 15th May 2024 onwards will be Open Access, and will require an article processing charge of US $1600.

Prof. Gustavo Alonso appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Low Radiation

Prof. Gustavo Alonso from the National Institute of Nuclear Research in Mexico has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Low Radiation.

International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems' editorial team calls for papers 

The following invitation comes from Prof. Tuğrul Özel, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems, and his editorial team:

We are the editorial team of the International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems (online ISSN 1753-1047; print ISSN 1753-1039), which is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes four issues per year including open-access articles. We are calling for papers for Vol. 17 No. 4 of the journal, and cordially invite you to submit your manuscripts.

You can view the journal's profile here. Instructions on how to submit papers are available under the Submitting Articles tab on this journal webpage. Free sample articles from the journal are available here.

The International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems is indexed by Scopus, Compendex, Academic OneFile (Gale), cnpLINKer and Expanded Academic ASAP, among others. It has a CiteScore of 1.7 (2022).

Please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues and associates.

For any queries, please contact Prof. Tuğrul Özel at ozel@rutgers.edu

Best regards,
Editorial team
International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems