Are You Changing Your Work-Space?

Listen to this postMany companies had redesigned their office space from the traditional set up which have rooms designated for one or two office workers to cubicles or open space design. Some cultures would accept the new set up but others would like to  maintain their privacy in the office. According to Jones (2007), the main purpose of the organizational structure is “to control the way people coordinate their actions to meet organizational goals and to control the means used to motivate people to achieve these goals” (p. 7). The workspace is defined as an organizational resource and is designed to advance the organizational goals (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999). The marketplace especially the international market is influenced and segmented by religion (Wenger, 2004).

Organizations would attract workers who conform with the dominant religion in the organization and in the environment, employees with different religions may face glass ceiling and bear stereotype effect during promotions and salary increase. Wenger (2004) relates religious marketplace theory to the failure of communism to replace religion in China. Religion may have a positive effect from the point view of some (having the same religion) or seen as a hurdle by others. Many companies in the Middle East region are changing their work place set up to cubical or open-space set up similar the Western office layout. The new theories may support the open-space layout and “barrier removal” to enable workers to interact openly but not all agree. New researchers have found that such optimism does not continue when workers find that they lose privacy and independence with it (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007). Another research found employees’ satisfaction decreased after they moved from the traditional office layout to the open-space layout (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007).

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References:

Chan, J. K., Beckman, S. L., & Lawrence, P. G. (2007). Workplace design: A new managerial imperative. California Management Review, 49(2), 6-22.

Jones, G. (2007). Organizational theory, design, and change (5 ed.). New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Vaske, J. J., & Donnelly, M. P. (1999). A value-attitude-behavior model predicting wildland preservations voting intentions. Society & Natural Resources, 12(6), 523.

Wenger, J. E. (2004). Official vs. underground protestant churches in China: Challenges for reconciliation and social influence. Review of Religious Research, 46(2), 169-182.

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Cultural Differences in Business

Listen to this postCultural differences are considered as one of the main reasons for work stress and management conflicts during business relationship development in the U.S and China (Li, 2009). Chinese avoid confrontation especially when the conflict is with someone who holds authorities. The Chinese believe that direct approach with the boss will ruin their relationship with him (Johnston & Hongmei, 2009). Cultural diversity has two dimensions, the first consists of age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual affection orientation which molds the workers self-image and fundamental worldview. The second dimension manipulates the workers self-esteem and definition because it consists of “educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, religious belief” (Edewor & Aluko, 2007, p. 190). The cultural diversity would strengthen the differences between two countries. Globalization help advancing business growth and taping economical resources but cultural differences would limit theses business opportunities. Pinggong (2009) stress the importance of not isolating one culture from the other but to try to relate the cultural experiences and integrate them to have a harmonious organizational culture.

The Islamic culture stress the importance of bonding and team work. Similar to the Chinese culture, the Islamic culture would demand respect and obedience to the superiors and leaders. Most of the Arabic cultures (mostly Muslims) are build on the fundamental of electing an Amire (leader) and then follow the leader whom the community had selected.
Reference:
Edewor, P. A., & Aluko, Y. A. (2007). Diversity management, challenges and opportunities in multicultural organizations. [Article]. International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities & Nations, 6(6), 189-195.

Johnston, L. M., & Hongmei, G. (2009). Resolving conflict in the chinese and U.S. realms for global business entities. (English). [Article]. China Media Report Overseas, 5(4), 22-36.

Li, C. (2009). Managing business relationship development: A cross-cultural perspective. Portuguese Journal of Management Studies, 14(2), 123-147.

Pinggong, Z. (2009). Rethinking the impact of globalization and cultural identity in China. [Article]. China Media Research, 5(2), 25-34


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Airbus Supply Chain Management

Listen to this postHeizer (2009) define supply chain management as the “integration of the activities that procure materials, transform them into intermediate goods and final products then deliver them to the customers”(p. 360). Supply chain management integrates the transportation activates that include the distributions methods with the suppliers and venders then setup a payment system that manage the account payable and account receivables (Heizer, 2009). Supply chain management set up and manage the order fulfillment with the warehousing and inventory control then share necessary information with the suppliers, venders, distributors and the customer when needed (Heizer, 2009).

Ayadi (2009) affirm that part of Airbus success is because of their efficient supply chain management. The supply chain management provides general visibility for the different actors of the organization (Ayadi, 2009). Airbus had more than 1500 contractors distributed in 30 countries and the supply chain management used ensures right parts, systems and hardware are delivered at the right place on time. Airbus supply chain system allows the suppliers and the buyers to exchange the needed information online. The suppliers can display their ability to deliver by filling the right information on the secured website. The supply chain cycle is cover on web site from the first order through procurement to the invoicing and payment finalization (Anonymous, 2010). The suppliers data and their transactions are stored in a “foundation” data bank that help in the decision-making in future transactions (Anonymous, 2010).

Supply chain management has its disadvantages like most of the automated systems.  The Bullwhip effect could affect the Airbus supply chain cycle because of the cycle length and number of steps that go through it. The bullwhip effect is the increase in fluctuation in orders while the orders are steady with minimal fluctuation (Heizer, 2009).

References:

Anonymous. (2010). Airbus for Suppliers  Retrieved Jun 10, 2010, from http://www.airbus.com/en/airbusfor/suppliers/

Ayadi, S. (2009). Externalisation et creation de valeur au sein de la ‘Supply Chain’: L’entreprise etendue. (Outsourcing and Value Creation within the Supply Chain: The Extended Enterprise. With English summary.). La Revue des Sciences de Gestion, 44(236), 85-93. doi: http://www.larsg-revue.com/

Heizer, J., & Render, B. (2009). Operations management (9 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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Acer SWOT Analysis

Listen to this postAcer was founded in 1976 under the name “Multitech” and had a significant role in popularizing the PC use in Taiwan. The Brand name was firmed in 1987 and then Acer switched from technology manufacturer to  world-wide recognized computer brand name.

Strength: Acer has many innovations like the Aspire One laptop that let the user connect to the Net almost anywhere with 8 hours of battery live. Acer presented the Tempo Smartphone series in 2009 to compete in the lucrative mobile phone market.  Acer main factory is located in Taiwan which has low-cost labor and distribution advantage in the US market and Asian market. Acer price its products with low competitive prices to compete with the strong rivals and acquire the low-priced laptop market share.

Weaknesses: the PC, laptop and mobile phone markets are extremely competitive and require frequent innovations to keep up or exceed the customers’ expectations. The laptop customers expect new functions and improved computing power at least once every year. Innovations and changing market demand needs strong and flexible supply chain to execute the successful innovations and deliver them to the market before the competition.

Opportunities: Acer had competed on delivering a reliable PC’s and laptops at a competitive price. Similar market entry model would be useful to enter the eBook Readr market and the iPad© market. Acer would be a good competitor in the eBook Reader market and had the ability to enter a new market of acquire an existing manufacturer. Acer was successful in acquiring Gateway©, emachines and pockard bell (Acer inc., 2010). This success will help Acer to integrate its existing assets or set up new manufacturer to producer eReders or similar products that does iPad functions. Acer can also compete in the Asian market by using its low price model. The Asian market is huge and would consume many of Acer’s products if marketed well.

Threats: the laptop and PC market are extremely competitive. Both products needs management support to invest in the Research and Development departments. Research and development departments would consult between each other to produce new competitive products that can be produced from the current integrated ability for Acer’s subsidiaries. The innovation will continue as long as the workers are compensated and the subsidiaries are willing to compromise for the sake of benefiting the holding company.

To know more on SWOT analysis and how to make one please click here.

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Should I Buy an iPad


iPad with on display keyboard

Image via Wikipedia

Listen to this postI ordered my iPad from a Kuwaiti site called Kuwait- mall because the Appel store was declining my orders on the ground that the available supply of iPad’s was not enough for the US market. So, I waited until the 3G model was available and ordered the highest capacity available. The order was done on May 9, 2010. I received the iPad after 17 days. The US price was $849 (KD245) and I paid KD 289 ($950) which is a reasonable price if you consider the shipping and handling cost. The official price in UK is £699 ($950 or KD300).

iPad (64, WiFi + 3G) KD Kuwaiti $ Dollars £ Sterling
Price in US 246 845 587
Price in UK 293 1,010 699
Price in Kuwait 428 1,475 1,020

The iPad screen resolution is fantastic, I did not know that a screen this clear does exist in the world. Now, while I am looking at what I am typing, I feel like reading clear text from a printed paper, the graphics even better. The keyboard is excellent. I practiced for about half an hour to get used to the keyboard. Now I type at the same speed I would type on a normal keyboard. The auto spell checker and the auto correction make my typing even better because the spell checker would display the full word while I am still typing it, all I need to do is to hit the space bar and the full word Is there. The spellchecker is excellent and the definition function is more convenient. If you are a Mac user you would know what I am talking about.

Most of the available applications are simple but powerful. When you check the iToons store you will find many applications to chose from. Most of applications are reviewed and ranked by users like you who purchased the application and posted their thoughts for others to read. The count reached 180,000 application to choose from but most of those applications are made for the iPhone. The iPhone applications will work on your iPad but with smaller display. There is an option to enlarge the iPhone application by 100% of its size but it would not be as sharp and clear as the iPad applications. iWork applications are the perfect alternatives for the Microsoft softwares: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Pages, Numbers and Notes are available for the iPad and they are powerful enough for a medium user who need the frequently used options to create documents, spread sheets and elegant presentations. iWork applications are stylish, powerful and simple enough to be learned and used by almost everybody. You can import Microsoft files to iWork applications effortlessly. You may see some minor error messages during the file conversions, but most of these error messages are due to the You will not retype or adjust a lot of the imported text and pictures. I imported some files and got the error report but could not figure out what was wrong because the document was fine. You may export your files in the original format or on Microsoft format (doc, ppt, xls) and pdf format that most of the users can import and read. I do not think that I will use Microsoft programs anymore as long as I can.

One of the best features is the iPad battery. I turned it on at 8:00 am and checked it’s power storage at 3:00 pm to find the power meter showing %47. We used the iPad for about 4 1/2 hours during that testing time. I say “we used it” because the kids were playing games on the iPad whenever they see it laying on the table and I am not around.

The iPad is cute, simple and light enough to hide in any bag or envelope. You would have to search for it between your printed materials in the bag! The question most of you are asking now is “Should I buy one?”.  My answer would be “it depends….”. If you are one of those heavy users who use specialized Programs and templets, then the iPad would not satisfy all of your needs. But if you need the iPad for regular use like: email, browsing, bloging, chatting on the Net, or writing stylish and professional documents (or presentations and spreadsheets) then the iPad would be a good choice for you especially of you need your laptop with you everywhere and most of the time.

You may be interested in reading “Are you new to the iPad” in this blog.

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Financial Disclosure: How Much is Enough?

Listen to this postI had a chance to research the “financial disclosure” subject and I found an important article which discusses the information overload related to financial disclosure. Radin (2007) argues against “excessively long financial statement disclosures.”  He cites reasons the accounting profession should be worried about financial statement disclosure overload. He then asserts that there is significant anecdotal evidence that the footnotes to a company’s financial statements are read only by the registrants’ drafters and accountants.  The article is fascinating and surfaces old questions like “How much information is enough?” and “Where should we stop?” the article provokes the need to analyze the usefulness and effectiveness of the current financial disclosures.  Information redundancy and repetition like “If our customers stop buying our product,  sales may decrease” (Radin, 2007, p. 9) should be eliminated and an effective reporting method maybe created to communicate the important disclosed information to the readers. Lately,  marketing expert are able to pass their massages to the public in 30 seconds and cartoonist are able to simplify a complicated issue into a funny drawing, however, accountants are still writing a longer and more complicated reports (Radin, 2007).
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References

Radin, A. (2007). Have we created financial statement disclosure overload? CPA Journal, November, 6-9.

Information Literacy

Listen to this postInformation literacy is a concern in the information age and a life journey one has to take (Agosto, 2005).  The American Library Association‘s (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report stated “a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to find, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Even though most people acquire enough knowledge to survive the day, but almost everybody should be information literate. Information literacy is important because of the overall advancement in knowledge, and the need to synthesize knowledge to generate new solution to emergent problems. Read the full research …


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Preparing the Survey

Listen to this postSocial values and belief systems influence individuals by shaping their attitudes and behavior (O’Donohue & Nelson, 2009). Beliefs must be rationalized and justified to be believed. Values are at the heart of the belief system and difficult to change. Attitude is a hypothetical structure that represents individual’s like or dislike (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999). The influence of values on attitudes and behavior occurs indirectly via other components in the cognitive hierarchy. For example, “basic beliefs serve to strengthen and give meaning to fundamental values” (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999, p. 525) . Read more …

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Case Study: Kuwait National Day

Kids with foam at night

Kids with foam at night photo by Tariq Malallah

Listen to this postThe Kuwaiti citizens celebrate their national day and independence day in a way that do not display patriotism or show a sign of loyalty to their country. The festival is more risky than fun and could develop into more violent occasion in the future. Party foam is sprayed liberally on the celebrating crowd without a concern to their health or safety. The quality of the water used in the water guns could be contaminated or replaced with other harmful liquids. Mixing cars, crowds and drivers with limited visions would definitely lead to undesirable accidents. The eye clinic treated hundreds of celebrating participants. Ambulance transferred many casualties because of the car accidents and teenagers fights. This case study will attempt to highlight the development of such dangerous festival and  suggest a solution that will make almost everybody happy. Read more …

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