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environmental systems in the past five years. Summarize the techniques used, the assumptions and limitations faced, the potential for error and how it was minimized, and the lessons learned.
Scope/Direction of the Research
The scope of the study extended to a review of relevant studies published within the last 5 years to provide an overview and recapitulation of the techniques that have been used in recent years to study the development of environmental systems, the assumptions and limitations that have been encountered along the way, the potential for error and how it was minimized, and the lessons learned from these efforts. The development of environmental systems includes various geospatial technologies, alternative energy systems, and other technological solutions that are designed to interact with and monitor the earth’s natural environment. This analysis is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.
Potential Limitations of the Research
A potential limitation of this research project was the lack of relevant scholarly studies on this topic as well as the 5-year time constraint involved which excluded several on-point studies from being included in the analysis. The search protocols employed for this purpose included Boolean searches using key words such as “environmental systems,” “quantifiable risk,” “risk management,” “analytical methods,” and various permutations of these search terms in reliable online research resources such as EBSCO and Questia, using various delimiters such as the timeframe of the published studies. Another potential limitation of the research concerned the potential for recent innovations in research approaches used to study the development of environmental systems in the pasts 5 years to be overlooked during the research process, especially given the lag between original research and the time required to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Finally, a potential limitation encountered during the research process was dynamic nature of the technologies that are currently being used, with innovations being introduced on a daily basis that can have profound effects on the utility of existing research methods.
Purpose of the Research
The purpose of this study, as noted above, was to compare and contrast the research approaches used to study the development of environmental systems in the past 5 years, as well as the assumptions and limitations that have been experienced, the potential for error in such systems and how they were minimized, as well as what lessons were learned from these efforts.
Summary of Research Techniques used to Study Environmental Systems
Quantitative Risk Assessment
It has become axiomatic in the business world and scientific community alike that in order to improve something, it must first be measured and this is also the case with the quantitative research techniques that have been used in recent years to develop environmental systems. According to Neuman (2003), quantitative research uses “information in the form of numbers” (p. 542). Environmental management research uses a variety of quantitative research methods for risk assessment applications, including potential risk to human health as well as the environment as a result of anthropomorphic activities (Autenrieth, 2012). Likewise, quantitative risk assessment of environmental risk factors is a fundamental unit of analysis for environmental researchers (Leyk, Phillips, Smith & Nuckols, 2011). The quantitative data that results from these analyses can provide decision-makers with the information they need to conduct the requisite cost-benefit and what-if type scenario analyses, and to allow scarce resources to be focused where they will provide the maximum return on their investment (Autenrieth, 2012). Moreover, because the quantitative risk assessment method can use existing epidemiological data to measure the impact of exposure of different environmental threats on different populations, no new research is required to use this method with archived data (Corvalan, Briggs & Zielhuis, 2009).
Other increasingly popular applications of quantitative risk-assessment research methods for environmental management research include formulating timely and efficient responses to environmental disasters such as oil spills (Autenrieth, 2012). In sum, then, the quantitative risk assessment approach is “the application of a statistical relation between exposure and the associated health outcome to assess either the health risk to a population or the exposure level associated with a given risk” (Corvolan et al., 2009, p. 120).
Biomonitoring research that uses quantitative data has also become an increasingly valuable tool for environmental systems development. According to Vandenberg, Chahoud, Padmanabhan, Paumgartten and Schoenfelder (2010), biomonitoring research involves collecting the quantitative data that is needed to conduct toxin exposure assessments, an approach they maintain helps to identify health threats that might otherwise go undetected. In this regard, Lakind, Barraj, Tran and Aylward (2008) report that, “The risk assessment paradigm, which serves as the basis for public health evaluations and actions with respect to environmental chemicals, requires not only an assessment of the potential toxicity of a chemical but also an estimate of human exposure” (p. 61). With respect to their application in environmental system development and analyses, biomonitoring relies on human-produced evidence to provide the data needed to formulate expert interpretations and recommendations. In this regard, Lakind et al. define biomonitoring as “the direct measurement of chemicals or their metabolites in blood, urine, or other bodily fluids or tissues, is becoming an increasingly common exposure assessment tool” (2008, p. 61). The application of biomonitoring research methods fro environmental systems to date have confirmed their efficacy and a growing body of evidence supports the use of biomonitoring for other environmental system development efforts as well (Vandenberg et al., 2010).
Geographic Information Systems
Other research methods used to develop environmental systems in recent years that have relied on quantitative data include geospatial technologies such as geographic information science or systems, remote sensing and global positioning systems (Lambert, Munro-Stasiuk, Czajkowski, Benko et al., 2008). In recent years, geospatial technologies have been applied to the development of environmental systems for forestry, water use, wildlife management and agricultural practice, among others (Hoalst-Pullen & Patterson, 2010). According to Satapathy, Katpatal and Wate (2008), geospatial information technology systems are increasingly important research tools that can help decision makers better understand the implications of current and projected human activity on the environment. According to the definition provided by Suit, geospatial technologies are “an amalgamation of several technologies, including but not limited to remote sensing, GIS, GPS, and related fields such as computer mapping, spatial modeling, and data visualization” (p. iii). The use of geospatial data dates to the mid-to late 20th century, but serious environmental management development systems were not realized until around the turn of the century (Sui, 2007).
These geospatial research methods represent the cutting-edge of environmental system development today, and new applications continue to be identified (Sui, 2007). For example, Haining, Kerry and Oliver (2010) report that, “Geostatistics is a distinctive methodology within the field of spatial statistics. In the past, it has been linked to particular problems (e.g., spatial interpolation by kriging) and types of spatial data (attributes defined on continuous space)” (p. 7). Originally developed in France in the 1960s (Goodchild, 2008) for use in the mining industry (Gething, Noor, Gikandi et al., 2008), geostatistics has become the most widely used research method by geostatisticians because of the fundamental nature of the quantitative data that is involved (Haining et al., 2010).
The research method used by geostatisticians, though, is distinguished by several differences from the methods that are generally used by geographers for analyzing spatial variations that are associated with regional data (Haining et al., 2010). In this regard, geostatistics include a wide array of tools and modeling methods that can be used with researching various environmental management scenarios including:
2. Determination of the scale of spatial variation;
3. Design of sampling for primary data collection;
4. Smoothing of noisy maps;
5. Region identification;
6. Multivariate analysis; and,
7. Probability mapping (Haining et al., 2010).
The application of geostatistics to environmental research also has a growing body of evidence in support of its efficacy and continued use for these purposes (Haining et al., 2010), a process that will likely accelerate in the future as access to timely geospatial data becomes more widespread. Moreover, this process is being facilitated by the placement of geospatial research tools in “the cloud,” in online venues. In this regard, Internet-based GIS has describes GIS services that employ the Internet as their primary means of accessing data, conducting spatial analyses, and providing interactive services related to geographic information (Yao & Zou, 2008). Geostatistics are also increasingly being used to help identify optimal placements for wind turbine generators in wind farms throughout the United States and elsewhere (Dincer & Rosen, 2007). According to Dincer and Rosen, “Energy and exergy efficiency models for wind generating systems are used to produce exergy monthly maps. With these map for a specific system, exergy efficiencies in any location in a considered area can be estimated using interpolation” (p. 196).
Besides the foregoing approaches, a growing number of companies around the world are basing their environmental system development efforts on the analytical framework provided by ISO 14001 (Zsoka, 2007). The ISO 14001 framework provides a number of auditing and other analytical tools that companies can use to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate their compliance with governmental regulations as well as the provisions of ISO 14001 itself (ISO 14000 essentials, 2012). Although the research tools provided by the ISO 14001 framework are both qualitative and quantitative, this approach is consistent with the guidance provided by Neuman (2003) who points out that, “Both qualitative and quantitative research use several specific research techniques (e.g., survey, interview, and historical analysis), yet there is much overlap between the type of data and the style of research. Most qualitative-style researchers examine qualitative data and vice versa” (p. 16). Indeed, researchers have used qualitative and quantitative surveys to assess consumer reactions to proposed environmental initiatives at the local level (Neuman, 2003).
In fact, quantitative and qualitative research methods are characterized by a number of similarities that lend themselves to environmental systems analyses and development (as well as some differences) (Neuman, 2003). The distinct differences in the qualitative and quantitative research suggest that the use of quantitative data for environmental system development is highly appropriate, but that such data must be interpreted by taking into account a wide range of potentially qualitative factors that will not be possible using one approach to the exclusion of the other research approach (Neuman, 2003).
A summary of the foregoing research methods for environmental system development is provided in Table 1 below.
Summary of Research Methods Used for Environmental System Development: Past Five Years to Date
Quantitative risk-assessment methods
1. Risk assessment for potential risk to human health;
2. Risk assessment for potential damage to the environment from manmade activities;
3. Formulating timely and efficient responses to environmental disasters such as hazardous waste spills and their management.
4. Biomonitoring and exposure assessments of environmental threats to human health (Vandenberg.et al., 2010).
Two types are quantitative risk assessment methods are available that make it valuable for environmental system analyses:
1. Risk analysis. The first type of quantitative risk assessment involves computation of the risk corresponding to a given level of exposure or dose; for example expressed in terms of excess risk or the number of extra disease cases.
2. Hazard analysis. The second type involves calculation of the exposure or dose corresponding to a given level of risk; for example the exposures estimated to cause adverse health outcomes in a certain percentage of exposed subjects (Carvalan et al., 2009).
Geospatial technologies is an umbrella term that includes:
1. Remote sensing,
4. Computer mapping,
5. Spatial modeling,
6. Data visualization (Yao & Zou, 2008); and,
7. Wind farm siting (Dincer & Rosen, 2007).
.In addition, Internet-based GIS is becoming increasingly accessible to business, governments and consumers around the world as well (Yao & Zou, 2008).
These technologies rely on global information and positioning systems to create maps and three-dimensional visualizations, among other applications (Yao & Zou, 2008). The use of geospatial data by geostatistics for environmental system development include the following:
2. Determination of the scale of spatial variation;
3. Design of sampling for primary data collection;
4. Smoothing of noisy maps;
5. Region identification;
6. Multivariate analysis; and,
7. Probability mapping (Haining et al., 2010)
ISO 14001 framework
The standards and guidelines in the ISO 14001 framework that address specific environmental aspects, include the following:
2. Performance evaluation,
3. Life cycle analysis, and
4. Communication and auditing (ISO 14000 essentials, 2012, para 1).
The two standards, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004 deal with environmental management systems (EMS). ISO 14001:2004 provides the requirements for an EMS and ISO 14004:2004 provides general EMS guidelines (ISO 14000 essentials, 2012).
In sum, then, the research methods used during the past 5-year period have included conventional risk-assessment methods using quantitative data as well as biomonitoring techniques, geospatial data analytical methods such as geostatistics, and the qualitative and quantitative methods provided by the ISO 14000 family of environmental management evaluation and auditing tools. Each of these systems has its respective advantages and drawbacks, though, and these issues are discussed further below as they apply to their application in developing environmental systems.
Assumptions and Limitations Encountered in Developing Environmental Systems
Assumptions. Any type of research enterprise will require some fundamental assumptions about the phenomenon being modeled, and the enormous array of variables that affect environmental systems makes such research problematic from the outset. Indeed, identifying what should be measured and how it should be measured requires a comprehensive knowledge of the most salient environmental factors that are involved, but even the most careful approach cannot predict every possible outcome in such complicated systems.
Limitations. Many of the limitations that have been encountered in developing environmental systems using geospatial data have been associated with a paucity of timely and accessible data, as well as expert interpretation of this data (Satapathy et al., 2008). Although there are a growing number of uses for geospatial data, Satapathy and his colleagues (2008) cite a lack of access to such timely data, at least in India. This view is countered by the report from Sui (2007) that found geospatial data is readily accessible, at least in the United States, and that these technologies will continue to redefine how environmental systems are developed in the future. Furthermore, Goodchild and Janelle (2004) report that a number of other research tools have become available in recent years that provide geospatial data directly to researchers and consumers alike, including Space Imaging Inc. IKONOS (launched in 1999) and Digital Globe’s Quickbird (launched in 2001). Both of these systems provide commercial satellite imagery products that are offered to the general public and the research community (Goodchild & Janelle, 2004). Despite its increasing availability, there remains a lack of expert interpretation of geospatial data that takes into account the specialized needs of local communities (Brinegar & Popick, 2010).
According to Brinegar and Popick, the world’s 200 or so countries are defined by arbitrary geopolitical lines drawn on the globe, and these boundaries continue to shift, making the analysis and interpretation of geospatial data especially challenging. In this regard, Brinegar and Popick report that the need for defined areas is an essential requirement for developing environmental systems that take into account population growth trends and other human factors, but these analyses are complicated by the fact that such human-created boundaries tend to change over time. According to these analysts, “Unfortunately, human-defined boundaries vary over time and among data sources, complicating geographic inquiries. Spatial data issues occur, for example, when municipal boundaries expand and diverge from static census blocks, or when variables of interest are recorded in noncontiguous geographic units” (Bringer & Popick, 2010, p. 273).
These are increasingly salient issues in the application of geospatial data to environmental systems that focus on anthropomorphic impacts over time. This type of research has become possible in recent years through sophisticated modeling applications that include both geospatial as well as temporal data in formulating a variety of potential scenarios (Goodchild, 2008). Indeed, Goodchild even goes so far as to characterize this type of environmental system research as a “paradigm shift” and emphasizes that this trend is driven in large part by the introduction of specialized software for this purpose, among other compelling reasons. According to Goodchild, this trend is “driven in part by a new abundance of spatiotemporal data, in part by the development of improved methods of analysis and improved software tools, and in part by the realization that the dynamic aspects of the Earth’s surface are in many ways more interesting and important than the static aspects” (2008, p. 312).
Moreover, although several approaches have been developed to help resolve these constraints, there remains a need for comparative studies to determine the accuracy of these models in real-world settings (Bringer & Popick, 2010). These arbitrary geopolitical national boundaries have also adversely affected the ability of geospatial data to be used for environmental system development for more effective disease control methods (Leyk et al., 2011). .In this regard, Leyk and his associates (2011) emphasize that recent attempts to analyze geospatial data over time have been impacted by the influence of regional risk factors include climate and the prevailing socioeconomic conditions. According to these researchers, “Often the unit of analysis for such studies are administrative reporting units (states or larger) used in disease reporting, resulting in highly aggregated outcomes with limited representation of the underlying environmental phenomenon that might be more realistically reflected by analytical units defined by natural barriers, ecological systems, and other important factors in pathogen occurrence, exposure, and transmission” (Leyk et al., 2011, p. 224).
Similarly, a recent study by Goovaerts (2010) confirmed the challenges of using geostatistics for epidemiological applications based on regional or national boundaries that can shift. While there are some indications that geostatistics can be used for a wide range of environmental systems analyses, there have been some problems in applying the methods that were originally developed for analyzing earth properties to health-related research precisely because of these arbitrary boundaries. In this regard, Goovaerts emphasizes that, “Transferring methods originally developed for the analysis of earth properties to health science presents several methodological and technical challenges. These arise because health data are typically aggregated over irregular spatial supports (e.g., counties) and consist of a numerator and a denominator (i.e., rates)” (p. 32).
Potential for Error and Resolution Techniques
According to Benz and Newman (1998), the potential for error in quantitative analysis can be minimized by the use of computer-based applications, but humans remain a potential for error at every step of the process. Moreover, there may be some trial-and-error involved in formulating quantitative metrics that accurately measures what is intended. In this regard, Benz and Newman report that, “Some types of data are more difficult to quantify and, therefore, are not quantified; while other types of data are not initially quantified but are quantified at a later point” (1998, p. 111).
Once accurate quantifiable measures are identified and applied, though, the results of such quantitative research, including the use of these methods with geospatial database analyses, can then be used by the researcher for a wide variety of environmental management applications, including system development, implementation and administration (Hoalst-Pullen & Patterson, 2010). It should be noted, though, that geospatial databases are not free from errors and each image from space may include a minor positional error that will affect the cumulative accuracy of the mapping and other models that are generated (Goodchild, 2008).
Nevertheless, this potential for error is typically resolved by further statistical analysis that will smooth the data and allow for informed human interpretation. In this regard, Goodchild (2008) reports that although the precise positions of GIS-located objects can be distorted in absolute terms, the general shapes of these objects will be generally retained. Although this concept extends to elevation data as well, there are some constraints involved in the interpretation of the data but statistical methods provide a reasonably acceptable estimation of elevation nevertheless (Goodchild, 2008). In many ways, these methods continue to build on the work of previous researchers and while the use of some of them such as geospatial analyses are of fairly recent origin, some valuable lessons have been learned in their use and these issues are discussed further below.
Perhaps the overriding theme that emerged from the review of the literature concerned the wide variety of research methods that have been used in various ways for environmental system analysis and development. Although of these research methods was shown to have its respective strengths, they were also shown to be balanced by corresponding weaknesses or constraints when they are applied to real-world settings. The use of strictly quantitative methods, for example, in analyzing environmental systems provides researchers with the data they need to formulate expert interpretations that are sorely needed by others who want to apply these findings to their own unique situations.
Other lessons learned from the review of the literature included the inaccuracies that can be introduced in the research through the vagaries of arbitrary geopolitical boundaries, a constraint that becomes especially pronounced over time. Although specialized software applications have been developed that taken such variations in time into account, there remains a need for human interpretation of the data that results in order to make these findings relevant and credible. In sum, then, the most important lessons learned to date include the following:
1. Biostatistical research methods must include interpretation of quantitative data by experts in the field;
2. The use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods provides a more holistic perspective of environment issues and their impact on humans; and,
3. Although geospatial data is becoming increasingly accessible, some regions of the world continue to lack access to such data, as well as the expertise needed to apply appropriate research methodologies in ways that can provide them with the insights they need at the local level.
As the body of evidence concerning the effectiveness of the various research methods continues to grow, additional lessons learned will help define a set of best industry practices that can help organizations of all sizes and types develop improved environment systems that are based on real-time information and expert analyses.
By and large, the research showed that environmental research involves quantitative methods that are used to analyze natural and anthropomorphic patterns over time, a process that has been facilitated greatly in recent years by the introduction of specialized software tools that can use geospatial data that is also becoming increasingly accessible. Although the use of quantitative risk assessment and biomonitoring research methods is fairly well established and both enjoy widespread acceptability, there is less confidence in some of the other research methods reviewed, especially the use of geospatial data over time given the vagaries of human occupation in a given region. Taken together, recent trends in the use of quantitative data provided by geospatial technologies as well as biomonitoring research methods have provided researchers with a robust set of information upon which to make qualitative assessments. Just as more and more so-called “apps” are being developed for smartphones in a “build-it-and-they-will-come” mentality, the research also showed that as access to reliable geospatial data increases, there will likely be researchers lining up to use this information. It is reasonable to conclude that beyond the foregoing research methods, additional innovative approaches will be forthcoming in the years ahead that will use geospatial data in ways that can benefit local environmental sustainability efforts because there is money to be made in this industry and these research methodologies are the modern tools of the trade.
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QUESTION 2: Value creation is defined as the method used to conceive new ideas for new products. Evaluate the value creation theories relating to environmental sustainability.
Scope/Direction of the Research
The scope of this research extends to value creation theories in general and those theories applied to environmental sustainability in particular to determine how different companies have taken advantage of the growing interest in environmental sustainability to create a competitive advantage, generate additional revenues and grow their market share.
Potential Limitations of the Research
Truly innovative solutions that create value may be proprietary and therefore difficult to analyze beyond a general description of their utility and recent applications. In addition, it is likely that analysis of many of the most recent successful initiatives has not yet found its way into the peer-reviewed and scholarly literature, making this study’s findings a snapshot of recent events in this area but certainly not an exhaustive one.
Purpose of the Research
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the value creation theories relating to environmental sustainability through a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature in this area which is provided below.
Review and Analysis
Theories of Value Creation
A consistent theme that quickly emerges from the value-creation literature is that all value is created by humans, and this competency varies dramatically from situation to situation. Nevertheless, some of the common features that characterize the value-added theoretical literature indicate that an organization’s workforce creates value in a sustainable fashion to the extent that it:
1. Creates value;
2. Is unique or rare among competitors;
3. Is difficult to replicate;
4. It is not readily imitated or substituted.(Elsdon, 2003, p. 156).
The value-creation theories used for marketing are basically economic and experiential (Russell-Bennett, Previte & Zainuddin, 2009). The economic theory uses the results of a cost-benefit analysis to determine the actual utility gained from a given initiative, meaning that to the extent that the costs exceed any gained benefits is the extent to which less value is created vs. The amount of benefits gained (Russell-Bennett et al., 2009).
More recently, a growing number of scholars in the field have reexamined conventional economic theories of value creation and have expanded these concepts to include other, less discernible outcomes, but which have value of some sort anyway. In this regard, the experiential conceptualization of value has redefined it to include additional factors besides money such as the value of the interaction itself rather than its outcome alone (Russell-Bennett et al., 2009). As a result, in recent years, a number of marketing researchers have reconceptualized value creation using the experiential value creation theory to include six basic sources that that influence value creation at each stage of the consumption process: (a) information, (b) product or service, (c) interaction with employees and the larger systems in which the enterprise competes, (d) environment, (e) co-creation, and (f) social mandate which have various social, emotional and functional dimensions as described in Table 1 below.
Experiential sources of value creation
Source of Value Creation
This source of value creation relates to the marketing materials produced by the organization that convey information. This includes promotional materials), Web sites, packaging, brochures, and instructions. Information can influence economic value by educating and informing, as compared to emotional value, which can be influenced by the creative execution or sensory experience of the information. Information can also help consumers identify with peers or social groups, thus creating social value. Finally, it can create altruistic value by showing the benefits to society that the interaction provides.
Product or service
While many conceptualized are goods-focused, this can be extended to services as well. Services provide value in terms of the benefits and needs they meet though core and supplementary service delivery. Functional value may be created by the service solving a problem for the consumer (i.e., a water-use monitoring service solves the problem of locating where excess water is being used within a home). The service may provide sensory experiences for the consumer, such as the relief of pain by a medical service that provides medication, thus creating emotional value. Social value may be created when the service allows a consumer to express themselves to others through the experience of the service, and altruistic value may be the sense of ‘doing good’ that is created by receiving the service.
Interaction with employees and system
This source of value creation is the relationship-based and interpersonal aspect of the service, which also relates to interaction and systems service quality. This may influence functional value because the service performance is enhanced by the interaction, or it may influence the emotional and social value of the service by creating relational bonds.
This source of value creation includes the atmospherics, social servicescape, and the physical aspects of the consumption experience such as the building. Functional value may be influenced if the physical environment facilitates the consumption of the service (i.e., the lighting allows the consumer to read instructions more clearly). Emotional value may be created by the affective state invoked by the environment (i.e., a non-crowded reception may put the consumer at ease and relieve anxiety). Social value may be created when the environment increases a consumer’s status or protects their ego (i.e., in situations where the service being consumed is prestigious). Finally, altruistic value may be created when the environment allows the consumer to be pro-social (i.e., when a consumer chooses a service that recycles building materials, thus creating altruistic value),
The penultimate source of value creation can range from joint problem-solving to the development of a personalized service. An example of co-creation in the consumption of a health service may involve the customer searching the internet prior to a medical appointment to understand their symptoms and assist in a diagnosis when they interact with their doctor. This may reduce the level of anxiety being experienced and thus increase emotional value. During the consumption of the service (i.e., the appointment), the customer may suggest remedies or activities they can undertake to alleviate the problem, and this may provide functional value. Finally, in the post-consumption stage (i.e., after the appointment) the customer may explain the medical condition to family and friends whilst implementing the treatment recommended by the doctor. If the consumer feels confident of both the recommended solution and their ability to enact the solution, this may generate social value as they explain it to others.
Social mandate of government social marketing services
The final source of value creation is the role of government which is to shape society in a positive way by implementing policies and strategies that ultimately lead to the creation of social good, including the provision of consumer services. Government services contain additional layers of complexity that add to the expectations and attitudes of consumers and influence their satisfaction with the service.
Source: Adapted from Russell-Bennett et al., 2009, p. 212
Clearly, not all of the foregoing sources of value will be of interest to all organizations, but the variety of value sources identified by the experiential theoretical perspective does highlight just how diverse the opportunities are for gaining a competitive advantage in various ways. Taken together, it is apparent that both the economic and experiential value-creation theories involve a number of variables, some of which are difficult to quantify and with others being fairly nebulous with respect to their immediate impact on value creation. In some cases, though, the positive outcomes are more amenable to quantification, including the specific dollar amounts involved, and these issues are discussed further below as they relate to value creation opportunities in environmental sustainability.
Value Creation in Environmental Sustainability
The term environmental sustainability is generally defined by Buckingham and Theobold as “a particular aspect of the broader sustainable development debate, where environment sustainability refers specifically to measures to ensure that the environment is not depleted or damaged further than it has already been and the latter encompasses a broader range of social economic and environmental goals” (Buckingham & Theobold, 2003, p. 1). As Whitford and Wong point out, though, “Environmental sustainability is value based, and because values change over time there is no one measure of environmental sustainability” (p. 190). This observation suggests that what is considered to be “value creation” today may be viewed far differently a few years from now, just as the impact of the Industrial Revolution was felt differently as its environmental effects became more pronounced over time.
Despite these constraints in analysis and shifting definitions of value, when considered from the conventional value-creation theory perspective described above, companies will most likely attempt to maximize their profits assume environmental-related prices and government regulations as the costs of doing business; as a result, these organizations have little motivation to spend anything extra on environmentally sustainable initiatives that are beyond the scope of these mandatory oversights (Henriques & Sadorsky, 2008).
In response to increasing governmental oversight, regulatory requirements, as well as growing consumer demand for products and services that are known to be produced in environmentally responsible ways, Craig and Dibrell maintain that “sustainable development will become a source of competitive advantage. Central to this ‘natural’ resource-based view of the firm is that firms that are better able to understand the role of the natural environment will attain a sustainable competitive advantage” (2006, p 37).
Therefore, while it may be an intuitive conclusion that adopting environmentally responsible practices are in an organization’s best interests, the conclusion is not foregone. According to Housman and Zaelke (1999), a competitive sustainability theoretical framework provides a useful approach to evaluating the effects of mutually reinforcing economic and environmental systems. In this regard, Housman and Zaelke (1999) report that one of the fundamental tenets of the competitive sustainability theoretical framework is a simultaneous increase in domestic and international environmental standards. As these authors point out, “The theory provides that the best mechanism for encouraging this is the use of competitive forces to create a level playing field for commerce at consistently higher levels of environmental and social protections through a set of incentives that reward the cleanest and most efficient economic actors for their efforts” (p. 545). The use of incentives, though, must be tied to other efforts that will serve to encourage companies to internalize the importance of environmentally sustainable practices in order to be effective (Housman & Zaelke, 1999).
Despite the challenges that are involved, when environmentally sustainable practices are carefully integrated into an organization’s business model, it is possible for them to achieve a competitive advantage over those that do not in a variety of ways. In this regard, Craig and Dibrell conclude that, “Successful integration of the natural environment into a firm’s strategic planning process offers a firm the opportunity to develop a valuable, potentially rare, and not easily imitated organizational capability” (p. 37), a definition that is congruent with the value-creation economic theory, but the cost-benefit analysis of such initiatives must take into account other factors as well. For example, the integration of environmental sustainability practices may involve high costs initially and the payback period may be lengthy; conversely, companies that place little emphasis on integrating environmental sustainability practices may free up resources that can provide them with a short-term competitive advantage over their more environmentally minded counterparts in ways that can encourage their competitors to do likewise — just to stay afloat (Craig & Dibrell, 2006).
It is reasonable to suggest that a struggling business owner faced with making payroll and paying taxes will be less interested in the “feel-good” aspects of environmental sustainability in favor of some hard currency that can provide the return on investment that is needed in today’s economy. These are especially compelling points for many companies today that continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the recent global economic downturn, but there are some success stories available that can help model the way for companies interested in creating value through environmentally sustainable practices and these issues are discussed further below.
Environmental Sustainability to Create Monetary Value
While there are a number of positive outcomes associated with the integration of environmentally sustainable practices and methods in organizations today, many of these are difficult to quantify and some of them are only realized over time. Recent experiences in the environmental sustainability field, though, show that there is indeed money to be made in the short-term by expanding a company’s efforts beyond the minimally required compliance steps required by government regulatory agencies in ways that also involve experiential outcomes. In this regard, Henriquez and Sadorsky (2008) cite the following desirable outcomes that have been associated with increased environmentally sustainable initiatives in recent years:
1. Relief from existing environmental regulation (like a burdensome tax);
2. The preemption of regulatory threats, or the influencing of future regulations;
4. Improved stakeholder relations; and,
5. The possibility of receiving technical assistance in kind or via some kind of incentive mechanism such as government grants or low-interest loans (Henriquez and Sadorsky, 2008, p. 143).
As a result, a growing number of companies of all types and sizes have recognized the value-creation opportunities that can accrue to increased emphasis on environmental sustainability in ways that provide them with improved internal efficiencies and enhanced external legitimacy that can provide them with a competitive advantage and shareholder value creation (Henriques & Sadorsky, 2008). The size of the enterprise involved affects what value creation theory will likely be applied to generate increased revenues and provide a competitive advantage, and it may be possible that more than one theoretical perspective will be operative at any given point in time (Lewis & Cassells, 2010).
Based on their analysis of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their take-up rates of environmental sustainability technologies and techniques, Lewis and Cassells (2010) concluded that the smaller the organization, the more it will tend to lag behind others in their adoption rates, with many owner-managers in small companies in particular being primarily motivated by simply doing the minimum necessary go comply with government regulations and nothing beyond. This approach, though, ignores the several desirable outcomes that can be achieved through the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices that extend beyond a company’s financial bottom-line. For instance, according to these environmental sustainability analysts, “A number of studies examining the adoption of environmental practices by SMEs have concluded that they tend to lag rather than lead, and that owner-managers are typically more motivated by achieving compliance with legislation/regulatory measures than they are by any competitive advantage that might be gained by being a ‘green leader’” (Lewis & Cassells, 2010, p. 7).
These findings suggest that even smaller enterprises which ignore the benefits of “going green” do so at their peril because they may be left behind by their competitors that recognize these benefits and take advantage of government grants, private investors and other resources to model the way for others. Beyond the broad spectrum of other benefits that can be achieved through environmentally sustainable initiatives, the basic incentive for most companies continues to be improved efficiencies that reduce costs and contribute to higher profits (Lewis & Cassells, 2010).
Although minimal compliance with government regulations continues to play an important role in how these companies viewed environmental sustainability, it was viewed as being less important that the companies’ obligations to the communities in which they competed and the individual commitment levels of the companies owner-managers (Lewis & Cassells, 2010). Based on their analysis of these survey results, Lewis and Cassells concluded that, “The fact that these two values-driven drivers ranked so highly, and are related to the owner-manager of the firm, alludes to the potential for this to be an advantage for SMEs in terms of improving environmental responsibility” (2010, p. 7).
This finding also indicates that the degree of commitment in any given organization, especially smaller enterprises, will be inordinately affected by individual owner-manager, with these individual preferences for environmentally sustainable initiatives outweighing the other driving factors reviewed by Lewis and Cassells (2010). In this regard, Lewis and Cassells conclude that these findings indicate “the importance of future work that examines the attitudes of owner-managers towards the environment, and the nature of the link between owner-manager attitudes and action in the business. Overall, the dominant drivers for environmental practices in this group of respondents were internal to the firm” (2010, p. 7). This finding is also highly congruent with the observation by Elsdon (2003) that, “In this emerging world, people become the main source of value creation. The engines of value creation are shifting from economies of scale or scope to economies of ingenuity and innovation” (p. 11).
Other influential drivers that affected the uptake of environmentally sustainable initiatives by the SMEs surveyed by Lewis and Cassells included the following:
1. Lack of customer demand for environmental improvements;
2. Central and local government; and,
3. Scarcity of resources (i.e., time, money and other resources) were also identified as the dominant barrier to implementing environmental practices (2010, p. 7).
These findings suggest that to the extent that resources are available and the commitment exists to pursue environmentally sustainable initiatives exist in a given organization will be the extent to which growth and added value will occur in its targeted area. According to Ekins (2000), there are four general categories of value-added opportunities that are possible through environmental sustainability initiatives as follows:
1. Growth of the economy’s biophysical throughput;
2. Growth of production;
3. Growth of economic welfare; and,
4. Environmental growth (p. 57).
As with any macroeconomic model, the relationship between these four groups is convoluted and complicated. In this regard, Ekins emphasizes that, “The relationship between these four kinds of growth is complex. It is also variable. A given flow of environmental resources (E) can produce different structures of production, with different levels of value added (as measured by GDP) with different environmental impacts (W) resulting in different levels of welfare” (p. 58). Moreover, the fossil fuel-intensive infrastructure that is in place today makes it difficult or even impossible to determine with precision the ultimate effects of an environmentally sustainable initiative on humans and the environment, but it is likely possible to determine with near precision the bottom-line impact that such efforts have at the organizational level through some straightforward before-and-after analyses. The entire value-creation process can be facilitated, though, when organizational members are informed of the process and its importance to the leadership team (Zsoka, 2007). Therefore, by closely aligning organizational goals with environmentally sustainable initiatives, a culture will be created that places increased emphasis on “going green” for both altruistic as well as financial reasons, perhaps emphasizing the “what’s in it for them” aspects of these goals (Zsoka, 2007), and these issues are discussed further below.
Recent Trends in Environmentally Sustainable Value Creation
A growing number of companies are helping homeowners reduce their heat loss through innovative insulation techniques (Frey, Moomaw, Halstead & Robinson, 2003). Likewise, there are significant growth opportunities for building contractors that specialize in using new materials that regulate their own temperatures in ways that improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs; these materials can also be retrofitted to traditional residential housing and commercial buildings as well (Tucker, 2006).
In addition, increased applications of biomonitoring for environmental sustainability purposes could provide growth opportunities for companies specializing in these technologies (Sclove, 2010). Even passive technologies are providing niche opportunities for a growing number of environmental sustainability focused enterprises. For instance, consultants are in increasing demand who can provide guidance concerning the proper siting of buildings to optimize alternative energy sources, as well as recommendations concerning how to conserve energy loss, improve operating efficiencies and reduce energy costs (Save the environment the GreenSmart way, 2010).
In other cases, nonprofit organizations are increasingly playing an important role by providing essential services that are frequently not being delivered by governmental agencies in ways that promote environmental sustainability and create social value (Mort & Hume, 2009). Similarly, a growing number of school districts across the country are creating value by reducing waste at every opportunity, increasing the efficiency of automated processes and incorporating computer-based monitoring applications that reduce human oversight requirements and apply conventional fuzzy logic methods to the regulation of building maintenance needs (Riedel, 2008). Because the public school infrastructure represents an enormous consumer of energy across the country, environmental sustainability practices adopted in these settings stand to contribute a great deal in reducing energy needs and associated costs. In this regard, a growing number of schools districts have created value in environmentally sustainable ways by:
1. Reducing their paper usage, employee time, and copier toner usage by transferring printed materials for teachers, school board members and parents online;
2. Using motion sensor devices to detect when buildings are empty so that high-energy usage devices such as vending machines can be turned off (this one simple step can save up to two-thirds of electricity costs);
3. Installing solar panels in strategic locations to reduce electricity costs;
Costs savings of up to $1 million a year are projected for many school districts that apply these techniques in an integrated fashion (Riedel, 2005).
The research showed that value can be added at any point along an organization’ supply chain, but economic and experiential theorists suggest that the precise value of any given initiative will involve a wide array of variables that make exact calculations difficult if not impossible. Despite these constraints, there were a number of value creation opportunities identified in the relevant literature, including a reduction in the impact of current environmental regulation, the preemption of regulatory threats, improved cost efficiency and stakeholder relations as well as the potential for receiving technical assistance, governmental grant or low-interest loans. Many small- to medium-sized enterprises, though, may not enjoy the luxury of waiting for environmental sustainable practices to pay off over the long-term and will likely be more motivated by those practices that can provide a more immediate return on their investments. The examples of recent enterprises that have found ways to take advantage of the growing demand for goods and services produced by environmentally responsible companies indicates that there are a number of ways that organizations of all types and sizes — including for-profit and nonprofit alike — can create value through environmentally sustainable approaches to doing business themselves, or through the provision of such products and services to others. As more companies carve out niches in this burgeoning market, it is reasonable to suggest that those which are most successful will provide a model for others. The cumulative effect of these environmentally sustainable approaches will eventually produce a positive cost-benefit outcome along the entire continuum of sources of value, including both economic and experiential values
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QUESTION 3: Assess the circumstances under which the business organization can adopt environmental sustainability software. Propose a mechanism by which the value of the adopted software can be measured.
Scope/Direction of the Research
The scope of this research project extends to for-profit enterprises in general, but with a specific focus on small- to-medium sizes enterprises since these companies form the bulk of business organizations today.
Potential Limitations of the Research
Environmental sustainability software continues to be refined and improved, and even the location of the software is shifting from computer-based settings to online venues in the “cloud.” This means that the results of this study are applicable only to the software that is available for review at the time of writing and may not take into account improvements that will be on the market next year, or even next week, that integrate geospatial technologies or biomonitoring techniques that will create further considerations for adoption at the organizational level.
Purpose of the Research
The purpose of the research was two-fold as follows:
1. To assess the circumstances under which these types of business organizations can adopt environmental sustainability software; and,
2. To propose a mechanism whereby the value of the adopted software can be measured.
Review and Analysis
Setting the Stage: Organizational Culture and Environmental Sustainability
Business organizations are faced with some complicated questions when it comes to the need or even the desirability of adopting environmentally sustainable practices and the costs that are associated with such efforts are well documented, and typically require a long time to be recouped. These constraints mean that in order for environmental sustainability initiatives to succeed, there must be an appropriate organizational culture in place that places a high value on the effort and internalizes this value over time. In this regard, Sullivan and Wyndham emphasize that, “Maintaining enthusiasm for environmental management initiatives requires the successful management of change within the organizational culture” (p. 226). Generally speaking, when references are made to organizational culture, they are intended to mean “how things are done around here” in a given business organization. In this regard, Recardo and Jolly (1997) report that, “When people talk about corporate culture, they are generally talking about a set of values and beliefs that are understood and shared by members of an organization. These values and beliefs are specific to that organization and differentiate it from other organizations” (p. 4).With respect to the adoption of environmental management software and an organization’s readiness to do so, the organizational culture that is in place will play an important role in whether the effort is successful or not. As Recardo and Jolly (1997) add, “An organization’s culture helps to shape, and quite frequently to determine, the behaviors of the members and the practices within the organization” (p. 5). The various dimensions of an organization’s culture are described further in Table 1 below.
Dimensions of Organizational Culture and Implications for Software Adoption
Implications for Software Adoption
This dimension involves the number and types of communication systems and what information is communicated and how, including the direction of communications (top down or bottom up vs. three-way), whether the communications are filtered or open, whether conflict is avoided or resolved, and whether formal (meetings, memos, etc.) or informal vehicles are used to transmit and receive communications.
Organizational culture is created from the top-down, suggesting that communication concerning proposed environmental sustainable software solutions must also originate with the business organization’s top leadership team.
Training and Development
Employee success is to a large extent dependent on new skill acquisition. Key indices to assess are management’s commitment to providing developmental opportunities and how well the organization allows new skills or behaviors to be applied on the job. A key index to review is management’s focus on education; e.g., is management focused on providing education for employees’ current or future developmental needs?
This aspect of organizational culture will involve how much training and support top management provides as part of the software adoption and degree of employee willingness to participate in the adoption.
This dimension concerns what behaviors are rewarded and the types of rewards used. Are employees rewarded individually or as a group, are all members of the organization eligible for bonuses, and what are the criteria for advancement? Other criteria measured include the degree to which employees are involved in developing performance standards, the perceived equity of rewards, and the degree to which the organization provides performance feedback
A consistent theme in the organizational culture literature concerns the need for stakeholders to truly have a stake in the adoption of environment sustainable software solutions in order for these types of initiatives to succeed.
This dimension addresses how decisions are made and conflicts resolved. Are decisions fast or slow? Is the organization highly bureaucratic? Is decision-making centralized or decentralized?
This dimension of organizational culture will affect how responsive the business organization’s leadership team is viewed by the stakeholders, a dimension that can affect adoption positively or negatively depending on how well the lines of communication are maintained during the implementation and administration of the software.
This dimension concerns whether creativity and innovation are valued and rewarded, whether calculated risk-taking is encouraged, and whether there is openness to new ideas. To what degree does management encourage suggestions for improvement? Are people punished for trying new ideas or questioning existing ways of doing things?
This dimension can reasonably be expected to adversely affect the willingness of stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process concerning the adoption of proposed software solutions if business leaders are unresponsive to feedback, even if such feedback is actively solicited.
Does the organization emphasize long-term or short-term planning, and is planning proactive or reactive? To what extent are the strategy, goals, and vision shared with employees? Is the planning process informal or structured? To what degree are employees committed to achieving the business strategy and other organizational objectives?
This dimension would define how well the organization planned for the transition to the use of the environmental sustainable software solution; if employees are required to simply “do without” while the implementation is taking place without access to needed data for other business operations, the software may never have a chance to be adopted as a result of lost business opportunities and unproductive downtime for employees.
This dimension relates to the amount, type, and effectiveness of teamwork within the organization. It includes, but is not limited to, the amount of cooperation among different departments, the amount of trust between different functions or units, and the level of automation currently used to support work processes. Note that an atmosphere of teamwork does not, in itself, necessarily mean that formal teams should be used in an organization. For instance, research scientists may foster an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork but may not be a team and may operate quite independently.
By definition, an integrated environmental sustainable software solution will require team work in order to make it function properly. Certainly, over time, these systems eliminate the need for a team approach to their management, but their deployment and implementation will require careful collaboration between various organizational departments, making this dimension especially important for any software acquisition.
The final dimension measures the fairness and consistency with which policies are administered, the accessibility of management to employees, the degree to which management provides a safe working environment, and how well management encourages diversity.
Any change initiative proposed by a hated management team will likely be sabotaged at every turn, including the adoption of environmental sustainable software solutions.
Source: Adapted from Recardo & Jolly, 2003, p. 5
For most business organizations, developing, implementing and administering environmental sustainability initiatives, whether to improve internal efficiencies or deliver environmentally responsible goods and services, will represent an enormous change in their conventional business model. Therefore, the first step to the adoption of environmental sustainability software is an organizational culture that accepts it as a legitimate tool that can create value, especially for the employees who are affected by the change. According to Sullivan and Wyndham (2001), though, this level of organizational changes “requires that all employees have a stake in the organization’s environmental performance” (p. 226). In addition, although existing employees may need to be convinced over time concerning the value of such environmental sustainability initiatives, business organizations can help ensure that their culture reflects this goal by communicating it to new hires before they start work (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). Assuming this first step has been achieved and everyone is ready, willing and able to use environmental sustainability software for value creation purposes, the next step involved is selecting the right tool for the job and these issues are discussed further below.
Types of Environmental Sustainability Software
The type of environmental sustainability software that is envisioned will also dictate what changes are required in the organizational culture in order to facilitate its adoption and use. Today, there are a growing number of environmental software applications that can be used by business organizations competing in different industries that fully integrate environmental, quality assurance, control and occupational health and safety systems and more offerings continue to be developed every year (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). In some cases, environmental sustainable software is geared towards monitoring environmental systems and identifying problems areas and opportunities for improving performance while in other cases the software focuses on compliance and reporting requirements as well as associated management report generation. In yet other cases, vendors offer a comprehensive suite of software applications that operate in an integrated fashion across the entire organization. For instance, some environmental software is designed to improve energy efficiency in buildings, a goal that has two desirable outcomes:
1. Buildings account for 65% of electricity use and improving efficiency can reduce energy use by 25%; and,
2. Efficiency increases can reduce carbon emissions by 33% (Singleton, 2011).
A representative sampling of current commercially available (the four top sponsored listings in Google at the time of writing) is provided in Table 2 below.
Representative Examples of Commercially Available Environmental Sustainability Software
Applicability for Type of Business Organization(s)
ERA Environmental Consulting (http://www.era-environmental.com/)
There are several environmental sustainability software solutions available from this vendor, including:
1. Air emission management (including greenhouse gas emissions);
2. Water management;
3. Waste management;
4. Chemical inventory management; and
5. Production tracking (among others).
Organizations that have compliance requirements for emissions; vendor reports 75% reduction in man-hours required for this function by adopting these software solutions.
Environmental Sustainability Management Software with following features:
1. Monitor and report waste streams, energy, air emissions and wastewater data instantly through real-time dashboards and instant reporting tools.
2. Track and maintain detailed records of usage, costs, and quantities of all metrics associated with your sustainability activities, initiatives and programs.
3. Built-in scheduler to schedule and assign sustainability-related tasks.
4. Integrated report generation used in combination with data from other Intelex applications to gain further visibility into sustainability performance.
5. Monitor Supply Chains by expanding the scope of the sustainability program to the entire supply chain by monitoring sustainability performance across entire business operations.
In reality, any business organization that requires oversight of an existing environmental sustainability program can benefit from this software. The vendor states that this software will save money and allow employees to focus on improving sustainability performance by virtually eliminating the time spent managing the nuances of a sustainability program, from tracking, entering and analyzing data to generating accurate, in-depth reports.
This vendor offers cloud-based software tools that organizations can use to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their environmental sustainability programs.
This vendor maintains its software is appropriate for any business organization that is interested in reducing its carbon footprint and reducing its carbon emissions. The software package offered by this vendor allows business organizations to establish an end-to-end platform to streamline every aspect of collecting, verifying, tracking, normalizing, and analyzing company-wide energy consumption and carbon emissions.
KMI Process (http://www.kminnovations.com)
This vendor offers an EHS software suite that includes:
1. Incident Management;
2. Corrective Action;
4. Compliance; and,
Vendor claims this software is suitable for public and private sector settings and claims a 50% reduction in costs and time required for implementation compared to competitors.
To help illustrate the functionality of these environmental sustainable software packages, a sample screenshot from a competitor’s (Intuit) environmental software package user interface for building management applications is provided in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1. Screenshot of environmental sustainable software for building reporting applications
Source: Smith, 2011
It goes without saying, of course, that these environmental sustainable software solutions are not necessarily inexpensive, though, and depending on the size of the business organization involved, the costs that are associated with initially acquiring, implementing, training and administrating these systems may be prohibitive, particularly for companies already struggling to stay solvent; however, there are some other open source (i.e., free) software versions available as well and reliable versions are available from industry-sponsored software-sharing sites (McComb, 2010).
Irrespective of whether commercial software or open source solutions are adopted, McComb (2010) recommends that business organizations use the following steps to help define what is needed and how it will be used before making a purchase decision:
1. Define what the software is supposed to do;
2. Identify the required dashboards or user interfaces;
3. Identify the integration or external interfaces that are required;
4. Provide a basis for a bidder to estimate costs;
5. Identify the required performance levels for the software; and,
6. Identify the testing, acceptance and handoff process.
Once these steps are completed, the next step is deploying the environmental sustainable software in a real-world setting, a step that has been met with mixed results by business organizations in recent years as discussed further below.
Real-World Examples of Environmental Sustainable Software and Lessons Learned
A series of mini-case studies provided by Singleton (2011) concerning the adoption of environmental sustainable software in recent years reveals some common features among the success stories to date. One such organization, Bentley University, established a laudable goal of achieving carbon neutrality through improved efficiencies, reducing energy usage and by purchasing a sufficient amount of carbon offsets to balance the university’s carbon footprint. In order to facilitate the organization-wide adoption of the environmental sustainable software package needed to achieve this goal, the leadership team at Bentley created sustainability task force that was tasked with identifying which operational factors were most responsible for the university’s environmental footprint. The results of this initial evaluation revealed that nearly half (49%) of the organization’s greenhouse gas emissions were caused by its energy usage, a rate that was slight higher than the national average (Singleton, 2011).
This finding made targeting electricity consumption a first step in realizing its goals of carbon neutrality (Singleton, 2011). For this purpose, the university determined that Infor’s EAM environmental sustainability software was best suited to their needs, particularly since it was a straightforward matter to integrate this new software addition with the university’s existing legacy system that was also provided by Infor. According to Singleton, “The results were impressive. In their first year, Bentley shaved energy consumption by 10%. This amounted to a reduction of roughly 2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh). This reduction translated to having the same impact shutting off the electricity in all 48 facilities for a month” (2011, para. 3).
Another business organization that successfully adopted environmental sustainable software was Nokia which dates to 2003 when the company wanted to reduce its energy usage and improve its office space utilization (Singleton, 2011). To determine where such efforts would best be applied, the company used Tririga’s TREES environmental sustainability software to monitor workforce operations in the company’s more than four hundred far-flung locations in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The software monitoring office space usage rates and energy consumption levels at all of these sites, providing Nokia’s leadership team with the exact information they needed to identify where improvements in operational capacities were most needed and where reductions in energy usage were most feasible (Singleton, 2011). Once again, the results of this application of environmental sustainable software were highly impressive, both in terms of its effectiveness in doing what it was intended to do, but in helping the company saving significant amounts of money in the process. In this regard, Singleton is also quick to emphasize that, “Building monitoring, coupled with energy reduction suggestions from the [EMS] system, led to Nokia reducing electricity use by 8,000,000 kWh (a 7% reduction)” (2011, para. 5). In addition to this impressive results, Nokia has also successfully used the Tririga TREES software to benchmark its performance levels and compare them to facilities of comparable sizes elsewhere to ensure they are modeling the way for others as part of its Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star framework for environmental management (Singleton, 2011).
Not all companies have enjoyed the same level of success with the adoption of environmentally sustainability software applications, though, at least initiially. For example, one company that experienced some significant challenges in the implementation and administration of its environmental management systems (EMSs) early on before achieving complete integration and seamless operation was Bonlac Foods (hereinafter alternatively “Bonlac” or “the company”), one of Australia’s leading food marketers (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). The company is a consortium of 3,400 dairy farmers that generates more than $1 billion in revenues each year (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). The company currently markets its products in 1,600 retail outlets domestically, as well as in Japan, Korea, North and South America, Asia, the Middle East and a few other countries (Bonlac Foods, 2012). During the early 1990s, the decision was made by the company’s leadership team to develop and implement an environmental management system as part of its larger ISO certification process (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001).
Based on the company’s need to monitor a wide range of supply chain variables and to comply with numerous government regulations, one of the factors that has contributed to Bonlac’s consistent growth to date has been its focus on the careful computer-based management of various environmental issues. In fact, the company was among the first Australian companies to achieve ISO14001 certification in 1996 (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). Since that time, the company has endeavored to maximize the benefits of this management approach through various quality assurance initiatives that have targeted inefficiencies and sought to identify opportunities for improvement (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). The company’s initial approach to implementing their EMSs required each of Bonlac’s sixteen domestic manufacturing facilities to develop their own environmental management systems as well as the requisite methodologies for their implementation (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001).
Not surprisingly, this uncoordinated approach at implementing this environmental management system resulted in numerous redundancies in system capabilities, personnel effort and duplicate expenditure of resources (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). Other constraints that Bonlac experienced during its initial deployment of an environmental management system included a failure to carefully align the various EMSs with the company’s legacy quality management systems (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). In this regard, Sullivan and Wyndham emphasize that the company “paid insufficient attention to the importance of aligning the environmental management system with its existing quality systems. Paying more attention to this issue would have greatly facilitated the integration of quality and environmental management systems” (p. 213).
Based on the hard and expensive lessons learned from this early exercise in developing, implementing and administering its environmental management system, the company has subsequently made the process more efficient by standardizing the implementation for all company sites (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001). Although a standardized implementation process was completed initially, a more pressing issue for the company was the lack of a fully integrated environmental management system throughout the organization. Therefore, the next step in resolving the challenges encountered by the company in deploying its EMS initiative was to develop the necessary company-wide database needed for the project to facilitate the integration process (Sullivan & Wyndham, 2001).
The company’s efforts to resolve the problems it encountered along the way have clearly paid off. Using the lessons learned from this EMS imitative, Bonlac constructed a state-of-the-art milk-production facility at Darnum Park in Victoria that achieved the company’s goals of developing environmentally sustainable processes for its operations. According to Sullivan and Wyndham, “The Darnum Park facility is not only a showcase of technological excellence in the food processing industry, but it also represents an excellent example of the manner in which the integration of environmental issues into business decision-making processes is enabling Bonlac to deliver the goal of environmental sustainability” (p. 212).
Based on the experiences of the ISO 14001-certified company analyzed by Zsokas, a number of valuable lessons were learned including the “need for a stable and unambiguous integration of environmental values into the organizational culture, in order that pro-environmental organizational behaviour appears in a consistent manner in reality” (2007, p. 110).
Finally, company size appears to have some direct bearing on how environmental management data is collected, or if it is collected at all, with medium- to larger-sized enterprises being more likely to have an environmental management system in place and more likely to routinely collect environmental data compared to their smaller counterparts (Lewis & Cassells, 2010)
A common theme that characterizes the environmental system development literature, though, is the manner in which the data is used. For instance, based on his case study of a now-certified ISO 14001 environmental management system certified company, Zsokas identified a number of serious limitations to the implementation process that adversely affected its subsequent administration and effectiveness as well as the costs associated with these steps that were similar to those misadventures, failures and adverse outcomes experienced at Bonlac, including the following:
1. The company failed to solicit feedback from all stakeholders (including members of the community);
2. The company applied motivational tools in selective ways; and,
3. A number of executives and employees were skeptical concerning the efficiency of the proposed environmental management software based on the available data (Zsokas, 2007).
In other words, the company failed to communicate the goals of the ISO 14001 initiative from the outset, and more importantly, it failed to provide those who would be most affected by the initiative with a voice concerning how the environmental management software should be used and what needs it should satisfy. Because humans are highly resistant to change of any sort anyway, it is little wonder that such failures can derail even the best-intentioned environmental sustainability initiatives unless the organizational culture exists that embraces the need and provides a framework in which all stakeholders have the opportunity to voice their concerns, needs and “dream scenarios” to help grease the bureaucratic skids and overcome well-entrenched resistance at the departmental level.
Proposed Mechanism for Measuring the Value of Adopted Software
One straightforward approach for measuring the economic value of adopted software is to conduct a before-and-after adoption calculation. This approach was used by a school district in Texas that adopted energy accounting software. This software application facilitates energy consumption tracking across the entire school district (Riedel, 2005). When the software is used in conjunction with so-called “data loggers” (these are small devices that can be deployed throughout the school district to automatically measure temperature, light, and humidity, the software can be used to identify opportunities for energy reductions and improved accountability (Riedel, 2005). Cost savings of up to two-thirds in electricity costs have been reported by school districts using this software in an integrated fashion (Riedel, 2005).
The research showed that adopting environmental sustainability software can provide business organizations of all types and sizes with a number of valuable outcomes, including reducing energy costs, improved energy efficiencies, reduced carbon emissions and more efficient compliance regimens. Even the most sophisticated and user-friendly environmental sustainable software package, though, will likely be ill-received by those employees who will be forced to use it unless an organizational culture is in place that facilitates its adoption and use. In fact, one of the major constraints to the adoption of environmental sustainable software was the failure to solicit feedback from all of the stakeholders that were involved, while the success stories were characterized by business managers taking the time to actively seek out these opinions and ensure that everyone has a voice in these types of change initiatives. This does not mean, of course, that a company’s leadership team should be deflected by the first signs of discontent when software solutions are proposed for environmental sustainable applications (because there will be some), but it does mean that business leaders must recognize that there is more involved in deploying these information systems beyond the immediate impact involved in their implementation. In the final analysis, business organizations that are not yet ready to adopt environmental sustainable software applications had better get ready or they will face fierce competition from their competitors that have adopted these technological solutions to ongoing business operations of all sorts. .
Bonlac Foods. (2012). Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://investing.business week.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=883342.
McComb, S. (2010). Green building & green business informatics tool. Elusor. Retrieved from http://www.environmentalaccountingtools.com/magazine/tag/building.
Recardo, R. & Jolly, J. (1999). Organizational culture and teams. SAM Advanced Management
Journal, 62(2), 4-5.
Reidel, C. (2008). The color of money: School districts are discovering the abundant financial gains to be had by going green the Journal, 35(6), 28-30.
Singleton, D. (2011, October 31) Creating a smarter building with environmental sustainability software. Software Advice, Inc. Retrieved from http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles / cafm/creating-a-smarter-building-with-environmental-sustainability-software-1103111/.
Smith, J. (2011, November 21). Total energy costs far exceed utility and fuel. Environmental Leader. Retrieved from http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/11/21/total-energy-costs-far-exceed-utility-and-fuel-spend/.
Sullivan, R. & Wyndham, H. (2001). Effective environmental management: Principles and case studies. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Academic impact of Facebook on young generation ap american history essay help
young generation (Chapter one and two)
Over the last five years, the phenomenon of social networking has emerged that the technology has not only become accepted as part of our normal lives, but also as important necessities which most people cannot do without (Boyd 2006, p. 78). Over that period, the growth of the social network has been unprecedented from the niche communities to the mass online activity where millions of users in the internet get engaged in both during leisure time but also at work time. Some of the popular ones include Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Orkut among others which give the individual the capability to present themselves and develop connections with their friends and families (Ahn and Jeong 2007, p. 839). The orientation of these sites is varied and they can be towards romantic relationship e.g. original Friendster.com objective; context which is work related e.g. linkedIn.co; making connection with the people who share the same interests like politics and music e.g. MySpace; connect the population of college student e.g. original Facebook incarnation. These sites may also be used to make connection with people that the participants already know or meet other new people. This study will mostly focus on the impacts of the social networks on the teens with the main focus being placed on Facebook. The users of Facebook are allowed to present themselves through an online profile that is usually created by filling in a form the important demographical and location information. They then can accumulate friends by adding them or the friends adding them, and comments can thus be posted by these friends on the user’s pages which is usually referred to as the wall. Depending on the common interests of the Facebook members, they can then join groups which are virtual see what is common among the classes and learn the hobbies, musical tastes, interests and status of romantic relationship of their friends through the profiles.
For researchers interested in the affordances and the impact of Facebook, its indeed a rich site with high influence due to the high usage patterns in the world and the technological capabilities which makes the online and offline connection to be bridged. Because Facebook originally served a community which was bound, i.e. The college students, it is believed that the offline to online trend is understudied and is represented by Facebook. The usage of the Facebook is higher currently than other social media and its even termed as an addiction to the teens. Indeed its impact is multifaceted as it has the positive impacts like helping the members keep in touch with close friends some of whom are distant and also meet new people. Because of its time consuming nature, the social networks has been viewed to also have negative impacts like affecting the grades in the schools although this is also a controversial issue. This study will analyze the impact of the social media and in particular that of Facebook to the teens.
The problem statement for this study is to find out the impact of Facebook on young generation. For the past few years, the popularity of the social networking sites has shot up especially among the teens that are considered more technology savvy than their older counterparts. The influence of the social networking sites is far reaching with most people who aren’t yet members being coerced to join by their friends who have joined. This has led to high membership especially for Facebook which has been growing steadily for the past few years. The influence of these sites is therefore remarkable and its spreads even to the offline social and economical realms. Some parents and educationists have raised concern with regard to the use of the sites by the teens and in particular the effect the site has on the education of the teenagers. The other concerns also include the age-appropriate exposure of its use and access and the behaviours of the teenagers online that might influence their character offline. Internet safety and privacy issues always come into the discussions of the Facebook use by the teenagers. Even so the sites are indeed a good tool which when utilized properly can help the teenagers make the best of what they have. They allow for sharing of special moments through photos, staying connected through messaging and staying updated through the news feeds. This study will try to analyze the impact that the social networking sites have on the teenagers.
Objective of the Study
To identify the social and academic impact of Facebook on young generation
The specific objectives of the study are to:
I. To establish how the usage of facebook varies with the age and sex among the young generation.
II. To find out how the membership of facebook varies with age degree of usage of Facebook by the young generation.
III. To find out the different ways of using social networking sites by the young generation
IV. To find out the frequency of usage of Facebook by the young generation.
V. To discover the usefulness of Facebook in friendship management.
VI. To find out the positive impacts of Facebook to the young generation.
VII. To find out the impact of Facebook to the education of the young generation users.
The research questions for this study are
I. Does Facebook help its members stay connected or keeps them apart?
II. What is the difference of frequency usage among the different age and sex of members?
III. Is there significant relationship between the time consumed on facebook and the academic performance?
IV. Is the amount of information available on the profiles of the users put them in offline risks?
V. Is the increase of Facebook membership of the young generation dependent on peer influence of the individuals who are already members to non-members?
VI. What is the frequency of usage of the Facebook site by the young generation?
VII. Is there any positive impact of Facebook to the relationships with their friends in the offline environment?
Hypothesis of the study
There is a significant impact of the social networking sites on the young generation. Use of Facebook has influenced the offline relationships by helping keeping them connected.
Importance of the study
This study is of importance because its outcome will be useful in understanding the social and educational effects of the social networking sites to the young generations hence be able to address the different concerns that have been raised. Because recently the use of the Facebook by the young generation has increased greatly concerns regarding the age appropriateness, security and privacy and the effect of Facebook on the academic performance of the student users have come up. Again the positive impacts of Facebook will also be understood from the findings of the study. The outcome will therefore be useful to the parents, educators and the policy makers in knowing how to handle the social networking sites engagements.
The study will also educate and provide important information to future scholars who will study or research on similar issues.
Scope and justification of the study
With the enormous growth of the social networking sites and in particular Facebook recently, its influence is far reaching beyond the online realm. Its impact has been able to affect the normal relationships by acting as a tool which helps in the connection of the individuals and also helping people from disparate parts of the world with varying cultures, education and background to meet. Even so the impact hasn’t just been positive but there are also some negative impacts as well. The understanding of these impacts is therefore important so as to know how to deal with them.
The study will involve a target population of the young generation of which the outcome will be expected to be reflective of the general population. The study will be limited to the young generation referred to this study as those aged 12-24.The study is conducted through online questionnaires which will provided by the online survey hosting company. The users will be directed to the web address where their responses will be recorded.
Limitations of the study
Accessibility of data
Respondents may not be willing to provide information since they will not be sure where it will end to. These are due to privacy concern which the respondents might object to. The young respondents might also be not willing to provide the information because of the concern of the paedophiles that usually use the information to lure them in the social networks.
1.8.2 Time constraint
Time will be major limitations to the study this study because the respondents might not be willing to respond to all the questions because they might consider it time consuming.
1.8.3 Financial constraint
The number of the Facebook members is very high and the researcher would have preferred to carry out a study on all of them but this will not be possible. Large number of respondents will require large number of questionnaires to be given to the individuals and this would have high financial implications.
Due to the problem of fear of the information that if the Facebook members disclose will be used against them in future, I intend to guarantee them anonymity on any information given and confidentiality by ensuring no names or sensitive information is required in the questionnaires. On the time constraint, the questionnaires will be designed so that it takes small amount of time with few open ended questions. On the financial, the samples taken will be done randomly so that even if it’s quite small compared to the whole Facebook membership, it will be representative.
Social networking is considered the as the manner of communication in the 21st century. It refers to the individuals grouping into groups which are specific in nature similar to little neighbourhood division or rural communities. Social networking is most popular online although it is possible in person in particular at universities, workplace and high schools. The reason for this is that unlike most colleges, high schools or work places there are millions of individuals in the internet who are after meeting other people, share and gather information which is first hand and golfing, aesthetic, gardening and cosmetic experiences (Albrechtslund 2008, p. 45). There are also interested in establishing professional alliances or friendship, marketing for business and other business, seek employment and even groups disseminating information about Great Shift or Mayan calendar end. Also there are varied interests and topics and rich as the human beings history and society (Adamic 2003, p. 67).
Websites are the ones commonly used in the online social networking and are referred to as social sites. They function like the internet users online community. Common interests are shared by most of the members of the online community but this depends on the type of social networking site and can be religion, hobbies or politics. The socialization aspect of the sites may consist of sharing of information with other members. One of the important benefits of the online social networking is the number of friends which a person can make. Also due to the access of the sites to individuals all over the world, there is increased diversity making the idea of the world as a global village even truer. One can have friends from the disparate points of earth therefore enabling for the learning of novel languages and cultures (Athanasopoulos and Markatos 2008 p. 45).
Specific organization or individuals grouping is a characteristic of social networking sites with some concentrating on particular interests while others are general. Traditional social networking is the term used to refer to the sites without main focus and they have open memberships. The users of these sites typically start to create their own networks once inside the site by considering the friends who the person shares common goals and interests (Agarwal and Mital 2009).
Profile, Friends and Comments
Profiles are the base of the social networking sites and this can be describe as the homepage of the individual and it offers information about the person. In addition to the images, text and video that the member has created, the profile of the social networking site also consist of comments which have been posted by other members and a list of persons that are identified as friends to that member within the network (Mackay1841). The dating services are attributed for the sites popularized style, the materials contained in the sites typically reflect those of the dating sites like details on demography e.g. sex, age, location; tastes e.g. favorite band and interests, photography and description on the person that would be desired to be meet which is usually open ended. The filling of a form constitutes the construction of the profiles. There is public availability of the default profile though privacy features in most social network sites allow for the restriction of persons who can access their profiles. In Facebook the default profile is available to those of the same school or college (Brake 2009, p. 89).
After the profile creation, the friends of the participants are invited by email through the supply of their addresses. The people can also be added to the friends list through looking at the profiles of other peoples and the approval of two people is usually required by most social networks for them to be linked as friends. A confirmation request message is usually sent to the person who has been indicated as friend by another person. In the system the two become friends if the request is for friendship has been confirmed and this connection is publicly displayed in their profiles and typically consists of the names and photos which link to their profiles. Therefore the network can be traversed by the visitor through clicking of these links and thus moving from friend to friend. Another typical feature in addition to the content provided by the members for their profile creation, there is a comment dedicated section whereby the friends can post and its referred to as “The Wall” in Facebook and “Testimonials” in Friendster. This feature can be attributed to the implementation by Friendster whose intention was to allow strangers to read the testimonials posted by the person’s friends (Acquisti and Gross 2009, p. 10978).
Founded in February 2005 by former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, YouTube has become the leader of online video sharing through a Web experience. Through internet websites, mobile devices, blogs and email, people are able to upload and share video clips easily through the use of YouTube. It enables people watch videos easily. Through YouTube, people have been able to see firsthand accounts of current events, find videos on their favorite hobbies and interest while at the same time discover the rather unusual or quirky. YouTube is empowering people to become the broadcasters of tomorrow as more and more begin capturing special moments on video. Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has managed to attract crowds, cross milestones, enable the creation of fads, and top lists among other things (Oiarzabal 2009).
YouTube: The Company
YouTube was formed when the founders, on witnessing the boom of online grass root videos, noticed the need for reduce the hustle of uploading, watching and sharing videos. The domain YouTube.com was registered on 15th February, 2005 and the process of developing the site took place in the months that followed at a garage in Menlo Park. It was the launched into a public beta in November, making its debut with a $3.5 million funding from Sequoia Capital. For the site to attract the initial crowd they were looking for that is teenagers, college students, film makers and hobbyists, they developed a contest which gave away an iPod Nano each day to random members and running for duration of two months. The competition was point based where signing up; inviting others and posting videos earned one a point. One increased their chances of winning the more points they had. This contest advertised the site to the masses and gave it a large number of members. It has become a fast growing website at present through hosting segments of SNL, Superbowl, TV goof-ups, and numerous videos among other popular music videos.
The company’s business model is based on traditional banner advertising, sponsorship, partnerships and promotions and even contextual advertisements. This means that although free to users, firms have to pay for these services. YouTube has formed numerous partnerships with companies in the media like NBC and the Warner Music Group. YouTube’s business has brought up a number of debates with most claiming that it is based purely on copyrighted infringements (Degenne & Michel 1999, p.78).
YouTube uses approximately 200 terabytes a day that adds up to approximately a million dollars worth of bandwidth bill. The company has had a stronger goal in building a community than in making money. It is believed that YouTube needs to look into its business plan in order to sustain its growth as it is a growing phenomenon (Oiarzabal 2009).
Signing up for YouTube has been the same since its inception and has not changed much remaining fairly easy. Users can join as different accounts depending on how they plan to use the site. Those who plan to use it generally and that using it to watch videos, a traditional account is the way to go. For entertainers, there are specific and special types of accounts for them, for instance, there are accounts for musicians, directors and comedians. But efforts have been made to accommodate all different types of users. Regardless the type of account a user has, the terms and conditions the up loader of a video grants YouTube non-exclusive access to the video and let it be watched on the internet and also warns against copyright infringement.
Uploading of a video is easy whereby, after giving a video’s title, description, tags, category and language, one simply selects a video file. YouTube accepts every type of video that there is, be it private or public and makes it accessible to millions of viewers. One of the factors that make YouTube a success is how easy it is to use for the users (Choi 2006, p. 179).
Since its first day, YouTube has used a tabbed navigation menu that is seen at top of each page. The homepage has 10 daily featured videos with one from their exclusive partners. ‘Active Channels’ and ‘Active Groups’ are also featured on the homepage. Videos are monetized alone along with subsequent pages.
Signing up for a Director’s account makes one essentially a YouTube content partner. One gets to co-brand their logo, a link to a URL, provides their company’s description with each of their videos along with the ‘Director’ tag. One is able to upload videos that are longer than 10 minutes and can also customize more fields and values. This is aimed at amateur film-makers and online content distributers and therefore nurturing talent.
A special type of account has been made to cater specifically to amateur comedians who post their videos on YouTube. It is a lighter version of the Directors account and comes with a ‘Comedian’ tag and the ability to customize ones channel and videos. This does not grant one the ability to surpass 10 minutes streaming time or post ones logo to the video (Scott 2000, P.87).
Musicians like the comedians get to post their own music videos on their accounts and also get to identify themselves as musicians. They can customize their channel with information like “Record Label” which is convenient for both amateur and independent musicians.
These are flash names for user’s profile but with a few exceptions. Channels, like user profiles in other online communities, can be decorated and filled with information describing the user. Typically, it has the user’s information, the videos they have uploaded, favorite things, how to get in contact them, subscribers to their channel, which channels they subscribe to, bulletins and comments. Users can also subscribe to other channels and get updates on any new videos from the user they have subscribed to, through the ‘My Subscriptions’ page. They can also subscribe to tags like “snowboarding” or even “Base jumping.”
This is a handy feature of the site whereby users are allowed to create their own playlists to help organize their collections and also give them a grouped collection of similar kinds of videos or even simply group a parted segment of videos together. This feature is determined by the user and has been inferred to good use.
They are primarily the site’s social section that allows users group together as people and as their videos and have discussions on the topic. The recent launch of Colleges has welcomed Facebook audience to meet up with their peers, although it is widely used for contests and competitions (Lack & Hoover 2009, p. 67).
YouTube Underground Contest
This is the most popular section of the site which is held in aim of finding the best amateur, independent and unsigned musician out there who can write, play, and make a good music video. The community votes on the best one and four grand prize winners who get their start in the industry by being featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and thousands of mobile phones through Cingular Videos, to a chance to perform live and with all the professional equipment they can obtain.
In conclusion, the greatest reason for its appeal is its users is uploading, viewing and sharing videos and also appeals to nearly each age, race and nationality. YouTube has made an exceptional name for itself in its new content distribution model and will go on to be one of the companies that change the way the world watches content (Macias & Hilyard 2009, p.21).
The largest social network with over 400 million users, Facebook’s primary focus was high school to college students. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, a then student in Harvard University, Facebook was initially an exclusive network for interaction for the students of Harvard University. After only two weeks of release, half of schools in Boston started demanding a Facebook network. Dustin Moskowitz and Chris Hughes were recruited shortly afterwards in a bid to help build Facebook and 30 more college networks were added to Facebook after four months. After a few months, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard and decided to run Facebook full time. They were later joined by Napster co-founder, Sean Parker who helped them make Facebook even bigger. Zuckerberg’s former high school was the basis of the idea of Facebook whereby each student had the Exeter Face Book passed to them in an attempt to help them know their classmates for the following year. This was a physical book which was brought to the internet (Livingstone 2007, p.64).
Facebook is a social networking site which allows users interact through a constantly evolving set of networks based on college, university, friendships, interest groups, and other different social groups. The site has gone through many changes since it was first created and launched. Now, anyone can join the site without a specific affiliation to an education institution. The site now focuses on everyone and not necessarily on colleges or university. It has networks based on locations, workplace, high school or university or college. Facebook now has a variety of features and tools that tie the sites functions into other web-based applications. Added functionality enables users create and share their own online identities and use it to communicate with other users. It also has the strongest and most detailed privacy policies that enables users determine who sees their information and what they can do with it.
By allowing high school students create profiles on Facebook, they are able to join their respective university or college network once they enroll as freshmen. This is due to the amount of experience they gain from using it before and familiarizing themselves with the site. Facebook’s functionality is based on relationships based on friends and network membership. On registration, users select their own network category, whether it is workplace or college and make a choice from a list of available networks in the category (Christofides & Desmarais 2009, p. 343). Users can belong to multiple networks and can change networks, albeit with a few restrictions. On mutual agreement, users become friends and this dictates how certain functions work. Users are able to upload unlimited numbers of pictures and with a “gift” feature, users are able to send clip-art images with attached messages. There is a tool that enables users search contact lists of email accounts to look for other users with accounts and profiles on Facebook. Users are also able to decide who has access to information and who can be able to take certain actions. Some elements of the profile page can be displayed to specific individuals, members of networks or just the user’s friends. When one adds photos to their profiles, comments on a photo or a friend’s status, depending on their privacy settings, the information is displayed as newsfeed on their home page.
Facebook is available to everyone from any country and in a number of languages ranging from English to French and even Celtic and Swahili. One needs a valid email address and a password so as to create an account profile.
This is a webpage that shows the user’s information, status of their relationship, their friends, friends from other networks, their pictures, notes, groups and their wall where one’s friends can write messages for them to read. Friend sections also reveal friends that one might have in common with. A majority of the sections are self-explanatory while others are specific and unique to Facebook (Clarke 2009, p. 54.).
People upload photos daily on their profiles on Facebook. These photos can be uploaded from their cell phones or through Java-based web interface. It is the only social networking site with offering unlimited photo uploads. One uploads photos and can control who sees the photos in an album, like can be visible to friends only. Albums are posted on one’s profile and users with permission can see and leave comments (Coenen & Matthys 2006, pp.193).
Survey and studies
Facebook has enabled the conducting of a number of surveys and studies which have had some interesting results. It has enabled surveyors learn about the youths knowledge on certain social issues. The surveys can be used to inform companies and corporations about the popularity of their goods and products and also provide a way forward for improvement. An example of this is the iPod and iPhones.
Like all social networks, Facebook has groups which the users create, join or participate in already existing ones. These indicate ones interests and hobbies and are usually displayed on one’s profile. These groups can be for common interests like sports, movies or a music group or they can be for a support of a common course for which there may be a need to educate the public for. Such issues include child pornography, debt relief for third world countries, against certain politicians among others (Backstrom and Xiangyang 2006, p. 48).
Facebook enables people advertise events which are coming up depending on their location. The event feature enables one organize, become part of and also plan events. These events range from parties to political rallies and gatherings to religious functions and even weddings. It basically covers all events that may take place socially and may vary in size. For one to attend a certain event, they receive an invitation which they have an option of saying they will attend it, or they might attend the event or they will not attend the event.
With its massive success, Facebook is set to grow more as a social networking site. It is hard to determine how big it will go and if there will be a new social networking site that will come and become more popular or even better. With its instituted changes, Facebook has redefined “social networking.” On a level, it has become a new portal that gives its users a broad control over what and how they see. Fundamentally being about relationships and networking, the relationships have become increasingly based on professional interests, political activities and other connections that are not necessarily social (Wasserman & Katherine 1994). Facebook has given its users a considerable amount of control of their private information. The only problem with this is that it gives a certain amount of power to users who may not know what to do with the information or make correct judgment. One may be forced to create a completely new online persona if they decide to change to another social network. Some people are concerned about there being an increase of actions or activities that lack substance. It is also feared that Facebook might encourage superficial, trite interaction with little educational value in course of keeping in touch with a circle of friends and colleagues. There is also fear that in the case of data mining to improve user experiences may bring about questions regarding appropriate use.
MySpace has about 125 million users and indeed one of the largest social networks in the word. Its origin is attributed from Friendster inspiration an earlier social network. It then grew quickly to be the largest social network in the world but later on was overtaken by Facebook. The most distinctive feature of MySpace is the customization nature of the user page and the integration of support from widgets like You Tube and Slide. The connection that MySpace provides is based on culture and content. MySpace came into popularity by leveraging the freedom to allow the musicians to create their own personal profile which they could use to interact with their fans. Previously Friendster had banned this practice and actually deleted the profiles of the bands of which the band members especially those based in San Franscisco had used for connecting with fans and gigs promotion. The bands were welcomed online by MySpace with its launch in the fall of 2003 and indie rock musicians were easily attracted from Los Angeles neighborhood, Silverlake (Baker & Susan 2008, p. 83).
Among the youths, music is like cultural glue. Most people especially those aged about 20-30 joined the site with the intent of accessing VIP passes or gaining cultural capital when the bands started advertising their presence in MySpace. Most young aficionado began checking out MySpace when they learned that their favorite bands had put up profiles on MySpace. This was particularly so because most young fans could not go to the bands performances because of the age restriction in United States of 21 although they are the most consumers of music and its surrounding culture. A symbiotic relationship between the fans and the bands ensured because free music was available for listening and downloading for the music junkies while the musicians were being written to by the celebrity watchers and they responded happily. On the other hand the bands wanted to increase their fan base and who again desired to be connected to them. MySpace attracted many young fans based on the level of which participation in music subcultures by the youths is high (Carroll 2008 p.109). Peers who were less engaged in music were then invited to join the site after its existence was learnt by the first wave of the young participants. The offered social voyeurism and chance of personal representation crafting in the online community which was increasingly popular made the most users to start participating. The visualization of the social world using profile collections which were networked was appealing to the teenagers just like their counterparts who were older. However different participation strategies were adopted by the young participants who varied from the older and earlier participants. The focus of the teenagers was on socializing with people who were known to them personally and the adored celebrities which was different to the adults who found more value in the socialization with the strangers.
Intermix Media an internet marketing company started MySpace as a side project in the August 2003. The then CEO and founder of Intermix media (was then called eUniverse) Brad Greenspan oversaw the project with the aid of Chris DeWolfe and its launch was done officially in January 2004. One million users had been registered into MySpace by February 2004 and the number reached 5 million by November of the same year. eUniverse was later acquired by News Corporation in July 2005 for $580Million and MySpace was then valued at $327Million. Currently there are more than 20 million registered users in MySpace. There was contemplation of selling of 25% of the stocks of MySpace to Yahoo in mid-2007 though this deal didn’t go through but the site would have been valued at 12$ Billion. There was increased revenue growth after its acquisition because News Corporation pursued profitable advertising deals. A $900M agreement was made by Google to provide advertising and search on MySpace site directly and with its expiration set for June 2010.
There was major redesign of the site in mid-2008 because critics throughout the history of the site have cited the disorganized and chaotic interface as a grave hindrance to the site usability. The main page was made more clean and streamlined by the redesign. Universal Music Group in 2006 sued MySpace for copyright infringements amounting to several millions of dollars. With launch of MySpace Music in mid-2008 the suit was settled and this was a site where streaming songs from different artists could be listened to by the users (Hodge 2006, p.27). This venture was then supplemented by iLike acquisition in mid-2009. A record label was launched by MySpace previously in 2005 and this led to the discovering of musicians like Sean Kingston and Lily Allen through this site. The user’s growth of MySpace has stagnated since 2008 and there has been falling in page views among other metrics. A 30% of MySpace’s workforce was laid off in 2009.
The content layout is meant to be controlled by the forms filled out for the profiles. The profiles of MySpace accept and render codes from HTML and CSS and this is a technological loophole that was left by MySpace. The appearance and feel of the user’s MySpace profile can be modified by the participants through the capitalization of this loop hole. The teens have been known to copy and paste codes obtained from other websites so as their backgrounds are changed through changing the text color, adding of images and video ultimately making their profiles to be animated chaos and is usually compared to the stereotypical bedroom of the teenagers. There is public availability of the default profile but these can be made friends only by the privacy features in MySpace and for the users in the age 14 or 15 this is their default.
Comparison of Facebook and YouTube
The main difference between Facebook and YouTube is that Facebook is a social networking site while YouTube is a social media site. The main difference between social networking and social media is that a social media website serves as an outlet and strategy for broadcasting while social networking is a tool and utility for connecting with others. They are essentially put under the Web 2.0 category. Their difference lies in the features and functions that the creators put in the site and these in turn dictate how they are used (Charnigo & Barnett-Ellis 2007, p.23).
YouTube as a social media website is like a television on the internet with a bazillion channels. It also serves as a marketing tool for any business which wants to make an impact on the internet and also serves as a distribution tool. As a social media site, it is not convenient for networking as the social networking sites are. The information one posts is not convenient for one seeking a job or where your friends or acquaintances are going to be meeting.
Facebook enables one broadcast their pictures, their links, book lists, blog posts while at the same time connecting with people from your past, present and hopefully future. The pictures posted aim to serve as networking and media tools as one is able to tag their friends and other people can place their own tags on your photos. Facebook for the most part is a networking site but it is also a media site too as it allows one put up own media material like pictures (Boyd & Jenkins 2006).
Facebook and MySpace comparison
Once upon a time, Friendster was everyone’s favorite social networking site, but it fell precipitously and people stopped going there. Them MySpace replaced it and provided a place for one to host their online identity and also included a set of tools where one met and interacted with others. Facebook then came along with a similar description to MySpace but a bit different and slowly took over MySpace. This was due to a few reasons namely; a great number of people enjoy having an outpost of their own on the Web on which they can show who they are as individuals, as well as communicate with old friends and at the same time meet new people.
As Social networking sites appear as transient businesses, comparable to social clubs in the real world, things do change quiet quickly. Every so often, a different social network appears and becomes incredibly popular and people slowly leave their current social network and move to the new popular one. It is this human nature that dominates the virtual world as well. Buzz is important in bringing about the rise of a social networking site in comparison to other websites. People choose their favorite website based on how well the services or applications work. This makes the site’s traffic numbers less important. Some visitors judge social networking sites depending on how many popular people go there. If one desires to meet people online, they have to visit the site with the best chance of finding people one likes (Burke & Lento 2009).
Facebook creates a more formal atmosphere in comparison to MySpace with Facebook having a cleaner and more adult-looking interface as compared to the rather chaotic, informal and popular culture inspired MySpace. Facebook’s “block” presentation, its clean lines and preservation of white space makes the browsing experience less chaotic than the one provided by MySpace. On the other hand, MySpace gives a great deal of creative control to the users on how they want their pages to look. With the ease of use of HTL codes, which can be dropped into page templates to add images or change the page color and move some elements around the page, it can sometimes create unappealing results. Background images can sometimes compete with the pages text and functional boxes in the foreground which brings about cluttered and hard-to-look-at results which is equivalent to loud uncomplimentary stripes.
Facebook helps new members build their network of friends through leveraging existing, offline social structures through running a search of current or former high school, college, grad school or company so as to find people in one’s past and present. On locating these people, one can invite them to their network and this serves to help them build friend networks faster and get immediate gratification. MySpace enables one build their network of friends by inviting people from different social circles in the world or inviting friends from the extended network, also known as friends of your existing friends on MySpace. However, people and groups of all kinds use the site to market themselves and send messages or request that they be added to friends’ list of people they may not know. Users may receive random requests from random bands, comedians and the like, but one should not feel obligated to “add” them to their friends’ list.
In terms of applications, Facebook puts a lot of emphasis on plug-and-play applications as compared to MySpace which people like. One is able to plug in a new application on their profile page and try it out and discard if it is not for them or does not appear useful enough. These applications are provided by Facebook which has a list of applications that are written by its developers and users. Facebook has released and application programming interface (APIs) to private developers in an attempt to make it an “operating system for social networking”
The other difference lies in the applications that are used on both sites. MySpace has three distinct functionalities like the bulletin board, blog posts and music applications. One writes their own post without necessarily hosting a blog using the blog post. One is also able to add music to their profile, and if one is a musician or loves to share music files, one can use this application to get people to hear, share and download their music. Facebook applications have undergone drastic changes since its launch. There are many applications that its users have created which MySpace does not have (Lewis 2008, p.92). Applications that one wishes to add to their profile can be found on my favorites’. Facebook has other fun applications by creating ‘Events’, ‘Fun wall’ among others. A new user can take their time to familiarize you with the applications.
When it comes to the users of these social networking sites, there are various classes who are seen to be found in them. Facebook is seen to represent a very distinct and professional group of individuals. According to a study by Danah Boyd (2009), MySpace is described as having members who are “burnouts,” punks or teenagers from the alternative scene with parents who didn’t go beyond high school education. It is also said that the higher castes of high school moved to Facebook as they viewed it as more cultured and less cheesy while the lower caste were more content with remaining in MySpace.
Facebook and MySpace are competing against each other for the number of users but in time, they will ultimately be serving different sets of web users or there will be users who will be maintaining pages on both sites or even multiple pages on both sites. Some technological analysts view it as people seeing the whole issue as being the choice as either or question as maintaining accounts on two local social networks can take a long time. Facebook seeks to retain its core membership group of 18 to 24-year-olds who are moving to college life, by adding new features like applications menus and modified the search for friends’ option to include companies alongside schools (Ellison & Lampe 2006. p.95).
Competing addiction between Facebook and MySpace
In the current society, the social networking sites Facebook, MySpace and YouTube have become an addiction to the people. Just like the drug dependent addicts, the junkies of the social networking sites count the minutes to when they will next get their profile fix, going online several times during the day to see how many friends they have gotten, how many virtual drinks and the shout-outs they have received. Recently the data has indicated that the growth of MySpace has been declining while that of Facebook has incessantly been accelerating. The question is usually raised as to whether Facebook will indeed be the king of the social networking space horizon. Or the two social networks which are also very different can be able to coexist (Cain 2009, p.63).
Earlier on data from Hitwise indicated that the most visited domain in the U.S. was MySpace but this is changing considering the steady increase that has been exhibited by the site over the few couple of years. For each service, there are some peculiar audience components as has been seen from the psychographic and demographic data. There are more women on the tune of 4% who visit MySpace than those who visit Facebook on the basis of per capita. There is tendency of the users of Facebook to be more affluent who are skewing towards earnings of more than $60,000 yearly while the users of MySpace are skewed in the direction of low levels of income with the earning of less than $60,000 being observed on 12% more of its users. The two social network users have a class distinction which has been indicated by the tracking of internet users in U.S. using the psychographic system Mosaic. In the Mosaic, the predominant group of visitors for Facebook is affluent suburbia which are described by the Mosaic as the group of households of the wealthiest individuals who live in suburban neighborhoods which are exclusive and enjoy the best of life. The struggling societies is on the other hand the predominant group for MySpace is the struggling societies which is consisting of households with principally single income, single parent, using lower income to raise the families and budgets which are tight (Raacke & Bonds-Raacke 2008, p.172).
By observing where the different people go to after leaving the social networking site will also help in understanding the sites users. The most common sites for MySpace users are the photography and multimedia sites like YouTube, Photobucket and Flickr after leaving MySpace. A similar pattern is seen in the Facebook users who then visit sites like YouTube, Slide and Flixter. The two sites exhibit one outstanding difference which is that 5% of the users who leave faceook proceed to sites which are categorized as educational and this can be attributed to the fact that Facebook is in its heritage was originally for college students. The two networking sites traffic pattern bring out a fascinating fact. If we consider the visits done to Facebook in a week, 20% of the users leaving Facebook visit MySpace afterwards immediately and this is an increase from 10% from the previous years. More than 5% of all the visits from MySpace users who on leaving the site go immediately to Facebook. Therefore beyond the peculiar demographics of the two sites, most users decide to make use of both sites which makes them sort of complementary and there is a more than one threshold for each user (Miller & Jensen 2007, p.21).
Social networks transitions
To be able to understand what lies ahead for Facebook and in particular the characteristic social network transitions which Facebook must also experience, then the concept of object centric and ego centric social networks must be considered. As a generalization, the social networks are considered to be of two types i.e. The object centric and the ego centric sites. The individual is placed at the network experience core in ego-centric social network and Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Orkut are the examples while a non-ego element is placed at the network centre are by the object centric network. Examples of the object centric networks are YouTube with the object being videos, Flickr with the object being photography and Dopplr with the object being travel instance. There is a similar characteristic between the object and ego centric networks and the social object is considered to be the human using these service with the significance based on experiential difference (Cassell & Cramer 2007).
The value of the social networks which are object centric can be described in network effect multiplier exploration. The network value multiplies the core value offered by the object centric social networks. A site like YouTube with its video service, makes it be independent of the network and can stand alone and this makes it less vulnerable to migration. There is limited core value in the ego-centric network because its value is mainly in the network and this increases its migration susceptibility. It is thus evident by observing MySpace and Facebook whereby there is little that is lost by individuals in terms of affordances if the move from MySpace to Facebook which makes network reestablishment which is the principal chore of migration to be simplified due the incessant migration cascade (DiPernaN 2006).
The fact that the main chore is the network re-establishment makes it the problem for the ego-centric networks. If the individuals joining Facebook currently are analyzed, it will be observed that they make use of inbox importers i.e. obtain contacts from their inbox and again find friends and classmates by searching. For the moment it can be considered fun but a question is therefore raised on the next step will be when next moment occurs. The network does not necessarily become useless rather it is a useful rolodex and peripheral participation concepts will be introduced by the news feeds or social surveillance. However the game essence becomes over. Something is placed at the core of object centric networks for sites like YouTube and Flickr in this case it’s the photography and video aspects. Because nothing more than our identity is stored in the ego-centric sites like Facebook and MySpace, then migration from one ego-centric site to another compared to the object centric sites (Stutzman 2006, p. 16).
It should not however be perceived that because these vulnerabilities are suffered by the ego-centric networks it doesn’t necessarily reflect to all the networks. By the fact that MySpace or Facebook are large doesn’t mean they reflect the characteristics of the networks that are object-centric. The users do not for instance after uploading a video the leave YouTube to Vimeo (also a video sharing site) so the experience can be revived. Due to the perpetuation aspect of the object centric networks, the network components of these sites are only useful in the perpetuation of the site. These social softwares outliers are Facebook in various aspects like use behavior, size and lifespan.
Some of the Facebook competitors are start ups which are targeting the niche have been neglected by Facebook intentionally. These are Facebook clone sites. The core audience of Facebook have been sacrificed i.e. The college students as it pursues for a broader audience. It is not likely however that the college students are going to adapt the Facebook clone even if they are directly targeting them and in the light of the Facebook neglect. This is because the social network transition does not occur this way as it is not a one for one switch.
The cluster effect of MySpace is noted in the Friendster to MySpace transition. MySpace and Friendster both had their own cliques even though they were co-evolving; more was heard about Friendster but a small world clusters which was dense audience was found by both sides. The change was catalyzed by the Friendsters managerial and technical failures but the significant priming of MySpace was the reason for the transition. There was increased intensity of the movement of Friendster ex-pats to MySpace and Friendsters was left like a virtual ghost town with the cascading of the networks (Chen & Yang 2009).
Now if we consider the MySpace-Facebook transition several things can be observed. Dense clusters around the college students who are also considered a powerful user class has been built by Facebook. The network of the students is wider with influence extending to peers, marketers and family members. Many reasons are present for abandoning MySpace like it’s ridiculous interactions, spam-like nature and the stigma that has been developed by it. The question raised Is usually where the cascade of the site can be traced to. There lacks situational relevance in MySpace unlike Friendster which went down. All that could have been gotten from the system has been experienced by the users who have thus exhausted the game experience but then a viable alternative is present. A coup d’ grace was provided by the tech journalists who after years of pursuing MySpace longed for a new beat. However this wouldn’t have happened if there were no strong clusters initially.
For the occurrence of the transition, there must be dense cluster population first even though a tipping point was needed for the transition cascade fueling. The reason for this is pretty simple that most people don’t really want to be the first ones in a social place. Through the exploitation of college campuses which are considered tightly knit, the clusters were developed by Facebook. The communities of car ‘tweaker’ that was tight knit were exploited by the MySpace founders who were driving up and down California. The network growth seed was provided by these clusters. It wasn’t much to do with the feature set or affordances but rather about tight clusters connection and the network.
Therefore Facebook feature cannot be threatened by it clones because the college students cannot jump to the clones which are empty from Facebook. Because the motivation factor is not the features, it doesn’t matter how many features are present in these nets. The usual question is what the next big thing will be. It will be a social experience that is situational relevant which exploits clusters that are underserved and dense while the ego-centric aspect is treated as a sub-feature. Due to the development of mobility applications, the experience will most likely be based on mobile with the incorporation of personal beacons and geo-location data. Though the rich social experience will still be pursued by the users, it will just be secondary to the core needs which are situational relevant that the site answers either being positional data or something else.
What is of importance is that the network relevance is not trumped by the network size in the individual value context. Thus the instructive nature of Facebook can be seen here because the users have more care for the people that they see everyday than those who they just know. There is more interest in the bridging of social capital than bonding. Through the creation of boundaries which are network enforced, success can be achieved because hyper personal data will be the feature of the next networks. There is no inspiration of gimmick in Facebook use and better ways will need to be used in the future.
It had been projected that Facebook growth will continue to 250-350M members till the next phase occurs of transition. If Facebook capitalize on this before the transition point occurs, it will make the company extremely wealthy. For the long haul, this network cannot be sustained unfortunately because they are ego-centric. The market will then be primed for the next transition phase because the lead time is enough for the considerable improvement of the mobile devices and many youths will have their hand on the I-phones and its clones (Kim & Nicholas, 2008).
Explanation why the young generations are turning to social networking sites for socialization
Problems of identity performance, in addition to others, among youths are as a result of the power adults have over them (Boyd 2008, p. 119). Compulsory high school means students are in class from morning to mid afternoon after which some are also required to partake in sports and other after school activities and others have work in the evening (Back and Gosling 2010, p. 373). It is difficult to determine that today’s youths have more or less free time in comparison to previous generations, but increase in the number of single parent households or households where both parents are working could mean that there are more programs watching these teens after school. The adult centric view of the home is a private area where people can regulate their own behaviour while to the youths it is a space filled with norms and controlled very strictly by the adults (Ambrose 2007).
The question of whether these youths have time to engage in public life or not, there are barriers both social and structurally determining whether they do so or not. The issue of mobility is one such determinant as public transport is available in some urban areas leaving those unable to drive at a disadvantage, due to the suburbanization of the United States. Teens are likely to reside in areas without a public transport network (Andrejevic 2005, p. 485). With the legal age for driving ranging from 16 to 18, attaining a license is simple in comparison to acquiring or getting access to a car. Teenagers and children can be either demonized, meaning that they are feared or idolized meaning that the adults feel the urge to protect them. There is an increase in legislative curfews that seek to control teen violence and loitering laws to prevent them hanging out in public area like street corners or parks due to fear of the trouble they may cause. Parents try to prevent their teenagers due to the fear of predators, drug dealers and gangs. This means that teenagers are banned from drinking and socializing in areas where alcohol is served while adults get to do both.
The fears about children bring about a need for commanding the public’s attention and support. This culture of fear exaggerates the actual dangers and increases real risks in the process. The restrictions are believed to serve as a means of protecting the children from society’s risks and also prevent problematic behaviors. Whether the reasons are justified, the youth are unable to be socialized into the general society. Challenges faced in integrating what one learns when socializing at home are important in helping them grow. The mistakes are important in parts of their lives but there is always the pervading attitude that teens require protection from making mistakes. The term teenager was possibly coined in the 20s or 30s and referring to young adults entering the workforce. Most young people were working by the time they were 14 and living with their parents and their income helped substitute their family income.
The workforce was seen as a tool for socialization of the youth and few attended high school or university. During the Great Depression, jobs became few and adults needed the jobs more than the youths and as a result, social reformist and the labor movement pushed for the government to make high school attendance mandatory for young people and also the passing of child labor laws. Social reformers viewed the youth as immature and the labor force aimed at keeping them from work and off the streets. By doing this, the youth were completely segregated from adults in all aspects of their lives. High school was viewed as a place where the youth could go to attain maturity intellectually and socially (Barker 2009, p. 5). Peer socialization is important but there is need for adult socialization by adults themselves. Norms change by generation and segregation by age creates a demographic target for marketers. Organizations and corporations started targeting youths and teens and tried appealing to their tastes thereby generating a teen culture. Social spaces like skating rinks, bowling alleys and activity centers started offering socializing times specifically to teens.
Shopping malls became the primary public space for youths to socialize, in the 20th century. While they were welcomed before, teens are viewed as a nuisance in shopping malls nowadays. This is due to the store owners viewing them as shoplifters and loiterers. Teens are still viewed as a marketable demographic for products although there is not much interest taken in providing services for them. This dynamic did not apply to all social groups of the American society as it focused on the white, middle class, suburban teens and not the poor teens from other racial orientations that were denied access to these social spaces. This has changed over time bringing about commercialization in a bid to co-opt spaces. An example is hip-hop corporatization and glorification or demonization. Multinational corporations are supporting the idea of youths as both angels and demons by expanding the target group of teens. Society, market, law and architecture have created a teen culture that is age-segregated which is consumerist and lacks meaningfulness. This is due to contradictions that run deep, like selling sex to teens but prohibiting them from engaging in sex and telling them to be grown up and prohibiting them from vices and freedoms that adulthood brings with it. Teenagers have always faced these hypocrisies and the changes in society, the market and law have changed the way the youth are treated and perceived (Alberts 1999).
The internet brought with it a decentralized public with the shift in architecture. The use of the internet and online access brings about whole new social realm for the youths to socialize. Before this, communication devices were landlines, pagers and mobile phones which allowed friends from different adult-regulated physical space stay in contact and socialize. The internet allows the youths take part in socializing in unregulated publics even when they are in adult-regulated physical spaces like learning institutions and their home environment. This is causing a problem as parents have a desire to control their teenagers’ behavior in this new space as well which motivates them to hide in turn (Buffardi & Campbell 2008, p. 115). The question of risk aside, the activities of the teens in the internet is similar to their activities in other public places they access such as skating rinks where they work at how to present themselves and take risks to enable them assess the boundaries the social world present. This is in an attempt to access the adult society that is kept from them. Prohibiting teens from engaging in networking publics creates a divide of participation between the adults and the teens and also teens with access to these networks and those who do not.
The various methods that will be used for data collection will be examined in this chapter. The population from which the sample will be drawn from will also be defined. The design of the research that will be used will be highlighted as well as the sampling approach to be used in the study.
The approach to be used in the study will be descriptive one. According to Schindler and Coopers (2004), descriptive studies are formalized and also typically structured with the investigative question or hypothesis which is clearly stated. A variety of research goals are served by them such as phenomenon or characteristic description. This phenomenon is related to the subject population and estimates of the population’s proportions. This approach so as the outcome will be descriptive of the social networking impacts phenomenon. The research will also try to delineate the usage pattern and level of the mobile data in Kenya.
The target population of the study will be the young generation members of the Facebook social networking site. The young generation in this study has been defined to refer to those individuals aged 12 to 24 of which are also the most active users. A sample is then taken from this population for study.
The sampling design to be used in this study is probably sampling whereby all the members of the target population will have an equal chance of being a respondent. This equal chance has been ensured by using of the online questionnaires rather than offline because the ad-hoc responses from the offline approach might have biases and hence not reflective.
A sample size of 500 was chosen and they were required to respond to the questionnaires.
Sampling Method and Techniques
A probability sampling method will be applied in this study so as to ensure that each and every member of the target group has equal chances of participating in the study. The questionnaires are hosted online on www.marketprobeint.com an online survey hosting company for Market Probe International. The users who are online are directed to the site by randomly distributed links on other websites therefore allowing for the random sampling.
Data Collection Method and Techniques
This study will make use of primary and secondary data. The primary data will be collected using questionnaires which the young generation users will respond to. Secondary data will obtained from journals, reports of similar study and the internet.
Data Analysis and Reporting
The collected data is expected to give a description of the mobile usage pattern and levels. Descriptive statistics will be used to analyze the collected from the response. The mobile data use pattern will be correlated to the various challenges given by the respondents. A percentage of the respondents to a particular question will be calculated so as to clearly delineate the responses. The data will be presented using pie charts, tabulation and graphs.
8 pages Team Leader Procurement Acquisitions ap art history homework help: ap art history homework help
Team Leader Procurement/Acquisitions
The development of a job description that fully details the tasks an individual performs in an organization is an important function of the change process. In the current situation, the incumbent of the job will perform a functional job analysis and from this produce a job description that will be used as a first tool in recruitment and replacement of the individual. Once a replacement is acquired the individual must then supervise and evaluate the job performance of the new employee, now doing the former job of the employee, who has been promoted to a higher level supervisory position. As the incumbent job holder is the principle recruiter and has a vested interest in providing the organization with the highest level candidate for his or her old job the incentive to fully and completely communicate the nature of that job to the organization as well as job candidates and ultimately the replacement job holder makes the task at hand essential to a smooth change process. A job analysis will be the first step in the process. The job analysis will then be used to create a detailed job description, a recruitment strategy, testing methods and questions for an interview and ultimately effective evaluation tools for the performance of the job by the new job holder.
The current job that is being vacated is titled: Team Leader: Acquisitions/Procurement and has changed significantly over the previous five to ten years in focus and responsibility due to the growing emphasis in public administration regarding sustainability. The new job the incumbent job holder will be performing is titled: Sustainability Review Agent. Ultimately the new job is responsible for evaluating the entire procurement team and working as a liaison with the whole organization to ensure that products procured meet stringent requirements of usability, cost and sustainability. The role of the Team Leader in Acquisitions and Procurement is to work within the existing system to find and procure the products needed to manage the agency using existing contracts, new contracts and a substantial amount of research regarding sustainable products as they arrive on the market. The team leader then assigns tasks to the various procurement job functions in the department, including the transportation department, the shipping department and the various work groups that come to the team leader with current procurement needs or concerns. Ultimately the job is defined to a large degree by the budget for the whole organization regarding procurement needs and by the various project budgets that have been approved by upper management, legislators and in some cases the community by various bond elections and tax levies. (Gosling, 2008)
Over the previous ten years it has become increasingly evident that the team leader position requires a view of sustainability that is evident in action but that he or she is also ultimately responsible for procuring materials that fit within the budget and project constraints and he or she therefore must make hard choices about products as a single dollar per unit or percentage point difference in the acquisition of materials, on a large scale can make the difference between a job budget being met or blown, which is not really an option. (Hill & Hupe, 2002) it is for this reason that the department has chosen to create the new position, Sustainability Review Agent to provide the theoretical, i.e. researched-based ideologies regarding products both new and old without the ultimate final say in what products are actually procured and how. In other words the need to maintain overall and project-based budgets overrides the need to procure products based on sustainability and therefore the Team Leader must to some degree be neutral while still making good decisions about materials changes with regard to sustainability. (Kassel, 2010) the Sustainability Review Agent must then supervise decisions that are made regarding the sustainability of materials and then either actively find alternatives that are more sustainable or support the sustainability of materials already in use and ultimately how they might be better used to improve sustainability and possibly even improve costs. (Leuenberger, 2006) (Leuenberger & Bartle, 2009)
Utilizing Hartwick College Job Analysis Questionnaire job analysis template, see appendix 1, a job description was developed. The following job description will be used to recruit and train the individual applicants for this position and will then be referred to for job evaluation and supervision.
Team Leader: Acquisitions/Procurement
Under the Supervision of the Vice President of Finance, the Team Leader: Acquisitions/Procurement is responsible for managing and coordinating the activities of the Acquisitions/Procurement Department; researching new products, equipment and services for the department with a focus on obtaining the best possible pricing with the fundamental goal of procuring the best possible product for the best price.
Pay Level: starting $38,000-40,000 annually, with initial review and possible pay raise after the completion of 1 year on the job.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Develops policies, procedures, goals and cost savings initiatives in regards to the Procurement/Acquisitions Department.
Utilizes the in-house Materials Management system as a tool for record keeping of all supplies and contract services.
Establishes and maintains par level of stock for all departments.
Continually researches alternate products and services with assistance of appropriate departments to ensure sustainability, quality and cost control.
Responsible for ordering supplies and services, and requesting quotes and consumer information for products and services.
Reviews and renews or recommends the purchase maintenance agreements and service contracts with appropriate departments in the best interest of the organization.
Performs supervision of procurement staff including transportation/shipping and warehousing departments.
Establishes and maintains a process to tag capital equipment.
Maintains good customer service and delivery standards.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Education, Experience, Skills
Minimum requirements for this position are an a.A. degree in a public administration/business related field from an accredited college, university or technical school with 3 years experience. The preference of the job is a related BA/BS degree in public administration with a certificate in sustainability leadership. The ability to read, interpret and develop work level and procurement contracts.
The ability to read and interpret project cost data and project materials lists and requirements.
Ability to read interpret and develop project budget data and workflow orders.
Demonstrated supervisory skills of 5-20 employees in a team environment.
Demonstrated knowledge of Lotus 1-2-3 and Windows-based computer software preferred.
Mathematical skills: Ability to perform simple mathematical computations with high degree of accuracy.
Certificates, Licenses, Registration
Clean driving record and State Drivers license.
Sustainability Leadership Certification within 1 year of employment start date. (UCErvine “Sustainable Leadership” http://unex.uci.edu/certificates/business_mgmt/sustainability/)
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls and talk and hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk and reach with hands and arms. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 100 pounds. (Hartwick College Job Analysis Questionnaire, ND, http://www.hartwick.edu/Documents/HR/jaqinteractiveform.pdf)
As the organization requires public posting of this job with an emphasis on hiring from within the job posting for the position will first be emailed to the whole organization three weeks prior to the public posting. The posting will then be available on the City website. The opening date for review will be the close date of application opportunity, six weeks from the open date, as per city requirements. The job description will serve as the basic template for the job announcement, as per organization and city requirements and will be provided to the HR department for posting. The HR department will then do an initial check of requirements to weed out applicants that do not meet basic requirements and provide the applications to the Sustainability Reviewer / Vice President of Finance and the recruitment team, which will consist of three team members of the procurement/acquisition department in addition to the above mentioned supervisors. Applicants will be required, in addition to providing a detailed resume an essay describing what previous experience they have that will aide them in this job and why they believe they would be good at this job. Key word analysis will be conducted on essays and they will be reviewed for basic communication skills.
Testing and Interview
As the work teams approach is the defining organizational development tactic of the department the theories of Total Quality Management and Work Teams will dominate the testing process as much as they do the workflow process in the organization. (Drummond, 2001, p. 107) This emphasis then requires the development of interview questions that determine the ability of the individual to innovate as well as manage team communications and actions.
1. Are you organized in your daily and occupational life and if so please explain?
2. How many contacts did you maintain in your previous position? For example how many businesses were contracted for supplies and/or individuals did you communicate with on a weekly basis outside of the business.
3. What scale of materials handling do you have experience with in the work setting? For example: number of products procured and warehoused in your previous job.
4. What materials management program did you use in your last position? For example the computer tracking program or if in house developed please describe.
5. If you were given a conflict associated with usability of a product, by a user in the field how would you address that conflict and how would you use the team to help find alternatives?
6. If you were referred to a new “innovative” sustainable product that could ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of a given project but that material was outside the budget of most projects it could be used on how would you follow up to either resolve the conflict or reject the product?
Interviews will be conducted for approximately one hour and will require the interviewee be either present or on the telephone. Favorable answers on these questions will determine the candidate(s) who return for a second round of interviews. Second round interviews will emphasize personality and will include a warehouse, plant and project site visit and will therefore require the interviewee be present.
The performance evaluation will occur at 9 months and be concluded by one year and will consist of a job analysis description reviewed and submitted by the new employee and then a follow up interview that addresses his or her perception of the strengths and weaknesses of the job and self. The individual will be asked to offer a list of job and then self strengths and additionally job and self weaknesses and then these documents will be reviewed collectively with the supervisor i.e. The Sustainability Reviewer. The whole process will be recorded in a follow up report/brief that will then be submitted to the VP of Finance and together the two will determine a merit-based pay increase/if deserved and any additional changes or adjustments that need to be made to the job itself to allow it to be more successful. After the close of the evaluation and its review the employee will be given a copy of the formal review and be offered suggestions and feedback for materials supplied as well as being notified of proposed raise/both incremental cost of living as required by the city and merit raise as denoted by the standard city protocol. (Allender, 1995)
This exercise demonstrates the development of a greater understanding of the TQM process as well as team based theories of organizational behavior management and demonstrates a well thought out plan for incumbent replacement in a given job. The development of sustainability in public administration is essential to improvements, across the board and integrating cost with sustainability is also essential. The position of Team Leader: Procurement/Acquisitions is an essential member of the cost control and sustainability team and requires fundamental development. In this work the incumbent of the job, being promoted to a new position associated with the development of greater sustainability in procurement and overall development of the organization, provided a systematic job analysis for the open position and then presented several formal procedures for recruitment and evaluation of the job vacated. The exercise demonstrates application in a real world (though theoretical) scenario that demonstrates the fundamental commitment in many city governments to create and engender an organization goal of sustainability while still taking usability and ultimately budget into consideration.
Allender, H.D. (Nov-Dec, 1995) Reengineering employee performance appraisals the TQM way.
Industrial Management. Retrieved May 30, 2010 from: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3081/is_n6_v37/ai_n28668472/
Drummond, H. (2001) Introduction to Organizational Behavior. New York, NY, Oxford University Press USA.
Gosling, J.J. (2008) Economics, Politics, and American Public Policy, New York, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Hartwick College Job Analysis Questionnaire, ND, Retrieved May 30, 2010 from: http://www.hartwick.edu/Documents/HR/jaqinteractiveform.pdf
Hill, M. & Hupe. P. (2002) Implementing Public Policy: Governance in Theory and in Practice, Thousand Oaks, MI: Sage Publications.
Kassel, D.S. (2010) Managing Public Sector Projects: A Strategic Framework for Success in an Era of Downsized Government. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Leuenberger, D.Z. (2006) Sustainable Development in Public Administration. Public Works Management & Policy, 10 (3), 195-201.
Leuenberger, D.Z. & Bartle (2009) Sustainable Development for Public Administration. New York, NY: M.E. Sharpe
UCErvine “Sustainable Leadership” Certificates Retrieved May 29, 2010 from: http://unex.uci.edu/certificates/business_mgmt/sustainability/
Job Analysis Questionnaire
PURPOSE and INSTRUCTIONS
The purpose of this study is to obtain current information about your job based on a review of job duties and responsibilities.
Because you know your duties and responsibilities better than anyone else, we need your help to get an accurate description of your job.
Relations in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire global history essay help
Goblet of Fire
International Relations in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Rowling’s series of books concerning the boy wizard Harry Potter have garnered a lot of attention since the publication of the first volume over a decade ago. Much of it has been positive — the books have been credited with encouraging children to read, and even with rekindling faith in juvenile fiction altogether. Critics applaud Rowling’s storytelling abilities, and her business savvy (with the help of Hollywood and other marketers) has made her one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, all from a seemingly simple series of books. Not all of the attention given to the Harry Potter series has been positive, however. The portrayal of witchcraft has angered many people, especially conservative Christians, and there are many who believe the books are simply frivolous stories with little point and absolutely no literary value. Given the strength of the world’s reaction to these books, however, it is clear that whatever one thinks about their moral content or literary value the Harry Potter books are anything but frivolous.
In fact, even the most basic reading of these books reveals lessons both explicitly revealed in the text and layered underneath the surface of the story, as well. This is true even of the overarching story of the entire series. Harry Potter is considered by many in the realm of the novel as the savior of the wizarding world because he lived when the evil Voldemort tried to kill him. This same Dark Wizard succeeding in killing Harry’s parents in the same attack, and much of the series of novels revolves around sacrifice and coming to terms with grief and loss. This strain is readily apparent in the fourth book of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but the main message of the novel does not deal with loss so much as it does with acceptance — of other people, other cultures, and other ideas. Rowling’s genius is in weaving her lessons seamlessly into the plot of her stories, and this book says much about multiculturalism.
It is somewhat doubtful that Rowling did true scientific research in preparing for her depiction of international relations, but her accurate portrayal of the several stages many people go through when encountering a new and different culture for the first time is not diminished by this fact in the slightest. Part of Rowling’s brilliance as a storyteller is her adept understanding and portrayal of human characteristics and feelings that are entirely universal, and the view taken of the foreign wizards and withes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is no exception. Harry, Hermione, and Ron — as well as the other stock characters of the series — do not see the foreigners through one lens throughout the novel, but rather adjust their perceptions and opinions as they truly come to know the foreign guests at Hogwarts.
The first reaction the English characters show on meeting foreigners is somewhat sensationalistic. This begins even before the Triwizard tournament at Hogwarts school is even mentioned, while Harry is attending the Quidditch Cup with the Weasley clan. Of course, given the nature of the event (which is quite obviously modeled on soccer’s World Cup event and is a cause for extreme nationalism for all spectators, and even more so those who are camping out next to the playing field) the stereotyped and sensational image of other cultures is not too unusual. Thus, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk “into a patch of tents that were all covered with a thick growth of shamrocks,” it is not seen as too unusual. The effect is somewhat more startling when the teen wizards encounter the Bulgarian section, but the overall impression one gets from the Quidditch Cup is that it is our tendency, whether we be Muggle or wizard, to paint foreigners with a broad brush, and perhaps even to view their behavior as supporting this view without much objectivity.
These aspects of human nature when it comes to multiculturalism, though somewhat apparent in the scenes at the Quidditch Cup, are far more important during the Triwizard Tournament. The main foreign characters that are introduced in the novel are Karkaroff and Viktor Krum from Durmstrang, and Madame Maxine and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons.. Rowling is careful not to mention any nationality or country of origin for either the schools or these particular characters (it is known from the Quidditch Cup that Krum is Bulgarian, but this does not necessarily apply to the Karkaroff or to Durmstrang). At the same time, it is entirely obvious that Beauxbatons is a French school, and the Durmstrang is located somewhere in Eastern Europe, with its distinctive Slavic/Germanic flavor. The immediate reaction is, again, sensationalistic, and this is aided by the modes of entrance chosen by the two foreign schools.
It is clear that the Triwizard Tournament is a competition, with each school displaying a huge amount of pride and even standoffishness that is never made overtly nationalistic, but carries clear overtones of cultural disparity. At the same time, the exotic nature of the foreigners has its effects on the other characters. Ron is basically speechless anytime he is around Fleur, and even the stoic Hermione is initially won over by Viktor Krum’s foreign mystique. The wonder and amazement expressed at the foreigners diminishes somewhat as they are known better, and Rowling actually manages to show the similarities of the different cultures involved in the tournament by highlighting their reactions to the extreme competitiveness of the tournament.
All cultures cheat, and Rowling does not shy away from this fact. Each of the champions in the Triwizard tournament receives aid from the adults accompanying them, and no one (except the honorable Harry Potter) is surprised by this. The cheating that occurs is one of the earliest and strongest bonds of similarity drawn between the various cultures, as though Rowling were letting the similarity be seen through humorous foibles in order to allow for a somewhat more relaxed guard about one’s own culture. Knowing how alike different cultures are in negative ways might allow them to see positive ways in which they are similar, too.
Ultimately, Rowling’s message is that progress is made through increased international cooperation, and that adversity is best met with an acceptance and utilization of diversity. As Dumbledore puts it, “differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open” (Rowling 723). During both the Quidditch Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, the various cultures depicted were in competition with each other. Despite this, they still managed to find areas of commonality with each other that allowed them to connect on more than just a superficial and sensationalistic level. When things take a darker turn, and there is a real-world problem to be faced, the spirit of competition is subdued by the need for increased cooperation. Much of the novel deals with the need for acceptance among different cultures and even races (as exemplified by Madame Maxime’s half-giantess status and even Fleur’s being half-Veela), and Dumbledore’s remark is the final say.
All in all, the multiculturalism displayed in the book draws an obvious parallel between the wizarding world and our own. Humans are essentially the same no matter where they come from. All most people are really seeking is security, and all cultures have their honorable heroes that provide it. Harry Potter is one such hero to a generation (or two) of readers, and as his creator Rowling is, too.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, 2000.