International Science Index

226
10009059
Effects of Audit Quality and Corporate Governance on Earnings Management of Quoted Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria
Abstract:

The stakeholders’ pressure on corporate managers to maintain firm’s profitability has created economic incentives for management to engage in earnings management practices. Therefore, this study examines the effects of audit quality and corporate governance on earnings management of quoted deposit money banks (DMBs) in Nigeria. This study specifically investigates the influence of audit tenure, audit fee, board independence, and board size on earnings management of DMBs. Explanatory research design was employed in carrying out the study while secondary data were sourced from the annual reports and accounts of all the 15 quoted DMBs in Nigerian Stock Exchange as at December 31, 2015 for a period of 10 years covering from 2006 to 2015. The data obtained for the study were analyzed using panel regression analysis approach. The findings reveal that board independence has a negative significant effect on earnings management at a 5% level of significance (p=0.002), while audit fee has a positive significant effect on earnings management at a 5% level of significance (p=0.013) and audit tenure has a negative significant effect on earnings management of DMBs at a 5% level of significance (p=0.003). Surprisingly, board size was statistically not significant at a 5% level of significance (p=0.086). The study concludes that high audit quality and sound corporate governance could improve the earnings quality of DMBs. Hence, the study recommends that the authorities saddled with the responsibility of banking supervision in Nigeria such the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and CBN to advise the National Assembly in Nigeria to pass into law the three years professional requirement for audit tenure.

Paper Detail
11
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225
10008876
Collective Redress in Consumer Protection in South East Europe: Cross-National Comparisons, Issues of Commonality and Difference
Abstract:

In recent decades, there have been significant developments in the European Union in the field of collective consumer redress. South East European countries (SEE) covered by this paper, in line with their EU accession priorities and duties under Stabilisation and Association Agreements, have to harmonize their national laws with the relevant EU acquis for consumer protection (Chapter 28: Health and Consumer). In these countries, only minimal compliance is achieved. SEE countries have introduced rudimentary collective redress mechanisms, with modest enforcement of collective redress and case law. This paper is based on comprehensive interdisciplinary research conducted for SEE countries on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms, emphasizing cross-national comparisons, underlining issues of commonality and difference aiming to develop recommendations for an adequate enforcement of collective redress. SEE countries are recognized by the sectoral approach for regulating collective redress contrary to the majority of EU Member States with having adopted horizontal approach to collective redress. In most SEE countries, the laws do not recognize compensatory but only injunctive collective redress in consumer protection. All responsible stakeholders for implementation of collective redress in SEE countries, lack information and awareness on collective redress mechanisms and the way they function in practice. Therefore, specific actions are needed in these countries to make the whole system of collective redress for consumer protection operational and efficient. Taking into consideration the various designated stakeholders in collective redress in each SEE countries, there is a need of their mutual coordination and cooperation in order to develop consumer protection system and policies. By putting into practice the national collective redress mechanisms, effective access to justice for all consumers, the principle of rule of law will be secured and appropriate procedural guarantees to avoid abusive litigation will be ensured.

Paper Detail
118
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224
10008961
From Industry 4.0 to Agriculture 4.0: A Framework to Manage Product Data in Agri-Food Supply Chain for Voluntary Traceability
Abstract:

Agri-food value chain involves various stakeholders with different roles. All of them abide by national and international rules and leverage marketing strategies to advance their products. Food products and related processing phases carry with it a big mole of data that are often not used to inform final customer. Some data, if fittingly identified and used, can enhance the single company, and/or the all supply chain creates a math between marketing techniques and voluntary traceability strategies. Moreover, as of late, the world has seen buying-models’ modification: customer is careful on wellbeing and food quality. Food citizenship and food democracy was born, leveraging on transparency, sustainability and food information needs. Internet of Things (IoT) and Analytics, some of the innovative technologies of Industry 4.0, have a significant impact on market and will act as a main thrust towards a genuine ‘4.0 change’ for agriculture. But, realizing a traceability system is not simple because of the complexity of agri-food supply chain, a lot of actors involved, different business models, environmental variations impacting products and/or processes, and extraordinary climate changes. In order to give support to the company involved in a traceability path, starting from business model analysis and related business process a Framework to Manage Product Data in Agri-Food Supply Chain for Voluntary Traceability was conceived. Studying each process task and leveraging on modeling techniques lead to individuate information held by different actors during agri-food supply chain. IoT technologies for data collection and Analytics techniques for data processing supply information useful to increase the efficiency intra-company and competitiveness in the market. The whole information recovered can be shown through IT solutions and mobile application to made accessible to the company, the entire supply chain and the consumer with the view to guaranteeing transparency and quality.

Paper Detail
61
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223
10008845
Design Development of Floating Performance Structure for Coastal Areas in the Maltese Islands
Abstract:
Background: Islands in the Mediterranean region offer opportunities for various industries to take advantage of the facilitation and use of versatile floating structures in coastal areas. In the context of dense land use, marine structures can contribute to ensure both terrestrial and marine resource sustainability. Objective: The aim of this paper is to present and critically discuss an array of issues that characterize the design process of a floating structure for coastal areas and to present the challenges and opportunities of providing such multifunctional and versatile structures around the Maltese coastline. Research Design: A three-tier research design commenced with a systematic literature review. Semi-structured interviews with stakeholders including a naval architect, a marine engineer and civil designers were conducted. A second stage preceded a focus group with stakeholders in design and construction of marine lightweight structures. The three tier research design ensured triangulation of issues. All phases of the study were governed by research ethics. Findings: Findings were grouped into three main themes: excellence, impact and implementation. These included design considerations, applications and potential impacts on local industry. Literature for the design and construction of marine structures in the Maltese Islands presented multiple gaps in the application of marine structures for local industries. Weather conditions, depth of sea bed and wave actions presented limitations on the design capabilities of the structure. Conclusion: Water structures offer great potential and conclusions demonstrate the applicability of such designs for Maltese waters. There is still no such provision within Maltese coastal areas for multi-purpose use. The introduction of such facilities presents a range of benefits for visiting tourists and locals thereby offering wide range of services to tourism and marine industry. Costs for construction and adverse weather conditions were amongst the main limitations that shaped design capacities of the water structures.
Paper Detail
64
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222
10008551
Conventional and Islamic Perspective in Accounting: Potential for Alternative Reporting Framework
Abstract:

This paper provides an overview of fundamental philosophical and functional differences in conventional and Islamic accounting. The aim of this research is to undertake a detailed analysis focus on specific illustrations drawn from both these systems and highlight how these differences implicate in recording financial transactions and preparation of financial reports for a range of stakeholders. Accounting as being universally considered as a platform for providing a ‘true and fair’ view of corporate entities can be challenged in the current world view, as the business environment has evolved and transformed significantly. Growth of the non-traditional corporate entity such as Islamic financial institutions, fundamentally questions the applicability of conventional accounting standards in preparation of Shariah-compliant financial reporting. Coupled with this, there are significant concerns about the wider applicability of Islamic accounting standards and framework in order to achieve reporting practices satisfying the information needs generally. Against the backdrop of such a context, this paper raises fundamental question as to how potential convergence could be achieved between these two systems in order to provide users’ a transparent and comparable state of financial information resulting in an alternative framework of financial reporting.

Paper Detail
405
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221
10008504
Attributes of Ethical Leadership and Ethical Guidelines in Malaysian Public Sector
Abstract:

Malaysian Public Sector departments or agencies are responsible to provide efficient public services with zero corruption. However, corruption continues to occur due to the absence of ethical leadership and well-execution of ethical guidelines. Thus, the objective of this paper is to explore the attributes of ethical leadership and ethical guidelines. This study employs a qualitative research by analyzing data from interviews with key informers of public sector using conceptual content analysis (NVivo11). The study reveals eight attributes of ethical leadership which are role model, attachment, ethical support, knowledgeable, discipline, leaders’ spirituality encouragement, virtue values and shared values. Meanwhile, five attributes (guidelines, communication, check and balance, concern on stakeholders and compliance) of ethical guidelines are identified. These identified attributes should become the ethical identity and ethical direction of Malaysian Public Sector. This could enhance the public trust as well as the international community trust towards the public sector.

Paper Detail
246
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220
10008995
Effect of Social Media on the Study Habits of Students of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri
Abstract:

There has been considerable anxiety in society that social media distracts from education and reduces the social skills of young people. Following this, educators have sought ways to mitigate its negative effects on educational attainment while incorporating its positive aspects into the learning process. This study sought to examine the impact of social media on the study habits of students of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri. The research design involved survey technique where questionnaires were used to collect data from a sample of the student population. Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse the data. Spearman’s Rho was the specific tool used for analysis. It was presented in frequency tables and bar charts. Findings from variables investigated showed that at p<0.5, social media usage had a significant impact on the study habits of students of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri. This indicated the need for stakeholders in the community to employ counselling and other proactive measures to ensure that students maintained proper focus on their primary assignment for schooling.

Paper Detail
36
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219
10008447
A Multi-Agent Smart E-Market Design at Work for Shariah Compliant Islamic Banking
Authors:
Abstract:
Though quite fast on growth, Islamic financing at large, and its diverse instruments, is a controversial matter among scholars. This is evident from the ongoing debates on its Shariah compliance. Arguments, however, are inciting doubts and concerns among clients about its credibility, which is harming this lucrative sector. The work here investigates, particularly, some issues related to the Tawarruq instrument. The work examines the issues of linking Murabaha and Wakala contracts, the reselling of commodities to same traders, and the transfer of ownerships. The work affirms that a multi-agent smart electronic market design would facilitate Shariah compliance. The smart market exploits the rational decision-making capabilities of autonomous proxy agents that enable the clients, traders, brokers, and the bank buy and sell commodities, and manage transactions and cash flow. The smart electronic market design delivers desirable qualities that terminate the need for Wakala contracts and the reselling of commodities to the same traders. It also resolves the ownership transfer issues by allowing stakeholders to trade independently. The bank administers the smart electronic market and assures reliability of trades, transactions and cash flow. A multi-agent simulation is presented to validate the concept and processes. We anticipate that the multi-agent smart electronic market design would deliver Shariah compliance of personal financing to the aspiration of scholars, banks, traders and potential clients.
Paper Detail
132
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218
10008205
Progressive Watershed Management Approaches in Iran
Abstract:

Expansionism and ever-increasing population menace all different resources worldwide. The issue, hence, is critical in developing countries like Iran where new technologies are rapidly luxuriated and unguardedly applied, resulting in unexpected outcomes. However, uncommon and comprehensive approaches are introduced to take all the different aspects involved into consideration. In the last decade, few approaches such as community-based, stakeholders-oriented, adaptive and ultimately integrated management, have emerged and are developing for efficient, Co-management or best management, economic and sustainable development and management of watershed resources in Iran. In the present paper, an attempt has been made to focus on state-of-the-art approaches for the management of watershed resources applied in Iran. The study has been then supported by reports of some case studies conducted throughout the country involving previously mentioned approaches. Scrutinizing results of the researches verified a progressive tendency of the managerial approaches in watershed management strategies leading to a general approaching balance situation. The approaches are firmly rooted in educational, research, executive, legal and policy-making sectors leading to some recuperation at different levels. However, there is a long way ahead to naturalize detrimental effects of unscientific, illegal and over exploitation of the watershed resources in Iran.

Paper Detail
188
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217
10008310
Building the Professional Readiness of Graduates from Day One: An Empirical Approach to Curriculum Continuous Improvement
Abstract:

Industry employers require new graduates to bring with them a range of knowledge, skills and abilities which mean these new employees can immediately make valuable work contributions. These will be a combination of discipline and professional knowledge, skills and abilities which give graduates the technical capabilities to solve practical problems whilst interacting with a range of stakeholders. Underpinning the development of these disciplines and professional knowledge, skills and abilities, are “enabling” knowledge, skills and abilities which assist students to engage in learning. These are academic and learning skills which are essential to common starting points for both the learning process of students entering the course as well as forming the foundation for the fully developed graduate knowledge, skills and abilities. This paper reports on a project created to introduce and strengthen these enabling skills into the first semester of a Bachelor of Information Technology degree in an Australian polytechnic. The project uses an action research approach in the context of ongoing continuous improvement for the course to enhance the overall learning experience, learning sequencing, graduate outcomes, and most importantly, in the first semester, student engagement and retention. The focus of this is implementing the new curriculum in first semester subjects of the course with the aim of developing the “enabling” learning skills, such as literacy, research and numeracy based knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). The approach used for the introduction and embedding of these KSAs, (as both enablers of learning and to underpin graduate attribute development), is presented. Building on previous publications which reported different aspects of this longitudinal study, this paper recaps on the rationale for the curriculum redevelopment and then presents the quantitative findings of entering students’ reading literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills degree as well as their perceived research ability. The paper presents the methodology and findings for this stage of the research. Overall, the cohort exhibits mixed KSA levels in these areas, with a relatively low aggregated score. In addition, the paper describes the considerations for adjusting the design and delivery of the new subjects with a targeted learning experience, in response to the feedback gained through continuous monitoring. Such a strategy is aimed at accommodating the changing learning needs of the students and serves to support them towards achieving the enabling learning goals starting from day one of their higher education studies.

Paper Detail
118
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216
10007987
Analysis of the Diffusion Behavior of an Information and Communication Technology Platform for City Logistics
Abstract:

The concept of City Logistics (CL) has emerged to improve the impacts of last mile freight distribution in urban areas. In this paper, a System Dynamics (SD) model exploring the dynamics of the diffusion of a ICT platform for CL management across different populations is proposed. For the development of the model two sources have been used. On the one hand, the major diffusion variables and feedback loops are derived from a literature review of existing diffusion models. On the other hand, the parameters are represented by the value propositions delivered by the platform as a response to some of the users’ needs. To extract the most important value propositions the Business Model Canvas approach has been used. Such approach in fact focuses on understanding how a company can create value for her target customers. These variables and parameters are thus translated into a SD diffusion model with three different populations namely municipalities, logistics service providers, and own account carriers. Results show that, the three populations under analysis fully adopt the platform within the simulation time frame, highlighting a strong demand by different stakeholders for CL projects aiming at carrying out more efficient urban logistics operations.

Paper Detail
215
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215
10008520
The Role of General Councils in the Supervision of the Organizational Performance of Higher Education Institutions
Abstract:

Higher Education Institutions (HEI), and other levels of Education, face important challenges. One of the most relevant one is the ability to adapt to a society that is changing over time, whilst guarantying levels of training that do not merely react to such changes. Thus, interacting with society, particularly with surrounding communities and key stakeholders, has become an essential requirement for the sustainability of these institutions. One of the formal mechanisms implemented in European educational institutions has been the design of organizational structures that include a top governance body sharing its constitution with both internal members, students and external members. Such frame holds the core mission of involving communities in the governance of educational institutions, assuming, both strategic decision-making functions, with the approval of the institutions’ strategic plans, and a supervision function, approved by activity reports. It also plays an essential role in the life of institutions by holding the responsibility of electing its top executives. In Portugal, it has been almost a decade since the publication of RJIES, the legal framework of Higher Education, such bodies being designated by General Councils. Thus, one may highlight that there has been a better understanding of the operative process of these bodies, as well as their added value to the education system. It has also been possible to analyse the extent to which their core mission has been fulfilled and to understand its growing relevance, particularly regarding the autonomy of institutions. This article aims to contribute to this theme by presenting the results of a study on the role of these bodies in the governance of Public Portuguese HEI, with a special focus on the supervisory competence of organizational performance. Through questionnaires made to board members and interviews with chairpersons of the bodies and top managers of the institutions, it was possible to conclude that there is a high concern with the connections to the external environment. However, regarding organizational performance and the role of the Council as a supervisor of that performance, the activity of the bodies has fallen short of what would be expected. Several reasons may be identified. It is important to emphasize the importance of the profile of the external members and the relationship between the organ’s standard functioning and the election of the head of the institution.

Paper Detail
81
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214
10007863
Multilayer Neural Network and Fuzzy Logic Based Software Quality Prediction
Abstract:
In the software development lifecycle, the quality prediction techniques hold a prime importance in order to minimize future design errors and expensive maintenance. There are many techniques proposed by various researchers, but with the increasing complexity of the software lifecycle model, it is crucial to develop a flexible system which can cater for the factors which in result have an impact on the quality of the end product. These factors include properties of the software development process and the product along with its operation conditions. In this paper, a neural network (perceptron) based software quality prediction technique is proposed. Using this technique, the stakeholders can predict the quality of the resulting software during the early phases of the lifecycle saving time and resources on future elimination of design errors and costly maintenance. This technique can be brought into practical use using successful training.
Paper Detail
204
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213
10007958
Assessment of the Situation and the Cause of Junk Food Consumption in Iranians: A Qualitative Study
Abstract:

The consumption of junk food in Iran is alarmingly increasing. This study aimed to investigate the influencing factors of junk food consumption and amendable interventions that are criticized and approved by stakeholders, in order to presented to health policy makers. The articles and documents related to the content of study were collected by using the appropriate key words such as junk food, carbonated beverage, chocolate, candy, sweets, industrial fruit juices, potato chips, French fries, puffed corn, cakes, biscuits, sandwiches, prepared foods and popsicles, ice cream, bar, chewing gum, pastilles and snack, in scholar.google.com, pubmed.com, eric.ed.gov, cochrane.org, magiran.com, medlib.ir, irandoc.ac.ir, who.int, iranmedex.com, sid.ir, pubmed.org and sciencedirect.com databases. The main key points were extracted and included in a checklist and qualitatively analyzed. Then a summarized abstract was prepared in a format of a questionnaire to be presented to stakeholders. The design of this was qualitative (Delphi). According to this method, a questionnaire was prepared based on reviewing the articles and documents and it was emailed to stakeholders, who were asked to prioritize and choose the main problems and effective interventions. After three rounds, consensus was obtained.            Studies revealed high consumption of junk foods in the Iranian population, especially in children and adolescents. The most important affecting factors include availability, low price, media advertisements, preference of fast foods taste, the variety of the packages and their attractiveness, low awareness and changing in lifestyle. Main interventions recommended by stakeholders include developing a protective environment, educational interventions, increasing healthy food access and controlling media advertisements and putting pressure from the Industry and Mining Ministry on producers to produce healthy snacks. According to the findings, the results of this study may be proposed to public health policymakers as an advocacy paper and to be integrated in the interventional programs of Health and Education ministries and the media. Also, implementation of supportive meetings with the producers of alternative healthy products is suggested.

Paper Detail
226
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212
10007709
Climate Safe House: A Community Housing Project Tackling Catastrophic Sea Level Rise in Coastal Communities
Abstract:
New Zealand, an island nation, has an extensive coastline peppered with small communities of iconic buildings known as Bachs. Post WWII, these modest buildings were constructed by their owners as retreats and generally were small, low cost, often using recycled material and often they fell below current acceptable building standards. In the latter part of the 20th century, real estate prices in many of these communities remained low and these areas became permanent residences for people attracted to this affordable lifestyle choice. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) is an organisation that recognises the vulnerability of communities in low lying settlements as now being prone to increased flood threat brought about by climate change and sea level rise. Some of the inhabitants of Blueskin Bay, Otago, NZ have already found their properties to be un-insurable because of increased frequency of flood events and property values have slumped accordingly. Territorial authorities also acknowledge this increased risk and have created additional compliance measures for new buildings that are less than 2 m above tidal peaks. Community resilience becomes an additional concern where inhabitants are attracted to a lifestyle associated with a specific location and its people when this lifestyle is unable to be met in a suburban or city context. Traditional models of social housing fail to provide the sense of community connectedness and identity enjoyed by the current residents of Blueskin Bay. BRCT have partnered with the Otago Polytechnic Design School to design a new form of community housing that can react to this environmental change. It is a longitudinal project incorporating participatory approaches as a means of getting people ‘on board’, to understand complex systems and co-develop solutions. In the first period, they are seeking industry support and funding to develop a transportable and fully self-contained housing model that exploits current technologies. BRCT also hope that the building will become an educational tool to highlight climate change issues facing us today. This paper uses the Climate Safe House (CSH) as a case study for education in architectural sustainability through experiential learning offered as part of the Otago Polytechnics Bachelor of Design. Students engage with the project with research methodologies, including site surveys, resident interviews, data sourced from government agencies and physical modelling. The process involves collaboration across design disciplines including product and interior design but also includes connections with industry, both within the education institution and stakeholder industries introduced through BRCT. This project offers a rich learning environment where students become engaged through project based learning within a community of practice, including architecture, construction, energy and other related fields. The design outcomes are expressed in a series of public exhibitions and forums where community input is sought in a truly participatory process.
Paper Detail
273
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211
10007742
Lack of BIM Training: Investigating Practical Solutions for the State of Kuwait
Abstract:

Despite the evident benefits of building information modeling (BIM) to the construction industry, it faces significant implementation challenges in the State of Kuwait. This study investigates the awareness of construction stakeholders of BIM implementation challenges, and identifies various solutions to overcome these challenges. Specifically, the main objectives of this study are to: (1) characterize the barriers that deter utilization of BIM, (2) examine the awareness of engineers, architects, and construction stakeholders of these barriers, and (3) identify practical solutions to facilitate BIM utilization. A questionnaire survey was designed to collect data on the aforementioned objectives from local companies and senior BIM experts. It was found that engineers are highly aware of BIM implementation barriers. In addition, it was concluded from the questionnaire that the biggest barrier is the lack of BIM training. Based on expert feedback, the study concluded with a number of recommendations on how to overcome the barriers of BIM utilization. This should prove useful to the construction industry stakeholders and can lead to significant changes to design and construction practices.

Paper Detail
304
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210
10007480
A Retrospective Cohort Study on an Outbreak of Gastroenteritis Linked to a Buffet Lunch Served during a Conference in Accra
Abstract:

On 21st November, 2016, an outbreak of foodborne illness occurred after a buffet lunch served during a stakeholders’ consultation meeting held in Accra. An investigation was conducted to characterise the affected people, determine the etiologic food, the source of contamination and the etiologic agent and to implement appropriate public health measures to prevent future occurrences. A retrospective cohort study was conducted via telephone interviews, using a structured questionnaire developed from the buffet menu. A case was defined as any person suffering from symptoms of foodborne illness e.g. diarrhoea and/or abdominal cramps after eating food served during the stakeholder consultation meeting in Accra on 21st November, 2016. The exposure status of all the members of the cohort was assessed by taking the food history of each respondent during the telephone interview. The data obtained was analysed using Epi Info 7. An environmental risk assessment was conducted to ascertain the source of the food contamination. Risks of foodborne infection from the foods eaten were determined using attack rates and odds ratios. Data was obtained from 54 people who consumed food served during the stakeholders’ meeting. Out of this population, 44 people reported with symptoms of food poisoning representing 81.45% (overall attack rate). The peak incubation period was seven hours with a minimum and maximum incubation periods of four and 17 hours, respectively. The commonly reported symptoms were diarrhoea (97.73%, 43/44), vomiting (84.09%, 37/44) and abdominal cramps (75.00%, 33/44). From the incubation period, duration of illness and the symptoms, toxin-mediated food poisoning was suspected. The environmental risk assessment of the implicated catering facility indicated a lack of time/temperature control, inadequate knowledge on food safety among workers and sanitation issues. Limited number of food samples was received for microbiological analysis. Multivariate analysis indicated that illness was significantly associated with the consumption of the snacks served (OR 14.78, P < 0.001). No stool and blood or samples of etiologic food were available for organism isolation; however, the suspected etiologic agent was Staphylococcus aureus or Clostridium perfringens. The outbreak could probably be due to the consumption of unwholesome snack (tuna sandwich or chicken. The contamination and/or growth of the etiologic agent in the snack may be due to the breakdown in cleanliness, time/temperature control and good food handling practices. Training of food handlers in basic food hygiene and safety is recommended.

Paper Detail
231
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209
10007509
Electric Vehicle Market Penetration Impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Policy-Making: A Case Study of United Arab Emirates
Authors:
Abstract:

The United Arab Emirates is clearly facing a multitude of challenges in curbing its greenhouse gas emissions to meet its pre-allotted framework of Kyoto protocol and COP21 targets due to its hunger for modernization, industrialization, infrastructure growth, soaring population and oil and gas activity. In this work, we focus on the bonafide zero emission electric vehicles market penetration in the country’s transport industry for emission reduction. We study the global electric vehicle market trends, the complementary battery technologies and the trends by manufacturers, emission standards across borders and prioritized advancements which will ultimately dictate the terms of future conditions for the United Arab Emirate transport industry. Based on our findings and analysis at every stage of current viability and state-of-transport-affairs, we postulate policy recommendations to local governmental entities from a supply and demand perspective covering aspects of technology, infrastructure requirements, change in power dynamics, end user incentives program, market regulators behavior and communications amongst key stakeholders. 

Paper Detail
455
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208
10007573
Non-Revenue Water Management in Palestine
Abstract:

Water is the most important and valuable resource not only for human life but also for all living things on the planet. The water supply utilities should fulfill the water requirement quantitatively and qualitatively. Drinking water systems are exposed to both natural (hurricanes and flood) and manmade hazards (risks) that are common in Palestine. Non-Revenue Water (NRW) is a manmade risk which remains a major concern in Palestine, as the NRW levels are estimated to be at a high level. In this research, Hebron city water distribution network was taken as a case study to estimate and audit the NRW levels. The research also investigated the state of the existing water distribution system in the study area by investigating the water losses and obtained more information on NRW prevention and management practices. Data and information have been collected from the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and Hebron Municipality (HM) archive. In addition to that, a questionnaire has been designed and administered by the researcher in order to collect the necessary data for water auditing. The questionnaire also assessed the views of stakeholder in PWA and HM (staff) on the current status of the NRW in the Hebron water distribution system. The important result obtained by this research shows that NRW in Hebron city was high and in excess of 30%. The main factors that contribute to NRW were the inaccuracies in billing volumes, unauthorized consumption, and the method of estimating consumptions through faulty meters. Policy for NRW reduction is available in Palestine; however, it is clear that the number of qualified staff available to carry out the activities related to leak detection is low, and that there is a lack of appropriate technologies to reduce water losses and undertake sufficient system maintenance, which needs to be improved to enhance the performance of the network and decrease the level of NRW losses.

Paper Detail
164
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207
10007266
Economic Effects of Maritime Environmental Legislation in the North and Baltic Sea Area: An Exploratory Sequential Mixed Methods Approach
Authors:
Abstract:

Environmental legislation to protect North and Baltic Sea areas from harmful vessel-source emissions has received increased political attention in recent years. Legislative measures are expected to show positive effects on the health of the marine environment and society. At the same time, compliance might increase the costs to industry and have effects on freight rates and volumes shipped with potential negative repercussions on the environment. Building on an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach, this research project will study the economic effects of maritime environmental legislation in two phases. In Phase I, exploratory in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 experts from various stakeholder groups aiming at identifying variables influencing the relationship between environmental legislation, freight rates and volumes shipped. Influencing factors like compliance, enforcement and modal shift were identified and studied. Phase II will comprise of a quantitative study conducted with the aim of verifying the theory build in Phase I and quantifying economic effects of rules on shipping pollution. Research in this field might inform policy-makers about determinants of behaviour of ship operators in the face of the law and might further the development of a comprehensive legal system for marine environmental protection. At the present stage of research, first tentative results from the qualitative phase may be examined and open research questions to be addressed in the quantitative phase as well as possible research designs for phase II may be discussed. Input from other researchers will be highly valuable at this point.

Paper Detail
247
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206
10007631
Inner and Outer School Contextual Factors Associated with Poor Performance of Grade 12 Students: A Case Study of an Underperforming High School in Mpumalanga, South Africa
Abstract:

Often a Grade 12 certificate is perceived as a passport to tertiary education and the minimum requirement to enter the world of work. In spite of its importance, many students do not make this milestone in South Africa. It is important to find out why so many students still fail in spite of transformation in the education system in the post-apartheid era. Given the complexity of education and its context, this study adopted a case study design to examine one historically underperforming high school in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa in 2013. The aim was to gain a understanding of the inner and outer school contextual factors associated with the high failure rate among Grade 12 students.  Government documents and reports were consulted to identify factors in the district and the village surrounding the school and a student survey was conducted to identify school, home and student factors. The randomly-sampled half of the population of Grade 12 students (53) participated in the survey and quantitative data are analyzed using descriptive statistical methods. The findings showed that a host of factors is at play. The school is located in a village within a municipality which has been one of the poorest three municipalities in South Africa and the lowest Grade 12 pass rate in the Mpumalanga province.   Moreover, over half of the families of the students are single parents, 43% are unemployed and the majority has a low level of education. In addition, most families (83%) do not have basic study materials such as a dictionary, books, tables, and chairs. A significant number of students (70%) are over-aged (+19 years old); close to half of them (49%) are grade repeaters. The school itself lacks essential resources, namely computers, science laboratories, library, and enough furniture and textbooks. Moreover, teaching and learning are negatively affected by the teachers’ occasional absenteeism, inadequate lesson preparation, and poor communication skills. Overall, the continuous low performance of students in this school mirrors the vicious circle of multiple negative conditions present within and outside of the school. The complexity of factors associated with the underperformance of Grade 12 students in this school calls for a multi-dimensional intervention from government and stakeholders. One important intervention should be the placement of over-aged students and grade-repeaters in suitable educational institutions for the benefit of other students.

Paper Detail
198
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205
10007656
Building Information Modelling for Construction Delay Management
Abstract:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is not an exception in relying on the growth of its construction industry to support rapid population growth. However, its need for infrastructure development is constrained by low productivity levels and cost overruns caused by factors such as delays to project completion. Delays in delivering a construction project are a global issue and while theories such as Optimism Bias have been used to explain such delays, in KSA, client-related causes of delays are also significant. The objective of this paper is to develop a framework-based approach to explore how the country’s construction industry can manage and reduce delays in construction projects through building information modelling (BIM) in order to mitigate the cost consequences of such delays.  It comprehensively and systematically reviewed the global literature on the subject and identified gaps, critical delay factors and the specific benefits that BIM can deliver for the delay management.  A case study comprising of nine hospital projects that have experienced delay and cost overruns was also carried out. Five critical delay factors related to the clients were identified as candidates that can be mitigated through BIM’s benefits. These factors are: Ineffective planning and scheduling of the project; changes during construction by the client; delay in progress payment; slowness in decision making by the client; and poor communication between clients and other stakeholders. In addition, data from the case study projects strongly suggest that optimism bias is present in many of the hospital projects. Further validation via key stakeholder interviews and documentations are planned.

Paper Detail
451
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204
10007820
Economic Assessment Methodology to Support Decisions for Transport Infrastructure Development
Abstract:

The decades after the end of the second War provide evidence that infrastructures investments contibute to economic development, on terms of productivity and income growth. In order to force productivity and increase competitiveness the financing of large transport infrastructure projects are on the top of the agenda in strategic planning process. Such a decision may take form some days to some decades and stakeholders as well as decision makers need tools in order to estimate the economic impact on natioanl economy of such an investment. The key question in such decisions is if the effects caused by the new infrastructure could be able to boost economic development on one hand, and create new jobs and activities on the other. This paper deals with the review of estimation of the mega transport infrastructure projects economic effects in economy.

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10007928
Elemental Graph Data Model: A Semantic and Topological Representation of Building Elements
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With the rapid increase of complexity in the building industry, professionals in the A/E/C industry were forced to adopt Building Information Modeling (BIM) in order to enhance the communication between the different project stakeholders throughout the project life cycle and create a semantic object-oriented building model that can support geometric-topological analysis of building elements during design and construction. This paper presents a model that extracts topological relationships and geometrical properties of building elements from an existing fully designed BIM, and maps this information into a directed acyclic Elemental Graph Data Model (EGDM). The model incorporates BIM-based search algorithms for automatic deduction of geometrical data and topological relationships for each building element type. Using graph search algorithms, such as Depth First Search (DFS) and topological sortings, all possible construction sequences can be generated and compared against production and construction rules to generate an optimized construction sequence and its associated schedule. The model is implemented in a C# platform.

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171
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10006923
Data Projects for “Social Good”: Challenges and Opportunities
Abstract:
One of the application fields for data analysis techniques and technologies gaining momentum is the area of social good or “common good”, covering cases related to humanitarian crises, global health care, or ecology and environmental issues, among others. The promotion of data-driven projects in this field aims at increasing the efficacy and efficiency of social initiatives, improving the way these actions help humanity in general and people in need in particular. This application field, however, poses its own barriers and challenges when developing data-driven projects, lagging behind in comparison with other scenarios. These challenges derive from aspects such as the scope and scale of the social issue to solve, cultural and political barriers, the skills of main stakeholders and the technological resources available, the motivation to be engaged in such projects, or the ethical and legal issues related to sensitive data. This paper analyzes the application of data projects in the field of social good, reviewing its current state and noteworthy initiatives, and presenting a framework covering the key aspects to analyze in such projects. The goal is to provide guidelines to understand the main challenges and opportunities for this type of data project, as well as identifying the main differential issues compared to “classical” data projects in general. A case study is presented on the initial steps and stakeholder analysis of a data project for the inclusion of refugees in the city of Frankfurt, Germany, in order to empirically confront the framework with a real example.
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392
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10007080
Creating Smart and Healthy Cities by Exploring the Potentials of Emerging Technologies and Social Innovation for Urban Efficiency: Lessons from the Innovative City of Boston
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The wide-spread adoption of the Smart City concept has introduced a new era of computing paradigm with opportunities for city administrators and stakeholders in various sectors to re-think the concept of urbanization and development of healthy cities. With the world population rapidly becoming urban-centric especially amongst the emerging economies, social innovation will assist greatly in deploying emerging technologies to address the development challenges in core sectors of the future cities. In this context, sustainable health-care delivery and improved quality of life of the people is considered at the heart of the healthy city agenda. This paper examines the Boston innovation landscape from the perspective of smart services and innovation ecosystem for sustainable development, especially in transportation and healthcare. It investigates the policy implementation process of the Healthy City agenda and eHealth economy innovation based on the experience of Massachusetts’s City of Boston initiatives. For this purpose, three emerging areas are emphasized, namely the eHealth concept, the innovation hubs, and the emerging technologies that drive innovation. This was carried out through empirical analysis on results of public sector and industry-wide interviews/survey about Boston’s current initiatives and the enabling environment. The paper highlights few potential research directions for service integration and social innovation for deploying emerging technologies in the healthy city agenda. The study therefore suggests the need to prioritize social innovation as an overarching strategy to build sustainable Smart Cities in order to avoid technology lock-in. Finally, it concludes that the Boston example of innovation economy is unique in view of the existing platforms for innovation and proper understanding of its dynamics, which is imperative in building smart and healthy cities where quality of life of the citizenry can be improved.

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366
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10007084
A Comparative Analysis of Solid Waste Treatment Technologies on Cost and Environmental Basis
Authors:
Abstract:

Waste management decision making in developing countries has moved towards being more pragmatic, transparent, sustainable and comprehensive. Turkey is required to make its waste related legislation compatible with European Legislation as it is a candidate country of the European Union. Improper Turkish practices such as open burning and open dumping practices must be abandoned urgently, and robust waste management systems have to be structured. The determination of an optimum waste management system in any region requires a comprehensive analysis in which many criteria are taken into account by stakeholders. In conducting this sort of analysis, there are two main criteria which are evaluated by waste management analysts; economic viability and environmentally friendliness. From an analytical point of view, a central characteristic of sustainable development is an economic-ecological integration. It is predicted that building a robust waste management system will need significant effort and cooperation between the stakeholders in developing countries such as Turkey. In this regard, this study aims to provide data regarding the cost and environmental burdens of waste treatment technologies such as an incinerator, an autoclave (with different capacities), a hydroclave and a microwave coupled with updated information on calculation methods, and a framework for comparing any proposed scenario performances on a cost and environmental basis.

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311
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10006723
The Importance of Customer Engagement and Service Innovation in Value Co-Creation
Abstract:

The interaction of customers with businesses is a process that is critical to the running of those businesses. Different levels of customer engagement and service innovation exist when pursuing value co-creation endeavors. The important thing in this whole process is for business managers know the benefits that can be realized when these activities are pursued effectively. The purpose of this paper is to first identify the importance of value co-creation when pursued via customer engagement and service innovation. Secondly, it will also identify the conditions under which value co-destruction can occur on the same. The background of the topic will be reviewed followed by the literature review with a special focus on the definition of these terms and the research design to be used. The research found that it is beneficial to have a strong relationship between stakeholders and the business in order to have strong customer engagement and service innovation.

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536
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10006824
Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility: Research on the Interconnection of Both Concepts and Its Impact on Non-Profit Organizations
Authors:
Abstract:

The aim of non-profit organizations (NPO) is to provide services and goods for its clientele, with profit being a minor objective. By having this definition as the basic purpose of doing business, it is obvious that the goal of an organisation is to serve several bottom lines and not only the financial one. This approach is underpinned by the non-distribution constraint which means that NPO are allowed to make profits to a certain extent, but not to distribute them. The advantage is that there are no single shareholders who might have an interest in the prosperity of the organisation: there is no pie to divide. The gained profits remain within the organisation and will be reinvested in purposeful projects. Good governance is mandatory to support the aim of NPOs. Looking for a measure of good governance the principals of corporate governance (CG) will come in mind. The purpose of CG is direction and control, and in the field of NPO, CG is enlarged to consider the relationship to all important stakeholders who have an impact on the organisation. The recognition of more relevant parties than the shareholder is the link to corporate social responsibility (CSR). It supports a broader view of the bottom line: It is no longer enough to know how profits are used but rather how they are made. Besides, CSR addresses the responsibility of organisations for their impact on society. When transferring the concept of CSR to the non-profit area it will become obvious that CSR with its distinctive features will match the aims of NPOs. As a consequence, NPOs who apply CG apply also CSR to a certain extent. The research is designed as a comprehensive theoretical and empirical analysis. First, the investigation focuses on the theoretical basis of both concepts. Second, the similarities and differences are outlined and as a result the interconnection of both concepts will show up. The contribution of this research is manifold: The interconnection of both concepts when applied to NPOs has not got any attention in science yet. CSR and governance as integrated concept provides a lot of advantages for NPOs compared to for-profit organisations which are in a steady justification to show the impact they might have on the society. NPOs, however, integrate economic and social aspects as starting point. For NPOs CG is not a mere concept of compliance but rather an enhanced concept integrating a lot of aspects of CSR. There is no “either-nor” between the concepts for NPOs.

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490
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10007384
A Concept to Assess the Economic Importance of the On-Site Activities of ETICS
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Construction technology and on-site construction activities have a direct influence on the life cycle costs of energy efficiently renovated apartment buildings. The systematic inadequacies of the External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS) which occur during the construction phase increase the risk for all stakeholders, reduce mechanical durability and increase the life cycle costs of the building. The economic effect of these shortcomings can be minimised if the risk of the most significant on-site activities is recognised. The objective of the presented ETICS economic assessment concept is to evaluate the economic influence of on-site shortcomings and reveal their significance to the foreseeable future repair costs. The model assembles repair techniques, discusses their direct cost calculation methods, argues over the proper usage of net present value over the life cycle of the building, and proposes a simulation tool to evaluate the risk of on-site activities. As the technique is dependent on the selected real interest rate, a sensitivity analysis is anticipated to determine the validity of the recommendations. After the verification of the model on the sample buildings by the industry, it is expected to increase economic rationality of resource allocation and reduce high-risk systematic shortcomings during the construction process of ETICS.

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127
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