• The link between information processing capability and competitive advantage mediated through decision-making effectiveness

      Cao, Guangming; Duan, Yanqing; Cadden, Trevor; University of Bedfordshire; University of Ulster (Elsevier Ltd., 2018-10-23)
      While research underpinned by the resource-based view (RBV) appears to suggest that IT-enabled capabilities are positively linked to competitive advantage, such a link is often seen as a black box as the processes through which competitive advantage can be gained appears unclear. In particular, research appears to suggest that information processing capability is linked to decision-making effectiveness and competitive advantage; however little research appears to examine the interrelationship among them. This study, drawing on the RBV, develops a mediation model to examine the link between competitive advantage and the key tenets of value, rarity, inimitability and non-substitutability of information processing capability in the context of business analytics; and whether this link is mediated through decision-making effectiveness. Based on data collected from 633 UK companies, this study shows that there is a positive link between the value, rarity and inimitability characteristics of information processing capability and competitive advantage, which is partially mediated by decision-making effectiveness. The findings contribute to the theoretical development of the RBV by developing a mediation model that looks inside the black box. They also contribute to managers’ knowledge and understanding of the mechanism through which the strategic value of information processing capability can be maximized.
    • Living dangerously: generalizing in case study research

      Farquhar, Jillian Dawes; Deigh, Linda (Springer, 2016-01-01)
    • Managing knowledge in supply chains: a catalyst to triple bottom line sustainability

      He, Qile; Ghobadian, Abby; Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Gallear, David (2019-05-10)
      Sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) has attracted the attention of researchers in recent years. Arguably the interest in SSCM is stimulated by the triple bottom line (TBL) which itself has received significant attention. In addition, knowledge management (KM) and its positive role in improving facets of supply chain development and performance have been topics of interest to academics. Despite all this positive development there is a paucity of theoretical and empirical studies identifying the broad capabilities that affect a firm’s ability to simultaneously pursue economic, environmental and social success. In this paper we use the natural-resource-based view (NRBV) and the knowledge-based view (KBV) to develop a series of propositions linking KM capability to strategic and operational supply chain sustainability and competiveness. We further test the veracity of these propositions by ascertaining the perceptions of 275 practicing managers using a survey instrument. The paper offers a systematic analysis of KM’s role in the development of sustainable supply chain (SSC) strategies and operations respectively. The findings confirm the credibility of a set of theoretical propositions derived from the extant literature, and also identify how different KM processes specifically facilitate strategic or operational development of SSCs. The paper provides researchers with a framework and understanding to guide future research on KM as a catalyst to the TBL in supply chains.
    • Managing the sublime aesthetic when communicating an assessment regime: The Burkean Pendulum

      Kofinas, Alexander K. (SAGE, 2017-12-26)
      The importance of understanding students’ engagement is prominent in higher education. Assessment is a main driver of student engagement, a phenomenon known as backwash. I argue that students’ engagement with learning is often driven by an aesthetic motivation. I establish the connections between Burke’s (and Kant’s) conceptualisation of aesthetics as a dichotomy of beauty and the sublime (which I label the Burkean pendulum) to motivation. I explore the links between this aesthetic motivation and the assessment regime focusing on the Burkean/Kantian sublime and suggest four communication strategies to manage the sublime when it arises in students’ education journeys. My contributions are twofold:firstly, I introduce the Burkean Pendulum as a means for educators to reflect on the aesthetic aspects of their designed assessment regimes. Secondly, I propose a framework of communication strategy narratives (Thriller, Horror, Exploration, and Action) that could be used to manage the sublime of the assessment regime.
    • Market reaction to seasoned offerings in China

      Liu, Jia; Akbar, Saeed; Shah, Syed Zulfiqar Ali; Zhang, Dayong; Pang, Dong; University of Salford; University of Liverpool; University of Warwick; Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, China; University of Bedfordshire (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2016-06-27)
      This study examines stock market reaction to the announcement of various forms of seasoned issues in China. Our empirical evidence demonstrates that market reactions differ in ways that suggest a difference between management's internal assessment and the market's assessment of the stock price. The market responds unfavourably to the announcement, notably in the case of rights issues and also with regard to open offers. Private placements experience an unfavourable pre-announcement reaction, which contrasts with the favourable reaction after the event. Convertible bond issues generate positive excess returns consistent with the market's confidence that they can help to align management and shareholders’ interests. Further investigation shows that market reaction is related to factors specific to the issuer and issue by reference to the period immediately surrounding the issue. Specifically, ownership concentration, agency matters connected with equity offerings, investor protection connected with fund allocation and security pricing, and the influence of powerful moneyed interests together provide an instructive insight into market reaction. Institutional inefficiency pertaining to underwriting, auditing, analysts’ forecasts and credit ratings are found to have a weak association with market price, consistent with due public scepticism concerning management and their gatekeepers.
    • Mathematical images in advertising: constructing difference and shaping identity, in global consumer culture

      Evans, Jeff; Tsatsaroni, Anna; Czarnecka, Barbara; Middlesex University; University of the Peloponnese; University of Bedfordshire (Springer, 2013-10-02)
      Mathematics educators have long emphasised the importance of attitudes, beliefs, and feelings towards mathematics, as crucial in motivating (or not) its learning and use, and as influenced in turn by its social images. This paper is about images of mathematics. Our search for advertisements containing such images in UK daily newspapers, during 2006–2008, found that 4.7 % of editions included a “mathematical” advert, compared with 1.7 % in pilot work for 1994–2003. The incidence varied across type of newspaper, being correlated with class and gender profiles of the readership. Three quarters of advertisements were classified as containing only very simple mathematics. ‘Semiotic discursive’ analysis of selected advertisements suggests that they draw on mathematics not to inform, but to connote qualities like precision, certainty, and authority. We discuss the discourse on mathematics in advertising as ‘quasi-pedagogic’ discourse, and argue that its oversimplified forms, being empty of mathematical content, become powerful means for regulating and ‘pedagogising’ today's global consumers.
    • The mediating effect of environmental and ethical behaviour on supply chain partnership decisions and management appreciation of supplier partnership risks

      Gallear, David; Ghobadian, Abby; He, Qile; Brunel University; University of Reading; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2014-07-18)
      Green supply chain management and environmental and ethical behaviour (EEB), a major component of corporate responsibility (CR), are rapidly developing fields in research and practice. The influence and effect of EEB at the functional level, however, is under-researched. Similarly, the management of risk in the supply chain has become a practical concern for many firms. It is important that managers have a good understanding of the risks associated with supplier partnerships. This paper examines the effect of firms investment in EEB as part of corporate social responsibility in mediating the relationship between supply chain partnership (SCP) and management appreciation of the risk of partnering. We hypothesise that simply entering into a SCP does not facilitate an appreciation of the risk of partnering and may even hamper such awareness. However, such an appreciation of the risk is facilitated through CRs environmental and stakeholder management ethos. The study contributes further by separating risk into distinct relational and performance components. The results of a firm-level survey confirm the mediation effect, highlighting the value to supply chain strategy and design of investing in EEB on three fronts: building internal awareness, monitoring and sharing best practice.
    • Modelling and analysis of intermodal food grain transportation under hub disruption towards sustainability

      Maiyar, Lohithaksha M.; Thakkar, Jitesh J.; Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (Elsevier B.V., 2018-07-27)
      Escalating global food security concerns across several nations has shifted the focus of policy makers towards risk adaptive sustainable food grain operations. This paper builds a sustainable food grain transportation model for intermodal transportation operations between two Indian states, in the presence of hub disruption. A hub and spoke system is used to connect origin and destination warehouses through intermodal hubs in a multi-layered network. The problem is formulated as a multi-period mixed integer nonlinear single objective optimization problem considering minimization of transportation, hub location, rerouting, environmental and social costs with near optimal shipment quantities and hub allocations as the prime decisions. The proposed MINLP is solved using Particle Swarm Optimization with Differential Evolution (PSODE), a superior metaheuristic to deal with NP-hard problems. Convergence graphs and global optimal costs are reported for small, medium and large size instances consisting of 1824, 9768 and 28848 variables respectively, inspired from food grain industry in the southern part of India. Pareto plots are generated to capture the complementarity between economical and socio-environmental cost categories for all instances. The effect of hub location, hub disruption, cost consolidation and vehicle resource availability factors on individual and total costs is studied through sensitivity analysis. Results indicate that food grain demand is fulfilled with 14% increase in the mean total cost for single hub disruption case and with 40% increase for multiple hub disruption. Finally, managerial implications provide specific factor level recommendations for different strategic objectives.
    • Modelling India’s coal production with a negatively skewed curve-fitting model

      Wang, Jianliang; Bentley, Yongmei; Bentley, Roger; China University of Petroleum; University of Bedfordshire; Petroleum Analysis Centre (Springer Verlag (Germany), 2017-10-05)
      India’s coal demand is forecast to increase at a rapid pace in the future due to the country’s economic and population growth. Analyzing the scope for future production of India’s domestic coal resources, therefore, plays a vital role in the country’s development of sound energy policies. This paper presents a quantitative scenario analysis of India’s potential future coal production by using a negatively skewed curve-fitting model and a range of estimates of the country’s ultimately recoverable resources (URR) of coal. The results show that the resource base is sufficient for India’s coal production to keep increasing over the next few decades, to reach between 2400 and 3200 Mt/y at 2050, depending on the assumed value of URR. A further analysis shows that the high end of this range, which corresponds to our ‘GSI’ scenario, can be considered as the probable upper-bound to India’s domestic coal production. Comparison of production based on the ‘GSI’ scenario with India’s predicted demand shows that the domestic production of coal will be insufficient to meet the country’s rising coal demand, with the gap between demand and production increasing from its current value of about 268 Mt/y to reach 300 Mt/y in 2035, and 700 Mt/y by 2050. This increasing gap will be challenging for the energy security of India.
    • Modelling world natural gas production

      Wang, Jianliang; Bentley, Yongmei; ; China University of Petroleum; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2020-05-23)
      As the cleanest fossil fuel in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, natural gas demand is expected to increase rapidly in future due to its important role in the transition of the world energy system. In this case, understanding potential limits to future production of the world’s natural gas resources becomes increasingly important. This paper uses a modified multi-cycle generalized Weng model to forecast the long-term production of natural gas by region, and also globally. Both conventional and unconventional gas production are considered. Our results show that world natural gas production is likely to peak in the range 3.7 to 6.1 trillion cubic meters per year (tcm/y) between 2019 and 2060 depending on assumptions made on the size of the global ultimately recoverable resource (URR) of natural gas. A comparison of this paper’s forecasts with those from the scientific literature and from major energy institutes shows that the projection in this paper’s ‘high scenario’ can be seen as a likely upper-bound on future global natural gas production. To turn this upper-bound projection into reality, great efforts will be needed from the gas industry to discover more conventional and unconventional gas resources, and to make these recoverable.
    • Moderating roles of customer characteristics on the link between service factors and satisfaction in a buffet restaurant

      Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Di, Yun; Ramanathan, Usha (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2016-01-07)
      Purpose – In service sector, measuring quality of services is generally acknowledged to be difficult as it involves many psychological features. Hence, identifying the determinants of service quality and linkages with customer satisfaction is a challenging research topic. In this study, the authors take up a research study to address this challenge. The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of factors influencing customer satisfaction in the context of a Chinese buffet restaurant in the UK. Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a questionnaire based on the SERVQUAL instrument for the purpose. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, the authors have found that service quality could be grouped into four main factors – service, food, ambience and price. Findings – Using multiple-regression analysis, the authors have found that food is the most significant factor influencing customer satisfaction, followed by price, ambience and service, respectively. Using a multi-group analysis, the authors have found interesting moderating roles of age, gender and annual income on the influence of the four factors on satisfaction: ambience is considered significant by male customers while it is not significant for female customers; the influence of price on satisfaction is much higher for female customers than for male customers; food and service factors are important for younger customers while price is important for older customers; price is important for customers with lower levels of income but not important for high-income customers. Practical implications – These results are useful to restaurant managers in allocating appropriate levels of resources to different factors based on their contributions to customer satisfaction in order to maximize customer satisfaction efficiently and effectively. Originality/value – Analysis and findings of this research are based on the customers’ survey data of a Chinese buffet restaurant in the UK. The authors have found an interesting ranking of the importance of service factors: food followed by price, ambience and service. The results on the moderating role of customer characteristics provide newer insights in the literature on service quality. The research findings can help the hotel management to improve their service levels to attain maximum customer satisfaction.
    • The moderating roles of risk and efficiency on the relationship between logistics performance and customer loyalty in e-commerce

      Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; University of Nottingham (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2010-11-01)
      Using data from online customer ratings, we explore how the relationships between logistics performance and customer loyalty are affected by risk characteristics of products and efficiencies of the websites. Risk is defined in terms of price and ambiguity of products. Efficiency is interpreted as the ability of the websites to achieve good ratings in terms of operational factors (such as satisfaction of customers with product specifications, refunds/returns, prices, management accessibility, etc.) and also achieve good ratings in terms of customer loyalty. Our results show that efficiency, but not risk, is a significant moderator of the impact of logistics performance on customer loyalty. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    • Multi-criteria decision making: an overview and a comparative discussion

      Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Mathirajan, Muthu (CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, 2017-07-17)
      An attempt to provide an overview of the different techniques in the field of multi-criteria decision-making is made in this chapter. First, some basic terminologies are reviewed. A classification of the various methods is outlined. Some of the basic concepts common to many methods are presented. The methods covered in the overview include the Multi Attribute Utility Theory, the Analytic Hierarchy Process, the ELECTRE methods, PROMETHEE methods, Fuzzy Set Theory, Multi-objective Linear Programming, Goal Programming, the Aspiration-level Interactive Method, Compromise Programming, and Data Envelopment Analysis. The different methods are compared in terms of several vital parameters. Finally, a link to the context of Big Data is provided in line with the theme of this book.
    • Multi-response optimization using anova and desirability function analysis: a case study in end milling of inconel alloy

      Ramanujam, R.; Maiyar, Lohithaksha M.; Venkatesan, K.; Vasan, Mithun; VIT University (Asian Research Publishing Network, 2014-04-01)
      Nickel-based super alloys are classified as 'difficult to machine' materials due to its inherent characteristics such as high hardness, and toughness, high strength at elevated temperatures, low thermal conductivity, ability to react with cutting inserts, and ability to weld onto the surface of the cutting insert. The present study investigated the parameter optimization of end milling operation for Inconel 718 super alloy with multi-response criteria based on the Taguchi method and desirability function analysis. Experimental tests were carried out based on an L9 orthogonal array of Taguchi method. The influence of machining factors cutting speed, feed rate and depth of cut were analyzed on the performances of surface roughness and material removal rate. The optimum cutting conditions are obtained by Taguchi method and desirability function. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) is also applied to investigate the effect of influential parameters. A regression model was developed for surface roughness and material removal rate as a function of cutting velocity, feed rate and depth of cut. Finally, the confirmation experiment was conducted for the optimal machining parameters, and the betterment has been proved. © 2006-2014 Asian Research Publishing Network (ARPN).
    • A new rational IPA and application to cruise tourism

      Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Ramanathan, Usha; University of Bedfordshire; Nottingham Trent University (Elsevier Ltd, 2016-10-19)
      At least two versions of IPA, namely the simple IPA and the asymmetric IPA, are available in tourism literature (Albayrak and Caber, 2015; Pritchard and Havitz, 2006). The simple IPA involves asking customers their perceptions relating to importance of various performance criteria and how the firm has performed in terms of these criteria. The simple IPA assumes a symmetric relationship between performance in terms of various criteria and customer satisfaction. The asymmetric IPA or AIPA (Albayrak and Caber, 2013; Caber et al., 2013) recognizes that these relationships could be asymmetric and uses the three-factor theory of customer satisfaction (Matzler and Sauerwein, 2002) to argue that criteria could be basic, excitement or performance criteria and uses regression analysis. While AIPA is an improvement over IPA, AIPA calculations take into account only the magnitude of regression coefficients but not their level of significance. Further, figure 3 of Albayrak and Caber (2015) uses performance in Xaxis but impact asymmetry, not importance, in Y-axis. It is not clear why impact asymmetry should be considered synonymous to importance. In this research note, we propose a variation of AIPA and call it Rational IPA (RIPA). RIPA involves the following steps. Step 1. Collect relevant data. Step 2. Run two sets of regressions with overall customer satisfaction as the dependent variable, and performance in terms of various service criteria as dependent variables. The first set of regressions is called low performance regressions where only ratings below median levels for each criterion are considered. In contrast, the second set of regressions is called high performance regressions. As highlighted in previous studies (Hartline et al., 2003; Ramanathan and Ramanathan, 2011; Silverman and Grover, 1995), the criteria are classified based on the results of the two sets of regressions. 1 a. A critical criterion remains significant in all regressions (except for low performance in terms of the criterion). b. A desirable criterion is significant both for high performance and low performance in terms of the criterion. c. A satisfier criterion is significant for high performance regression in terms of the criterion but not significant for low performance. d. A dissatisfier criterion is not significant for high performance regression but significant for low performance in terms of the criterion. e. All other criteria are neutral criteria. Step 3. Prepare IPA matrix with the importance of criteria on the X-axis and performance (mean ratings) in the Y-axis. Step 4. Conduct IPA based on the criterion classification (importance) and achievement (performance). We demonstrate RIPA in the following steps using publicly available online data on customer ratings of cruise operations.
    • Nonintrusive methods for biomass estimation in aquaculture with emphasis on fish: a review

      Li, Daoliang; Hao, Yinfeng; Duan, Yanqing (Wiley, 2019-09-30)
      Fish biomass estimation is one of the most common and important practices in aquaculture. The regular acquisition of fish biomass information has been identified as an urgent need for managers to optimize daily feeding, control stocking densities and ultimately determine the optimal time for harvesting. However, it is difficult to estimate fish biomass without human intervention because fishes are sensitive and move freely in an environment where visibility, lighting and stability are uncontrollable. Until now, fish biomass estimation has been mostly based on manual sampling, which is usually invasive, time‐consuming and laborious. Therefore, it is imperative and highly desirable to develop a noninvasive, rapid and cost‐effective means. Machine vision, acoustics, environmental DNA and resistivity counter provide the possibility of developing nonintrusive, faster and cheaper methods for in situ estimation of fish biomass. This article summarizes the development of these nonintrusive methods for fish biomass estimation over the past three decades and presents their basic concepts and principles. The strengths and weaknesses of each method are analysed and future research directions are also presented. Studies show that the applications of information technology such as advanced sensors and communication technologies have great significance to accelerate the development of new means and techniques for more effective biomass estimation. However, the accuracy and intelligence still need to be improved to meet intensive aquaculture requirements. Through close cooperation between fisheries experts and engineers, the precision and the level of intelligence for fish biomass estimation will be further improved based on the above methods.
    • Opening the black box: the impacts of environmental regulations on technological innovation

      Li, Muyao; Zhang, Jinsong; Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Li, Ruiqian; ; Harbin University of Commerce; University of Bedfordshire; Heilongjiang University (MDPI, 2020-06-16)
      Whether environmental regulations (ERs) can stimulate technological innovation (TI) is the key for realizing the win-win strategy between economic development and environmental protection. This study seeks to analyze the impacts of ERs on TI. Though previous literature has highlighted that the black box of TI can be decomposed into technology investment and technology transformation, further empirical studies on such a decomposition has largely been ignored. Moreover, a detailed discussion of the links between ER and the decomposed components of TI has not been conducted in developing countries such as China. Our study attempts to address these research gaps by (i) decomposing TI using a novel DEA procedure and to further analyze the impacts of ERs on the decomposed components of TI, and (ii) apply this novel methodology to Chinese context. Accordingly, this study is conducted in two stages. First, a novel application of the slack-based Network DEA model is developed to uncover the black box of TI using Chinese data; to estimate the overall efficiency of technological innovation (TIE) and decompose it into the efficiency of technology investment (TVE) and the efficiency of technology transformation (TTE). Second, a random effect Tobit model is applied to (i) investigate both the linear and non-linear impacts of ERs on TIE in all sectors, and (ii) examine whether the impacts of ERs on TVE and TTE in different sub-processes are heterogeneous or not. Our results have brought out the benefits of decomposing TI; while technology transformation in China closely follows the trend of TI, the trend of technology investment is somewhat different. The estimation results further indicate that the impacts of ERs on TIE are non-linear. Besides, ERs have heterogeneous impacts on the decomposed components of TI. The impacts of ERs on TVE are non-linear, whereas the impacts of ERs on TTE become insignificant.
    • Operations capability, productivity and business performance: the moderating effect of environmental dynamism

      Yu, Wantao; Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Wang, Xingyu; Yang, Jeihui (Emerald, 2017-06-27)
      Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships between operations capability, productivity and business performance in the context of environmental dynamism. Design/methodology/approach – A proposed conceptual framework grounded in the resourcebased view (RBV) and dynamic capability view (DCV) is analysed using archival data from 193 automakers in the UK. Findings – The results show that operations capability, as an important dynamic capability, has a significant positive effect on productivity, which in turn leads to improved business performance. The results also suggest that productivity fully mediates the relationship between operations capability and business performance, and that environmental dynamism significantly moderates the relationship between operations capability and productivity. Practical implications – The research findings provide practical insights that will help managers develop operations capability to gain greater productivity and business performance in a dynamic environment.
    • Optimising online review inspired product attribute classification using the self-learning particle swarm-based Bayesian learning approach

      Maiyar, Lohithaksha M.; Cho, SangJe; Tiwari, Manoj Kumar; Thoben, Klaus-Dieter; Kiritsis, Dimitris (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2018-10-24)
      Bowing to the burgeoning needs of online consumers, exploitation of social media content for extrapolating buyer-centric information is gaining increasing attention of researchers and practitioners from service science, data analytics, machine learning and associated domains. The current paper aims to identify the structural relationship between product attributes and subsequently prioritise customer preferences with respect to these attributes while exploiting textual social media data derived from fashion blogs in Germany. A Bayesian Network Structure Learning model with the K2score maximisation objective is formulated and solved. A self-tailored metaheuristic approach that combines self-learning particle swarm optimisation (SLPSO) with the K2 algorithm (SLPSOK2) is employed to decipher the highest scored structures. The proposed approach is implemented on small, medium and large size instances consisting of 9 fashion attributes and 18 problem sets. The results obtained by SLPSOK2 are compared with the particle swarm optimisation/K2score, Genetic Algorithm/K2 score and ant colony optimisation/K2 score. Results verify that SLPSOK2 outperforms its hybrid counterparts for the tested cases in terms of computational time and solution quality. Furthermore, the study reveals that psychological satisfaction, historical revival, seasonal information and facts and figure-based reviews are major components of information in fashion blogs that influence the customers.
    • Optimization of machining parameters for end milling of Inconel 718 super alloy using Taguchi based grey relational analysis

      Maiyar, Lohithaksha M.; Ramanujam, R.; Venkatesan, K.; Jerald, J.; VIT University; National Institute of Technology, India (Elsevier Ltd, 2013-11-13)
      This study investigated the parameter optimization of end milling operation for Inconel 718 super alloy with multi-response criteria based on the taguchi orthogonal array with the grey relational analysis. Nine experimental runs based on an L9 orthogonal array of Taguchi method were performed. Cutting speed, feed rate and depth of cut are optimized with considerations of multiple performance characteristics namely surface roughness and material removal rate. A grey relational grade obtained from the grey relational analysis is used to solve the end milling process with the multiple performance characteristics. Additionally, the analysis of variance (ANOVA) is also applied to identify the most significant factor. Finally, confirmation tests were performed to make a comparison between the experimental results and developed model. Experimental results have shown that machining performance in the end milling process can be improved effectively through this approach.