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Article

Alan Betts, Simon Croom and Dawei Lu

This paper aims to investigate whether an employee reports an accurate view of the relative performance level of the organisation for which they work.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate whether an employee reports an accurate view of the relative performance level of the organisation for which they work.

Design/methodology/approach

Utilizes a survey of 2,517 senior managers, managers and team leaders from 120 different organisations in nine different countries.

Findings

There is significant and consistent overestimation of performance with 75 percent of the management team reporting that their organisation is above average, and only 5 percent rating their organisation as below average compared to its competitors. A very significant finding is that where there is likely to be a greater degree of knowledge of competitor's performance estimation improves.

Practical implications

The implication of this misrepresentation of the true position is to make it less likely that an improvement initiative will succeed as managers will not be sufficiently motivated to improve an apparently satisfactory status quo. The paper calls for greater focus both on the activity of benchmarking and in the process of spreading knowledge of the benchmarking activity.

Originality/value

This paper extends issues such as the Lake Wobegon effect and socially desirable reporting which have been investigated in depth in the area of personal self‐assessment and applies them into a different arena, that of the employee's view of the performance of the organisation.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article

Alan Betts, Maureen Meadows and Paul Walley

Call centres often experience large fluctuations in demand over relatively short periods of time. However, most centres also need to maintain short response times to the…

Abstract

Call centres often experience large fluctuations in demand over relatively short periods of time. However, most centres also need to maintain short response times to the demand. This places great emphasis upon capacity management practices within call centre operations. A total of 12 UK‐based call centres from one retail bank were studied to investigate how they managed forecasting, capacity management and scheduling tasks. Provides evidence of the difficulties associated with capacity management in call centres. Regression modelling is used to link forecasting and capacity planning practices to performance. Shows that random variation is a very important factor when assessing call centre performance. The results suggest that call centre managers can have only a small influence upon short‐term performance. Existing mathematical models, such as the Erlang queuing system methodologies, have only limited value as the assumptions concerning demand patterns made in their derivation contradict observations made within the 12 sites. Spiked demand patterns present special capacity management problems, including a direct trade‐off between high service levels and operator boredom. Conventional methods of flexing capacity cannot respond sufficiently well to some of the short‐term fluctuations in demand.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article

Dawei Lu and Alan Betts

The purpose of this paper is to explore the underlying reasons why providing process improvement training, by itself, may not be sufficient to achieve the desired outcome…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the underlying reasons why providing process improvement training, by itself, may not be sufficient to achieve the desired outcome of improved processes; and to attempt a conceptual framework of management training for more effective improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

Two similar units within the same financial service group are studied specifically through online surveys, follow up interviews and a subsequent comparative study focusing on the disparity of outcome following the same training activities.

Findings

The research reveals three underlying reasons for the failure of the process improvement training: an un‐sound prerequisite knowledge basis, too short a time span for the feedback dynamics to take effect, and weak cultural commitment in the management population. A training provision framework that put those factors into a structure has been developed.

Practical implications

The study clarifies the relations between many factors and puts emphasis on more fundamental organisational culture change. The developed framework provides direct guidance to process design and implementation to achieve the desired results.

Originality/value

The study represents the original firsthand empirical research over the last three years in a leading edge financial service organisation in the UK, which results in a novel conceptual framework that improves managerial practice.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article

Mohamed E. Bayou and Alan Reinstein

The product‐mix decision has received considerable attention in management accounting and economics literatures. However, many studies in these literatures are…

Abstract

The product‐mix decision has received considerable attention in management accounting and economics literatures. However, many studies in these literatures are contradicting, inconclusive and lack rigorous analysis of this complex decision. They seek to develop weights for the products in the product mix based on one objective, to maximize the firm’s profit ability. But before developing these weights, the studies must first rank these products, Ranking is a complex endeavor since it is often driven by a multitude of hierarchical financial and non‐financial goals and objectives. Ranking is also difficult due to the use of complex concepts such as time, uncertainty, cost and interdependencies between accounting systems and manufacturing systems and among the products of the product mix. These concepts are inherently fuzzy and coextensively applied often with a confluence of variables operating simultaneously. This paper applies an advanced mathematical model to account for the product mix decision. The model combines the powers of fuzzy‐set theory (Zadeh, 1965) and the analytic hierarchy process (Saaty, 1978). The fuzzy‐analytic‐hierarchical process (FAHP), developed by de Korvin and Kleyle (1999), is sufficiently powerful to account for the ambiguous variables and the web of prioritized strategies and goals of cost leadership, product differentiation, financial objectives of earnings, cash flows and market share and non financial goals such as tradition and owners’ convictions and philosophies underlying the ranking of the products in the product mix. By way of example, the paper applies the FAHP model to rank order four products subject to these strategies and goals.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

Keywords

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Article

Jon Silverman

Under New Labour, there was no area of public policy that reflected the imprint of media influence more vividly than the issue of drugs. The sacking of Professor David…

Abstract

Under New Labour, there was no area of public policy that reflected the imprint of media influence more vividly than the issue of drugs. The sacking of Professor David Nutt, the banning of mephedrone, and arguments about the harm classification of ecstasy and cannabis have all demonstrated a government in thrall to the views of the Daily Mail and The Sun. This paper traces the contours of the media‐government relationship on drugs through content and framing analysis and interviews with former members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), former Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, and a leading newspaper columnist. It concludes that science was trumped by fears stoked by the media.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Article

ROYAL Alderman T. A. Abbott of Manchester, dealt with somewhat severely by Dr. Savage in his A Librarian's Memories, had at least enthusiasm for libraries. He was mightily…

Abstract

ROYAL Alderman T. A. Abbott of Manchester, dealt with somewhat severely by Dr. Savage in his A Librarian's Memories, had at least enthusiasm for libraries. He was mightily honoured when he became President at our Manchester Conference in 1921. “We are the Royal Library Association”, he declared and should call ourselves that; haven't we a Royal Charter? Our recognition comes direct from the Sovereign”. No doubt a vain wish, although the Library Association seemed to come near it in 1950 when George VI graciously became its Patron and the Duke of Edinburgh its President. Since that date the engineers have become “royal”, but we have slipped back. When Her Majesty came to the Throne, the patronage her father had bestowed was refused, no doubt on the direct counsel of her advisers who would not want so young a Sovereign to assume too many offices. On that view librarians could not murmur. There is a future, however, and in it there will be a new Library Association House next to, almost conjoined with, a new National Central Library. King George V with Queen Mary opened the second, as is well remembered especially by the King's speech, one of the best, most useful, in library history, in which he described the N.C.L. as “a university that all might join and none need ever leave”—words that we hope may somewhere be displayed in, or on, the new N.C.L. building. Royalty and its interest in libraries has been again manifested in the opening last month (July 13th to be precise) by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, of the new Central Public Library at Kensington. The Royal Family has close relations with Kensington of course. It is recalled, too, that the Manchester Central and that at Birkenhead were opened also by King George V and Queen Mary; and Queen Elizabeth II quite recently opened the Central Library of the re‐created city of Plymouth, the largest new town library since the Second World War. Kensington has now opened the first major London library since 1939. It is not modern in spirit externally and, as is known, is the work of the architect of the Manchester Reference Library, Mr. Vincent Harris, and there is no doubt about its dignity. Its interior methods are, however, quite modern; a few of them were broadcast to us for a few moments by the B.B.C. announcer, to the effect that there were 100,000 books, that returned books in the lending library were not discharged at the counter but slid down a chute to a room below where that was done, etc., with the remark that books not available in the public apartment could be requisitioned from other libraries but, with the large stocks on show and in the building, that did not seem to be very necessary. We sometimes wish that broadcasters, however well intentioned that may have been, knew something about libraries. Happening at about the same time was the removal of the Holborn Central Library stock to its new home in Theobald's Road, a complex process which Mr. Swift and his staff carried out in July without interrupting the public service. We hope that Mr. Swift will be able soon to tell us how he carried out this scheme. Thus has begun what we hope will be a process of replacing many other London libraries with modern buildings more worthy of the excellent work now being done in them.

Details

New Library World, vol. 62 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article

Paul Nieuwenhuysen

The following bibliography focuses mainly on programs which can run on IBM microcomputers and compatibles under the operating system PC DOS/MS DOS, and which can be used…

Abstract

The following bibliography focuses mainly on programs which can run on IBM microcomputers and compatibles under the operating system PC DOS/MS DOS, and which can be used in online information and documentation work. They fall into the following categories:

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article

PETER E.D. LOVE, GARY D. HOLT and HENG LI

There has been considerable debate in the construction management (CM) literature as to which research methodology is the most appropriate to CM research problems. This…

Abstract

There has been considerable debate in the construction management (CM) literature as to which research methodology is the most appropriate to CM research problems. This paper contributes to that debate by suggesting that postmodernity and multi‐level research can extend the scope of CM theory. It is argued that if CM researchers are to effectively solve the problems that the construction industry faces, then they need to adopt a robust methodological approach that takes account of both ontological and epistemological viewpoints. It is proffered that only then will we fully understand phenomena that influence organizational and project performance in construction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article

ALAN DAY

The introduction and use of computer‐aided design (CAD) systems in a number of settings in the UK building industry is discussed with particular reference to the…

Abstract

The introduction and use of computer‐aided design (CAD) systems in a number of settings in the UK building industry is discussed with particular reference to the relationship between organizational design and computer implementation. A series of case studies are presented which illustrate that computers are currently having a limited impact on project communications and, in most instances, are supporting existing patterns of fragmentation within the industry. The paper concludes with a speculation about how the industry might be organized to make more appropriate use of new technology.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 3 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Harry Kipkemoi Bett, Faith Nguru and Tim Mwangi Kiruhi

The purpose of this paper is to provide a discussion on the construction of followership identity among teachers in Kenya which has had less attention. Further, as Kenya…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a discussion on the construction of followership identity among teachers in Kenya which has had less attention. Further, as Kenya is currently implementing a new education curriculum (competency-based curriculum) which requires teachers to be more proactive in their work, an understanding of how they construct their followership identity in schools is paramount, as this is linked to the attainment of learning outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Symbolic interactionism theory, which suggests that individuals respond to phenomena based on the meaning they give such phenomena and through interactions with others, has been used to support arguments in this paper. This theory is relevant to this paper, as it helps in understanding the meaning that teachers give to ‘followership’ through interactions with others in their schools.

Findings

The arguments in the current paper suggest that as Kenyan teachers interact with colleagues, their meaning of ‘followership’ is defined and refined. The resulting identity is important for these teachers, especially as they embrace the new curriculum in the country which requires them to be more proactive, unlike the previous one.

Research limitations/implications

As this is a conceptual paper, there is no empirical data to ground validate the arguments given.

Originality/value

The use of symbolic interactionism in the discussion of this paper adds another dimension to the followership and identity construction among followers. Much of the literature has focused on followership in general but not from the lens of symbolic interactionism.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

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