Search results1 – 10 of 659
As market trends evolve and core business activities shift into new territories, there is a need for companies to facilitate a corresponding change in the skills base of…
As market trends evolve and core business activities shift into new territories, there is a need for companies to facilitate a corresponding change in the skills base of the workforce. This paper reports the findings of a European Social Fund (ESF) Objective 4 project, which was carried out throughout 1998/1999. Fourteen innovative, technology‐based small and medium‐sized enterprises were interviewed with the aim of investigating the processes currently in place to aid in the establishment of a skilled workforce, and the extent to which future skill requirements were identified. The research methodology involved a series of semi‐structured interviews with owner‐managers, managing directors and other staff within the sample companies. The first interview, involving 20 companies, allowed general company information to be collected and interviewees were questioned about business planning and those factors considered to be of strategic importance. The second interview, involving 14 of the original 20 companies, investigated human resource issues in depth. Respondents provided information about staff recruitment, retention and training and the extent to which these issues were integrated into strategic plans. The study used Investors in People (IiP) guidelines to identify potential models of best practice and therefore to aid in the production of the research questionnaire. It was found that the majority of respondent companies did not use a sophisticated approach to identify current and future staffing needs. Recruitment and staff development were addressed as and when required, thereby catering for immediate operational needs. Only three of the 14 companies had formal training plans in place, which integrated human resource plans with long‐term strategic business plans. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 23rd Institute for Small Business Affairs Policy and Research Conference, November 1999, Leeds, UK.
The delivery of assistance to SMEs, provided by enterprise councils at the local level, can vary between those bodies which are innovative and those which are pedestrian…
The delivery of assistance to SMEs, provided by enterprise councils at the local level, can vary between those bodies which are innovative and those which are pedestrian in their approach. Although it is generally accepted that most small firms in the UK sell to local markets, SMEs based within the Aberdeen area of Scotland play an important role in exporting and employment. The potential for birth and growth of firms exists in a number of targeted key sectors which aid the economic development of the Aberdeen area. However, assistance is required to bring people together in order to encourage networking, and this paper seeks to explore the process of facilitating an enterprise culture by examining the collaboration and partnership roles played by a LEC and a university in initiatives which foster enterprise. The relationship of the researchers and practitioners is similar to the model outlined by Oakey and Mukhtar where research and practice are used to inform each other, over time, to identify policy needs. The initiatives examined in this paper are the Entrepreneurs’ Club where established entrepreneurs mix with others at the new venture stage, and the Chrysalis Elite programme which links graduates with existing owner managers, creating a work‐based project involving groups of students. These links extend to the wider business community and organisations, including local entrepreneurs (who provide prizes and guidance), 3i and the Local Investors Network Company (LINC), who offer advice and opportunities. The main outcomes for policy in this paper are that collaboration between a LEC and a university can be very effective in assisting individuals or groups to meet the challenge of building entrepreneurial networks and that effective support can be provided for students to gain experience from the business community.
Given the recent explosion of interest in streaming data and online algorithms, clustering of time series subsequences has received much attention. In this work we make a…
Given the recent explosion of interest in streaming data and online algorithms, clustering of time series subsequences has received much attention. In this work we make a surprising claim. Clustering of time series subsequences is completely meaningless. More concretely, clusters extracted from these time series are forced to obey a certain constraint that is pathologically unlikely to be satisfied by any dataset, and because of this, the clusters extracted by any clustering algorithm are essentially random. While this constraint can be intuitively demonstrated with a simple illustration and is simple to prove, it has never appeared in the literature. We can justify calling our claim surprising, since it invalidates the contribution of dozens of previously published papers. We will justify our claim with a theorem, illustrative examples, and a comprehensive set of experiments on reimplementations of previous work.
This paper seeks to illustrate and explore strategic issues from the perspective of the research team in designing, delivering and monitoring an education programme for…
This paper seeks to illustrate and explore strategic issues from the perspective of the research team in designing, delivering and monitoring an education programme for new technology based firms (NTBFs) which has been run successfully for the last two years by the Robert Gordon University. Findings from recent research, involving innovative NTBFs, have shown that these organisations may be struggling in a number of areas such as maintaining communication with their main customers and staff recruitment which relates to serious skill shortages. The model proposed in this paper of an effective management skills programme for NTBFs is one way forward in assisting owner/managers in developing and utilising their scarce resources effectively.
The purpose of the paper is to present a proactive quality costs measurement methodology, which describes the value of quality improvements and the implication of this value on customers' perception regarding the value of the product.
By describing the perceived customer value in a dynamic term, it becomes possible to derive an analytical model that recognizes the implication of a company's efforts to improve design quality and conformance quality on product value as perceived by the customers. Quality costs as a performance indicator of improved design quality and conformance quality (as the results of prevention and appraisal activities) can be expressed in terms of value (i.e. a trade‐off between benefits and sacrifices), where the benefits of the improvement include higher product quality and reduction of failure costs. The sacrifices include the costs to perform improvement activities (i.e. prevention and appraisal costs). Expressing quality costs in this way thus establishes a link between a producer's efforts to improve quality and the way customers perceive the value of the product. The developed methodology of proactive quality cost measurement has been applied for collecting, measuring, and reporting quality costs in a Swedish wood‐flooring manufacturing company.
Transforming quality cost measurements into value provides a better explanation regarding the effect of prevention and appraisal activities on the quality improvement indicators. Thus, the value of quality improvements is a measure of return on quality improvements (ROQI), which indicates whether the quality improvement efforts gave higher, fair, or lower return.
This paper develops and discusses a model of customer value by accommodating its relative nature, and presents a proactive way of measuring quality costs (i.e. value‐oriented and customer‐oriented).
This chapter begins with a reflection on the call for investigating how entrepreneurial competencies are developed (Bird, 1995) in the context of university-based…
This chapter begins with a reflection on the call for investigating how entrepreneurial competencies are developed (Bird, 1995) in the context of university-based entrepreneurship centers. Through clarifying the nature of entrepreneurial competencies and applying a social constructivist perspective of learning, it is proposed that effective nurturing of entrepreneurial competencies for university students through entrepreneurship centers shall be based on five key characteristics; namely, active experimentation, authenticity, social interaction, sense of ownership, and scaffolding support. The chapter contributes to the literature through establishing a link between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial competencies in the context of university-based entrepreneurship centers, which have become an increasingly popular way for promoting entrepreneurial development. The practical implications on nurturing entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship centers are discussed, together with the directions for further research. This chapter is designed as a refection upon Bird’s original article articulating the concept of entrepreneurial competencies. In this chapter, the author outlines how entrepreneurial competencies can be developed through education programs, specifically via entrepreneurship centers.
THE publication last month of the long‐anticipated Report of the Departmental Public Libraries Committee is, of course, the principal recent event. It is too long to allow us to give a full account of its arguments and conclusions, and in common with all who work for libraries we must return to it again and again in the future. It may be said, however, that it will allay the fears of those who thought that one result of the Committee's deliberations would be to support and to suggest the implementing of the Report of the Adult Education Committee of the lamented Ministry of Reconstruction, which would have handed over the public libraries of the country as a gift to the directors of education. This report does nothing of the kind; it even suggests that as public opinion is clearly opposed to such a course, the libraries should remain in the hands of those who made them an admitted success even under the adverse conditions of the limited rate. Thus the way is open to real progress, and the very confined conditions which would be a necessary result of the absorption of libraries in the official education machinery are not immediately to be dreaded.
This paper presents the findings from an Objective 4 research project funded through the European Social Fund. A total of 60 innovative technology based SMEs in the…
This paper presents the findings from an Objective 4 research project funded through the European Social Fund. A total of 60 innovative technology based SMEs in the Aberdeen area agreed to take part in structured interviews which addressed a broad range of strategic issues. Information was gathered on the knowledge exchange practices utilised by these companies for example seminars, co‐operative working arrangements and in‐house training. Many other sources of learning such as project reviews, practical experience and brainstorming meetings were also discussed. Although the 60 companies taking part in this research have many processes in place which can aid organisational learning, it is unclear how conscious they are of the value of these processes. The sample companies are moving through a learning cycle, akin to that developed by Kolb, by reviewing and acting on learning experiences. However there are considerable differences in the time invested in this process. Few firms are translating their learning experiences into documented format to ensure that knowledge is available to all.
Business skills, particularly in the areas of science, engineering and technology (SET) and small firm development are becoming increasingly important. The vocational…
Business skills, particularly in the areas of science, engineering and technology (SET) and small firm development are becoming increasingly important. The vocational skills student learns can be augmented by an understanding of how business operates as well as an appreciation that enterprise skills can be applied within an organisation i.e. acting as an “intrapreneur”. Universities prepare students for many of the “professions” such as medicine, engineering, law and accountancy. Many other disciplines such as healthcare, social sciences and the sciences also require a professional attitude to be adopted. However, new graduates generally begin their post‐university career in a form of apprenticeship where their professional skills are developed, often via a pre‐registration period before achieving, for example, for engineers, chartered status. After that stage is reached, and with a few years work experience, they may move on to form practices or partnerships of their own. Based on the principle that business skills development, particularly in the SET disciplines, is likely to have a positive impact on the competitiveness of existing SET organisations, as well as encourage the creation of new, innovative knowledge firms, this paper aims to document the experience of introducing and embedding entrepreneurship education into vocational disciplines at Heriot‐Watt University, with a key objective being to provide a model which other institutions may find useful.