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Organizational Climate and Gender Differences in Work Engagement Among Non-Teaching Staff in a Nigerian University

Abstract

The paper examines the link between organizational climate and work engagement among the non-teaching staff of a Nigerian University. Participants consisted of 229 (F=46.7%; Mean age =45.7) non-teaching staff selected using stratified random sampling technique from non-teaching staff of the institution. Participants completed the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale and Organizational Climate Measure that were subjected to Pearson Product Moment Correlation and t-test analysis. Results revealed that organizational climate is related to work engagement among registry staff. It also showed that female employees were more engaged with their work than their male counterparts. The paper recommends the design of appropriate strategies and interventions to ensure that employees feel more engaged in their work-roles.

Open access
Researching Consumer Research. An Analysis of Consumer Researchers in Austria with Some Implications for the Scientific Field and Consumer Policy

Abstract

Since over a decade, there are ongoing debates about the relationships between the scientific field of consumer research and the political field of consumer policy. To date, there exist theoretical overviews of the international state of the art in consumer research and its historical developments regarding topics, and theoretical and methodological advancements. There also exist few empirical studies which approached this field through content analysis of scientific articles, case studies or literature reviews. Nonetheless, prior research has yet neglected consumer researchers themselves and, above all, their stances toward consumer policy. To fill this gap, this article seeks to enhance knowledge about consumer researchers by presenting empirical results of a survey among Austrian consumer researchers. In contrast with previous research, this article relates its empirical findings to better understand how consumer research can become a more integrated and institutionalized research area, in Austria and elsewhere. As the results indicate, there are some commonalities in Austrian consumer research which may serve as a fertile ground for a closer integration of the field and which could enhance cooperation between the scientific and the political field. Yet, as this article shows, there also exist some obstacles, which may hinder such efforts. It concludes with some propositions for consumer research as a scientific field and discusses obstacles and prospects of a future collaboration between this scientific field and consumer policy. In doing so, this article seeks to contribute to the debate about a so-called “evidence-based” consumer policy suggesting that consumer policy can draw on a wide array of scientific perspectives and should not restrict itself to behavioural insights alone, a current trend in some European countries and in the European Commission. As will be shown, the Austrian case is furthermore informative to better understand internal and external (political) efforts to foster cooperation within consumer research and the relationship between consumer research and consumer policy.

Open access
Analysis of the Consumer Knowledge and Attitude toward Innovations in the Fashion Industry

Abstract

Taking into consideration the complex interaction between new emerging technologies and social transformations, the importance of consumer attitudes toward fashion innovations should not be ignored. There are thousands of new patents related to nanotechnology being announced each year being undoubtedly perceived as one of the fundamental technologies of the present century. When it comes to the fashion sector, nanotechnology offers an innovative mean of processing fabrics that could change the clothing industry. Previous studies conducted in the domain of technology revealed that consumer attitude toward nanotechnology is determined by the perceived risks and benefits of applying nanotechnology and consumer’s scepticism when encountering new challenges. This research aims to analyse the determinants that affect the consumer’s knowledge toward nanotechnologies used in the fashion industry in Romania. In this respect, I applied a questionnaire in the Romanian public universities to identify individuals’ attitude toward technology and their knowledge regarding the usage of nanotechnology in this industry. The consumer’s level of knowledge regarding the nanotechnology implementation in fashion production is expected to be influenced by their attitude toward technology. Also, the consumer’s requirements regarding the labelling of nanotextile are expected to be influenced by their level of nanotechnology knowledge.

Based on the empirical results, this study is intended to provide suggestions that could contribute to the expansion of the acceptance of the innovations applied in the clothing industry.

Open access
Analysis of the perception about the gender pay gap in the EU Member States

Abstract

The main aim of the paper is to investigate European Union people’s perceptions on the gender pay gap, concentrating on the differences between countries and social groups. The focus of our analysis is on the following research questions: a) Are people in countries with fewer low-wage earners more aware of the gender pay gap than the others? Are high educated people and older workers more affected by the gender pay inequalities? Descriptive statistics and logistic regression applied on 28093 observations extracted from EUROBAROMETER 87.4 (2017) confirmed the two hypotheses and brought in addition other interesting and somehow conflicting results. Namely, in some of the countries, people’ perceptions are not supported by statistical data. In Luxembourg and Belgium, for example, even though statistical data demonstrate that the gender pay gap is between the lowest among European Union countries the percentage of those who perceives the inequalities is very high, exceeding 70% in both countries. More than that, in certain countries like Romania, a large number of people considers that gender pay gap is an acceptable phenomenon. Our contribution to the literature is two-fold. First, we have analysed the perceptions on gender pay gap of a large number of respondents and correlated with the reality demonstrated by statistical data. Second, we drew the attention to the fact that closing the ‘gender pay gap’ should be a target of public and private policies especially in high-wage countries, whereas in low-wage countries, the policy makers should focus rather on closing the ‘countries pay gap’, i.e. ensuring that wages are brought closer to the European average, with many economic and social benefits (raising living standards of the citizens, reducing poverty and migration and so on).

Open access
Are Teaching and Research activities mutually exclusive? A Data Mining study on European Universities

Abstract

Universities all around the world operate by following several institutional missions, with a central purpose on teaching and research activities. The importance of each aspect alongside the connection between them provide a disputed topic in the literature, many authors confirming or rejecting the intuitive inverse relationship by using various means, more or less quantitative. This paper aims to examine the teaching and research dimensions of the research-active European universities from a data mining perspective. For each dimension previously considered we employ the K-means Clustering in order to identify the groups of similar higher education institutions and we analyze the insights produced by the results. In addition, we build some target variables considering the teaching and research outputs and we investigate their drivers by employing the Logistic Regression. Furthermore, we explore the controverted relationship between the two institutional missions we considered through the use of Correspondence Analysis. Preliminary results illustrate that the dataset contains two types of universities: a category of very large and prestigious institutions and a second group of small and medium sized institutions, quite different from each other. Interest insights are given by the third part of the study, in which the Correspondence Analysis confirms an inverse relationship between teaching and research activities. Unfortunately, this is very likely a consequence of the time constraint – both activities require the same limited resources and therefore increasing the teaching burden for academics may diminish the time and energy dedicated to research.

Open access
Big 4 and audit fees in the context of adopting International Financial Reporting Standards

Abstract

The main purpose of this article is to determine the impact that Big 4 companies have had after the adoption of IFRS became mandatory and if the level of the fees related to the audit services registered a significant increase. Thus, after a thorough research of the specialized studies, we analyzed the impact of financial reporting according to the International Financial Reporting Standards, determining how the audit fees were influenced and which was the impact of the largest companies targeted in this study. In order to determine the number of companies audited by Big 4, we analyzed all the companies listed on Bucharest Stock Exchange, during the period 2010-2018, which trade premium shares. It is obvious that the financial reporting according to the International Financial Reporting Standards increases the number of companies audited by Big 4, although there has audit fees with higher values. In the following, we will analyze the changes that have occurred in the audit market of Romania.

Open access
Chain claims reserving methods in non-life insurance

Abstract

Considering that the reliability of reserves valuation directly influences the financial strength of an insurance company, the main aim of this paper is to present a claims reserving estimation for a Romanian non-life insurer based on the most popular chain methods which are typically used in practice for the estimation of outstanding claims reserves in general insurance industry: Standard Chain Ladder and Munich Chain Ladder both on the claims incurred data and claims paid data. The tail development factors have been estimated based on the curve-fitting methods. The obvious advantage of these methods is represented by its simplicity of the practicality application. The results of the research under two chain claims reserving models reveal significant differences between the Standard Chain Ladder and Munich Chain Ladder with respect to the claims reserves level. Probably the Standard Chain Ladder based on paid method underestimates the outstanding loss liabilities and Standard Chain Ladder based on Incurred method overestimates the claims reserves. The claims reserves predictions under the Paid Munich Chain Ladder and Incurred Munich Chain Ladder are between the two Standard Chain Ladder outstanding loss liabilities estimates. The results of the tail extrapolation shown that the incorporation of the tail factors can have a significant impact on claims predictions.

Open access
Characterizing the level of economic development of countries

Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to provide an objective analysis of the economic development level of countries. This is done by measuring it through a new index and by classifying the countries in an optimal number of clusters, each group characterizing different levels of economic development. The proposed methodology is based on three steps: creating a composite index (by applying the principal component analysis), establishing the optimal number of development groups (based on the number of principal components and on the hierarchical clustering) and clustering countries into them (with the help of k-means analysis). Therefore, this approach solves the difficulty of classifying the countries, complication that is mentioned in the specialized literature. Also, the paper creates a better understanding on the economic development level of countries, as, usually, the papers examine the economic growth level of countries. The analysis is conducted at the level of 60 countries for year 2015, using 12 indicators from categories that influence economic development (income, inequality, health, education and living conditions). The empirical results revealed that the countries can be grouped in two groups: economical developed countries (approximatively 2/3) and economic developing countries (approximatively 1/3). The countries that are most developed from an economic point of view are: Singapore, Luxemburg and Finland.

Open access
Classifying non-banking financial institutions based on their financial performance

Abstract

In this paper we evaluate comparatively the performance of non-banking financial institutions in Romania by the means of unsupervised neural networks in terms of Kohonen’ Self-Organizing Maps algorithm. We create a benchmarking model in the form of a two-dimensional map (a self-organizing map) that can be used to assess visually the performance of non-banking financial institutions based on different performance dimensions, such as capital adequacy, assets’ quality and profitability. We use the following indicators: Equity ratio (Leverage) for the capital adequacy dimension, Loans granted to clients (net value) / total assets (net value) for the assets’ quality dimension and Return on assets (ROA) for the profitability dimension. We have excluded from our analysis the other three dimensions used in evaluating the performance of banks, due to lack of data (for the two qualitative dimensions: quality of ownership and management) and irrelevance with the NFIs’ sector (liquidity). The proposed model is based on the Self-Organising Map algorithm which creates a two-dimensional map (e.g. 6x4 = 24 neurons) from p-dimensional input data. The data were collected for eleven non-banking financial institutions for four years 2007-2010, in total 44 observations. Using the visualization capabilities of the Self-Organising Map model and the trajectories we show the movements of the three non-banking financial institutions with the worst performance: the largest underperformer denoted with X, the second largest underperformer denoted with Y and the third largest underperformer denoted with Z between 2007 and 2010.

Open access