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  • Author: Georgios Baltos x
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From Audit-Phobia to Shared Governance Philosophies: Librarians Meet Auditors at the European University Institute

Abstract

Libraries are rightfully recognized as the heart of academic institutions. However, they are not standalone, but interconnected with all other players within the same organisational universe: academia, administration, stakeholders, internal and external competitors and co-operators. Internal auditors’ role is to promote quality standards along with a “continuous improvement” culture that includes efficiency, accountability and performance excellence at institutional level. Librarians have a long tradition of performance indicators’ collection and evaluation. The crossroad where librarians and auditors meet each other is represented by an integrated methodology which links objectives, risks, performances and controls, harmonising them within the institutional context. The case of such a collaboration at European University Institute (EUI) is a noteworthy example.

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A Risk-based Assessment of Road Networks: Country Case-study and a Wide Range of Applications Covering from Logistics Operations and Security Controls to Regional Geo-economic Development

Abstract

In this paper a series of strategic logistics concepts, like transportation axes “attractivity”, substitution costs, geo-economic and emergency traffic paths, nodes and gates, are introduced and evaluated in a country case study assessing regional road networks. Based on the above mentioned, risk analyses are performed with regard to the logistics emergencies. Turkey’s main road network is being accordingly examined along with the policy implications of the results provided by current political changes in this country. This study exhibits that the R.T. Erdogan’s, AKP party-ruled, governments, caused not only high-level geopolitics and geo-economics repercussions but also have severe economic and logistics effects, activating incentives and infrastructure investments, especially in the so called Anatolian areas. The analysis of Turkey’s internal geo-economic trends offers notable insight into the mechanism controlling in general the regional socio-economic attractiveness and efficiency. In this context the socioeconomic indicator: "Roads Network Development" on regional basis and for each year of the period 1995-2012, has then been chosen and analyzed statistically as dependent variable in relation to the election results and the consequent political changes between the so called Kemalist and political Islam regimes; the results surprisingly confirm the relevant hypotheses tested.

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The Geo-economic Gravity Systems as a Tool for the Analysis of Socio-Economic Polarization in a Society: Country Case Study and Geographic Information Modelling Explain Long-term Transformation Potential towards Increased Regional Attractiveness and Efficiency

Abstract

In this paper the concept of the “Geo-Economic Gravity System” will be discussed as a methodological tool in regard with the key issue of “regional efficiency”, as well as a modeling tool in the effort to face relevant socio-economic problems. As a case study, the fierce opposition between oriental and westernoriented political powers, other words neo-ottomans versus kemalists in the Turkish society, is being respectively examined. The Geo-economic Gravity Systems explain the socio-economic rifts, heading back to the 90’s and demonstrating the multiple and prevailing societal polarization. On its second part, however, this study exhibits that, in the aftermath of the R.T. Erdogan’s governments, despite that the political dichotomy lines remain, at least the severe economic disparities have been smoothed due to policies, incentives and infrastructure investments accomplished. The analysis of Turkey’s internal geoeconomic trends offers notable insight into the mechanism controlling in general the regional socioeconomic attractiveness and efficiency. Consequently, such an analysis can remarkably contribute in the research of the spatial dimension as a catalyst for emerging development opportunities in any country.

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How some Seemingly Moderate Political Elections Results may Redirect a State’s Historical Course, from the Top Down to the Transformation of National Growth and Socio-Cultural Development Patterns: Turkey’s Political Reforms over the Last Decades as an Ideal Paradigm of Multi- Faceted National Re-Orientation

Abstract

This paper discusses a model for identifying and evaluating how the critical changes in the politics of a state impact its socio-economic life. Political transitions of this magnitude may stem out of elections results, but they are not limited to governmental reforms, since they further create a historical rift between the former and the latter status. They definitely initiate regime turnovers, geostrategic reorientation and shifts of geopolitical axes, but they also transform the national growth and socio-cultural development structures and features.The case study chosen refers to Turkey’s political transformation over the last decades; it is considered an ideal paradigm for testing the relevant research questions due to the extent and depth of the revolutionary changes triggered by the Islamic or the so called neoottoman political parties taking over power and overthrowing the long-lasting status quo of kemalism. The consequences of the before mentioned political shift are being examined in correlation with certain statistical indicators like students’ enrolment in the education system. The statistics are projected over a time series covering previous and current status. Then they are mapped via a Geographic Information System on a regional spatial context towards more comprehensive visual representation and further interpretation of the structural changes indicated.

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An Analysis of the Social Factors that Resulted in the 2011 Social Unrest in Egypt, Integrated with a Personality Profiler of its Revolutionary Leadership

Abstract

At the beginning of 2011, the majority of Egyptian citizens ended the thirty-year authoritarian regime of President Mubarak. From the full of celebrations day of 25th January Revolution till the beginning of July 2013 a lot of political drama overflowed the turbulent Egyptian society, leading to the overthrow of the first legitimately elected President M. Morsi. General Al-Sisi took over the presidential duties in 2014, and the whole world is still struggling to determine whose actions favor and which undermine the democracy and/or the interests of Egyptian people. In an effort to research the social factors that prepared and resulted in the political activism and unrest in Egypt over these latest years, this study has been developed on two main axes. The first one applies an analytical model focusing on the critical drivers towards social unrest, especially adjusted for the data referring to Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern societal characteristics. The second axis then takes advantage of the model’s assessments and proceeds with the narrative interpretation of the facts through a personality profiler for M. Morsi. In this way the research questions meet answers, conclusions and policy implications that combine, in terms of political psychology, both personality-based approaches to politics as well as structural and institutional role constraints restricting the range of initiatives available for leadership decision making.

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The International Public Procurement Evolution: New Strategic Challenges Met in Collaboration with Internal Audit Advisory Services

Abstract

This study identifies and evaluates some of the major procurement issues met currently by international organizations both in private and public sectors. It deals with strategic procurement decision-making like outsourcing and market globalization, concessions set up, business continuity and contracting typology transformations. Such dynamic changes are deployed in a context of increased concern about the application of liberal procurement principles, which drive towards a series of improvements at the procedures and documentation level. The authors relate this evolution with the Internal Audit consulting perspective, which is still a recent endeavor, but in progress and dynamically expanding. European Union and related Agencies and Institutions are usually spearheading towards this direction offering lessons learned for further consideration.

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From a Culture of Borders to Borders of Cultures: Nationalism and the “Clash of Civilizations” in International Relations Theory

Abstract

The Peace of Westphalia signed in 1648 signaled the beginning of the modern international system of states. International relations (IR) theory identifies this treaty as the founder of the principle of political sovereignty whereby each nation-state has full control over its territory and domestic affairs, thus it is the beginning of an international system of states. The latter is based on the sanctity and inviolability of interstate borders as its main defining feature. This paper investigates the recent developments in international relations and their significance to the concept of borders in IR theory; on the one hand, a “clash of civilizations” thesis assumes that new “fault lines” borders among civilizations of, mainly, different religions are taking precedence over traditional territorial borders of nation-states, while, on the other hand, a rise in conservative nationalism and, possibly, protectionism, over the traditionally liberal West reasserts the primacy of territorial borders in IR. In particular, this study examines whether such developments signal a paradigm shift in IR theory that may necessitate revisiting certain fundamentals of mainstream respective theories.

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The International Energy Strategies Ruling the Middle East for a Century Re-appear and Determine the Destiny of the Whole Eastern Mediterranean Region

Abstract

This paper examines the involvement of Western powers in the politics of Caucasus and Mesopotamia regions around the beginning of the 20th century. It attempts to identify the ideological background of the respective historical events whirled around the geopolitical and geo-economics aspirations of the super powers of that era. The motives of the relevant tremendous investments and campaigns undertaken do not always coincide with the rhetoric and the rationale provided by politicians and spokesmen favoring the expeditions. On one hand scholars were metaphorically reviving the clash of civilizations or the crusades re-launch, while on the other hand politicians and businessmen were taking advantage of the cultural stereotypes in order to facilitate colonial interests and energy resources acquisition. All the way from the early British interventions in the Middle East to the causes of the “fragile” Treaty of the Sèvres, this study emphasizes on the industrial countries’ needs for oil along with the rivalry among the Great Powers for the resources control in the region. In addition, the analysis ends at the present time with a focus on the periodicity of the events taking place in repetition under similar patterns. The projection to the present times involves newly designed energy strategies for the Eastern Mediterranean basin, involving Cyprus in an alternative way to transfer energy toward Southern Europe.

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Quality Management, Standardization and Auditing Meet Multiple Organizational Risks, Strengthening Open Market Understanding and Social Responsibility

Abstract

This paper describes how the standardization essentially, rather than referring to goals, outputs and outcomes, addresses duties, roles and actions, while eventually the latter ones affect and empower the former. The quest for quality is still on-going in pursuit of effectiveness and efficiency combined with social responsibility, as long as it is dependent upon societies’ willingness to change the world and share a better future. Although organizations have a long way to walk toward synergism and integration, quality management is being transformed from compliance to collaboration driven. The wide range of standards implementing the quality management systems based on ISO 9001 materializes its strategic direction to be functionally adapted to specific sectors and industries. On the other hand, plenty of later standards deal with the additional requirements that are applicable only to specific industries. They surely carry pros and cons. There is, however, a threatening likelihood that the relevant markets would reject some of the standards in case multiple standards overlap each other, creating complex bureaucratic burdens. Health and Safety standards are a success story against such concerns, while a plethora of Control and Risk management standards compete each other, which may be perceived more as a source of creativity rather than confusion.

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Turkey’s Ambitions to Emerge as a Regional Power: Example or Counter-Example for Potential Aspiring Competitors

Abstract

This paper aims to provide a functional assessment of a country’s dynamics at a regional power level, through the development of a tool which shall examine the working hypothesis of a given country’s “candidacy” to emerge as a regional power. The power equation applied in order to have such an evaluation has been formulated in a visually enriched and prototype format, given that particularly the geopolitics activate systems of interactions dynamically changing into many dimensions. The scope also includes the criteria verifying the achievement of the regional powers’ objectives as well as the review of future relevant prospects through a SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis in a specific spatial and temporal context. Contemporary Turkey shall be taken as an example of this application and, therefore, while enumerating the assessment criteria, it will be briefly examined whether Turkey meets the conditions under discussion. This country has been selected on the grounds that its intentions have been overtly declared and its efforts are underway. The study consequently emphasises on the policy implications of the dilemmatic question if the on-going Turkish regime transformation may be or keep being a pilot for other states’ progress in the heavily turmoiled Middle Eastern area.

Open access