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Financial Stability of Insurance Companies in Selected CEE Countries

Abstract

Background: Financial stability or soundness of insurance companies has gained importance over the years, especially after the financial crisis of 2008. Various stakeholders such as policy makers, regulators, the insured, etc. are interested in keeping the insurance sector stable since it contributes to overall financial stability.

Objectives: The authors explore the determinants of insurers’ soundness in selected countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The analysis covers life, non-life and composite insurers that operated in Croatia, Hungary, and Poland in the period 2013 – 2017.

Methods/Approach: A set of insurer – specific, industry – specific and macroeconomic variables are taken into consideration for having a potential influence on soundness measured by the Z-score. The variables include the size based on total assets, the share of premium ceded to reinsurance, claims growth, gross written premium growth, the premium to surplus ratio, market shares held by the five largest insurers, the share of gross written premium in the gross domestic product (GDP) and the GDP per capita growth.

Results: The findings reveal that soundness of Croatian insurers is positively influenced by the size of an insurer. Both in Hungary and Poland reinsurance plays an important factor positively affecting soundness.

Conclusions: Each of the insurance markets covered by the analysis reveals its characteristics and offers guidelines on factors influencing financial stability.

Open access
A Dynamic Capabilities Perspective of High-Growth Firms: Organizational Aspects

Abstract

Drawing on interviews conducted at five Hungarian high-growth firms (HGFs), this paper discusses how dynamic capabilities shape the outcome of HGFs’ efforts to meet the managerial challenges posed by rapid growth. HGFs are investigated in the context of a relatively under-researched country: Hungary. The research demonstrates that dynamic capabilities have strong explanatory power for the surveyed companies’ achievements, in a similar manner to what is established in the literature on HGFs in advanced economies.

The micro-mechanisms of DC’ deployment is explored by investigating the organizational solutions implemented at the surveyed firms in response to emerging growth-related problems. These responses were found to be similar across the sample. The recurrent growth-related reconfiguration of organizational structures and introduction of various organizational innovations were the result of systematically developed DC and non-abating organizational learning.

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Contract Brewing – Production-Oriented Cooperation in Craft Brewing Industry

Abstract

The objective of the paper is to analyze the cooperation in craft beer manufacturing in Poland and to identify the specificity of this phenomenon from the perspective of enterprise management. The sales of craft beers in Poland are growing rapidly. Craft beers have about a 0.5% share in the total beer sales value in Poland. The popular practice in the industry is contract brewing. It is an interesting phenomenon in the field of cooperation of enterprises which can be classified and analyzed as a form of: economic cooperation (generally), production cooperation, outsourcing, network and virtual organization and also coopetition. It is a specific business model. Contract brewing is a complex problem the specificity of which emerges on several levels. Firstly, there is a special way to emerge in the market of craft beers, even while not possessing significant funds by the entrepreneur. Secondly, it is a form of cooperation in the field of production which unites efforts on the side of both the customer and the contractor since it is not limited to normal outsourcing of production to an external entity but involves physical production capacity of the contractor and technological know-how of both cooperation parties. Thirdly, it is firmly embedded in human relationships. Fourthly, it can generate coopetitive relations since the brewery accepting the order may conduct its own activity related to production and sales of beer under its own brand.

Open access
Destination Networks as a Tool for Minimizing the Risk and Improving the Performance of a Destination

Abstract

The management of a tourist destination in the form of networks is considered to be one of the possible approaches to destination governance structures. The concept of destination governance is based on the cooperation between actors from the public and private sectors. It is known that public–private relationships built on trust, joint risk taking and based on informal structures have a positive impact on the level of growth at a tourist destination. The aim of this paper is to quantify to what extent each of the determinants of the DMO success participate in the total destination performance, and thus point out the factors of a potential risk.

The main objective of this paper is the cooperation between the destination management organization (DMO), public sector and entrepreneurs providing tourism services. The data collection was achieved by conducting in-depth interviews and structured questionnaires. The analysed data identify the factors of successful mutual cooperation that are used as inputs for further modelling. The contribution of the paper lies in the application of the total quality management concept methodology to identify the share of each factor/determinant in the DMO performance.

Open access
Strategic orientations of the organization - entrepreneurial, market and organizational learning

Summary

The underlying assumption of this study is that it is possible to define some principles of strategic management. These principles, called strategic orientations, influence and direct the activities of an organisation and are intended to ensure its viability and superior performance. So far, studies into strategic orientations that set out to explain different levels of organisational performance prove that each type of strategic orientation can have a positive impact on business performance.

The purpose of this study is to discuss the key aspects of the three strategic orientations - entrepreneurial, market and organizational learning, outlining the relationship between them and the consequences of their choice on the development of the organization. In addressing entrepreneurial, market and learning orientations, the study has described some of the relationships between orientations and their effect on organisational performance. This has allowed us to identify areas of future studies on strategic orientations – that is to say, their integration, the effect of their configurations on organisational performance in different environments, and internal factors underlying strategic orientations.

Open access
Methods and Techniques of Quality Process Improvement in the Milk Industry in the Republic of Serbia

Abstract

A long standing presence of process orientation in economic theory and practice reflects its use for achieving the goals of the company and its stakeholders. However, this does not mean that there is no space for improvement in this area. On the contrary, the context in which companies do business is changing significantly, even on a daily basis, and therefore it is necessary to look for new ways for process improvement in order to meet not only current, but also future needs of the consumers. The main aims of the study are to define concepts related to business processes and business process management, and to research the application of methods and techniques of a continuous improvement of processes and management systems in general. The aim is also to research the application of methods and techniques for quality process improvement in milk production companies in the Republic of Serbia, with the starting hypothesis that quality process improvement directly influences the competitive position of the company. Relevant literature has been used for the theoretical part of the study dealing with process management and quality management, while a structural questionnaire on which the whole research is based has been used for the empirical part of the study. Based on the data analysis it can be concluded that in the milk production companies in the Republic of Serbia there is a dominant use of the method based on the PDCA cycle for business quality improvement

Open access
Servitization as a Concept for Managing the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Summary

The aim of the article is to present the key features, stages, advantages and threats of servitization as a concept for managing the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. A literature review and empirical research carried out in the form of a case study of the medium-sized company Mikomax sp. z o.o. from Poland served to achieve the aim of the article. The obtained results indicate a significant role of servitization in the development of the analyzed company. A phased approach to the implementation of this concept has been identified, requiring a number of changes to be made in the management systems of the enterprise. Servitization is a source of strategic, marketing and financial benefits for the company, and the management plans to further develop servitization activities aimed at expanding its market offer and building a sustainable competitive advantage.

Open access
Income Diversification in Low Income Sub-Saharan African Countries’ Commercial Banks: A “Blessing” or “Curse”?

Abstract

Dynamics in economic trend and banks’ creditors’ expectation have directed banks to search the innovative means of income generation. It is with this view that this study examines the relationship between the income diversification and financial performance of banks in SSA low income countries. A panel data of 1,280 observations were extracted from the financial profile of 160 commercial banks from 19 purposively selected countries from 2009 to 2016. The findings from the empirical analysis indicate that non-interest income accounts for 95% of operating income in Low Income countries’ commercial banking sector. Also, it was found that income diversification in SSA banks enhanced financial performance as affirmed by the finance theory because both interest and non-interest income sources are indeed blessings as they increase the financial performance significantly. Therefore, low income SSA countries’ commercial banks are urged to strive to ensure proper investment with their income diversification so that better performance of their economies is enhanced.

Open access
Strongly Lipschitz up-Nuclear Operators

Abstract

In this paper, we introduce the notion of strongly Lipschitz up-nuclear operators. Among other results, we prove an analog of the factorization theorem for these classes and characterize their conjugates.

Open access
The Influences of Macro-Environment and Work and Firm Organization Changes. An Analysis of Italian Productive Decentralization in the 1970s

Abstract

The article focuses on the restructuring proces of productive decentralization of firms which took place in Italy in the 1970s, during which at country level and globally the formerly stable registered trends of fast economic growth, high capital accumulation and falling income inequalities became subverted, leading to a regime of slow growth, lower capital accumulation and growing income inequalities which currently prevails. Based mainly on the analysis of Italian literature, the paper aims to show how this restructuring process was first relevantly affected by changes in macroeconomic environment and then it significantly influenced the evolution of the very same macro-environment in which Italian firms operated. This reciprocal influence between firm restructuring and macroeconomic environment change therefore led to self-enhancing trends which, it can be argued, are still affecting, although partially, Italian economy even today. Thus it is argued that in the case of Italy, the productive decentralization process can be considered to be one of the most relevant factors supporting change in the macroeconomic trends occurring since the end of the 1970s. The conducted analysis can be also considered a useful case study of the reciprocal inter-linkages between firms’ restructuring processes and the macroeconomic environment evolution, which can take place in any economic system.

Open access