July 30, 2008

EVALUATION OF EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF BONDED WAREHOUSE RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE

 

 

1.0  Background of the Study

Primarily used by manufacturers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and transport businesses, a warehouse refers to a commercial building that serves as the storage place for goods. These warehouses are usually large plain buildings in industrial areas of cities and towns and are equipped with loading docks, cranes and forklifts. Goods on which the duties are unpaid and stored under agreement and suretyship are stored in bonded warehouses, however. Bonded warehouses store goods which are under joint custody of the importer and the customs officer. These bonded warehouses are usually managed by the state or by private enterprises, but with the requirement to post customs bond with the government for the latter.

Goods that are being stored in the bonded warehouses are liable to duty and are lodged until the duty has been paid. For importers, duties should be accomplished at the time of importation. The system of bonded warehousing has several inconveniences such as the difficulty in finding sureties on the part of the importers and the immediate selling of the goods in order to pay the lump sum. Such condition has a trickle down effect on consumers since there will be a mark-up on the prices of the goods. Realising this matter, there will be resultant situation: smuggling and low consumption because of high taxes on bonded warehouses.  

2.0  Statement of the Problem

The problem that will be addressed in this research is the extent of efficacy of bonded warehouses. How the present situation could be improved and how bonded warehousing could be a value-adding activity for business operators will be addressed. The study will answer the following questions.

1)     What are the services that bond warehouses provide? What are the benefits of using bonded warehouses?

2)     What are the problems that could be expected when using bonded warehouses?

3)     How bonded warehouses are managed? What systems, techniques and processes are being used?

4)     What are the excising schemes used? How do these schemes and other taxing requirements affect the operation of the bonded warehouses?

5)     In what ways bonded warehouses contribute in reducing costs and in product optimization? 

6)     How important is the role of bonded warehouses to global supply chain?

3.0  Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to investigate, evaluate and analyse the degree of efficiency and effectiveness of bonded warehouses. In lieu with this, the research will seek to accomplish the following specific objectives:

§         To explore the concept of bonded warehousing based on the advantages and disadvantages of using them

§         To determine the services that bonded warehouses provide business operators (wholesalers, manufacturers, exporters and importers)

§         To study how bonded warehouses are managed and controlled based on identifying the systems, techniques and processes in place

§         To distinguish excise and taxing strategies and how these strategies affect the business operators

§         To understand the function of bonded warehouses in the global supply chain as a value-adding activity  

4.0  Research Methodology

The study will explore the problem in an interpretivist view, using exploratory research strategy because it aims to know more about the concept of bonded warehouses. Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. It will look into the problem by exploring the views of different sets of respondents, as well as by exploring different literatures related with the study. This qualitative study will conduct primary and secondary research.

The primary source of data will come from the researcher-made questionnaire and interview questions. The primary data frequently gives the detailed definitions of terms and statistical units used in the study. These are usually broken down into finer classifications. The secondary sources of data will come from published articles, business management journals, theses and related studies on bonded warehouses. Acquiring secondary data are more convenient to use because they are already condensed and organized. Moreover, analysis and interpretation are done more easily.

All data will be evaluated using the latest SPSS software. Data will be analysed using the frequency analysis. The following will be the formula:

Percentage – will be used to determine the magnitude of the responses.

            n

% = -------- x 100        ;           n – number of responses

            N                                 N – total number of respondents

 

Weighted Mean

            f1x1 + f2x2  + f3x3 + f4x4  + f5x5

x = ---------------------------------------------  ;

                        xt

where:             f – weight given to each response

                        x – number of responses

                        xt – total number of responses

 

The research will be presented in written form with the addition of data charts which will present the findings. Pie charts and network charts will be needed to illustrate some of the analyzed data. This cannot be confirmed, however, until the research data have been analyzed.

 

 

 


LIABILITIES OF INSOLVENT COMPANY DIRECTORS: IMPLICATIONS FOR

 

 

 

1.0  Title

The working title of the research is initially drafted as – Liabilities of Insolvent Company Directors: Implications for the Vietnamese Insolvency Law

2.0  Background of the Study

Anyone who controls the company, and is responsible for the direction of the company or tells the directors what to do are considered to be directors of a company (or the shadow director). These are not only the registered directors but also include a director in name only such as the director's spouses and someone who has been appointed a director for the reason of having their name on the board. Even before the company experience financial dilemmas, directors have both legal and financial risks. Basically, directors have a duty to act in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. But when the company is deemed to become insolvent directors are expected to act in a legal duty to protect the interests of the creditors instead of the shareholders. According to the law, the company is insolvent when either it cannot afford to pay its debts as they fall due or when its liabilities exceed its assets. As such, insolvent companies as well as the directors must now function its basic purpose which is to get the best return for the creditors (www.busines-lawfirm.co.uk).

There are three cases directors are to be held liable. First is through wrongful trading or when the company continues to trade or enter into contracts after knowing that there was no reasonable prospect of avoiding insolvent liquidation. This case, however, is acceptable unless the director(s) can prove that the actions taken are for the purpose of minimizing the potential loss to creditors. The second is by means of fraudulent trading. It happens when directors carry on business with the intention to defraud creditors or for any other fraudulent purposes. Doing transactions at an under value is the third one. This happens when the company has transferred assets for significantly less than their market value.  Once a company is insolvent, the directors would have to take a different role under the legal systems.

In United Kingdom, the director's liabilities are outlined under the Insolvency Act 1986. The US Insolvency Law, however, is supported by the Bankruptcy Code and the Bankruptcy Reform Act whereby detailed rules are broadly codified. In Canada, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act regulates the conduct of directors of insolvent companies. Vietnam's insolvency law, on the other hand, is perceived to have been Westernized. The Bankruptcy Law which was drafted in 2004 purports on harmonizing the bankruptcy law with the international protocols and treaties, in improving the efficiency of the bankruptcy procedures, in encouraging more insolvent enterprises to use the law in resolving disputes, in allowing parties to participate in bankruptcy procedures and in giving courts more flexibility in dealing with insolvent business including the changing liabilities of the directors.   

3.0  Statement of the Problem

The problem that will be addressed in this research is how the liabilities of insolvent company directors are regulated by the Vietnamese insolvency law and how it differs with other bankruptcy laws such as the UK, US and Canada. The following research questions will be answered.

1)     What the liabilities of the directors of an insolvent company? On what specific sections of the Bankruptcy Law 1994 these liabilities are outlined?

2)     How do these sections devoted to the liabilities of the directors of an insolvent company differ with that of UK, US and Canada?

3)     Why are they different? What the reasons for these differences?

4)     Provided that the bankruptcy proceedings are perceived as economic cases, how does the Bankruptcy Law 1994 handle the changing liabilities of the directors?   

5)     How does the Bankruptcy Law 1994 affect the formal corporate rescue process of insolvent companies? What are the liabilities of the directors during the rescue process?

4.0  Objectives of the Study

The main of the research is to explore the extent of differences of the Bankruptcy Law 1994 when it comes to the liabilities of the directors of the insolvent company. In lieu with this, the following specific objectives will be accomplished.

§         To determine the liabilities of the directors of an insolvent company in Vietnamese context

§         To distinguish how these liabilities are regulated under the Bankruptcy Law 1994

§         To compare these regulations to the insolvency law of UK, US and Canada

§         To evaluate how the changing liabilities of insolvent company directors are regulated under the Bankruptcy Law 1994

§         To analyse the degree to which the Bankruptcy Law 1994 support the changing liabilities of the directors of the insolvent companies

5.0  Research Methodology

The study will explore the problem in an interpretivist view, using exploratory research strategy because it aims to know more about the concept of bonded warehouses. Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. It will look into the problem by exploring the views of different sets of respondents, as well as by exploring different literatures related with the study. Towards the latter part of my research, I would also be using a Comparative Design, to compare the specific provisions for the liabilities of the directors. This qualitative study will conduct primary and secondary research.  

The primary source of data will come from the researcher-made questionnaire and interview questions. The primary data frequently gives the detailed definitions of terms and statistical units used in the study. These are usually broken down into finer classifications. The secondary sources of data, on the other hand, will come from published articles, finance and law journals, theses and related studies on insolvency law and the liabilities of directors. Acquiring secondary data are more convenient to use because they are already condensed and organized. Moreover, analysis and interpretation are done more easily.

All data will be evaluated using the latest SPSS software. Data will be analysed using the frequency analysis. The following will be the formula:

Percentage – will be used to determine the magnitude of the responses.

            n

% = -------- x 100        ;           n – number of responses

            N                                 N – total number of respondents

 

Weighted Mean

            f1x1 + f2x2  + f3x3 + f4x4  + f5x5

x = ---------------------------------------------  ;

                        xt

where:             f – weight given to each response

                        x – number of responses

                        xt – total number of responses

 

The research will be presented in written form with the addition of data charts which will present the findings. Pie charts and network charts will be needed to illustrate some of the analyzed data. This cannot be confirmed, however, until the research data have been analyzed.

 

 

 

 

 


July 29, 2008

Report on the Dilemma of Using Software Methodologies and the Implications for Object-Oriented Software Projects

I. Introduction

Software is an indispensable and crucial provider for the new economy as well as science. It helps to create new markets as well as new directions for more dependable, elastic and vigorous society. Though, more often than not, software falls short behind the expectorations of the users, the customers as well as the fixed business rule of the company or the organizations. Although there are many software methodologies, tools as well as techniques that are already available and used, most of it are expensive and not yet that reliable for those highly changeable and evolutionary market. More often than not, software methodologies or approach are only proven in case-by-case oriented methods (Fujita & Mejri 2006, p. v).
In every project, those inexperience developers are already thinking about the different ways that they can handle in order to deal with their stock knowledge and skills as well as the steps that they can follow. On the other hand, those inexperienced developers will first look forward on how to commence the project. They need some good guidelines as well as proven works and studies that have been applied in real world. However, there have been many critics and questions that are arising from different IT professionals as well as those new in the business about the necessity of methodology (Cairo & Barreiro 1999, p. 324). Cairo & Barreiro (1999) said that making program is fun for many people; someone can enjoy it by making things or features of his or her own designs and ideas in a faster and cheaper manner than having a large team, without following any methodology (p. 324).
Using a methodology doesn’t ensure success of the overall project but it serves as a sign of competency that will help to provide different means or ways to lessen risks (Cairo & Barreiro 1999, p. 328).

II. Concept and Background of the Study

As of today, there have been many software methodologies that are available to be used and applied in the real world of IT. Each and every types represent a specific situation or business rules that will fit the needs and demands of the current system. Due to this reason, there have been many methodologies that are facing discussion as well as debate with regards to its efficiency and use, from the waterfall up to the agile as well as those other types in between (Grady 2007).
Software methodologies are considered as working models. It follows a continuous path of evolution. Selecting the best or the suited software methodologies will depend or based on the situation of the business or organization, the actors or the different entities that are involved in the software and the product or project itself (Grady 2007).
The reason for the creation and implementation of different methodologies is due to the fact that the IT sector or aspect of the world had faced a software crisis during the past few years due to the main problem: the software production does not satisfy the customers in terms of quality and the delivery times; and the fact that the past methodologies doesn’t have the ability to handle different problems about delayed because of those methodologies are heavy and rigid (Marchesi & Succi 2003, p. 447).
All of the said reasons are the primary focus of those professionals and new members of the IT professional’s world in debating and opposing the efficiency of the software methodologies in helping to improve the process of developing different programs as well as helping to prevent future error or dilemma in the duration of software development. Some professional says that the presence of various types of software methodologies doesn’t really help the project manager or the developer, especially those amateur, but more often than not, it can cause confusion. This is due to the reason that not all of the methodologies are applicable or useful for a particular situation or business rules, there are many things and features that must be considered in order to meet the desired outcome. Another thing is that the use of software methodologies doesn’t follow that the developing system will be successful. This makes those who are against the methodologies because although the developer will have to exert money and all, there is still a big chance for them to fail.

III. The Current Situation

There are many problems or dilemma of software methodologies that are connected to the object-oriented software projects. Montlick (1999), states that object oriented software is all about object. It can be characterized as a black box that receives and sends different messages. The black box contains different code and data. Object-oriented programming has its primary or golden rule and this is to avoid or prevent from peeking inside the box. Everything inside the object must not be seen and even must not be modify or change rather than the creator or the developer of the source code or of the application.
The said situation will be very hard since all of the methodologies that are available today are dependent in communication. This is due to the fact that communications among the team members are impossible during any systems or software developments due to their pride, positions and sometimes due to some inevitable things such as stress, time pressure and reluctance. The process of implementing and doing object-oriented software project is in great need of communications due to the fact that each and every part of the software or application is connected to one another. As well as the idea of one member must be connected to another member of the team.
Another thing is that, the source code of the object-oriented cannot be changed without the permission of the author because it might cause chaos and error. That is why; it will be hard to manage the overall operation of the software development.

A. Industry/ Academic Consideration

The dilemma about the use of different software methodology and its impact to the object-oriented software projects can help the industry or the firm of Information Technology to enhance or to continue the development of many methodologies that will handle the dilemma or the disadvantage of software methodologies in different areas of software development. This can help the students to be more familiar with the different methodologies that are available to be used as well as the right time or situation on when, where and how to use it.
This can help the recent study about the Globacom to enhance their system. By analyzing the different dilemma of the different system methodologies with relation to the object-oriented software, it will be easy to look forward or to plan the strategies or the different approach that the company will be using in order to prevent those dilemmas that might cause a bigger one.
It can also help to be more focus about the different impact and applications of the software methodologies to the business industry.

B. Global Consideration

Application of different IT and other computer related applications and technologies are now a must or inevitable in most of the enterprise, sectors, businesses and organizations in all part of the globe. It has become one of the best weapon that can be used in order to acquire their competitive advantage as well as to meet the demand of their customers or client that can help them to be more productive and reliable. Globacom is a telecommunication company, which means that their company is connected to other local as well as international telecommunication company in their country and other part of the globe. This means that having a successful software development process and activities can help the company to be more well-known or famous to their subscribers in terms of their reliable services and products.
It can also prepare them to be more selective or choosy about the path that they are going to take in order to meet the demands and the needs of the company’s business rules and their aims and objectives. It can also help to make the world more connected and make this small world, smaller.

C. National Consideration

Although the company is connected to other telecommunication company in some part of the globe, Globacom, still focus on its local operations. This is due to the fact that their main customers or consumers are located in their local or mother country. The system or software development plan of the company will be helpful for them to be more connected or friendlier to their customers or clients. That is why a good, well-planned, well-implemented as well as well-maintained software development activity must be created and it starts with selecting the proper or the suited methodology. If the software development plan and implementation will turn out good, then the overall performance or the overall systems of the company will be connected and it can help to improve the performance of their country. This is due to the fact that there are other companies or businesses that are dependent or connected to the Globacom, since it is offering communication services.

IV Conclusion

There are many reasons why software development fails such as lack of time and details in planning, lack of information between the developing team, the users and the owners and lack of communication inside the developing team. Software methodologies are just guidelines or strategies that can be used or follow in order to prevent different future problems or dilemma that the developers can encounter during the system or software development. However, due to the fact that those methodologies are just considered as guides or rules, it will not ensure successful implementation of system development and are limited for a specific use or situation.
Different methodologies can also help to create a future development that can help the developers or the developing team to allot a space or a room for future development that can help them to ready the system or the software for future enhancement or growth. This will enable the system to be more versatile and adaptable.

V. Recommendation

Although there are many disadvantages that can be found in using the different system methodologies, there are also many activities or task which can be done in order to prevent the hazardous effects of mismanagement in the overall performance of the developing or already developed system or software.
The first thing that has to do is to connect or to related the different business rules, detailed needs as well as the schedule of different entities and other important events that are related to the overall development of a specific system or software. It will also be important to gather different information from the different perspective of different entities of the system such as the owner, the end-users and the perspective of the customers. This can help to target the logical and physical design needs of the software or system.
As of the situation of the Globacom, it will be necessary to consider the needs, demands and preferences of their customers as a whole in order for them to connect their system to their customers or client. Communication is also one of the most important, if not the most important aspect in any activities or task with accordance to system or software development. This is due to the fact that there are many parties or entities who are involved in the overall system and it must handle each and every needs of each and every participant of the system. Gathering of information is also a necessity; this is due to the fact that a system or software is only the mirror or the reflection of the current system, thus all of the flow of data and information must follow the business rule of the company together with the updated data flow.
Proper implementation and application of system methodologies together with the object-oriented software can help to improve the management of the information and data flow inside the business or organization. It can also help to be more connected to the outside related entities such as the customers, the suppliers, inventors and other important stakeholders.

Bibliography

Cairo, O, Barreiro, J & Solsona, F 1999, ’Software Methodologies at Risk’, in Fensel (ed.) & Studer (ed.) 1999, Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling and Management: 11th European Workshop, EKAW ’99 Dagstuhl Castle, Germany, May 1999 Proceedings (pp. 323 - 336), Springer

Fujita, H (ed.) & Mejri, M (ed.) 2006, New Trends in Software Methodologies, Tools and Techniques: Proceedings of the fifth SoMeT_06, IOS Press

Grady, R 2007, With a Plethora of Software Methodologies, Pick the right one for the job, robgrandy.com, viewed 08 January 2008,

Marchesi, M (ed.) & Succi, G (ed.) 2003, Extreme Programming and Agile Processes in Software Engineering: 4th International Conference, XP 2003 Genova, Italy, May 2003 Proceedings, Springer

Essay on the Usability Assessment of William Ponder (MIS) Way-Finding System

1 Introduction:

Interface Analysis in important because it is a process that assess the relationship between the man or the users and the machine interface (Stanton 2005, p. 431). It caters the different physical characteristics of the interface that can affect the performance of the human that is using the system. The result that can be drawn from any interface analysis can help to improve the current interface problems of flaws in redesigning process. The use of different method can help to enhance and improve the presentation of the design, features and utilities by developing all of the system’s usability, the satisfactions of the users as well as preventing different errors and enhancing interaction time Stanton 2005 p. 431).
ISO09241-11 requires the usability of the system by considering three different dimensions: first is the effectiveness of how well the performance of the system meets the task or the activities that it was designed and created for; second is the efficiency of the system in dealing with the different important resources like time, money and effort that are necessary for the users to manipulate the system; and the third and the last is the reaction of the users towards the system (Stanton 2005, p. 432).
Stanton (2005) stated that there are many methods that can be used in implementing the interface analysis: the usability assessment, error analysis, interface layout analysis and general interface assessment methods (p.432).

2 Usability Assessment
Usability Assessment is an approach that is used in ensuring the usefulness of a particular system. It had been used during the 1980s due to the desired output of the development of the user interface of the system. Later on, during 1985, the approach has reached its popularity due to the works of Gould and Lewis that described the four primary needs of a system in order to obtain the usability of the system. The said four criteria are: early and constant focus towards the users; incorporation of the different deliberation of all of the aspects of usability; trying the untimely and uninterrupted version of the product to the user; and the last is redesigning (Nemeth 2004, p. 265).
The main purpose of the said assessment is to find out if there are some difficulties about the usefulness of the system in the perspective of the user that can help to uncover the different opportunities in enhancement and transformation (Nemeth 2004, p. 266).
3.1 The William Ponder (MIS) Way-Finding System
The way-finding system of William Finder building is to be installed in the ground floor of the building that consist of a computer set that is connected to the web. The said system will help the first time visitors, visiting academics for meetings, students from other schools who are attempting to locate different tutorial rooms and the friends and relatives of students who will submit coursework.


3. 2 Self-conducted User Test
The method that has been used in analyzing and testing the usability of the system is based on the experience of the author in the interaction to the system. By using the perspective of the user, it will be easy to define and analyze the reaction or their response to the system. There are some flaws that have been found out during the personal test of the system. Most of it focuses on the design and the user-friendliness of the system.
Too much Text – After analyzing the flow and the design of the interface, I have found out that the system is using too much instruction, texts or labels. The said characteristics might affect the interest of the users especially when they are in a hurry. The steps by steps instruction will not be necessary because, the reason behind the implementation of the system is to give the users the information or data that they needed in a short period of time leaving the traditional way of enquiry.
Unnecessary requirements to be entered – According to Brown (1999) a system can be characterized as usable if it can reduce the requirements for the user to enter data. If the information is already accessible to the system or if the design can make this information obtainable to the system, it will be compulsory to refrain from asking or requiring the user to enter the data in manual manner. It will be easy to organize or create some dialogues so that the manual user entries can be minimized (p. 7). As of the case of the William Ponder (MIS) way-finding system, the process where in the system is requiring the user to memorize or take note of the room number of the professor or school staff that they are looking, will be a redundant since the room number is already available in the system. Aside from that, it will also be time consuming. But I must give credit to the process where in the system offers a list of the professors, by doing this; the users will no longer have to worry if they forgot the name of the professor or staff that they want to visit. Selecting data or information from a displayed list instead of manually entering choices can effectively reduce input requirements (Brown 1999, p. 7). But the problem about the list is that it doesn’t display the name of the professor in any particular order, it somewhat confuses the user and will take them some time to look for it.
Too much Processes – The system also shows some redundancy in processes. Like for example, the process of generating the map, the user have to click the floor number on which the room is located that was gotten from the first process. Again, this characteristic of the system can annoy the user or can make the user to get lost while browsing, manipulating or using the system.
Missing Information – Another thing that might confuse the user is the missing data or information in the system. Just like the floor number of the room that was stated. The first part of the instruction has stated that those rooms with the letter g before the number are all located on the ground floor, but how about the first, the second and so on. The system has also showed some redundancy in data or information such as the details about the contact information of the professors or staff. It wouldn’t be necessary to post both of their email address and their telephone number.
Mental Models or System Operation – In general the main problem of the system is its poor of physical or interface design. The said problem can affect the mental model cognitive of the user or the representation or conceptualization of a systems internal mechanics that can be developed by the end users (cited in Brown 1999, p. 8). The overall design of the system is somewhat confusing because it is using so many labels or instructions as well as different separate process that I believe can be breakdown into few processes only.
3.2 Task Analysis – Different users has their different requirements, needs or demands for a given system or interface. That is why conducting a usability test can help to cater to the said demands of the end users. Here are the task analyses of the William Ponder (MIS) Way-Finding System:
Search for the name of the staff – searching for their needed or looked-for staff or professor is the primary reason of the users in using the system. This is due to the fact that the target user of the system are those students, families or people or are not familiar with the building and other stuffs about it. The process or the method on which the system uses a list that displays the name and other information about the staff can help greatly the users in searching for the information of the staff that they are looking for.
On the other hand, other users are requesting for a search features where in it will return the information about the specific staff that they are looking for. This is to prepare the system for future enhancement, for example, the number of staffs grows to 50 or so, it will be hard for the user to search for the desired staff. Another thing is the feature of the system where in, it uses the initial of the first name together with the last name can confuse the user in the future. What if someone with the same initial of the first name and last name was hired by the company, it will hard to distinguish the difference between the two if you are not familiar with them and their position in the company.
Search for the room location of a specific staff – knowing about the room location or room number of the user’s desired staff is also one of the most important features of the system, since it is a help or guide for the new comers or visitors to locate their specific room or staff. Their primary requirement about this task is to give different information about the room including the floor number.
Search for the room (alone) – this is entirely different from the feature number 2, this is because, there are already some visitors who already knew or only knew the room number that they are going to visit. By doing this, the user will no longer have to search for the information about the staff and just continue about the room information enquiry.
Mapping – this is the most important feature of the system because it serves as a report or the printed out of the system. This will give a definite or exact representation of the structure or the floor plan of a specific floor. Most of the users had agreed that the map must be easy to follow as well as clear. Although the current system already included the feature where in it will include the “You are here label”, it didn’t add the feature that signifies or give focus on the room that the user is looking for. For example, highlighting it or shading it with different color.
Availability of the Staff – this particular feature is not included in the system. This feature can help the user to save time and effort. This is due to the fact that there are some instances where in the staffs or professors are not present or not available at a given moment, and the fact that the finding-way system is located in the ground floor. What if one user, uses the system and find out that what she’s looking for is located on the fifth floor, imaging the time and effort that she will be spending just to find out that what she was looking for is not available or absent? That is availability status is necessary. If the staff is not available, since the system is connected to the net, he or she can leave his or her message to the staff.







3. The Prototype
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM



Way-Finding System
WELCOME TO MIS
William Ponder

The Home of Computer Science and Math Department



What do you want to do?












*For further help visit the School Reception in ASG15



Search for Staff



Search for roomFigure 1 Welcome/Menu Screen
















Figure 1 shows the welcome/menu screen of the interface where in the user can choose between the two commands which are the search for the staff and search for a room. By doing this, those users who are going to search for the information about a specific room only doesn’t have to go through the process like those who are looking for some staff.
Figure 2 Search for Staff Form
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM


Way-Finding System
William Ponder (MIS)

Search for Staff:

Name: Position:


* Double Click the Desired Staff


Name
Room
1. James Ames
29














Information: Status: Not Available
Name: James Ames
Room Number: 29
Floor: Ground
Position: Senior Technician
Telephone Number: 76-888-991















James Ames
Floor Map

















Figure 2 shows the prototype for the search for stuff form. As shown in the figure, the search button is placed on the upper part of the form. By doing this, those users who knew already the name and position of their desired staff will no longer have to search for their room information in manual form. Also, as the form load, the names and positions of all staffs will be display in the list and the user will have to double click the data and they will get the information. The floor map button will be linked to the form that displays the map of specific floor where in the requested room located. The status will display if the staff is available or not, this will serve as added information in case they need to talk to the staff personally. The user can leave his or her message to inform the staff about their visit.
Figure 3 Search for Room Form
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM


Way-Finding System
William Ponder (MIS)

Search for Room:

Room Number: Room Type:


* Double Click the desired room

Room Number
Room Type
20
Teaching Room















Floor Map
20
Information:

Room Number: 20
Room Type: Teaching Room
Floor: Ground Floor















Figure 3 shows the prototype of the form that shows the information about a particular room. As the form loaded, the list of all the rooms as well as its type will be displayed, but again in order to make the life of the user easier, the search feature will be included. The room type will signify if the room is a teaching room or the other types. The button floor map will show the form that will display the floor map of the desire room.
Figure 4 Floor Map Form
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM


Way-Finding System
William Ponder (MIS)

Ground Floor Map



Search Another
Exit















Figure 4 shows the form that will display the floor map of a given or requested room. As you can see the requested room is displayed using other color, by doing this, it will caught the attention of the user and will no longer have to spent some time searching for the room.



















Bibliography:

Brown, M 1999, Human-Computer Interface Design Guidelines, Intellect Books

Nemeth, C 2004, Human Factors Method for Design: Making Systems Human-Centered, CRC Press

Proctor, R & Vu, K P 2005, Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design, Routledge

Stanton, N 2005, Human Factors Methods: A Practical Guide for Engineering and Design, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Usability Assessment of William Ponder (MIS) Way-Finding System
1 Introduction:
Interface Analysis in important because it is a process that assess the relationship between the man or the users and the machine interface (Stanton 2005, p. 431). It caters the different physical characteristics of the interface that can affect the performance of the human that is using the system. The result that can be drawn from any interface analysis can help to improve the current interface problems of flaws in redesigning process. The use of different method can help to enhance and improve the presentation of the design, features and utilities by developing all of the system’s usability, the satisfactions of the users as well as preventing different errors and enhancing interaction time Stanton 2005 p. 431).
ISO09241-11 requires the usability of the system by considering three different dimensions: first is the effectiveness of how well the performance of the system meets the task or the activities that it was designed and created for; second is the efficiency of the system in dealing with the different important resources like time, money and effort that are necessary for the users to manipulate the system; and the third and the last is the reaction of the users towards the system (Stanton 2005, p. 432).
Stanton (2005) stated that there are many methods that can be used in implementing the interface analysis: the usability assessment, error analysis, interface layout analysis and general interface assessment methods (p.432).

2 Usability Assessment
Usability Assessment is an approach that is used in ensuring the usefulness of a particular system. It had been used during the 1980s due to the desired output of the development of the user interface of the system. Later on, during 1985, the approach has reached its popularity due to the works of Gould and Lewis that described the four primary needs of a system in order to obtain the usability of the system. The said four criteria are: early and constant focus towards the users; incorporation of the different deliberation of all of the aspects of usability; trying the untimely and uninterrupted version of the product to the user; and the last is redesigning (Nemeth 2004, p. 265).
The main purpose of the said assessment is to find out if there are some difficulties about the usefulness of the system in the perspective of the user that can help to uncover the different opportunities in enhancement and transformation (Nemeth 2004, p. 266).
3.1 The William Ponder (MIS) Way-Finding System
The way-finding system of William Finder building is to be installed in the ground floor of the building that consist of a computer set that is connected to the web. The said system will help the first time visitors, visiting academics for meetings, students from other schools who are attempting to locate different tutorial rooms and the friends and relatives of students who will submit coursework.


3. 2 Self-conducted User Test
The method that has been used in analyzing and testing the usability of the system is based on the experience of the author in the interaction to the system. By using the perspective of the user, it will be easy to define and analyze the reaction or their response to the system. There are some flaws that have been found out during the personal test of the system. Most of it focuses on the design and the user-friendliness of the system.
Too much Text – After analyzing the flow and the design of the interface, I have found out that the system is using too much instruction, texts or labels. The said characteristics might affect the interest of the users especially when they are in a hurry. The steps by steps instruction will not be necessary because, the reason behind the implementation of the system is to give the users the information or data that they needed in a short period of time leaving the traditional way of enquiry.
Unnecessary requirements to be entered – According to Brown (1999) a system can be characterized as usable if it can reduce the requirements for the user to enter data. If the information is already accessible to the system or if the design can make this information obtainable to the system, it will be compulsory to refrain from asking or requiring the user to enter the data in manual manner. It will be easy to organize or create some dialogues so that the manual user entries can be minimized (p. 7). As of the case of the William Ponder (MIS) way-finding system, the process where in the system is requiring the user to memorize or take note of the room number of the professor or school staff that they are looking, will be a redundant since the room number is already available in the system. Aside from that, it will also be time consuming. But I must give credit to the process where in the system offers a list of the professors, by doing this; the users will no longer have to worry if they forgot the name of the professor or staff that they want to visit. Selecting data or information from a displayed list instead of manually entering choices can effectively reduce input requirements (Brown 1999, p. 7). But the problem about the list is that it doesn’t display the name of the professor in any particular order, it somewhat confuses the user and will take them some time to look for it.
Too much Processes – The system also shows some redundancy in processes. Like for example, the process of generating the map, the user have to click the floor number on which the room is located that was gotten from the first process. Again, this characteristic of the system can annoy the user or can make the user to get lost while browsing, manipulating or using the system.
Missing Information – Another thing that might confuse the user is the missing data or information in the system. Just like the floor number of the room that was stated. The first part of the instruction has stated that those rooms with the letter g before the number are all located on the ground floor, but how about the first, the second and so on. The system has also showed some redundancy in data or information such as the details about the contact information of the professors or staff. It wouldn’t be necessary to post both of their email address and their telephone number.
Mental Models or System Operation – In general the main problem of the system is its poor of physical or interface design. The said problem can affect the mental model cognitive of the user or the representation or conceptualization of a systems internal mechanics that can be developed by the end users (cited in Brown 1999, p. 8). The overall design of the system is somewhat confusing because it is using so many labels or instructions as well as different separate process that I believe can be breakdown into few processes only.
3.2 Task Analysis – Different users has their different requirements, needs or demands for a given system or interface. That is why conducting a usability test can help to cater to the said demands of the end users. Here are the task analyses of the William Ponder (MIS) Way-Finding System:
Search for the name of the staff – searching for their needed or looked-for staff or professor is the primary reason of the users in using the system. This is due to the fact that the target user of the system are those students, families or people or are not familiar with the building and other stuffs about it. The process or the method on which the system uses a list that displays the name and other information about the staff can help greatly the users in searching for the information of the staff that they are looking for.
On the other hand, other users are requesting for a search features where in it will return the information about the specific staff that they are looking for. This is to prepare the system for future enhancement, for example, the number of staffs grows to 50 or so, it will be hard for the user to search for the desired staff. Another thing is the feature of the system where in, it uses the initial of the first name together with the last name can confuse the user in the future. What if someone with the same initial of the first name and last name was hired by the company, it will hard to distinguish the difference between the two if you are not familiar with them and their position in the company.
Search for the room location of a specific staff – knowing about the room location or room number of the user’s desired staff is also one of the most important features of the system, since it is a help or guide for the new comers or visitors to locate their specific room or staff. Their primary requirement about this task is to give different information about the room including the floor number.
Search for the room (alone) – this is entirely different from the feature number 2, this is because, there are already some visitors who already knew or only knew the room number that they are going to visit. By doing this, the user will no longer have to search for the information about the staff and just continue about the room information enquiry.
Mapping – this is the most important feature of the system because it serves as a report or the printed out of the system. This will give a definite or exact representation of the structure or the floor plan of a specific floor. Most of the users had agreed that the map must be easy to follow as well as clear. Although the current system already included the feature where in it will include the “You are here label”, it didn’t add the feature that signifies or give focus on the room that the user is looking for. For example, highlighting it or shading it with different color.
Availability of the Staff – this particular feature is not included in the system. This feature can help the user to save time and effort. This is due to the fact that there are some instances where in the staffs or professors are not present or not available at a given moment, and the fact that the finding-way system is located in the ground floor. What if one user, uses the system and find out that what she’s looking for is located on the fifth floor, imaging the time and effort that she will be spending just to find out that what she was looking for is not available or absent? That is availability status is necessary. If the staff is not available, since the system is connected to the net, he or she can leave his or her message to the staff.







3. The Prototype
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM



Way-Finding System
WELCOME TO MIS
William Ponder

The Home of Computer Science and Math Department



What do you want to do?












*For further help visit the School Reception in ASG15



Search for Staff



Search for roomFigure 1 Welcome/Menu Screen
















Figure 1 shows the welcome/menu screen of the interface where in the user can choose between the two commands which are the search for the staff and search for a room. By doing this, those users who are going to search for the information about a specific room only doesn’t have to go through the process like those who are looking for some staff.
Figure 2 Search for Staff Form
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM


Way-Finding System
William Ponder (MIS)

Search for Staff:

Name: Position:


* Double Click the Desired Staff


Name
Room
1. James Ames
29














Information: Status: Not Available
Name: James Ames
Room Number: 29
Floor: Ground
Position: Senior Technician
Telephone Number: 76-888-991















James Ames
Floor Map

















Figure 2 shows the prototype for the search for stuff form. As shown in the figure, the search button is placed on the upper part of the form. By doing this, those users who knew already the name and position of their desired staff will no longer have to search for their room information in manual form. Also, as the form load, the names and positions of all staffs will be display in the list and the user will have to double click the data and they will get the information. The floor map button will be linked to the form that displays the map of specific floor where in the requested room located. The status will display if the staff is available or not, this will serve as added information in case they need to talk to the staff personally. The user can leave his or her message to inform the staff about their visit.
Figure 3 Search for Room Form
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM


Way-Finding System
William Ponder (MIS)

Search for Room:

Room Number: Room Type:


* Double Click the desired room

Room Number
Room Type
20
Teaching Room















Floor Map
20
Information:

Room Number: 20
Room Type: Teaching Room
Floor: Ground Floor















Figure 3 shows the prototype of the form that shows the information about a particular room. As the form loaded, the list of all the rooms as well as its type will be displayed, but again in order to make the life of the user easier, the search feature will be included. The room type will signify if the room is a teaching room or the other types. The button floor map will show the form that will display the floor map of the desire room.
Figure 4 Floor Map Form
January 10, 2008
10: 00 AM


Way-Finding System
William Ponder (MIS)

Ground Floor Map



Search Another
Exit















Figure 4 shows the form that will display the floor map of a given or requested room. As you can see the requested room is displayed using other color, by doing this, it will caught the attention of the user and will no longer have to spent some time searching for the room.



















Bibliography:

Brown, M 1999, Human-Computer Interface Design Guidelines, Intellect Books

Nemeth, C 2004, Human Factors Method for Design: Making Systems Human-Centered, CRC Press

Proctor, R & Vu, K P 2005, Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design, Routledge

Stanton, N 2005, Human Factors Methods: A Practical Guide for Engineering and Design, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Report on Diversity Management

1.0 Introduction

The demography of the workplace is changing and will continue to do so over the years. This condition is known as the workplace diversity. Encarta Dictionary defined diversity as ethnic variety as well as socioeconomic and gender variety in a group, institution or society. Diversity could also mean differences in physical abilities, learning and communication styles. By its very nature, conflict is inherent to diversity. Put simply, diversity is the uniqueness of all individuals. When applied to workplace, these differences can affect and worsen organizational performance.
Diversity then is a challenge to many business leaders and managers though it is necessary to note that diversity knows no organizational boundary and limitations and is not positional. As such, diversity can be a problem but also a solution, a detriment but also a benefit and destructive but also constructive. The challenge then is to extract the very essence of diversity and strategically manage it for the advancement of the people and the organization.
2.0 Diversity in the Workplace
2.1 The importance of diversity
According to Sonneschein (1999), diversity means differences and these differences could create challenges for the organization. But nevertheless, these differences could also open avenues for immense opportunities. Diversity at the very least could help the organizations in creating new and more innovative products and services. As well, diversity could mean better ways to meet the demands and needs of customers and clients and thus better serve the community where they belong and serves for (p. 3).
In particular, diversity enables a wider range of views to exist in an organization, including those views that could challenge the status quo from all sides; focuses and strengthens an organization’s core values; simulates social, economic, intellectual and emotional growth and helps an organization understand its place in the global community. Manifestly, diversity is instrumental in organizational change and is effective for delivering conformity to the customer base. Diversity is an effective tool in minimizing turnover costs and maximizing return on investment (pp. 3-4).
Another importance of diversity is the achievement of the sp-called competitive edge. A common knowledge is that the skills, expertise and competencies of the workforce are the most important resource to any organization. These are translated then into creative strategies that will deliver the organization an utmost position. Diversity is the key whereby the combination of the employees’ know-how, proficiency and experience will be the key elements.
Because the changes in demographics create tension, an effective diversity management is critical. These tensions challenge the conditioning and perceptions of people about the nature of things and tension creates both dangers and opportunities. To counter, diversity management must be integrated into the overall strategic plan and must be applied at every levels of the organization.
2.2 The importance of diversity management
The principles of diversity management (Diversity Management) are as follows: establishment of business strategies for effective management of a diverse workforce; creation of positive work environment; promotion of personal and professional development; empowerment of people to reach their full potential; attraction of talent; and removal of barriers that hinder progress. As such, there are six strands that diversity management must overcome: race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion or belief.
Diversity management is not about reducing standards, removing prejudices but rather recognizing that they exist, a distraction from more important issues such as quality, language and political correctness and obtaining a ‘quota of diverse individuals. Diversity management as defined by Kandola and Fullerton (1998) is the acceptance that the workforce is consists of a diverse population of people with visible and non-visible differences and that harnessing these differences will create a productive environment wherein everyone feels valued, talents are being fully utilised and organizational goals are met.
There are four essential phases for managing a diverse workforce. First is communicating commitment to diversity so that every employee would be aware of the diversity strategy, making it a part of the workplace culture. Second is the diversity management assessment that is accomplished by answering the ten questions to test your diversity management (refer to Table 1) ranging from documentations to community reflections. Third is the evaluation of effectiveness and impact or the assessment of how healthy and sound your diversity management. Next is the development of action plan that supports the policies with clear measurable objectives and targets (Diversity Management Assessment, 2007).
There are business and ethical case that could be considered as the strategies for diversity management. Recruitment and retention of staff; improved moral and job satisfaction; positive public image and access to untapped markets are for business case. For ethical case, this encompasses the changing social values and public expectations especially about ethical investment, fair trade, individual human rights and environmental impact as well as promotion of inclusion, respect, equity and openness (Chartered Management Institute, 2007).
Effective diversity management will enable the organizations towards improving organizational performance, helping prevent unlawful discrimination or harassment incidents, improving workplace relations, building more effective work teams, improving organizational problem-solving, improving customer service and enhancing recruitment efforts. All told, diversity management functions as remover of barriers and as catalyst for achieving workplace balance (Diversity Management).
2.3 The barriers towards a more balanced workforce
Diversity inflicts challenges prior to reaping its benefits. Examples of this are racism, sexism and ageism. Homophobia, in addition, results in disrupts the workplace; prevents the team in accomplishing goals and keeps the organization from achieving its missions. Conflicts at individual, collegiate and organizational levels would be then possible. Diversity therefore has an impact on leadership and management (Sonneschein, p. 4).
Aside from these, there are also organizational challenges brought by diversity. These are: management complexity, fairness, individual differences versus unanimity and identity and loyalty (p. 5). First, diversity is central to the premise that it is easier to manager similar-minded people. Without diversity, the homogenous organization could likely to experience lesser conflicts since there is no need to adjust managerial and leadership styles, to listen in different ways to organizational members, or to find new approaches in doing tasks.
Second, diversity also raises questions regarding fairness. This is because of the fact that no one can be fair when different cultures define fairness in different ways. Moreover, the organization must design mechanisms that ensure equal access to the workplace, protect individuals and groups against discrimination and equitably treat every individual.
Third, people have presupposition that it is easier to work with people with similar background with ours. Oppositely, it is rather difficult to learn to work with people of different styles, to understand new perspectives and to adjust contrasting attitudes.
Finally, with no diversity people do not need to redefine themselves constantly and there is also no need to reassess and realign own values with their values and therefore wonder if these people are could be trusted or not and if they will stay with the organization or not.
Apart, there are also possible barriers in the form of: limiting area of consideration, lack of diverse applicant pool in key positions, lack of diversity in the senior ranks, categorizing people in certain position, always recruiting from same source, grooming/developing a single individual, pre-selection and “golf course” meetings (Diversity Management).
These activities center the human resource management (HRM) functions especially on recruiting, selecting and hiring people. As Gottfredson puts it, putting restrictions prior to accepting would-be workers to organizations is therefore irrelevant. Aside from being unjust, treating people differently would only create additional barriers between groups within the organization and disintegrate the morale that is necessary for high levels of performance unless these organizations works on removing barriers (in Jackson et al, 1992, p. 289).
2.4 Diversity management in UK
Europeans in specifically knows the fundamental nature of diversity management more than rising above these workplace barriers. They are well aware that diversity could be an asset for organizations since diversity is said to be the mindset of the organization, the climate of an organization and the different perspectives people bring to an organization (Reichenberg, 2001, p. 1). However, not all European countries or even European Union (EU) members easily accept the concept of diversity management.
In the United Kingdom (UK) alone, there are concerns about the efficacy and legitimacy of diversity management as an approach in the pursuit of equality and ending discrimination within organizations. Diversity management is a ‘soft option’ for those who would choose not to embrace political and social justice and discrimination and fairness issues that are championed by traditional equal opportunity schemas. Diversity management is also viewed as normative, utilitarian and individualistic (cited in Cornelius, 2002, p. 32).
A report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reflects the current status or level of acceptance of diversity management in UK. FRA found out that workplace discrimination prevails in UK as evidenced by statistics of inequality, complaints and court cases and research evidence. For instance, there are 3, 173 court and tribunal cases against employment discrimination. When asked if there should be headscarf ban, UK agreed (29%) though it is much lower than France (78%) and Germany (54%).
To combat this, FRA initializes the six types of organizational policy that could help the organizations in improving public image and in reducing the risk of unlawful practices. These are training the immigrants/minorities, making cultural allowances, challenging racists attitudes, combating discrimination, equal opportunities policies with positive action and diversity management (Wrench, 2007). The difficulty would lie in here whereby the organizations may not be able to implement all this altogether especially if it will obstruct organizational productivity and performance.
EU by and large outlined the legal status of workers to avoid employment discrimination: citizens living and working within their own country of citizenship, citizens of an UE members state who work in another country within the Union, third country nationals who have full rights to residency and work in a members state, third country nationals who have leave to stay on the basis of a revocable work permit for a fixed period of time and undocumented or ‘illegal’ workers (Wrench, 2007). In lieu with this, the organizations could not comply with this because of the fact that still in each country there could be multiculturalism and guestworkers.
In ensuring that UK organizations are adhering to ‘a level playing field’ or Equality of Opportunity, the government implements a range of laws and guidance. Aside from the business case and ethical case discussed in 2.2, there are legal cases that shall govern the employers and employees. Since there are no ‘diversity acts’, a series of acts is the most plausible step that includes: Race Relations Act of 1976, Employment Equability Regulations 2006, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Gender Equality Duty 2007, Gender Recognition Act 2004, Employment Equality Regulations 2003, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality regulations 2003 and Equality Act 2006.
Today, the Positive Action Model (Diagram 1) is just one of the advanced tools for the application of diversity management. This tool takes direct action against under representation in the workplace. Positive Action Model is consists of range of measures from which employers and other persons can lawfully take actions to help minority or disadvantaged groups to compete on equal terms for jobs, career development and training in the labour force where they are underrepresented.
3.0 Conclusion and Recommendation
In sum, this paper presents diversity as the core of organizational development that takes into account not just the people but also their actions; the principles and the business, ethical and legal case for organizations as fundamental to diversity management; and the steps should be taken into consideration. Further, the paper demonstrates the gradual acceptance of UK organizations regarding the concept of diversity management and what might be the probable violations to which the Positive Action Model is primarily designed to combat the discriminating acts. Nonetheless, there are two areas that is tended to be overlooked in general. These are the lack of universally accepted definition of the term diversity and the lack of comprehensive law or act that will govern organizations. This paper recommends that there shall be a convention that will give solution to both challenges.
4.0 Appendix


TEN QUESTIONS THAT WILL TEST ORGANIZATIONAL DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
Do you have a clear business case for working on diversity linked to your business objectives?
Do you have a clear action plan on diversity linked to your business objectives?
Do you tell all existing and prospective employees about your commitment to diversity management?
Do you have any Key Performance Indicators or other objectives on diversity management for senior managers?
Do you use any demographic information to compare your workforce with the local communities in which you operate?
Have your marketing teams or policy makers evaluated the potential value of diverse customers to your organisation?
Do you have a supplier diversity policy?
Do you consult your various employees on their experience of working in your organisation?
Does your organisation monitor the diversity of your job applicants, for example by using the Census 2001 race/ ethnicity classifications?
Does your organisation monitor the position, grade and level of all employees?

Table 1 Ten Questions for Organizational Diversity Management


Diagram 1 Positive Action Model

5.0 References

Cornelius, N 2002, Building Workplace Equality: Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion, Cengage Learning EMEA.

Diversity Management, retrieved on 28 April 2008 from http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/About/Diversity/documents/DiversityManagementrevisedsept2004nocasestudy.ppt#300,19,Possible Barriers.

Diversity Management Assessment, 2007, University of Bath, retrieved on 28 April 2008 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/managediversity/diversitymanage/where.shtml.

Embracing Diversity – Guidance for Managers, 2007, Chartered Management Institute, London.

Gottfredson, L S 1992, Dilemmas in Developing Diversity Programs in S E Jackson, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology & E Ginzberg, Diversity in the Workplace: Human Resources Initiatives, Guilford Press.

Kandola, R S & Fullerton, J 1998, Diversity in Action: Managing the Mosaic, (2nd rev ed.), Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

Positive Action Model, 2007, University of Bath, retrieved on 28 April 2008 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/managediversity/positiveaction/.

Reichenberg, N E 2001, Best Practices in Diversity Management, United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Managing Diversity in the Civil Service, New York.

Sonnenschien, W 1999, The Diversity Toolkit: How You Can Build and Benefit from a Diverse Workforce, McGraw-Hill Professional.

Wrench, J 2007, The Anti-Discrimination Directives and Diversity Management, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), European Parliament Public Hearing, Brussels.

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