Effects of Euro Zone Crisis on US
The euro crisis isn’t just a predicament facing the Euro Zone but rather, one that affects the global economy. The crisis hit in 2008 leaving behind an unprecedented history and affecting the global economy disrupting world order. No one knows for certain the duration the crisis will last or what kind of end result impact it will have on the global economy.
Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Ireland are among the countries that have the largest GDP debt ratios and huge unsustainable fiscal deficits. The recent Standard & Poor’s cut rating by the United States cut the credit ratings of 9 Euro zone countries.
Austria and France got stripped of their Triple A status that was coveted by many countries and it also downgraded the rescue fund (EESF) one notch to AA+ from an A. This downgrade was an echo of the views held by Germany, the only euro zone major country to have retained its top position. In accordance to Standard & Poor’s, such downgrade was inevitable taking into account the cuts in creditworthiness of Austria and France two guarantors of EFSF.
The EFSF was set up in May 2010 by seventeen governments sharing the same currency in order to make provision of emergency loans to some of the countries that were needy. It boasts of having an effective lending capacity of five hundred billion Euros which is based on eighty billion Euros and a callable capital that amounts to six hundred and twenty billion Euros.
Europe is also a key trade partner with North America and China as such the crisis also has a major impact on the economies of these two countries. Apart from the slowdown, governments can also decide to reduce spending and cut their budgets which can lead to unemployment. Such factors will also serve to bring the euro into an even much more deep recession.
The default by Greece had been in the offing since the crisis struck after talks between creditors and the Greeks down. Greece was supposed to come into agreement with private sectors so it could accept its voluntary losses on Greek bond holdings.
The European countries have already embarked on policies that will help with deficit cutting and which might damage the prospects by drawing out the demand of the economy. According to OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) the worsening state of the euro zone crisis will affect the demand for oil. The crisis is also expected to impact consumption of oil from emerging economies driving increased global usage of fuel.
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Effects of Euro Zone Crisis on South Africa
The euro zone crisis posed a serious and real threat to South Africa’s economy. By January 2013, South Africa businesses had estimated a loss of US$ 15 billion in revenue because of the crisis. With 4 out of every 10 businesses affected on a global scope, there was an increase in the number of businesses that chose to make investment elsewhere.
An International Business report that was published by Grant Thornton’s estimated that the crisis wiped out $ 2trillion off revenues on a global scope and the effect would have a long term effects for EU business prospects which in turn would choose to carry out less trade in the country.
Towards the end of November 2011, 505 of finance professionals in South Africa felt the euro crisis had impacted their businesses negatively while another 28% claimed they expected their businesses to get affected by the crisis.
The crisis still poses a serious threat to the economy and the most optimistic Europe scenario translates to bad news for the country’s trade with Europe. The possibility of South Africa benefiting from Euro trade is therefore dampened unless there is employment of new growth strategies and alternate trade partners found.
At least a third of manufactured exports from South Africa are purchased by European countries. This means that the economy is heavily dependent on the European countries and though there are slight improvements noted in the euro zone economy, it is likely that recession will continue. This is especially true in the face of tightened bank lending conditions and widespread fiscal austerity. It is because of reasons such as these that the demand for exports from South Africa by European countries will continue to go down.
The expanding economies of Asia are however providing a source of demand for local exports from South Africa. Though this is the case, the demand is of raw materials and commodities rather than manufactured goods and this has also put a strain on South Africa’s manufacturing industry.
While the South Africa government has faced all these challenges, it has proven that it is willing to take the necessary actions needed to cushion its economy from the economic slowdown experienced globally. It has put in place national budget and policies that are geared towards creation of an environment that is conducive to allow growth of the economy.
However, for the plans to be effective there is need to put in place greater controls on government spending in order to ensure funds are used effectively.
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Effects of Euro Zone Crisis on Singapore
The total trade amount in Singapore is 3 times its GDP making it one of the most open economies in the world. The euro zone crisis has been described as the major risk the country is facing especially in respect to its financial and economy systems. The Central Bank in warned that the nation needed to brace for ‘adverse turn of events’ in August 2011.
At that time, Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director, Revi Menon said that any deterioration of the euro zone, which was the biggest export market, would hurt the economy and also lead to dry up of bank credit.
When the euro crisis broke out, the euro zone governments made the necessary steps that were needed to reverse the state of things. However, the government of Singapore warned its citizens to prepare for adverse turn of events. Some of the immediate effects that were as a result of the crisis included the following:
- A shadow in financial markets after Spanish borrowing prices hit a high in the midst of fears Madrid would be in need of a fully blown out bailout.
- Singapore experienced a dry up of credit account as was the case in the aftermath of the United States bank Lehman Brothers which happened in 2008 leaving global markets completely hammered.
- Retraction of euro zone banks trade activities not only in Asia but in global and local banks as well that stepped in to fill the void.
- As an international financial center, Singapore braced itself for excessive outflows and inflows of capital and this impacted the Singapore dollar.
The EU is known as the largest trade partner for Singapore and as such, slowdown in trade with the region means that the recession spectre will only rise higher. The markets are therefore expected to pay special attention to the markets. The manufacturing industry in the country makes a quarter of the GDP which is the measure of value of the state of economy in the city.
Revi Menon, in 2012 August however said that the state of economy in Singapore was on the right track and that the financial system was sound. However, he also warned that people should prepare themselves to brace any storm they might be exposed to. Between 2013 and 2012, the economy was 1.0 and 3.0 % from a 4.9% that was recorded a year earlier.
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Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Patent Infringement
Law suits between electronic manufacturing companies have become rampant in the Federal Courts. One of the widespread lawsuits was between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company limited. The case was based on the dispute between the design of smartphones and tablet computers between the two companies. More than half of smartphones were sold globally as of July 2012. Apple had begun to litigate against Samsung in a patent infringement suit whereas; Apple and Motorola Mobility were engaged in a patent war on several instances.
Design patents took core stage in the epic battle between two great electronic companies in the world; Apple Inc., and Samsung Electronics Company. What took place was a dispute centered on design rights between two titans in the electronic world. The case grip was felt not only in the legal fields, but also in the conventional media and press. The case came at the right time and more so during the advanced design era of smartphones and tablets.
In April 2011, Apple filled its complaint against Samsung in the U.S District Court of California. Apple accused Samsung of infringing eight utility patents, six trade dress rights and seven design patents. Apple trimmed its allegations down to three utility patents, four design patents and four trade dress rights and this was after the urging of Judge Koh. Apple claimed that its intellectual property rights have been infringed by two Samsung tablets and 26 Samsung smartphones. Apple clarified that Samsung’s new acquired status was as a result of, copying its lavish product designs.
Apple repeatedly used different demonstratives at the trial to make its claims clear. It required the jury to look at the difference in appearance of the widely acclaimed and commercialized Samsung smartphones before and after the 2007 apple’s iPhone. To clarify their patent infringement allegations, Apple presented to the jury four asserted design patents.
This includes U.S patent Nos. D593, D618, 677; D504, 889 and D604, 305 whereas the D’087 and D’ 677 patents were both send to the ornamental appearance of the front part of the smartphone. The D’889 appeared on the overall appearance of the Samsung tablet. There are more features that Apple that claimed Samsung copied from them to come up with more unique designs.
When the functional element argument was brought forward, Samsung argued that all the asserted Apple design patents are “invalid” due to the fact that each claimed trait in the designs is functional and not ornamental. The basic coverage on the law of design patent infringement was also employed in the case. The first patent infringement test was laid down by United States Supreme Court in 1871 in Gorham Co.v. White. On the Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics co. ltd patent infringement case serves a meaningful data points that can aid in reference in case of a similar case.
The jury was made in regard to distinctive findings on the difference between the patents and accused products. Apple is seeking $2 billion on damages. The trial began on April 2014 and by May 2nd 2014; Samsung was instructed to pay $119.6 million to apple for patent infringement on its smartphone designs. This is a good lesson to manufacturers of many electronics in the world as no one wants to be the design team for its rival corporation.
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Asgrow Seed Co. V. Winterboer Patent Infringement
Many companies offering solutions to farmers in the globe have been established, but many have not been able to protect their inventions. Cases of patent infringement have been reported now and then, however, the case of Asgrow Seed Company against Winterboer was widespread and opened eyes of many corporations. The Plant Variety Protection Act [PVPA] of 1970 is a great act that many companies have relied on for many years. Asgrow is one of the widely acknowledged companies that have embraced the act by filling a patent infringement case against Winterboer.
Asgrow Seed Company held two plant variety protection act [PVPA] certificates protecting different variety of soybean seed. These two certificates act as patent presenting a great way to promote research on new varieties of plants and to protect the owners of the seed varieties from any unauthorized sales. There is an exemption for farmers who sell seeds to other farmers who core occupation is growing crops for sale. In 1990, Winterboer planted
Asgrow soybean variety and harvested 256 acres of land. Winterboer then sold the enough seeds to plant 1000 acres of land to many other farmers.
Asgrow did not take these actions by Winterboer as appropriate and claimed that the PVPA prohibits anyone from selling seeds more than would be needed to replant in his own land. This means that Winterboer sold what could not be planted in his respective land. Winterboer argued that the protections in the PVPA statute protect sales of unlimited amounts of seeds as long as both seller and buyer are able to grow crops primarily for “other than reproductive purposes”.
The case of Asgrow Seed Co. V. Winterboer was widespread and many people whether entrepreneurs or farmers want to see which side the federal court will rule in favor of in the case. The district court ruled in favor of Asgrow Seed Company; however the United State Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit reversed and disavowed Asgrow’s petition for rehearing of the case. If you are still wondering, whether the quantity of protected seed that a farmer can sell under the protections in the PVPA is limited to the amount of see the seller would require to replant on his own fields, then this case of Asgrow Seed Co. V. Winterboer offers exceptional solutions.
The best answer to your question regarding the amount of seeds to sell as compared to want to replant in your fields is; YES! In a decision authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court showed that a farmer may sell for reproductive purposes only such seed as he or she has saved for the purpose of replanting in his or her own land.
On the other hand, Plant Variety Protection Act [PVPA] statute allows farmers to save seeds to replant and then sell that saved seed to other farmers, it also bars growing protected seed as a “step in marketing” it as a seed for planting. The Federal court held the case because Winterboer’s planting and harvesting was conducted specially to market Asgrow’s protected seeds varieties. Winterboer surrendered eligibility for the PVPA exemption and infringed on Asgrow’s protective certificate patents.
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Martha Stewart Insider Trading At Imclone Systems
Martha Steward is a business connoisseur popularly known for the insider trading scandal at Imclone Systems. She is the founder and CEO of the widely acknowledged Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. a company known for its interests in television, merchandising, publishing, electronic commerce and related international partnership among other interests. In the early 2000s, Martha Stewart was accused of insider trading whereby she had sold four thousand ImClone shares one day before the company’s stock nose-dived.
The charges of securities against Martha were thrown away, she was still found guilty of four counts of obstruction of justice and lying to the key investigators. She was sentence to five months of prison, two years of probation and five months of house arrest. The insider trading case at ImClone systems was also filled with great vagueness as it relates to retributive determination and aspect of being innocent or guilty.
A lot of issues came up from this insider trading case and a lot has been debated on central moral and ethical issues that surround insider trading practice. In many countries, insider trading is illegal regardless of the inside information provided secretly. With regard to the Martha Stewart case, insider trading was clearly evident. For instance, Martha had been a stakeholder of the biopharmaceutical company ImClone system incorporated.
This is a company that focused on advance oncology care and had come up with a new drug design- Erbitux which would have a treatment for patients with colon cancer. The licensing application has been provoked and would result to ImClone lose on share price. Merrill , Lynch’s senior broker, Peter Bacanovic had informed Martha about the drastic market change likely to happen in ImClone’s share price via his assistant Douglas Faneuil .
Mr. Faneuil has specified that the Waksals had sold of their securities from ImClone. Mr. Sam Waksal the CEO of ImClone had made a call directly to Bacanovic one of his brokers and dumped his company share to avoid any financial losses. From the secret information, Martha Stewart sold all her securities that totaled to 3928. From the insider trading perspective, Martha Stewart had no real responsibilities to other shareholders of ImClone as she was not in an official position to interfere with the operations of the company.
It is a clear indication that there was not any infringement of fiduciary duty in this situation. Unfortunately, Martha Stewart did commit insider trading as she possessed material information about the ImClone financial crisis in addition to being deceptive to authorities of what information she was provided with. On top of this, she might have been convicted of insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC].
In the Martha Stewart case, she had information on the ethics surrounding trading of the stock, but it can be argued that she was not cognizant of the changing aspects surrounding the offence when she sold off her shares. Martha would have defrauded and misled her shareholders as they had been provided with false information on the amount of shares she would have sold. These actions indicate unethical behavior and define lack of integrity. The damages caused in such cases are evaluated as compensatory and punishing. Therefore, entrepreneurs should uphold to business law and ethics for exceptional growth of economy.
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Raj Rajaratnam Insider Trading At Galleon Group
Insider trading is an issue that has been quite rampant in the current business market. Crackdowns to pick out those involved in breaking business ethics have been helpful. The case of Raj Rajaratnam is one of the widely acknowledged incidences to date. Raj was found guilty of all 14 counts against him in the widely known case of illegal stock-tipping.
Raj Rajaratnam is a Sri Lankan American billionaire founder of the Galleon Group a hedge fund management firm. On October 16th 2009, Raj was arrested by the FBI on allegations of insider trading- a process of trading a public company’s stock or securities by an individual who has access to private information about a certain company. His actions led to the closure of the Galleon Group. On May 11, 2011 he was found guilty on all 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy.
The trial cases as a result of rampant crackdown on insider traders who were ruling the Wall Street, a promise made by Manhattan U.S attorney Preet Bharara. Prior to his arrest Raj Rajaratnam had claimed that Galleon analyst had an advantage over its competitors because most were trained as engineers and only focused on research. Adam smith, a former Galleon trader gave evidence at the Raj’s trial stating that the new York-based hedge fund grew its advantage through other means.
Raja emphasized that he was learning of revenue figures before they became public. Intel Corp. [INTC], Intersil Corp. and other publicly traded companies were some of the insiders and attested to the information provided by Adam Smith. In his testimony Smith stated that, research was sort of conducting homework ahead of time. He pleaded guilty of insider trading and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He further added that, getting the number was just more than cheating on the test presented.
The Raj Rajaratnam case was exclusive in the sense that, the prosecutors wiretapped their targets conversations through the phone a tactic used in crime investigations. 40 recordings of Raj were heard by the jurors and in some of the recordings he was heard gathering secrets from his confidential sources.
One of his sources revealed that, Akamai Technologies Inc. was going to lower its forecast. Raj Rajaratnam used inside information obtained from his sources to trade ahead of any public announcements that were to be made on forecasts, earnings, mergers or any spinoffs involving dozens of companies.
Rajat Gupta, the director at Goldman Sachs, and Kamal Ahmed, a Morgan Stanley banker passed tips to Raj through Adam Smith. The CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein said that Gupta violated the company’s confidentiality by telling Rajarantnam about the company’s earnings and its strategic plans.
This was the most widespread and paramount case in US in the fight against insider trading. The case led to arrest of more business personnel who have violated the insider trading rules and ethics. For the prosecutors, it did or does not matter whether you are a paramount figure in the society or not. All arrests made have been handled appropriately to set a good example in the country and in the business sector.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Shifting Cultivation
Coniferous forests are mainly comprised of coniferous or cone bearing trees like pines, spruces, firs and hemlocks. Leaves found on these trees can either be needle like and small or alternatively scale –like and most of them stay green throughout the year. All trees found in this type of forest are also softwoods as such they have the capability to survive acidic soil as well as cold temperatures.
These trees are mainly found in northern hemisphere though there are others in southern hemisphere. Those forests found in the northern hemisphere are known as boreal or taiga forests and covers large regions of North America from the Pacific all the way to the Atlantic. In addition to this, they also range across Scandinavia, northern Europe and Asia through to Mongolia and Siberia to northern Japan and China.
The temperatures in coniferous forests are -400C to 200C while the average summer temperatures are 100C. The precipitation in the region is 300 to 900 millimeters per year. Coniferous forests are generally known as regions that have long, cold and snowy winters while the summers are humid and warm. In addition to this, they also have seasons that are well defined with at least 4 to 6 months that are frost free.
This type of forest thrives in regions that have cool and short summers with winters that are harsh and long. The forests also do well in regions that have heavy snowfall that lasts for as 6 months. The needlelike leaves of coniferous trees have an outer coat that is flexible and soft usually pointing downwards making it possible for snow to glide downwards. An example of coniferous tree that is found in one of the coldest regions is larches. The tree is however unusually for this type of tree simply because it is deciduous and sheds its leaves during winter. Coniferous trees like redwoods, cypresses and cedars on the other hand are found in regions that are much warmer.
Coniferous trees, though they are ever green also shed their leaves eventually to grow new ones. The needles therefore fall to the floor of the forest where they form a springy thick mat and they decompose or break down with the help of threadlike fungi. The fungi aids in ensuring that nutrients from decomposed needles are absorbed back to the roots of the trees but since pine needles never decompose easily, the soil tends to be acidic and poor.
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Shifting cultivation is described as agricultural system through which an individual uses a given piece of land and abandons it later or alters its initial use after a short duration. It involves clearing the piece of land which is followed by a couple of wood harvesting or farming years till the fertility of the soil is lost.
The land is used till it becomes inadequate for crop production after which is it reclaimed by natural vegetation or alternatively gets converted to another kind of cyclical farming practice. Cultivation can also be stopped when the piece of land gets overrun by weeds. The duration the piece of land is cultivated is often shorter compared to the time the land is given to renew by lying uncultivated.
The most common type of cultivation used in this case is known as slash and burn which involves the slashing and burning of vegetation, woodlands and forests. Others clear the lands without any burning while some cultivators are migratory and they don’t employ any cyclical techniques on the given piece of land.
There are instances when no slashing is needed and especially where the regrowth is purely of grass. This is not uncommon especially when the soil is close to exhaustion and the land needs to lie fallow for some time. Eventually, a piece of land that was previously cultivated will once more be cleared of natural vegetation and used for purposes of planting crops once more.
Fields in stable shifting systems and established fields are fallowed and cultivated cyclically. Ideally this kind of farming is known as jhumming in India. Most of the fallow fields aren’t productive and during fallow period, cultivators will use consecutive vegetation species for construction and timber for fencing, clothing, firewood, ropes, medicines, tools and carrying devices.
It is quite common for nuts and fruit trees to get planted in fallow fields making some of the fallows orchards. There are also instances when tree species and soil enhancing shrubs get protected from burning and slashing in fallows. Some of the species have been found to fix nitrogen and fallows contain plants known to attract animals and birds hence they are important for purposes of hunting.
Note that the longer any piece of land gets cropped, the greater the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus, soil organic matter and citation exchange capacity. In addition to this, it also leads to increase in soil acidity, soil porosity and reduction of infiltration capacity as well as seeds that naturally occur from soil seed banks.
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Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Human wellbeing and development is heavily dependent on the state of the natural environment. Natural resources are used to power our social and economic development and we rely heavily on different types of ‘ecosystem services in order to ensure the planet carried on to be healthy such as clear water, air, raw materials and food. This is also important for disease regulation as well as creating space for recreation.
While this is the case, the natural ecosystems of the world are under immense and increasing pressure to expand and provide sustainable supply of fuel, fiber and food among other commodities while making provisions for services that are related to clean water, air and biodiversity. Some of the areas that can be focused on to ensure natural resources are sustainably managed include:
- Economic and ecological interrelationships in management of ecosystems
- Assessment of ecosystem services
- Behavior and management of resource managers
- Bio-energy, climate change and carbon sequestration
- Optimal multi-use management of natural resources like forests and parks
Sustainable management of natural resources deals with management of how natural landscapes and people interact. It helps bring together water management, biodiversity conservation, water management and future sustainability of industries such as mining, agriculture, forestry, tourism and fisheries. It also recognized people and their livelihoods are dependent on productivity and health of our landscapes and the actions they take as stewards of the land are critical in maintaining the productivity and health of natural resources.
Sustainability emphasis is traced back to the earliest attempts at understanding the ecological environment of North American rangelands during the late 19th century. The analysis coalesced during the 20th century with the recognition preservationist conservation strategies hadn’t been effective in alteration of the declining natural resources.
A much integrated approach was later implemented that recognized intertwined cultural, political, social and economic aspects of natural resource management. The New South Wells government in 2005 published a Standard for Quality Natural Resource Management with the goal of improving the consistency of practice based on adaptive management approach.
In the US, effective areas of natural resource management include wildlife management which is associated with rangeland and ecotourism management. In Australia, water sharing like catchment management and Murray Darling Basin Plan are some of the most significant management projects. The management of natural resources can be grouped in accordance to the right and type of stakeholder such as state property, private property, common property, hybrid and non-property (open access).
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Sustainable Management of Rangelands
Rangeland is a term used to in the US describe unforested, extensive lands that dominate the western half of the continent. Across the globe, rangelands are known as plains, shrub lands, steppes, grasslands, prairies, tundra, swards and semi-deserts.
There are different types of rangelands and together they form at least half of the earth’s total land surface. At least forty eight percent of the land in Idaho is rangeland. Rangelands are used for production of a range of services and goods desired by society and this includes livestock forage, wood products, wildlife habitat, mineral resources, wildland recreation, natural beauty and open space.
It is because of geographic extent and important resources of rangelands that it is important for them to be used properly. What is more, proper and sustainable management of rangelands ensures that people everywhere benefit from them. This includes purposes such as wildlife habitat, watersheds, grazing by livestock, aesthetics and recreation as well as other associated uses.
Developing management plans for rangeland requires information about:
- The objectives of the land owner
- Current condition of the rangelands
- Intended use
- Productive capabilities of the rangeland
The first consideration that should be weighed when carrying out management of rangelands is how the vegetation resource will be used for any prescribed grazing system. Some of the factors that need to be taken into consideration include the grazing period, animal impact, rest, levels of use as well as deferment that the changes will bring to the community.
The second aspect that needs to be considered is identification of practices that are necessary for implementing the desired grazing system. This is because such practices can help influence or control livestock movement which is necessary for ensuring there is even grazing distribution. The practices might include stock trails, fencing, herding, water developments and salting etc.
There are also supplementary practices which can be taken up in order t ensure that sustainable management of rangelands is achieved. Such practices can lead to dramatic changes and should be applied and planned carefully and they include, brush management, prescribed burning, mechanical treatment, water spreading, fertilizing and seeding.
There are professionals who oversee the management of private and public rangelands. There is also a growing number of professionals who work as resource facilitators for purposes of bringing together resource facilitators so they can craft suitable stewardship plans. Sustainable rangeland management is founded on ecological principals and deals with use of a range resources and rangelands for different kinds of purposes.
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Advantages of Employee Empowerment
What is employee empowerment?
Employee empowerment is a strategy and philosophy that enables employees to make decisions about their jobs. It helps employees own their work and take responsibility for their results. Employee empowerment helps employees serve customers at the level of the organization where customer interface exists.
It is the process of enabling an individual to think, behave, take action and control decisions in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self empowered to take control of one’s own destiny. Empowerment rules as a development strategy.
What are the advantages of employee empowerment?
Many companies implement the employee empowerment strategy with an aim to motivate their employees and increase productivity. Some of the advantages of empowering employees include:
- The employees become more involved in their work and hence more satisfied with what they are doing. This transforms into customer satisfaction as well because employees do their best using their own ideas to please customers.
- It relieves stress for the management as they do not have to be involved in all the operations of the organization. This is possible through the power transition from the management to the subordinates.
- Employee empowerment lessens the chance of unionization. There would be no need for employees to look to labor unions to fight for their rights in the workplace since their rights are recognized.
- Increased power reduces absenteeism leading to better productivity since employees are motivated to attain better results.
- Employees are more likely to agree with changes if they are involved in the decision making processes at the workplace.
- It also increases respect among employees hence creating teamwork which results in efficiency and satisfaction at the workplace.
- Employee empowerment reduces conflict with administration and managers hence creating high work levels and efficiency.
Disadvantages of employee empowerment
Despite the many advantages of employee empowerment, it has a number of disadvantages and has to be implemented with the right precautionary measures. Organizations should beware of the following disadvantages of employee empowerment:
- Employees can take advantage of their empowerment and abuse the power given to them. This is especially so when the management empowers them when they are not ready.
- Managers may constantly worry that employee empowerment may result in them losing their jobs. This is especially possible when an employee gets better at work.
- Some employees may focus on their own success rather than the growth of the organization or group and this may cause them to leave the organization.
- There may be increased conflict and power struggle between employees due to group tasks and this may hamper the production process,
- Employee empowerment may prove to be too much responsibility for some employees and they can easily get overwhelmed hence making them underperform.
- Some employees may not be knowledgeable enough to make business decisions.
Managers must therefore be well trained to facilitate the whole process through sharing information, cooperation and referrals to appropriate resources.
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Benefits of Outsourcing
What is outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the contracting out of a business process to a third party. It sometimes involves transferring employees and assets from one firm to another, but not always. Outsourcing is also used to describe the practice of handing over control of public services to for- profit organizations. Outsourcing includes both foreign and domestic contracting and sometimes includes off shoring or relocating a business function to another country. Financial savings from lower international labour rates is a major motivation for outsourcing.
The benefits of outsourcing
There are many benefits of outsourcing that companies need to understand in order for them to take most advantage of the practice.
- Reduced costs of infrastructure and labour are a major benefit. Hiring and training staff, investing in infrastructure is quite expensive but with outsourcing you save your company all the burdens of manpower and infrastructure. A company does not have to pay additional benefits to their employees hence a lot of money is saved
- Outsourcing saves you a lot in terms of time, effort and costs.
- There is the benefit of cost advantage. The same services are provided by another company at the same quality but lower costs hence a company gets increased savings form outsourcing.
- Access to specialized services since outsourcing allows you to hire experts and experienced people who specialize in the particular business process. This encourages provision of better services than you and your existing manpower could have provided.
- Faster deliveries and improved customer satisfaction hence saves a lot of time and promotes customer trust and loyalty.
- Outsourcing allows you to focus on the core of the business without compromising other processes hence there is increased productivity and efficiency. Companies that handle everything in house spend more on research, marketing and other development processes.
- Continuity and risk management is a major benefit of outsourcing. High employee turnover will add uncertainty and inconsistency to the company operations hence outsourcing provides a level of continuity to the company.
- Competitive edge for your business since it enables even small companies to enjoy the same efficiency and expertise that large companies enjoy.
Precautionary measures for outsourcing
Despite the many benefits of outsourcing in a firm, there are also different demerits that companies have to be aware of. It is very risky to outsource certain services because a company can expose itself to security risks. Confidential data can be leaked especially if the company outsources human resources services which deal with payroll and recruitment procedures.
Companies can also hire substandard services and laborers and still spend so much money. This will not be cost effective for the companies involved. It is necessary for companies to take appropriate measures to precautionary measures in order to avoid all these issues. These may include taking the following measures:
- Carrying out thorough research on the firms to be hired.
- Being vigilant on services being offered
- Signing a foolproof contract that protects the company information and employees from exposure.
By taking these measures, a company will be better off as it will choose the best outsourcing services hence benefit fully from outsourcing.
What is concept mapping?
Concept mapping is a technique which is used in teaching, training, learning and delivery of information processes in order to help in visually illustrations of the relationships and linkages between different ideas and concepts. This technique often makes use of concept maps in which there is a graphic representation of ideas. Basically, concept mapping is aimed at organizing, structuring and representing knowledge in an easy to follow and structural manner. It helps people to organize and understand basic learning concepts more easily and even enables them to explain them in a more comprehendible manner.
In most cases the main concepts and ideas are usually placed in boxes or circles. These are linked using phrases and words which explain the connection between each concept and idea. The concept maps more often than not are represented in a hierarchical structure and the main or overall concepts are placed at the top of the chart while the more specific concepts follow below. Generally, the broad concept is always at the top of the chart and the breakdown of this concept is done below in a more specific approach.
How is concept mapping done?
In order to carry out concept mapping, you must design a concept map. This should always be based on a main broad idea with sub-topics and specific ideas that are connected or linked to it. There are four main steps of carrying out concept mapping:
- Choose the main idea or topic of focus. This is the most important step in concept mapping. The main idea or concept should be broad and objective. This topic should enable one to answer certain questions or solve a particular problem.
- Determine the key concepts linked to this idea. Once a topic of focus has been selected, there is need to come up with smaller and more specific sub topics. These should be relevant to the main topic and in some way help to answer the question at hand or solve the problem being looked into.
- Connect the concepts to the main idea. After identification of the specific subtopics, it is important to identify the inter linkages between them and the main or basic concept. This connection should then be infused into the concept map by drawing maps and using short words or phrases that explain the linkages.
- Make any necessary alterations. One of the advantages of concept mapping is that it allows for alteration between the concepts. Although one can still retain the same relationship that has been established, it is important to re-examine the connection between the ideas and make any necessary changes.
Concept mapping can be done manually if there are a few ideas and concepts involved. However, if there is a bigger data set involved, this process is done using special software.
What are the benefits of concept mapping?
Concept mapping is used in both educational systems and even in the business and human resources disciplines. There are several benefits of using this method in trainings and teaching:
- It can help to summarize key concepts and enable learners and participants understand different linkages to the main concepts.
- This method can be used in communicating complex ideas
- Concept maps are a good and cost effective in preserving an organization’s information
- Business concept mapping can be used in business analysis activities.
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Disadvantages of Employee Empowerment
What is employee empowerment?
Employee empowerment is where authority is given to employees to make critical decisions concerning the organization with little or no supervision from the managers. This entails using different techniques to empower the employees so that they can make better decisions for the company.
Most companies carry out employee empowerment by using techniques such as:
- Job enrichment. This is where employees are assigned more duties at the same position or cadre of employment.
- Job expansion. This entails promoting employees and also assigning them more duties which are considered of higher cadres than what they are currently doing.
- Job rotation. This is where employees work in different departments so that they enrich their skills and knowledge of the organization. This gives them better decision making skills.
Employee empowerment also entails giving the employees information regarding the company and getting their opinions regarding different aspects of the organization. Organizations usually carry out employee empowerment in order to motivate the employees and also increase productivity levels at the work place.
Disadvantages of employee empowerment
In as much as employee empowerment may have many benefits in terms of increasing motivation and productivity amongst employees, it also has its downsides. There are many challenges that can be brought by leaving major decision making to employees. These include:
- Abuse of authority. When an organization decides to let employees make major decisions on behalf of the company without going through the major rungs of power, there are high chances of abuse of authority. Employees may not be mature enough to make decisions without a certain amount of supervision and hence can abuse the given authority and powers.
- High levels of insubordination. Many a times, employee empowerment can become over-confident and arrogant when given the chance to make and implement decisions on their own. This can lead to high levels of insubordination because the employees may have little respect for their managers. The hierarchy in the organization can be overlooked when employee empowerment is implemented in an organization.
- Reduced confidentiality. Since employee empowerment is about giving the employees the chance to make decisions on behalf of the company and involve them by sharing confidential information with them, it can lead to a big compromise on information of the organization. Employees who are not mature enough can leak out important information concerning the organization to the wrong people and compromise the security of the organization.
- Poor decision making. If employees who are inexperienced are given the opportunity to make decisions on behalf of the organization, they are more likely to make the wrong decisions. Even though the employees may be creative and good ideas, they may make the wrong decisions for the organization.
There are generally several benefits of employee empowerment. However, there are several demerits as discussed above and these can be detrimental to an organization. It is thus very important to implement this strategy with the right conditions so as to reap of these benefits.
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