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    Customer value drivers in business markets: Perceptions by purchasing professionals

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    Customer value is a complex phenomenon, which has been researched from various perspectives. Although many studies have suggested different sets of values, few papers presented structured models of customer value drivers. This research identifies value drivers based on data gathered during semi-structured interviews with purchasing professionals employed in the printing industry in Russia. Interview data is used to develop a set of value drivers structured from low to high importance as perceived by respondents. Previous research in the domain of trust is used to identify common values that act as antecedents to trust and perceived important by buyers at the same time. Thus a conceptual value-trust framework is suggested. The findings generally support previous research in the field. Three value drivers were identified as being both important as perceived by buyers and conducive to trust – personal relations, technical expertise and corporate reputation. It is suggested that sellers shall invest resources into these three domains to develop long-term trustful relationships with their customers

    Internationalization and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries: A Developed Country Influence

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    Abstract Previous literature have consistently focused on the internationalization of multinational corporations into developing countries. In the same vain, past literature has constantly discussed the CSR of developed country firms and MNCs. While there has been a rise in the reporting of EMNCs internationalization, the literature has failed to discuss the effects of this expansion on the business practices of these firms. This dissertation seeks to analyse how internationalization affects the CSR practices of firms from developing countries. To do this, past literature was analysed and focused on the views of CSR and Internationalization in developing countries as well as CSR in developed countries to get an understanding of the differing business systems. The theoretical framework used was the institutional theory which explains the pressures existing within business systems that cause businesses to modify their practices. This was based upon the assumption that institutions affect the business practices of firms operating within them, all other factors such as firm and industry specific factors being equal. The methodology used was content analysis of banks’ annual reports from which findings revealed that firms conform to principles laid out to their subsidiaries in the host market and that they tend to mimic the business practices of competing firms. This was clearly evident in the CSR practice as reported in their annual reports

    Role of colour in packaging and affect on consumer purchase intention

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    In today's consumption society, buyers are confronted with a substantial choice of product and in this way; the packaging plays important roles as it is a source of information. Packaging is a crucial aspect and consumer buying behaviour is based on packaging and its various elements. The purpose of this study is to understand the role of colour used in packaging a�effcting consumer purchase intention in the soft drink industry, by examining the difference in the response for same colour with different level of hue. The points of focus are how changes in the hue level of colour affect consumer involvement level and their purchase intention for the soft drink. The primary research was conducted to collect the data for this research to study if a change in the hue influences consumer involvement level and purchase intention for the soft drink. A structured questionnaire with Likert scale was used to collect the data. The data collected through survey was analysed using STATA. From our study, we conclude that difference in the hue of colour does not influence the purchase intention of the consumer. Results show that if the consumer is involved with the product then they are mostly going to make the purchase decision for the product. An important finding is that a health concern for soft drink consumption is more for male than that of females across all age groups. All products sold in the market have colourful fronts; packaging acts as a marketing tool and significantly influences the behaviour of the consumer. It is worth spending time on designing a package as consumers notice package design and the impression generated by it. Colour serves the additional function of attracting attention of customers and it is used as an encouragement for information. Colour represents 85% of the motivation behind why somebody settles on a choice to buy a product. It is important that companies understand the psychology of colour so as to use it effectively as colour enormously affects sales of the product

    Numerical modelling of the human arterial network in conjunction with the GTF technique to improve cardiovascular diagnostics

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    The argument on the effectiveness of the Generalized Transfer Function (GTF) technique is currently ongoing. To resolve the dispute in experiment based studies, this thesis aims to use a well-validated numerical model as an alternative to experimental studies to test the validity of the GTF method. This thesis divides the work into four main inter-disciplinary areas of research. Development of an existing non-linear one-dimensional (1-D) mathematical model that can comprehensively compute the propagation of blood in the human arterial network. The model developed was divided into large arteries and small arteries. The large arteries are based on physiological data while the small arteries were based on statistical relations. Instead of the more commonly used Windkessel model, the structured tree outflow boundary condition was used as the computation of pressure and flow in the small arteries provides a more dynamic and physiological boundary condition to the large arteries. A multi-level validation of the developed model was undertaken in order to demonstrate the robustness and the applicability of the developed 1-D model to real life situations. The model was used to simulate pulse wave propagation along a single vessel (aorta) and the results compared against in-vivo data. The in-vivo systolic and diastolic pressures were 16.8 ± 0.4 kPa and 9.5 ± 0.4 kPa while the model estimated were 16.89 kPa and 10.94 kPa, respectively, showing excellent agreement. Simulation of pulse wave propagation in the entire arterial tree was then undertaken with two different geometries, from a 3-D model and physiological data. Comparison against the 3-D model showed a maximum percentage error of 2.5% while the excellent waveform amplitude and shape comparison with in-vivo data, confirmed the validity of the 1-D model. The multi-level validation confirmed the robustness of the 1-D model to accurately simulate pulse propagation under varying geometric, elastic and fluid properties. This allowed the use of the 1-D model to create a database that recorded several different cardiovascular responses due to several physiological and pathological conditions. The physiological conditions simulated were the variation in cardiac output and the variation in arterial stiffness while the pathological conditions simulated were abdominal aortic aneurysm and the coarctation of aorta. All physiological and pathological conditions agreed well with literature and were extremely well captured by the 1-D model. Half of the pressure response database was used to estimate the GTFs between the ascending aorta and four different peripheral anatomical locations namely, the carotid artery, brachial artery, radial artery and the femoral artery. The estimated GTFs were multiplied with pulse pressures (PP) from the respective locations of the remaining half of the database and the yielding GTF-estimated Central Aortic Pressure (CAP) were statistically compared with the known, model-generated CAP to evaluate the validity of the GTF technique. The Pearson’s r values for the carotid, brachial, radial and femoral artery generated CAP of 0.991, 0.981, 0.978 and 0.873 (p < 0.001), 0.996, 0.996, 0.993 and 0.971 (p < 0.001) and 0.999, 1.000, 1.000 and 0.934 (p < 0.001) for the systolic, diastolic and mean pressures, respectively, showed that the GTF technique is capable of estimating the CAP with extremely high accuracy. These results were further cemented by carrying out a Bland-Altman analysis as well as a linear regression which demonstrate that the GTF estimated CAP are highly correlated with model-generated CAP with the carotid artery being the most preferable and femoral artery being the least preferable site of PP measurement. This thesis, in addition to comprehensively validating the 1-D model with structured tree outflow condition and demonstrating disease modelling, uses an alternative to experimental studies, which is free from human and calibration errors, to exhibit the accuracy of the GTF technique. The pressure response database created using the validated 1-D model for 194 physiological and pathological conditions introduces variations in PP as well as CAP. The GTFs estimated using half of these responses agrees well with GTFs found in literature and when put to test for CAP estimation using the remaining half of the responses, performs extremely well

    Audit Fee Determinants for FTSE 350 Companies Listed on London Stock Exchange and Individual Big 4 Premium and Industry Specializations

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    Big 4 auditors’ premium charged by the Big 4 auditors has found to have important influence on fees due to the so-called `higher quality’. The present study examines the determinants of audit fee by focusing on individual Big 4 premium and audit industry specialization in the UK FTSE 350 market for a sample of 978 companies. The study finds no evidence of individual Big 4 premium and premium pricing among the Big 4 auditors. Industry specialization was found to be significant in the whole group but it turned out to be insignificant within the specialist industries. In contrast to the previous studies, the study finds Big 4 industry specialists charge less audit fees in the market in compared to non-industry specialists. Consistent with much precious researches, other variables including auditees’ size, non-audit services fees, number of subsidiaries, receivable to total assets, number of employees, loss dummy variable, busy season and location were all found to have significant influence on audit fees. Surprisingly, ratio of international subsidiaries to total subsidiaries and inventory to total assets were only significant within the specialist industries. Moreover, neither of the profitability measures was successful in explaining audit fees throughout the study. Keywords: Audit fee, Big 4 firm Individual Big 4 Premium, Industry Specialization, FTSE 35

    Attitudes toward Shock Advertising of Western-European and Serbian University Students With Regard To Public Health Context (Anti-Smoking and Anti-HIV/AIDS Campaigns)

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    The main objective of this dissertation is to examine attitudes toward shock advertising of western-European and Serbian university students with regard to public health context (anti-smoking and anti-HIV/AIDS campaigns). Although the use of shock advertising is widely adopted in practice, there has not been extensive research with regard to this topic. Public health context is of special interest in this dissertation as there is an urge for social marketing on Serbian market. The results of the study showed that attitudes toward shock advertising do not differ largely between two groups of the university students. Furthermore, shock appeal proved to be more effective in non-profit context when compared to other appeals in terms of attention, recall of the advertisements and stated behavioural intentions of the participants. All these show that messages with shocking content have its place in Serbian advertising, however, shock appeals should be used very responsibly, especially in conservative environment such as Serbia

    Determinants of Bank Performance after Bailout in 2008: An Empirical Analysis on US and UK Banks

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    This study investigates the determinants of bank performance for 25 banks in both the UK and USA after bailout in 2008. The research encompasses both quantitative research method (panel data models), and qualitative research method (case study approach). The study employs secondary data obtained from Bankscope, Fame, and online resources for both panel data model analysis and case study research. The data was analysed using both descriptive and analytical techniques. The panel data model tried to capture the overall effects of banks performance from 2005-2008. Within this, a distinction is made between pre-bailout, bailout and post-bailout period. This facilitates a comparison to recognize what determines bank performance after government bailout in 2008. It was found that management efficiency in terms of bank cost to income ratio, and liquidity were the most significant determinants, with an inverse relationship to bank performance. GDP growth and Net Interest Margin were found to be positively significant on the whole in determining bank performance, but on further analysis, it was found that the significance for GDP was relevant only at a post-bailout stage, and NIM, at a pre-bailout stage. Bank size and capital were not found to be relevant for the set of bailed out banks. Case study evidence further shows that low-risk acquisitions, corporate culture, and improved liquidity enhance bank performance. In contrast, poor economic environment, poor risk management, and larger bailout funds released to banks result in reduced efficiency and lower bank performance. The findings revealed that there are significant differences in the determinants of profitability before the bailout and after the bailout. GDP growth and NIM were found to be the main drivers causing this variance. In conclusion, the study hopes to give a better insight to not only bank management, but governments, to provide a guideline to assist in enhancing bank performance

    EVOLUTION AND GROWTH OF MUTUAL FUNDS IN INDIA

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    ABSTRACT The mutual fund industry can be considered to be a twentieth century phenomenon that has found acceptance in the financial world as an effective source of investment giving comparatively higher returns in lesser time. The foundations of the modern mutual fund were laid in USA in early part of the last century. Initially it started well but got badly affected by the great depression of the twenties that affected its prospects. This industry was made more institutionalized by the government and after the world wars its influence spread to other parts of the world. A new phase started after the globalization of economy and establishment of WTO. This increased the scope of this industry and brought many new areas into its fold. At the same time it increased the volume and variety of transactions in the mutual fund industry. The mutual fund industry in India had started in the sixties of the last century. But its real development started in the nineties especially after the liberalization of the economy. This results of the analysis show that this phase is continuing and will complete its phase in the near future after which only the next phase of growth can be discussed with regards to the mutual fund industry in India. As of now what is needed is the physical spreads of this industry and incorporation of new investors by highlighting the advantages of investing in mutual funds. In line with this thinking the recommendations of this study are: ���¢�������¢ To focus on familiarizing the advantages of mutual fund investment schemes to the investors ���¢�������¢ To increase the spatial and demographic presence of mutual fund industry on a proactive basis so that the next stage of development of mutual fund industry can happen in India ���¢�������¢ To create synergy between business goals and government policies so that they can work in tandem for the future development of the mutual fund industry

    An assessment of dust generation from ores

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    Dust from mining activities is produced from several unit operations and is often a serious problem to the industry, due to the influence it can have on human health and the safety record and productivity of a mine. So far, legislative parties and the industry have approached dust as an issue that needs to be controlled, only when a mining operation or process generates undesirable particulates. Nevertheless, new legislation and standards, such as the EU IPPC directive (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) and air quality strategies aim to drive mining companies to incorporate dust assessment planning that will be implemented through the whole life cycle of the mine. Mitigation and monitoring practices as well as health surveillance programs will need to be clearly defined. This project’s purpose is to understand how mining processes and in particular how the mechanisms inherent within common unit operations (i.e transfer processes using haulage roads or conveyor belts, the tipping, loading and stockpiling process, the screening process etc) result in the generation of dust. If the operation of unit operations could by optimized to produce less dust, then a “fit-for-purpose” strategy for dust minimisation could be developed to follow exploitation, processing and production demand. The literature on dust from mining operations identified that generation of fines/dust occurs due to the presence of the mechanisms of abrasion and impact. Based on this logic, an experimental methodology was developed, which aimed to assess how dust was generated for each different mechanism and for a variety of ores of different mineralogy. Five different ores were tested, a limestone, talc, an iron ore, a lamproite and a copper ore and the same experimental methodology was followed for each. Experimentation using the HSE-WSL tumbling mill test determined that under the effect of abrasion, ores yielded higher dustiness values during longer tumbling times, whilst parameters such as the sample mass and the particle size distribution of the feed sample could also influence the dust generation patterns. The findings of the computational modelling (discreet element modelling) and experimentation (high speed video recording) suggested that control and optimisation of operational parameters (e.g mill velocity, or tumbling time) within processes that involve abrasion, such as the use of conveyor belts, mills, and screens could minimise the potential of dust generation by this mechanism. The use of a novel impact test determined a positive relationship between the energy input and the particle size distributions of the broken particles, as well as the accumulation of fine particulates in the range of dust (<75μm). Also an increase in the bulk volume of ores resulted in larger quantities of fine particulates. These observations suggest that it is possible to reduce dust in processes that involve drop from heights and impaction (i.e transfer points in conveyor belts, tipping, loading) by adjusting the energy input and the bulk volume of ore at impact to as low a level possible. Particle size analysis of the produced dust fractions were found to be material dependent and varied considerably for the different ores. Almost all materials produced significant amounts of ultra fine particles below 10μm and 2.5μm, both under impact and abrasion, which reveals the potential adverse impacts to the environment and human health. Quantitative mineralogical analysis using the mineral liberation analyser determined that the dust fraction presents a different composition to that of the ore. Comparison of the results collected for the five different ores using the HSE-WSL mill and the impact test identified that certain materials yielded high dust levels under abrasion and low under impact. Therefore it would be expected that dust control approaches for such materials would differ according to the mechanisms of the involved process and the mineralogy of the sample. According to the findings of this study a reduction in dust produced from mining unit operations could be possible by optimising the involved processes either by altering their operating parameters (drop height during tipping, velocity of conveyor belt) or by optimising the design of processes so as to reduce abrasion or impact. New legislation such as the EU IPPC directive has already started considering such an approach as important, and newly developed Best Available Techniques documents refer to this as the primary step companies should follow to minimise dust. Additional advantages of this approach are that it can reduce cost for dust control by making use of less conventional mitigation practices, and in the long term it could also minimise the utilization of energy and water going to suppression, extraction and dust collection systems. In certain cases the proposed route could also optimise the production chain, especially where the generation of fines is undesirable (e.g iron ore processing or aggregates production)

    Pharmacovigilance of antiepileptic drug toxicity in children

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    Several of the available antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) were approved in the last 25 years. These new generation AEDs have not been shown to be more effective than the old ones and their safety profile have not been explored sufficiently in pharmacovigilance studies. As reported in chapter 2, prospective cohort studies are the most common pharmacovigilance study methods, with adverse drug reactions (ADRs) often elicited with questionnaires or checklists. A systematic review to identify all published AED side effects rating scales, reported in chapter 3, identified nine AED ADR rating scales. Two of these, The Hague Side Effect Scale (HASES) and the Paediatric Side Effect Questionnaire (PESQ), are paediatric specific. A systematic review of AED utilisation rate reported in chapter 4, shows an increasing utilisation of levetiracetam and lamotrigine reported as the most frequently utilised new generation AED in paediatrics. Systematic reviews of the safety of both drugs in children, reported in chapters 5 and 6, identified rash (7.3%) and behavioural problems (10.9%) as the most common ADRs associated with lamotrigine and levetiracetam respectively. They were also the most common reasons for the discontinuation of treatment. In chapter 7, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) risks are reported to be significantly higher when lamotrigine was co-prescribed with sodium valproate (43%) than when either carbamazepine (8%) or phenobarbital (8%) were co-prescribed with sodium valproate. SJS/TEN also occurred more frequently with sodium valproate and lamotrigine co-medication than other non-cutaneous ADRs (19%). Being the more recent paediatric AED ADR rating scale, the PESQ was selected for the elicitation of ADRs in a prospective cohort study of AED safety in children reported in chapter 8. Half of the 124 participants in the study received levetiracetam, either as monotherapy or polytherapy. There were significantly fewer ADRs with levetiracetam than either carbamazepine or sodium valproate monotherapy. The risks of drowsiness, fatigue and weight gain were significantly higher with levetiracetam polytherapy than monotherapy (p<0.05). Attention difficulties, aggression and decreased concentration were significantly lower with valproate polytherapy (p<0.05). The common ADRs associated with AEDs are discussed in chapter 9. In conclusion, lamotrigine and levetiracetam are increasingly being used for the treatment of epilepsy in children. Lamotrigine may cause severe rash, especially when co-administered with valproate; while levetiracetam is a common cause of behavioural problems. In order to compare the safety profile of AEDs adequately, large multicentre paediatric safety studies are required
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