23,281 research outputs found

    Success factors in IT Outsourcing

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    Abstract. To survive and respond to the everchanging business world companies are seeking new ways to concentrate and improve core competencies, as well as improve their competitive status against the market. Companies are exploring how to exploit the core competencies of other companies. The goals of the partnership might differ depending on the scope of the partnership. The goal might be one or many of the following: cost reduction, access to higher quality service, access to technology and/or know-how. Even if the first IT outsourcing was done around 30 years ago by Eastman Kodak and General Dynamics and the area has been studied quite heavily, the topic seems to be still difficult for companies to grasp the wanted benefits. As the IT outsourcing is widely used option in the business world and the results are not firm, I feel the topic is still relevant to study. The research question for the study is: “What factors affect the success of IT outsourcing relationship?” The research question is answered through the literature review. From the literature review eleven high level success factors can be identified. In some cases, some factors are combined. The success factors are Cost and Quality, Trust, Alignment to business strategy, Culture, Communication, Contracts, Strategic Partnership, Governance, Management support, Infrastructure, and Know-how. How important each individual factors are in outsourcing engagement in question depends on the sort of the partnership. The theoretical implications are very limited, but the practical implications regarding communication, trust and governance should be considered when companies enter IT outsourcing partnerships. Putting an emphasis on setting up proper governance functions and people who are good at communicating with the other party will pay the efforts back in success of the relationship

    The Nurturing Food Sovereignty from the Peripheral Side: the Village Law and the Soul of Agriculture in Rural Development in Indonesia

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    After the enactment of the Village Law, the opportunity for the village as the spearhead of food sovereignty is widely open and the Village Law is considered a soul for village development. Village’s main activities are agriculture, including the management of natural resources with the composition of the area as a place for rural settlements, government services, social services, and economic activities. Most of the population works in the primary sector, which has various challenges to reducing or even eliminating dependence on the global food market. Rural development and the orientation of village agricultural soul so far seem to go hand in hand but tend to be particular. This study aimed to study the primary sector of agriculture and food needs as the main political discourse with the subject of the village. The study was prepared using a qualitative methodology with secondary data and policy analysis. The political economy framework is used to see how far the potential and challenges ahead are toward Indonesia's food sovereignty, amidst the onslaught of neo-liberalism in the global food system. The findings show that Village Law seeks to restore the village's dignity so that it becomes an empowered village faced with the unpreparedness of village capacity

    Building body identities - exploring the world of female bodybuilders

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    This thesis explores how female bodybuilders seek to develop and maintain a viable sense of self despite being stigmatized by the gendered foundations of what Erving Goffman (1983) refers to as the 'interaction order'; the unavoidable presentational context in which identities are forged during the course of social life. Placed in the context of an overview of the historical treatment of women's bodies, and a concern with the development of bodybuilding as a specific form of body modification, the research draws upon a unique two year ethnographic study based in the South of England, complemented by interviews with twenty-six female bodybuilders, all of whom live in the U.K. By mapping these extraordinary women's lives, the research illuminates the pivotal spaces and essential lived experiences that make up the female bodybuilder. Whilst the women appear to be embarking on an 'empowering' radical body project for themselves, the consequences of their activity remains culturally ambivalent. This research exposes the 'Janus-faced' nature of female bodybuilding, exploring the ways in which the women negotiate, accommodate and resist pressures to engage in more orthodox and feminine activities and appearances

    Understanding interactions between Ramularia collo-cygni and barley leaf physiology to target improvements in host resistance and disease control strategy

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    Ramularia Leaf Spot (RLS) is an increasingly problematic disease of barley. Control options are limited as the causal fungus, Ramularia collo-cygni, has developed resistance to several of the major fungicide groups. Developing new methods for controlling this disease is therefore a priority. R. collo-cygni can grow systemically in barley plants from infected seed, without inducing visible symptoms. In the field, visible symptoms normally only appear after flowering. The relative contribution of the latent and symptomatic stages of the fungal lifecycle to reduction in barley yield is not currently known with any certainty. Two possibilities are that the effect of asymptomatic infection on pre-flowering photosynthetic activity, and the development of grain sink capacity, plays an important role; or that reduction in photosynthetic activity during grain filling, resulting from lesion development and loss of green leaf area, is the predominant factor. This research aimed to increase our understanding of the impact of different phases of the fungal lifecycle on barley photosynthesis and yield formation, to better target host resistance and disease control strategies. Controlled environment and field experiments were used to determine the relative effects of asymptomatic and symptom-expressing phases of R. collo-cygni infection on photosynthesis and yield formation in spring barley. In controlled environment experiments leaf photosynthetic activity was measured in seedlings inoculated with suspensions of R. collo-cygni mycelia. Measurements were made before and after visible symptom development using Infra-Red Gas Analysis (IRGA), chlorophyll fluorescence analysis and chlorophyll fluorescence imaging. No reduction in photosynthetic activity was observed in leaves infected with R. collo-cygni, compared to those of non- infected leaves, during the latent phase of infection. After the appearance of visible symptoms, photosynthetic activity within lesions reduced as the lesions developed. However, this did not lead to reductions in photosynthetic activity when measured across the whole leaf area, suggesting that for there to be a significant effect of disease on whole leaf photosynthetic activity, visible symptoms must develop into mature lesions and coalesce to cover larger areas of the leaf surface. In field experiments plots were treated with a full fungicide regime, left untreated, or inoculated with R. collo-cygni and treated with fungicide to which R. collo-cygni is resistant (the latter as a precaution against lack of natural RLS disease that year and/or other diseases developing on untreated plots). RLS was the only disease of significance that developed in untreated or inoculated plots. Symptoms first appeared after flowering, around Zadoks Growth Stage 72. Fungicide-treated plots remained free of disease. Chlorophyll fluorescence analysis of field plants showed no effect of infection on the maximum quantum efficiency of Photosystem II (Fv/Fm) before visible symptom development, consistent with results from controlled environment experiments. Grain yield of untreated and fungicide-treated plots was predicted from fixed common values of radiation use efficiency (RUE) and utilisation of soluble sugar reserves, and measured values of post-flowering healthy (green) leaf area light interception. Grain yields predicted from the difference in post-flowering light interception between fungicide-treated plants and untreated or inoculated plants displaying symptoms of RLS were comparable with the measured yield response to fungicide. This suggests that yield loss to RLS is primarily associated with a reduction in light capture during grain filling, resulting from lesion development and loss of green leaf area. Results from controlled environment and field experiments suggested that symptom expression was associated with leaf senescence. Further controlled environment experiments tested this relationship by using treatments to vary the onset and rate of leaf senescence. Seedlings that were treated with cytokinin to delay senescence after inoculation with suspensions of R. collo-cygni mycelia developed fewer lesions than control plants. Fungal growth, as measured by quantification of R. collo-cygni DNA in leaves, was also restricted in plants treated with cytokinin. Collectively these results suggest that prevention of visible symptom development, rather than prevention of asymptomatic growth, is the most important target for management of this disease. Control methods targeted at delaying senescence could be a useful avenue for further investigation

    Healthcare Innovation Absenteeism: The Rise of Physician Entrepreneurs & Medical Startups

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    For years, warning signs have illuminated imminent days of reckoning for stalled healthcare innovation across the dynamic American healthcare landscape. An evolving epic battle for healthcare innovation delivery has silently raged and set arena stages throughout the healthcare industry. Urgent innovative healthcare delivery is needed to ameliorate longstanding points of failures in providing healthcare delivery to society. Historically, the science of medicine has fostered cultural practices of innovation absenteeism and resistance to change. Mired by archaic processes, legacy systems, and fractionally useful equipment, our current healthcare ecosystems are unsustainable. Recently, some unhindered frontline physicians opted to take on a portion of critical healthcare challenges and followed their ideas to leverage clinical expertise and drive the agenda for changing healthcare innovation delivery. Our qualitative multi-case study design centered around empirical evidence that answered the research question: How do physician entrepreneurs navigate decision-making strategies for medical startups from ideation, innovation, to commercialization of new medical products and services? We examined 21 cases of physician founded medical startups to understand particularizations around physician entrepreneurship. Findings suggest three contributions towards knowledge accumulation about physician entrepreneurs and medical startups: exclusive decision-making processes, industry-specific insights, and illuminations of physician voices that might not otherwise be heard

    The potential of shade trees to improve microclimate in coffee production systems and contribute to the protection of coffee yield and quality in a changing climate

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    Climate change is a major challenge to which global coffee production must adapt. With Coffea arabica being especially sensitive to rising temperatures, shade trees present a promising adaptation strategy, as there is some evidence that they can modify microclimate. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, combining biophysical and sociological research, this study investigated the effect of shade on coffee production on the southern slope of Mt. Kilimanjaro with the aim of finding suitable strategies to optimise coffee production systems and ensure optimal yield and quality, thus assuring farmers’ livelihoods into the future, in the face of climate change. Precipitation records from coffee plantations were analysed for changes in weather patterns in the last two decades. The influence of shade on microclimate, leaf temperature, coffee yield and physical quality aspects was assessed in coffee plantations and smallholder systems. Additionally, focus group discussions and interviews with small-scale farmers were conducted to explore farmers’ knowledge on the impacts of weather extremes on coffee production and the ecosystem services different tree species provide. This research shows that climate change at Mt. Kilimanjaro manifests as droughts and shorter wet seasons with less frequent but heavier rainfall events, challenges to which coffee farmers will have to adapt. Shade trees show potential in adaptation of coffee production systems to climate change, as they reduce maximum air temperatures and can reduce leaf temperature extremes during hot periods, without having negative effects on nocturnal temperatures, which are beneficial for coffee production. In coffee plantations, no effect of shade on yields was observed while a slight reduction was observed for smallholder systems. Coffee quality benefits from shade, as different shade components are associated with an increase in bean size and weight. Farmers identified Albizia schimperiana as an important tree species, providing regulatory ecosystem services to improve coffee production. Recommendations need to take farmers’ priorities into account, including their willingness to trade some reduction in coffee production for other services, such as food, fodder or firewood, which were identified as the most important ecosystem services for farmers at Mt. Kilimanjaro

    The Reputations of Sir Francis Burdett

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    Digital asset management via distributed ledgers

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    Distributed ledgers rose to prominence with the advent of Bitcoin, the first provably secure protocol to solve consensus in an open-participation setting. Following, active research and engineering efforts have proposed a multitude of applications and alternative designs, the most prominent being Proof-of-Stake (PoS). This thesis expands the scope of secure and efficient asset management over a distributed ledger around three axes: i) cryptography; ii) distributed systems; iii) game theory and economics. First, we analyze the security of various wallets. We start with a formal model of hardware wallets, followed by an analytical framework of PoS wallets, each outlining the unique properties of Proof-of-Work (PoW) and PoS respectively. The latter also provides a rigorous design to form collaborative participating entities, called stake pools. We then propose Conclave, a stake pool design which enables a group of parties to participate in a PoS system in a collaborative manner, without a central operator. Second, we focus on efficiency. Decentralized systems are aimed at thousands of users across the globe, so a rigorous design for minimizing memory and storage consumption is a prerequisite for scalability. To that end, we frame ledger maintenance as an optimization problem and design a multi-tier framework for designing wallets which ensure that updates increase the ledger’s global state only to a minimal extent, while preserving the security guarantees outlined in the security analysis. Third, we explore incentive-compatibility and analyze blockchain systems from a micro and a macroeconomic perspective. We enrich our cryptographic and systems' results by analyzing the incentives of collective pools and designing a state efficient Bitcoin fee function. We then analyze the Nash dynamics of distributed ledgers, introducing a formal model that evaluates whether rational, utility-maximizing participants are disincentivized from exhibiting undesirable infractions, and highlighting the differences between PoW and PoS-based ledgers, both in a standalone setting and under external parameters, like market price fluctuations. We conclude by introducing a macroeconomic principle, cryptocurrency egalitarianism, and then describing two mechanisms for enabling taxation in blockchain-based currency systems
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