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About this book

This proceedings volume presents a selection of the best papers from the 14th International Conference on Business Excellence, Business Revolution in the Digital Era (ICBE 2020), held in Bucharest, Romania. The respective papers share the latest findings and perspectives on innovation in a turbulent business environment, and on improvements in economic, societal and technological structures and processes to help reach major sustainability goals.

Table of Contents


Bad Counter Knowledge: Case Studies and Countermeasures

One of the contexts most prone to misuse counter-knowledge is the health sector, when someone who suffers from serious illness, tends to seek for miraculous cures. This paper illustrates three cases in the recent history of Italy regarding healthcare treatments. These cases show how the “public authorities” struggled to retain credibility due to diffusion and misuse of counter-knowledge (i.e. the manipulation and diffusion of bad elements of counter-knowledge). By using theories and concepts derived from the knowledge management (KM) field, the cases are analyzed to highlight the weakness of the “official” (and supposedly credible) sources of knowledge when they must face the upsurge of many producers of unverifiable elements of counter-knowledge, amplified by social media. Useful lessons for public institutions are derived about how they may overcome the misuse of counter-knowledge. The findings also complement KM studies by discussing a definition of bad counter-knowledge.
Ettore Bolisani, Juan-Gabriel Cegarra-Navarro

Sources of Information Used by Teachers and Reseachers from Romanian Universities in the Knowledge Flows of Bioeconomy

Knowledge flows are recognized as a determining factor in the development of the economy in general and the development of the bioeconomy in particular. The analysis of the literature has shown that one perspective from which the flows of knowledge must be analyzed is that of information from different sources, in order to find out if there are differences in the importance of these flows depending on the source of information used. This paper presents results of a research aiming to analyze these flows to determine the level of importance of these sources used by teachers and researchers from Romanian universities. Based on the answers to a questionnaire addressed to teachers and researchers from Romanian universities, from scientific fields associated with bioeconomy, with the help of a Principal Component Analysis, we identified a set of four components that explain the variations of their importance in the knowledge flows associated with the development of bioeconomy, through the use of different sources of information. The four components were named: Sources from the business environment; Scientific sources predominantly in English; Scientific sources in other languages (without English and mother tongue); Scientific sources in mother tongue (Romanian). Analysis of the importance attached to each type of source showed that scientific sources in English are the most important and that sources in the business environment are less important than scientific sources in English and Romanian. The least important ones were considered the sources in other languages, besides English and the mother tongue (Romanian in this case).
Andrei Ștefan Neștian, Silviu Mihail Tiță, Alexandra Luciana Guță

Regional Convergence in the European Union: A Success Story or an Unaccomplished Goal?

The European integration adventure, treated both as a process and as a state of facts, taking into consideration the deepening or the enlargement, continues to have both advocates and opponents. Although in the early stages of the integration process, the founding countries had similar economic levels, the accession of the Central and Eastern European states has called into question the goal of achieving a sustainable level of cohesion. The main purpose of this paper is to study real convergence in Central and Eastern Europe, by focusing on the NUTS 2 statistical regions. In this respect, we have calculated β- and σ-convergence, illustrating that the poorer regions from the European Union recorded higher GDP growth rates than the developed ones. Moreover, we have examined the industrial specialization in Romania’s regions, trying to identify the existence of appropriate circumstances to create efficient business clusters. In this respect, we have concluded that in seven out of eight NUTS 2 regions, excepting Bucuresti-Ilfov, the main economic activity was manufacturing in 2017. Bucuresti-Ilfov was the only NUTS 2 region from Romania which had a large share of persons employed in other sectors, such as administrative and support service activities and professional, scientific and technical activities. Overall, our study suggests that the Central and Eastern European regions were catching up between 2000 and 2017 and the establishment of industrial clusters had an important contribution in enhancing convergence.
Dumitru Miron, Ana-Maria Holobiuc

Systemic Risk Dynamics in the EU—A Conditional Capital Shortfall Approach

Systemic risk measurement has been a topic of main interest throughout the last years, particularly in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. This paper addresses systemic risk dynamics in the European Union, during the 2004–2019 interval, focusing on the banking and real estate sectors. We examine the above-mentioned dynamics via daily estimates deriving from a Conditional Capital Shortfall approach. The results we obtain represent, first and foremost, a tool for analysing the dynamics of systemic risk in the targeted financial markets. The banking sector displays specific risk patterns and ranges, that support the assumption of it being a primary source of systemic instability. Systemic risk in the real estate sector runs lower. We find that the crisis period corresponds to an increase in risk in both sectors and notice certain common patterns which suggest potential co-movement episodes.
Cristina Georgiana Zeldea

Nonrenewable Energy Prices and Stock Prices of EU Financial Companies: A Short Versus Long-Term Analysis

This paper investigates the relationship between financial companies’ stock prices and nonrenewable energy sources prices (crude oil and coal price) using a sample of major financial companies headquartered in the EU. The link between stock prices and nonrenewable energy sources prices risk is modeled using a set of macroeconomic variables, such as Brent crude oil price, coal price, local stock market indices, the EUR/USD exchange rate, long-term interest rates and a global volatility measure (VIX). We apply panel data as the base econometric model and an ARDL extension that sheds light on the long versus short-run exposure of EU financial companies to nonrenewable energy prices volatility. Our results show that the EU financial sector is pervasively exposed to the nonrenewable energy sources price fluctuations over the long-run and this exposure represents a component of financial companies’ exposure to real economy risk factors. At the same time, the short-term exposure is specific to financial companies and highlights a different behavior of market investors compared to the long-run valuation of financial companies’ stock prices. These results point towards the fundamental role of the financial sector in the EU economy in transmitting systemic shocks, which raises serious challenges for the EU financial authorities.
Alexandra Horobet, Georgiana Vrinceanu, Consuela Popescu, Lucian Belascu

Designing Better Policies for a Cleaner Air: The Case of Electric Vehicles in Europe

Lately climate change has become a major concern for policymakers. In fighting climate change both European and national authorities have adopted the concept of circular economy, which emphasize the importance of adoption of low and zero-emission cars—electric or otherwise—on a large scale in order to decrease the quantity of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Past research shows that the rate of adoption of electric vehicles depends on the purchasing power of people and on the charging infrastructure available. However, existing data show that countries with lower purchasing power and a less developed charging infrastructure such as Portugal can have a better adoption rate than countries with a higher purchasing power and more charging points. The research goal of this paper is to explain this market anomaly by analyzing the way 19 European countries have design their motor tax policy between 2016 and 2018. The research question this paper tries to answer is: “Does the way public policymakers design the environmental component of the motor tax policy has an impact on the people’s preference for adopting electric vehicles?” In order to respond to current research question, our methodological approach was to use statistical modelling of panel data with dummy variable. Present analysis shows that countries that include any form of the environmental component in their policy design have a better adoption rate than countries which make no reference to emissions. Furthermore, the developed multiple regression model indicates that the most efficient form the environmental component can take is the one that uses the electric vehicles as a reference point.
Camelia Ghiurcă

Outsourcing in International Business: Theoretical and Practical Insights

The present chapter aims to analyze the outsourcing process as one of the main international business strategies that has a large prevalence at present in the world economy due to the globalization process. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the role played by Romania in the global outsourcing market and to analyze the characteristics of this particular geographical market as a successful destination for outsourcing. The paper will firstly focus on theoretical insights on the subject: the main types of outsourcing activities, and internationalization of the outsourcing activity. The global market of outsourcing and its recent developments are considered and the role of the major players in the outsourcing industry worldwide. The last part of the paper focuses on the analysis of the outsourcing activity developed in Romania. The analysis is based on documentation and is conducted from two perspectives: (a) the study of the top global outsourcing companies and their main activities in the Romanian market and (b) the study of the types of outsourcing services offered by a sample of service business companies located in Romania—selected via an international business directory. The analysis focuses on two main outsourcing services: the Information Technology Outsourcing and the Business Processes Outsourcing, in order to have a more complete overview of the Romanian outsourcing market. The paper illustrates the increasing role that Romania plays in the outsourcing industry, as a new operating model, in the context of globalization.
Alina Mihaela Dima, Adrian Tudor Tudorache, Monica Teodora Tudorache

Sustainable Management of IT Enterprises

Digital technologies and sustainability could be understood from a superficial point of view as mutually exclusive. One is driven by the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, focusing on a constant increasing efficiency, while the other is driven by the public opinion’s expectations for a fair development in respect to environmental, social and economic factors. Apparently, two paradigms collide at present: the one of the digital transformation meant to innovate business models in order to satisfy a continuously growing demand of products and services, and the one of addressing social and environmental challenges. In reality, the two concepts are mutually reinforcing, as digital tools can and should be used in the framework of sustainable business approaches and the catalyzer of the digital transformation, the IT industry, could become the promoter of sustainable management using new technologies. We explore in this paper the perception of sustainability by Romanian IT managers and their orientation towards sustainable management approaches, considering the economic, social, environmental and technological dimensions. The results present a heterogeneous landscape dominated by economic and political conditionality, with a strong orientation towards education in the sector as a source of sufficient workforce, leaving room to further discussions on how the industry considered to be the source of all current disruptions could become the engine of future sustainable business models.
Florina Pînzaru, Wioletta Wereda, Ion Moldoveanu, Victor-Emanuel Ciuciuc

Identifying Circular Business Models Through Traditional and Snowball Sampling

Only 9% of the businesses in the European Union are circular. In Romania, the dimension of this population has not been determined. Circular businesses are seen as hard to reach or hard to capture population characterized by low numbers, members hard to identify with not entirely known behavior, with difficulty in identifying commonalities among them and information rarely available. Using a multiple-layer sampling process composed of traditional and snowball sampling, the paper contributes to identifying the population of sustainability-oriented innovators or circular businesses in the textile and clothing sector in Romania. The results of this targeted sampling consisted in a list of 21 sustainability-oriented innovators in the textile and clothing sector in Romania, featuring actors distributed across the country. The paper provides a snapshot of the dimension of the population of circular economy business models in the textile and clothing sector in Romania and creates a positive context for further analysis of various subjects related to circular business models once the exponents are visible and known. Moreover, this research is offering a framework for sampling circular business models in various sectors.
Daniela Staicu

Structural Funds for the Business Environment: The Illusion of Reducing Disparities

All the waves of enlargement of the European Union created challenges for the efficient functioning of the common market, but the expansions from 2004–2013 were completely atypical. The economic disparity between the new members and the community average, at the time of accession, was a huge one, which represented a unique challenge for the Regional Development Policy. More and more studies conducted in the countries that joined from 2004 to 2013 raise question marks regarding the efficiency of the Regional Development Policy and the Structural and Cohesion Funds. Thus, several authors point out that the more economically developed regions tend to attract a larger volume of funds, being able to provide the necessary co-financing. This is a problem as the economic disparities between the regions does not diminish, on the contrary it is possible to increase. In the present article we will analyze the distribution of the Structural Funds addressed to the business environment at the level of the North-East Region of Romania, trying to see if there is a representative difference between the economically developed and the least developed counties. The statistical tests conducted indicate the existence of representative differences between the counties of the North-East Region of Romania regarding the volume of community funds absorbed, thus confirming that the more economically developed regions tend to attract a larger volume of structural funds.
Andrei-Alexandru Moroşan, Pavel Stanciu

The Vulnerabilities of the Risk Assessment Model Elaborated by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision

We are going to present a series of limitations that exist in the methodology for determining the capital adequacy ratio at the credit institutions and investment firms level. To that effect, a series of problematic aspects that taken into account in the methodology for calculating the capital adequacy ratio will be presented, econometric demonstrations will be presented for some of the identified situations, and solutions for the remedial of such deficiencies will be proposed.
Paul Baranga, Iulian Zalinca

Mission Statements in Top Higher Education Institutions—What Do They Have in Common?

The present paper envisages an analysis of the main goals and future directions of action in the higher education sector at world level. In recent years higher education institutions apply professional management principles and guide their activities using business specific strategic tools. Starting from the fact that higher education institutions can learn from the best, the purpose of the paper is to analyze the main directions included in the mission statements of the top 150 higher education institutions at world level, according to rankings. The two main objectives of the analysis are: (a) to identify the main directions included in the mission statements of the best universities in the world and (b) to identify commonalities and differences among those. The paper will focus in its first part on theoretical insights on the subject: mission statements and strategic management, their peculiarities in the field of higher education. The methodology used is qualitative content analysis based on the documentation through the study of the public information disseminated by universities on their web sites. The results of the study illustrate that one of the main themes included in many of the top 150 higher education in the world is excellence. There are also differences in the scope of the declared mission statements as some universities see their activity applying to the local (town/state) community, others see their roles at national level, some declare themselves as acting in the interest of the whole world and some see their role at all three levels.
Luminița Nicolescu, Gandolfo Dominici

Role of Academic Leadership in Building an Open-Lab Teaching and Learning Strategy

Current higher education context is very demanding and academic leadership is facing a lot of pressure coming from different stakeholders; they question the efforts on outcomes, such as: higher employability rate, lower drop-out rate, higher student satisfaction, higher number of strategic partnerships. No matter what relationships are established between higher education institutions and other stakeholders, the interconnection between all components of the institutional mission is a starting point for a change. A huge interest has been quite recently put on the higher education institutions role on societal engagement; nevertheless, the investment in new strategies for teaching and learning has revealed several good practices on open lab model. Specific literature review shows that this model can be considered as a win-win strategy model, all partners gaining successful results. This paper explains how an open-lab model functions and how academic leadership can contribute to make the teaching and learning strategy an effective one. The research methodology is based on a literature review, as well as on a brainstorming session and a questionnaire-based approach revealing the perceptions of academic leadership in moving forward to such a model. Main objectives include: to understand the open-lab teaching and learning model; to explain the open lab experience in a Civic European University; to reveal the academic leadership perceptions on developing the model; to build a possible strategy for an open-lab teaching and learning. Main findings prove that academic leadership is aware about the importance of moving towards open-lab challenges, but not effectively prepared for it.
Jose Luis Pau, Magdalena Iordache-Platis

Intuitive Fuzzy Real Options in Digital Coaching for Strategic Investment Decisions

This paper addresses the digitalization of valuation techniques and learning them within the domain of strategic investments. Real options analysis has been proven more suitable to evaluate dynamic and flexible strategic opportunities than traditional NPV methods. The complexity and high uncertainty inherent in long-term strategic investment decisions further call for using soft computing to handle intervals in real options methods. Real options are for real investments what financial options are for financial investments and the modelling has been rather unintuitive since the Nobel-winning Black-Scholes model until the more intuitive methods, such as the probabilistic Datar-Mathews and the fuzzy pay-off methods. Digital coaching can be used to train and transfer the methodological knowledge on decision analytics and real options techniques to people with various backgrounds. Digital coaching is used by athletes and business organizations as well in their training programmes. In this paper, we show and discuss how real options modelling can be brought to all potential users regardless of their expert level. The intuitions are built through stepwise examples using spreadsheet and free open-source-based decision support tools to evaluate, e.g., expected pay-off profiles from the simplest (fuzzy) triangular types to simulation-based distributions. The valuation examples are of general type and may be applied to any type of strategic investments. The contributions include presenting the novel soft-computing methods in digital coaching environment allowing better intuition-building and learning results for strategic investment decision makers and showing the convergence of the center-of-gravity fuzzy real options method with the probabilistic Datar-Mathews method.
Jani Kinnunen, Irina Georgescu

The Influence of Presence of Art in the Life of Individuals and Society

The purpose of this paper is the analyses of the influence of art upon the feeling of life fulfilment and upon convictions regarding the capacity of art to influence the life of individuals and of society. The research conducted has been developed by using data obtained from an experimental study which include responses from 120 persons from Southern Romania. The data were analyzed using Microsoft Office Excel, SPSS and include descriptive tables and graphs. The conclusion of the analysis revealed that the presence of art in the respond-ents' life manifests influence upon the sentiment of life fulfilment, and in the same time the feeling of life fulfillment manifests influence upon the perception regarding the presence of art. Also, the presence of art manifests influences upon the convictions regarding the capacity of art to influence the life of individuals and of society. Special attention is given, as well, to the influences that beliefs have upon the presence of art.
Iuliana Coman, Niculae Mihăiţă

The Digital Effectiveness on Economic Inequality: A Computational Approach

This paper addresses the progress of digital skills and technologies and their impact on well-being, income inequality and competitiveness of world countries. In future, the digital progress will contribute to an increase in technology, capital, and finally, production. The digital progress is unequally distributed among world countries. Even if economic growth has raised the living level of world population, income inequality has increased. Social stability potentially could be threatened by this phenomenon. In this paper we will study 121 countries according to their capacity to adopt the latest digital technologies, i.e. how their level of digitalization influences their competitiveness and other indicators, such as human development index, HDI, GDP per capita, and the income distribution measured by Gini index. The associations of digitalization, competitiveness, GDP and inequality are analyzed further to find out the mechanics and potential causal directions. The dataset is acquired from the databases of the World Bank and the United Nations. The methodology consists in two phases. Firstly, cluster analysis is used to divide the world countries into three groups and, secondly, canonical correlation analysis is applied to find the dominant attributes and their correlations with other attributes. The results suggest, for instance, that the digitalization and income equality go hand-in-hand and digital skills are significant predictors of competitiveness, GDP, HDI, as well as inequality.
Irina Georgescu, Jani Kinnunen

Ensembles of Convolutional Neural Networks Trained Using Unconventional Data for Stock Predictions

This research paper summarizes a unique method of training neural networks that contrasts conventional methods used for assessing and making predictions with financial data. In general, for limited financial data sets such as those comprising only adjusted closing and volume information, neural networks are trained with raw, or structured, data. Relying on ongoing neural network development strategies and applications, we developed a neural network that could be trained using unconventional data in which prices or indicators could be converted into image data. We applied this method to predictions using daily data of the Apple stock price. Using extracted images, we were able to explore the capabilities of neural networks in greater depth as a result of using convolutional neural networks to capture more information from the images, such as edges and shape patterns, which is more advanced than traditional neural networks trained on raw data. We used a well-known method in data science and machine learning called “bootstrap aggregating” or “bagging.” After multiple experiments, we concluded that the performance metric registered decent to good values; however, we also encountered overfitting, which we plan to address in a future experiment. We found that the primary limitation of our method was overfitting, and in the next experiment, we will explore larger data sets, such as those comprising hourly data.
Daia Alexandru, Stancu Stelian, Neamtu (Idorasi) Alina, Frode Aschim

A Review and a Proposal About Socio-economic Impacts of Artificial Intelligence

There is a high potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to become the enabling technology of the new socio-economical paradigm. The huge amount of academic literature produced in the last few years leaves little room for doubts about the revolutionary nature of AI. Some scientific papers are focused on negative aspects of a complete or partial substitution of the workforce by the intelligent machines, while others are more optimistic and are focused on the ideas revolving around the universal basic income and the decrease in the number of full-time working hours. The proposed analysis, both of existing literature and new statistical evidence, aims at the further exploration of the possibility for artificial intelligence to become the enabling technology of the next technological revolution.
Aysan Bashirpour Bonab, Ihor Rudko, Francesco Bellini

An Econometric Analysis of the Relationship Between Tourist Arrivals in Tourist Accommodation Structures in Romania and the Number of Overnight Stays

Although in different time periods one can notice economic growth based on tourism or tourism growth generated by an economic growth (on account of the investments made in the tourism industry, for instance), the impact and importance of tourism cannot be denied, let alone the scientific interest in this field. In this context, the relationship between the number of tourist arrivals in tourist accommodation structures in Romania and the number of overnight stays was studied by applying the linear regression methodology to data available on the website of the Romanian National Institute of Statistics. Thus, it was demonstrated that 94.55% of the variation of overnight stays is explained by the variation of the number of foreign tourist arrivals in tourist accommodation structures in 2018, in counties with a low attractiveness rating (cross-sectional regression), given that the increase by one unit of the foreign tourist arrivals in tourist accommodation structures in Romania determines the increase of the number of overnight stays by 1.35 times in the respective county. This research can be extended by designing typologies at the level of counties, depending on the tourist activity and on other relevant criteria. Grouping the counties based on common criteria could facilitate a more in-depth analysis of the relationship between the number of overnight stays and the number of arrivals of tourists at county level.
Mihai Dinu, Simona Roxana Pătărlăgeanu, Marius Constantin, Adriana Tărăşilă

The Role of Chatbots in End-To-End Intelligent Automation and Future Employment Dynamics

Employing automation on cloud, on-premise, or hybridly, companies are shifting their workloads to software robots, thus reshaping the old operating models, reducing toil and creating jobs that are better suited for humans. In this context, the messaging platforms are becoming the dominant communication channel worldwide and, coupled with a raising customer demand for self-services, companies are now able to create internal and external communications with zero necessity for a new user interface. With a market size expected to continually increase in the next years, modern chatbots are impressive facilitators of human-to-robot interaction. The technologies underlying chatbots can provide natural language processing (NLP) and intent recognition, enabling them to surpass language ambiguity and jargon. Furthermore, chatbots can be integrated with common messaging applications (e.g. Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, Viber), connect to RPA robots and other technologies. Chatbots can create visitor profiles and tailored responses, initiate conversations, have a “personality”, constantly improve, or seamlessly deflect to a human operator. Time is precious, and chatbots can manage an extensive number of operations in much less than a second, bringing cost efficiency, with better internal and/or external customer experience. Nevertheless, either employing a declarative or a conversational chatbot, businesses must select the proper solution for their current and future needs, in order to achieve an adequate return on investment. In this paper we will explore the context of the chatbot market and technologies, with a case study on the effects of chatbot deployment, thus helping organizations take better digital transformation decisions.
Sorin Anagnoste, Isabelle Biclesanu, Fabrizio D’Ascenzo, Marco Savastano

Price Probability Predictor. Capital Investments Assisted by a Probability Field

Capital investment is a sustained activity nowadays. After the worldwide release of the electronic trading systems, automated decision-making investment software is the new trend in financial speculation. A significant part of capital trading is fully computerized today. The buying and selling orders are made and sent automatically, almost in real-time. The price evolution is analyzed by servers using advanced mathematical algorithms. This chapter will present one of these models named Price Probability Predictor. It is a method to build a probability field based on the price history and the real-time price action. The revealed function will generate the current probability of a price growth in the next time intervals. Automated entry and exit signals and market limit conditions will be built using the new indicator, in order to automate the whole investment process. Capital investment results will also be included in the current paper to qualify the presented trading methodology and to compare it with other similar models. In conclusion, it was found that the Price Probability Predictor is a reliable mathematical algorithm that can assist any trading decisions, in both ways, manual or automatic capital investments.
Cristian Păuna

Time Management and Time Utilization for Urology Surgeons, a Step in Implementing Social Responsibility, a Theoretical and a Practical Approach

A time study was performed on surgeons because is an important tool in the delivery of any intervention. Little is known about how surgeons time is allocated. The research question is: is time management a social responsibility? The objective is the analysis of the distribution of time of surgeons from Urology Department, from CDCUM Hospital A self-reporting work was used for a period of one month. The research uses a descriptive method. Quantitative direct observational time study and self-reported diary were performed, for both office hours and after hours. We choose urology surgeons, because in Romania their number is limited and therefore there is a high volume of work. Using a time-motion study technique, the workdays were documented on activities developed, by using direct observation method. A total of 3136 h of work time were collected. Surgeons spent most of their work time in interventions, but also on direct patient care and teaching activities. A statistical analyze was performed to estimate the proportion of work time of surgeons. Blyth Still Casella confidence intervals and Agresti Min confidence intervals were estimated because we obtained differences between subgroups. Results provided a basis for future research on time management, to increase the efficiency and productivity, to ensure a work-life balance and to calculate the cost of health care interventions. Future research may take into consideration a comparison with other specializations. By improving time management we can increase physicians productivity and also personal and professional satisfaction, that could be a step in implementing social responsibility.
Luminița-Mihaela Dumitrașcu, Liliana Feleagă, Bogdan-Ștefan Ionescu

Challenges and Controversies Related to IFRS 15 Implementation

Since September 2002, the new waves of international accounting standards have boosted, having as epicenter the US FASB and UK IASB Norwalk Agreement, on accounting convergence Program to achieve fully compatible standards on clearly and globally articulated financial reporting principles for the public benefit. The topic of Revenue recognition constituted one of the most complex and debated subject of this endeavor. May 2014 was the moment when IFRS 15 Revenues from contracts with customers was published and the mandatory implementation initially was set in 2017 but further delayed to 2018. We consider that despite the quality of elaboration and sharing of the new accounting standard the success of the implementation depends on the firm’s capacity to identify, understand and manage the main issues highlighted by IFRS 15 and the way the entities may carry out business-model’s challenges and controversies related to this subject for the first time. We selected one of the most significant challenging sectors-construction industry- as a research area. In our first action, based upon an analyze of the specific research subject and a comparison of the previous and actual standard’s requirements, conceptual framework, amendments, clarifications and examples, we resume to investigate the most important features of changes related to construction reporting entities business-model. Using a comparison analysis, we seek to identify a specific pattern of challenges and controversies in the construction sector that is very helpful in finding the practical answers on how to apply IFRS 15 and to improve the quality of the financial statement’s disclosure. Second, we evaluate the theoretical pattern of challenges and controversies in the first year of implementation. The main objective was to find the gaps and to improve the process of understanding how to ensure an adequate implementation of IFRS 15 and overcoming the inertia of companies. Our findings originally contribute to accounting research’s lack of studies, to investigate the effectiveness of new accounting standards mandatory implementation from the perspective of actual type of reporting entities’ dichotomy.
Valentin Ioan Usurelu, Adriana Dutescu, Robin Jarvis

The Optimal Definition of an Institution Using Analytic Hierarchy Process

This article describes the main challenges and opportunities that the agricultural field has in reaching a high level of performance and decision making. These improvement opportunities have been approached by means of the need of development of an optimum way of organizing an institution in this field, based on the feedback expressed by the main chains of hypermarkets and supermarkets from Romania and on the existence of regulation, according to which, 51% of the total surface for selling certain categories of food products should be done using a supplier chain composed by local producers. In this sense, by applying the multicriteria decision-making methods, an Analytic Hierarchy Process multicriterial hybrid model was defined and evaluated by the experts in the field, which started from the objective of defining in an optimum way such an institution, known as “Regional Agricultural Center”, and which should fulfill a series of necessary functions, in order to harmoniously develop the relationships between the stakeholders (farmers, local producers, hypermarkets and supermarkets, citizens, etc.). The paper also presents an innovative approach for the implementation of a sustainable management system, by introducing the KAIZEN™ management continuous improvement methods and techniques.
Andrei Răduțu

Romanians’ Perceptions Regarding the Drivers of Social Venture. Evidence Based on AGER Data

The paper aims to explore the perceptions of Romanians regarding the business purpose of their new venture. Also, the paper’s ambition is to investigate the factors that drive their desire to start a social-oriented new venture and to consider entrepreneurship as a career opportunity. Two main research inquiries are raised in the paper: (1) Do Romanians display a strong preference for a social-oriented vs. profit-oriented new venture? (2) What drives the desire to start a social-oriented new venture? To answer the research questions, the study uses the 2018 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER) dataset for Romania. To fulfill its objectives, the paper employs descriptive statistics, Pearson bivariate correlation and linear regression. The research results show that all the variables analyzed in the paper are significant positive predictors of the desire to start a social venture, with the individuals’ willingness to sacrifice their own free time to work on the business idea having the strongest significant impact. Future research should expand the area of investigation to a multi-country analysis, by adding new driving factors to the model, which support the social business purpose, to allow the policy makers to better sustain the social entrepreneurship sector of economy, which will generate sustainable economic growth.
Carmen Păunescu, Fabrizio D’Ascenzo

The Current Context of the Smart City Concept Development. Case Study: Romania

As the fourth industrial revolution, namely the industry 4.0, has become a significant element of the current social and economic lifestyle regarding automation and interconnectivity of several fields, the cities administration, transportation and living conditions of the population have changed worldwide in the sense of more dynamics, interconnectivity and innovation in recent years. Smart city tools, as a main factor of the industry 4.0, such as smart metering or smart traffic lights, have supported the process of the knowledge economy, innovation and sustainability by contributing to waste decrease, to energy efficiency, to urban efficiency, to emission reduction more effective cost and information transparency, while also promoting a more dynamic adaptation process to the current needs of the global population. By implementing the Delphi method based on interviews and questionnaires with 61 participants the research provides an insight in the implementation degree, needs and costs of some of the most important Smart city tools applied in Romania, as well as estimated trends for the next years. While more progress is needed in terms of the implementation of these smart city tools in order to obtain more information transparency, sustainability and interconnectivity between different institutions, devices and individuals, significant progress has been made. The current study offers an overview of the current context of the smart city tools development and implementation in the Romanian market, which has not been previously inquired.
Maria Alexandra Maassen, Adrian Dumitru Tantau, Lenka Smekalova

Impact of National Culture in Reaction to Service Failures

In a service, there are failures that are unavoidable. Since the culture can influence the reactions after failure, this study aimed to understand the impact of cultural dimensions in the reactions to service failures, namely the cultural dimensions of Hofstede (High vs Low Power Distance and Masculinity vs Femininity). For this, a mixed methodology was used. In a first phase, interviews were conducted and, subsequently, online questionnaires were used to know how the respondents would react after service failures in different scenarios. One scenario considers a weak power service (restaurant), other scenario considers a strong power service (lawyer). The results showed that different levels in the various cultural dimensions lead to different reactions to failures. Also, the degree of "power" and the frequency of service impact in a different way in some cultural dimensions. This study contributes to the service management literature, bridging some gaps in the culture in services theme and provides guidelines for service managers.
Raquel Ribeiro, Raquel Meneses

The Effect of Proper Complaint Handling on Customers’ Satisfaction and Loyalty in Online Shopping

Online shopping still imposes some challenges despite many benefits. That’s due to the lack of physical stores and the face-to-face physical interaction between the buyers and the sellers. Customers find difficulty to complain through email or phone when receiving an online order that falls below expectations. This research tests whether rapid complaint handling, resilience and service recovery management, may lead to customer loyalty and satisfaction. Also, whether a positive word of mouth increases customer base and retention, taking the Lebanese online shopping as our research area. The internet capacity with its scope and interactivity, provides retailers with a rich and flexible new channel. Despite the growing popularity of online shopping in Lebanon, lack of quality internet, security concerns, and lack of trust in the complaint handling platforms used prevents Lebanese from fully utilizing internet’s full potential. Self-constructed structured questionnaire was presented to 100 respondents who experienced online shopping in Lebanon. Results showed that, loyalty customer base relies on rapid and flexible customers’ complaint handling, encouraging positive word of mouth. In addition to fair, customized and creative compensation
Bassam Tarhini, Dana Hayek
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