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Editorial

Mark M. Michalski

 

As we enter the New Year and the new decade the current issue of Business and Public Administration Studies (bpastudies.org) provides an expanded range of topics and some welcome new authors.  We start with the tourism piece written by an intently and passionately ambitious student of tourism at the Hainan University.  I had a joy and a privilege of teaching at the Hainan Island in Haikou last summer, 2019.Hainan is the southernmost province of China and is also the smallest in terms of land area.  Until 1988 it was part of Guangdong province. I invited all of my many students (there where three cohorts of some 30 plus students in each) to submit their papers for review and possible publication.  Only one responded and I congratulate him for his efforts. 

 In the recent years, Chinese government in higher education system has been promoting tourists (and many young students), who want to learn, explore and experience firsthand new places in- and outside of China. The author takes Hainan University as a case study to assess pattern of tourism behavior, destination selection, of college students taking holiday vacations while travelling to various destinations. It employs a random survey approach and utilizes sample data analysis to detect the direction and demand for key tourist attractions. Suggestions are put forward regarding the current demand of students’ main tourist markets. The paper concludes by describing further need to promote even more orchestrated assessment and an intensive approach to analysis and development of growing university students’ tourist market.

With China’s rapidly growing economic and social wellbeing, many students and young people perceive growing new tourism industry as a way to tap and get involved in order to learn, visit and gain new and valuable experience for better working and attractive life. The rise in standard of living for many new middle class Chinese means more opportunities to travel and visit new places and new countries. Travel industry is trying to keep up with this high demand and shows vigorous opportunities to expand further. College students have a strong curiosity, and more free time to embrace new tourism market. For better exploration of tourism destinations this paper uses formal and informal questionnaires and surveys students’ attitudes, motives and their key behavior characteristics. It uses a sample survey asking some 500 participants.

In addition, to an overload of academic requirements, college students often consider traveling together, as a group. In survey results, college students travel with one or two companions. More than half of the respondents chose to travel for 2-3 days within a week. The main factors they considered included time and cost. Holidays travels were all within just one week. Because the biggest cost of travel is mainly accommodation and food, travel time is proportional to the cost, and the consumption capacity of students is not very large. Some of the respondents prefer to travel within a week. The number of longer time travel is relatively small. Promoting tourism dynamics produces two outcomes: namely, novelty of positive experience, psychology of learning, and learning to cope with tension. Factors involving nostalgia, exploration or cultural tourism dynamics have also other ingredients, but are not discussed in this paper.

Author concludes that students are both special consumer group and also a growing niche market.  The value of students’ travel lies not only in the expanding market, and also in the long-term value and their influence on the travel purchasing decisions of their relatives and friends. Through investigation and analysis, college students have their own characteristics and attributes in obtaining information channels. Tourism consumption, travel time, way and destination are quite different from on-the-job employees. Therefore, the development and design of diversified, personalized college tourism products and services, targeted tourism marketing activities are conducive to stimulate the potential tourism demand of college students and further promote the booming development of college students' tourism market.

 

2. Professor Liu argues that China has achieved laudable progress in poverty reduction since its reform and opening in 1978. Yet, its current precision poverty alleviation program may encounter challenges.  It moreover, may even fail, if the intrinsic weaknesses in its design and difficulties in its implementation are not addressed soon enough. He pointed out that perfect targeting is not impossible, personalized interventions will not solve structural problems and rapid interventions have little effects on chronic poverty or poverty trap. Some argued that extreme poverty in China cannot be eradicated once and for all by the end of 2020. As with many great goals, time overrun may occur. Some effective countermeasures must be in place to fend off the unfavorable consequences of that policy and to prevent the poor people from getting worse after 2020.  Poverty as a mass phenomenon has been with us as long as the mankind itself. It most abundantly manifested itself with the emergence of early capitalism. Even the most advanced capitalism of the early 21c. has not been able to eliminate and/or eradicate it. Poverty has been and may remain with us for quite some time, in various forms and degrees. Organized interventions have been introduced at large scale since early sixteen century.

Having made spectacular progress in reducing absolute poverty since its economic reform dated back to 1978, China’s achievement in poverty reduction has been generally well-received by the international community. China is regarded to have set an example for developing countries which are still wrestling with poverty. China’s poverty rate in 1980s and even early 90s was about 80 per cent based on the headcount ratio at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP). In most recent years   this poverty rate was lower than 10 per cent. This remarkable accomplishment was due in large part to rapid economic growth over this period. While the key contributing factor to China’s achievement is its continuous rapid economic growth since the reform and opening  (gaige kaifang), China’s success in poverty reduction may partially be attributed to the geographically targeted poverty reduction programs as the key targets in the national development with the decrease of the rural poor.  It was judged that the county was no longer the appropriate targeting unit; thereafter, the village took the place of the county as the basic unit of targeting, making the targeting more precise.

While most domestic institutions and academics in China seem to believe that Xi’s policy drive to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020 is likely to succeed considering its heavy political and financial capital investment, there are many different voices, especially from outside China. In conclusion, China might not eradicate absolute poverty by 2020, but it could nonetheless declare a victory. It will state absolute poverty has been eradicated in China for the first time in its history.  However, China still needs to devise strategies to handle other related problems still, so that the social cost could be minimized and the poor, as a whole, will suffer less.  Structural reform should be initiated as an ultimate weapon to eradicate poverty. The inequality in China’s distribution system has long been a big issue. Without a structural reform in its distribution system, no poverty alleviation effort can eradicate poverty completely, as the distribution system will continue to produce poverty.

 

3. Issues in Human Resources, by Rene Eduardo Pinilla tackles prevalent knowledge for the workplace from different cultures interacting with each other. The Human Resources Department is Rene’s focus in his research study.  The author relies on qualitative and quantitative data to explain why it is imperative to have an understanding of cross-cultural issues so that misunderstandings can be mitigated. Archival data and interviews are used to investigate whether and why individuals perceive communication differently when interacting with people of different cultures. The data has been analyzed and then used to answer the critical question: “To what degree does culture impact the way how individuals apply, assess and perceive communication in Human Resources?” Companies have been growing internationally very rapidly and it has created multicultural, diverse workforce. This has caused a lot more people to work and travel internationally. In a similar manner, many individuals have come into contact with people from all over the world in some sort of way either in person or remotely. More often these individuals bring along their cultural practices.

As the world becomes more interconnected, it gets a lot more multicultural which in turn demands individuals to be more aware of each other’s differences. As international companies continue to grow, the number of people traveling to different countries becomes greater which in turn increases the demand to become more culturally sensitive. This is especially important in the Human Resources field where individuals partake in hiring, interviewing and training. It is important to consider that managers from different cultures often have a different interpretation what an organization is and how the management is executed. With that said, misunderstandings may arise given certain ways of communicating are different from culture to culture. For that, it is important that people consider becoming more culturally aware of others different from them. Many times, Human Resource Managers fall into the mistake of holding their ideas as dominant and predetermined which can have a negative impact when having to interact with people from different cultures. This, in turn, creates an ethnocentric view from the manager and people which blocks them from learning and understanding other cultures. In a similar manner, communication and culture go hand in hand. 

In the workforce, management is a big part of everyday interaction. There is usually a hierarchy and those who are on a higher ladder dictate what is to be done, this however is not always the case. North Americans do not usually view organizations as social systems of relationships that run with power and authority as much as the French and Italian people do. Given that HR policies and practices often involve training, communication, and employee interaction, they may be particularly susceptible to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and conflicts when it comes to management and authority matters. Organizations which are aware of cross cultural issues gain an advantage and make expand more, especially to emerging markets.

 People who were interviewed, agreed to have their results as part of this study. The qualitative data was recorded on paper with their consent while the interview was happening. The research has some limitations: there could be a bigger sample to draw for future research. Secondly, there are other variables to be analyzed. Culture is a multi-dimensional concept and a lot can be learned and researched from it. For this research timeliness, collectivism, individualism, high context, low context and formality were considered. Many other characteristics of culture can be examined such as: religion, gender, sex, clothing, rituals and many others. Another limitation is that some statistical information may be hard to interpret given that many of the respondents put “some college” when asked to select their level of education.

 

4. Next article, by Charles F. Bingman elaborates on the great clash between the concepts of a largely private market based world, and a world of socialism.  The author assess the leadership in both China and India. Both believed that centrist authority and control was vital in managing their vast countries, and both felt that this centrist control should be exercised by a small self- chosen elite. In China, that elite took the form of a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dictatorship under Mao Zedong, who could only see the world in terms of enormous revolutionary conflict. In India, the elite were more benign and not as militant. Power was held as a matter of “right” by a combination of Socialist theorists and economists and high caste Brahmins who never doubted their own correctness. This elitism led to a set of negative attitudes about the education of the masses, some of which still persist. First, starting with the period of British rule, education of any kind was simply not seen as a role of governments, except possibly at the lowest levels, and this attitude was shared by the British themselves and by the senior figures in Indian government and society. This attitude manifested itself in the design of the national education system that emerged after independence. But the fundamental reality is that the government’s indifference and neglect represents a major failure of governance in modern day India. The political leadership at the national government level was skilled at avoiding its responsibility, handing it off to local governments knowing full well that these governments were not able to handle it.

 The national government starved the system of funds, played destructive politics, and tolerated bumbling incompetent school management, and inferior performance in the classroom. Most positions of power and influence were held by upper caste Brahmins who strongly felt that even elementary education for “lower castes” was a waste; that education was a privilege to be reserved for certain elite groups; that even mid-level castes needed only very basic education; that education for girls was outrageous; and that the possibility of lower castes learning to read sacred texts was sacrilegious. The government continues to want all universities to be State institutions, and recently it adopted the “centers of excellence” idea to upgrade a limited number of universities – while ignoring the rest. In other words, by concentrating on a few schools, the government could claim success and avoid facing up to a serious reexamination of the whole higher education system. The UGC can “deem” some private schools to be universities for the purpose of granting degrees, but it seldom does so, and it regulates private universities as stringently as it does public.

The single most important positive feature of the higher education sector in recent years has been the rapid growth of private colleges and non degree postsecondary educational institutions. More universities are also being chartered by States and even municipalities. These schools are divided between “aided” and “unaided”. The aided schools receive financial aid from governments, but this makes them subject to regulatory control. The unaided schools are completely independent, and they now attract more than thirty percent of all students, and it is argued that in fact, India really has de facto privatization. The children of the new middle class now have the money to vote with their feet and they have been moving away from government schools  to private schools, especially in science, engineering, business and the other skills of the new economy. But a big fear is that these private schools have, to date, been too often developed by people who are after the fast buck. Two thirds of them have been evaluated as below par, and one third cannot achieve accreditation. Political leadership continues staunchly to defend socialist ideals for public education, but the emergence of private universities/colleges is very much a reflection of the failure of this socialist policy.

India has yet to figure out how to match the record of the US, where there are top quality schools in both the public and the private sector. India needs a major change in philosophy; it must finally shed the vestiges of its socialist past and embrace the concept that private institutions are a good thing and that the government should encourage them by liberating them. The Chinese second revolution has involved the abandonment of many policies that were considered sacred theology under the Communists. Why can’t India make the same kind of change? The answer seems to be the implacable resistance of vested interests. Political leadership continues staunchly to defend socialist ideals. But no Indian university can be found in the top 400 of the world. While it will take lots of time, private universities in the US and elsewhere have augmented their revenues beyond what governments provide by higher fees, the development of large endowments, and the proceeds of research and contracting. If they are of low quality, they should go under, and the students moved to augment the attendance and revenues of the survivors. Other income might come from charitable contributions, grants from industry, sales of publications, or rents. In fact, public universities in India are suffering from the same syndrome that influences universities elsewhere: governments have proven politically unreliable sources of long term funding. They demand control, but won’t pay the tab.

 

5 Sergio Martinez is the author of next article titled: “Bottom-up Approach Exploration in Latin America and the Caribbean.” We have been witnessing a rapidly-evolving technological disruption, filled with astonishing innovations and facilitating economic growth for over more than half a century. More than two and half billion people have been lifted up from absolute poverty. As scientific advancements, social cohesion dynamics and globalization trends have been shaping behavioral patterns within societies during recent decades, the emergence of new technologies has been representing a catalytic role for systemic change. Scholars and practitioners from various disciplines have been approaching the prospective effects of technologies arising in the twenty-first century. They have conceptualized the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution and Globalization 4.0 as forthcoming technological revolutions implying potential multidimensional disruptions in economic, social and political relations between and within countries and world regions.  Costs and benefits have come along with every industrial revolution developed throughout history. Policymakers, business leaders, civil society advocates, academics and citizens alike have commonly acknowledged that ‘corruption’ is the most pressing challenge facing the vast majority of nations across the globe.

With a new industrial revolution ramping up in the planet progressively, a key question for policy discussion is to what extent FIR-led technologies can be game-changers in the fight against corruption around the world. By addressing this concern, the present essay argues that bottom-up approaches on the utilization of FIR-led technologies offer the potential to curb graft and enable further institutional platforms for anti-corruption actions.   Corruption has been an endemic and persistent challenge facing the LAC region. According to recent Transparency International, about two thirds of people from 20 LAC countries surveyed for the latest Global Corruption Barometer affirmed that corruption had risen in their countries.  Brazil, Peru, Chile and Venezuela have figured with even higher perception levels of corruption, with more than three fourths of surveyed citizens expressing so.  LAC has also exhibited increasing corruption trends in well-known aggregate measures. Transparency International elaborates the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that ranks countries according to their perception levels of corruption. It does so by assessing an aggregate score ranging from zero to one hundred, where zero indicates higher corruption and one hundred, lower corruption.

The international policy community has been widely addressing efforts to curb corruption with the pass of the years. The first global anti-corruption instrument entered into negotiations in 2003, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). It targets multiple variations of corruption, including bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions and private sector corruption.13 In addition to UNCAC, international organizations have developed complimentary global instruments to support the fight against corruption. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has also developed legally-binding anti-corruption standards.  In conclusion the author describes   some new technologies led by the FIR or G4-0 disruptions, which are invaluable game-changers in the fight against corruption. Citizens are key anticorruption actors with an enormous potential to harness the power of digital tools to combat graft in its multiple dimensions. While their role has been less emphasized in the bulk of anti-corruption instruments established up to date, they offer the most promising benefits in making new technologies work for nation-wide transparency, accountability and integrity.

 

6. Next – three highly promising researchers and new authors: Sirio Sapper, Marc Castillo and Maurício Michaelsen -- tackle evolution of how the Executive branch of Brazil and the United States issue Executive decrees. American Presidents have increased the number of executive orders issued over the course of the last 50 years. The Brazilian Executive has also seen a resurgence in the government's power to conduct Legislative deliberation. The article compares and contrasts the medida provisória issued by Brazilian Presidents and the executive order issued by U.S. Presidents through a historic and analytical lens. The American press refers to Brazilian medidas provisórias as executive orders. Academia and think tanks also make the same reference. Academics may receive a free pass on the subject, as long as they are not lawyers or jurists. In their case, law is a source of information, not a perspective or methodology. There are major differences concerning executive orders and medidas provisórias. In fact, they differ in nature, definition, characteristics, usage and historical features among other things. Their differences shine a light on the very distinction between American constitutional foundations and Brazil’s search for the rule of law. Most of Latin America is said to have been born in blood and fire. Brazil largely escaped a bloody beginning; however, it was not free of dictatorship nor presidential strongmen. The presidential systems in many countries in the Western Hemisphere have pushed for some type of executive decree or pronouncement. In the United States there is the executive order whereas in Brazil there is the medida provisória. As a historical background, some most well-known executive orders have clearly shaped the history of the United States. Sometimes they have yielded a better social fabric for the nation or at times caused a dark stain on the American consciousness. The desegregation of the armed forces by Harry S. Truman pioneered the way to complete desegregation across the country. Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order to intern Japanese Americans was a clear dark mark on the history of the nation while Dwight Eisenhower's executive order desegregating schools in 1957 generated the push that was needed to further Brown vs. Board of Education.

 

 In result of the barriers to decisive leadership and the natural dilemma between the legislative branch and the executive branch due to checks and balances, presidents have become naturally more eager to issue executive orders in order to comply as they see fit with their constitutional duty of enforcing the law. This more nuanced use of authority has given rise to Presidential Federalism where the Chief Executive of the United States exercises more power in order to promote what they see as the correct course of action in fulfilling their duties. Presidents have a tendency to issue an executive order to appease a certain constituency. Presidential Federalism makes distinct subnational communities more dependent on the political success of their leader in the White House. In nationalizing the political conversation and policy consequences of every administrative action, Presidential Federalism challenges the very idea of whether anything in contemporary U.S. politics is, “in the nature of things,” truly local anymore. The propensity of Presidential Federalism has grown through the years as the nation's chief executive has used his power supported by Article II of the Constitution to advance what he perceives as the rightful execution of the Constitution even when congress is at odds with his programs. Since the concept of Presidential Federalism is based on who the Commander in Chief is, there will naturally be a disparity with the issuing president ́s successor. Presidents continue to behave as if they are the nation's doctor, teacher, pastor, and engineer; meanwhile, those supposedly closest to the people remain hamstrung by federal directives.

 

Legal Nature of the Brazilian Medidas Provisórias Medidas provisórias can be understood as a legally binding provisional executive decree and an anticipated legal proposition at the same time. Thus, in American legal terms, these measures are a mixture of a finite executive order with a presidential request for a bill. During the first 120 days after the issuance of a medida provisória it is considered an executive order (a unilateral presidential directive, to be more precise), hence having the force of law during these 120 days.

The authors conclude that it will be unlikely that the power of the American Executive vis-à-vis Congress will diminish anytime soon as the executive order has become a formidable staple of the American President. Executive orders may be revoked or amended but they are likely to stay in vogue until a cataclysmic event tarnishes the office of the president. Another scenario that is unlikely to occur is that of an individual assuming the presidency that is an acute enthusiast of legislative power, someone who is willing to cede power. These moves towards restricting the influence of medidas provisórias can be interpreted as a mitigated attack on executive discretion. The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, has been making overtures in Congress to bring about the end of medidas provisórias. The ultimate question posed by comparing the American executive order to the Brazilian medida provisoria is which one has more power? It is without a doubt that the American executive wields more power through the executive order. It can be clearly ascertained that the reasoning behind this is that the American President has in a way garnered more power throughout the preceding decades due to a more gridlocked Congress and a nuanced usurpation of presidential power that has significantly increased in the previous several decades. The Brazilian President relies on the Brazilian Congress to validate the medida provisória. No such validation is required for American executive orders.

 

7. The Journal concludes with the article: ”Methods of service quality assessment in managing the property insurance market”  by  Jarosław Wenancjusz Przybytniowski.  The author argues that Polish business insurance market may now be characterized as a dynamically developing segment of the financial market. One of the reasons for this state of affairs may be the organizational and legal system, the origin of which was the package of insurance laws of 2003 in response to Poland’s accession to the European Union (EU) a year later. The competition among insurance institutions is one of the main prerequisites of growing expectations of the higher quality for the buyers. Customers possess more and more knowledge and, consequently, the awareness of what surrounds them; therefore, they expect that insurance institutions will fulfil their needs. Thus, high service quality leads to an increase in competitive advantage because buyers feel satisfied, i.e., they are more inclined to continue buying the services of the insurance institution and to recommend it to others. Thus, it is necessary to systematically measure property service quality and to establish the areas in need of improvement. From the point of view of an insurance institution, it is necessary to search for “determinants of customer satisfaction”

The concept of “quality” is systematically studied and needs special treatment. It results from the fact that it is rarely concluded what quality really is and, consequently, what service quality improvement is in property insurance institutions. Thus, according to the author, we can say that often it is tacitly assumed that “everybody knows, anyway, what is (questionable) »quality«, and what is (real) quality”. Therefore, there is no need to for more detailed deliberation on what the definition of quality includes and, in particular, “what it conceals”. Systemic changes in attitudes of the former communist block (including Poland) brought rapid development of companies in terms of IT, technology and economics. On the one hand, changes may relate to the quantitative aspect while, on the other hand, to the qualitative aspect”. In the global reality – the quality of services is becoming one of the fundamental indicators of assessment of organizations functioning in the market, as well as its perception as the factor of growth.

The Achievement of the research aim and hypothesis verification in this monograph required the author to adopt a proper work structure. Hence, his dissertation consists of five parts (three theoretical and two empirical), preceded by an introduction. In section titled: Service and its quality in the light of the literature, he  introduce the leader to the essence of the issue, some historical sources of the definition of service and its specificity were discussed, as well as its contemporary meaning. Moreover, the analysis of the concept of quality was conducted. Some connections between the quality and the service were described in the context of insurance service quality, the importance of customer service, actions connected with managing relations between an individual customer and an insurance institution and vice versa, as well as some factors and behaviors of customers in the process of insurance service acquisition. On the basis of some conclusions reached, there were determinants presented which impact the level of insurance service quality. The solutions adopted look at the above mentioned terms and concepts, as well as adjust the already existing concepts to insurance service. In the next section, insurance service quality as a prerequisite of managing an insurance institution, the analysis of the property insurance sector in Poland was conducted in terms of socioeconomic conditions of this market functioning. Some factors were analyzed in detail, which shape the foresight and the awareness of individual customers being active participants of the market of property insurance services.

 

 

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