Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Flash Flooding and Organisational Resilience Capacity: Qualitative Findings on Implications of the Catastrophic 2017 Flash Flood Event in Mandra, Greece

On November 15th, 2017, a catastrophic flash flood devastated the city of Mandra in Central Greece, resulting in 24 fatalities and extensive damages to the built environment and infrastructure. It was Greece’s deadliest and most destructive flood event for the past 40 years. In this paper, we examine the consequences of this event to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Mandra during the flood event, which were affected by the floodwaters to varying extents. In this context, we conducted semi-structured interviews with business owners-managers of 45 SMEs located in flood inundated areas and are still active nowadays, based on an interview guide that spanned 27 topics. The topics pertained to the disaster experience of the business and business owners-managers, knowledge and attitudes towards climate change and extreme weather, aspects of disaster preparedness and related assistance needs. Our findings reveal that the vast majority of the affected businesses experienced heavy damages in equipment and infrastructure or total destruction, which resulted in business interruption from several weeks up to several months. Assistance from relatives or friends helped for the damage repairs and business recovery, while state compensations were deemed insufficient compared to the extent of the damages. Most interviewees pinpoint flooding as one of the most critical risks, and many connect it with the climate crisis. However, they are either not willing or unable to apply property-level prevention measures in their businesses due to cost considerations or complex and cumbersome bureaucratic processes. In all cases, the business owners are fully aware of the flood hazard implications, and since the recovery from the event, they have engaged in basic mitigation measures and contingency plans in case of future flood events. Such plans include insurance contracts whenever possible (as the vast majority of the affected SMEs were uninsured at the time of the 2017 event) as well as simple relocations of critical equipment within their property. The study offers fruitful insights on latent drivers and barriers of SMEs’ resilience capacity to flash flooding. In this respect, findings such as ours, highlighting tensions that underpin behavioural responses and experiences, can feed into: a) bottom-up approaches for devising actionable and practical guidelines, manuals and/or standards on business preparedness to flooding, and, ultimately, b) policy-making for an enabling environment towards a flood-resilient SME sector.

Cultivating Individuality and Equality in Education: Ideas on Respecting Dimensions of Diversity within the Classroom

This systematic literature review sought to explore the dimensions of diversity that can affect classroom learning. This review is significant as it can aid educators in reaching more of their diverse student population and creating supportive classrooms for teachers and students. For this study, peer-reviewed articles were found and compiled using Google Scholar. Key terms used in the search include student individuality, classroom equality, student development, teacher development, and teacher individuality. Relevant educational standards such as Common Core and Partnership for the 21st Century were also included as part of this review. Student and teacher individuality and equality is discussed as well as methods to grow both within educational settings. Embracing student and teacher individuality was found to be key as it may affect how each person interacts with given information. One method to grow individuality and equality in educational settings included drafting and employing revised teaching standards which include various Common Core and US State standards. Another was to use educational theories such as constructivism, cognitive learning, and Experiential Learning Theory. However, barriers to growing individuality, such as not acknowledging differences in a population’s dimensions of diversity, still exist. Studies found preserving the dimensions of diversity owned by both teachers and students yielded more positive and beneficial classroom experiences.

Abating the Barriers to the Deployment of Radio Frequency Identification for Construction Project Delivery in South Africa

The use of technological innovations has been touted to be beneficial in the delivery of construction projects. Particularly, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is widely regarded to be of immense advantage for the management of construction projects. This study focused on evaluating the barriers to the use of RFID technology for the delivery of construction projects. Using Gauteng Province in South Africa as the study area, questionnaire was used in eliciting responses from construction professionals which made up the population of the study. Retrieved data were analyzed using Mean Item Score and One-Sample t-test. Findings from the study showed that the most significant barriers to the deployment of RFID for construction project delivery are high cost and lack of awareness. Conclusively, the study made recommendations that would aid in the abatement of the barriers to the use of RFID technology for construction project delivery.

Data-Driven Decision-Making in Digital Entrepreneurship

Data-driven business models are more typical for established businesses than early-stage startups that strive to penetrate a market. This paper provided an extensive discussion on the principles of data analytics for early-stage digital entrepreneurial businesses. Here, we developed data-driven decision-making (DDDM) framework that applies to startups prone to multifaceted barriers in the form of poor data access, technical and financial constraints, to state some. The startup DDDM framework proposed in this paper is novel in its form encompassing startup data analytics enablers and metrics aligning with startups' business models ranging from customer-centric product development to servitization which is the future of modern digital entrepreneurship.

The Significance of Awareness about Gender Diversity for the Future of Work: A Multi-Method Study of Organizational Structures and Policies Considering Trans and Gender Diversity

The future of work becomes less predictable which requires increasing adaptability of organizations to social and work changes. Society is transforming regarding gender identity in the sense that more people come forward to identify as trans and gender diverse (TGD). Organizations are ill-equipped to provide a safe and encouraging work environment by lacking inclusive organizational structures. The qualitative multi-method research about TGD inclusivity in the workplace explores the enablers and barriers for TGD individuals to satisfactorily engage in the work environment and organizational culture. Furthermore, these TGD insights are analyzed based on organizational implications and awareness from a leadership and management perspective. The semi-structured online interviews with TGD individuals and the photo-elicit open-ended questionnaire addressed to leadership and management in diversity, career development, and human resources have been analyzed with a critical grounded theory approach. Findings demonstrated the significance of TGD voices, the support of leadership and management, as well as the synergy between voices and leadership. Hence, it indicates practical implications such as the revision of exclusive language used in policies, data collection, or communication and reconsideration of organizational decision-making by leaders to include TGD voices.

Improving the Software Homologation Process through Peer Review: An Experience Report on Android Development Environment

In the current technological market environment, ensuring the quality of new products has become a complex challenge. In this scenario, companies have been investing in solutions that aim to reduce the execution time of software testing and lead to cost efficiency. However, companies that have a complex and specialized testing environment usually face barriers related to costly testing processes, especially in distributed settings. Sidia Institute of Technology works on research and development for the Android platform for mobile devices in Latin America. As we work in a global software development (GSD) scope, we have faced barriers caused by failures detected lately that have caused delays in the homologation release process on Android projects. Thus, we adopt an Internal Review process, using as an alternative to reduce these failures. In this paper it was presented the experience of a homologation team adopting an Internal Review process in order to increase the performance through of improving test efficiency. Using this approach, it was possible to realize a substantial improvement in quality, reliability and timeliness of our deliveries. Through the quantitative analyses, it was possible identify a positive growth in homologation efficiency of 6% after adoption of the process. In addition, we performed a qualitative analysis from the collected data through an online questionnaire. In particular, results show that association between failure reduction and review process adoption provides the most quality that has a positive effect on project milestones. We hope this report can be helpful to other companies and the scientific community to improve their process thereby increasing competitive advantages.

Barriers to the Use of Factoring Accounts Receivables: The Ghanaian Contractor’s Perception

Factoring accounts receivable is widely accepted as an alternative financing source and utilized in almost every industry that sells business-to-business or business-to-government. However, its patronage in the construction industry is very limited as some barriers hinder its application in the construction industry. This study aims at assessing the barriers to the use of factoring accounts receivables in the Ghanaian construction industry. The study adopted the sequential exploratory research method where structured and unstructured questionnaires were conveniently distributed to D1K1 and D2K2 construction firms in Ghana. Using the one-sample t-test and Kendall’s Coefficient of concordance data were analyzed. The most severe challenge concluded is the high cost of factoring patronage. Other critical challenges identified were low knowledge on factoring processes, inadequate access to information on factoring, and high risks involved in factoring. Hence, it is recommended that contractors should be made aware of the prospects of factoring of accounts receivables in the construction industry. This study serves as basis for further rigorous research into factoring of accounts receivables in the industry.

The Role of People and Data in Complex Spatial-Related Long-Term Decisions: A Case Study of Capital Project Management Groups

Significant long-term investment projects can involve complex decisions. These are often described as capital projects and the factors that contribute to their complexity include budgets, motivating reasons for investment, stakeholder involvement, interdependent projects, and the delivery phases required. The complexity of these projects often requires management groups to be established involving stakeholder representatives, these teams are inherently multidisciplinary. This study uses two university campus capital projects as case studies for this type of management group. Due to the interaction of projects with wider campus infrastructure and users, decisions are made at varying spatial granularity throughout the project lifespan. This spatial-related context brings complexity to the group decisions. Sensemaking is the process used to achieve group situational awareness of a complex situation, enabling the team to arrive at a consensus and make a decision. The purpose of this study is to understand the role of people and data in complex spatial related long-term decision and sensemaking processes. The paper aims to identify and present issues experienced in practical settings of these types of decision. A series of exploratory semi-structured interviews with members of the two projects elicit an understanding of their operation. From two stages of thematic analysis, inductive and deductive, emergent themes are identified around the group structure, the data usage, and the decision making within these groups. When data were made available to the group, there were commonly issues with perception of veracity and validity of the data presented; this impacted the ability of the group to reach consensus and therefore for decision to be made. Similarly, there were different responses to forecasted or modelled data, shaped by the experience and occupation of the individuals within the multidisciplinary management group. This paper provides an understanding of further support required for team sensemaking and decision making in complex capital projects. The paper also discusses the barriers found to effective decision making in this setting and suggests opportunities to develop decision support systems in this team strategic decision-making process. Recommendations are made for further research into the sensemaking and decision-making process of this complex spatial-related setting.

An Overview of Technology Availability to Support Remote Decentralized Clinical Trials

Developing new medicine and health solutions and improving patient health currently rely on the successful execution of clinical trials, which generate relevant safety and efficacy data. For their success, recruitment and retention of participants are some of the most challenging aspects of protocol adherence. Main barriers include: i) lack of awareness of clinical trials; ii) long distance from the clinical site; iii) the burden on participants, including the duration and number of clinical visits, and iv) high dropout rate. Most of these aspects could be addressed with a new paradigm, namely the Remote Decentralized Clinical Trials (RDCTs). Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted additional advantages and challenges for RDCTs in practice, allowing participants to join trials from home and not depending on site visits, etc. Nevertheless, RDCTs should follow the process and the quality assurance of conventional clinical trials, which involve several processes. For each part of the trial, the Building Blocks, existing software and technologies were assessed through a systematic search. The technology needed to perform RDCTs is widely available and validated but is yet segmented and developed in silos, as different software solutions address different parts of the trial and at various levels. The current paper is analyzing the availability of technology to perform RDCTs, identifying gaps and providing an overview of Basic Building Blocks and functionalities that need to be covered to support the described processes.

Drug Abuse among Immigrant Youth in Canada

There has been an increased number of immigrants arriving in Canada and a concurrent rise in the number of immigrant youth suffering from drug abuse. Immigrant youths’ drug abuse has become a significant social and public health concern for researchers. This paper explores the nature of immigrant youths’ drug abuse by examining the factors influencing the onset of substance misuse, the barriers that discourage youth to seek out treatment, and how to resolve addictions amidst immigrant youth. Findings demonstrate that diminished parental supervision, acculturation challenges, peer conformity, discrimination, and ethnic marginalization are all significant factors influencing youth to use drugs as an outlet for their pain, while culturally incompetent care and fear of family and culture-based addiction stigma act as barriers discouraging youth from seeking out addiction support. To resolve addiction challenges amidst immigrant youth, future research should focus on promoting and implementing culturally sensitive practices and psychoeducational initiatives into immigrant communities and within public health policies.

Barriers and Drivers towards the Use of Childhood Vaccination Services by Undocumented Migrant Caregivers in Sabah, Malaysia: A Qualitative Analysis

After 27 years, Malaysia reported polio cases in 2019 involving the children of the undocumented migrants living in Sabah. These undocumented migrants present a significant challenge in achieving the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD). Due to the recent polio outbreak among the undocumented migrant children in Sabah, an in-depth interview was conducted among the caregivers of undocumented migrant children to identify the barriers and drivers towards vaccinating their children. Financial barriers, legal citizenship status, language barrier, the COVID-19 pandemic, and physical barriers have been the barriers to access vaccination services by undocumented migrants. Five significant drivers for undocumented migrants to vaccinate their children are social influence, fear of disease, parental trust in healthcare providers, good support, and vaccine availability. Necessary action should be taken immediately to address the problems of vaccinating the children of undocumented migrants to prevent the re-emergence of VPD.

Lagrangian Flow Skeletons Captured in the Wake of a Swimming Nematode C. elegans Using an Immersed Boundary Fluid-Structure Interaction Approach

In this paper, Lagrangian coherent structure (LCS) concept is applied to wake flows generated in the up/down-stream of a swimming nematode C. elegans in an intermediate Re number range, i.e., 250-1200. It materializes Lagrangian hidden structures depicting flow transport barriers. To pursue the goals, nematode swimming in a quiescent fluid flow environment is numerically simulated by a two-way fluid-structure interaction (FSI) approach with the aid of immersed boundary method (IBM). In this regard, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, fully-coupled with Lagrangian deformation equations for the immersed body, are solved using IB2d code. For all simulations, nematode’s body is modeled with a parametrized spring-fiber built-in case available in the computational code. Reverse von-Kármán vortex street formation and vortex shedding characteristics are studied and discussed in details via LCS approach, including grid resolution, integration time and Reynolds number effects. Results unveil presence of different flow regions with distinct fluid particle fates in the swimming animal’s wake and formation of so-called ‘mushroom-shaped’ structures in attracting LCS identities.

The Journey from Lean Manufacturing to Industry 4.0: The Rail Manufacturing Process in Mexico

Nowadays, Lean Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 are very important in every country. One of the main benefits is continued market presence. It has been identified that there is a need to change existing educational programs, as well as update the knowledge and skills of existing employees. It should be borne in mind that behind each technological improvement, there is a human being. Human talent cannot be neglected. The main objectives of this article are to review the link between Lean Manufacturing, the incorporation of Industry 4.0 and the steps to follow to implement it; analyze the current situation and study the implications and benefits of this new trend, with a particular focus on Mexico. Lean Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 implementation waves must always take care of the most important capital – intellectual capital. The methodology used in this article comprised the following steps: reviewing the reality of the fourth industrial revolution, reviewing employees’ skills on the journey to become world-class, and analyzing the situation in Mexico. Lean Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 were studied not as exclusive concepts, but as complementary ones. The methodological framework used is focused on motivating companies’ collaborators to guarantee common results, innovate, and remain in the market in the face of new requirements from company stakeholders. The key findings were that both trends emphasize the need to improve communication across the entire company and incorporate new technologies into everyday work, from the shop floor to administrative staff, to help improve processes. Taking care of people, activities and processes will bring a company success. In the specific case of Mexico, companies in all sectors need to be aware of and implement technological improvements according to their specific needs. Low-cost labor represents one of the most typical barriers. In conclusion, companies must build a roadmap according to their strategy and needs to achieve their short, medium- and long-term goals.

An Effort at Improving Reliability of Laboratory Data in Titrimetric Analysis for Zinc Sulphate Tablets Using Validated Spreadsheet Calculators

The requirement for maintaining data integrity in laboratory operations is critical for regulatory compliance. Automation of procedures reduces incidence of human errors. Quality control laboratories located in low-income economies may face some barriers in attempts to automate their processes. Since data from quality control tests on pharmaceutical products are used in making regulatory decisions, it is important that laboratory reports are accurate and reliable. Zinc Sulphate (ZnSO4) tablets is used in treatment of diarrhea in pediatric population, and as an adjunct therapy for COVID-19 regimen. Unfortunately, zinc content in these formulations is determined titrimetrically; a manual analytical procedure. The assay for ZnSO4 tablets involves time-consuming steps that contain mathematical formulae prone to calculation errors. To achieve consistency, save costs, and improve data integrity, validated spreadsheets were developed to simplify the two critical steps in the analysis of ZnSO4 tablets: standardization of 0.1M Sodium Edetate (EDTA) solution, and the complexometric titration assay procedure. The assay method in the United States Pharmacopoeia was used to create a process flow for ZnSO4 tablets. For each step in the process, different formulae were input into two spreadsheets to automate calculations. Further checks were created within the automated system to ensure validity of replicate analysis in titrimetric procedures. Validations were conducted using five data sets of manually computed assay results. The acceptance criteria set for the protocol were met. Significant p-values (p < 0.05, α = 0.05, at 95% Confidence Interval) were obtained from students’ t-test evaluation of the mean values for manual-calculated and spreadsheet results at all levels of the analysis flow. Right-first-time analysis and principles of data integrity were enhanced by use of the validated spreadsheet calculators in titrimetric evaluations of ZnSO4 tablets. Human errors were minimized in calculations when procedures were automated in quality control laboratories. The assay procedure for the formulation was achieved in a time-efficient manner with greater level of accuracy. This project is expected to promote cost savings for laboratory business models.

Perceptions of Teachers toward Inclusive Education Focus on Hearing Impairment

The prime idea of inclusive education is to mainstream every child in education. However, it will be challenging for implementation when there are policy and practice gaps. It will be even more challenging when children have disabilities. Generally, the focus will be on the policy gap, but the problem may not always be with policy. The proper practice could be a challenge in the countries like Nepal. In determining practice, the teachers’ perceptions toward inclusive will play a vital role. Nepal has categorized disability in 7 types (physical, visual, hearing, vision/hearing, speech, mental, and multiple). Out of these, hearing impairment is the study realm. In the context of a limited number of researches on children with disabilities and rare researches on CWHI and their education in Nepal, this study is a pioneering effort in knowing basically the problems and challenges of CWHI focused on inclusive education in the schools including gaps and barriers in its proper implementation. Philosophically, the paradigm of the study is post-positivism. In the post-positivist worldview, the quantitative approach with the description of the situation and inferential relationship are revealed out in the study. This is related to the natural model of objective reality. The data were collected from an individual survey with the teachers and head teachers of 35 schools in Nepal. The survey questionnaire was prepared and filled by the respondents from the schools where the CWHI study in 7 provincial 20 districts of Nepal. Through these considerations, the perceptions of CWHI focused inclusive education were explored in the study. The data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential tools on which the Likert scale-based analysis was done for descriptive analysis, and chi-square mathematical tool was used to know the significant relationship between dependent variables and independent variables. The descriptive analysis showed that the majority of teachers have positive perceptions toward implementing CWHI focused inclusive education, and the majority of them have positive perceptions toward CWHI focused inclusive education, though there are some problems and challenges. The study has found out the major challenges and problems categorically. Some of them are: a large number of students in a single class; availability of generic textbooks for CWHI and no availability of textbooks to all students; less opportunity for teachers to acquire knowledge on CWHI; not adequate teachers in the schools; no flexibility in the curriculum; less information system in schools; no availability of educational consular; disaster-prone students; no child abuse control strategy; no disabled-friendly schools; no free health check-up facility; no participation of the students in school activities and in child clubs and so on. By and large, it is found that teachers’ age, gender, years of experience, position, employment status, and disability with him or her show no statistically significant relation to successfully implement CWHI focused inclusive education and perceptions to CWHI focused inclusive education in schools. However, in some of the cases, the set null hypothesis was rejected, and some are completely retained. The study has suggested policy implications, implications for educational authority, and implications for teachers and parents categorically.

The Significance of Cultural Risks for Western Consultants Executing Gulf Cooperation Council Megaprojects

Differences in commercial, professional and personal cultural traditions between western consultants and project sponsors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are potentially significant in the workplace, and this can impact on project outcomes. These cultural differences can, for example, result in conflict amongst senior managers, which can negatively impact the megaproject. New entrants to the GCC often experience ‘culture shock’ as they attempt to integrate into their unfamiliar environments. Megaprojects are unique ventures with individual project characteristics, which need to be considered when managing their associated risks. Megaproject research to date has mostly ignored the significance of the absence of cultural congruence in the GCC, which is surprising considering that there are large volumes of megaprojects in various stages of construction in the GCC. An initial step to dealing with cultural issues is to acknowledge culture as a significant risk factor (SRF). This paper seeks to understand the criticality for western consultants to address these risks. It considers the cultural barriers that exist between GCC sponsors and western consultants and examines the cultural distance between the key actors. Initial findings suggest the presence to a certain extent of ethnocentricity. Other cultural clashes arise out of a lack of appreciation of the customs, practices and traditions of ‘the Other’, such as the need for avoiding public humiliation and the hierarchal significance rankings. The concept and significance of cultural shock as part of the integration process for new arrivals are considered. Culture shock describes the state of anxiety and frustration resulting from the immersion in a culture distinctly different from one's own. There are potentially substantial project risks associated with underestimating the process of cultural integration. This paper examines two distinct but intertwined issues: the societal and professional culture differences associated with expatriate assignments. A case study examines the cultural congruences between GCC sponsors and American, British and German consultants, over a ten-year cycle. This provides indicators as to which nationalities encountered the most profound cultural issues and the nature of these. GCC megaprojects are typically intensive fast track demanding ventures, where consultant turnover is high. The study finds that building trust-filled relationships is key to successful project team integration and therefore, to successful megaproject execution. Findings indicate that both professional and social inclusion processes have steep learning curves. Traditional risk management practice is to approach any uncertainty in a structured way to mitigate the potential impact on project outcomes. This research highlights cultural risk as a significant factor in the management of GCC megaprojects. These risks arising from high staff turnover typically include loss of project knowledge, delays to the project, cost and disruption in replacing staff. This paper calls for cultural risk to be recognised as an SRF, as the first step to developing risk management strategies, and to reduce staff turnover for western consultants in GCC megaprojects.

A Surrealist Play of Associations: Neoliberalism, Critical Pedagogy and Surrealism in Secondary English Language Arts

This project utilizes principles derived from the Surrealist movement to prioritize creative and critical thinking in secondary English Language Arts (ELA). The implementation of Surrealist-style pedagogies within an ELA classroom will be rooted in critical, radical pedagogy, which addresses the injustices caused by economic-oriented educational systems. The use of critical pedagogy will enable the subversive artistic and political aims of Surrealism to be transmitted to a classroom context. Through aesthetic reading strategies, appreciative questioning and dialogue, students will actively critique the power dynamics which structure (and often restrict) their lives. Within the ELA domain, cost-effective approaches often replace the actual “arts” of ELA. This research will therefore explore how Surrealist-oriented pedagogies could restore imaginative freedom and deconstruct conceptual barriers (normative standards, curricular constraints, and status quo power relations) in secondary ELA. This research will also examine how Surrealism can be used as a political and pedagogical model to treat societal problems mirrored in ELA classrooms. The stakeholders are teachers, as they experience constant pressure within their practices. Similarly, students encounter rigorous, results-based pressures. These dynamics contribute to feelings of powerlessness, thus reinforcing a formulaic model of ELA. The ELA curriculum has potential to create laboratories for critical discussion and active movement towards social change. This proposed research strategy of Surrealist-oriented pedagogies could enable students to experiment with social issues and develop senses of agency and voice that reflect awareness of contemporary society while simultaneously building their ELA skills.

An Exploratory Survey Questionnaire to Understand What Emotions Are Important and Difficult to Communicate for People with Dysarthria and Their Methodology of Communicating

People with speech disorders may rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies to help them communicate. However, the limitations of the current AAC technologies act as barriers to the optimal use of these technologies in daily communication settings. The ability to communicate effectively relies on a number of factors that are not limited to the intelligibility of the spoken words. In fact, non-verbal cues play a critical role in the correct comprehension of messages and having to rely on verbal communication only, as is the case with current AAC technology, may contribute to problems in communication. This is especially true for people’s ability to express their feelings and emotions, which are communicated to a large part through non-verbal cues. This paper focuses on understanding more about the non-verbal communication ability of people with dysarthria, with the overarching aim of this research being to improve AAC technology by allowing people with dysarthria to better communicate emotions. Preliminary survey results are presented that gives an understanding of how people with dysarthria convey emotions, what emotions that are important for them to get across, what emotions that are difficult for them to convey, and whether there is a difference in communicating emotions when speaking to familiar versus unfamiliar people.

A Case Study on Barriers in Total Productive Maintenance Implementation in the Abu Dhabi Power Industry

Maintenance has evolved into an imperative function, and contributes significantly to efficient and effective equipment performance. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is an ideal approach to support the development and implementation of operation performance improvement. It systematically aims to understand the function of equipment, the service quality relationship with equipment and the probable critical equipment failure conditions. Implementation of TPM programmes need strategic planning and there has been little research applied in this area within Middle-East power plants. In the power sector of Abu Dhabi, technologically and strategically, the power industry is extremely important, and it thus needs effective and efficient equipment management support. The aim of this paper is to investigate barriers to successful TPM implementation in the Abu Dhabi power industry. The study has been conducted in the context of a leading power company in the UAE. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 employees, including maintenance and operation staff, and senior managers. The findings of this research identified seven key barriers, thus: managerial; organisational; cultural; financial; educational; communications; and auditing. With respect to the understanding of these barriers and obstacles in TPM implementation, the findings can contribute towards improved equipment operations and maintenance in power organisations.

Perceived Risks in Business-to-Consumer Online Contracts: An Empirical Study in Saudi Arabia

Perceived risks play a major role in consumer intentions, behaviors, attitudes, and decisions about online shopping in the KSA. This paper investigates the influence of six perceived risk dimensions on Saudi consumers: product risk, information risk, financial risk, privacy and security risk, delivery risk, and terms and conditions risk empirically. To ensure the success of this study, a random survey was distributed to reflect the consumers’ perceived risk and to enable the generalization of the results. Data were collected from 323 respondents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA): 50 who had never shopped online and 273 who had done so. The results indicated that all six risks influenced the respondents’ perceptions of online shopping. The non-online shoppers perceived financial and delivery risks as the most significant barriers to online shopping. This was followed closely by performance, information, and privacy and security risks. Terms and conditions were perceived as less significant. The online consumers considered delivery and performance risks to be the most significant influences on internet shopping. This was followed closely by information and terms and conditions. Financial and privacy and security risks were perceived as less significant. This paper argues that introducing adequate legal solutions to addressing related problems arising from this study is an urgent need. This may enhance consumer trust in the KSA online market, increase consumers’ intentions regarding online shopping, and improve consumer protection.