Essays about Countries

Essay On The Structure Of The International System

At the present time, much emphasis of the discussion over the system of the international relations is on the topic that it is unjust at its root and, as a result, promotes under-development. Throughout the history of human development and the world system formation, "the natural systems that have supported human life on the planet are being stretched, some to breaking point. What science has been telling us for decades is now making itself felt in the most unmistakable ways" (McDonagh, 2013, p. 1). In fact, long before the development of the system of international relations and world economy, every individual and every group used to improve their living conditions through exploiting the natural resources which have always belonged to them. "Every continent independently participated in the early epochs of the extension of man’s control over his environment – which means in effect that every continent can point to a period of economic development" (Rodney & Babu, 1981. p. 2-3).

But what do we have today? Let's take a look at Africa, which is the original home of a human being. This continent "was a major participant in the processes in which human groups displayed an ever increasing capacity to extract a living from the natural environment" (Rodney & Babu, 1981. p. 3-4). However, in the modern world., the majority of African countries are considered to be the third-world countries, suffering from starvation and having no prospects for development.
Therefore, the main point of this essay is to prove that the current structure of the international system is inherently unfair, creates inequalities , and benefits only the most advanced and developed nations.

Not only prominent economists and doctors of sociology are concerned about the inequality promoted by the current structure of the international system, but also other men of outstanding personality, including political and religious leaders, express their concern about this issue. For instance, Pope Francis (2013), asserted that "Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities".

Speaking from the perspective of economic opportunities, it should be noted that the process of globalization affects various states in different ways and the undeveloped countries do not experience all the benefits of this process as compared to the developed nations. "Inequality in this context refers to an unequal distribution of benefits and losses under the uneven process of a globalized world" (Ashaver, 2013, p. 34).

The fundamental problem of the international system is that the benefits of globalization cannot be distributed evenly around the world. The majority of industrial sectors of the developed nations benefit from international trade and make huge profits by means of the influx of skilled labor from abroad, international funding. In the meantime, the majority of developing nations lose their competitiveness or simply become unnecessary. It is obvious that these forgotten industries need time, money, and physical resources to adjust to the new conditions of life within the international economic system.

However, this process of renewal and restoration is impossible for the majority of industries in the third-world and developing countries. As a result, owners end up losing money and their business overall, and common people end up losing their jobs. These changes deeply and profoundly hurt the national economies of each country, causing great changes in the economic structure and increasing the unemployment rate.

As of today, the structure of the international system also provides for the de-industrialization of the economy, which basically means that manufacturing sector loses ground, while the arena is left to the thriving service sector. As a result, workers have to go through the process of professional retraining in order to find a place in this changing global system.
What is more, the current international system creates a large gap between skilled and unskilled employees. Of course, skilled workers' salary increases significantly, while the unskilled ones get paid peanuts or even lose their source of income. Although some economists argue that such inequality is a powerful incentive for employees to train, develop and acquire a new qualification, it definitely gives rise to unemployment.

Such inequality of economic opportunities causes significant wage disparities, particularly in the developing world. For instance, "Brazil has one of the most unequal distribution of income - the top 20% of the population receives 26 times the income of the bottom 20%" (United Nations Development Programme, 1992, p. 22).
Continuing this topic, it should be noted that "inequality is also manifested in the fast-growing gap between the worlds rich and poor people and between the developed and developing countries, and in the large differences among nations in the distribution of gains and losses" (Ashaver, 2013, p. 34).
Another major point of concern regarding the current international system is the flows of international migration. In pursuit of better living, many unskilled and unqualified workers move from the undeveloped countries to the developed states. There is no need to explain that their salary differs significantly from that of the country residents.
The majority of governments of the developed nations impose severe restrictions and barriers in order to restrict immigration flows. "It is clearly unrealistic to expect that industrial countries will greatly lower their immigration barriers" (United Nations Development Programme, 1992, p. 6).

Another major issue associated with the international migrations is the labor standars and working conditions the immigrants have to operate in. In fact, in recent years, "international labor standards have become the newest point of contention in trade disputes between industrial and developing countries" (Golub, 1997, p. 20). A lot immigrant workers have to work in unfavorable working conditions, work excess hours in order to earn a living. What is more, many multinational corporations employ young children and make them work up to 12-14 hours a day.
As to international investment, it should be noted that the allocation of investment also seems to be extremely unfair. The undeveloped nations, as a general rule, receive no or little investment as compared to the developed nations. "Why have these countries attracted so little investment? The major reason is that investment is generally more profitable in rich countries than in poor ones" (United Nations Development Programme, 1992, p. 53).
It is obvious that international investment is one of the key elements for successful and productive development for the third-world countries. As a result, "where the international economic system is hostile to investment in new, productivity enhancing economic activities is where its elements create obstacles to development" (Montes, 2014, p.2).

According to former Secretary-General of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev (2001), "We could only solve our problems by cooperating with other countries. It would have been paradoxical not to cooperate". For the purpose of solving the abovementioned issues of promoting under-development, various international organizations and institution, including IMF, the World Bank, GATT, and WTO, have been established. However, having regard to the fact that the issues of under-development still exist and that the gap between developed and developing nations is widening year by year, there are some questions that need to be answered.
In his research "Globalization, Development, and International Institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives", A. Milner clearly stated the three key questions that still remain without answer: "Would the developing countries have been better off if these institutions had not existed? Would resources for aid and crisis management have been as plentiful or more so if they had not existed? Would globalization have occurred as fast and extensively, or even faster and deeper, if these international institutions had not been present?" (Milner, 2005. p. 834).

References

Ashaver, B., 2013. Poverty, Inequality and Underdevelopment in Third World Countries: Bad State Policies or Bad Global Rules? IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science [Online], 15(6), 33–38. Available from: <http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/vol15-issue6/f01563338.pdf?id=7752> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2015].
Golub, S., 1997. Are International Labor Standards Needed to Prevent Social Dumping? Finance & Development [Online], 20-23. Available from: <https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/1997/12/pdf/golub.pdf> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2015].
McDonagh, T., 2013. Unfair, Unsustainable, and Under the Radar: How Corporations Use Global Investment Rules to Undermine a Sustainable Future. Democracyctr.Org [Online], 1-18. Available from: <http://democracyctr.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/under_the_radar_english_final.pdf> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2015].
Milner, H., 2005. Globalization, Development, and International Institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives. Perspectives on Politics [Online], 3(4), 833–854. Available from: <http://faculty.georgetown.edu/jrv24/milner_05.pdf> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2015].
Montes, M.F., 2014. Obstacles to Development Arising from the International System . In Obstacles to Development in the Global Economic System . Geneva: South Centre, pp. 1–29.
Rodney, W. & Babu, A.M., 1981. Some Questions on Development. In How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, pp. 1–432.
PSB, 2001. Mikhail Gorbachev Interview. PBS.Org. [Online] (updated 23 Apr. 2001) Available from: <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitext/int_mikhailgorbachev.html> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2015].
The Guardian, 2013. Pope Francis: the humble pontiff with practical approach to poverty. [Online] (updated 14 Mar. 2013) Available from: <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/13/jorge-mario-bergoglio-pope-poverty> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2015].
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 1992. The widening gap in global opportunities . In Human development report 1992. New York: [Oxford University Press] for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) [Online] Available from: <http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/221/hdr_1992_en_complete_nostats.pdf> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2015].

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Political Violence Research Paper Samples

Introduction

One among the accepted reality in international relations is the prevailing recognition of the idea that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. This is further reinforced by the shocking turn of events on September 11, 2001 where a group of terrorist coordinated a series of bombing in the United States. However, many political analysts argued that terrorism is not solely associated as resort taken by the weak to get their messages across, rather, it also a means by which the strong impose their will on the former. While this may not be generally accepted, defining terrorism would shed

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Free Report On Discursive Analysis Essay.

Foundation Course – Researching Psychology

Abstract Page
The research being conducted has practical, theoretical and scientific value in the research field. Lacanian discourse analysis helps identify the treatment in psychoanalysis, can be applied to studying mental and social characteristics of a language spoken by various minorities.
An interviewer and an interviewee took part in a research; the conversation was written down and attached to the paper on the consent of the interviewee. The theory of Lacanian Discursive Analysis has been applied to the paper in order to identify the symbolic and the imaginary unconscious reflected in the language spoken.
In the first section of

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Essay On Gender Inequality In Sports

Abstract

Since time immemorial, women have been excluded from participating in a lot of things, be it politics or sports. Although they posses skill and talent, they are being excluded because they are ‘women’. Unfortunately for women, today, they do not receive opportunities like men. Even though the United States of America has made progress with regard to this issue, countries still exclude women from sports. There has been an increase in their participation but it is still not as great as the participation from men. Recently, the United Nations has started using sports as a ‘vehicle’ to eliminate gender inequality. Raising awareness and achieving 20% participation from women are some of its goals.

Gender Inequality in different parts of the World

While these organizations are moving forward, countries like South Africa and Canada are moving backwards. In South Africa, men still dominate sports and women are excluded due to gender and patriarchy (Taylor, Francis, 2015). Although there is an “Affirmative Action Policy”, there is no female representation in South Africa for games like golf and shooting. South Africa is known for being unequal. Efforts are being taken to eliminate inequality but the implementation is too slow. Nolubabolu Ndzundzuu was a South African cricketer with dreams to make it big in her cricketing career. Sadly for her, she wasn’t recognized and given equal opportunities like the South African cricketers. She said that the South African government had promised her many things but in the end, she had to rely on stipends for her meals. She also said that lack of sponsors for women’s sports is the sole reason for gender inequality. Not just South Africa, even Canada is showing signs of gender inequality in the field of sports. Gender inequality that thrives in Canada has captured the attention of the UN and many more. The wage gap problem is the predominant factor for poor participation of women in sports. A report said that women are paid 34 times lesser than men in Canada. Due to this, the Canadian government has taken steps in order to bridge the gap between men and women in terms of wages. Lectures and seminars are being conducted for women in order to make sports related employment choces. They could become coaches, trainers,, managers, administrators or players themselves, also because “Women have been much more a part of the sporting lives of different nations in the world than has previously been believed” (Hargreaves, 2000, p. 2).

Australia is another country with poor gender equality when it comes to sports. Recent statistics show that the impact that the men’s cricket team (Australia) had a greater impact than the women’s team. Although they are skilled, Australian women face harassment when they enter into this field. Objectification of women has always been a problem. Recently, Lingerie football league came to Australia. This is a football league for women where they have to play wearing lingerie. This is certainly raised eyebrows in other parts of the world. What’s more astonishing was that, the rules said that if the women wore anything but lingerie, they would be disqualified. This doesn’t just question the morals of the people hosting it but also the morals of the people watching it. Even in Olympics for that matter, women sports were brought in for their body and ultimately, viewership. As disgusting as it sounds, it’s the truth. Despite the existing inequality in Australia, a step has been taken forward to discard all gender stereotypes through a project called ‘Sport media and stereotypes’. Too often, though, “Controversy surrounds the different treatment of men and women in sport: the glorification of male achievements and the downgrading of women’s achievements” (Hargreaves, 2000, p. 3).

Muslim participation has been discouraged when it comes to sports, especially for women. It’s been that way for a very long time now. Isn’t physical activity a right for both men and women? Why the racism? It’s because of partiality and prejudice that has led to the discrimination of Muslim women in organized sports which have caused them to extract themselves from interaction and various other activities. The reason why all Muslim women cover themselves completely is because of morale and simplicity since clothing is a noticeable feature of culture. Since they come from such a background, they aren’t allowed to wear clothes which expose their body. Sports clothing can be an obstacle for rivalry for women who want to cover up and a lot of disruptions are caused because of this. For example, University of Birmingham academics highlight the exclusion of Muslim sports women at the Olympics. So, why are women excluded from the main sports? Shouldn’t sports lead to empowerment of women and promote gender equality? However, women are prevented from harnessing opportunities which in turn leads to societal exclusion. Thus, sports isn’t globally perceived as it is continues to be overlooked by males. Sports can satisfy women by strengthening their well being as it also promotes self esteem and ensures integrity by enhancing their abilities.

As well as masking the harmful features of modern sport, popularizing the individual heroine tends also to legitimate inequalities” (Hargreaves, 2000, p. 5). Under the eyes of law, women and men will always be the same. This brings us to the question,” How and why are women excluded in sports”. To answer the first question, we know there is gender inequality when it comes to distributing the prize money. Although women are allowed to participate, men get a larger portion of the prize money than women. According to A BBC report, this includes games like cricket, squash and golf (BBC SPORT, 2014). Secondly, women have to face criticism as their physical prowess is always compared to that of men. Talent among women is not nonexistent but since men play sports at a higher level, fans enjoying watching those more. Women are usually seen as ‘sex objects’ when they are participating in sports. More so, that they are used for marketing. This causes a great deal of discomfort for the women race. Society always stands as a barrier to most good things. Even in this case, the society doesn’t want to see women performing because that would mean women doing something that they ‘shouldn’t be’. When it comes to viewership, it is said that viewers look for ‘quality’ more than ‘quantity. Physical strength and aggression are two otter things that keep women away from sports. The physical strength that men posses is definitely greater than that of women but that would only matter when women and men have to go against each other in sports. This is a common understanding that “stories of sport are almost exclusively stories of those in power” (Hargreaves, 2000, p. 8).
Recently, women have also become coaches to train other women and nurture their skills. Allowing women participation in this field has also helped enhance their leadership and decision making skills. Besides all this, in Malaysia, there has been development with regard to training women with disabilities. This is a big step forward for the country and the world, as a whole. Since viewership is solely based on education right from school, educational institutions are making it a point to develop gender equality. They are also giving physical education to girls and women so that they can make their choices to be a part of this field. Since the needs and interests of women vary from men, the United Nations has made it a point to study all the differences and come up with a neutral approach. Health is one such factor.

Combating health-related issues has always been a negative point for women. Therefore, United Nations along with a few countries is trying to bring out a solution for this. Poland has implanted a plan regarding the maternity issue. Most sportswomen, after their pregnancy, quit their job. Poland has started giving funds to these women, that is, stipends during their maternity leave so that it will motivate them to rejoin the field after giving birth. In other parts of the world, like Egypt, it is believed that older women should also be given a chance to participate. Therefore, physical trainers have been appointed in local parks to train elderly women. In Lithuania and West Bengal, steps have been taken forward by nongovernmental organizations to spread awareness regarding gender inequality in sports. A number of initiatives are being implemented to give girls the chance to be leaders, improve their confidence, increase their self-awareness and strengthen their capacities in terms of decision-making, critical thinking and negotiating (United Nations Secretariat, 2005). The Sports welfare community in Ecuador has raised funds to support sportswomen. In Pakistan, a mini marathon was conducted for women to spread awareness. The International Olympic committee has also promised to contribute to gender equality by including women in various sports. Several countries have also introduced sports clothes for women. This is especially for women who come from communities that are strictly against exposing skin. These are important “questions about inclusion and exclusion, about power and privilege, and about local-global connections” (Hargreaves, 2000, p. 13).

Conclusions

All around the world, steps are being taken to promote gender equality in the field. But, even after all this, women athletes face inequality. They are paid less and they are often not respected enough. Is that fair? Only when the point of view is changed, gender equality in this field will prevail. Women will be able to showcase what they are capable of doing only when they are given the right opportunities. If westernized countries like Australia and Canada do not support gender equality, then how will the African Union be able to make progress? All in all, no matter what the progress is, only if we look at the issue from a vantage point, will an actual difference be made for women as well the field of sports.

References

BBC SPORT. (2014). Women In Sport Still Facing Inequality Over Prize Money. Retrieved July 26, 2015 from < http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/29786682 >
Division for the Advancement of Women Department of Economic and Social Affairs United Nations Secretariat. (2005). Women, Gender Equality And Sport. Retrieved July 26, 2015 from <http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/Women%20and%20Sport.pdf>
Failla, A. (2015). The Evolution of Women In Sport. Retrieved July 26, 2015 from
< http://www.femail.com.au/womeninsport.htm >
Hargreaves, J. (2000). Heroines of Sport. New York, NY: Routledge.
Rodriguez, A. (2013). Female Athletes Still Face Inequality. Retrieved July 26, 2015 from http://sundial.csun.edu/2013/09/female-athletes-still-face-inequality/
Taylor & Francis. (2015). Women's Sport Participation And Gender Equality: African Women In The Beautiful Game. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150624110200.htm

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Free Coca Cola Research Paper Example

It is a fact that Coca-Cola Company is the largest beverage company in the world, offering more than 500 different sparkling brands to their customers. Today the company portfolio includes 20 billion dollar brands featuring Sprite, Fanta, Simply, Vitaminwater, Del Valle, Diet Coke, Minute Maid, and, of course, Coca-Cola. Now the company is the number one provider of the most popular sparkling beverages, juices or juice drinks, and ready-to-drink coffees.
Thanks to the biggest beverage distribution system, the customers from more than two hundred countries are free to enjoy the famous taste of The Coca-Cola Company’s beverages. It

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Essay On IKEA’s Response to Global Challenges

Abstract

The contemporary globalized environment poses numerous challenges for business to achieve success. In this regard, various dimensions of globalization become more and more entwined and companies need to adapt to these changes. One of the most complex aspects is the socio-cultural dimension which requires systematic and multi-stakeholder involvement. The aim of this paper is to address the case of IKEA and its approach to resolving the issue of child labor used by its suppliers in India. Consequently, the rationale for IKEA’s approach is outlined with further implications for the company and global businesses in general. IKEA’s case demonstrates the new trends in globalization and business conduct which require multi-dimensional cooperation towards the sustainable development as a precondition for the successful business performance of a company. From the perspective of the local population, the primary benefit is long-term commitments of the international corporations and the consequent stability of the local socio-cultural development and economic growth.
Key words: IKEA, child labor, globalization, corporate responsibility.

IKEA’s Response to Global Challenges

In the contemporary globalized and internationalized world, of the company to achieve success it has to address numerous issues except the quality and cost-efficiency of its production. To achieve success, a company has to consider diverse political and cultural aspects of its business conduct and manufacturing of the final products. Although this concern becomes essential in the contemporary business environment, it can be incredibly challenging to fulfill monitoring across various branches located in around the word. On the other hand, in order to preserve a successful and continuous profile, the company has to make sure that its profile is integral across all branches and cooperation with suppliers corresponds to its profile and values. The aim of this paper is to address the issues of globalization and continuity of company’s profile in the example of IKEA and its child labor issue in India.
Although globalization poses numerous economic benefits for a business to expand, optimize its manufacturing capacities in the third world, and reduce cost of the final product, globalization also has numerous threats and challenges that company has to deal with and develop a consistent approach within its strategy (Smith, 2010). In this regard, a company also has to address such dimensions of globalization as political, cultural and ecological. In other words, having a strong public profile in the country of origin is no longer enough for one’s success. The company also has to demonstrate the consistency of its public profile on the global scale. In other words, the company has to abide by the rules and public perceptions of the country of its origin or according to the international standards also in other countries in order not to damage its image (Spinello, 2014).

IKEA had a negative experience of being criticized for some of its carpet supplier from India using child labor in carpets production. The company faced with cultural and political-legal challenges posed by globalization. Moreover, unlike nowadays, when a company has various cases and strategies to follow in resolving such issues, IKEA faced the problem when the issue of child labor was quite new in the business environment and consequent options for its handling were limited (Smith, 2010). In this regard, the available options branch manager Marianna Barner could choose from included cancelling contract with suppliers, withdrawing from the market or addressing the issue in some way. The first two options would mean financial losses, while the last one had very little certainty in its application (Spinello, 2014). On the other hand, the issue could not be ignored since media programs on the subject had already damaged company’s image before.

The primary threat of such issues on the global scale is that the national image of the company can be easily damaged and its core values challenged. For IKEA that placed equal access to its products across various categories of society, equality and humanness were the core of its philosophy. Moreover, the relationship with suppliers was based on the crucial principle of using sources in an unconventional way. Thus, giving up on suppliers would have been damage to that principle and could result in further deterioration of relations with other existing suppliers (Vogel, 2006).

The most functional resolution of the issue is to preserve company’s presence in the country and continue doing business but in a new way. In this regard, the company would have to develop its own way of dealing with the matter in accordance with the international law and company’s concept and values. Barner did the right choice of getting involved with the national and international organizations dealing with the issue of child labor. This gave her and the company the relevant knowledge of the issue and related aspects such as age differences of children allowed working in different countries, local legislature, a relationship between child labor and schooling (Spinello, 2014). In this context, IKEA created a precedent how other companies have to deal with similar issues – promoting the higher standards through cooperation with the local NGOs, international organizations and local suppliers:

organization promoting the well-being of children. Together with UNICEF experts,
local governments and NGOs, IKEA started an ambitious and large-scale project
aimed at improving education, recruiting for schools and raising awareness among
parents that education is important for their children. In order to decrease
dependency on child labor, a microcredit program was started mainly aimed at
strengthening the economic position of women” (Jeurissen, 2007, p. 135).
Moreover, as part of this response, the company introduced zero-tolerance policy regarding suppliers using child labor. For these purposes, monitoring workshops with suppliers in the target countries were introduced and strict rules were imposed. If the instance of child labor was found and not resolved, IKEA would cancel a contract with its supplier and would not conduct business with the anymore (Vogel, 2006).

IKEA’s solution of the issue is incredibly functional in dealing with various dimensions of globalization. It is three-fold in its nature. First of all, the company preserved its image and projected its values on the global scale. Secondly, it demonstrated the Western public that it follows the same standards in all countries were its conducts business, thus the company kept its customers. Finally, IKEA as an international company demonstrated its long-term commitments in the various foreign markets and moreover responsibilities with the local communities (Smith, 2010).

The last aspect is particularly essential since there is a tendency in the global business to demonstrate long-term commitments to the local communities rather than simple gaining profit schemes. In this regard, international companies accept the tendency of merging of different global dimensions and corporate responsibility in terms of development of the local communities (Vogel, 2006). The main benefit for the companies is that they build a functional relationship with the local people and also contribute to the improvement of the sustainable development of these communities. In a long-term perspective, these communities will become more functional labor force with desired skills and also future consumers of the companies’ products.

Stakeholder dialogue and co-operation are important ways for business to shape

their social responsibility, since businesses are often partially responsible for causing
a social problem. However, business cannot solve problems by themselves they did
not cause by themselves, so it is important to seek collaboration with others. An
important mechanism within these partnerships is that different parties can mutually
influence the conditions of their performance” (Jeurissen, 2007, p. 135).
Thus, the essence of IKEA’s response to the child labor issue with its suppliers was to take on board as many stakeholders as possible in order to address the issue in the most systematic and functional manner. A similar approach was taken by Marriott International that placed the cultural differences and traditions in the heart of its global strategy (Spinello, 2014). In this regard, cooperation with various stakeholders aimed at improvement of life through work with Marriott International made it one of the most desired working places in the hospitality business (Vogel, 2006).
Overall, from all mentioned above it can be concluded that with the strengthening of global trends, companies have to pay more attention to their socio-cultural commitments in the communities they do business in. IKEA’s approach was in involving numerous stakeholders and treating the issue in its systematic and contextual complexity. IKEA’s approach became a precedent in the field of child labor and an example to follow by many international companies.

References

Jeurissen, R. (2007). Ethics & Business. Assen: Royal Van Gorcum.
Smith, C. (2010). Global Challenges in responsible Business. Cambridge: Cambridge
Spinello, R. (2014). Global Capitalism, Culture, and Ethics. New York, NY: Routledge.
Vogel, D. (2006). The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limitations of Corporate Social
responsibility. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

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Essay On B2B System

Section 1: Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

With upwards of 20 stores and operations across multiple countries, Guaranteed Shoe Company should expectedly have supply chains that involve even more countries, staff, and business partners. This renders it necessarily difficult, resource-intensive and laborious to ensure the business runs effectively, especially given the automated online ordering. Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) offer a backbone in the integration and automation of internal information systems and business processes across the logistics, manufacturing, distribution, accounting, human resources and finance functions of the organization.

It offers seamless support for internal processes and integration with external business partners to ensure that value is delivered to the customers. For instance if a client places an order for shoes that are unavailable at a store, the system can have the shoes shipped from other stores, and/or make an order from the supplier without the involvement of staff. Similarly, while the company, currently has to stock products in the stores, determine how fast they move before deciding on the pre-order amount and/or discontinue the product, this can now be done automatically. It is possible to determine how well individual products sell, and ERP systems’ automatic inventory management systems enable the company to automatically re-order more and/or make other decisions regarding the stocks. The system aggregates customers’ orders, handles purchasing and accounts payables, scheduling, order tracking, inventory control and warehousing, distribution/shipment and accounts receivables.
According to O'Brien & Marakas (2010), ERP systems create commerce platforms, backed up with additional support capabilities that include streamlined inventory management, warehouse management and flexible pricing, strengthened back office and core applications (e.g. finance and accounts receivables). Other benefits include increased visibility into the Guaranteed Shoe Company’s supply chain and ease operational scalability. Since the company is headquartered in the US and has 20 branch offices across the world, decision-making is heavily dependent on the ability for the senior managers to get excellent quality information on the company’s performance. With ERP systems, this information is readily available and continuously updated, which means that managers do not have wait for reports from the branch offices before they can a decision.

This way, the system ensures quality and efficiency in the internal processes, cost reduction, provision of real-time cross-functional information to support decision-making, and organizational agility in responding to varying consumer needs. These systems transform Guaranteed Shoe Company into one giant store, despite the geographical dispersion. However, while the company already has a website that allows automated ordering, order processing, and management, it does not have a proper ERP system, which does, however, offer it considerable value. However, the company needs to be alive to the issues associated with the implementation of ERP systems, which owing to their complexity present a considerable risk of implementation failure. Improper implementation may result in catastrophic disruptions. If the company chooses to implement the systems, it is critical to plan, customize the system to the firm’s functions, and manage the change process effectively. This frees up the staff to concentrate on other activities, such as customer service, while at once making the firm’s functional business practices easier for the company, which is critical given the company’s global operations.

Section 2: Customer Relationship Management Systems

Guaranteed Shoe Company thrives based on its great customer services, as perhaps best shown by its commitment to arrange for, and ship shoes that are unavailable at stores to the customers. Given the wide range of products, coupled with every client’s unique needs, it extremely difficult for the company to meet its obligations without the right technology. The CRM software will help the company’s sales, marketing and customer service practitioners to track relevant data about the past and future customers and prospects, as well as other life cycle and business events. Customer information may be captured from numerous contact points, including the website visits, email, fax, retail stores and personal contact with others. The data is then stored in databases that integrated and availed across the organization, effectively facilitating better customer service since all staff can access the clients’ information. Further, Guaranteed Shoe Company’s sales staff would be equipped with the tools and data necessary to support their marketing activities, o;optimizing cross- and up-selling. For instance, emails gathered through multiple contacts can be used to sent marketing information (offers, discounts and product recommendations).

It is easy to customize services to every customer because the company will have a wealth of information about them. For sales agents, decision support is easily the most important aspect of the CRM system, not least because it gives them important information about the customers’ past history, shoe sizes, type, regularity of purchases and responsiveness to marketing campaigns. With the multiple number of stores, it is important that Guaranteed Shoe Company’s retention and loyalty programs are effective by tapping into the pool of existing customers and making sure that they remain committed to the firm. Given the intense competition in the retail market, hanging onto the existing customers is critical, and if the company fully implements the CRM system, it will have the best chance of getting it right. With the help of these systems, the company can save up to 600% of the costs necessary to get new customers, achieve greater customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and equity.
Similarly, the gathered information is important in direct marketing campaigns, not least because allows the company to automate some of the marketing activities, including the planning, scheduling and tracking marketing campaigns. Manipulatable customer data is available to the Guaranteed Shoe Company’s staff, who can assess the performance of marketing campaigns, as a basis for further campaigns. For instance, the number of customers that respond to emails about new shoe lines at the company’s store can be targeted with further marketing messages (including discounts, free deliveries and other offers). Even most importantly, once orders have been placed by the customer, the system’s real-time order tracking and customer support capabilities schedule clients’ requests for service and assign them to staff where necessarily, ensuring that as many customer needs are served to the best possible extent. O'Brien & Marakas (2010) points to call center and help desk modules/software that can make the company’s sales support activities markedly easier.

Section 3: Supply Chain Management Systems

Supply chains, especially for a company whose operations spans several countries are considerable. The most important difficulties for Guaranteed Shoe Company include high volatility in the clients’ demand, higher consumer expectations in regard to customer service, in part because of the intense competition and quality. The company already uses its intranet, extranet, and electronic commerce portals to ensure customer orders are managed efficiently. In addition, the company has to ensure that it meets these expectations at acceptably low costs, because the ability to pass on additional costs to the consumers is limited both by the competition as well as the customers’ unwillingness to accept such costs, which means that if the company has to be profitable, it faces an increasing logistical burden to deliver value. Other challenges include globalized competition, commodity prices’ volatility, complex consumer demand patterns, increased financial volatility (including exchange rate volatility and inflation), globalized labour markets (raising cross-cultural and employee compensation issues), increased exposure to varied regulatory requirements across different countries, supplier landscape complexity, and geopolitical instability. Navigating all these factors is difficult enough, but even worse, is the fact that these variables are characterized by considerable uncertainty.

These risks cannot simply be managed by buying larger insurance policies, and Guaranteed Shoe Company needs to explore a range od strategies to ensure The company should shift its focus towards better cost management (logistical support) and value chain management. Operating costs reduction is critical for survival in this business, and to achieve this,the company needs to cut back its overall inventories, bolster quality, improve customer service, increase the order turnaround time, reduce capital costs and ensure that the company adheres to the highest possible ethical standards. This is impossible to accomplish without a supply chain management system. These systems integrate planning ordering, production and delivery in the organization as well as across the company’s value chain. According to O'Brien & Marakas (2010), these systems use information technology to manage and support the firm’s value creation operations from the supplier to the customer.

This system will help the company to anticipate better the customers’ needs by forecasting, which in turn allows the company to anticipate demand and plan according. Effectively, this will make it possible reduce inventories considerably since the stores will only hold stocks that are likely to move fast. This also cuts back on the cost of holding too much stock (including warehousing) and reduces the probability of shoes being unavailable in the shops and forcing clients to place singular orders that are more expensive to fulfil compared to large orders. In addition, Guaranteed Shoe Company can integrate its supply chain management system with its suppliers, to ensure seamless cooperation in the planning and delivery of the customers’ needs. This eliminates any need to for the company’s staff to fill out orders in order to get more stock. Given the fact that the company’s suppliers are spread across the world, as well as its stores, the instantaneous communication and cooperation is extremely important in overcoming many of the challenges facing a multinational company such as ours. For instance, the changes in the supply chain can be automatically reflected in the product’s pricing, which makes it possible for the company to incur the risks of exchange rate and inflation fluctuations, etc.

Section 4: Business Intelligence

Business intelligence will prove to be a critical strategy for Guaranteed Shoe Company, especially if the company chooses to implement the enterprise resource planning system, the customer relationship management system, and the supply chain management system. These systems present considerable opportunities for the company to harvest consumer, supplier, and other data, process it, and use it to create real time and actionable strategic information that can be used to create competitive advantages. The company need to invest in technologies that would create value out of the wealth of data that it will collect from its customers, suppliers, and other business partners, to help in strategic decision-making.
According to Bradburry (2014), technology, including simple tools such as Microsoft Excel and Access can transform data into usable information that would make the difference between it and its competitors. This is even more important for organizations that have the infrastructure to collect data (including ERP and CRM systems). This goes to show that in order for Guaranteed Shoe company to reap the most benefits from the recommended technologies, it needs to create synergies from the implementation of multiple similar complementary technologies. With these technologies and the wealth of data that they can gather from differing contacts with customers and business partners, it is possible to develop business intelligence. Effectively, information technology will be rendered into a tool that does not only achieve efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction but perhaps most importantly, take a central role in strategy formation. Even most importantly, is the fact that business intelligence facilitates the innovation of products and services, which help achieve further client value. For instance, the company may decide to include clothing lines if it realizes that its customers desire to shop for both shoes and clothes. The fact that the information available to the firm may be unique to it means that the data can help it generate sustainable competitive advantages.

References

Bowen, D. (2014). E-commerce: how to approach the next big thing in B2B marketing. Retrieved 2015
Bradburry, D. (2014, Apri 7). New weapon for small businesses: data mining. Retrieved 2015, from http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/how-small-businesses-can-find-success-in-their-data
Brassington, F., & Pettitt, S. (2006). Principles of Marketing (4 th Ed ed.). New York: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.
Kirby, S. L., & Richard, O. C. (2000). Impact of Marketing Work-Place Diversity on Employee Job Involvement and Organizational Commitment. Journal Of Social Psychology, 140(3), 367-377.
McKinsey & Company. (2010). The challenges ahead for supply chains: McKinsey Global Survey results. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/operations/the_challenges_ahead_for_supply_chains_mckinsey_global_survey_results
O'Brien, J., & Marakas, G. (2010). Management Information Systems (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies,Incorporated.

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