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Ethics in Psychological Assessments

Psychologists face many ethical dilemmas in their scope of work. Among the most common issues usually occur in assessment where testing services are rarely offered at the request on one individual. People who visit psychologists for assessments are more often than not referred by concerned parties such as disability insurance companies, school teachers, potential employers, attorneys, or medical professionals, among others. These parties usually seek answers to questions that require the psychologist to interfere with an individual’s privileges or normal life. No matter how strictly the psychologist attempts to follow laid procedures during testing, there is always a chance that the individual being tested will suffer the consequences of assessment. Ethical issues can arise before, during, or after the test. In any case, the psychologist must be aware of the codes of practice in order to minimize the chances of inflicting harm to the person being tested. This paper reviews the codes of practice and ethical issues that must be considered when using psychological assessments.

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            Perhaps multicultural and diversity issues are some of the most unnoticed given the current rate of diversification in the population. Traditionally, psychologists did not have to account for diverse populations when undertaking assessments. However, the age of globalization has led to an increase in diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and language, among other diversity factors (Suzuki, & Ponterotto, 2007). Today, psychological tests that rely on monolingual and standardized test instruments and procedures may not appeal to certain people. In fact, the use of standardized tests in minority groups has caused controversies, with various groups citing the possibility of bias especially in situations where test results differ with ethnic groups. Divergence of test results has fueled controversy with many diverse groups arriving at the conclusion that psychological tests are biased. According to Principle E in the psychologist ethical code of conduct, psychologists are required to maintain respect for people’s rights and dignity. The application of special safeguards to protect the rights and welfare of communities and persons whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making are thus necessary. Psychologists should always respect individual, cultural, and role differences whether based on age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, culture, disability, language, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. They should acknowledge that evaluation of culturally diverse individuals raises many issues that need to be addressed in order to come up with accurate diagnosis (Suzuki, & Ponterotto, 2007). In particular, additional layers of complexity especially when the patient has a different ethnic or cultural background from the assessor should be taken into account. It is the psychologist’s responsibility to develop competence in terms of knowledge, attitudes, and skills before engaging in any assessment that involves potential multicultural and diversity issues. Additionally, psychologists need to be well informed about their own identity and attitudes towards minorities because these can affect how they interact with people.

            Another critical ethical issue relates to confidentiality. Some types of communication between the psychologist and the person under assessment are considered “privileged” in that they cannot be divulged or discussed by third parties (Kocet, 2006). This is critical for the therapeutic alliance because it creates an environment of trust. Nevertheless, exceptions may be made in special cases such as when the principle of confidentiality conflicts with the duty to protect or warn. A case in point is when the participant is involved in homicidal or suicidal, elder abuse, child abuse, and other forms of abuse to another party. The principle of confidentiality ends where public risk begins. Certainly, the rationale behind the duty to protect or warn is clear. The psychologist must protect the lives of third parties as well as provide warnings in case of any risks. Various issues associated with the duty to warn and protect are the scale and kind of threat that should merit warnings and at what point the psychologist should prioritize protection of potential victims over the client (Meyer et al., 2001). Psychologists should always discuss with their clients about the limits of confidentiality and foreseeable uses of information generated from the assessment.

            Psychologists should also abide by the principle of informed consent to avoid ethical issues that arise when permission to carry out the assessment is not granted by the participant. Essentially, informed consent is the process of describing the scope of the assessment and obtaining the subject’s permission to participate in the research based on their understanding of the goals and methods of the assessment (Shum, O’Gorman, Myors, & Creed, 2006). Standard 9.03 “Informed consent in assessments” sets forth that psychologists should inform their subjects about (1) the purpose of the assessment, (2) their right to decline or withdraw, (3) the foreseeable consequences of withdrawing, (4) the foreseeable factors that may influence the subject’s decision to participate, such as discomfort, adverse effects, or potential risks (5) limits of confidentiality, as discussed above, and (6) whom to contact for questions (Ponton & Duba, 2009: Fisher, & Fried, 2003). Specifically, psychologists are expected to inform clients as early as is feasible about the nature of the assessment relationship, what is expected in therapy, involvement of third parties, fees, and limits. The phrase “as early as is feasible” indicates that information may be provided at various times depending on the circumstances. Some psychologists may find it comfortable or suitable to provide more general information at the beginning of the assessment and more specific information in the course of assessment. Therefore, informed consent is more of an ongoing process than an instant event. Even so, there are pieces of information that the psychologists must disclose to the client before the onset of the assessment. Issues in informed consent may arise on failure to disclose certain information or when there are multiple conflicting relationships. According to Ethical standard 3.05a of the American Psychological Association, a multiple relation occurs when a psychologist has is in a professional role concurrently with two persons who are closely related. The psychologists should refrain from entering a multiple relationship if the relationship can impair objectivity, effectiveness, and competence in performing duty or risks harm or exploitation to the primary client.    

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In conclusion, psychologists should adhere to ethical principles in psychological assessment. They should avoid diversity and multicultural issues by developing competence in terms of knowledge, attitudes, and skills before engaging in any assessment that involves potential multicultural and diversity issues. Psychologists must protect the lives of third parties as well as provide warnings in case of any risks. They should always discuss with their clients about the limits of confidentiality and foreseeable uses of information generated from the assessment. Finally, psychologists should describe the scope of the assessment and obtain the subject’s permission to participate in the research based on their understanding of the goals and methods of the assessment, as well as refrain from entering a multiple relationship if the relationship can impair objectivity, effectiveness, and competence in performing duty or risks harm or exploitation to the primary client.

Effects of Absolutism on Art during the Reign of Louis XIV

Absolutism is a form of rule where a central sovereign individual holds unlimited, complete power that is not restricted by any part of government or state. In effect, the leader rules free of laws or opposition. Absolutism was mainly espoused by European rulers during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. At the time, kings and queens wanted to become absolute monarchs who held all power within their territories with the goal of presiding over every aspect of the society. Absolute monarchs believed that they had a divine right to rule and, thus, answered only to God, not their subjects. One of the most renowned absolute monarchs in history was
King Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France (Hamscher 5). During his reign, he encouraged the development of music, literature, and art, and particularly formulated French classism, or Style Louis XIV, a style of decorative arts and architecture that glorified his monarchical reign. Absolutism had a strong influence on art in the court of Louis XIV since the king intended all art forms to characterize his glory.

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            The arts in the court of Louis XIV were used to portray the King as a god-like figure who deserved supreme admiration from the state. All art forms, including architecture, interior decoration, furniture, painting, sculpture, tapestries, literature, music, and theatre displayed majesty, harmony, and regularity in conformity with the king’s desires. The king surrounded himself with the most talented intellectual and artistic figures and established institutes of arts and sciences in order to advance his agenda. He also appointed himself as a patron of the Académie Française, a body that controlled the French language (Cherbuliez 121). In order to accommodate his attendants, Louis built various lavish châteaux. Each château showcased his monumental style which featured monumental columns and flat roofs topped by balustrade. The king administered the use of the same style in other buildings to harmonize all structures created at his court.

Throughout his reign, Louis XIV showcased his passion as an accomplished performer and a generous sponsor of the arts. He used his court composers and ministers to venture into art and systematically exploited cultural events to focus attention to his court. Music and dance performances were used as a primary form of entertainment for visiting nobles and local aristocracy. Louis felt that he needed to impress Europe and the rest of the world with his majesty and the brilliance of French culture. The idea was a success as the performances evoked a sense of refinement to foreign diplomats and guests. In fact, those who attended the performances told stories of admiration and approval of the French culture and monarchy. Perhaps the most fascinating influences of Louis XIV on arts was his direct involvement as a dancer. Within two decades, the king performed in 40 ballets around 80 roles. He was seen as the most gracious performer in the dances, and deserving admiration and honor. In all occasions, Louis XIV was portrayed as a god-like figure, even in humble and eccentric roles.

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            Examples that best convey the idea of absolute monarchy are the Kingdom of Swaziland, Vatican City, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Swaziland is an absolute monarchy with a king as the head of state and sovereign ruler. In 1973, the then reigning king declared a state of emergency, abolished the constitution and dissolved the house of assembly. He also introduced a new constitution and banned political parties. Although Swaziland is the only remaining absolute monarchy in Africa, there are other absolute monarchies in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia and state of Qatar. Another example is the Vatican City where the Pope exercises absolute power over his subjects.

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Modern absolute monarchies provide a clear illustration of the sheer scale of power exercised by rulers. Not only can absolute monarchs define their forms of political control but also influence economic, socio-cultural, and technological aspects of their subjects. For example, the practice of absolute authority in Saudi Arabia allows the royal family to rule under a hereditary dictatorship that is governed along Islamic ideologies. This system of governance cannot be questioned or contested by any person in the monarchy as monarchical absolutism is backed by ‘the divine right of kings’. In absolute monarchies, power is usually passed through hereditary or marital means and rulers are not legally bound nor constrained by any law or constitution.

Cryptocurrencies – Digital Business Essay

The emergence of new technologies in the financial world has transformed the way societies manage currency as a medium of exchange between various entities. One of the most remarkable technologies thus far relates to digital currencies. Today, digital currencies have attracted considerable attention in the society, with many embracing distributed ledger innovations while abandoning centralized fiat systems. Popularly known as cryptocurrencies, digital currencies are difficult to counterfeit because of their stringent security features. Their defining features are the most appealing attractions as they render them immune to government control and interference. Even so, cryptocurrencies have various disadvantages. This paper explores their aspects, including denotation, opportunities, challenges, and risks, as well as advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, the paper covers the relevance of cryptocurrencies in the business world. Cryptocurrencies are a promising replacement for fiat currencies, but their future remains unclear, yet they are essential in a tech-savvy globalized world where fiat currencies face the risk of insignificance.

What are Cryptocurrencies?

            Cryptocurrencies are digital coins or assets that function as a medium of exchange (Bailis, Narayanan, Miller, & Han, 2017). A typical cryptocurrency is created and controlled via cryptography technology, a process where ordinary information or plaintext is converted into unintelligible text or cipher-text through high computing power. The practice of cryptography involves complicated mathematical problems that necessitate the use of a high processing power in an activity called mining. In essence, mining is defined as a process in which crypto-miners compete to solve complex mathematical problems using powerful computing equipment (Ramachandran, Saketh, & Vaibhav, 2015). These mathematical problems usually result in the verification and addition of cryptocurrencies in a blockchain digital ledger, which functions as a public financial database (Bailis et al., 2017). Cryptography ensures secure transactions, consistent units, and certified transfer of funds. The first cryptocurrency was created in 2009. Since then, over 4000 alternative cryptocurrencies have been established. According to Lansky (2018), a standard cryptocurrency has six distinct characteristics: (1) it does not require a central governing authority, (2) the system maintains a record of units and their ownership, (3) the system determines the number of units that can be created, how they should be created, and their ownership policies, (4) ownership can only be proven through cryptographic means, (5) only an entity that proves the current ownership of a unit can issue a transaction statement of that specific unit, and (6) the systems performs at most one instruction when two different instructions are issued to change the ownership of the same units. Generally, cryptocurrencies are a subset of digital currencies and a subcategory of alternative currencies.

The decentralization of cryptocurrencies allows entities within a system to create coins based on a predetermined rate and set of rules which are normally publicized. This is the opposite of a centralized system where governments, central banks, and corporate boards oversee the distribution of money and management of ledgers. Decentralized systems do not allow central authorities to produce new units or provide backing for assets that are measured within the system (Li & Wang, 2017). The underlying foundational system that allows the functioning of decentralized cryptocurrencies was created by Satoshi Nakamoto (Pseudonymous) in 2008 at about the same time when the world’s most popular decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was established.

The system through which Bitcoin operates is the foundation on which other cryptocurrencies operate. Bitcoins are seasonally chains of transactions from an owner to another owner, where each owner is recognized through a public key or an address that serves as a pseudonym. For a transaction to occur, the current owner must sign using a secret signing key that corresponds to the hash of the last transaction they performed when obtaining the bitcoins. The transaction is then added in a group of instructions that form the bitcoin. Since each transaction is linked to the previous transaction, many transactions form a chain. The validity of a bitcoin can be evaluated by checking the authenticity of each signature in a chain. A user must identify all transactions in order to avoid double spending. Double spending occurs when the user attempts to transfer a coin that has they have already transferred. Normally, bitcoin transactions are grouped in blocks to enable the recognition of which transaction as well as to provide s timestamp for the transactions contained and their authenticity. Each block is then added to the chain, a process that eventually yields a publicly available blockchain (Narayanan, Bonneau, Felten, EMiller, & Goldfeder, 2016). This system is the foundation on which bitcoin and its altcoin (alternative cryptocurrencies) cousins operate.

Besides the decentralization feature, cryptocurrencies differ from fiat currencies in a number of ways. The latter represents a legal tender that is backed by a central authority and can take physical form (e.g., Federal Reserve notes) or electronic form (e.g., bank credit). In contrast, cryptocurrencies are not legal tenders, and their form mimics bank credit without the bank. While cryptocurrency transactions are immutable, fiat currency transactions are duplicable. Cryptocurrencies are also recorded in a publicly available ledger, providing a high level of transparency as opposed to fiat currencies which are essentially anonymous. In fact, cryptocurrency transactions are performed over the internet, meaning that the address of each owner is publicly known.

Relevance of Cryptocurrencies in the Business World

Many cryptocurrencies are still in their early stages of development. This makes their future unclear to many investors and businesses. Among those with mixed feelings about cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange are economists, scholars, and authors. On the other hand, those who share a libertarian perspective are optimistic about their potential and have begun investing in them. Optimists are encouraged by the ability of cryptocurrencies to facilitate faster transfer of funds between individuals securely. Additionally, the rate of fees charged in cryptocurrency transactions are much lower than those charged in conventional banking systems. Many countries are working toward accepting cryptocurrencies as a valid medium of exchange, especially countries that have an inclination for paperless money. Proponents of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies argue that the market capitalization of crypto coins has become very intense, leading to a powerful market which would lead to dire consequences if banned. Then again, opponents of cryptocurrencies maintain that crypto coins are volatile and are susceptible to abuse by money launderers and persons who conduct illegal activities. Tymoigne (2015) claims that cryptocurrencies are not viable for various reasons. First, he maintains that crypto coins such as Bitcoin have demonstrated their high instability. He also notes that crypto coins are liquid and lack a central issuer, over and above, their creation lacks an economic foundation, rendering their discounted cash value as zero.

As mentioned earlier, some businesses are considering cryptocurrency as a method of transacting with suppliers and customers. In fact, select companies already accept certain crypto coins. One advantage of using cryptocurrencies in business transactions is that they apply the same algorithms as those used on online banking. The only difference lies in the absolute transparency in cryptocurrency networks where all transaction data is disclosed for the public to see. Although these networks do not publicize identifying information of the sender and recipient, all statistics and pathways of coins are clearly shared on the basis of when and how the transactions occurred. This implies that a user’s private data is secure and safe from identity thieves. Another plus is that cryptocurrencies are not susceptible to inflation since there is a set maximum number of units that the whole system is bound to produce. There is no governing body that can disrupt this order, hence there is no possibility of encountering inflation forever. What is more, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency networks are not controlled by a master server and exchange of funds is conducted between two or more clients, which provides autonomy and freedom from spying.

Users of cryptocurrencies normally use specific software in order to mine and share coins and, each client is required to keep a record of the transactions they have committed together with the total funds they own in their wallets. When carrying out transactions, instructions are sent to hundreds of servers among which no entity controls.  As opposed to the case of fiat currencies, cryptocurrency networks do not restrict the number of transactions that a user can perform. Moreover, there are no boundaries and payments cannot be canceled. Crypto coins cannot be duplicated, counterfeited, or spent twice. These capabilities render the integrity of cryptocurrencies intact. A significant reason why many businesses are accepting cryptocurrencies is their low operating costs. They work like physical cash and necessitate no payment in fees and commissions as bank currencies. Their main input is mathematics which essentially needs no financial input. Commissions in cryptocurrency systems are significantly low and mostly amount to 0.1% of the entire transaction.

The absence of a central authority in the network means that each computer is a member of the system and no power can dictate rules whatsoever. When a user goes online, the system remains stable. Furthermore, cryptocurrencies are easier to use than fiat currencies since their practicality does not necessitate the user to open a bank account. Instead, a user requires approximately five minutes to open a wallet. Perhaps, one of the most pulling advantages of cryptocurrencies is their transparency, speed, and security.  Cryptocurrency networks utilize a sequential block-chain record of past transactions that have occurred. Hence, if a user has publicly used bitcoins, everyone can access the number of coins owned. Nevertheless, if the address is not confirmed publicly, then a user can retain an anonymous identity. The level of anonymity can be further raised by using a unique address for every new transaction. Finally, there is no likelihood of identity theft since no personal data is used.

On the contrary, cryptocurrencies can be puzzling, particularly to new users who do not understand their inner workings. Cryptocurrencies are not yet popular. In fact, they have a very low rate of acceptance around the world. People who invest in cryptocurrencies without proper knowledge can lose money to a venture they did not learn about. Losses may occur due to lack of knowledge on market dynamics or technologies that control transactions. Investors need to ensure that cryptocurrencies are accepted in a particular region before investing, failure to which they are likely to incur losses. Cryptocurrencies can be very volatile since all “ups” and “downs” of the coin’s value depend on the rules that a specific country or economic region has set. Cryptocurrencies are also susceptible to risks such as terrorism, money laundering, and illegal activities, all of which arise from the lack of a central governing authority (Ivashchenko, 2016). Nevertheless, this is difficult to predict, a lead that motivates researchers and professionals to view cryptocurrencies as a viable medium of exchange for removing intermediaries and barriers and reducing the cost of transactions (Vora, (2015). Still, it is important to note that cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to hacking risks.

Cryptocurrencies have not yet had a significant reception in most countries, which is a major drawback for their proponents. However, this new currency is slowly and steadily gaining ground in both developed and developing countries. Even countries with stringent laws like China and Russia are regulating and legalizing the use of cryptocurrencies in order to allow their citizens to invest and spend them. To date, Switzerland and Singapore are the most tolerant countries for cryptocurrencies. With the current trends, cryptocurrencies are likely to impact future economies and may become a central medium of exchange for future generations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper has explored the aspects of cryptocurrencies, including their denotation, opportunities, challenges, and risks, as well as pros and cons. The author has covered the possible applications of cryptocurrencies in the business world and concluded that cryptocurrencies are a promising replacement for fiat currencies, but their future remains unclear. Yet, they remain essential in a tech-savvy globalized world where fiat currencies face the risk of insignificance.  The main advantages of cryptocurrencies include open code for mining, the limited possibility of inflation, peer-to-peer transfer, unlimited possibilities of the transaction, low operation costs, decentralization, ease of use, high speed of transaction, and transparency. Disadvantages comprise strong volatility and large risks. Cryptocurrencies have a potential of replacing conventional currencies because of their numerous benefits. However, they must offer distinctive value in order to overcome a number of challenges such as the lack of regulation. Although this may not happen in the near future, it is likely to happen as soon as the world fully embraces digital technologies.

Richard Branson’s Entrepreneurial Journey Analysis Using Timmons FORT Model

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is a British Entrepreneur and Founder of the multinational Virgin Group.  Born on 18th July 1950, he dropped out of school at age of 16 to start his first venture, a decision that led to the creation of Virgin Records and a wide range of corporations including Virgin Galactic, Voyager Group Travel, Virgin Atlantic Airline and a group of Virgin Megastores among other 400 companies (Branson 2018). Sir Richard Branson is best known for his ambitious decisions and immense success. Branson is also characterized as an adventurous person with sporting interests. He was knighted in 1999 for his contributions to entrepreneurship and is also associated with achievements like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a Hot air Balloon.

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Timmons FORT Model

The Timmons Founder, Opportunity, Resources, and Team (FORT) Model of Entrepreneurship was devised by Jeffrey Timmons in his doctorate Thesis at Harvard University.  The model presents three factors that define the basics of a successful venture (Hammad, 2013).  They include opportunities, teams, and resources (Timmons, Spinelli & Tan 1994). According to the model, the entrepreneurial process begins with a founder, or the entrepreneur, whose success is highly dependent on the ability to balance the three factors. The Timmons FORT model is based on the entrepreneur’s actions, whereby an individual seeks an opportunity and morphs it into a venture with vast potential by creating a team and pulling up resources necessary to kick-start the venture. During the initial process, the entrepreneur takes a risk, and his reward is interpreted in commensuration that accounts for his contribution to start and finance the business (Timmons, Spinelli & Tan 1994). 

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The opportunity factor is the most important in the process as it precedes strategy, money issues, teams, networks and a business plan.  The model strongly affirms that an entrepreneurship process is driven by opportunities since a high-potential opportunity attracts long-term business success (Hammad, 2013).  Notably, The Timmons Fort model maintains that a great idea does not necessarily translate into a great business. However, the best ideas are structured when the product or service adds value for consumers, is always attractive, durable and at the right time. After identifying an opportunity, an effective entrepreneur should have the capability to create a talent-oriented and innovative team that will competently contribute to the growth and success of the business. The background, as well as size of the team, is dependent on the nature of the start-up. There is, therefore, no standard number of individuals required as long as one remains objective and realistic about the available resources and necessity (Timmons, Spinelli & Tan 1994).   The Timmons FORT Model holds that a good team is critical to the success of the business while a bad and incompetent team can lead to the downfall of the business. A team is considered to be the most significant resource as they have the capability to grow the business and effectively manage the pressures of a start-up (Spinelli & Zacharakis 2007).   A team is responsible for removing any uncertainties, ambiguities as well as creatively contributing to the advancing of the opportunity. Finally, a team is essential to offer leadership and manage available resources in a smart way that will ensure the business withstands exogenous forces in the context of the capital market.

The resource factor is based on bootstrapping ideologies where an entrepreneur is required to start with minimal resources as a means of gaining a competitive advantage rather than seeking extensive resources with the notion that the latter would reduce presumed risks for the venture (Spinelli & Zacharakis 2007).  The Timmons FORT Model postulates that embracing the bootstrapping idea not only drives down market costs but also instills leanness and discipline as an organizational culture. It further encourages the team to use resources creatively in order to manage the limited resources. The resource factor works under the principle of ‘minimize and control’ as opposed to the traditional maximize and own strategy. Overall, the entrepreneur is tasked with the responsibility of managing resources and developing a business plan using the fit and balance strategy to effectively exploit the teams capacity as well as resources for growth.

Analysis of Sir Richard Branson’s Entrepreneurial Journey

The Timmons FORT Model comprehensively applies to Sir Richard Branson’s entrepreneurial journey. At a young age (16), Branson had problems with his educational foundations and was limited in scope and capabilities due to dyslexia; a learning disorder (Branson 2018). However, he had entrepreneurial ambitions and decided to exploit the music and hype-culture that were key to teenagers, young adults and even the elderly in the 1970’s. Branson decided to quit high school and founded a youth-culture magazine. The venture was very successful as he sold copies worth $8000 through advertising in his first edition, despite disbursing 50,000 copies for free. The entrepreneur sought an opportunity and settled on the music industry because it not only added value to customers, but was also timely given the music culture at the time, and it was also durable since new music would emerge over short periods of time. Branson started Virgin records, a mail-order record company with the aim of funding his magazine business. By utilizing the opportunity, Branson fulfilled the first critical factor of the Timmons Model (Branson 2018).  The music venture record had high potential as he gathered a team and in time grew to the point of opening a record store in Oxford Street, London in 1972.

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            Branson and his team utilized their minimal resources through the “maximize and control” principle and signed up their first artist on the Virgin record label in 1972. Using the success of this first venture, the team signed up several other upcoming musicians whose music led to the ultimate success of Virgin Record Label (Branson 2018).  With an increase in the venture’s resources, Branson sought more opportunities and invested in competent and talent oriented teams to start up the new businesses. Using the same principles, the entrepreneur’s ventures grew in size, value and profitability. Currently, Branson owns more than 400 companies operating in different nations and is worth billions of dollars as a result of his entrepreneurial ventures. Branson’s entrepreneurial journey accomplishes embraces the Timmons FORT Journey as he is the founder, who seeks an opportunity, a team, and further maximizes his minimal resources to grow his business and later uses commensuration from his achievements in the business to invest in other ventures following the same model.

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While the entrepreneur’s journey is attributed to the Timmons FORT Model, there are other factors he embraced as an entrepreneur which ultimately steered the success of his business ventures. He explains in a magazine interview (Martin, 2018) that he followed he had ambition, had confidence in himself, was overly generous with his rewards and therefore shared with the poor, he was always resilient amidst challenges, constantly set new targets as a way to challenge himself, learnt to delegate, encouraged the success of his team, sought more opportunities and remained focus and objective. This goes to show that personal traits also play a significant role in ensuring the success of an entrepreneur.

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Based on Sir Richard Branson’s journey, I believe that a successful business venture has the potential for growth when an individual decides to take the risk and focus on the opportunity at hand. For instance, Branson dropped out of school to pursue his business ideas. Additionally, one ought to find competent and self-driven individuals during the formation of a team and also pull his/her resources and creatively exploit the little available to increase their value. Further, launching a successful venture requires one to search for opportunities that are timely, durable, and attractive and consequently add value to customers. Finally, launching and growing a successful venture not only depends on one’s capacity to embrace the Timmons FORT Model but also requires the entrepreneur to develop a set of skills, habits, and characteristics such as disciplines as well as other personal attributes like generosity, self-confidence and resilience.

Woolworth’s and Coles’ Competitive Management Strategies

The survival of the company in the industry depends on how the company has strategized itself to meet the uncertain and unanticipated future outcomes. This places the management in a critical position of usually scanning the environment to establish appropriate management strategies.  For comprehensive elaboration of strategic management, this paper uses the case study focuses on the players in the retail industry of Australia. There are many grocery industries in Australia. The groups that dominate the grocery supermarket industry in Australia are Woolworths and Coles. These two groups account for nearly 60 percent of sales of alcohol, 50 percent of sales of petrol as well as 80 per cent of supermarket sales. For a long time, Woolworth and Coles have been in competition. However, the competition between the two giant supermarkets has changed with the entry of the new players in the industry. To over the problem of completion the two companies have used their supermarkets businesses as means of finding a competitive edge over their competitors (Dunne, 2008, p.367).

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Woolworth’s group in 2011 achieved a 5.1 percent increase in earnings. This was gotten from the many enterprises owned by the group. In Australia, there were a total of 840 supermarkets, with an addition of 21 new supermarkets. There were207 stores in New Zealand. The sales from liquor were also high. The 581 petrol stations owned by Woolworths also recorded an increase in sales. Its electronic business reported a 2.1 percent sales increase from 394 stores. Woolworths also operated hotels business and had 282 holdings. In the gambling industry of Australia Woolworths is the leading player and has more poker machines than other groups in the gambling industry (Keith, 2012, p.69).

Coles is a group owned by Wesfarmers. Coles is a major competitor to Woolworths in many aspects. Cole’s group holds Bunning in hard wares, Coles in supermarkets and Kmart in general merchandise. Also, it also has various businesses in chemicals and fertilizers, insurance and resources. Its operations include 785 liquor stores, 741 supermarkets, 620 petrol stations as well as 93 hotels. Coles has more than 100,000 employees. Up to April 2012, Coles has had the best performance for the 11 quarters in the industry and the 2010-2011 financial years had growth of earnings by 21.1 per cent (Lyons, 2007, p.161).

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The competition between Woolworth and Coles has been stiff. This contest intensified when Cole was acquired by Wesfarmers. Previously Woolworths had been the leading player and Coles lagged behind because it was underfunded. This later on changed and Coles has been the leading player for some years. Reducing the petrol incentives for customers caused both players to open more petrol stations. Coles and Woolworth usually are in stiff price competition, and a move by one player regarding pricing is closely watched by the other.

Another importance element of competition is home branded products (Sohal, 2013, p.434). Research indicates that 15- 20 percent of both Coles and Woolworths products are usually home branded. This home branding makes Australia not attractive to suppliers who are branded since their products are being removed from supermarket shelves for in-house brands. One area of competition that is unknown to an average consumer is the acquisition of land. Both players have enough land to be used for development in the future which eliminates other players from areas of growth. The ownership of land guarantees excellent sites for these players where they can carry out high-density development. Other players such as Aldi tend to be locked out, and the managing director of Aldi has claimed laws regarding planning need to be revised to allow other players in.

Players who are small in the industry suffer from the fact that Woolworth and Coles can subsidize their stores which make losses until they become established which cannot be done by the small independent players. Additionally, it is hard for suppliers to deal with these two major players since they bargain hard. Further, due to an emergence of home brand products the supplier’s supply products that compete with its brand.  In Australia, the government has not seen it necessary to control competition for the small players as this would distort competition (Booth and Whelan, 2014, p.1399).

In competitor analysis, a firm known as the Germany’s Aldi is of key significance since it competes with the two major players which are Coles and Woolworths. On the eastern coast of Australia, Germany’s Aldi owns more than 200 grocery stores, and it is growing rapidly. The model used by the company is one that it started in Germany which is a value chain of small cost which features a range of limited good quality products which have reduced the price. Despite its primary business being the sale of groceries, it sells other products. Many of the products in the stores have low prices and the stock in the shelves is usually packaged in boxes to help reduce packaging time. The suppliers are under strict contracts to ensure that they supply the goods promptly. The model used by Aldi is designed to make sure that the products offered are of good value and are attractive to various categories of people (Rahman, 2008, p.541)

Another important group in the supermarket industry of Australia is The Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA). It is an alliance between manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers. The reason IGA was put together was to strengthen and protect the relationship of the three key players against the chain stores growth. Currently, IGA is the biggest network of voluntary supermarket in the world owning more than 4000 independent stores (Campbell and Chalmers, 2008, p.492).

In analysing the macro environmental factors encountered by the grocery industry in Australia, the Australian Society plays a significant role. In Australia, 20 per cent the wealthiest households account for 62 per cent of total household net worth while the poorest 20 percent account for 1 per cent of total household net worth. Income levels among people in a way show the lifecycle that people are in. People in different lifecycles have different disposable incomes to shop in supermarkets. For instance, a couple with no children may have a significant disposable income and may use this revenue to buy in supermarkets. Another important change in the Australian society has been extensive use of the internet to shop for goods (Jensen and Webster, 2008, p.135).

Production Costs Assessment and Activity Based Costing System

What is it Important for management to assess the production cost?

In manufacturing firms, it is critical for the management to assess the cost of producing each product as this knowledge is essential for the survival and success of the organization. Firstly, the assessment of the production cost for each unit has a huge impact on the profitability of the company (Fixson, 2004).  Profits can only be attained where the revenue earned in each product surpasses its production cost. Therefore, it is essential for the firm to assess the cost in order to determine the appropriate pricing mechanism. Second, the cost of producing each product has a significant impact on the firm’s budgeting. The budget process relies on accurate determination of costs, expenses and revenues, and is necessary for forecasting purposes (Fixson, 2004). When information on product costs are ignored, significant errors are likely to occur, leading to overspending and financial strains. Third, assessment of manufacturing costs allows the company to evaluate the range of resources required to produce one unit as well as how this information affects the long-term operations of the firm.

Read also Manufacturing Overhead – Borealis Manufacturing Case Study

If, for instance, the product is relying on repetitive costs and wastes, the company can then plan on how to integrate the concepts of lean production in order to create value and minimize wastes. Above all, product cost assessment enables the firm to apply the principles of effective product cost management (Fixson, 2004). This is particularly helpful when a business is developing or introducing a new product. It is important to note that no matter how great a product is, it cannot lead to success without profitability. It is the responsibility of the company to integrate a cost and value engineering approach at early stages of the development process through transparency on resources and costs in order to guarantee long term success.        

Read also Implementation of Just in Time Production and the Kanban System

 Activity Based Costing or Traditional Costing Method in Production Costs Evaluation?

In the field of accounting, production costs can be evaluated via different techniques including activity based costing and traditional costing method (Abernethy, Lillis, Brownell, & Carter, 2001). Both methods estimate costs and then assign those costs to units based on cost-driver rate. However, Activity based costing is more reliable and accurate in cases where a product uses different proportions of manufacturing overhead resources. As opposed to traditional costing which applies indirect costs to products based on presumed overhead rates, Activity Based Costing assigns costs to overhead activities and then proceeds by assigning those costs to individual products. Therefore an activity based costing system accounts for the relationship between overhead activities, costs, and manufactured products, thus assigning indirect costs to products less randomly than traditional acting techniques. This explains why Activity based costing is commonly used in manufacturing firms. To begin with, it enriches the reliability of data, which leads to nearly true costs and better classification of costs in the production process. Because it is based on activities (work units), such as designing products, setting up machines, operating machines, and distributing products, it is comprehensive in covering overhead costs.

Read also Activity-Based Costing (ABC) in Service Industries – NIKE

In conclusion, activity based costing improves the costing process in three major ways: it expands the amount of cost pools used on assembling overhead costs; it creates new bases for assigning costs; and it alters the nature of indirect costs and makes them more traceable to certain activities (Brimson, 1991). Activity based costing is more accurate and thus superior to traditional techniques of costing.

Proposed Recruitment Forecasting System for UK’s Network Rail – Foresight

Introduction

            One of the most prevalent problems in organizations today concerns Human Resources (HR) Forecasting. Many modern organizations face hurdles when matching HR needs with present and future organizational activities as a result of various reasons including inflexibility in the HR department, unyielding managerial teams, rigid organizational cultures, and centralized managerial mechanisms, among others. The inflexibility of the HR department is perhaps one of the most significant factors as it affects Forecasting both in terms of development and operations. In a typical scenario, it takes a significant amount of time to recruit, pick, enlist, and train the average member of the workforce. The process may take even more time where upper echelons of organizational hierarchy are concerned. A case in point of a company that has been facing stumbling blocks in the area of Forecasting is UK’s Network Rail. The company is in charge of almost all of England’s railway infrastructure and has remained successful in the recent years. Yet, it adopts a decade’s old HR Forecasting system that relies on conventional methods of Forecasting, often involving last minute notifications and a manually-driven recruitment programs that require hefty costs and long periods of time to run effectively. Decisions on recruitment are instrumental to an organization’s success and normally have a long-lasting effect on organizational performance. Therefore, every organization needs to design and implement an effective Forecasting model that saves on costs and time, as well as one that guarantees successful matching of human resources with both present and planned activities of the business. This business report makes a case for a new cloud-hosted, web based recruitment Forecasting application, dubbed “Foresight,” for Network Rail. The application will process requests, systematize data, and analyze information pertaining to the company’s recruitment needs in a forthcoming 12-month period. The system will be operated via multiple user accounts, allowing users to share data remotely, at their convenience. The first part of the report covers the context of the project, including the profile of the organization, the central department, and essentials of Forecasting. The second part presents the project and its justification while the second and the third parts highlight the impacts and direction for further research on the project respectively.

Context

            The management of any organization needs to plan the supply and demand of its HR as part of the normal planning process so that promotion policies, recruitment possibilities, and long-term business requirements correspond with accessibility estimates from both external and internal viewpoints. Markedly, long-term HR resources are directly associated with the strategic plans of relevant business (Snell, Morris, & Bohlander). Hence, a majority of companies normally indicate the minimum base of information upon which the HR can be built in their business plans. This is necessary as stakeholders need to assess the size and type of team that is required in the capitalization of a specific business opportunity. The selection of a predictor is very important in the projection of workforce requirements (Rothwell & Kazanas). The projector should be directly related to the nature of the business and changes in the chosen factor should be comparative to changes in the required workforce. Small organizations may formulate a workforce plan to cover all levels, but larger organizations must put individual workforce planning procedures for each units, such as cluster levels and departments (Rothwell & Kazanas). The next steps in the process should then necessitate the organization to perform workload analysis and job analyses, and come up with job descriptions and job specification before undertaking the task of HR Forecasting.            

Human resource Forecasting attempts to project the labor needs and the influences they are likely to exact on a business. As a rule, the responsibility of Forecasting is conducted by the HR department; it projects short-term and long-term labor needs according to the level of growth, projected sales, attrition, and other factors that influence the workforce within and out of the firm. Apart from assessing the size of the workforce, the HR department also analyzes the degree of administrative costs and costs required in expanding or downsizing the workforce (Rothwell & Kazanas). Although there is no single approach to developing a Human Resource Management System (HRMS) that performs Forecasting tasks effectively , an excellent model of creating operational strategy involves selection of a strategic direction, the design of a HRMS, workforce planning, generation of required HR, investment in HR development and performance, and assessment and sustenance of organizational performance and competence. These should be the central components at the core of HRM at Network Rail.

One of the most essential Forecasting tasks for the HR department at Network Rail involves creating and maintaining a firm’s organization chart. The company uses a flat organizational structure that consists of employees who work under a specific manager. Each manager must constantly update a chart that shows how their department is organized as well as how it will be organized in the next 12-month period. They can also add new segments and indicate how their department is linked to other departments such as marketing, sales, and accounting in terms of human resources. The organization chart is important to Network Rail’s effective functioning as it helps managers to hire proactively and pursue employees with the right set of skills.

            The profitability and productivity of Network Rail is based on the provision of services. The company owns and manages infrastructure of most rail networks in England, Wales, and Scotland. As a public organization with no specific shareholders, the firm reinvests its income in railways in order to provide its services and maintain profitability. The firm also monitors its HR needs according to the fall and rise of sales, although these needs do not fluctuate considerably given the nature of the industry. The human resource manager maintains close ties with the sales department in order to be aware of any increase or decrease that affects labor needs, as well as to prevent shortage or unwarranted surplus of labor within the organization. Sales at Network are primarily driven by services rather than products and the main customers include private train operating companies and freight operating companies that ferry passengers and cargo. The nature of these services renders them unsusceptible to fluctuation in sales as the level of competition is low and the services bear much significance to the transport sector and the economy. This, however, does not mean that sales do not fluctuate entirely. Indeed, the HR department keeps a record of past and projected sales in order to evaluate labor needs.

            In addition to production and scheduling functions, the avoidance of long-term holes is another function of HR forecasting within Network Rail. With the help of progressive reports from individual managers and supervisors, the HR department keeps a record of employees that might be retiring or leaving the company. The HR manager then seeks approval from the management and prepares to fill existing or expected vacancies with internal staff or new staff. Additionally, the HR manager coordinates promotion and career development where supervisors are prepared for managerial roles and managers are prepared for senior administrative roles. Employees in lower levels of the organizational hierarchy are also matched with roles that correspond with their skill sets. What is more, Network Rail emphasizes the role of training in development as it prepares key staff for future roles.

            Finally, Network Rail’s HR department contributes to budget planning by keeping track of staffing levels within the organization. For instance, demand forecasting exposes the need for seasonal workers or overtime work, and the total cost needed in acquiring extra labor. Even if the company does not require additional labor, it must account for additional costs based on annual propositions, salary raises, and benefit increases.  

Loopholes

Though the task of HR forecasting has remained aligned with Network Rails strategic objectives, there are a number of hurdles that plague its successful execution. Each role in forecasting is run against on or more barriers that impede effective forecasting in the long run. As mentioned above, HR forecasting plays four major roles at the company: updating the organizational structure, production and scheduling, HR demand planning, and budgeting (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright). The role of updating the organizational structure is highly compromised by imprecise updates resulting from late updates from managers. At present, the company relies on spreadsheets and notices from managers to know where gaps exist in the HR, but these mechanisms are susceptible to many errors and delays. Managers do not always submit notices on time, causing delays in the entire forecasting process. Production and scheduling faces the same challenge because the manual process makes it vulnerable to delays and duplication of data. Delays are perhaps more detrimental to demand planning as late notices often cause a series of issues and late stage surprises that bargain the quality and preciseness of planning. Notably, last minute notices from managers are not the height of the problem. Managers also have to go through approval processes, adhere to an advertising time window, conduct interviews, and wait for the onboarding process in order to fill in vacant spots.

This series of responsibilities not only demand significant input in terms of costs but also in terms of time and manpower. The cost of rehiring an employee at Network Rail is £30,000 on average. This cost is further amplified by other mechanisms, such as the LinkedIn Recruiter which costs approximately £45,000 a year and is not currently used to its maximum capacity. These challenges altogether strain the company’s forecasting function, rendering it ineffective and subject to failures.

Proposed System

            In order to resolve the current issues, the corporate resourcing team at Network Rail has procured and set up a cloud hosted, web based recruitment forecasting application, “Foresight”. Foresight is an online tool that requests, collates, and presents data pertaining to forecasting in a forthcoming 12-month period. As a standalone program, it will lessen the burden that resourcing teams experience when they offer forecast messages to individual managers in order to inquire information about recruitment needs. It is also expected to counter the aforementioned challenges that currently plague forecasting in the organization. Foresight resembles a workforce forecast manager that enables managers to evaluate labor needs and why they needs them. Managers can use the tool to accurately predict demand to a small interval, at a high precision than the former manual system. The application has multiple algorithms that can be utilized for various purposes depending on the amount of available historical data.

Upon using the new feature, Network Rail will carry out short-term and long-term planning, both across various cost centers and at the employee level while accessing all necessary function for HR management including data reporting, analysis, modelling, product planning, and authorization control. Adjustments to standard parameters like pay scales, resource utilization, social expenses, and special payments will be recorded automatically. The application can also analyze predictive scenarios based on wage development, employee turnover, age structure, and employees resuming from parenthood. Foresight’s ability to provide a range of standardized reports that can be altered according to queries of interest will also be beneficial to the human resourcing team. What is more, the system can perform individual analyses using a few clicks such as phone expense management, recruiting process performance, personnel requirement planning, and calculation of provision for holiday leave among others. The main parties that will interact with Foresight are the HR department, management, Information Technology (IT) department and client managers. The system has most of its users incorporated, particularly the client managers who are required to fill in data concerning their HR needs in the next 12 month period. The management will set the strategic direction for the HR department and review the outcomes of Foresight as need be. The primary role of the managerial tem, nevertheless, will be the alignment of human resource policies to support the accomplishment of the firm’s mission, vision and goals. Notably, the business goals lie at the heart of every HR strategy and must therefore align with the rest of the organization. The management will collaborate with the HR team in structuring work, designing training, managing performance, setting pay scales, and formulating reward policies.

The HR department will manage Foresight by maintaining its structure and rolling out a plan for each area in line with dates for delivering forecasts. The managers will receive requests to submit data and comply within the allocated time. They can also communicate through the system with the HR team for clarification or in case of forthcoming meetings. The application will not only link the HR and client managers but also provide auxiliary services, including calendars, timetables, and a suite of instructions and guides. After all data has been submitted, the application will perform and analysis and reveal findings and recommendations, which will then be shared in meetings and other communication mechanisms. Since the system will record data over a long period, it will give an insight into how the company has been performing with regard to forecasting, as well as indicate necessary recommendations.             The core of Foresight’s functionality follows a standard forecasting process with compulsory steps needed in predicting future labor demands. It classifies the workforce into distinct and unambiguous categories, including race, age, sex, present position, and length of tenure; classifies positions into categories, including experience required, educational preparation, placement of job within organizational structure; equates historical relationships between staffing levels and input such as the number of people required to perform a certain level of task; forecasts demand by conducting analysis of current HR requirements and projecting future requirement; forecasting supply through analysis of current HR inventories and comparison of expected internal and external availability of HR supplies (Rothwell & Kazanas); and forecasts HR needs in general.

In addition, foresight follows the proper sequence of steps for the HR forecasting process. The process of HR forecasting normally involves the establishment of the jobs that affirm needs to fill, the skillsets employees must have in order to fill roles, and the expected challenges. Thus, the evaluation of organizational needs lies at the heart of forecasting. Foresight seeks to help the HR evaluate human resource needs depending on the size of the organization in a given point in time. This starts with collection of data from different department through managers, then proceeds to the assessment of existing job positions. The application takes account of the number of employees and type of jobs that perform in each class. After assessing the knowledge requirements, the HR evaluates the current skills to determine whether they have attained the expertise and qualification that satisfy the company’s future needs (Snell, Morris, & Bohlander). The HR needs to comprehend present and future objectives of the organization so as to forecast labor demands successfully. It must also anticipate the need for creation and adjustment of positions in accordance with organizational needs. Foresight simplifies this process by ensuring that the needed data is keyed in by relevant managers, including turnover rates, available labor, vacant positions, retirement dates, promotions, and leaves.

            Foresight’s operation is heavily reliant on data input and analytics. Today, many organizations use data and analytics to gain insights on performance and progress. Foresight will enable Network Rail to perform these and more tasks while relying on different mathematical models to establish viable improvements and directions while tracking the gains of fact-based decision-making. While many business areas within the company, including customer services, operations, and marketing & sales, have used analytics for a considerable time, the HR has lagged behind. The new application will, thus, bring the department to par with the rest of the organization. In particular, the new feature will allow the HR to use different forecasting techniques, such as forecasting basics, trend analysis, ratio analysis, supply forecasting, managerial judgment, scatter plot, computerized forecast, Delphi technique, work study forecast, regression analysis, nominal group technique, econometric models and scenario forecasting among others. Specific outputs to be achieved by the application include:

  • A roll-out plan for each area in line with dates for the systems team to deliver the forecasts
  • The org structures on the system will need to be updated to reflect new/moving employees and new user accounts created.
  • A suite of “how to” guides including but not limited to for managers to complete, for resourcing to update structures and users and how to keep track of new and moving users
  • Workshops and also coaching session both individually and in team meetings to help engage teams
  • Exporting the completed date and deliver a report of the findings and recommendations for recruitment over the next 12 months
  • Review of the system usage and set up to propose future improvements to develop the product and how the team can make this BAU activity

Impacts

In order to effectively provide a layout that underlines the significance of adopting the system, a review of the implications of Foresight is necessary. The introduction of a recruitment forecasting system presents both positive and negative impacts to the company, particularly the human resources team, managers, and internal and external stakeholders.

Positive Impacts

Effective Forecasting

Companies engage in recruitment Forecasting with the aim of improving their recruitment strategies, creating a diverse and equitable hiring experience, attracting the best and most qualified workforce, operating in set timelines, planning for budget considerations and ultimately aligning recruitment efforts with organizational goals and objectives. Network rail is set on improving the afore-mentioned areas, by objectively integrating a system that would ensure these goals are met. The main objective of the company is to reduce recruitment cost and improve the ease and systematic process of recruiting and filling vacant positions within the company. As a result, Foresight should be considered as an effective means of improving the recruitment Forecasting.

Foresight is set to meet these objectives by providing a means for managers and human resources officials to access a seamless Forecasting system at their convenience, assess recruitment needs and plan for future recruitment capacities within a frame of 12 months. The program will not only improve the recruitment Forecasting process but also enhance accountability since viable users of the Foresight system will be inclined to individually maximize the system’s resources to plan, schedule, and budget and comply with recruitment needs.  The system is, thus, important in providing effective HR forecasting since its resources and capacity will help contribute to enhancing company goals and objectives.

Time and Cost Savings

            The initial recruitment Forecasting system used by the company was not only costly but also time consuming and ineffective. Network Rail is focused on integrating an improved system that is cost effective and takes a short time to fulfil the recruitment needs of the company. Foresight will meet these goals because it offers a structured system that works on a twelve-month timeline to ensure that managers and human resources officials work on a scheduled platform that guarantees effective time management with regards to Forecasting and planning the fulfilment of recruitment needs (Kim & O’Connor). To achieve this, managers and other human resources officials using the system will be required to enter necessary data, organize departmental calendars to identify the stratification of labor as well as well as any future recruitment needs, budget for the recruitment process, plan for a new recruitment or replacement, structure equitable promotions and also organize necessary downsizing programs where necessary. The cost of performing these tasks was high and disadvantageous for Network Rail. Nonetheless, these costs will be eliminated by the website function given that they would be automated and require little input from users of the Foresight System and any other labor requirement.

Additionally, the Forecasting system will save time as it is an automated program that operates on an easy communication platform, thus reducing the time it takes to send, receive and manage information (Malinowski, Keim, & Weitzel). Managers and human resources officials can work systematically by collecting data in their respective departments and sharing all the data instantaneously through their computers rather than engage in paper work and third party messengers or even organize time consuming meetings to share information that reflects on the recruitment needs of the company.

Reduction of Administrative Work Load

Recruitment Forecasting is a hectic task that requires the input of many members of the Human resources department (Kerrin & Kettley). This equates to more work and an increase on the budget for facilitating the entire process. Foresight provides a solution by accomplishing most of the tasks automatically hence reducing the amount of work as well as number of people required to perform these tasks. The hiring process as a whole is a tedious process that adds on to other human resources functions, and places an administrative burden in the HR department. Integrating an automated Forecasting system is therefore necessary to reduce the workload and the labor required to effectively collect and analyze data regarding the company’s recruitment needs. Foresight will not only offer adequate automated service but also improve the recruitment Forecasting by cutting down the cost and time needed to complete the task (Malinowski, Keim, & Weitzel).

Decentralization of Human Resources Activities

The recruitment Forecasting system will help the human resources department to break down its hierarchy through decentralization. Earlier interactions required members of the human resources team to constantly seek personal encounters with the head management for approval purposes. The latter was a tedious process that required officers in the company to observe a specific chain of command where a low-level human resources clerk would go through a supervisor to seek clarification or request approval for a specific recruitment function. With the use of the Foresight system, the human resources workforce will become decentralized in the sense that a low-level employee may communicate directly with a head manager through the communication channels enabled by features of the Foresight system. The system will also ensure that exchange of information is fast, reliable and easy for all users to manage. This open communication system will also accrue human resources employees the liberty to discuss and clarify arising or urgent matters openly with managers without necessarily booking meetings to address these concerns.

A shift in Technology

The creation and adaptation of innovative technologies should be highly regarded by companies aiming to attain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Foresight is a technological innovation that helps companies perform recruitment Forecasting tasks with ease, accuracy and efficiently over a short period of time. The system also provides an added advantage of cutting cost that would otherwise be incurred during the conventional Forecasting process. By integrating this technology, Network Rail Company will experience a technological curve that offers a competitive advantage over its competitors and also manage cost while consuming the least possible time. This can be achieved by managers and HR officials through the collection, management and analysis of recruitment needs data to identify employee gaps over a period of unfolding time, to understand the nature of the vacant positions as well as the nature and required characteristics of the candidates.

Further, the Foresight system has many features and characteristics that would make the recruitment process effective and easy to perform through task automation. This technology also reduces the workload of employees by performing most of the tasks through a computerized process. If integrated by both the internal and external stakeholders of the company, the recruitment Forecasting process would be effective and would allow human resources officials and managers to plan for recruitment exercises in time as well as ultimately hire the most competent candidates to fill vacancies and meet the recruitment needs of the company. 

Negative Impacts

 Although Foresight would positively impact the company, there are certain challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure successful integration of the application into the company.

Resistance to Change

The introduction of a new forecasting system is highly dependent on the ability of employees to accept the technology rather than view it as a threat. Managers and human resources officials should readily accept the change by embracing the system as well as engaging in the due processes like training. The department and personnel expected to use the system need to understand the significance of Foresight and how it would impact their recruitment forecasting operations. Failure to embrace the new technology is in part resistance to change and may arise due to fears of job loss, lack of trust between the employees and leadership, poor communication, fear of the unknown and the timing. The aforementioned challenges have to be addressed before implementing the system. Most of the workforce may be driven to resist change for fear of losing their jobs to the technology. Other factors that may contribute to change resistance include lack of trust and fear of the unknown. The aforementioned scenarios pose a barrier that needs to be addressed before implementing the new Foresight system. To achieve this, the company needs to improve communication channels and engagement to ensure that the workforce understands the use and capacity with which the system will be used. Further, the company needs to assure employees that the system does not replace their capabilities but rather creates an easier and more efficient, time-saving approach to the recruitment forecasting process.

The introduction of Foresight will bring various changes to the company. These changes will not only affect the personnel but also the functioning of the company since the system will affect the organizational culture, through impacts like decentralizing the Human Resources Department.  The technology will also require training, a factor that demands the contribution of the company through provision of necessary recourses to facilitate the training programs (Kim & O’Connor). Further, Foresight will trigger cultural change within the organization since integration of new technology will create the need for employee development (Cappelli). This is because the employees may be unaware of the features and functions of the new software and may therefore need training and development to understand the basics of computerization.

With the aforementioned changes in mind, the company is highly susceptible to change resistance. Nonetheless, the company should invest more time on change management to equip employees with the right mindset and attitude that would enable acceptance rather than resistance to the change.

Neglecting Personal Interaction

Foresight is a computerized program that would require users to engage and operate online and offline through their computers. The system therefore limits personal interaction between the employees. While the recruitment forecasting operation will be made easier, the ability to improve social capacities within the Human resources department and other employees will be minimal. Personal interaction is key to improving the relationships of employees within the company. Companies that lack adequate operational strategies where employees interact on a personal level risk the creation of a tense work environment. Neglect of personal interaction affects productivity by minimizing the efficiency of team work. Employees therefore need often one-on-one interactions to socialize, familiarize with each other and develop social skills that will enhance their ability to cooperate with others on assigned tasks. Lack of personal interaction will foster an organizational culture that neglects social interactions amongst employees. This issue will not only affect personnel who would use the system but the entire workforce since each employee who initially contributed to the recruitment forecasting process will be limited to computerized communication methods.

Data Security and Confidentiality

The use of technology raises security concerns with regards to data and confidentiality. Using Forecast, managers and human resources personnel will be exposed to information on their colleagues that may range from private aspects like promotional interests to discipline issues, private financial issues and more. All information is necessary to determine placement factors, replacement, promotions, and vacancy considerations. The data may also include information on employee vacation schedules as well as monthly leaves and planned off days. Network Rail employees may raise concerns regarding the availability of information they deem private in a computerized program that is susceptible to security threats. Additionally, ethical concerns may be raised if employees from the Human resources department or managers who will use the system disclose private information about their colleagues.  The company is, thus, tasked with the responsibility to ensure that employee as well as eternal stakeholder data is handled with utmost care. All employees with access to foresight require adamant training on confidentiality as well as necessary security measures. Network Rail is also expected to reinforce surveillance and other security measures like encrypting office computers to prevent threats like viruses and hacking.

Direction of Further Research

            With the rise of globalization and advent of technology in business, Network Rail needs to build effective organizational and employee agility instead of relying on periodic change initiatives, as well as enabling employees work virtually through technology tools. There is need to develop capacities to attract, create, and retain top-notch talent in upcoming markets. Moreover, the company needs to explore new approaches to employee management and development as traditional approaches are giving way to more systematic and decentralized approaches in the modern world. Above all, there is an urgent need to research more about the most effective trends of focusing in a globalized and technology-driven world.

Conclusion

This business report has introduced a recruitment forecasting application for UK’s Network Rail. The company has been facing stumbling blocks in the area of Forecasting mostly as a result of using a manual procedure that necessitates each manager to submit information to the HR department. Network Rail is in charge of almost all of England’s railway infrastructure and has remained successful in the recent years. However, it adopts a decade’s old HR Forecasting system that relies on conventional methods of Forecasting, often involving last minute notifications and a manually-driven recruitment programs that require hefty costs and long periods of time to run effectively. Decisions on recruitment are instrumental to an organization’s success and normally have a long-lasting effect on organizational performance. Therefore, every organization needs to design and implement an effective Forecasting model that saves on costs and time, as well as one that guarantees successful matching of human resources with both present and planned activities of the business. This business report has made a case for a new cloud-hosted, web based recruitment Forecasting application, dubbed “Foresight,” for Network Rail. Foresight is an online tool that requests, collates, and presents data pertaining to forecasting in a forthcoming 12-month period. As a standalone program, it will lessen the burden that resourcing teams experience when they offer forecast messages to individual managers in order to inquire information about recruitment needs. It is also expected to counter the aforementioned challenges that currently plague forecasting in the organization. Foresight resembles a workforce forecast manager that enables managers to evaluate labor needs and why they needs them. Managers can use the tool to accurately predict demand to a small interval, at a high precision than the former manual system. The application has multiple algorithms that can be utilized for various purposes depending on the amount of available historical data. The application will process requests, systematize data, and analyze information pertaining to the company’s recruitment needs in a forthcoming 12-month period. The system will be operated via multiple user accounts, allowing users to share data remotely, at their convenience. Potential positive impacts of the system include effective forecasting, time and cost savings, reduction of administrative work load, decentralization of human resources activities, and a shift in technology while negative impacts comprise resistance to change, neglect of personal interaction, and data security and confidentiality.

How to Spend Less and Save More

The ability to spend less and save more is the cornerstone of accumulating wealth and achieving financial stability in the long run. It is also a foundation for one’s sense of personal security. The reasoning behind spending less and saving more is backed by simple mathematical calculations: In order to retain items that one has acquired through trade or employment, they must conserve them by consuming less than the obtained amount. However, this is often complicated because one is forced to forego personal wants. In some cases, the magnitude of financial needs is usually greater than that of personal income. Fortunately, there is a number of strategies that one can apply in order to increase savings and cut back on spending.

            The first and probably the most viable strategy for spending less is preparing a budget (Bangsberg & Deeks, 2010). A budget represents a simple estimate of income and expenditure for a certain period. The skill of budgeting allows one to have a rough idea of what one spends on specific needs. The first step in creating a budget is noting one’s personal income. Once a rough estimate is attained, then one can begin to organize all expenses into a practicable budget. The budget should indicate how the expenses match the level of income in order to limit spending and increase saving (Coleman, 2016). It is important to note down all recurring expenses such as costs of fuel, electricity bills, and car maintenance, as well as miscellaneous costs that are likely to come up in a given period. Budgeting is not only the best strategy for accounting for how much one spends but also for keeping track of one’s financial progress.

            Another strategy for achieving less expenditure and more savings is creating an emergency fund (Johnson & Widdows, 1985). Just as emergencies are inevitable in life, they are unavoidable in the world of economics. Financial emergencies can take the form of significant medical expenses, job loss, unexpected repairs or any unexpected event like a storm. The best formula for creating an emergency account is saving enough funds to cover one’s expenses for three to six months. It is advisable for one to take account of all expenses, including variable and fixed expenses, when creating an emergency fund. An emergency fund is one of the best ways of surviving harsh economic times as it allows one to have sufficient time for planning for financial revival.

            Lastly, one should identify personal priorities to live within their means (Bangsberg & Deeks, 2010). Apart from the level of income and expenses, goals are another factor that has a significant impact on one’s spending habits. Therefore, it is crucial to single out primary needs from luxuries. In instances where needs encroach on savings, primary needs should be prioritized while luxuries should be overlooked. Long-term needs should also receive precedence compared to short-term goals. Identifying personal priorities can go a long way in giving a clear idea of where one needs to make adjustments in order to spend less and save more.            

In conclusion, there is a range of approaches that one can use in order to spend less and save more. Firstly, one can use the skill of budgeting. Budgeting allows one to have a rough idea of what one spends on specific needs. Secondly, one can create an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a good tactic for surviving harsh economic times as it allows one to have sufficient time for planning for financial revival. Finally, one should identify spending priorities in order to live within their means. Spending less and saving more requires one to review personal spending habits in order to apply the necessary modifications.

The Best Search Engines For School Work

Search engines are becoming the new libraries. For teaching and learning purposes, a student has to be careful what information from search engines such as Google, Yahoo Answers, Ask Jeeves, and many others that they choose to use. Teachers, lecturers, and professors will be quick to reject “Googled papers” as they will cite a lack of effort on the student’s part. A student should change tack in their use of search engines for research and schoolwork to be efficient in their school work. Part of changing tact should include knowing the best search engines for school work.

Person typing on keyboard - Wellers Law Group

Furthermore, a student after good grades will often deviate from the school’s online library to acquire more information, especially for research papers. It shows and proves effort, hard work, and the submitted work will be authentic and original.

Thence, which are the best search engines for school work?

Google Scholar

Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world. Using it for school work and academic research can be a hassle because of the vast amount of information. Sorting through all the results pages for relevance and accuracy can take up a lot of time, and that’s where Google Scholar comes in. The search engine grants access to a vast pool of academic resources. The webpages and links contain relevant and accurate:

  1. Studies Journals 
  2. Books and 
  3. Other reliable scholarly resources.

It works similar to the Google search engines, has the same layout, and uses keywords to sort information. Couple it with Google Books, and you have the most accessible library in the world. It doesn’t need you to create an account on the platform to access its content.

Research Gate

This search engine, launched in 2008, boasts of having 130 + million publications accessible to its over 20 million users. Research Gate is a professional network founded by physician Dr. Ijad Madisch, Dr. Soren Hofmayer, and computer scientist Horst Fickenscher. Research Gate states that its mission, “to connect the world of science and make research open to all.” The search engine also offers a platform for social interaction among users that aids in progressing research and exchanging research information and different points of view.

Currently, the vast majority of researchers provide academic information on biology and medicine.

It also contains these scholarly niches:

  1. Computer science
  2. Engineering, and,
  3. Psychology 

For science-based researchers and students looking to pursue science subjects, Research Gate is the best search engine.

Microsoft Academic

This search engine has one of the best if not the best user experience among scholar search engines. Microsoft Academic identifies contents of searches as entities. These entities include

  1. Publications
  2. Authors
  3. Topics
  4. Journals, and
  5. Institutions
  6. Conferences

The above are subdivided into different categories making sorting out information easy. 

The Conferences entity offers info about publication venues and indexes conferences that publish proceedings and therefore have discoverable publications on the web. The search engine also gives live updates, meaning the academic resources on Microsoft Academic are kept up to date hence very relevant for research work and school reports.

Microsoft Academic boasts 264,286,492 publications, 273,645,368 authors, and 49,038 journals as of August 2021. You can access the search engine without having to sign up or sign in. However, for an optimized user experience signing up would be the best option as it stores recent searches and creates a better search environment for you.

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)

As the name suggests, ERIC is known for academic information for aspiring teachers and professionals in the education field. Dubbed online digital library of education research and information, it provides a comprehensive, user-friendly, searchable, internet-based bibliographic and full-text database of education research and information for teachers, researchers, and the general public. ERIC aims to improve teaching, learning, and educational decision-making. It offers access to 1.5 bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials. The materials are available in Adobe PDF format.

From its foundation in 1966 up to its evolution into a search engine, it has built a vast collection of;

  1. Journal articles
  2. Books
  3. Research syntheses
  4. Conference papers
  5. Dissertations
  6. Technical reports
  7. Policy papers, and
  8. Other education-related materials.

 Semantic Scholar

This search engine uses AI and engineering to understand the semantics of scientific knowledge. Semantic Scholar eases the challenges of having an ocean of information online and sorting it to find the correct research relevant to you. It directs you to the most relevant information, helps overcome information overload. Semantic Scholar studies information overload and develops tools AI tools to overcome it. Such a tool is TLDR, which automatically generates single-sentence paper summaries. Such a tool lessens the time spent looking for relevant information and aids researchers and scholars narrow down what to read and use for research.

Using a combination of the above search engines, a student and or researcher can efficiently and effectively research, write and turn in papers that are high quality and good grade worthy.

UniqueWritersBay

UniqueWritersBay is an academic resource that offers a hands-on and interactive experience for learners and researchers. The platform provides research assistance for students and or researchers who are inexperienced in writing academic papers. It guides in finding relevant and correct content for academic papers, formatting, referencing, use of grammar, and any other academic tasks.

Additionally, UniqueWritersBay contains a wide variety of academic papers that fall under:

  1. Research papers
  2. Essays
  3. Movie and book reviews
  4. Dissertations
  5. Thesis and other
  6. Academic-related bibliography

The above list of contents gives the user direction on how various academic publications are written and formatted. Also, they guide on choosing content relevant for topics and subjects.

Moreover, UniqueWritersBay provides a user-friendly experience. It enables users to find relevant content among the vast information available through keywords. 

Also, UniqueWritersBay gives users access to professionals readily available 24/7 to assist with academic research work and other academic tasks.

Victorian Community Crime Prevention Program

The Community Crime Prevention Program (CCPP) was created by the Victorian government to avert misconduct and provide effective solutions to crime within the Victorian territory. The program consists a series of initiatives delivered by the state authority which include:

  • Graffiti Grants Program (GGP);
  • Community Safety Fund (CSF) grants program;
  • Reducing Violence against Women and their Children (RVAWC) grants program;
  • Public Safety Infrastructure Fund (PSIF) grants program;
  • Community Correctional Services Graffiti Removal Program (GRP);
  • CCPP Communications Program; and
  • Neighborhood Watch Reinvigoration (NWR) program.

Victorian Community Crime Prevention Program Major Objectives

The Victorian Community Crime Prevention Program has three key major objectives namely

  • building knowledge of local and other communities about effective ways to reduce crime,
  • providing resources that enable communities to implement local solutions to crime,
  • and building relationships between community organizations and community members to strengthen local crime prevention responses.

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The backbone of the CCPP is a blend of competitive grants for which a broad range of local government authorities and community organizations are eligible. The program kicked off as an outcome of an election commitment after the appointment of the minister for crime prevention in 2010.

Victorian Community Crime Prevention Program Evaluation

A fundamental obligation of any government is keeping communities safe and the justice system fair. Crime is driven by a range of factors relating to the broader social and environmental context and the characteristics of individuals. Addressing social and economic disadvantage and improving community connectedness can be protective against antisocial and offending behavior as well as the fear of crime. The government believes that early intervention and a comprehensive approach to reducing crime, implemented across the community, is the best defense against a cycle of crime and violence. Effective, evidence-based crime prevention strategies can deliver a range of benefits for the Victorian community, including: reducing the long term costs associated with the criminal justice system, reducing the direct social and economic costs of crime, reducing the indirect costs of crime, including in areas such as health and social services, improving community cohesion and the quality of community life. Effective crime prevention requires individuals, communities, businesses and all levels of government to work together in a coordinated way to develop and implement effective strategies to address the causes of crime.

Crime prevention contributes to community safety as one part of the government’s overarching approach to reducing crime. Crime prevention is defined as “…any action or policy designed to influence the underlying or contributing factors that increase the risk of crime or victimization occurring or improve actual or perceived safety.” The CCPP implements the government’s approach to collaborating with and supporting councils and community organizations to deliver local crime prevention programs through the delivery of a competitive grants program. The grants program engages the community in effective crime prevention action and builds the number and quality of local crime prevention responses across Victoria. The CCPP ensures government and communities can build on, share and enhance the good work that has been done to date.

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Theories of Crime Prevention within Victorian Community Crime Prevention Program

Situational crime prevention

Situational crime prevention is based upon the premise that crime is often opportunistic and aims to modify contextual factors to limit the opportunities for offenders to engage in criminal behaviour (Tonry & Farrington 1995). Situational prevention comprises a range of measures that highlight the importance of targeting very specific forms of crime in certain circumstances (Clarke 1997). This involves identifying, manipulating and controlling the situational or environmental factors associated with certain types of crime (Cornish & Clarke 2003). It is also based upon assumptions regarding the nature of offending and of offenders (Cornish & Clarke 2003). Underlying the situational approach are four key elements, including:

  • three key opportunity theories—routine activity, crime pattern and rational choice theory;
  • an action research methodology that involves analysing of specific crime problems and contributing factors, identifying possible responses, selecting and implementing of the most appropriate or promising response and evaluating and disseminating the results;
  • a classification of 25 situational prevention techniques; and
  • a growing body of evaluated projects and examples of different types of strategies (such as those available on the Problem-Oriented Policing Center, which helps to inform the selection and design of specific interventions (Clarke 2005).

The focus of the three key opportunity theories is actually quite different. Under routine activity theory, three critical elements must occur simultaneously for a criminal event to take place—a motivated offender, a suitable target and the absence of a capable guardian (Clarke 1997). The theory seeks to explain how societal changes can impact upon opportunities for crime (Sutton, Cherney & White 2008). Crime pattern theory seeks to explain the influence of communities and neighbourhoods, and focuses on how offenders may come across opportunities for crime in the course of their everyday lives (Clarke 2005). Rational choice theory has a more individualistic focus and explores the decision-making processes that lead to an offender choosing to become involved in crime or specific criminal events, including weighing up the relative risks and rewards associated with offending (Clarke 2005; 1997).

Read also SARA Model – Crime Prevention

Situational crime prevention interventions include activities such as improved security through strengthening locks and improving surveillance. Cornish and Clarke (2003) have classified 25 situational crime prevention techniques into five broad categories that are based on the mechanisms underlying the different methods:

  • increasing the effort involved in offending;
  • increasing the risk associated with offending;
  • reducing the rewards that come from committing a crime;
  • reducing situational factors that influence the propensity of an individual to offend; and
  • removing excuses for offending behaviour.

This relative simple classification scheme provides a useful framework for describing the range and variety of situational techniques on offer to those working in crime prevention (Cornish & Clarke 2003).

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Important lessons for the implementation of situational crime prevention projects (taken from the UK experience where situational approaches have been common), include that it:

  • works most effectively when it is targeted at a specific crime problem in a specific context;
  • involves a thorough and systematic analysis of current and emerging crime problems and their causes and risk factors that is based on accurate and wide-ranging sources of information and has analysts with the capacity to interpret the data;
  • requires appropriate consultation mechanisms to seek input from stakeholders and the community into the development of strategies that are likely to require their action, involvement or cooperation; and
  • requires strong project management skills, a comprehensive implementation plan that describes the key stages in project delivery and the interrelationships between different but complementary interventions, and a committee made up of representatives from key stakeholder groups to oversee project development, implementation and review (Marshall, Smith & Tilley 2004)

There is considerable evidence of the effectiveness of situational crime prevention in reducing crime, both in Australia and overseas. Despite there being limitations in the evaluation literature, a review of the evidence by Eck (2006a) showed that opportunity reduction measures can reduce crime in many circumstances with little evidence of displacement. An evaluation of the UK Reducing Residential Burglary Initiative found that areas where more money had been invested in situational prevention rather than offender-focused prevention and those that were flexible in their delivery, were generally more successful in reducing residential burglary (Hope et al. 2004). While there is insufficient evidence to determine the most cost-effective approach in modifying environmental conditions to prevent crime, there is sufficient evidence that situational crime prevention is an economically efficient strategy in reducing crime (Welsh & Farrington 2001).

There are some notable exceptions. A recent systemic review concluded that CCTV has a modest but significant positive effect on crime, but that it is most effective in reducing crime in car parks and when targeted at vehicle crimes (Welsh & Farrington 2008). Further, the cost of establishing, maintaining and monitoring a CCTV system can be prohibitively expensive, and potentially exceed any financial savings that might result from a reduction in property crime (Clancey 2010). Taken together, these results lend support for the continued use of CCTV to prevent crime in public space, but suggest that it needs to be more narrowly targeted than its present use would indicate (Welsh & Farrington 2008).

Read also Community Policing Should Be Adopted To Address Crime Most Effectively – Persuasive Presentation

Developmental crime prevention

Developmental crime prevention initiatives are becoming increasingly popular in Australia (Weatherburn 2004). There has been considerable investment in early intervention programs in Australia, many of which do not have explicit crime prevention objectives (Homel et al. 1999; Weatherburn 2004). Developmental crime prevention is based on the premise that intervening early in a young person’s development can produce significant long-term social and economic benefits. While there is evidence of the importance of intervening early in life, the focus of developmental crime prevention is on intervening early at any of a number of critical transition points in a person’s development to lead them on a pathway to prevent future offending. Transition points occur around birth, the preschool years, transition from primary to high school and from high school to further education or the workforce (Homel et al. 1999).

Early intervention aims to address risk factors and enhance protective factors that impact upon the likelihood that a young person will engage in future offending behaviour (Homel et al. 1999). Risk and protective factors can be categorised into child factors, family factors, school context, life events and community and cultural factors (Homel et al. 1999). Developmental programs aim to identify, measure and manipulate risk and protective factors that research has confirmed are important in predicting future offending (Homel 2005). In practical terms, developmental crime prevention involves providing basic services or resources to individuals, families, schools or communities to minimise the impact of risk factors on the development of offending behaviours (Homel 2005). Most often these resources and services are directed towards disadvantaged or ‘vulnerable’ families with young children.

Several factors have been identified as contributing to the successful implementation of developmental crime prevention initiatives, including:

  • the importance of timing and intervening at critical junctures, such as times of stress or when people are open to external influences (which may not mean early in life);
  • the need to target multiple risk factors due to their cumulative impact, with bias towards those factors regarded as having the greatest impact, and to target multiple offence types;
  • the need to be sensitive to the needs of the local area (including the need to be culturally sensitive), involve and empower the community (in decision making, as volunteers and as paid professionals) and identify local change agents;
  • the importance of detailed assessments of community readiness (the presence of existing partnerships and management structures, leadership stability, community engagement and support for and commitment to prevention), which is a key component of programs such as Communities that Care (Crow et al. 2004);
  • the importance of strategies to make programs accessible, keep people involved and to avoid stigmatising at-risk young people or families;
  • the value of partnerships and coordination between new and existing service providers, whether they rely on formal interagency structures or more simple arrangements; and
  • the requirement for longer term investment, as the benefits of developmental crime prevention are not immediate (Crow et al. 2004; Homel et al. 1999).

Evidence from a small (but growing) number of comprehensive evaluation studies has demonstrated the long term effectiveness of early intervention in achieving significant reductions in participant’s involvement in crime, as well as improvements in areas such as educational performance, child maltreatment, workforce participation, child and youth behaviour, income and substance abuse (Homel 2005). In addition to the obvious social benefits, these outcomes are also associated with significant financial savings, both for the community and the participant (Homel et al. 2006; Schweinhart et al. 2004). The savings produced by early intervention programs include reductions in welfare assistance, decreased need for special education, increases in income tax revenue from the higher wages of participants (due to improved educational attainment), reduced operational costs to the criminal justice system and reduced costs to victims (Homel et al. 2006). Conversely, at least one study has demonstrated long term negative outcomes for participants and the problems of stigmatising participants as being ‘at risk’ or delinquent (Homel R 2005). Further, despite the increased popularity of early intervention as a crime prevention strategy with promising results, evidence of long term cost effectiveness has been limited to a small number of overseas studies and one notable Australian example. Nevertheless, taken as a whole, research into the impact of developmental crime prevention suggests that intervening early in a young person’s development is a promising strategy in improving the life course development of at-risk children and their families, and in reducing the long-term costs associated with delinquency and future criminal offending (Schweinhart et al. 2004; Welsh & Farrington 2001).