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Recent Information Technology Failure In a Healthcare Organization

Healthcare Information Governance Assignment Instructions

Research health care organizations / providers that have recently had a significant information technology failure, and complete this assignment. Write a seven to eight (7-8) page paper in which you:

  • Determine the key factors contributing to the failure in question. Next, analyze how the failure impacted both the organization’s operations and patient information protection and privacy.
  • Analyze the leadership team’s reaction to the failure, and indicate whether the leadership took sufficient measures to deal with various stakeholder groups impacted by the failure. Provide support for the rationale.
  • Take a position on whether the health care provider that you identified should either develop a custom application or select a proprietary system. Provide support for the rationale.
  • Recommend at least three (3) best practices that any organization could adopt in order to avoid such a failure in the future.
  • Provide support for the recommendation. Suggest how health care leaders can use project metrics and portfolio management to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness. Provide specific examples to support the response. Analyze a government intervention into health care businesses, meant to ensure that health care and patient information is secure and thus to minimize information breaches and technology failures.

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Health Care Organizations That Had a Significant Information Technology Failure – Sample Paper

Information Governance

            Good information technology must enhance cognitive function, provide user experience, can be customized easily and effectively to the needs of the subspecialists and specialists, must effortlessly put the essential information to the hands of the physicians, should keep eHealth information securely, help facilitate better practice of medicine and outcomes and protect patient privacy. All these attributes point to the importance of maintaining an effective information technology in the healthcare setting. The information technology with no doubt has brought improvements in the healthcare setting and has improved the level of outcomes.

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However, a poorly designed information technology can bring huge loss of patient data and sometimes can cause patient data breaches as witnessed in the Health Net, which lost a hard drive that had information of close to 1.5 million members. Numerous healthcare providers have experienced information technology breakdowns in the United States.

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Health Care Organizations That Had a Significant Information Technology Failure

Network Glitch at Florida Health System

            In 2014, IT network failure at Florida Health system paralyzed health operations in its MHS facilities (Stuart, 2014). According to the hospital officials, the failure in the hospital hardware system paralyzed operations for about two days. A hardware failure in the three-hospital Martin Hospital in Stuart caused an unexpected downtime in the hospital’s Epic EMR and other applications. In fact, the breakdown affected thirteen of the hospital MHS facilities.

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            Although the breakdown occurred in the evening of Wednesday, the hospital officials reported that the IT department resolved the problem and restored the services by Friday (Stuart, 2014). The hospital officials asserted that although the problem affected the Epic EMR, the cause was attributed to the hardware breakdown. The hospital spokesperson, Scott Samples asserted that the hospital had to resort to manual patient documentation and charting system, as the patient care was their priority. In the same hospital during the launch of its Epic MRC in 2011, Samples had asserted the development of proper processes to ensure patient safety and proper documentation in such processes of downtime. He pointed that the health system would follow due processes in order to ascertain the causes of the glitch and prevent such events in future.

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Sutter-Health in Northern California

            As more hospitals ditch paper work for electronic record systems, more downtime glitches are reported in the United States. The other recent occurrence of a downtime on patient care is the Sutter Health in Northern California that occurred in August 2014, (Stuart, 2014). In an event similar to that of the Florida Health system, the hospital’s $1 billion Epic EMR experienced downtime that paralyzed hospital operations for a whole day. According to a press response from Sutter nurses, the glitch caused a compromise on the patient care.

            The problem extended to the hospital patient data backup system and when the hospital nurses resorted to printing the patient data using the hospital’s Pyxis system, the data print out was outdated by two to three days. According to a RN at Alta Sates Summit Medical Center and California Nurses Union representative for the hospital, the patients were concerned for failure to receive their medications for a whole day. Although the downtimes were from Citrix glitch, the hospital officials denied naming the vendor (Stuart, 2014). However, they issued a statement to regret the inconvenience that was caused to the patients.

How the Failures Impacted Both the Organization’s Operations and Patient Information Protection and Privacy

            The failure of the hardware in the Florida Health system paralyzed operations in its MHS. Although the hospital was able to resort to manual chart and documentation of patient data, there was likelihood that it caused many patient inconveniences due to time taken to offer medication. In addition, given that the glitch took two days to rectify, explains the extent of inconvenience and the risks it exposed the electronic medical data.

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            According to (Johnson & Willey, 2011), healthcare data loses can result in social stigma and privacy violations. The failures of the Epic EMR in Florida Health system opened an avenue for consequential changes in the patient medical information. For example, changes in information such as blood type or allergies can affect patient health. Therefore, the downtime in Florida Health system exposed patient data to possible privacy breaches and improper diagnosis.

            The Sutter Health in Northern California case caused a lot of patient inconvenience, although it just occurred for a day. The fact that the retrieval of patient data from hospital backup system produced data that was outdated by two to three days, meant the system failure exposed the patients to wrong diagnosis. In addition, the system opened up loopholes for data loss in the hospital electronic data storage. The reliance of the Sutter Health in Northern California in its Epic EMR meant that many of the patients were not able to receive their medications for most of the day and almost paralyzed the operations in the hospital.

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The Leadership Team’s Reaction to the Failures

            The reactions of the leadership in the failures that affected Florida Health system and Sutter Health in Northern California were almost similar. Both leaderships failed to own responsibility for the failures. In addition, the hospitals response failed to give comprehensive information regarding the steps the hospitals took in order to secure patient information during the time of the failures. The spokesperson for Sutter Health in Northern California just issued a statement expressing the regret for the inconvenience caused by the downtime in the hospital EMR. In addition, the hospital leadership declined to name the vendor of the Epic EMR, only for the medical representative to name it.

            However, the leadership of the Florida Health system reacted by ensuring the patient care experienced minimum inconvenience, when it resorted to the manual patient data documentation and charting. The numbers of the patients in both hospitals, whose data was exposed was huge and it could easily have led to a breach of the HIPAA regulations. According to (Gamble, 2012), a number of regulations govern the Electronic Medical Records. The first legal aspect covers the risks of medical malpractice. The Florida Health system in the case above was concerned with patient care and the hospital leadership worked to ensure that minimum inconvenience was caused and that patient care was not compromised due to the failure of its Epic EMR. Its use of the manual system worked and patient care experienced minimal inconveniences.

            However, the Sutter Health in Northern California use of the Pyxis system produced outdated data, which would have exposed the hospital to the breach of the HIPAA regulations governing EMR. The reactions of the Sutter Health in Northern California to resort to Pyxis system exposed the physicians against risks of medical malpractice claims, likelihood of medical errors and vulnerability to fraud claims.  In addition, the failure of the hospital leadership to provide detailed information of the cause of the downtime and the steps it took to secure patient data as well as ensure patient care was not compromised, was insufficient.

Position on Whether the Health Care Providers Should either Develop a Custom Application or Select a Proprietary System

            As the healthcare system in the United States adopts more electronic healthcare records (EHRs), the numbers of vendors have narrowed. In 2013, about ten EHRs vendors accounted about 90% of the HER market in the hospital sector in the country. These vendors include Epic, Cerner, Healthland, MEDITECH, Siemens, CPSI, McKesson, NextGen Healthcare, Allscripts and Healthcare Management Systems (Gregg, 2014). However, only three of the ten vendors expanded their market in 2013. These vendors include Epic, MEDITECH and Cerner. Although there are national efforts to improve safety, effectiveness and quality, there is need for the healthcare organizations to be prepared for the failures that occasionally come up with the adoption of the EHRs applications.

            In regard to the failures that occurred in the Epic EMRs in Sutter Health in Northern California and Florida Health system, there is need to adopt custom applications. When an organization adopts proprietary system, there is likelihood of the laxity from the supplier company and this poses great risk in the event of any system failure. Most of the proprietary applications are one company owned and once the companies sell the copies of its software to cover its development costs, every other unit sold generates pure profit and this reduces company emphasis on innovation or efficiency (Muir, 2011). As seen in the case of Sutter Health in Northern California, the presence of the Pyxis system would provide an alternative when the Epic system failed. Therefore, there is need for Sutter Health in Northern California and Florida Health system to integrate multiple disparate systems in order to have comprehensive custom applications for their EMRs (Vest & Gamm, 2010).

Recommendation of Best Practices That Any Organization Could Adopt In Order To Avoid Such a Failure In The Future

            The failures of hospital EHRs causes inconveniences to the patients and can hinder patient care (Terry, 2013). In order to avoid such occurrences as witnessed in the Sutter Health in Northern California and Florida Health system, there is need for healthcare organizations to adopt a number of strategies. The following are the recommendations, which when adopted, can help in avoiding such failures in future.

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            First, avoid proprietary and adopt custom applications in order to ensure the healthcare information system is interfaced with the available information technology infrastructure. As witnessed in the case of the Florida Health system, there was no backup for the healthcare records, due to dependence on the proprietary Epic application in its EMRs. The presence of backup system in Sutter Health in North California allowed an access of patient data. However, lack of interfacing with the existent hospital information technology, led to retrieval of out dated data. Therefore, there is need to interface the HIT with the existing hospital information technology in order to ensure continuity of patient care in case of a glitch.

            Second, identify and mitigate risks before they occur. The hospital information and technology department should conduct system updates and regular checks in order to troubleshoot and prevent major downtimes that can derail the operations in the hospitals. The regular checks should also take into consideration the security checks in order to ensure that appropriate measures are in place in order to prevent any data loss in case of any system failure. As noted in the case of the Sutter Health in North California, the hospital patient information is very vital and it goes a long way in enhancing the work of the physicians. Making such information available all the time is very important in ensuring the continuity of patient care.

            Third, exercise good governance, learn from others and past events in order to benchmark on the best practices. There is need for the senior management should ensure the organizational mission and vision are focused on efficiency, increasing quality and delivery of services in organized and cost effective way. It is with no doubt that EMRs play a critical role in enhancing vision and mission. However, there is need for the top management to support the EMR in order to realize successful implementation (Cellucci, Wiggins, & Trimmer, 2011). Most EMR failures result from its poor implementations.

How Health Care Leaders Can Use Project Metrics and Portfolio Management to Ensure Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

            The project portfolio involves the maximization of use of the available resources and organizational capabilities in order to ensure the meeting of the desired outcomes, within the constraints of technology, finance, vision and mission (van Angeren, Blijleven, & Batenburg, 2014).  The project metrics are data that give a measurement of the projects. The healthcare organizations can use a combination of shrewd resource allocation and project metrics in ensuring that its operations are effective.

            An organization in analysis the costs of project, selecting the project that is cost effective and providing good control measures, it can ensure a project that is efficient and affordable. In addition, the evaluation and controls in portfolio management help in prevention of inconveniences caused by failures in projects. Besides, the use of metrics ensures that the right projects are selection and implemented.

Government Intervention into Health Care Businesses, Meant To Ensure That Health Care and Patient Information Is Secure and Thus To Minimize Information Breaches and Technology Failures

            The federal government through the HIPAA act has enacted a number of regulations that govern the safety of patient data (DesRoches & Miralles, 2010). The federal government through its federal stimulus package of 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 has a number of provisions as drafted in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act provide an encouragement for the hospitals to adopt electronic medical records. It is evident that as much as the government provides framework for adoption of the EMR, it exercises also it other core responsibility of regulation.          

The most important aspect of the healthcare security is the security of the patient information, which includes the medical information. Any lose of the patient information is not like lose of a financial card, which can be re-issued and another one issued. When patient data is lost, it can be used for impersonation or to solicit for money. Therefore, the government through the HIPAA has provided a number of regulations that protects the patient against risks associated with loss of their medical information in case of security breaches or system failures.

Relationship Between the President and Congress in the Lawmaking Process

The US government comprises of three main bodies that include the executive body, judiciary branch, and the legislatives branch. The three bodies are involved in the law making process but at different levels. The two main bodies which are involved in the formation of national laws in the country are the legislatives and the executive bodies. The US government system adapts a bicameral legislative system with two houses that include the representative house and the Senate house.  The law formation process starts in the representative house. After it passes this stage, it is passed to the senate where it is reviews and if any amendments are required the policy or the bill is sent back to the representatives’ house for amendments. In case the bill is approved by the senate, then the bill must be passed to the president, who is required to sign it if it satisfies him or her, or refuse to sign it and send to it back to the senate with an objection.

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The relationship between the president and the congress is founded on a constitutional structure of sharing of power between separate institutions. The plan of the framers was to ensure the separation of executive from the congress, and thus ensuring the independency of the legislatures in the law making process. The independence was to be ensured by distinct processes of selection for the two branches and through definite lawmaking privileges given to the congress. Nevertheless, cooperation between the two independent bodies would be essential in the development of public policy. The association between the congress and chief executive has been defined as struggle invitation, as the two bodies seems to conflict while exacting their mandates in the law formation processes (File, Incorporated, 2009). The political system of the US contains constitutional foundation   with power separation among the government branches and the resultant balances and checks. This paper reviews the relation between the president and the congress in the United States especially with regard to the formation of the law.

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Relation between the President and the Congress in the Law Making Process

The constitution gives the law making power to the congress. Nevertheless, the presidential signature is needed before an enactment of a bill into law, but only if the president is comfortable with the discussed bill. In this case, the bill is introduced to the parliament by the minister, member of the legislator, or it can be initiated by the president. The bill is read for two times, discussed or scrutinized by the legislative committee and voted for. In case a bill wins in the parliamentary vote, the bill is taken to the senate where it is scrutinized further. Senate may pass the bill or return it to the parliament for amendment (File, Incorporated, 2009). Once the senate passes the bill, the bill is taken to the president for signing where it is passed to be the law. Nevertheless, this is not guarantee. The president may refuse to sign the bill, and it is referred back to the senate. Basically, the president does not have the power to make any alteration to legislation or a bill. The president can only reject or accept it.

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When a bill is rejected by the president, the president refers it back to the senate or its place of origin, with his objection. The objection will be entered into the house journal where it will be reconsidered. In this case, the reconsideration may include altering the bill to address the president concern and make him sign it, or voting for the bill as it is without making any changes. If the reconsideration involves voting and two thirds of the members of the house vote in the favor of the bill, the bill and the president objections are sent to the other house or the parliament (File, Incorporated, 2009). In case the bill also receives a minimum of two third supports in the parliament, then the bill shall be passed into the law, without the president’s approval. The relation between the president and the congress is very important in this case. Although the president is not allowed making changes to a bill, he can initiate changes by influencing the voting for the bill. The president is selected via a certain party which has legislative representatives in both houses. The president part members in the two houses are anticipated to play the main role in ensuring that the president opinion is considered in the formation of the law. The president can only influence laws formation in congress by having a high number of supporters in that, there will be no time where a bill rejected by the president will be passed through majority vote.

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The congress always has an upper hand when it comes to the matters regarding legislative authority. Although the president might be perceived as the national leader, chief legislator, vision builder and agenda setter, it is the congress that often has the final word. The congress contains various veto points, each of which might block the proposal of the president, and at all points, the congress takes the upper hand to decide on what will transpire. This subject the country into negative veto points that limit the power of change. The United States constitution according to Facts on File, Incorporated (2009), has developed a state where the congress and the president guerrilla warfare is highly inevitable, by giving president limited legislative power compared to the congress.

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According to Thurber (2013), there have been strong rivalries between congress and the president, which is highly rooted on various factors that include the constitutional structuring. The constitutional framer left Americans with a continuing rivalry in the government, between the congress and the president. Although the constitution separate the three government branches, it also integrate their functions generating shared powers and conflict. The constitution developed a government with separated power sharing institutions that make it hard for president to close the constitutional gap, even in the political best circumstances. The constitution provides the congress and the president various power and each one of them is jealous of the constitutional prerogatives of the other, irrespective of the context. The congress was invested by the constitution with all law making power, but also sanctions the president to veto or recommend legislation. In case a bill is vetoed by the president, it will need to be responded by the senate two-third of the house representative and the senate. However, according to Thurber (2013), this is hard to attain and thus, the vetoes of the president are normally sustained. 

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According to Thurber (2013), the congress dominates the president in the formation of the law.  The constitution convention ensured that the president would not control the process of policymaking. However, the situation is different with regard to foreign affairs related laws. The president is provided with important powers with matters pertaining foreign affairs. The president contains powers to respond in emergencies, though congress would control war policy. According to Thurber (2013), the congress represents different and frequently irreconcilable interest, obtaining a long-term dominance against the executive body. However, congress eventually makes decision regarding majorities of policies that assist in protecting the citizens from exploitation and enhancing president counterbalance. This can be identified especially in financial sensitive aspects such as the budget formation. Nevertheless, they cannot be left to handle matters of urgency.

According to Bold, Coletta and Shackelford  (2005), decision making in national security interest is very difficult in a congress. This is because the conflicts intrinsic in having national-security decision makers multiplicity will create the impact of distorting, delaying, and inhibiting decisions which have to be made.  Swiftness is needed in a world, demanding increasing international trends perceptiveness and more coherence and responsiveness in adapting or trying to influence them. Nevertheless, for the development of suitable national security policy, public acceptance and congressional support are highly needed. Because of the congress representative role and its power against the prize, no effective president can manage to distance him- or herself from congress leadership, isolate her- or himself from the process of legislation, or to disregard congress.

The congress’ functioning and organization rest basically on the committee structure. In the course of usual legislative process, a bill is initially taken to committees with subcommittees and committees chair exercising suitable power in the fate determination. This creates the major difference between the congress and the president. The presidency institution rests on a person who heads governmental hierarchical branch (Bold, Coletta & Shackelford, 2005). The power center is clear and the obligations for nation laws execution are based on the president. Unlike in congress, there is very little responsibility or power fragmentation in presidency. However, a different picture is seen in the congress, where there is responsibility or power fragmentation in the institution between committee, subcommittees and speakers. It is also very hard to give obligation to one member of the congress.

The accountability of the congress act lies on the entire institutions and not on a single individual. This makes it easy to pass blame to the corporate body as an institution, unlike in presidency where the roles are clearly defied and the blame an easily be put on the president. This congress picture demonstrates the reason as to why the congress members are highly flexible when taking their positions politically. The fact that they can constitutionally disclaim responsibilities for their contribution to any institutional result makes it hard to trust them with sensitive policies that include the security policies (Bolt, Colletta & Shackelford, 2005). In this regard, the president is granted an upper had to make laws during crisis on in matters that are considerably sensitive policies such as security. However, the congress involvement as stated above cannot be completely eliminated in any policy making process. For instance in this case, they must pass the budget related to the made security laws.

Factors influencing the Relationship between the President and the congress in Law Making

The relation between the president and the congress is highly influenced by the constitution. The constitution has the role of dividing power in the government, and unfortunately it created a conflict while dividing roles in the law making process. This power division by the constitution created a conflicting situation in the law development process. While the president role is to sign the law, he can as well refuse to sign and send it back. This demonstrates the presidential influence in law making process. However, the ability to show this law lies on the presidential influence in the senate and representatives houses (Thurber, 2013).  Poor influence implies that the president veto can be overruled by the third majority in the two houses. Nevertheless, with high influence, the houses will lack the third majority to overrule the president and thus, the bill will have to be amended or suspended based on the situation. Thus presidential influence is another aspect that dictates the relationship between the president and the congress.

To be able to influence the law formation, the president needs to seek support from the congress. According to Janda, Berry and Goldman (2007) there are various aspects that guide the success of the president when handling congress. One of these factors is crisis. The president in Janda, Berry and Goldman (2007) views is rendered a great deference deal, and the congress normally back the president up during crisis, a good example being after the 9/11 bombing. At this time, the president proposition on security bills was highly backed by the congress to ensure security in the country. The second factor is the possession of clear electoral command by the president, especially when the president wins by a wide margin and hence, the party of the president contains a large majority in both houses or in the congress. In this case, the president will have the ability to influence the law with great congress support.

The third factor is that the president can create pressure on congress member in case he or she has a landslide win in the election and runs ahead of members in the home district, a situation that is regarded as presidential coattails (Janda, Berry & Goldman, 2007). The fourth factor is the higher presidential popularity levels which are frequently said to be power source against the progress. Nevertheless, it is not easy for the president to decipher popularity into supremacy. According to social scientists, popularity only contains marginal effect on success of presidential in congress. Skill is the fifth factor, although its level of importance in success of legislation is questionable, thought there is a part of social scientists that believe that high level of skill can provide a president with a higher wining influence in the congressional process. Different skills that include agenda setting, public moving, persuasion, good timing, skill on coalition-building, cooptation, self-dramatization, consultation,  trading, arm-twisting and threat can be utilized to advance the goals of the president.    

The Congress and the President Relationship Evaluation

Initially, the congress was constitutionally established as the dominant government branch, and the presidents that served in the first few terms were just involved in the process of legislation minimally. The vision founder soon paved way to political reality, and gradually presidents started to pull power into the state house, and commonly, the congress was an agreeable participant in providing the president extra power (Thurber, 2013).  Currently, the system that was designed as congressionally based system has changed into an executive-hegemonic or presidentially centered system. However, the congress still has a means of frustrating even the president that is most skilled. Although the president expectation or image is as chief legislator that guides congress in activity of law making, the actuality is quite different. The congress decentralized nature, the multiple veto and access points in the process of congressional, the party system that is loosely organized, the independent-entrepreneurial legislators’ mode, and the legislative leadership weakness or collude over presidential leadership and direction (Thurber,. 2013). This implies that president only influence congress at the margins and can be regarded more as facilitators than leaders.  

Conclusion

The law making process in the US includes both the president and the congress. However, the congress contains more power in law formation process compared to the president. While the president is constitutionally given the power to enact a law, this power can be overruled by the congress when the president does not have enough support in the congress. The provision of the veto process were the president has the power to reject a bill and send it back with the reason for his or her objection, the congress can overlook the government reasons and opt to pass the law through two third majority. Although this is regarded hard to attain, its provision shows how the constitution structuring of power with regard to the law formation process can subject the two bodies of governance, in a conflicting relationship.

Mazda Integrated Marketing Communications Case Study

Discussion Questions

  1. Analyze the role of integrated marketing communications in the marketing of automobiles such as the Mazda Protegé and MAZDA6. How is each IMC element used to market automobiles?
  2. Evaluate Mazda’s decision to drop the “Get In. Be Moved’ tagline for the Protegé and adopt the “Zoom-Zoom” theme for its advertising.
  3. Evaluate the strategy Mazda is using to advertise the new MAZDA6 sports sedan. Do you agree with the decision to use a more mature and less playful approach for the MAZDA6?
  4. What recommendations would you make to Mazda regarding its integrated marketing communications strategy as the company moves forward?

Introduction

Mazda has been selling cars and trucks in the highly competitive U.S. market for more than three decades. The company’s various models have always received high marks from consumers in areas such as styling, performance, reliability, and value. Sporty models such as the rotary engine RX-7, which was introduced in 1978 and was Mazda’s signature car for many years, and the Miata roadster helped the company sell nearly 400,000 cars and trucks per year in the U.S. throughout the decade of the ‘80s and into the early ‘90s. However, during the mid ‘90s Mazda embarked on an expansion program in an attempt to compete directly with Honda, Toyota and Nissan. This plan included the introduction of five new models in less than a year that resulted in a lack of focus in the company’s marketing and advertising plans. From 1994 to 1997 Mazda’s U.S. sales declined by 33 percent and reached their lowest level in 15 years as the various models were positioned primarily on the basis of value for the money. When the new president took over Mazda North American Operations in early 1997, he found an inefficient company with an image that was bouncing all around. Most of the advertising for the various Mazda models touted the prices and functional features of the cars with little attention being given to image and positioning. A change in marketing strategy as well as advertising philosophy was clearly needed if Mazda was to regain its strong position in the U.S. market.

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The Road to Recovery

To begin its recovery, a new marketing strategy was developed which called for Mazda to refocus its efforts and target a younger generation of drivers who appreciate cars with sporty features and want to make a statement about themselves with their cars. In the fall of 1997 Mazda parted ways with its advertising agency of 27 years and awarded its business to a new agency, W.B. Doner & Co., now known as Doner. The new agency was given the charge of building an image that would capture Mazda’s overall personality and set it apart from other cars, i.e., to develop a brand DNA. They were also asked to develop an advertising theme that could be used for the Mazda brand rather than trying to establish a separate image for each model. Doner developed a simple but powerful slogan for Mazda, “Get In. Be Moved.” The slogan was seen as more than just an advertising tagline, it was a brand promise. Mazda’s group manager of brand strategy and communication noted that “It’s an invitation to the consumer; a motivation and a promise that you come to Mazda, you get in, and we promise that you’ll be moved by what our cars have to offer.”

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Repositioning of the Protegé

One of the first challenges Doner undertook was to develop a campaign to completely reposition Mazda’s subcompact Protegé model for the 1999 model year. The Protegé had been positioned as a car that was a step up from a compact sedan but retained compact attributes such as fuel efficiency and price. The dual market for the Protegé included entry level young buyers and older, empty nesters who wanted a smaller second car. However, the new advertising strategy for the Protegé called for positioning it as a cool, fun and hip to drive vehicle for young, individualistic females. The ads targeted young professional women in their early 20s to mid 30s and promoted euro-chic styling, room for friends, value, reliability, and cool features of the car.

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To launch the repositioning campaign for the Protegé, Doner developed several television commercials combining computer-generated backgrounds with live action and featuring a group of hip “20-somethings” carpooling in a Protegé. One of the most popular spots was called “Protegé World” and showed the group driving a Protegé through a surrealistic cityscape accompanied by a vocal set to music from the rock group Nails’ “88 Lines About 44 Women,” bemoaning the trials and tribulations of their workday lives. As the car drives off the screen, the voice over describes how the Protegé “is a change from your high-maintenance relationships.”

In addition to the commercials, Mazda also gave the redesigned Protegé a major push on the Internet. Mazda kicked off what it called “the world’s largest online automotive launch party” with banner ads on a number of web sites and portals such as Yahoo!, Excite, America Online’s Autocenter, CarPoint, and MTV. The ads led visitors to the Protegé section of Mazda’s web site, which was created by CKS Group, Mazda’s interactive agency. Once there they could start the Protegé Road Trip where users picked the traits and a photograph of an imaginary travel companion before starting on a cyber journey that included choosing virtual roads to take. Fun facts about the car were offered along the way. While online, travelers could also enter a sweepstakes to win a new Protegé and play trivia games supplied by the game show site Uproar. Mazda also mailed a CD-ROM with music, movie reviews and interviews to people who requested more information while visiting the Protegé web site. The IMC program was extended to dealer showrooms by developing point-of-purchase cubes that used the same imagery and tonality as the television and print messages.
The IMC program developed by Doner was highly successful in repositioning the Protegé and attracting younger buyers. Protegé sales increased 33 percent in the fourth quarter of 1998 and nearly 12 percent in 1999. Imagery perceptions were also used to track and evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign and revealed that the campaign was successful in creating a new image for the Protegé as younger, hipper, and more intelligent. The research also showed an increase in perceptions of the Protegé on key attributes such as overall quality, reliability, and dependability.

Zoom-Zooming in a New Direction

The success of the Protegé campaign prompted Mazda to use the “Get In. Be Moved” as it overall branding theme and as the tagline in campaigns for various other models. However, the company’s marketing executives were still not entirely sold on the tagline. In 1999 Mazda North America hired a new group manager for brand strategy and communications. She felt that Mazda still lacked a strong brand position, as “Get in. Be moved.” was too passive and vague and could just as easily work as a tagline for an airport tram as a car. The new manager was an advocate of the idea of using a unified branding effort as she felt that having a different advertising theme for every model would weaken Mazda’s overall brand image. However, she wanted a theme that could be used to appeal to the driving enthusiast in everyone and build on Mazda’s heritage as the creator of sporty vehicles such as the RX-7 and Miata roadster.
Ironically, when Doner had pitched the Mazda account in 1997, one of the creative ideas that was presented centered on a theme based on the phrase “Zoom-Zoom.” The agency had presented a “brand essence” tape that showed images of children enjoying their “wheels” which included toy cars, tricycles and bicycles. The adults in the pitch tape were shown still expecting and experiencing the same excitement when it comes to their automobiles. In early 2000 Mazda had Doner develop a new branding campaign that would communicate the idea that the company makes fun-to-drive cars for adults who are still in touch with their inner child. The first commercials in the campaign showed a young boy running up to a road and turning to the camera to whisper, “Zoom-Zoom.” Interspersed were images of children laughing and playing with wheeled objects and adults being playful as well (such as a young man riding a shopping cart through a supermarket parking lot). The message also included a bouncy, Jamaican-toned jingle that keeps repeating the “Zoom-Zoom” phrase. The “Get In. Be Moved” tagline still appeared in the ads but was no longer emphasized.

The first Mazda vehicle to use advertising featuring the “Zoom-Zoom” creative platform was the company’s new Tribute sport utility vehicle which was positioned as an SUV with the “soul of a sports car.” The campaign for the SUV broke in August 2000 and ran through late November. The launch of the Tribute was extremely successful and its strong sales continued into 2001. Mazda had also begun incorporating the “Zoom-Zoom” phrase and music in ads for other models which resulted in increases in brand as well as advertising awareness. By the summer of 2001 Mazda had decided to phase out the “Get In. Be Moved” tagline and replace it with the “Zoom-Zoom” message in all of its advertising. Mazda and the agency refused to characterize it as a new tagline as Simmons described it as more of the “mantra” of the automaker noting that “’Zoom-Zoom’ sums up everything we stand for as a company.”
Extending the Protegé Line
By the summer of 2001, the “Zoom-Zoom” message was integrated into all new Mazda advertising which began carrying a sportier look. Advertising for the new Mazda Protegé positioned it as an agile, fun car to drive, with a sports car heritage. New commercials were developed which began with a shot of the Mazda Miata sports car, and asked the question “Where is it written that only a sports car can behave like a sports car?’ in a not so subtle attempt to associate the Protegé with the sporty Miata. The commercial also showed the new 2.0 liter engine Protegé keeping pace with the Miata on a curvy highway to demonstrate its speed and handling. All other elements of the IMC program reflected this positioning.
In addition to changing its advertising strategy, Mazda North American Operations had embarked on a new corporate strategy as well. Part of the Millennial Plan strategy included the launching of a number of new products including two models that were built on the Protegé platform, the Protegé5 and the MAZDASPEED Protegé. The Protegé5 is a four-door hatchback designed to fit into the growing niche of “crossover” vehicles. While many car buyers had rejected hatchbacks as boring and too much like station wagons, Mazda and other car companies were repositioning them as sporty and youthful, as well as practical. The target market for the Protegé5 is approximately 60 percent male, under 34 years old, college educated, with a college education and annual household incomes of nearly $70,000. From a life style perspective, the target consumer has an active lifestyle, makes time to have fun, loves to drive, and is likely to be a car enthusiast. To appeal to this audience, commercials for the Protege5 took the perspective of someone riding a bike zooming about the city, maneuvering around curves and having fun. A second commercial took a similar perspective from a skateboard. The message being conveyed was that if you think this is fun and exciting, you can now have the same experience in the new Protegé5. Advertising for the Protegé5 also noted that it was the only car to score a perfect 10 in Car & Driver Magazine’s “fun to drive” category and was ranked number one in head-to-head comparisons against other competitors in the category. Examples of some of several ads used for the Protegé5 are provided at the end of the case.
In the fall of 2002 Mazda introduced the MAZDASPEED Protegé, a high performance version of the Protegé sedan model. Mazda had previously positioned the Protegé sedan to appeal to young, college-age and professional women and the goal was to extend the appeal of the car. Mazda added some major “bells and whistles” to the MAZASPEED Protegé from a performance aspect to attract more male buyers in the same age range and appeal to real driving enthusiasts. These included a powerful 170 horsepower turbocharged engine, a sport-tuned suspension, racing inspired front air dam, a lightweight rear wing, and aggressive styling. Attempting to capitalize on a growing trend toward street rods, Mazda positioned the MAZDASPEED Protegé model as an affordable “Pocket Rocket” that appeals to the twenty-something, largely male audience that has made “slamming” (customizing compact cars with lowered suspensions, power infusions, outrageous wheels and ear-splitting sound systems) an American phenomenon. According to Mazda’s vice president of product strategy and development, “MAZDASPEED vehicles are the ultimate expression of Mazda performance. This car takes factory-tuned sport- compact performance to the extreme.”

The MAZDA6

Perhaps the most critical new product introduction from Mazda in more than a decade was the launch of the 2003 MAZDA6, the long awaited successor to the 626 family sedan. Mazda’s marketing vice president referred to the introduction of the MAZDA6 as “one of the most important launches in Mazda’s history” since it competes in the mid-size sedan segment of automobile market where most cars sell for $20,000 to $25,000. This is the most important segment of the market, because of its sales volume and the halo effect that results from having a successful brand in this segment. Mazda’s target customer in this segment is a mid-30s car enthusiast, although not to the extreme, who lives an active lifestyle.

The advertising strategy for the MAZDA6 departed from the approach used for the Protegé, as it involved what the company describes as a “more mature” effort that is designed to position the car as a refined, sporty alternative to the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Honda Accord. While the ads still use the “Zoom-Zoom” line, the campaign features a more confident and less playful feel than that used with the Protegé. The commercials are designed to reflect a more “grown-up” approach, with the young boy that appeared in the Protegé ads removed but still delivering the “Zoom-Zoom” phrase in the voiceover. The ads also use more action shots of the car and its workings. Introductory TV spots and print ads focused on attributes such as styling, performance and handling with each calling out mechanical features like zero-loss brake boosters, double-cone synchronizers and/or the car’s double wishbone suspension. A number of the prints ads for the MAZDA6 are also provided at the end of the case.
The promotional strategy for the MAZDA6 utilized a heavily integrated communications program. Print advertising accounted for 12 percent of the overall budget with ads being run in “enthusiast” magazines as well as in lifestyle magazines and newspapers. The broadcast media schedule was heavily weighted to college and pro football and included a marketing deal between Mazda and ESPN. This deal includes advertising of the MAZDA6 through ESPN’s various media including print (ESPN Magazine), TV, radio and the Internet as well as in ESPN Zone restaurants. It also integrates the MAZDA6 into various promotions such as ESPN’s “Pigskin Pick’Em” game and “Exhilarating Moments” along with nationwide exposure through the ESPN Truck. The IMC program for the MAZDA6 also includes an extensive publicity/public relations campaign, direct mail, and the use of interactive media such as online advertising, CD-ROMs, and a mini-web site onwww.MazdaUSA.com. The MAZDA6 also received strong media acclaim including being named one of Car & Driver’s 10 Best Cars for 2003.

Moving Forward

During the 1980s and ‘90s Mazda North American Operations had spent much of its time and effort trying to imitate and keep up with its major competitors in the U.S. market such as Honda, Toyota and Nissan. However, by 2003 Mazda was on its way to returning to its roots as a marketer of sporty, fun-to-drive, stylish vehicles. While overall sales in 2002 had declined by 4.2 percent from the previous year, much of this decline was due to the phasing out of the Mazda 626 and Millenia models. The company had assembled a strong product line with vehicles such as the Tribute SUV, Protegé, and MAZDA6 showing very strong sales. Sales of the Protegé models rose to 83,367 units in 2002, a 5.9 percent increase over the previous year. By July 2003 sales of the MAZDA6 reached 32,297 units as the new flagship sports sedan was on track to exceed the previous year’s sales of the 626, which it had replaced.
In July 2003 Mazda introduced the new RX-8 sports car which had been in development for nearly 10 years and marked the return of the rotary engine. The RX-8 was eagerly anticipated by the automotive community and first few month’s sales were very strong. The success of the RX-8 would be critical to Mazda’s recovery as the senior vice president of marketing and product development referred to it as “our halo car, the one at the top of the mountain.” The launch campaign for the RX-8 included product placements in TV shows and films, including being featured as the escape vehicle for the hero in the movie X-Men 2. One of the launch commercials featured a man’s loving admiration of his RX-8 in his garage being interspersed with his fantasies of open-road driving. At one point he is shown hugging the car and its doors close in such a way that the vehicle seems to be returning his embrace. All of the RX-8 spots feature the “Zoom-Zoom” message.

As Mazda prepared to move forward, the issue now facing the company was to ensure that its advertising, as well as other elements of its integrated marketing communications program, would continue to resonate with consumers and support its positioning platform. Mazda had become identified as the “Zoom-Zoom” brand and a decision had to be made as to whether this was the image that would best serve the company in the highly competitive U.S. automotive market.

The Supply Chain Map

Marketing is very vital in every business especially when introducing a new product in the market. It is communicating the worth of an item, service or a make to the consumers for an intention of endorsing or advertising that item, service or a make to the market (Blanchard, 2010). Marketing promotes teamwork amid buyers and suppliers, brand maker and usual schemes, consumers and sales to minimize lead time, rationalize consumer response, and advance sale forecasting. It is as a result, that in manufacturing settings, marketing supply chains depend on the design, making, warehousing, and execution of material and gathering of consumers’ comments for incessant modification. Marketing supply chains are very important as they allow products to transform consumer demand into brand accomplishment and market deliverance.

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supply chain map
Supply chain map

A marketing supply chain is a scheme of associations, individuals, activities, and reserves concerned in moving a brand or a service from developer to consumer (Mentzer, et al, 2001). Supply chain involves transforming natural reserves and raw materials into final products that are distributed to the final consumer. Therefore, in manufacturing of a product, before a company makes for example a new brand of a shoe, it should first think of product mix. Product mix is a set of deed that a firm uses to advertise its product in the market. The firm should consider the product line, price, promotion and place. The aspect of the product mix in a supply chain serves as direction to verdicts concerning the addition and removal of product line and items. By elevating the steadiness of product mix, a company minimizes its cost of functions and obtains unparalleled standing in the market.

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The manufacture plays a vital role in designing the shoe to be made. Product design is very important in supply chain especially in generating demand (Halldorsson, et al, 2007). Given that the product design orders multiple needs on the supply chain, once a product design is finished, it forces the structure of the supply chain map. When the product design is finished, the company deliberates on the material to use in order to come up with a product that will easily enter into the market due to its quality. Quality of the product helps it to easily penetrate to the market making this face very important in manufacturing stage. Once the material is decided, the shoe is made which is followed by advertisement of the made product to the market. Advertisement persuades the consumers to purchase the product and inform the consumers about existence of the new product. Once the consumers are aware of the new shoe in the market the manufacturer ships the shoes in bulk to the middlemen. Shipping in bulkiness makes sure that the distributor has enough products to supply to the retailers so that they can fulfill their demand which had been created by the advertisement they had made.

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When the product gets to the distributor, he plays a vital role of distributing the products to all retailers so that all the customers can get the product. The distributor establishes good relationship with the retailers once he receives the goods which make the retailers to accept the credit extended by the distributor. Good relationship also enhances stability and trust to supply chain (Haag, et al 2006). Extension of credit by the distributor makes retailers to purchase good number of the products therefore increasing the sales. However, distributors are relied on more heavily on break down of the bulk shipment into small volumes of products since retailers are more likely to purchase small quantities. The distributor finally transports the purchased shoes to the retailers shop for sales. This encourages the retailer to purchase these goods more frequently as the transport cost is catered for by the distributor.

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When the shoes get to the retailer, the retailer displays the shoes to costumers in a attractive manners so that the customers can be attracted by the display. An attractive display attract customers who when they get into the retail shop are persuaded to purchase the shoe. The retailer may use other methods to advertise the new shoes in the market for example offering discounts to the customers. Advertisements drive more customers into the shop therefore increasing the number of sale of the new product. The retailer may also persuade customers to purchase shoes by employing a sales person who can assist customers to make a quick choice. When the customers are assisted to make choice they make quick sale allowing more customers to purchase since there no congestion of customers. It also promotes quick movement of the new products. Once the customer makes decision of what to purchase a transaction is made and a possession of the product is transferred to the consumers therefore, transform consumer demand into brand accomplishment.

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It is clear that manufacturer, distributor and the retailer play vital role in the supply chain scheme and they are key parties in marketing of a product in the market.

Limitations The Elderly Face – A Visit To Joe

Contemporary Issues in Aging

This assignment will help you understand the limitations that the elderly face. Identity an elderly person in your community or locality. Fix up an appointment with the elderly person and talk to him or her about the limitations that he or she faces in his or her everyday life. The discussion could be on physical impairments, finances, resources, or support.

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Based on your discussion with the elderly gentleman or lady, create a 4 page report in a Microsoft Word document that includes the following:

  • What are the major limitations that the elderly person is facing in his or her everyday life? Explain.
  • What are the factors that contribute to the elderly facing the above-mentioned limitations?
  • What would you recommend or what suggestions would you offer to overcome the above-mentioned limitations?
  • In your opinion, what type of living arrangement is best suited for the elderly? Why?
  • What are the factors that affect an elderly’s ability to remain in an ideal living arrangement?
  • Apply what you have learned about living conditions and housing options to the case of the individual that you interviewed. Present a proposal for a living arrangement that suits his or her impairments.

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Limitations the Elderly Face – A Visit To Joe

The report is based on a visit to Joe (not real name), a 74 years old widower living alone in his apartment. Joe lost his wife five years ago, after losing their unmarried adult son the same year. The situation changed his life a great deal. Joe is facing several life limitations in his daily life. According to him, living alone has been a great challenge. He does not have all means of the day as he used to when his life was alone. He has also withdrawn from society, and only spends his days alone sometimes reading newspapers or just reviewing his family photos. In most cases, his daily activities leave him lonelier than he was. He finds it hard to walk out of the house, socialize or run errands. He prefers a lonely life and he runs most of his errands via the internet. Joe looks malnourished and depressed. Joe confessed to having been in the hospital twice due to hypertension, though he hardly take the medicine as required. He claimed to always forget the time to take his medication and normally remember them due to some symptoms. He registered to receive telehealth care services but he always feels lazy to fulfill its demand and he mostly gets reminded of his need to take medication when a nurse does a stop at his house. Joe also confessed to living with lights on all night since his wife’s death. He also confessed that he like it that way as his vision is becoming poorer such that he cannot work in the dark without falling. He showed me a scare inflicted a month ago while walking in a poorly lit corridor. To him, life has changed a lot. He cannot do many things he used to do long ago, including driving and socializing freely without finding something to make him uncomfortable.

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Joe’s life limitations are mostly based on his griefs and inability to accept his new normal. He was not used to cooking for himself and now he has to do it. This makes him skip most of the meals of the day as he feels lazy or disinterested in eating. He mostly cooks only when he feels very hungry, mostly a single meal a day. In most cases, he orders a simple meal from restaurants offering online services. He has been taking unhealthy meals for a while. Joe has never healed from his wife’s death and he seems to have lost interest in many things including taking care of himself (Hung et al., 2021). He demonstrates a high level of self-negligence, especially in how he feeds and how he observe medical instruction. He does a few house chores, but only those that are very important. He also lives with the fear of the unknown. According to him, his wife died of a short illness, though he spent a while in the intensive care unit, a situation that drained his retirement finances a great deal. Therefore, Joe is also experiencing financial instability and this could have been one reason he has cut on social life. He has withdrawn from people and situations that can make him spend more. Joe said very little about his family. It seems that only his wife and son mattered in his life. His loneliness after their death has made him withdraw from society. The age is also making him weaker, as one could see physical weakness including poor eyesight and shaky legs. His past pictures demonstrated a very strong man who was well built, compared to who he is now. His poor diet at his age also exposes him to other health issues in the future.

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The best intervention to help Joe would focus on addressing loneliness and grief. Grief has made Joe interested in life. To live again, one should address this problem and teach him to live without his life. Joe needs a psychologist’s help to overcome grief and find life interesting and worth living (Devkota et al., 2014). This will help address so many things including how he lives and feeds, how he adheres to the medical instruction, and his social life. Joe may also need a pet, particularly a dog to help him fight loneliness. A pet is therapeutic in many ways as he can build a new companionship, play with, talk to, and sometimes it will force him to take care of it and while doing so, he may end up taking care of himself. He also needs assistance in the house. Joe is elderly and he may need someone to care for him. Joe will need a caretaker to aid in making meals, cleaning and following up on his medical appointments, and taking medication. The caretaker may also act as another source of companionship. This will depend on Joe’s ability to cater for expenses or whether there is a family member who can take care of the cost. Joe should also be encouraged to join a social group with similar challenges. A group of elderly men and women morning the loss of their spouse. This will help him expand his social circle and get people who understand him. This will eventually ensure a change in him and make his life better (Lou et al., 2014).

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In my opinion, Joe would better be placed in an elderly home where he can get to interact with other elderly people and have people to care for him. In this environment, Joe can get all meals, people to talk to and someone to follow on his health. An alternative would be having a home caretaker. Joe is highly attached to his memory in the house and maybe he would not be comfortable with moving. Having a caretaker will help in improving his living condition in his apartment (Hung et al., 2021).

The factors that impact Joe’s ability to remain in an ideal living arrangement are loneliness, grief, and finances. The grief has changed Joe’s life a great deal and has also caused the current loneliness Joe is experiencing. The loss of a loved one and being left alone makes him lose the will to live. This makes him abandon all possibilities of living a better life. This has taken a toll on his general health and body strength, making him weaker than he should be. His current living condition is unfit for him as he needs more care to be able to overcome these challenges. There is also the shortage of finances after spending a fortune on his wife’s treatment. It is not sure of how much he has and whether he has insurance that can cater for the cost of being placed in an elderly home or afford a caretaker. Generally, Joe’s living arrangement can be improved by introducing something exciting in life which will eliminate loneliness and introduce life adventures that will be worth living for.

Centralized Landlord Engagement Program – Policy Alternative

Homelessness continues to be a persistent problem in American society. Despite two decades of federal funding, statewide efforts, and local programs, a significant fragment of the general population consisting of unaccompanied persons and individuals remain homeless. The runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) of 2012 is one of the major policies that the government has established in its nationwide efforts against homelessness (Leonard et al., 2017). The Act caters to runaway and homeless youths by offering them temporary shelter and care. While such programs have achieved considerable outcomes in providing education, counseling, and clinical support, they do not fully cater to the needs of families and youths (Page, 2017). For instance, neither does the RHYA unravel critical issues relating to housing programs nor satisfy the needs of sex trafficked youths. In response to this deficit, the current policy alternative aims to advocate the establishment of a centralized landlord engagement program to help tenants create enduring and healthy rapport with property owners.

            The proposed policy alternative’s core component involves the institution of a centralized landlord engagement program and community landlord engagement initiatives to create solid collaboration between communities, authorities, proprietors, and the homeless. In essence, a simple housing strategy, such as the one established on the RHYA, cannot end homelessness. This is because homelessness is linked to multiple social, economic, political, and administrative factors (Boland, & Cunningham, 2019; Hanratty, 2017). Therefore, communities need to merge affordable housing plans with collaborative efforts to pool resources and bring all implicated parties to an agreement. The centralized landlord engagement program fulfills this objective by creating partnerships between federal, state, and local organizations and market landlords. The main objectives consist of the creation of a centralized program and contact system for communicating with landlords, the launch of a housing search assistance plan, instigation of landlord mitigation funds, commencement of neutral mediation between tenants and landlords, and initiation of education programs.

            For the current policy alternative to work, changes will need to occur at the local, state, and national levels. It is critical to engage communities along with their leaders and administrators of present housing programs at the local level. This may involve setting up events and campaigns to reach specific parties. Such initiatives may be extended to the state level to include housing firms, legislators, and leaders to perpetuate the agenda. A critical part of the policy alternative is to set up a centralized communication system. The communication system may be managed at the community, state, and national levels to provide enough room for flexibility and retain a sense of community within each region. Since numerous non-profits are assisting the public with housing searches, landlords are not always aware of the right agency to contact. This should be solved through the centralized phone number systems.

Moreover, there is a need to designate duties to specific teams. For instance, housing search assistance should be offered by a specific team of staff. Members of this team should not include house managers but rather parties that are entirely focused on cultivating housing opportunities. They may include people who are well versed in the real estate business as the task of house search necessitates some form of experience in the negotiation of leases, participation in unit inspections, and payment of move-in rental costs. Much of the funding should be managed at the state and federal levels due to the intricate nature of finances. Finance administration may be extended to the local level in accordance with community needs and obligations. For instance, landlord mitigation funds can be dispensed at the national level and allotted to specific communities that need them with the help of local authorities and community leaders. Mediation and education programs are better dealt with at local levels to attend to landlords and clients’ needs.

            The establishment of a centralized landlord engagement program is well consistent with social work values. Social workers’ main goal is to provide exemplary service to the public by helping destitute persons and addressing various social problems. The current program seeks to fulfill this value. Social workers involved in the promotion of the present policy change will elevate public service above their self-interests for it to be successful.  Furthermore, the present policy advocacy considers aspects of social justice, values of compassion and integrity, and human relationships (Hebenstreit, 2017). Social workers are obliged to recognize human relationships with primary importance and understand that relationships between people are critical vehicles of equity, change, and advocacy. The collaboration between social workers, house owners, communities, and the homeless will cultivate the integration of marginalized homeless youth and families.

            The present policy change is feasible from political, economic, and administrative perspectives. Nevertheless, its implementation requires rigorous application of advocacy skills. From a political standpoint, now is the right time to promote the habilitation and protection of homeless communities. Not only do politicians and leaders recognize the rising prevalence of homelessness in major cities across the U.S. but they also acknowledge the significant repercussions it has caused within the last three decades. From an economic viewpoint, homelessness has caused metropolitans substantial costs, both in terms of management costs and loss of economic potential (Steen, 2018). When people are left homeless, they become more vulnerable to health and substance abuse issues, violent behavior, and eventual incarceration (Snow, Goldberg, Villalta, & Bernatzky, 2017). Hence, the rehabilitation of homeless communities offers more benefits from an economic standpoint. Not only can restored communities embark on economic work, but they can also take care of their own health. Legislators and administrative bodies are well aware of the persisting problem of homelessness.

While the establishment of a centralized landlord engagement program promises momentous benefits for homeless communities and society at large, it faces some opposing forces. For instance, it may be hard to create buy-in on the landlords’ part because their priority is to make profits. Hence, they are unlikely to settle for programs that compromise their ability to make profits or retain independent control of their properties. Additionally, there are varied perspectives about homelessness. Some people view homelessness as self-inflicted. Although this is undoubtedly true in exceptional cases, it is essential to provide community support. Still, people who hold such views are unlikely to support a centralized landlord engagement program. Another striking force that may act against the proposed policy is resistance to change. The transformation of societal norms is not a straightforward process. Change needs substantial effort from the advocating parties and collaboration on a massive scale. Besides, advocacy is not always a straightforward feat (McNutt, 2011). Social workers need to use skills. Research skills are particularly helpful in collecting baseline data to understand community needs (Sherraden, Slosar, & Sherraden, 2020). Other essential skills needed to change mindsets and initiate the much-needed change include empathy, critical thinking, active listening, and communication.

The creation of a centralized landlord engagement program influences clinical social work practice with clients positively. To begin with, a housing program that involves landlords facilitates easy tracking and mapping to identify clients and their health profiles. Not only will it be easier for social workers to reach clients, it will also be simpler to provide home-based care and services to individual clients. Some adjustments may be required to cater to clients depending on their profiles. For instance, children, families, and people with substance abuse issues may need specialized services in order to alleviate their conditions as fast as possible. No matter the case, involved social workers should abide by their code of conduct. They should uphold clients’ respect and refrain from discriminating against clients based on age, race, gender, family, and social status. The first task that a social worker should do is assess a client’s situation and feasibly diagnose any health problem they may have. Next, they should help them develop goals and plan to help them improve their situation through constant monitoring and conscious case management.

In conclusion, the current policy alternative aims to advocate the establishment of a centralized landlord engagement program to help tenants create enduring and healthy rapport with property owners. The core component of the proposed policy alternative involves the institution of a centralized landlord engagement program and community landlord engagement initiatives to create solid collaboration between communities, authorities, proprietors, and the homeless. The main objectives consist of the creation of a centralized program and contact system for communicating with landlords, the launch of a housing search assistance plan, instigation of landlord mitigation funds, commencement of neutral mediation between tenants and landlords, and initiation of education programs.

Drug Crimes in Colombia

Colombia is distinguished as one of the countries with the highest drug crimes in the world. The high crime rate is ascribed to the nation’s illicit drug trade, which involves the production, processing, and trafficking of cocaine. The magnitude of drug crimes in Colombia can be quantified through homicide rates and statistical estimates of cocaine production and sales. In 2018, the murder rate across Colombia was approximately 25 cases per 100,000 people, while the rate of cocaine production in the same year was 1,120 metric tons. The Colombian government has been engaging in military and concerted efforts in an attempt to reduce drug trafficking and related crimes. However, the problem has only evolved into a series of other issues due to deep-seated hindrances, such as corruption and poverty. Colombia’s drug crimes represent a critical and tricky question that demands international, national, and local collaborative efforts both from a political and societal perspective.

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            The challenge of drug trafficking in Colombia is mainly attributed to highly organized crime groups and corruption that runs deep within administrative systems. Indeed, Colombia is renowned for its notorious cartels that manage drug operations and criminal activities. Some of the most famous cartels were the Medellin, Cali, Norte Del Valle, and North Coast Cartels (PBS). Cartels are responsible for supervising the production and distribution of illegal drugs. Some cartels have used extreme tactics such as amalgamating with guerilla movements to enhance their trafficking level. For instance, the Medellin Cartel combined with the M-19 militia group to eventually traffic over 80% of cocaine delivered to the United States. It is estimated that 70% of the world’s cocaine is produced in Colombia. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), this amounts to about 1400 tons, a significant chunk of the 2000 tons produced in the Andean region. Other cocaine-producing countries in the Andean region include Peru and Bolivia (Popescu 258). In each of these countries, organized groups contribute to the persistence of trafficking.

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            Poverty contributes to the growth and perpetuation of cocaine trafficking in Colombia. Poor farmers are compelled to cultivate coca to earn a living (Gootenberg 27). Much of the coca used in the production of cocaine is cultivated in remote areas where authorities are absent, and locals lack access to Colombia’s legal economy. The lack of state control means that land is readily available for informal and illegal activities, such as coca cultivation. In 2018, it was estimated that over 160,000 hectares of land were used to cultivate cocaine. A more significant part of this land is farmed by 130,000 families who benefit directly from small-scale coca farming. Each family receives an average of $1000 per month from coca-growing activities. The mean price of coca across Colombia is one dollar per kilogram, albeit pricing is mainly dependent on the region. Approximately 125 kilograms of coca are needed to produce one kilogram of cocaine. To buy such an amount of coca, a local drug lab needs barely $150. However, once processed, the value upsurges to about $2200. The value further escalates when the cocaine reaches consumers in the United States to roughly $60,000.

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            Colombian authorities have tried to curb the production and sale of cocaine through various methods. The most prevalent methods are the eradication of coca plants via spraying chemicals. Even so, the country still records high levels of cocaine production. For instance, the country produced over 1300 tons of cocaine in 2017 alone. The Colombian defense ministry claims to have destroyed over 80,000 hectares of coca and confiscated over 400 tons of cocaine in 2018 alone. The mission of eradicating cocaine is a complicated task because of several issues. Firstly, farmers have no alternatives to earn livelihood and entirely depend on coca farming to feed. Secondly, the Colombian regime lacks the capacity to counter illegal groups that control the industry. Such groups have considerable financial resources to lure government officials and bribe authorities. Additionally, there is a high degree of corruption within the Colombian government. At the international level, foreign powers have not managed to strike a lasting agreement on tackling Colombia’s illicit drug trade. Although Europe and the United Nations have proposed substituting crops and forced eradication through aerial fumigation, these methods have not been successful. Colombia lacks an effective crop substitution program. Furthermore, cartels that control coca production are incredibly violent.

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            Experience has proved that eradicating crops is not an adequate measure of solving Colombia’s drug crime problem. Perhaps this is why international bodies such as the UNODC support administrative efforts to help farmers who abandon coca farming. Examples of collaborative programs that have been designed to help farmers are the Productive Projects Program and the Forest Warden Families Program. Such initiatives help ensure that former coca farmers switch to legal incomes that are adequate for sustenance. Rural activities designed to rehabilitate former coca farmers are incorporated into comprehensive socio-economic development projects to benefit all Colombian populations. The UNODC guesstimates that the area under coca cultivation reduced between 2009 and 2010 (Bagley 8). However, these figures increased in the succeeding years. This shows that current efforts are not sufficient to solve Colombia’s illicit drug trade crisis.

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            The involvement of the Colombian military has also been a critical strategy against cocaine production and trafficking. While it has achieved moderate success, it has not resulted in significant changes. Even in locations where military presence is significant, the justice system remains inefficient. If the state has not managed to establish significant presence and control, the presence of the military and police officers does not have any potential to shift the status quo. The capacity of the judiciary to impact changes on the ground in areas where coca is cultivated has particularly proven inadequate. Therefore, the presence of the police and the military promises little effect. There is a high level of incompetence among Colombian institutions, which seems to be a critical source of the ensuing drug problems.

            In conclusion, Colombia’s drug crimes represent a critical and tricky question that demands international, national, and local collaborative efforts both from a political and societal perspective. The challenge of drug trafficking in Colombia is mainly attributed to highly organized crime groups and corruption that runs deep within administrative systems. Colombia is renowned for its notorious cartels that manage drug operations and criminal activities in the country.  Poverty contributes to the growth and perpetuation of cocaine trafficking in Colombia. Much of the coca used in the production of cocaine is cultivated in remote areas where authorities are absent, and locals lack access to Colombia’s legal economy. Colombian authorities have tried to curb the production and sale of cocaine through various methods. The most prevalent methods are the eradication of coca plants via spraying chemicals. Experience has proved that eradicating crops is not an adequate measure of solving Colombia’s drug crime problem. The involvement of the Colombian military has also been a critical strategy against cocaine production and trafficking. While it has achieved moderate success, it has not resulted in significant changes.

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A Comparison of Operation Management at Walmart and Amazon

            Operations management represents the capacity to design and control business operations in accordance with the core business strategy. Typical operations management tasks include the responsibilities of making sure that all business operations consume as little resources as possible while fulfilling the needs of the clientele. As such, the general role of operations management in any business entity spans from the production to the sales phase and covers the supervision of production and service systems that convert inputs into outputs. Key accountabilities in operations management are product design, forecasting, supply chain management, and delivery management. Effective operations management relies on raw materials, human resources, equipment, and technology. Key strategic issues addressed within the operations management field include, but are not limited to, determination of manufacturing plants and stores, methods of managing projects, and implementation of customized structures of information technology adoption. Other operational subjects draw in aspects of inventory management, quality control, maintenance policies, and acquisition of goods. This report presents an assessment of operations management approaches at Walmart and Amazon, two of the biggest retailers in the world. The main difference between these retailers is that Walmart initially began by seeing up brick-and-mortar stores while Amazon launched as an online store. Hence, Walmart has a more significant number of physical stores than amazon. Even so, Amazon has a broader product inventory with over 250 million products in its catalog. Walmart, in comparison, offers its customers just over four million products. To date, Walmart holds the record of the biggest retailer worldwide while Amazon takes the second position. This report will expose the key similarities and differences between the operations management approaches of these two retail giants.

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Analysis

            The theme of operations management is large and broad when one considers the numerous aspects that are involved in the transformation of resources into value. For instance, when one takes a strategic view, aspects of inventory analysis, the use of data, design of processes, and goal-setting come into view. By the same token, when one contemplates the policies and procedures of operations in a business, the principles of managing tasks and functions emerge. This report evades this ambiguity through the adoption of the transformation model of operations management, which explicitly analyzes operations in terms of inputs, transformational processes, and outputs. Thus, the analysis of operational approaches at Walmart and Amazon will be evaluated based on their perceived value in the organization’s bottom line.

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Walmart

            Walmart is the largest retail store in the world, with over 10,000 stores across 24 countries. This 59-yeard-old multi-national retailer operates through a series of hypermarkets, grocery stores, departmental stores, which are headquarters in Arkansas, United States. The main business goal of Walmart is to offer quality products that satisfy its diverse clientele. Walmart’s operations management department utilizes a variety of approaches that are mainly targeted at efficient management of inventory and the supply chain. The company’s operations are primarily entrenched in the central strategy due to their immense significance on organizational success. Walmart’s managerial team is continuously concerned about all decisional areas of operations management, including the design of services and goods, quality management, capacity, and process design, geographical strategy, inventory management scheduling, and human resources design.

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            Regarding the designs of services and goods, Walmart is characterized by its retail service. However, the company also owns unique brands. The retail service is designed to enhance efficiency and drive low pricing tactics. The firm uses a generic strategy and intensive growth schemes that stress minimal costs and high-quality goods. Accordingly, other areas of emphasis in the design are maximization of efficiency via mass-production systems and inexpensive production.

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            Walmart embraces three levels of quality standards. The highest level deals with the uppermost requirements of quality, precisely quality levels that surpass those of the retail industry. The highest quality tier is only applied to a few products, such as goods that fall within Walmart’s own brands. The second level signified average quality and is generally applied to select products and processes. The second tier is specially applied to job performance targets of Walmart’s workforce, particularly sales personnel. The lowest quality sets minimum quality requirements. This tier of quality is aligned with the expectations of many buyers. The lowest quality tier applies to a majority of products, including those sold under the Great Value brand. By using a three-tier approach, Walmart satisfies the overall quality management objectives of the company.

             Walmart builds its capacity and processes by analyzing the behavior of stakeholders, analyzing processes continuously, and forecasting future trends. The behavioral analysis applies to workers and customers across online and physical stores. The analysis of workers and customer behavior patterns acts as a foundation for the design of the company’s capacity and processes. The use of behavior analysis explains the firm’s ever-shifting approach to capacity design for employees. The capacity design and Human Resources operations shift as the business grows. Apart from behavioral analysis, Walmart guarantees a continuous monitoring process of the capacities of its stored. This helps the managerial team be informed about the need to keep or abolish current designs.

            A clear-cut geographical strategy is instrumental in the success of Walmart’s operations management. by placing stores and warehouses in the right location, the firm enhances the movement of products, collaboration between human resources, and transmission of information. Walmart stores are conducive placed near urban neighborhoods to increase access and market reach. Product warehouses are also located in strategic locations where Walmart employees and target customer bases can access. To address the ease of information transmission between various departments, which may be spread across different geographical areas, Walmart uses information technology such as the internet, networks, and computing systems.

            Walmart minimizes its supply chain to improve efficiency by including few supply chain links. Innovation in the company’s supply chain began with the removal of several chain links in its initial days. Today the enterprise works directly with manufacturers to eliminate unnecessary go-between suppliers who may inflate the cost of procurement. Walmart’s Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) system is a powerful solution in the company’s warehousing plan. The system increases standardization across all Walmart’s outlets and ensures the successful fulfillment of orders. In addition, the company maintains strategic partnerships with existing vendors. This results in the potential for long-term and high-volume supplies and the highest levels of the economy.

            Walmart employs cross-docking as an essential logistics practice in its operations management. Cross-docking entails the direct movement of goods from inbound to outbound trucks without the need for storage (Dulebenets, M2018). This strategy not only helps Walmart replenish its stock efficiently but also cuts down storage and transport costs which may have inflated prices at the sales phase. Hence, suppliers usually deliver products to the company’s distribution centers, where they are cross-docked and redistributed to Walmart stores.

            Advanced inventory technology plays a significant role in inventory management. In reality, technology is one of the biggest enablers in Walmart’s supply chain success. Walmart has one of the most effective information technology systems across the world. It employs a cutting-edge network and technology design that allows the company to accurately forecast, track, and predict levels of inventory, enhance its transport, manage links with customers, and supervise response logistics with minor hitches. Implementation of technology at Walmart began as early as the 1980s when the firm adopted universal product codes to improve its store-level information management. Since then, the company has continued to espouse new innovations that help it manage its supply chain more effectively. Examples of the most recent adoptions are the Retail Link database, which facilitates instant data-sharing and analytics, and the Radio Frequency Identification system, which expedites the tracking of products as they move through the supply chain. Data is fundamental in inventory management and the prediction of future trends (Anitha & Patil, 2018). Walmart’s supply chain design has helped the company to maintain a competitive edge over other retailers through lower pricing strategies, reduced inventory costs, and improved product variety.

Amazon

            Amazon is known for disrupting the retail industry through the adoption of technologies in the sale of products. The company began as an online marketplace for publications but eventually expanded to include other products such as video games, software, electronics, toys, food, furniture, and jewelry. Today, the company has grown to become the most valuable retailer in North America by market capitalization (Collis et al., 2018). With regard to operations management, Amazon utilizes a mix of strategies, including outstanding transportation, multi-tier inventory management, and efficient information technology systems, along with a vast network of warehouses to align strategy with operations.

            With reference to the design of goods and services, amazon relies heavily on technology to ensure that its online retail services are aligned with its competitive strategy. The company employs an extensive range of technologies to support maximum efficiency and operations as well as to fulfill the needs of its target customers. With regard to quality, the general aim of Amazon’s operations management is to satisfy its clients. The general quality strategy is continuous improvement efforts. The company utilizes its dynamic organizational culture to cultivate innovation and creativity in its workforce. For instance, the company inspires its employees to play the role of pioneers in the creation of ideas and problem-solving strategies.

            The capacity and process design at Amazon is implemented to guarantee optimization of production and process management. A key strategy that amazon uses to streamline its capacity and processes is extensive automation (Correll et al., 2016). For instance, the company automates the ordering processes to increase the number of sales at any given time. By eliminating human limitations, Amazon is able to create the opportunity for processing sales with minimal labor costs. The use of automation particularly stresses the value of computing in the enhancement of amazon’s capacity. While Amazon can reach any potential customer across the world with its eCommerce strategy, it also depends on the accessibility of resources and markets. The firm has strategically placed its warehouses and fulfillment centers in areas with large consumer populations, such as North America and Europe.

The main goal of supply chain management at Amazon is to streamline the supply chain with organizational goals. Amazon’s information technology infrastructure plays a significant role in the transformation of inputs into outputs. Through the internet and networked computing system, the online retailer addresses supply and demand through accumulated data that the company amasses from the website. The website is designed to collect critical customer behavior data that can help amazon predict and recommend products.

Information technology is also a critical aspect of inventory management scheduling. Amazon seeks to maintain optimal ordering and holding to facilitate effective order fulfillment and reduce costs to the minimum. The main line of attack for inventory management is just-in-time management, where goods arrive at fulfillment centers and are shipped immediately without delay. A just-in-time strategy helps amazon reduce storage costs and maximize the speed of order fulfillment. Data is an essential factor in Amazon’s operations management. The company uses a database and a network of computing systems to track, process, and deliver orders to the customer.

Comparing Walmart’s and Amazon’s Approaches to Operations Management

            The main difference between Walmart and Amazon when it comes to inventory management is the basis of their retail business. On the one hand, Walmart relies on the traditional brick-and-mortar model of retail to sell goods. Conventional brick-and-mortar stores can be beneficial to a business and its customers in that the business is able to provide personalized shopping experiences and help customers have a realistic visualization of products in the store. They also provide customers with the privilege of carrying the goods home immediately. However, brick-and-mortar stores necessitate the retailer to carry goods to the store. Hence, Walmart must invest in transport costs and extra inventory management practices. On the other hand, amazon uses an e-commerce strategy. Therefore, it eliminates the costs of store maintenance and costs involved in transporting goods to the point of sale.

Despite the differences in the approaches of the two retail giants, both have implemented dynamic operation management techniques that align with their core strategies. For example, Walmart uses technology to improve efficiency, track demand and supply, and facilitate the transmission of information across departments. Walmart’s high investment in technology has allowed it to track products and enhance quality according to its three-tier quality policies. Despite being a brick-and-mortar store, Walmart has also capitalized on cost-cutting technologies such as cross-docking, a unique transport system, and mass production.

Amazon also uses cost-minimization strategies in order to offer customers the lowest prices possible.  Three decisive factors in Amazon’s success are convenience to customers, boundless inventory, and low pricing schemes. The ability to hold large inventory is one of the greatest strengths of Amazon as a retailer. Hence it offers the company a competitive edge. Amazon manages to provide unique customization via its website, which enables the firm to communicate directly with customers, offer third-party services, and track data in real-time.

Conclusion

            In conclusion, Walmart and Amazon adopt different, albeit moderately similar, operations management strategies. The divergence in strategies is mainly based on the differences in the retail models of the two companies. Walmart uses a traditional brick-and-mortar model that necessitates more processes in inventory management, while Amazon employs an e-commerce model that eliminates processes that are involved in setting up and maintaining brick-and-mortar stores. Nevertheless, both retailers adopt innovative technologies and techniques of minimizing costs at every stage of operations.

Justice and Injustice in The Trial By Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial tells the story of a banker who gets arrested for an unknown crime. The unusual arrest and unknown charges not only leaves the star-crossed Joseph K puzzled but also bewilders the audience of the novel. In the end, Joseph K appears overwhelmed and desperate as he lives the legal nightmare and copes with the irrationality of life. Because Joseph does not identify a single person whom he has trust, he eventually plans his own ‘defense’ in which he consents to his crime and agrees his due punishment. In due course, he is executed by the guards who arrested him. From an ethical and political point of view, the audience can agree that Joseph is charged for a crime he did not commit. Hence, he is not charged by the rules but by a bureaucratic system which, in every manner, emerges as unjust. One would supposed that Joseph probably resides in in an authoritarian territory. The case is veritable when one considers the Habsburg Monarchy where Kafka’s novel is set. In his locality, every citizen is subject to guilt when faced by the law. However the guilt cannot be traced to a single principle of justice. Hence The Trial can be visualized as a review of the bureaucratic and unjust stance of a ruling system. In the end, Joseph K emerges as a prophetic Roman who existed in the era of the Second World War in a time when human rights were written formally but never executed in reality.

            The paradoxes and complexities of the law seem to have fascinated Kafka significantly. From a juridical point of view, the purpose of the law is generally to maintain a peaceful and just society. Hence, the law deserves respect, regardless of the level of individual understanding. This notion materializes clearly in Kafka’s parable ‘Before the Law.’ The parable recounts the story of a man who wants to gain access to the law. But to access the law, he encounters a challenge from the gatekeeper. Ultimately, the man grows old without successfully accessing the law. Before he dies, he requests the gatekeeper to allow him to access the law. However, the gatekeeper announces that the door was made for the man who can solve the challenge, and since the man is dying, the door will be closed. The parable can be interpreted through the lens of the law. The allegorical gate can be alluded to as the ‘gate of death.’ Nevertheless this is paradoxical. Why should the court door be called ‘the gate of death?” It is the law that brings the man at the door, yet it is the same entity that prevents him from accessing the door. Before his death, Joseph K wondered about the judge he had never seen and the court he had never reached. Thus, Kafka shows that the law is inaccessible and takes an abstract form. Its subjects are unaware of its principles and obeyed regulations that they never understood. Seemingly, the justice system presented in the novel does not operate according to human logic. Rather, it seems to be controlled by the powerful in society.

From a philosophical viewpoint, Kafka presents the story of humans as the heirs of the original sin. The reason why man was cast out of paradise was sinning against the law. This is parallel to the universally accepted notion that men suffer the consequences of the first sin. The novel shows that Joseph K does not reconcile with this idea. He seems to have lost his sense of reality and is completely unaware whether he is free or not. What initially seems as a drama of suspicion eventually ends to be a spectacle of destiny. As the novel ends, the absurdity of life continues. The idea of innocence is obliterated and a result, everyone thinks that they must have done something to transgress the law. Joseph’s trial occurs in a span of existentialist themes, particularly guilt. The principle existentialist concept is that each individual is liable for their choices. Joseph K, therefore, must feel guilty in the end, as it is possible that he did not make the right decisions and neither did he fulfill the potentials of his life. Based on this perspective, the character of Joseph K can be visualized an anti-hero that makes bad choices and surrenders to fate.

From a legal viewpoint, the actions of Joseph K are absurd at best. While he knows that his execution is approaching, he does not make any effort to save himself. Indeed, he ceases to proclaim his innocence. The trait of absurdism indicates that human life may not have any specific meaning after all (Emrich). This is suggestively bolstered by the manner in which Joseph K espouses his fate passively and loses faith in pursuing a meaningful life. The height of absurdity is the death penalty (Kavanagh). It represents a tragic ending. Ultimately, as Joseph K looks out of the windows, he notices that most of them are closed. Only one windows seems to be open; one that reveals the posture of a weak man. At the end of his days, Joseph K expresses multiple uncertainties, which reveal the weaknesses and loneliness inside his soul. Finally, Joseph feels as if his body could survive rather than his spirit. This is a symbolic meaning of a society that has no personality and one that cannot foster justice.

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Throughout The Trial, Kafka recounts the story of a man who is under the persecution of the law. Notably, the account begins with the arrest of Joseph K who is inducted into an outwardly bizarre legal system. The arrest terms are peculiar as K is not made aware of his crime and neither is he detailed to a hail cell. As the case continues, the audience continues to perceive the degree of injustice as outlandish aspects of bureaucracy that define Joseph K’ trial (Feuerlicht). At the same time, Joseph K. is overwhelmed by his case and attempts to gain information concerning the legal system in order to fight it. The struggle ends in the most unanticipated way, with many questioned left underwired and justice unserved. This leaves the audience wondering about the original intention that Kafka had when he authored the novel.

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One major interpretation of Kafka’s account is that Kafka illustrates the meaning of justice in human life. The experiences and actions of joseph K show that it is meaningless to pursue justice in an unjust world. Despite efforts to fight against such an absurd conclusion, human beings are in some way destined to suffer failure. Consequently, Joseph K’s character is used to showcase how human beings should not lead their lives. One key aspect of Joseph K is his obsession and persistence about the case. At the outset, Joseph K sets out to go through the trial with an aggressive attitude as he attempts to navigate the law and find justice. In the beginning, he questions the arresting officers concerning the changes and persistently continues to search for answers as the case progresses. The scheduling of the first interrogation even exposes that Joseph K is willing to engage in a legal battle (Franz 32). When he arrives at the interrogation, Joseph K delivers a speech that implies that the legal system is flawed. Specifically, he describes his experience by saying that the legal system represents misguided policy that is directed against the public (Franz 42). Nonetheless, before he leaves the court, the magistrate informs him that he has lost normal advantages that defendants are allowed. Thus, his efforts to fight against the system and to find justice are fruitless.

After the initial interrogation, Joseph K shows signs of paranoia and confusion about justice. Though he is not detained, he is required to attend regular hearings. This seems to feed his obsession of fighting the law. This is evident in the manner he is always thinking about his case in his job at the bank (Franz 113). As evidence of his paranoia, Joseph K sets out to plan a statement that could narrate about his entire life and serve as an artifact in his defense. He repeatedly suggests that his whole life is undergoing a trial, though no evidence exists for such an idea.

As the novel unfolds, it becomes apparent that the case has consumed him and he feels trapped within the legal system. During one of his thoughts, the audience learns about his recent pattern of looking outside of the window. This is significantly symbolic of his choice to remain in the system while feeling oppressed instead of exploring outside the system. It is important to note that although joseph K is consistently obsessed about his case, there is no single law that obstructs him from enjoying his freedom of continuing with daily activities outsides the confines of the case (Banakar). Nevertheless, Joseph K spends much of his time attempting to depend himself despite making no progress. It is conceivable that Kafka intend to convey the notion that it is pointless to persistently appraise and evaluate troublesome issues of life. Joseph K may, therefore, represent a character that lives the way most human beings should not live; specifically, living with paranoia and feeling of entrapment. While Joseph K may have dedicated much of his life in the pursuit of justice in his case, he misses out of the life outside his circumstances. Another critical part of the case is the peculiar bureaucracy that Joseph K deals with. Predominantly, the legal forces with which he fights are inaccessible. Even though officials in the case, including the warden in Joseph K’s arrest, talks about superiors, those superiors are not revealed. The faceless system makes it hard for Joseph K to gain information that could be helpful in his pursuit of justice. Additionally, some aspects of the legal system make it impossible to access justice. At one point, a fellow defendant name Block tell Joseph K that it is hard to achieve progress in a case. Indeed, the legal system shows that defendants possess very minimal control of their fates.

How to Develop a Low Carbon Economy in China

Introduction

            The transition to low carbon economies is one of the most universal trends that are reshaping national and international markets. The trend can be traced to the realization of global warming and its deleterious effects to the environment and suitability of future economies (Hertwich, Edgar , et al. 6277). The underlying notion is that thoughtful structural changes are needed to tackle the effects of climate change. Structural changes involve mechanisms that are focused on both mitigation and adaptation. Common mitigation policies being embraced by the international community entail the introduction of low carbon technologies. Low carbon technology development has to do with the implementation of sustainable energy systems that are friendlier to the environment (Foxon 2263). In order to achieve low carbon economies, governments and regional bodies are advocating the elimination of outdated production facilities and promoting technological innovations and new energy systems (Fankhauser 350). The transition to a low carbon economy is expected to alter the industrial structures and energy mix, and impact a multiplicity of sectors and employment paradigms. Indeed, the common definition of a Low Carbon Economy (LCE) exemplifies these changes by accounting for new technological, economic, and social systems of production and consumption that are aimed at conserving energy and reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) while conserving the momentum of social and economic development. Three major principles that underpin the development of a LCE are the decoupling of economic growth from pollutant energy sources, reduction of emissions per every unit of economic output, and reduction of resource consumption.

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            China has already shown substantial effort in the shift towards a LCE. The country has played a role in the backdrop of the climate change agenda since the financial crisis of 2008. Since then, the country has been working to develop a low carbon economy through the design and implementation of energy efficiency and emission reduction policies (Price, Lynn, et al. 2174). The nation’s interest in the move to clean energy was manifest as early as 2009 when President Hu Jintao revealed that China would begin to build environment-friendly infrastructure as a way of transitioning to low carbon economic systems. Hu claimed that the country would develop renewable energy technologies, increase carbon sequestration capacity in the forestry industry, and introduce new climate-friendly technologies. In the same year, the Chinese government set quantitative targets of carbon emissions. The same fervent attitudes towards a low carbon economy has epitomized by the current president. In 2020, President Xi Jinping’s administration announced that China would bolster its 2030 climate target and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Such quantitative targets represent China’s commitment to the development of a low carbon economy.

            In spite of a high commitment to the reduction of carbon emissions, china is still one of the largest GHG emitters due to its high production and consumption margins. The country emitted over 12 Giga tones of greenhouse gas in 2014, accounting for 30% of global emissions that year. Additionally, the current recovery activities are carbon-intensive and require large energy quotas from the existent fossil-fuel energy systems. China has consistently relied on coal power plants to feed its renewable energy industries and supply its hungry energy demand. Economic doubts arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have added to the list of uncertainties. China’s activities in the coal industry are a significant concern due to their incongruence with the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding treaty.

            Accordingly, this study aims to assess how China can develop a Low Carbon Economy in the face of sustainability concerns, rising energy demands, and its growing participation in the global markets. The central research question is “How can china develop a low carbon economy? The paper uses secondary data analysis to assess the situation on the ground before engaging in an in-depth deductive discussion and preliminary construction of a suitable framework.

Literature Review

            Existing academic literature shows that China has committed itself to developing a low carbon economy. The level of commitment is expressly manifest in the country’s input in energy-saving developments and carbon emission reduction target (Zhang 6640). China set the first carbon emission reduction target initiative in 2006. It consisted a five-year plan of policies and actions for promoting industrial optimization, energy structure adjustments, carbon sink projects, carbon emission trading markets, and afforestation. Each of these aspects have largely contributed to the development of a low carbon economy.

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            Scholars have pointed to the close association between energy consumption and economic prosperity. As the fast developing country globally, China consumes massive amounts of energy, leading to significant GHG emissions (Wang 122). Hence, the country faces a dilemma regarding its economic development milestones and emission reduction goals. One of the most effective solutions in solving the dilemma is advocating energy conservation. China encourages energy conservation through its Energy Conservation Law, which was instituted in 2005. Energy conservation has also been implemented in heavy industries through the Ten Key Energy Conservation Projects, which foster energy efficiency in industrial processes Ke, Jing, et al. 571). The 1000 enterprises program is another key energy efficiency initiative (Zhou, Nan, Mark, and Lynn 6446). Collectively, the Ten Key Energy conservation Projects and the 1000 enterprises program had reduced energy consumption by the equivalent of 132 Mt of coal by 2009.

            In addition to energy consumption initiatives, China has also boosted its transition to a low carbon economy through energy restructuring. The Chinese regime instigated the restructuring process by revising the Renewable Energy Law and implementing the Golden Sun Demonstration Project, which was aimed at increasing the use of clean solar thermal power (Wenjie, Zhang, et al. 674). In the recent decade, China has experienced a record increase in non-fossil based energy production. The share of non-fossil based energy to fossil-based energy production eventually reached 20% in 2017, proving that China’s energy restructuring efforts were effective. Primary non-fossil-based energy systems include nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind. Another effort in the energy restructuring agenda has been the reduction of coal consumption. Although China’s coal consumption has reduced slightly, the country relies on coal-fired power plants, which contribute to a large proportion of the country’s GHG emissions.

            The economic prosperity of China relies on energy-intensive industries, particularly those that result in carbon emissions. Nevertheless, since China is a developing country, the government has significantly invested in the development of a holistic development plan that accounts for the adjustment of economic development along with the industrial structure. For instance, in 2007, china began identifying energy intensive industries with the goal of improving energy efficiency through the replacement of small thermal power plants with large plants. Furthermore, the Chinese regime provides support to key strategic industries in order to optimize the industrial structure along with energy systems. This is evident in projects such as the piloting of carbon industrial parks and evaluation indices for evaluating carbon outputs in industries.

            As part of its sustainable financial policies, China has created a carbon emission trading market. The first of its major carbon emission trading schemes was launched in 2013 to facilitate reduction in carbon emissions in enterprises (Cong, Ren, and Alex 414). Moreover, between 2008 and 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) selected a few districts to experiment its carbon emission trading pilot program. The objective of this exploratory exercise was to prepare the country for the institution of a real carbon market. The first carbon trading market began in 2013 in Shenzhen and a few others were launched in 2015 and 2017 (Zhou et al. 515). The national carbon emission trading market has positively influenced China’s carbon emissions and increased the country’s momentum towards a LCE. Other nationwide strategies for advancing the LCE cited in literature are low carbon cities, circular economies, carbon sinks, afforestation, and carbon emission reduction targets.

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            While china has made considerable strides towards the development of a LCE, several problems remain. The most noteworthy problems relate to the country’s current low carbon pathways, absence of top-level plans, concentration on short-term goals and the lack of uniform policies. A larger share of implemented policies are short-term; this has led to an overlap in policing as far as the development of an LCE is concerned. There is evidence of repetition in policies in multiple pathways, such as carbon emission tasks and carbon cities. What is more, China lacks a nationwide carbon trading market that incorporates many industries. Hence, there is a need for the establishment of a transparent carbon verification system. Another gap in the development of an LCE is the unsuitability of uniform policies across different local regions. Since China is a large country with complicated socioeconomic and natural conditions, national policies are unsuitable for some regions.

Data and Methodology

            Data for this study primarily consisted of emission levels, economic growth indicators, energy consumption, and emission controls for China and major world economies. Data was sourced from online open source databases. The data points selectively covered the last three decades and were mainly presented in raw figures and percentages. Times-series data was included to allow comparisons of variables across time.

            The researcher chose the secondary data analysis approach because of its convenience and economic advantages over other methods. Secondary data analysis is the synthesis of already existing data or data that has been collected in the past for different reasons other than those driving the current research (Johnston 620). As opposed to the collection of primary data, the use of already existing data means the researcher will not go to the field and a lot of time will be saved. Additionally, some databases of amassed data are large, detailed, and reliable. In a time when large data is being archived across the world, secondary data analysis is timely.

            Secondary data analysis is an empirical method that follows a systematic process and applies research principles. The process starts with the exploration of what is already known and what remains to be discovered about a particular topic. Exploration is guided by the research question, which in this case is “How can china develop a low carbon economy? Next, the researcher proceeds to identify and evaluate the dataset. Data for this research was primarily sourced from databases such as the International Energy Agency, Our World in Data, and Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).

Results and Discussion            

The transition from a High Carbon Economy to a LCE involves switching from energy systems that principally rely on carbon to sustainable energy systems that consume less carbon. Thus, it was essential to evaluate China’s present energy mix. Data revealed that most of the energy in China comes from Coal, which accounted for 58% of total energy generation in 2019 (Figure 1). Oil and liquid fuels comprised 20%. This shows China’s high reliance of high carbon based fuels.

The assessment of China’s current energy mix exposed the country’s high dependence of high carbon products. However, it did not reveal the overall national consumption of energy. Hence, the researcher conducted a review of the country’s energy consumption since through five decades (Figure 2). A plot of the time series consumption shows exponential increase in energy demand. China’s energy consumption rose from 130 million tons oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1965 to 3014 Mtoe in 2015.

In terms of energy mix, China is showing increased effort in integrating renewables in its energy generation scheme. China’s investment in renewables increased from $53 billion in 2013 to $125 billion in 2015. This explains the country’s position as the largest national market of renewables. Even so, coal remains the dominant energy source.

China’s dependence in coal has significantly lead to urban air pollution. The International Energy agency estimates that approximately 80% of China’s emissions were contributed by the combustion of coal in 2018. China relies on coal plants to fuel its growing energy demand. Besides, a majority of coal plants burn coal inefficiently, leading to emissions (Figure 4). The country, is nevertheless implementing ultra-low emissions technology in its coal power plants.

Common estimates of China’s emissions project the country’s emission levels will reach a plateau phase in 2025 (Figure 5). Therefore, energy efficiency improvement and faster de-carbonization of the economy will be achieved in the decades preceding 2050. China hopes to reduce its reliance on coal and increase independence on renewable energies.

Despite that, China’s demand for energy will continue to grow in the near future as the government continues to pursue social development. Projected urbanization and industrialization will drive emissions without rapid changes in energy efficiency and supply structures. There is an urgent need for top-level planning in the long-term development of a LCE. Policy overlap is a considerable problem in the establishment of carbon cities, and this is mainly caused by a crude framework of certification and quantification for low carbon cities. Possible solutions to such overlaps are reasonable low carbon theories, such as low carbon indicator models that expose city carbon profiles. Furthermore, China’s economy needs consistency in the development low-carbon policies, industrial planning, and urban energy systems planning. Top-level planning should extend to the carbon trading market and carbon verification mechanisms. China needs rational assessment methods to coordinate the association between national and local governments. Carbon intensities should be evaluated by physical outputs across local and national spaces. Additionally, the government should engage research institutions and public participation in the adoption of low carbon lifestyles.

Conclusion            

As one of the most highly developing countries in the world, China is devoted to adopting a low carbon economy. The country has shown strong commitment in the reduction of emission intensity and achievement of carbon emission intensities. Overall, it is evident that china is advancing towards a low Carbon economy. However, this shift is obstructed by the country’s high reliance on dirty energy sources such as coal, ineffectiveness of policies, lack of public participation, and lack of long-term planning. China should make unified policies and develop top-level planning strategies.