FIN 504- Adeptus Health Future Financial Health

Introduction

Adeptus Health is a holding firm that operates and own emergency rooms of first choice. The firm owns a network of freestanding independent emergency rooms in the US.  The firm offers emergency care via its freestanding emergency rooms. It offers patients with admittance to on-site treatments, registered emergency trained nurses, and wide-certified physicians. The facilities of the firm are armed with radiology suite, which include ultrasound, digital x-ray, onsite laboratories, and computerized tomography (CT) scanners. The company contains over 55 facilities situated in different parts of the US which include Texas Arizona, Phoenix, Colorado, Denver and Colorado Springs. Adeptus was established in 2002, in Lewisville, Texas in the US. Adeptus is for-profit health organization, however it highly benefit many especially in emergency cases were all patients are taken in despite the financial situation.  The company was publically listed in 2004 June (The New York Times, 2016). This paper focuses on analyzing the financial health of Adeptus Health Inc.

Adeptus Health Fundamentals Analysis

Adeptus Health is currently dealing with freestanding emergency facilities. The facility is expanded in various parts of Texas among other area. The company’s main goal is to expand its coverage area as a way of increasing its market share and hence its revenue. However, the company is currently experiencing great challenges while pursuing its goal. One of the main challenge is that the current business model; freestanding emergency business model is unproven.  In this regard, most stakeholders particularly insiders have lost faith with it and thus, they are selling most of their shares. This pushes the company into considering changing the organization model. Although the company is currently working to expand sources of revenue, the company is also experiencing another challenge. Many patients consider freestanding emergency facilities as urgent lower cost care facilities and thus, the company has never managed to grow financially as anticipated. Thus, the company is currently facing a number of challenges while trying to accomplish its goals (Adeptus Health, 2016).

The company’s main strategy used to accomplish its main goal is to expand its facilities in different parts of Texas and other parts of the US. The company currently has about 55 facilities in the US, with most of its facilities being located in Texas. This is highly facilitated by the capital collected from selling shares. The establishment of hospitals in partnership is also adding to the company strategies to accomplish its goals. Hospitals create a better chance for the company to offer more services to patients and thus increasing their customers’ satisfaction. In this regard, more expansion of the emergency facilities into hospital in partnership will reduce the company establishment cost and increase the rate of receiving patients and thus, increasing its ability to increase its revenue.

The company targets US market and more it has focused on the Texas market. The company has managed to dominate the Texas market by establishing a huge number of freestanding emergency facilities in the state. The company targets individuals with medical condition that would require immediate attention for instance asthma, heart attacks, and accidents among others in the region. The company has managed to equip all its facilities with the right medical personnel as well as the most significant medical personnel that would easily offer the required facilities. The facilities contains radiology suite, which include ultrasound, digital x-ray, onsite laboratories, and computerized tomography (CT) scanners. This has increased their competitive advantage since the company is able to provide the best care for any patient reporting in their emergency facility without main need of a supportive hospital. The company also has registered emergency trained nurses, and wide-certified physicians who offer on-site treatment to patients involved in any kind of urgent medical need. This increases the company’s competitiveness in the market. The company also offers its services on 24 hours bases and thus, they are always available for their customers of any patient at all time, especially when a patient needs it. This increases the company’s competitiveness since their facilities are readily available and at the same time, they are always ready to assist the community 24 hours a week. This ensures a high patient satisfaction which ranges above 95%.

The company facilities are highly based on the medical regelation provided to other healthcare facilities in the United States. Patient privacy is highly employed to ensure that no personal medical information get to a third party without the patient consent, especially if information sharing is nod based on enhancing the patient’s health. Despite being a for-profit organization, the company puts the patient’s health in front of money. Thus, the facilities handle the emergency cases first and consider the payment aspect later (Adeptus Health, 2016).

Adeptus Health Revenue Outlook

The company demonstrates a positive growth in its revenue for the last four years. The revenue has grown from 72.6 million dollars in 2012 to 364.69 million dollars in 2015. This is a magnificent trend where the company demonstrates over 100 million dollar growth from 2013 to 2014 and also over 150 million dollar growth from 2014 to 2015. This demonstrates that the company has been growing in popularity for the last three years and thus, it may be able to break even in the near future. The only major problem with the company at the moment is that it has not managed to cater for its expenses using the current revenue and thus, the company has always recorded a negative net income value since in 2013. It was only in 2012 that the company managed to record a net income of 3.2 million dollars. Since then, the company has constantly recorded loss due to high operation cost. The company is also experiencing huge non-operational cost expenses which are highly increasing is expenses and eventually lowering its net income. Thus, despite the increase in its revenues, the company financial situation is still at the edge (Market Watch, 2016).

The current situation of having more expenses than the revenue gathered has been highly affecting the company’s operations. However, the company has managed to identify a new source of income from equity after it was declared public. This has given the company a considerable boost in 2015 operations. Moreover, the company seems to be overcoming the initial set-up cost which could have contributed to high non-operational expenses recorded in the past three years since the amount seems to have gone down in 2015. Although the company net income in 2015 is not declared yet, the situation seems more promising in 2015, were it not for the previous debts that the company has incurred as a result of negative earnings in the previous years.

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Investments to Support Adeptus Health Business Units Strategies

The company invests heavily in the healthcare machinery or equipment and also in the employment of well-trained healthcare personnel. Adeptus Health deals with freestanding emergency facilities which focus on offering complete emergency services provided to all patients in hospitals emergency rooms. In this regard, the company has employed its best effort to ensure that each of their 55 facilities contains the most essential medical facilities to aid in the first care services provided in an emergency room. Some of the facilities found in each healthcare facility include radiology suite, which include ultrasound, digital x-ray, onsite laboratories, and computerized tomography (CT) scanners. This means the company focus on handling some very essential urgent health condition. However, the facilities have not managed to invest in surgical rooms and equipment and thus, they may still not able to handle critical accident based emergency cases. In this regard, the company is currently focusing on making allies with different hospitals to complete their services, particularly in critical situations where more facilities and knowledge is needed. One of such alliances include the facility partnership with Digital Health in Francisco to create the Laveen based Dignity Health Ariozona General Hospital. Nevertheless, most of its 55 facilities offer standalone services that are independent of any other healthcare facility.

Adeptus Health Future Profitability and Competitive Performance

The exponential revenue growth of the company is a clear indication that the company has a good market and its situation will change soon. The company has managed to increase its number of sales or revenue year after year. A continues in this positive trend definitely shows that the company will soon breakeven. Nevertheless, the company’s profitability level is also threatened by a number of factors. One of the major factors is that the current business model employed by the standalone emergency facilities is not proven. In this regard, most investors are avoiding making investment with the company since they do not trust the business model. This has also increased the rate in which internal investors are selling their shares to move out of their initial investment. This may affect the company’s reliability on investment to advance their growth and hence their level of revenue, which determines the company’s profitability (Yahoo Finance, 2016).

Another major aspect that may impact the company profitability is the fact is that it is more expensive to run a standalone emergency facility as compared to running emergency rooms in a big hospital. This makes cost of the Adeptus services much higher as compared to urgent care services provided by hospitals in the region. As a result, most patients are reluctant to pay for the entire amount charged in Adeptus facilities and consider them expensive. In this regard, the company is facing stiff competition from hospitals in the region which offer similar or even more advanced emergency room services. To be able to attract more customers and to remain competitive, the company may consider lowering their service charges and increasing the extensibility of their operations in the emergency room. As a matter of fact, the company cannot manage to provide the full emergency care services as they could be provided in large healthcare facilities such as hospital due to limitation in the machinery, and personnel. In addition, this is a new business model that has not been used by many and thus, patients or relatives may take long to trust it. Nevertheless, based on the nature of emergency health needs, the company still stands a high chance of obtaining a huge number of customers due to its high accessibility in different parts of Taxes. Emergency pushes individuals to take the most accessible measures, and the company has ensured its accessibility. This gives it a higher competitive advantage over large hospitals, which are normally scattered and may require a longer waiting time as compared to Adeptus.

Future External financing Needs

The company wishes to keep on expanding its facilities, targeting US as its main market. However, it has only managed to maximize on Texas State. In this regard, the company will still need to finance its expansion in the future. Moreover, the company seems to be adopting a new more appreciated business model by making alliance with other healthcare facilities to make a complete hospital as in Laveen. In this regard, the company will still need more financing to grow and to realize its dreams. Based on its current financial situation, the company cannot manage to fund any of its development projects with its earnings at the moment. In this regard, the company may require more equity, loan or both to be able to fund its future investments before it can stand on its own.

Access to Target Sources of External Finance

The company was publically traded in 2014 and since then, the company has been hoping to acquire more finances from equity. Although the company has not managed to secure as much as it could have expected, this has highly boosted the company’s operations and increased its sources of funding. The company is anticipated to demonstrate a positive growth in the future which will better its financial health and thus attract more investors into the company. If this happens, the company will have a better chance of obtaining more finances from equity. However, this will only happen if the company will manage to demonstrate its abilities to the investors in the competitive market. The company also depends on loans while making its investment. The company recorded long-term debt of 19.85 million dollars in 2012, 78.85 million dollars in 2013, 109.04 million dollars in 2014 and 121.2 million dollars in 2015. This demonstrates that its reliability on debts is quite high. The company debt to equity ratio for the last three years is 0.24 in 2012, 4.23 in 2013 and 2.27 in 2014. This is a clear indication that the company debts more on debts as a source of its capital compared to equity. However, the situation may change with time bearing in mind that the company only entered into the public stock market recently; 2014. The company also has invested more on assets and thus, it is much easier to acquire loans due to availability of security as compared to acquiring financing from equity which is currently less reliable due to the current company’s financial situation (Financial Morningstar, 2016).

Visibility of 3-5 Year Plan

Adeptus Health main focus is to continue growing in the US market. The company has currently managed to venture into three main markets which include Colorado, Arizona, and Texas. However, the company hopes to venture into other US states and establish themselves in more promising markets. This is based on the accessibility of the emergency health services from other healthcare facilities. The future anticipated growth may highly be enhanced by the new strategy of making partnerships with other existing healthcare facilities. This may increase its rate of growth in the country. However, with the current company’s financial state, the company may be unable to expand at the anticipated rate. At the moment the company targets a total of 15-25 standalone facilities per year. However, its visibility will highly depend on the company’s ability to generate more income to pay for its previous loan and interests and also to attract more equity from investors.

Stress Test under Scenarios of Adversity

The company has already been extensively expanded in Texas and two other regions. However, the company situation may get worse if the company’s financial situation fails to improve in the future. For instance, in case the company remains with negative net income, the company will still need external sources of funding to operate effectively. This will mean that the company will have to pay for more loans interest in the future and thus, it may take quite a long time to breakeven. This may result to its death. This scenario may also mean that more and more investors will shy away from investing with the company since it will fail to prove its ability to offer investment returns. As a result, the company financial situation may get worse. In case the company fails to get more customers as anticipated in the future, the company revenues will go down and thus, the company will completely be unable to meet its future expenses. This will result to more loans and hence risking more of its assets to lenders. This will also impact equity negatively and thus, the company may be left without any reliable source of income.

Adeptus Health Current Financing Plan

The company currently depends on a mix capital financing. It uses both equity and loan. The loan is in both short-term and long-term, though the company depends more on long-term loans. The company managed the first positive equity in 2015 where it recorded the equity of about 8.92 million dollars. Nevertheless, the company has huge amount of long-term debts which keeps on increasing year after year as illustrated above. The company is anticipated to continue depending on mix financing plan for a while before it could manage to make profit from its investments.

Descartes’ Argument on God’s Existence and Perfection

Over the past centuries, several philosophers have tried to argue out that God’s existence is in some way necessary. For that reason, Descartes, who was one of the philosophers held a priori argument which up to this date may be one of the most fascinating yet poorly understood aspects of his philosophical argument (Pearl, 1977). Descartes tried to prove God’s existence from simple yet powerful premises. According to his line of reasoning, it is from the clear and distinct idea of a supremely perfect being that existence gets derived from. Incongruously, the simplicity that exists in his argument has led to several misreading since Descartes himself formulates the contentions in different ways. In this paper, I will discuss the ways in which existence might be perfection and the reasons behind the general idea. I will also discuss why such perfection might prove God’s existence.

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Descartes’ Ontological Argument

Firstly, we can unpack Descartes argument as- the idea of God is held in the idea of existence. This means that God must exist. However, it does not lead to a conclusion that God does exist. Rather, it tries to end to the deduction that God cannot not exist, meaning that the existence of God is necessary (Solomon, 2005, p.55-57). According to this supposition, Descartes could only mean that existence might truly be a perfection. So, in what way might existence be perfection?

Read also In What Way Might Existence Be a Perfection? – Descartes’ Ontological Argument

In what way might existence be a perfection?

Existence may be a perfection in that; it is contained in the characteristics of divine nature. Nevertheless, something cannot have a characteristic unless it initially exists. It is not possible to possess a thought of a perfect being if that very being lacks the most important attribute of existence (Voss, 1993). Existence is unavoidably predicated of God since existence fits as a component of the true essence of any perfect being. Therefore, it is not possible for anyone to hold the idea of a perfect being/thing if that particular perfect being lacks the most crucial characteristic of existence.

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In basic terms, Descartes’ argument lies in the difference between two sorts of reality. The first one is formal reality and in this one, anything is considered to have a virtue of existing. Formal reality further comes in three types which include finite, mode and infinite. Here, we can argue out that God is he only existing being/thing with infinite formal reality. Other ting/substances have finite formal reality. Lastly, modes possess formal modal reality. An idea, however, has another type of reality that is exclusive to them. When one considers an idea with respect to the object it represents, then we can conclude that it as possessing objective reality. Just like formal reality, objective reality is of three types, and these mirror the three aforementioned grades of formal reality. The amount of objective reality in ideas is based on the amount of formal reality that the object represented contains.

Read also Cosmological Argument For The Existence of God

Following this line of thought, Descartes makes a controversial claim that everyone has an idea of God as an infinite being. According to him, we cannot fail to possess this idea because it is entirely innate. Breaking down his thoughts, we can conclude that since the idea of God is that of an infinite being, then the idea must be accompanied by infinite objective reality. If we appeal to an innate logical principle, it is true to say that something cannot come from anything. Consequently, there must be as much as reality contained in a cause as that contained in an effect. Also, there must be an equal formal reality in the specific cause of an idea to that in objective reality in the idea. The idea of God is an idea with infinite objective reality. Therefore, there must be a being with an infinite formal reality that brought about the idea. Then, we can conclude that God exists.

Read also Philosophical Approaches to Nature and Existence of God

Analyzing this, we can find that Descartes used distinct and clear perceptions to prove the existence of God and also used God to prove the truth of distinct and clear perceptions. In mush as it may sound circular reasoning, Descartes made sure that it would not sound unclear by pointing out that God’s existence does not in any way prove that distinct and clear perfections are true. It does not require any proof that distinct and clear perfections are true. In fact, for something to be distinct and clear, then we must be doing it and by this, we cannot doubt the truth that exists in it. In the argument, God is needed to delete the doubt that would otherwise creep in after we stopped attending to the perceptions. We can, therefore, legitimately use distinct and clear perfections to establish the existence of God.

Read also God Is Not One – Stephen Prothero’s Argument – Essay

The whole idea of supremely perfect being is one that is found within a person, just like the idea of a shape or a number. It belongs to this nature that he always exists is no less distinct and clear than when one tries to prove that a number or a shape and some property belongs to its nature (Descartes & Moriarty2008). The truth is reached through operations of the mind. Sense data here is dismissed and considered as flawed and limited. God is described as a principle of supreme perfection which is undeniable as a mathematical truth. However, it cannot be touched, and it is just a necessary feature of comprehension that makes our judgment possible.

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To sum it all up, we can deduce that people have an idea of a supremely perfect being, existence is perfection, and therefore, a supreme being exists.

Summary

This paper briefly explains Descartes’ ontological argument (textbook, pp. 55-57), In what way might existence be a perfection? Are there good reasons to believe that existence is a perfection, and that such perfection proves God’s existence?

Three Major Health Issues Affecting South Africa

Most people might regard South Africa is one of the countries in the world where they can go and spend their holidays due to the healthy climate within that country. The beautiful oceans and the magnificent climate is something that most of the South Africans are proud of. However, on the contrary, most of the citizens in South Africa lag behind due to lack of good healthcare. Currently, the primary concerns within the healthcare sector include the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the country battles with the high prevalence rates of diseases such as tuberculosis that are caused by smoking. The smoking related diseases are believed to be of a high prevalence amongst the non-whites residents as compared to the white’s population.

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The health care nature in the rural areas of South Africa has been moving from bad to worse over the years due to the lack of better treatment facilities. In some areas, the access to treatment facilities such as hospitals and clinic centers becomes difficult to poor road network and also due to lack of finances. Statistics show that the current rate of mortality stands at about six times higher than what is experienced in most of the developed nations. Empirical figures show that close to 5.5 million citizens in South Africa are infected with HIV/AIDS. That figure is approximately 10.6% of the total population in South Africa. Out of that total population, it is estimated that 17% of them are adults while the rest of the percentage consists of young teenagers and small kids.  A big majority of those living with the disease are found within the rural set-ups. The deaths rate in the rural areas has been extremely high over the years due to the reasons that have already been mentioned above.

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Understaffed health facilities

One of the biggest challenges that the country has been facing over the years is the understaffing of their health facilities. Most of the qualified health personnel’s prefer to seek for employment in the private sectors rather than working in the public sectors that pay low salaries. In a similar fashion, the government boasts of generating close to fourteen billion dollars in form of taxes from the medical professionals working in countries abroad. That huge figure clearly shows that there is a large number of qualified medical personnel who work in other countries apart from their motherland. If only the government could offer them better salaries and remuneration, then maybe the healthcare sector could have had a big change. Moreover, the remittances made by the professional working abroad should be put into productive use by the government so as to help the locals. The government however, seem to be embezzling the funds collected in form of taxation rather than using it to but modern equipment’s.

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If the authorities would have been serious about improving the health sector in South Africa, then they would be buying new ambulances to ferry the sick to the hospital. Since the funds remitted as tax is being embezzled by the government of the day, most of the health professionals prefer working within the private sectors. The current ratio shows that every single doctor in South Africa gets to attend to between three thousand seven hundred and seven to forty nine thousands patients.  That ratio is so high compared to what happens in the developed nations where a single doctor attends to between two hundred and fifty nine to five hundred patients. Such discrepancy is what has led to the ever increasing gap of the life expectancy that currently stands at forty nine years of age as compared to 73 in the developed nations.

Poor maternal health

The health status of most mothers together with their children in South Africa has been extremely poor over the years due to lack of proper modern qualifications and the will to take good care of them. Reports from the World health organization show that there is a very high rate of maternal mortality in South Africa as compared to any other country in South Africa. Currently, the ratio stands at three hundred and ten deaths for every one hundred thousand live births experienced in South Africa. Similarly, the organization collected data from the mortality rates that were experienced during the year 2010. That particular set of data revealed that there were forty one deaths experienced for every one thousands live births for those who were aged one and below.

In a similar fashion, the mortality rate for those aged between one and five was at fifty seven deaths for every one thousand live births. Such figures are very discouraging especially for a big country like South Africa where one expects the healthcare system to be functioning at its best. Credits however have to be given to the public hospitals for the efforts that they are taking to n curb the spread of HIV/ AIDS. The current situation allows the pregnant mothers to go through a voluntary HIV testing in order to ascertain their status. Those who are found to be positive are taken through a counseling session and put on anti-retroviral drugs. Such a therapy works to prevent the transmission of the disease from the mother to the unborn child. Additionally, the health care centers offer a number of services and healthcare support to both the mother and their infants.

Adult risk factors

A number of risk factors that cause major health problems in South Africa do exist and have to be tackled as they occur.  One of the risk factors is the raised blood glucose among the adults. Statistics from the world health organization shows that close to twenty percent of the male adult population in South Africa face the raised blood glucose problem. Out of that figure, only eight percent of the male adults are likely to experience the problem in an area covered by the world health organization. The percentage of women who face the raised blood glucose problems is higher as compared to their male counter parts. Nine percent of women who live within the regions that are covered by the world health organization face the problem while eleven percent of them face it in regions that are not covered by the organization.

The number of male adults that struggle with obesity is however low as compared to their female counterparts. Currently, close to twenty three percent of the male have an obesity problem as compared to forty three percent of their female counterparts? Finally, the tobacco based problem has been one of the killer diseases in the region with estimates showing that twenty eight percent of the South African male dies as a result of tobacco usage. Similarly, it is estimated that eight percent of the female citizens die as a result of the use of tobacco.

Recommendations

As a result of the already mentioned healthcare problems that face South Africa, the government in collaboration with the citizens has a long way to battle the problems that faces the nation. To begin with, the government must acts with speed and revives more than one hundred nursing colleges in the whole country. An increase in nurses across the entire country will improve the provision of healthcare services to the patients. The government also has to find a way in which it going to conduct an upgrading and renovation program for the hospitals so as to improve on their standards. An upgrading program will also include the provision of reproductive health rights as well as issuing of contraceptives to be used during sexual intercourse.

The government of South Africa through the health department will have to ensure that it widens the coverage area of the provision of anti-retroviral treatment to all the HIV positive patients. Since the country has a very large population, it may not be possible for the current number of nurses to provide adequate healthcare services for all the citizens. The government must therefore find a way of recruiting and training more than 1.3 million community workers who will help in the provision of the healthcare services.  The prevention measures that have already been started must be encouraged and supported at all costs. For instance, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs must be continued in order to protect the future generations. Additionally, the voluntary, medical male circumcision programs must be encouraged at all costs.

WhatsApp Mobile Phone Application Analysis

Introduction

A mobile phone application is a software program that allows users to perform specific tasks using their mobile phones. WhatsApp messenger is an instant messaging application that allows smartphone users to exchange text, audio, video, and image messages for free on Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia smartphones. Apart from instant messaging service, WhatsApp also offers smartphone users the opportunity to perform group chats and share locations. Unlike the traditional messaging system, WhatsApp relies on the phone’s data connection enabling the user to send unlimited messages without having to pay for individual messages. WhatsApp Messenger was introduced by WhatsApp Inc., a company founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. The company has its headquarter in Santa Clara, California (Russell, 2013).

Read also WhatsApp – Social Media App Analysis

Technical description of the WhatsApp application

Technically speaking, the customized version of the open standard Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) enables smartphone owners to use WhatsApp. Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol is a protocol based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and it is meant for online presence detection and instant messaging (The Internet Society, 2004). This protocol allows near-real-time communication between or among servers. With the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, Internet users can send instant messages to their friends who are connected to the Internet, irrespective of differences in browsers and operation systems among them. In order to get started on WhatsApp, one must have a fairly modern smartphone that has the customized version of the open standard Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) (The Internet Society, 2004).

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One has to download the WhatsApp application on his smartphone before he can begin the process of exchanging messages. The application can be downloaded from the iTunes App store for iPhone users, from the Marketplace for Windows Mobile users, and from the WhatsApp download page for other mobiles. Users are required to pay 0.99 United States Dollars in order to download WhatsApp application from the iTune App store. However, users can download the WhatsApp application for free on BlackBerry, Androis, Windows Phone, and Nokia and use it for free for the first 12 months before they can pay for an annual subscription of 0.99 United States Dollars. Users of iPhone are not required to make this annual subscription of 0.99 United States Dollars.

After downloading the WhatsApp application, smartphone users must register the application on their phones. WhatsApp registration on the smartphone is done by entering the user’s name and his or her mobile phone number. A text message with a code that should be used to complete the WhatsApp registration is then sent to the mobile phone number provided. After the WhatsApp Messenger has been correctly registered on the mobile phone, the user is now free to add a profile picture to his or her account. The smartphone user does not have to create a new list of contacts on WhatsApp application. However, contacts of people who are using the application can be obtained from the existing mobile phone address book. From here, WhatsApp application makes it easy for smartphone users to start sending and receiving messages. The phone users are also free to invite their colleagues who are not using WhatsApp to join. Communicating using WhatsApp is very simple and fast so long as the user’s smartphone is connected t the Internet (Bouhnik and Deshen, 2014).

There are different types of mobile phone messaging applications available in the modern market. People have to understand the benefits of a given messaging application before choosing to download and install it on their smartphones. Those who choose to download and install the WhatsApp application enjoy a number of benefits that encourage them to continue using it over and over again. The clearest benefit of using WhatsApp application is reduced communication costs because the users do not have to incur extra costs on every individual message sent (Bouhnik and Deshen, 2014). The user only needs to incur the costs of purchasing a data bundle package. However, no additional costs are met if an individual has to use WiFi networks to connect to the Internet. Additionally, WhatsApp provides users with an opportunity to send more messages than they would have sent in the absence of the application. Even though many people commonly use text to communicate on their mobile phones, they cannot include some form of media such as videos in their text messages if they do not have an instant messaging application. With WhatsApp, one can include audio files, videos files, as well as emotions on messages (Bouhnik and Deshen, 2014).

When a person sends a message using WhatsApp, he or she is notified by a minute check mark that the message has been sent successfully. A double check mark indicates that the message has been successfully delivered to the recipient. The check marks help the sender to know whether the message has reached the recipient or not. The WhatsApp application also indicates the time when the message was last seen by the receiver. Another benefit obtained from the WhatsApp application easy group chats that allow the user to send a message to all group members at once. The WhatsApp application helps mobile phone users to exchange messages everywhere and at any time (Bouhnik and Deshen, 2014).

The business model related to collection of revenues

Many users have gained interest in understanding how the WhatsApp instant messaging application is able to collect revenue when its services are free of charge. There are two different ways through which WhatsApp collects its revenue. According to Delevett and Bailey (2013), WhatsApp collects its revenue through two business models namely; subscription fee and database management. WhatsApp is a subscription-based service where smartphone users are expected to pay a subscription fee of 0.99 United States Dollars after using the service for free for a period of one year. People who use WhatsApp on iOS platform have to purchase the application for 0.99 United States Dollars before they can use it. However, not even a single person has been reported to have paid the 0.99 United States Dollars after enjoying the WhatsApp service for free for one year. Ideally, WhatsApp continues to extend its services for free every time the users approach the expiry date. According to Delevett and Bailey (2013), the subscription fee method of revenue generation does not necessarily generate revenue for WhatsApp in real sense.

Many people believe that WhatsApp generates its revenue primarily from the BigData or through database management. All messages that are users exchange on WhatsApp are being saved in the application’s servers. Most of the time, people express their feelings, preferences, opinions, and so many things through messages that are exchanges on WhatsApp. This data is used by companies to offer services that match the preferences of users. At the same time, these companies pay WhatsApp for the BigData. Since 2009, WhatsApp users have continued to rise, even exceeding the number of users on other instant messaging applications. By 2013, there were approximately 320 million WhatsApp users, 280 million Skype users, 200 million Viber users, and close to 198 million WeChat users per month. The large huge number of WhatsApp users shows that the number of messages exchanged on WhatsApp on a daily basis is also incredibly high. In view of the usefulness of the information available on WhatsApp backups, big organizations are always ready to pay huge amounts of money for information saved on WhatsApp (Delevett and Bailey, 2013).

Analysis of WhatsApp business model

The WhatsApp application and its two business models are a goof match in today’s mobile environment. Even though the subscription-based model of revenue generation does not necessarily generate revenue for WhatsApp in real sense, the number of number of WhatsApp users continue to rise at a faster rate as compared to those of its competitors. Additionally, although the data management model of revenue generation is merely speculation, there is no any other justified model that WhatsApp uses to generate money (Delevett and Bailey, 2013).

WhatsApp’s Chief Executive Officer has clarified that the number of chats on WhatsApp has been rising rapidly over the recent past due to its subscription-based business model. The fact that WhatsApp is free to download in majority of smartphones, with an in-app payment of 0.99 United States Dollars every year after twelve months of free usage, many people have downloaded and installed WhatsApp in their smartphones (Russell, 2013). The business model has put WhatsApp at the right position in the competitive mobile market. A very good example is how WhatsApp competed with other instant messaging applications in Spain. Line, a smartphone mobile phone application like WhatsApp has been conducting an extensive marketing campaign in Spain. This has resulted into more than 15 million downloads every month. Surprisingly, WhatsApp downloads still exceed those of its competitors in the mobile market and it remains the most actively used messaging application by smartphone users (Russell, 2013).

WhatsApp uses a very straightforward business model because active subscribers only have to pay 0.99 United States dollars and have unlimited access of various features. It is not clear how many active subscribers WhatsApp has but it is assumed that the number could be anything between 400 million and 1 billion active subscribers. The subscription-based business model is a good match in today’s business environment because subscribers will always choose to renew their subscriptions for only 0.99 United States Dollars in order to keep in touch with friends who are still using the application. In the process, more and more revenue is generated which gives WhatsApp the opportunity to be at a good position in the competitive mobile market (Russell, 2013).

As the number of WhatsApp subscribers continue to rise, the amount of information stored on WhatsApp backup increases rapidly. This encourages big companies to give WhatsApp huge amounts of money in exchange of this information (Russell, 2013). The two business models that WhatsApp uses to generate its revenue have resulted into tremendous financial growth for WhatsApp Inc (Russell, 2013). WhatsApp is winning the competition battle in the mobile market by some margin due to its two business models. According to WhatsApp’s Chief Executive Officer, the only way through which the effectiveness of the WhatsApp’s business model can be analyzed is by comparing the application’s performance to that of its major competitors. WhatsApp’s dominance in the mobile market is enough proof that it generates huge revenue from its business model (Delevett and Bailey, 2013).

Russell (2013) however points out that despite the huge lead that WhatsApp has in the mobile industry, it is still not clear whether WhatsApp will maintain the same position both in the United States and worldwide over the next few years. WhatsApp application uses a simple design that allows many people including those with little mobile phone knowledge to use. However, with other mobile phone messaging applications adding video calling, stickers, games and other features, people will be attracted to the unique experiences offered by other applications. As many people will continue to seek more than just basic from mobile phone messaging applications, WhatsApp is soon approaching saturation and the much anticipated saturation is likely to affect its growth (Russell, 2013).

Conclusion

Smartphone users are aware that WhatsApp is not the only mobile application in the mobile phone industry. There are many other popular applications such as Kakao Talk and Kik that are used by many clients across the world. One thing that needs to trouble application providers is the application that will attract the largest number of users. WhatsApp founders are however reluctant to reveal the exact number of active subscribers who are using this application, but it is confirmed that the application has more than 300 million users monthly. The subscription-based business model used by WhatsApp, a free service for 12 months and an annual subscription of 0.99 United States Dollars, is meant to attract huge number of smartphone users to download and install the application irrespective of their income levels. However, some people feel that WhatsApp is likely to face stiff competition in the near future from other totally free applications as well as from applications that offer additional features such as advertising.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and United States Containment Policy

Introduction

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is as well popularly christened the IS or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is presently an international Sunni Islamist terrorist, as well as insurgent, group. Presently, it is in firm control of considerably large Syrian and Iraqi territories. As well, it has considerably pockets of adherents spread across other nation-states (Prados, 2015). It remains rather keen on disrupting global, as well as regional, security and peace with violent, terrorist acts. The terrorist acts associated with the ISIS in recent times especially in Iraq, as well as Syria, have demonstrated its continued capability for jeopardizing and threatening the security of human populations in the US, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). The US is threatened by the ISIS regardless of its capable and sophisticated security forces along with intelligence agencies. The US has put forth various policy proposals regarding how to eliminate the threat posed by the ISIS. In recent times, it appears that the US has adopted a containment policy, or strategy, to decimate the threat. Principally, this paper explores various facets of the ISIS and the effectiveness of the policy in dealing with the threat.

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s Ideology

The ISIL’s ideology is an exceptionally hard-hitting version of violent jihadist Islamism, Salafism. Its adherents are enthusiastic about employing violence in establishing with they conceptualize as a model, or ideal, Islamic community worldwide. Their understanding of Islam is hinged on a particular appreciation of Prophet Mohammed’s life, the life led by the prophet’s followers as well as particular historically significant Islamic events (Glint, 2014). Consequently, the ISIL beliefs are especially activist, violent, and uncompromising of wider ideological persuasions that have promoted the conflict and extremism that have by and large typified the world of Sunni Islam in recent times. Although supporters of the ISIL may express some peaceful Salafist Sunni views, the adherents of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are distinct from them on two principal aspects: their preferred approach and their views on the attributes of the model Islamic faith. Leading ISIL figures characterize the organization as a direct successor of the approach adopted by the prophet. Notably, many Sunni Muslims disagree with that characterization (Prados, 2015).

Targeting

The religious minorities, Shiite Muslims, Christians, and Jews, inhabiting areas predominated by Sunni Muslims are frequently expelled from the areas by the ISIL. The ISIL not only expels them but also seizes or destroys their possessions to force them to adopt the violent ISIL ideology. At times, ISIL adherents kidnap, assault, and murder religious minorities or force them into sexual slavery. The ISIL as well targets various ethnic populations. It systematically and deliberately suppresses the populations with an aim of expelling, cleansing or destroying them.

By and large, the religious, as well as ethnic, populations targeted by the ISIL are viewed by its adherents as being in breach of indeterminate accords with the model Muslim, which would necessitate the defense that they call for in respected Islamic texts such as the Quran. As well, the ISIL threatens the US and her allies, most of who are seen as representing Christendom (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). The ISIL has made various partners of the US in Europe, as well as the Middle East, as unfriendly, or hostile, targets. The partners, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, are projected as agents that partake in a conspiracy led by the US against the interests of Sunni Muslims.

Tactics

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s principal tactic and strategy are transnational terrorism. It has executed many terrorist attacks, which have occasioned thousands of deaths, in many nation-states, including Iraq along with Syria. ISIL leaders have since 2012 threatened the US with such attacks. The leaders common typify the US and its allies that are predominated by non-Muslim populations as crusaders (Glint, 2014). The leaders encourage ISIL adherents to execute the attacks against specific interests, facilities, and persons within the US or areas superintended by the US or any of the Notably, the organization characterizes such an engagement as a forerunner of the apocalyptic wars predicated by specific Islamic literature. The ISIL frequently issues goading statements that come off as meant to provoke such an engagement (Bailey & Immerman, 2015).

It appears that the terrorist attacks blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant may be a significant tactic, or strategy, in a wide-ranging calculated effort aimed at drawing adversaries into a direct and extensive military conflict. That view is particularly bolstered by the actuality that the organization has in recent times developed and continually strengthened a peripheral operations agenda, which it implements with lethal consequences (Spark, 2014). It appears that organization is motivated to continue employ transnational terrorism as its lead strategy by its keenness on signaling persistent momentum regardless of the battlefield losses and limited progress it continues to suffer especially in Iraq as well as Syria.

Capability

(Glint, 2014). Clearly, the organization is principally dependent on the weapons it captured from the deposed Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein. As well, it captured stockpiles of weapons from the forces that engaged in the Syrian Civil War. The weapons include military aircraft, surface to air missiles, guns as well as armor.

(Prados, 2015).

Overall Goals

For close to a decade, the principal goal of the ISIL has been to establish a caliphate, or state, ran on Sunni Islamic ideals. Particularly, the organization seeks to have the caliphate ruled by Sunni Islamic religious leaders under a caliph, al-Baghdadi, who is to be taken as the prophet’s successor from his lineage (Prados, 2015; United States, 2015). Al-Baghdadi demands the loyalty of every committed Muslim globally in line with Islamic law or jurisprudence (Spark, 2014).

The organization projects itself as keen on ensuring that the world is full of Islamic justice and truth and ending the tyranny and falsehood that it associates with ignorance. ISIL fighters are keen on conquering the world by eliminating every religion that supports democratic ideals. The fighters are indoctrinated to think of other religions as have marked enthusiasm to kills persons in masses. By and large, the organization seeks to establish military, political, as well as religious, authority or control over every Muslim.

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Analysis of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Attacks

The attacks launched by the ISIL are aimed at terrorizing, polarizing, and mobilizing targeted populations and compel enemy governments to take actions that they would otherwise restrain themselves from taking promptly (Glint, 2014). The attacks are meant to mobilize the organization’s supporters by being spectacularly deadly. They are aimed at driving a growing wedge between Muslims and their civilian leaders, or governments, making the ISIL caliphate more and more appealing to the Muslims (Bailey & Immerman, 2015).

The ISIL has been keen on diversifying and widening its terrorist attacks against what it considers Zionist enemies and crusader enemies internationally to ensure that the enemies do not form credible alliances against it, thus draining the enemies to the greatest degree possible. Especially, the organization has been keen on attacking soft targets on its enemies’ soils to weaken them.

Commonly, the ISIL publicizes the mass civilian killings and executions it does to instill in own adherents worldviews that are sublime and sacred and to scare its enemies and those doubtful about joining it. The publicizing is as well aimed at breaking its subjects and captives psychologically to guarantee their unquestioning allegiance via intimidation and fear.

Statements and Propaganda

The ISIL views Islam, Islamic traditions, and Islamic texts as authentic if they are ahistorical. The propaganda materials and statements that it issues project its views and actions as being in line with traditional Islamic practices founded in Islamic literature along with jurisprudence. Frequently, the organization’s leaders refer to varied forceful Sunni views on the intricate past of Islamic practice and faith. The views especially include those expressed by Taqi Addin Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah, a renowned 14th-century polemicist and scholar, and Mohammed ibn Abd al Wahhab. Al Wahhab was a Salafist revivalist and leader in the 18th century (Prados, 2015).

The organization’s propaganda projects all its adherents and fighters as deeply dedicated to the ideology of the group. Even then, it is clear that it is not possibly to have all its adherents and fighters as deeply subscribe to the same ideology given that it is a combination of local and overseas forces in its ranks. Some supporters habiting the areas under the organization’s control pledge fealty to the organization merely to survive or settle neighborhood rows with those averse to the rise of the organization. The organization projects the US, her allies in the Middle East, and her allies elsewhere as the greatest enemies of the model Islamic community (Glint, 2014).

The US Containment Policy Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Introduction and Explanation of the Containment Policy

The US has in recent times led an alliance, or coalition, of nations keen on degrading and ultimately destroying the ISAL via the gradual decimation of its political and geographic space, fighters, and resource bases (Spark, 2014). The US has several strategies and policies that are relevant to the question of decimating the space. The strategies include partnering with specific Arab and European nation-states, containing the ISIL militarily, supporting the ground forces of Syria along with Iraq, gathering along with sharing relevant intelligence, constraining the flow of foreigners to join ISIL fighter ranks, and disruption the organization’s flow of finances (Glint, 2014). This paper focuses on the containment strategy, or policy, of the US, which is aimed at decimating the space.

Notably, containment, which is a military approach, or strategy, is geared towards stopping enemies’ expansion or growth (Spark, 2014). The US and own allies used the approach widely during the Cold War era to forestall the extension of communism overseas. During the era, the US and the allies employed the approach and the related policy in responding to the Soviet Union’s successive moves aimed at expanding communism into Vietnam, Africa, Korea, China, and much of Europe (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). A containment policy represents a compromise between rollback and détente. Parties or states that adopt the policy let their enemies elect the time and venue of confrontations between them (Prados, 2015).

The containment policy of the US regarding the ISIL is especially geared towards walling the organization into a more and more limited geographical space or territory and then leaving it to fail independently; owing to internal discord, economic challenges, and mismanagement as opposed to external forces. The overall thinking that has informed the policy is that the organization benefits from the vast resources that it finds in the territories its gains control over and thus should be held back from any new conquests to starve it of the resources it requires.

Originally, the ISIL executed atrocious murders of hostages from the West to provoke American and own allies to react in ways that may trigger an apocalyptic military conflict or war. Even then, the organization has been struggling to force such an outcome owing to containment. The organization is devoid of hostages from the West, whom it would have helped it in exploiting the West, including the US (United States, 2015). There is a common argument that so far, the containment approach has been effective since it has helped shift the focus of the organization to war-zone attacks. As well, the containment approach has been effective owing to the continuing fear-mongering regarding refugees from Syria along with all Muslims by the media and some Republic Party figures in the US (Spark, 2014; United States, 2015).

The strategy has helped the US avoid the losses that it would have suffered possibly if it has a ground force fighting the ISIL. The aversion to going for an all-out military assault against the ISIL is informed by the actuality that it would lead to freeing up, or disengagement, of thousands of ISIL fighters who police the model Islamic nation-state and run its checkpoints. The fighters would become rather available to partake in terrorism attacks (Prados, 2015).

The US’ military actions against the ISIL should be appreciated in the light of the containment policy. In recent times, the US-led alliance, or coalition, has struck ISIL’s Syrian along with Iraqi targets using armed unmanned-aerial vehicles, and combat aircraft along with sea-launched cruise missiles. The targets have been hit to forestall the advancing of ISAL fighters and decimate the related threats to the alliance’s personnel as well as Iraqi religious minorities (Prados, 2015). In recent times, the alliance has struck the targets in support of the Kurdish and Iraqi forces’ offensive, as well as defensive, military acts to compromise the organization’s capability of supporting own operations from own Syrian strongholds.

As well, in recent times, the alliance has been striking ISIL personnel directly outside Iraqi along with Syria. By and large, the alliance’s military engagements against the organization come off as aimed at maintaining, as well as expanding, territorial superintendence lines within Syria along with Iraq (Glint, 2014). The engagements are a reflection of the US’ containment, as well as the fractional reversal, of the organization’s advances in specific areas or territories.

Analysis of the Strength of the Information Gathered on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

As noted earlier, the overall thinking that has informed the policy is that the ISIL benefits from the vast resources that it finds in the territories its gains control over and thus should be held back from any new conquests to starve it of the resources it requires. Clearly, the organization cannot be held back from new territories indefinitely. It is expected that the continued holding back of the organization will end when it gets to a tipping point, where it is expected to collapse promptly (Spark, 2014). Unfortunately, the US and other nations fighting the organization are devoid of information, or intelligence, on how long it may take before the containment occasions the organization’s collapse.

The information that the US intelligence teams gather on the ISIL is seen as erroneous at times (Glint, 2014). (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). Even then, it is clear that the organization continues to execute extensive attacks even outside Syria as well as Iraq. Presently, the organization cannot be appreciated as contained but rather as rampant.

The intelligence that informs the overall American approach to the ISIL question is seen as rather insufficient to deal with the question promptly. For instance, at one point, on the strength of the information, the US send only 50 special troops to support rebel groups fighting the organization in Syria (United States, 2015). The troops were too few to offer adequate support to the rebel groups. The troops were too few to make a significant impact on the question. There have been suggestions that the US should invest in gathering intelligence on how to contain the organization rapidly by stabilizing Libya, Sinai, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan (Prados, 2015).

Despite these failings, the intelligence, and information available to the US has been effective in helping the alliance cut off most of the ISIL’s revenue streams. The alliance has considerably succeeded in disrupting the streams. The alliance has significantly constrained the organization’s access to official fiscal systems. It has imposed rather effective sanctions on those who facilitate the group financially.

Is the Containment Policy Sufficient?

By and large, the US containment policy for dealing with the ISIL has proved effective, or sufficient. Even then, the defeating of the organization (Bailey & Immerman, 2015).

Any other approach apart from the containment strategy would most likely breed resistance among local populations, offering a fertile ground for the emergence of terrorist groups in the mold of ISIL and al Qaeda, or the strengthening of the extant terrorist groups. Presently, there are indications the containment approach continues to bear fruit. The organization has had marked difficulties in gaining additional territories and its grip on the territories it seats on has been weakening over time. Its ability to exploit resources in the territories has been compromised severely as at now (United States, 2015).

Specific Recommendations for Policy Changes

  • The containment approach should be strengthened by gathering intelligence on how long it may take before the containment occasions the organization’s collapse. As noted earlier, the organization cannot be held back from new territories indefinitely.
  • The containment approach should be strengthened by ensuring that the accuracy of the intelligence which informs the approach is established before being used.
  • The US should invest in gathering intelligence on how to contain the organization rapidly by stabilizing Libya, Sinai, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

Conclusion

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is as well popularly christened the IS or ISIS, is presently an international Sunni Islamist terrorist, as well as insurgent, group. The ISIL’s ideology is an exceptionally hard-hitting version of violent jihadist Islamism, Salafism. The ISIL’s principal tactic and strategy is transnational terrorism. By and large, the US containment policy for dealing with the ISIL has proved effective, or sufficient. The containment policy of the US regarding the ISIL is especially geared towards walling the organization into a more and more limited geographical space or territory and then leaving it to fail independently; owing to internal discord, economic challenges, and mismanagement as opposed to external forces. There are indications that the continued conflict between the ISIL and the US and other nations may be challenging, violent, expensive, and protracted. The organization’s violent fanatics and transnational appeal are likely to persist in compelling American policymakers to deal with intricate issues regarding the containment approach, utilization of military resources, civil and privacy liberties, identity, national strategic priorities, diplomatic negotiations, religious liberties, immigration, and intelligence sharing.

Employee Development Appropriateness Evaluation – Coca Cola

Coca cola is a beverage company dealing in manufacturing, retailing, distribution and marketing of non alcoholic beverages. It was initiated in 1886 and it has remained in the market up to this date. It has risen to be the best in the beverage industry facing competition from PepsiCo, Inc. In order for it to stay competitive, there is need to evaluate the appropriateness of  its employee development policies and practices in terms of their strategic goals, objectives and the current environment of constant change, which this paper tries to explain.

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Employee Development Policies and Strategies.

The Coca-Cola Company has devised many ways of developing their employees and retaining them. First, they make it their main concern to treat the entire employees well by creating an environment where they can develop their skills, do extremely well in their performance and move towards the betterment of their careers. Secondly, their training and development programs are meant to attract and retain the best talents in the world (Sheridan, 2012). They place more emphasis on employee development plans and management of internal talent. This help the employees discover their talents and know how they can use them in their roles in the company. They also ensure that managers take part in leadership development programs and employee performance management.

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Through the use of employee engagement, the company is able to make its employees feel that they are a part of the company’s success and have a better understanding of their contributions towards the achievement of the companies’ goals. It uses diverse ways of gauging each employee’s level of commitment to the company and their working lives (Sheridan, 2012). For example, the managerial team can have dialogues with employee representatives to get their opinions about the growth of the company, or surveys from the employees.

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The company strives to make their employees enjoy their working life by providing a good working environment and incentives like giving employees discounted gym memberships and on –site exercise classes, free Coca-Cola drinks and fruit. They also provide a staff restaurant which offers healthy food options for all the employees, flexible working hours, learning allowances and a Cycle to Work scheme (Noe, 2013). All these are geared towards motivating the employees. The companies’ employee development is open and all-encompassing, one in which everyone is treated fairly. They believe that having employees from diverse backgrounds, with different life experiences and talents is an added advantage to the company’s growth and development. Therefore respecting and valuing diversity is central to its vision and values. They have employment policies and practices that protect its employees against any kind of discriminations and ensure equal opportunity for all people, regardless of race, age, sex or ethnic background.

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Coca Cola Company has a good communication systems that enables all its employees participate in it. Every year, a global Employee Insight Survey is distributed, seeking employees’ ideas on how the company is running and what is needed for improvements (Noe, 2013). It then tracks the responses from the surveys and the resulting improvement from year to year.

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They have a mentoring program that allows employees to develop their skills. The availability of Coca-Cola University provides an online teaching environment for its employees. This is where they are given short term assignments that give them chances to work in different departments, within the same state or different country (Lam, 2012). Employees are encouraged to pursue higher education programs with reimbursements available for undergraduate and graduate studies at accredited colleges. They are also encouraged to make use of e-learning programs beyond Coca-Cola University, external conferences and training opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills.

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The Company’s Performance and Practices

The company conducts performance appraisals to each employee in order to evaluate the quality of their performances. This is a process within the broader performance management system that connects organizational objectives, daily performances, professional objectives and rewards and incentives (Tarique, 2014). When the company began diversifying, its main focus was on fairness and inclusion. And to ensure this rule was adhered to, it implemented a wide range of monitoring and reporting tools.

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It instituted an annual Pay Equity Study to ensure fair compensation practices among its employees. Assessments on distribution of merit awards, stock options and annual incentives were also performed, this was done after various decisions have been made and before payment of incentives to employees (Broadhurst, 2012). This would help in finding errors or problems and being solved before informing the employees.

The company’s diversity office reviews the selection, hiring and promotion data on quarterly basis and takes a weekly view of all continuing staffing activities to ensure fair selection, sourcing and recruitment of its employees (Broadhurst, 2012). In areas of performance management, the triage method is used to monitor who is receiving better or less scores on their annual assessments and the required actions taken to solve the issues causing the fewer score.

How the company should handle functional areas of human resources.

The challenges related to changing nature of work and work place environment occur in every organization. These changes require skilled, motivated and knowledgeable workforce with employees who are ready to adapt to the new changes and remain focused on the future of the company, and for this to happen all the departments in the company should work towards a common goal (Azulay, 2012). The organization should emphasize its role in ensuring that policies and programs ease the continual development of its staff.

The managers should work with non management staff to evaluate and provide feedback on their skills and interests and select training and development activities that match their career development objectives and requirements. Managers should always be informed of current policies and practices that support employee development due to changing nature of work and the working environments as well (Kaye & Giulioni,2012). After a learning activity, they have to make a follow up program to ensure that what was learned is incorporated into new skills and acquire knowledge.

The employee on the other hand should take initiative to assess the skills and interests and seek development activities that match their needs. According to Azulay (2012), employees with upgraded skills work to their full potential since they are prepared to deal with the changing demands of the workplace. They also have better career satisfaction which increases their morale to work and productivity.

The human resource department is mostly about employing, retention or dismissal of its employees. Its major functional areas include employee training and development, perfoming appraisals, career planning, health and safety, job classifications, working conditions and unions (Noe, 2012). It should put more emphasis on employee training and development since it adds up to all the other functions. Most employee development and training programmers fall under specific categories like management development, Career development, basic skills, professional skills, Technical training and supervisory skills. Career development has more benefits to both the company and individual employee since it is the continuous attainment or refinement of skills and knowledge coupled with career planning activities. Job mastery skills are those that are necessary to successfully perform one’s job. Professional development skills are the skills and knowledge that are beyond the capacity of the employee’s job description, although they may indirectly improve job performance.

The Philosophy of Human Resource managements authorize career development and growth of employees in every organization. By providing the employees with the current information and the future trends about the company, it will help them make realistic career development goals (Kichharr & Guttmann, 2011). This sense of responsibility for managing one’s career contributes to development of self-confidence which improves the employees self esteem and finally leading to better productivity. This explains how career development increases employee motivation and productivity.

Skill development is mainly attained when one is working in a given environment and contributes to learning opportunities leading to employee’s career satisfaction. This will trigger the need for one to search for more knowledge and experiences about that specific career, and that is what is needed most in a company, employees who are yearning to further their studies to improve their skills (Azulay, 2012).

The function of career planning and development clarifies the match between the organizational and individual goals. It helps the human resource department to attract top staff and retain valued employees (Azulay, 2012). This is because the company commits itself to offer career development activities to its employees with attractive remuneration packages. It will also reduce costs when the organization uses its own staff talent to provide career developments opportunities within the company.

The company should ensure that they have a couch to help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses, interests and values by maintaining an open, effective communication and continuous encouragement (Kirchharr & Guttmann, 2011). It should have an advisor who will provide organizational information, resources and the facts about the company to the employees by helping them develop reasonable career goals based on their departments’ needs and individual development plans and understand the current opportunities and limitations in the company.

It should have an appraiser who will evaluate each employee’s performance in a transparent and fair manner and relate this to their potential opportunities. This can be done by providing feedback in a way that fosters development, conduction performance appraisals that define their strengths, weaknesses and career development needs. Also by relating their current performance to their future potentials in a realistic manner, and using individual development plan as a tool for continual feedback and development. The company should also have referral agents who will help employees meet their goals through contacts with people and resources by helping them formulate development plans and consulting on strategies and providing opportunities for exposure, visibility and experience such as task forces (Kirchharr & Guttmann, 2011).

Ways to improve Employee Development

Employee development can be improved in many ways depending on the nature of the business and the demand of the products or services. One way is providing mentoring or coaching programmers in the company. The companies must ignite the managers’ passion to couch and mentor their employees (Azulay, 2012). It would be cheaper to use its own staff rather than employing a coach from a different organization. This provides demonstrated benefits around the quality of work, problem solving and communication skills.

The other way is by practicing job rotations within the organization. This provides an opportunity for employees to move to different positions and learn new skills and information about the organization. Job promotions can also motivate employees to work harder in developing their own needs and the companies’ demands at large, and with these they may also develop new skills. By stretching assignments and projects to employees will  also play a role in developing them since they working ahead of the demands of the company, this is done by identifying that special assignment that might exist in the company in the coming months and identifying a team that work as a cross-functional team in dealing with the issue or need. Another way for employees to learn critical elements about a company is by introducing job shadowing programs (Kaye & Giuliuni, 2012). The employee will be able to learn new skills while outside their areas of specialization. By providing employees with opportunities to take part in volunteering programmes, having presentations in team meetings or joining diversity committees, this provide job enrichment as well as learning new skills .

The companies should deal with the short- projection of learning and development needs. In the past, what one learned in school was valuable for years, but currently, knowledge and skills can become obsolete within months, which necessitate the need to learn rapidly and regularly. Organizations are therefore required to make learning and development a continuous process (Noe, 2012).It is the responsibility of the company to teach their employees to own their career development by helping them identify their areas of interests since the growth and development of one’s talent is vital to ones success, ability to be innovative and the overall productivity.

By providing flexible learning options to its employees, a company should emphasize the importance and the need of engaging in more learning and development activities. A company should also build trust in its organizational leadership. The managers should lead by example by being honest, open and transparent about their personal contributions to learning and development (Azulay, 2012). This will encourage the rest of the employees to follow the initiative as well. All the above mentioned are currently in use at the Coca-Cola company only that they have to well implemented into their programs to maximize the opportunities to improve their productivity.

Finally the company should be able to match different learning options and styles to suit different employees. The workforce at moment has five generations and the company must restructure how employees learn and the tools and activities they use to match their preferences and expectations (Noe, 2012). For example millennial group may need the use of computers and video games or retreats as their learning activities. This should be modified in the Coca-Cola Company for it meet its performance objectives.

Change Management

Change management is an attentive planning and sensitive implementation of new ideas in consultation with, and involvement of the people affected by the changes. When making changes in an organization, use of psychological contract is of good use. This refers to the relationship between an employer and its employee concerning mutual expectations of company’s inputs and outcomes (Hiatt & Creasey, 2012). It’s a balance between how the employee is treated by the employer and what the employee puts into the job. This can applied beyond the employment situation to human relations and the wider society. Qualities like respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness and objectivity characterize the psychological contract.

Nudge theory is another method used to initiate changes in an organization. It is a concept that helps in understanding how people think, make decisions and behave. It helps people improve their thinking and decisions, manage change, identify and modify existing and helpful influences on people (Hiatt & Creasey, 2012). The manager has a responsibility to facilitate and enable change; it must therefore involve the people.

In connection to that, Coca-Cola training and development programs are focused in reducing the gap between the organizational needs and consumer needs. They encourage their employees to further their studies either through the Coca-Cola University or other learning institutions with reimbursement of their tuition fees. They use social learning theory in their training and development programs. It provides their employees with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that lead to more effective job performances. The development process is a joint responsibility between managers and employees (Azulay, 2012). The process includes determining the employee development needs, agreeing on the development methods and couching.

They should prepare their employees change management program by using Kotter’s eight step change model. The first step is increasing the urgency of the changes. This is done by inspiring the employees to make objectives that are real and relevant to company’s demands at the moment (Harvard Business Review, 2011). The second step is building the guiding team by getting the right employees for the right jobs and with the right emotional commitment, levels and skills for the job. The next step is communicating to all affected by the changes, in a manner that will influence them to accept the changes. This is followed by empowering actions by removing any obstacles and enabling feedback from the employees and rewarding any progress or achievements. The next step is setting aims that are easy to achieve and initiatives that can be accomplished in a given period of time. Determination and persistence on the ongoing changes should be encouraged by highlighting the achieved goals and the future goals. Finally, the managers should ensure that the changes are retained in the organization by reinforcing the value of successful change through job promotions, recruitment of new change leaders and making the change part of the organizational culture (Harvard Business Review, 2011).

Captain Phillips Movie Analysis and How Terrorism is Portrayed

Introduction

Directed by Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips is a portrayal of a real-life hijacking that occurred in 2009 when four armed Somali terrorists took control of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama. At the time of its hijacking, the cargo ship was being manned by a crew of just 20 sailors that were in the process of hauling tons of cargo including food from the United Nations World Food Program that was designated for a number of African countries. In the movie, the critically acclaimed American Actor Tom Hanks gives the performance of a lifetime in his role as the eponymous Phillips who is a hard-working sea captain that pilots ships through treacherous waters off the Somali coast. This paper will provide an analysis of the movie Captain Phillip as well as the portrayal of terrorism within the movie.

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The movie opens with what is a postcard-perfect shot of a white house in Vermont inside of which Captain Phillips is shown to be packing and checking up on his route. Philips and his wife, Andrea are soon other way to the airport and talk about their kids, the future and the challenges that their children will face in a fast-changing world. The scene portrays intimacy and has the effect of humanizing Phillips. In directing the movie, Paul Greengrass is observed to employ the use of quick camera work as is depicted by the fact that while in one minute Phillips is shown hugging his wife at the airport, in the next he is walking down the decks of his ship the Maersk Alabama, testing its various unlocked security gates and directing his crew to run through an anti-piracy security safety drill. Almost immediately after the crew finish up on their safety drill, they are confronted by a real-world threat in the form of two rapidly approaching skiffs full of Somali terrorists. Phillips and his crew manage to dodge and evade the skiffs by increasing their speed and shifting courses so as to churn up a series of destabilizing waves that damage the engine on one of the terrorist’s skiffs while the second skiff withdraws after Phillips makes a false call to a U.S. Navy ship. The next day, one of the terrorist ships returns with four heavily armed terrorists that are able to board the Maersk Alabama and start a distressing siege. The crew of the cargo ship go into hiding when the ship is boarded and the terrorists only manage to capture three hostages.

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The leader of the Somali terrorists Muse (Barkhad Abdi) delivers an outstanding performance in the movie despite the fact that he had no previous acting experience and his skinny bravado is quite memorable. In one of the movies most memorable scenes, Captain Phillips offers the terrorists $30,000 from the ship’s safe but Muse refuses the money and rhetorically asks the captain “30,000 dollars, am I a beggar?” This is soon followed by a cat and mouse game between the ship’s crew members and the four terrorists that end with the crew forcing the terrorists off the ship and the terrorists making off with Captain Phillips and taking him hostage abroad a covered lifeboat.

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The thunderous naval firepower and swirling helicopters that characterize the movie’s final act cause it to be broadly characterized as an action movie. Replete with night vision navy seal deployments, nerve wrecking claustrophobic lifeboat scenes and cross-hair-tension where big boats become giant, captivating characters, the movie is able to successfully cause its audience to suspend its disbelief. In the movie’s final scene, Tom Hanks, who has been delivering a tremendous performance throughout delivers a new career performance when the captain develops post-traumatic stress. The life-like portrayal of Phillip’s post-traumatic stress has the effect of raising the standards on what an action thriller based on a true-story can do. In this movie, Greengrass is able to successfully demonstrate that it is actually possible for mainstream cinema to not only be intelligent and visceral, but also successfully captivate its audience’s attention.

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The depiction of terrorism in Captain Phillips draw the audience to the reality that there is a form of 21-century piracy that has nothing to do with football, illegal downloads or the character of Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp swashbuckling through the scenes of a Disney franchise movie. The existential realities of modern-day Somali piracy are an interesting, but unexpected theme in the movie. In a conversation between the Pirate-terrorist Captain Muse and Captain Phillips, Muse reveals that one of the reasons that drove him and his colleagues into piracy is the illegal fishing that has been going on off the Somali coast that has had the effect of reducing the volume of fish the local Somali fishermen are able to catch, and the revenues that they are able to generate from this activity. Ever since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, the warring clans, warlords and different factions have been unable to reunite the country (Meredith, 2011). This has resulted in the development of a situation where the country’s maritime regions have been left exposed to the ravages of illegal fishing as there is no government force to help in patrolling and protecting this region (Hansen, 2011).

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At first, exasperated Somali fishermen took to attacking foreign trawler to extract heavy fines from fishermen at knifepoint. This eventually developed into the full-blown terrorism practice of hostage-taking and extortion. Not to be left behind, the local terrorist organizations eventually entered into the piracy business and began to target ships that were not connected to the initial grievances of the fishermen in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden (Menkhaus, 2009). This caused the piracy that had been rampant along the Somali coast to evolve into terrorism.

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The maritime terrorism in the Captain Phillips movie is a duplication of the basic strategy of Somali terrorist attacks over the years although the weapons and equipment that are used by these terrorists have been progressively upgraded and the tactics have been developed that allow for these terrorists to strike even those vessels that are far away from the Somali coast (Mineau, 2010). In a similar manner to the movie, Somali terrorists operating in the Gulf of Aden tend to attack ships from small, open and highly powered fishing boats that are known as skiffs. While one or two skiffs provide fire cover, the attacking skiff races across the ocean and catches up with the target ship. The terrorists on the attack skiff then enter the ship using ladders (Pham, 2010). Once the terrorists are onboard, they quickly subdue the crew, hold the crew members hostage and command them to steer the ship towards the Somali coast (Percy and Shortland, 2013). In the movie, Muse and his fellow terrorists were unable to fully execute this tactic as the crew members were able to hid themselves in the engine room from where they were able to disable the ship and prevent the terrorists from steering it to the Somali coast.

A variant of this this strategy takes place when fishing vessels are hijacked for the purpose of being used as a mother ship. This is seen to be the case in the movie where the U.S. Navy identifies the mother ship as a fishing boat that had previously been captured by the Somali terrorists. In the movie, the mother ship tows the skiffs until they are able to identify a suitable target. The Skiffs only deploy once they identify a suitable target which is in this case the Maersk Alabama. In real-world situations, terrorists often hijack fishing vessels and use them to move around the shipping lanes without their being recognized as terrorists by naval forces. In addition to this, these fishing vessels are used to cover long journeys across the Indian Ocean. The motherships are usually abandoned once they are no longer required or the naval forces start becoming suspicious of their operations.

In the movie, the terrorists remove the captain from the ship with the objective of holding him hostage so as to extort a ransom from the ship’s owners and discourage any potential attack on the terrorists as they escape to the Somali mainland. The terrorists in the movie appear to operate with a strict code of conduct that compels them to try and keep their hostages alive and in a reasonable condition. This is shown by Muse’s efforts to try and protect Captain Phillips from being abuse by his fellow terrorists.

Muse and his fellow terrorists are shown to be merely the footmen of the warlord Garaad who is ultimately the person in charge of the region where Maersk Alabama was captured as it sailed across. The terrorists operating along the Somali operate in zones that are controlled by different warlords. These warlords are ultimately responsible for all of the terrorist activities that take place in their regions and pocket the lion’s share of any ransom that is received for the return of captured ships. This aspect is illustrated in the movie in a conversation that takes place between Captain Phillips and Muse where Muse boasts of having captured a Greek ship in the previous year that was able to net the terrorists 6 million dollars in ransom money. However, when Captain Phillips asks Muse why he was still engaging in pirate-terrorism despite his having netted such as huge amount of money within the previous year, Muse appears to get annoyed at the Captain and orders him to keep quiet. The central role that is played by the warlords in the terrorist activities is also illustrated by the fact that it is these warlords that order Muse and the other terrorists to get on board their skiffs and go and earn them some money by capturing ships.

The conversation between Muse and Captain Phillips provides a brief snapshot of the extent and the impact of the terrorist activities that are conducted off the Somali coast. While these activities have experienced a considerable decline in recent years, they were at their height responsible for considerable costs not only in increased operating expenses for the global shipping industry, but also in the number of lives that were lost (Bellish, 2012). The potential economic impact of the terrorism conducted by terrorists such as Muse is illustrated by taking into consideration the fact that well over 90% of the goods traded across the world are transported by sea and that about 40% of these good are transported through the Gulf of Aden (Dutton, 2015). It is estimated that in 2011 alone, the terrorism activities conducted by Somali terrorists were responsible for costing the global economy between 6.6 and 6.9 billion US dollars (Bane, 2013). Over 80% of this cost was borne by the global shipping industry that was forced to spend about 2.7 billion dollars in that year alone to reroute ships or cause these ships to increase their speed so as to avoid terrorist attacks. Forcing ships to increase their speeds in a bid to avoid terrorist attacks not only leads to increased fuel consumption by these ships, but also has the effect of causing a considerable degree of wear and tear to the ship engines that are expensive to repair. In a bid to minimize the losses that they incurred as a direct result of the terrorism activities that took place along the Somali coastline in 2011, the shipping industry is observed to have paid about $635 million in special insurance premiums. These special insurance premiums allowed for ships to obtain special kidnapping, war and ransom insurance policies that helped to indemnify them from any potential losses that they might face as a result of terrorist hijacking. The record number of ship hijackings that took place in 2011 resulted in the shipping industry transferring $160 million in ransom payments that was delivered to terrorists to release ships that had been captured in successful hijackings. The money that was paid in ransom to terrorists operating as terrorists was re-routed into Somalia’s pirate economy and helped to provide additional resources that were used to fund additional piracy operations (Bowden and Basnet, 2012).

While it is the human cost of the pirate-terrorism phenomenon that tends to capture media attention, of great concern is that not all pirate-terrorism incidents are eventually resolved in a successful manner. While the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 ended in a successful hostage rescue that was undertaken by US Navy Seals, there are however other incidents such s the hijacking of the civilian yacht, Quest in 2011 that are not as successful and left four American hostages dead as a result of a failed rescue attempt. In addition to this, most piracy incidents tend to go completely unnoticed such as the 35 hostages that were killed in 2011 during the course of the various pirate-terrorism-related incidents that took place during that year (Hurlburt, 2013).

Another observation that can be made pertaining to the terrorists in Captain Phillips is that although they had a form of the hierarchical power structure, this structure was rudimentary and ineffective at best as is demonstrated by the friction that exists between Muse and Asad who is the Captain of the second skiff. Asad keeps on referring to Muse as skinny and when Muse commands one of the terrorists to work on an engine in one of the skiffs, some tension develops when Asad countermands Muse’s orders and assigns the terrorist another task. The conflict between the two terrorists eventually escalates when after the unsuccessful capture of the ship on the first day and their return to the mothership, Muse mocks Asad by referring to him as a coward. Asad pulls out a gun and holds it to Muse’s head while threatening to kill Muse but Muse discreetly picks up a wrench and knocks Asad on the head and kills him instantly. He then proceeds to take the engine from Asad’s skiff and adds to his own skiff. The combined power of having two engines in one skiff allows for Muse to be able to successfully capture the Maersk Alabama when he chases it down the following day. Further conflict and friction in the terrorist’s hierarchy are demonstrated by the friction that exists between Muse and Elmi. Throughout the movie, Muse is shown to experience considerable difficulties in trying to tame down Elmi and get him to obey his commands. Elmi is often openly defiant of Muse and questions all of the decisions that Muse makes. In one of the final scenes in the movie, Elmi physically assaults Captain Phillips despite Muse’s command that nobody should harm the captain.

Filipino Culture and Its Impact on Nursing and Healthcare

The Filipino Culture

The culture of the people from the Philippines is a perfect example of a combination of values from the West and those that already existed in the East. Before the arrival of the Spanish, the culture was initially heavily influenced by the Malay heritage which was common in South East Asia. It was after the colonization of the islands by the Spanish, that the Hispanic influence spread and impacted the country, with Roman Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. After being under the Spanish and Mexican rule for nearly three decades, the United States of America (USA) took the island nation as part of their sphere of influence for 50 years a result of which is the English language that is presently widely used in this territory(Tan, 2009, p. 10).  The purpose of this research paper is to study the Filipino culture in relation to how individuals share thoughts ideas, taboo subjects in conversations, touch (between members of a family, the opposite sex, friends, healthcare providers) , gestures, acceptable ways of an individual standing while greeting people, temporal relation of the culture and the impact of the culture on health care and nursing.

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Sharing thoughts, ideas and taboos subjects in the Filipino Culture

            In the Filipino culture, the family is treated as the center of the complex social structure which includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sponsors, honorary relations (god-parents) and the nuclear family. The general idea behind such a structure is to ensure that there is a support system for a family, with the raising of a child becoming a communal task taken seriously by all. In the Filipino setting, strength within a family is derived from this structure that seeks to maintain stability for the young children growing up in this society. A person’s extended family acts as their patronage umbrella in situations of social importance such as when an individual is seeking an employment opportunity. It is from this premise that we elucidate the willingness to share of thoughts, feelings, and ideas within this culture, not forgetting areas of discussion that would be considered taboo. As mentioned earlier, the people in this culture happen to be highly family-oriented essentially making family the most important aspect of the life of any individual in this culture(Manuel & Philippineasian Society, 1995, p. 14). There is constant sharing of communication between family members who more often than not harbor feelings of love and care for their keen. The main reason why the sharing of information and feelings is important in the Filipino culture is to first to check whether or not the individuals I s experiencing an equilibrium or might be in dire need of assistance.

In the Filipino culture, it is common for family members to chat each other up, even if it means instituting small talk. Family comes first to all those who are from this culture, which means that the communication that takes place between members of the family is at times a precautionary measure meant to ensure that there is no weak link. If an individual seems distressed or expresses seems depressed throughout an interactive session between family members, an intervention is usually in the offing. It is the duty of the family to use the information gathered from the conversation to seek practical solutions to the debacles that a family member might be experiencing. Moreover, the Filipino culture is quite accepting of new ideas. In a family setting, the ideas that a family member might be having is put under discussion and subjected to an analysis mainly aimed to understand this point of view. Decades of foreign rule in the Philippines brought these people into direct contact with foreigners who also brought Roman Catholicism to these people(Manuel & Philippineasian Society, 1995, p. 14). Having said that, there are a couple of subjects that remain taboo in this society, most notably sex and death. Sex is a taboo subject that does not feature in most discourses, especially those involving the family members. There are many occasions in this culture where parents avoid the “sex talk” altogether as it is a lewd subject that is better left untouched. Children are thus expected not to bring this subject up in family conversation, lest they suffer disparagement from family members. Furthermore, death is a subject that is frowned upon by most individuals in this culture as the aspect of its inevitability is often ignored. Family members thus rarely share conversations that have death as a subject matter refusing to acknowledge that death always lurks in the corner, ready to rob individuals of their lives.

Personal spatial, distancing strategies and eye contact in the Filipino culture

In the Filipino culture, an individual’s personal space is considered quite vital. It is only during family interactions that this barrier is broken as members often interact cordially with each other in their quest tom ensure that the family members are of sound mental and physical health. The Filipino culture also brings forth a people that make friends easily and are hospitable and warm to any stranger with whom they might cross paths. Filipinos often strike up conversations with strangers or foreigners that they might come into contact with making a good impression with their humorous ways that show genuine kindness and modesty. However, it is important to note that in this culture, members maintain a reasonable distance between them and strangers as these are usually people they are not well conversant with. It is out of the respect that the accord a stranger’s personal space that they decide it is prudent to maintain a pragmatic distance between them and an individual that they have met. During interaction with strangers, it is typical of them to consider a seated position as most suitable as there is no difference in height between the two parties interacting. Additionally, the eye contact is also an important tenet of the Filipino culture. If the conversation taking place is between age-mates it is common for these individuals to maintain direct eye contact throughout the conversation to ensure that a level of involvement is established(Manuel & Philippineasian Society, 1995, p. 14). When holding a conversation with strangers, the Filipino culture requires that the individuals involved maintain frequent and brief eye contact. Older individuals often look down or away when talking to a person from a higher class or an authority figure as a sign of respect. Prolonged eye contact, can, however, be misinterpreted. For instance, if a Filipino male patient who is older maintains eye contact with a younger female nurse the interpretation often points to flirtation.

Gestures and Facial Expressions

One of the most common gestures in the Filipino culture is the paguma mano which is a usually a way of receiving blessings from the elders or a sign of respect. To add to this, the Filipino culture also features hand-kissing with the individual giving the greeting having to bow in the direction of the hand that has been offered by the elder while pressing their forehead onto the elder’s hand. An individual may request the recipient of the greeting to return the favor.  The younger generations in this culture often believe that it is the elders that are the custodians of the society’s wisdom and thus treat them with the utmost respect. Additionally, older family members can also be greeted using the paguma mano gesture as a sign of deference to their age. Facial expression also features greatly in the Filipina culture and is typically used to convey a specific message. To a foreigner, a smile might seem ambiguous, but to a seasoned Filipina eye, a smile can carry a lot of hidden messages that need to be decoded. It is common, for example, to encounter Filipinos who use their upper lip to point at something without using their hands. Similarly, raising one’s eyebrows with the head slightly leaning backward will be interpreted as a greeting with the recipient replying with a similar facial expression. Over the years, individuals in this intricate close-knit society, have incorporated the use of gestures to communicate and even express a wide range of emotions from one individual to another.

Greetings in the Filipino culture

In the Filipino culture, the most common form of greeting is the handshake. It cuts through individuals of all ages and can vary from soft to strong handshakes. Strong handshakes are often used to assert one’s self and indicate the higher position that they intend to take in a situation. When greeting another person, Filipino culture requires that one stand, especially when shaking hands. Standing is a sign of mutual respect between the two parties that have just met and it goes to show that both individuals are ready to act in a modest fashion. A pat on the back or shoulder is a common supplementary feature of these handshakes and is often used to reinforce the greeting(Ting-Toomey, 2002, p. 112). It is nonetheless dependent on the personal relationship that the two individuals share as it would be deemed rude by a stranger.

Filipino Culture’s Worldview

            The Filipino culture finds itself in a debacle; choosing the new western ways that were introduced by the foreign powers or holding on to their traditional Filipino culture. What is evident is the fact that these values and the culture as a whole cannot be discarded due to how deeply etched it is in the society. It is therefore very unlikely that the Filipino culture will be discarded altogether by this society owing to its deep-seated roots. The only likely outcome in future is the culture accepting some of the positive attributes of modern Western culture and incorporating them into the traditional one to forge a hybrid(Miranda-Feliciano, 1988). It is a culture that values personal interaction, particularism, a tolerance for ambiguity while valuing cooperation. Moreover, time in this society is considered fluid, which means deadlines and scheduling can be flexible( paki gs ama)- going with the flow.

Impacts of the Filipino culture on Nursing and Healthcare

As per the Filipino culture, health is mostly based on two principles; harmony and balance. In this culture, health is a result of balance in the body and illness is as a result of an imbalance in an individual’s body. They also believe that keeping the human body under warm conditions promotes health while a change of condition from cold to warm promotes illness and disease(Lopez, 2006, p. 350). The Filipino people normally have immense feelings of responsibility towards their families, which is a major reason why they seek health care. During the formative days of this culture, health would be maintained by following a strict diet while following a strict exercise routine. As it was the responsibility of the family to maintain the health of the all the individuals, a strong belief in Western medicine also developed amongst strict adherents of the Filipino culture to restore the body to its earlier form. It is their belief in Western medicine that has improved the health of people in this nation and lowered the mortality rate since its introduction. In the Filipino culture, decisions that center on the patient’s health, especially when death and dying are involved in healthcare centers is based on the family’s decision(Becker & Gay, n.d., p. 112). The Filipino culture requires information about a terminally ill individual being kept from them to avoid despair and make a last attempt at maintaining hope. As a result, it has been noted with great concern that this might be the main reason behind low hospice use in this culture. To provide care that is competent, all health care providers have to put all these points in consideration and be cognizant with the culture of those they are caring for. If health care providers respect the values and beliefs of those they are treating, a culturally competent care will be given ultimately.

Splinter Urbanism and its Role in a City Architectural Landscape

What is Splinter Urbanism?

Splinter urbanism is a term invented by geographers Simon Marvin and Steve Graham to refer to the fragmentation of one’s experience in the city using infrastructure (including communication and information technologies). The primary focus in this subject is infrastructure networks that span the globe with information drawn from professionals in Communications, Geography, Sociology and, most importantly, architecture. It is important to acknowledge that networked infrastructure systems have a direct impact on the urban environment through systematic changes in privatization and technological infrastructure. In the global circulation of vital resources, cities act as physical nodes facilitating the flow within it by using an intricate web of infrastructure (Gandelsonas, 1999, p. 23). Experts in architecture argue that there is a sense of cohesion created within the city itself through its networked infrastructure systems that forms complex machinery where inter-reliance exists between different levels to create a working urban environment. It is for this reason that networked infrastructure has been lauded for playing a key role in the social and physical formation of cities even with the ever-changing advances that play a major role in redesigning the management of infrastructure. In this essay, I will provide an in-depth elucidation of splinter urbanism, what it entails, and why it plays a major role in the architectural landscape of a city.

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What Does Splintering urbanism Entail?

The 21st century marked the beginning of infrastructure systems that were now open to the elements of market forces which have acted as movers of global capital. In this new-fangled market form, the provision of infrastructure happened to favor specific groups. As a result, social distancing within the society increases within racial, economic and social spheres. Splintering urbanism thus entails the dismantling of these multifaceted systems, a problematic undertaking as the networks do not develop crop up in seclusion. Such is the case due to the pathways and physical synergies in the midst of diverse networks. Western urbanism (1920-60), in particular, was popular for its endeavor endeavors in trying to create coherence and a caste system using ubiquitous development and standardization of power, transport, communication, and water infrastructure in the topography of cities. It was the paradigm shift of nations from capitalist modernization (Keynesianism) and mass production (Fordism) that the splintering modernism largely draws from in delivering public goods through public or private monopolies  (Stephen & McFarlane, 2015). In the formation of welfare states, these policies are prevalent and often utilized as instruments for reinventing urban centers as sanitized and highly functional areas. Even with this apparent normalization of the vast networked infrastructure, the normative aspirations aimed at reaching a “good city” status is placed in the hands of modernizers and planners hindering its universality.

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Why splintering Urbanism Plays a Major Role in the Architectural Landscape of a City

With the decline of the aforementioned standardized integrated ideal, splintering urbanism offers a new planning logic with provisions for regional and urban spaces. One important feature of this recent trend is the surfacing of infrastructural projects that are geared towards the provision of high quality and reliable services to selected powerful spaces. Consequently, users in this area are able to gradually withdraw from standardized, communal monopolistic networks that were commonplace in before. These “premium network spaces” have taken place in cities across the globe. Technocrats and architects, therefore, come to terms with the importance of understanding this new reconfiguration within infrastructural networks together with its effect on urban restructuring and change. In order to gain a full grasp of splinter urbanism, one requires an analytical prism that allows individuals to view cities as evolving entities that have been entrenched in a transformative geometry of links with the storing, channeling redistributing connections.

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In using infrastructure to investigate splintering urbanism, it is also important to bring the urban infrastructure and architecture to shed more light on the subject. Graham and Marvin (2001) are of the opinion that individuals need to acquire a more dynamic way of viewing urban areas and cities.

“When our analytical focus centers on how the wires, ducts, tunnels, conduits, streets, highways and technical networks that interlace and infuse cities are constructed and used, modern urbanism emerges as an extraordinarily complex and dynamic socio-technical process”  (Graham & Marvin, 2001, p. 8)

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A perspective such as the one quoted above refers to the infrastructure in the networks as an entity as opposed to viewing it as only having “impacts” on the architecture of the city. In this case, infrastructure is defined as the technologies and material objects that are woven into values, meanings and social practice that make up the fabric of modern-day urban cities. Furthermore, urban infrastructure is both social and technical, a perspective that leads splintering urbanism to conceive cities in as co-evolving, overlays that play a vital role in the organizing of complex articulation and the urban culture that is dynamic in their occurrence. The presence of national infrastructure privatization and progressive liberalization as the pivotal policies behind splinter urbanism has seen the rise in opening up of monopolies, international trade agreements and the materialization of new forms of competition. A consequence of this is that it draws global finance capital that is in search of high-profit, low-risk development schemes that involve fragments of the infrastructure networks (Coutard & Olivier, n.d., p. 12). Contrary to popular belief, these premium networked spaces that have been created do not always thrive in seceding and becoming autonomous. It is a progression that is highly contested by a myriad of players that include the social movements.

Splintering urbanism is an important phenomenon that is still extensively discussed in architectural circles presently. It acts as the first analytical geography of how the network society is formed and has inspired waves of ambitious researchers to undertake empirical studies on social mobility, inequality, and urban infrastructure. In the splintering urbanism thesis, lays great emphasis on the universal nature of a modern integral ideal and viewing it from a global perspective. It is this restructuring process that ultimately leads to the incorporation of territories such as the Caribbean Islands into various spatial dynamics of sophisticated metropolitan localities such as New York City.  Inquiring the material culture in architecture using the available infrastructure, we become aware of its history, development and how various aspects that make it are still changing. Splintering urbanization also comes with “globalization”, the construction of innovative networks amongst privileged members of the society who now have an opportunity to use state-of-the-art infrastructure.

The new millennium offered dwellers of urban enclaves he opportunity to experience a change in their architectural landscape that was mainly driven by the changes in infrastructure that covered its whole expanse. Through the implementation of a pragmatic focus on city planning and selective interventions to respond to the immediate political and social demands, splintering urbanism has emerge as a top contender in providing an organized system. Nonetheless, the ubiquitous model of a high-modern integrated city will still remain a defining element in the cultural transformation of urban centers.

Book Review: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel is a book in its own league. Nothing confirms this more than the fact that it is a winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for non-fictional books and became a best seller in 1998. Diamond does a superb job at catching the attention of the reader by providing them with a fascinating and detailed account of about 13,000 years of societal development and human evolution. Although there have been a few points of controversy that the book has raised among scientists, the book has tasked itself with answering very many complex questions that had largely remained unanswered for decades. In its preface, Diamond first begins by recounting how he was initially intrigued when Yali, his New Guinean friend once asked him once; “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had a little cargo of our own?”(Diamond 14). The “cargo” mentioned so fondly by Yali is technology, and in particular simple tools such as axes, other accessories like umbrellas together with complex inventions such as cell phones, computers, and the Internet. Diamond notes that two centuries before his meeting with Yali, the communities native to New Guinea had already been using their own form of stone tools. It is this sudden realization that makes him interrogate the main factors that led to this stark gap in development between these two cultures.

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At first, many would wrongly assume that Diamond could be writing the book to celebrate European conquest over other nations. Conversely, Diamond is not on a mission to glorify anything or anyone but simply tries his level best to describe what happened in history, and why events took the course that they did. He also clarifies that his is just a descriptive work of literature and does not, in any way, judge anyone. However, there are several occasions in the book where he voices his own opinion and in particular, his utter disgust for the racism that European colonialists harbored. For the most part of this meticulously written book, his tone is dispassionate and scientific. He searches for a conclusive answer to his question by first examining history over the millions of years that have passed, mapping out those first migrations of hominids from Africa to their destination in Eurasia and later from the Eastern Asia region towards the Pacific Ocean Islands, Siberia to the Americas. He follows the biological evolution of human beings and later focuses on certain representative societies which he uses to illustrate the truth that is there in his findings. While emphasizing the difference that exists between the developing cultures, he emphasizes on the writing, food production, government, technology, and religion. Using his opinions, he then demonstrates the reason why a difference among the cultures occurred.

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From the onset, it is easy for one to misinterpret the rhetoric of the book as Diamond’s simple argument that the hunter-gatherer culture such as that of the aborigines and Native Americans as being inferior to that of the industrialized civilizations. In truth,  he doesn’t argue that one society is better than the other but surprisingly mentions that before contact, these hunter-gatherers were better off without the “development” that was brought. He shows how human beings learned how to effectively replace these practices with the onset of industrial and agricultural practices. He is also not saying that hunting and gathering are inferior to agriculture but simply stating that farming was more efficient in extracting food for certain areas. It is also important to note that throughout the book, Diamond seems to have written the book to refute persistent unscientific claims that Westerners were superior in comparison to people from other regions in the world. He makes specific mention to the racist’s attempts to twist science as seen in their use of Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species to justify their subjugation of these people and their brutality towards them during the conquest. (Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review: The Fates of Human Societies 25). He is insistent on there is no scientific link between culture/race and the intelligence of a people. To bolster this point, he describes his personal experience working as an anthropologist in New Guinea. It was in this island nation that he met some of the most brilliant people. He even seems convinced that these people could be smarter than the Westerners. In this society, survival was determined by luck and health meaning that individuals did not die from infectious diseases such as smallpox and the plague. Survival was more of a product of intelligence and talent such as being able to avoid accidents and their ability to hunt food successfully(Diamond 21). Additionally, Diamond points out that the average New Guinean spent more time out exploring the world around them than the average Westerner who would spend more time watching TV.

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In conclusion, the main argument in Diamond’s book is that that the differences that exist between different peoples and societies around the world are large as a result of the geographical differences present around the world. There are certain parts of the world where human beings decided to pursue agriculture due to the temperate climate and fertile soils while making good use of the time and resources available. These agricultural societies would, in turn, gain tremendous advantages over the other non-agricultural semi-sedentary societies as there was a subsequent increase in free leisure time to conquer other nations. The sheer depth of Diamonds argument makes for a smooth exposition that is used in combination with a didactic style during his narrations. Guns, Germs, and Steel is an impressive milestone of imagination that manages to succinctly describe the interaction between ‘primitive’ peoples and ‘civilized’ minds.

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