The Apocalyptic Beliefs in Sunni and Shi’a Muslim Communities
Apocalypse in the religious context refers to a sudden revelation about hidden information or disclosure of future occurrence. These revelations vary from one religion to another, different communities and societies based on their cultural and religious beliefs. Mostly, religions have either similarities or differences in their beliefs, sacred symbols, holidays and celebrations. Apocalypse is one of the contagious issues in the Muslim communities such as Sunni and Shia. Humans have previously predicted the process that will bring an end to human life in various ways. Since the ancient times, apocalypse is quite evident because it appears on several occasions in the Holy Scriptures belonging to different religious groups. In this regard, Sunni and Shia have varied opinions and interpretations regarding to the apocalyptic beliefs in the Islamic community. Sunni is the largest branch of Islam, which refers to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad while Shia is the second largest Islamic community and Shia believers are identified as followers of Ali who is believed to be Muhammad’s cousin. Theology scholars have spelled out the comparison of Sunni and Shia communities and apocalyptic beliefs have been identified as one contemporary issue differentiating them. The contradiction between Shia and Sunni apocalyptic beliefs remains a powerful and a conflicted issue with the modern Sunni differing with the ancient events. Shia on the other hand, believes that the current events are a reflection of early predictions in the Quran. Therefore, Sunni and Shia have a different interpretation of the end times and apocalyptic process in general. Therefore, this paper discusses the various differences portrayed by Sunna and Shia communities concerning apocalyptic beliefs, how they influence their way of living and their relationship.
Connie R. Green, Sandra Brenneman Oldendorf, Religious Diversity and Children’s Literature: Strategies and Resources, Information Age Publishing, 2011, p. 156.
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Africa as a Continent
Africa is the world’s second largest and most populated continent. It is the continent with the largest number of independent countries, that is, 54. It happens to be the richest continent in terms of natural resources like oil, gold, iron, petroleum and tropical fruits among many other resources. As much as it is the richest country in natural resources, but also happens to be the poorest in the world. This is because most African leaders who should be responsible for managing the available resources tend to misuse them for their benefit, leading to corruption, civil conflict and militarism.
In the south of Africa, the region is diverse with different races, language, culture, and color, which was highly brought during the colonial rule. The San people were the first settlers of Southern Africa in the mid 17th Century before the European Dutch speaking settlers came to the region. The region is currently among the most developed in the continent.
Gold in this region was discovered in the late 19th century. During this time, the region was disorganized and the mining was mostly undertaken by white settlers. The African people worked for the benefit of white people. Through this, the whites were trying to dominate the gold rich areas in the region. This led to war between the Africans and the whites. During the war, many Africans, including the black gold miners, had to relocate to other areas to seek peace and greener pastures.
Gold miners put on the gumboots for their mining activities, and they would sing and dance as they worked. They did this as an encouragement when working in the tough environment.
Origin of the Blues
Blues are songs that have been associated with an exclusive cultural variety. Blues’ origin can be traced as having begun with the rural Black-Americans who lived in the south-eastern part of the United States. These were mostly slaves who were under poor working environments and thus expressed their sorrowful feelings through singing. This implies that the blues came out of the songs that the slaves sang according to (Goffman). The blues took center stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as African American’s songs that dominated the Southern part and more or less simultaneously in non-urban places, little cities, and places such as the New Orleans and Memphis. Often the blues were sung by individuals with the accompaniment of a musical instrument. The themes that dominated the songs at the time included issues of love and relationships, disloyalty, hardship, bad fortune, and an itinerant way of life that the Blacks were going through.
Blues reflected the lifestyles of the Black slaves who were under difficult times. Many musicologists try to affiliate Blues with both Western and African custom. Music historian John Palmer may be most accurate entitling it as a Black-American development. By doing so, Palmer then associates blues to many different factors of black-American songs. The concept of the lyric was the most critical facet of the songs and determined what type was used. The musical show audio of the Blues is also discovered in many other non-vernacular designs such as the classical music. Despite being associated with some European backgrounds, it is worth pointing out, as musical researchers have established, that the Western components in the blues only creates a balance but much of it is filled with the African components particularly in the music’s stroking, tonal, and timbral flexibility.
Goffman, E. “From the Blues to Hip Hop: How African American Music Changed U.S. Culture and Moved the World.” (2010): n. page. Web. 1 Mar. 2014. <http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/aamusic/review.pdf>.
The Balance between Liberty and Morality
Striking a balance between liberty and morality is an issue that has continued to attract different opinions among scholars. There are those who have argued against the idea of the state making people behave morally by law, while others have supported this practice. John Stuart Mill is one philosopher that has provided a balanced view on liberty and morality (Adams, 2005). Mill came up with what he called a “standard of moral good and evil”. Using this standard, Mill differentiated between true morality and false morality. According to Mill, true morality is preventing acts that harm others such as beating, cheating, and neglecting one’s family among others. It is right for society to apply true morality through legal acts such as imprisonment fines, and even executions (Adams, 2005).
On the contrary, false morality considers personal acts that do not harm others like polygamy, gambling and drunkenness to be unethical. Mills maintained that only true morality need to be enforced by law. Enforcing false morality by law amounts to violation of personal liberty (Adams, 2005). This paper is going to challenge the court’s decision in Reynolds v. U.S case because polygamy falls under the category of false morality and the law cannot sanction it.
Challenging The Court’s Decision in Reynolds v. U.S Case
George Reynolds, the defendant in this case lived in the state of Utah. Reynolds was married to Ann Tuddenham, and went ahead to marry Amelia Schofield without divorcing his first wife (Bill of Rights Institute , 2008). Federal law at the time (1878), stated that a person who is married and goes ahead to marry another whether within his/her territory of residence or outside, where the U.S has authority is guilty of bigamy, and answerable to a punishment of a fine of 500 dollars, or imprisonment for five years. In defense, Reynolds argued that the federal law was unconstitutional because it violated the right to exercise religion freely as protected in the first amendment (Bill of Rights Institute , 2008).
George Reynolds belonged to a church called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. This church encouraged its follower to practice polygamy as one of their religious duties. This case acted as a measure that tested the limits of freedom of religion in America. In its ruling, the court one hundred percent decided that the law prohibiting polygamy was constitutional, and did not limit personal right to exercise religion freely as protected in the U.S constitution (Bill of Rights Institute , 2008).
As stated earlier, polygamy falls under the category of false morality and the law cannot prohibit it as in the above case. According to Mill, true morality is made up of two moral duties. The first duty is avoiding harming those who are not harming other people or us (Adams, 2005). Acts such as physical assault, deception, and neglecting those that depend on us are examples of acts that harm those who are not harming us; hence, they are immoral. Polygamy, gambling and drunkenness are examples of acts that do not harm others. Therefore, polygamy does not interfere with the first moral duty, and this means that polygamy is not an immoral act (Adams, 2005).
Passing laws against actions or behaviors that do not harm others violates individual liberty. Liberty implies doing whatever one wishes as long as his/her actions do not violates the rights of others or prevent them from enjoying their freedoms as guaranteed by the constitution. A man marrying two or more wives like in the case of Reynolds does not interfere with the rights of other men, nor does he prevent them from enjoying their freedoms as guaranteed in the constitution (Adams, 2005). Moreover, to condemn polygamy through legal means such as imprisonment and fines amounts to limiting the liberty of others in following their wishes. This is harming others who are not causing harm to us; and a violation of the first moral duty (Adams, 2005).
The second moral duty, according to Mills, is the duty to harm those who are harming us, or harming other people when these people are not harming them. Harming those who are harming others is right especially if it promotes general wellbeing of society. Acts like physical assault harm others, and ourselves. Limiting the freedom of others to engage in harmful acts through legal means promotes the welfare of all; hence morally correct (Adams, 2005). This means that it is only right to promote morality by law when it protects the wellbeing of all. Prohibiting polygamy by law as it is in the federal law of America does not promote the wellbeing of all because polygamy is a personal choice and does not harm others (Adams, 2005).
Polygamy being a person choice does not violate morals because according to Mills, one does not have moral duty to himself. People only have moral duties to others or society. Mills maintains that morality consists of moral virtues and moral duties. Moral duties refer to the rules that determine how individuals should behave (Adams, 2005). Moral virtues are personal characters that make people fulfill their moral duties. For example, when an individual says that he/she will keep his/her promise; this is a moral duty to others and not to themselves. Polygamy does not have a moral duty to others, and laws prohibiting it should not exist (Adams, 2005).
Criminalizing polygamy on moral grounds is a form of false morality just like criminalizing prostitution and homosexuality. The Wolfenden Committee formed in the UK to investigate the issue of legalizing homosexuality and prostitution concluded that it is not the duty of the law to determine what is immoral, and prostitution and homosexuality should be decriminalize because of freedom of choice and the fact that morality is a private issue (Adams, 2005). However, Patrick Delvin one of the contributors in the debate argued that law without morality interferes with freedom of conscience, and it is the perfect formula for oppression. Delvin favored the idea of having a moral fabric in society. He further added that criminal law should respect and safeguard moral norms in society to prevent social disorder (Adams, 2005).
Delvin’s view was that behaviors such as polygamy, homosexuality and prostitution have the potential of disrupting social cohesion. This is the reason society needs moral laws in order to protect itself against behavior that break the moral fiber of society (Adams, 2005). Delvin also stated that members of a given society have a shared sense of morality, and immorality is anything a sound-minded person considers immoral (Adams, 2005).
Delvin’s views on morality not only opposes Mills views, but if they were applied they would greatly limit individual freedom. The argument that immorality is anything a sound-minded person considers immoral would greatly limit individual freedom because different people have different view of morality. For example, some people consider certain dressing styles immoral. If laws that prevent people from engaging in acts that members of society consider immoral are enacted, then individual liberty will be completely gone, and people would live as slaves. This is why Mills categorization of morals into false and true is important, because it determines what the government can regulate using law.
Throughout history, governments have made laws based on false morality and this has infringed on individual liberty. For example, in 1533, the government of England passed a law that criminalized homosexuality and proscribed capital offense for those caught engaging in the act. In 1610, the colony of Virginia in America also enacted laws proscribing capital offense for sodomy. These laws were not only based on false morality, but also instituted cruel punishment for those who engaged in acts society considers immoral.
From the above discussion, it is evident that morality cannot be used as an excuse to limit individual liberty. Mills offers a solution in balancing morality and individual liberty. He differentiated between true morality and false morality. True morality refers to acts that harm others like physical assault and deception. Mills states that governments can only pass laws that prohibit acts that harm other because they are immoral. On the other hand, false morality refers to acts that do not harm other when an individual engages in them, and they include things like polygamy, drunkenness and homosexuality. Government should not create laws on these acts because they limit individual liberty, which is protected in the constitutions of most democracies. Hence, the decision by the court that Reynolds was guilty of bigamy interfered with his right to exercise freedom of religion as protected in the first amendment.
Adams, D. M. (2005). Philosophical Problems in the Law. henceforth PPL: Wadsworth.
Bill of Rights Institute . (2008). Reynolds v. United States (1878). Retrieved February 27, 2014, from http://billofrightsinstitute.org/resources/educator-resources/lessons-plans/landmark-cases-and-the-constitution/reynolds-v-united-states-1878/
Business Success or Failure in Technology
Most people are in consent that improved business productivity or performances can be facilitated by an organization’s ability in successfully executing their overall strategy. Technology application in organizations helps in maximizing business productivity and builds a platform for an organization to realize their real business success. Technology enables business organizations to have tools essential for countering possible challenges in the execution of business strategies while also prospering the business especially in today’s volatile economic environment (Mohan-Neill, 2009). Technology usage in organizations, therefore, enhances their productivity levels leading to successful businesses. Technology use in business organizations helps in boosting their competitiveness. Nevertheless, successful technology applications in organizations are based on a variety of factors, without which a company may not attain business excellence as intended (Jasra et al, 2011). Understanding the organizational strategy is a must in the development of an effective technology strategy, which aligns with the overall firm’s business vision. Successful technology usage in organizations can generate a variety of benefits through improving the company’s strengths and efficiencies. However, technology implementation in an organization can present extraordinary challenges to organizational management and the technology experts. Lacking the ability of curbing such limitations can result to technological failures that can extremely drain the company’s funds, people and vitality. This paper, thus, will examine how companies can gain business success or suffer failure especially in technology. The paper will focus on two specific cases of sport businesses comprising of Nike and Under Armour. The analysis will determine how firms can use technology effectively to succeed in their businesses.
Successful Technology Application in Organizations
Organizations that have managed to incorporate technology into their business strategy successfully have generated substantial business returns. Moreover, technology has become a significant business strategies enabler in diverse areas including competitive differentiation, quality improvements, process improvement/automation and mass customization. Organizational managers that have aligned technology with their business strategies claim that such integration was vital in ensuring business survival and success. Technology has enabled many organizations to gain effectiveness and efficiency in their businesses. Weiss and Anderson (2004) noted that trends have shown positive relationships among technologies, competitive strategy and organizational performance.
Therefore, developing a strategic technology plan starts with acquiring full support from the senior management or organizational executives. A team should be appointed to create the technology plan hand-in-hand with appropriation of resources required to facilitate the development of the plan. Such a plan assures the company that all factors have been keenly considered within the planning process. Further, the plan strengthens the technology professionals’ ability in gaining cooperation from all the organizational members and the different organizational departments during this early stage. Considering that technology use, awareness and expectations are found in different degrees across the organization, such a team should incorporate representatives from all the functional departments of a company. Their engagement and participation within the planning process will ensures the technology plan aligns with the company’s goals and mission while also capitalizing on all resources available in the whole organization (Vaughan, 2007).
In this case, attaining successful businesses in organizations is not merely a matter of technology. Other factors are critical in order to make the technology strategy successful in a company.
Interaction between technology and the organization/Company: Technology influences how organizational members interact with each other in the accomplishment of routine tasks. For this reason, technology implementers must be mindful of the cultural connotations of the technology efforts to the company. Cultural and institutional separation between designers and users can easily lead to a huge gap between the two (designers and users). Nonetheless, companies can manage this through seeking functional representatives that have a wider understanding of the possible technology applications in the business. Moreover, imposing a technological solution can exacerbate, instead of resolving a problem. Therefore, it is important for technologist to know that imposing technological solutions could worsen instead of resolving the problem (Waheed et al, 2010). Organizations should examine, understand and document the contextual interactions of processes prior to concluding that a new technology can resolve any problem within the processes. A company can attain an effective technological solution, which complements a company’s culture through having an open mind towards the situation they are facing. Nurturing a cross cultural understanding of business practices and technology across all organizational levels will position the company and the technology department strategically for the execution of the technology-based initiatives.
The involvement and participation of the users: Employee participation is the most dominant management practice that correlates with success in an organization. Companies, therefore, should structure employee engagement or participation in a manner that ensures successful results on the part of employees, organization and the technology project. Organizations should communicate to users effectively while also linking the communication to the users’ experiences. The technology implementation activities should be supportive to users through enabling them to cope with the changes, surprises and contrasts to facilitate a successful technology initiative. Companies can engage users through allowing discussions among coworkers as well as between the technology users and implementers. According to Waheed et al (2010), whenever employees are provided with opportunities to contribute towards a specific technology under implementation, they are more likely to adapt easily to the subsequent changes and readily accept the technology. Organizational members, thus, should be involved in making important decisions when considering and implementing new technologies. The individuals should be allowed to assume measures of responsibility to a certain level when designing and executing the technology to facilitate a shared ownership and acceptance of a technology project. User participation involves engaging employees in the activities, behaviors and assignments throughout the technological implementation process. The participation is critical for successful results because it allows users to consider the considered technology essential and individually relevant. Consequently, this creates a positive attitude towards the new technology.
Resistance and skeptics: Resistance to a specific technology in an organization can face resistance in an organization for various reasons. Resistance may result due to individual or group reasons. An organization that aspires to develop and implement a successful technology strategy must eliminate this form of resistant through training or education of organizational members, changing the personnel involved in the technology execution, persuading the resisting people, coercing the resisting employees via company policies or promoting user participation to secure their commitment towards the technology project. Nevertheless, the most effective strategies in this case are training/education and user participation. Similarly, resistance may result from internal factors related with the technology under consideration. For example, people tend to resist technically insufficient technologies/systems, technologies with poor designs, and technologies that are not user-friendly. Nonetheless, organizations can minimize such form of resistance through rectifying the problems linked to the technology. Companies can also reduce technology-based resistance through employing skilled designers, modifying the technology to align with the company’s procedures/policies, being keen on the ergonomic features and engaging users in the designing stage (Waheed et al, 2010).
Commitment: Successful technology development depends on the commitment the organizations and their members have towards the project. Commitment engages the human psyche, time element and the external forces. This concept incorporates psychological forces binding a person to certain actions plus the structural conditions, which make behaviors difficult to change or irrevocable. Similarly, commitment influences behavior persistence. In this case, commitment towards a technology project in an organization involves doing the crucial things throughout the process of technology development, technology installation and utilization to provide a solution to an organizational problem. Commitment also incorporates change such that a company must show a willingness to institute changes to procedures, behaviors, structures plus any other factor, essential for the technology to work. Commitment must be present across the organization including the senior management, which is arguably the most critical factor in the planning and implementation of a new technology. According to Waheed et al (2010), lack of commitment can be detrimental to the success of a technology and its successful application in an organization because it paves way for resistance and indifference. Organizational leadership and management should ensure the success of a technology project through building an organizational culture that promotes commitment of all their members towards technological projects. They should stress on the efforts of the project, respond to the projected-based crises in a way that reflects the project’s importance as a vital component of the company, ensure sufficient availability of resources, training organizational members in preparation for the technology execution and reward all efforts directed towards the project. Indeed, commitment must generate from all organizational levels and persist throughout the life cycle of the technology project for success to be achieved.
Planning: Every organizational project should always start with a clearly defined vision. Strong leadership that has well written vision acceptable across the organization acts as a great source of intrinsic motivation, allowing organizational members to support the efforts of one another to achieve a common goal, which consequently leads to a successful technology implementation. The plan of the project needs to be focused on relevant detail, clear and concrete. Further, the plan should incorporate keen specifications on the roles of team members plus an assessment of the company’s needs, a communication plan, critical project’s success factors, project schedule and risk analysis, among several others. Such a comprehensive plan will establish accurate expectations while also defining user participation and minimizing individual anxiety on unknown issues (Waheed et al, 2010).
Risks: Lack or poor management of technology-based risks can lead to huge cost overruns during implementation. Imperative to note, every technology project comprises of some risks due to the organizational effects of the technology. Project managers, however, can contain such risks through knowing and understanding the correlation between the dimensions of a technology success and risk factors involved. Some of the risks may comprise of project size, organizational changes, users unwillingness, lack of expertise among the team members, lack of support from organizational executives, conflicts between technology developers and users, unrealistic budgets and unrealistic schedules, among others (Waheed et al, 2010). Nevertheless, factors that can ensure the success of a technology project include senior management support, clearly defined goals, adequate resources, sufficient communication, effective decision making, user information satisfaction, cost/benefit productivity and clear project scope, amidst others.
Nike’s Technology Success
Nike operates within the athletic footwear industry, an exceedingly competitive environment. Although this industry has few entry barriers, the success of small sports-wear firms is always shaky. Nike, therefore, has demonstrated great success in this industry, having taken the market lead followed by Adidas and Reebok. Nike’s business involves designing, making and marketing athletic apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment (Igbal, 2011). Nike Corporation has been running under a very effective management within an attractive industry, with a very strong brand image. The business success or excellence that this business has been enjoying is primarily based on technology, in efforts to remain ahead of competition through producing sports products while also producing the machines that make shoes. For this reason, one of the factors that have facilitated the success of Nike’s business relates to their manufacturing efficiency. As a shoe manufacturer, Nike must balance costs of raw materials, labor, import tariffs, technological developments and shipping. Footwear firms must keenly choose their channels of distribution in order to ensure availability of their products efficiently while also retaining their business goals and brand image (Igbal, 2011).
In today’s business environment, technological development is becoming increasingly dominant within the footwear industry where Nike operates. Technologies such as computer aided design (CAD) have enabled such companies to shorten design-distribution cycle in a short period successfully. Further, new technologies like the electronic data interchange (EDI) have allowed accessibility to new quick response programs, linking retailers to manufacturers to allow for proper inventory to retailers when need arises (Vaughan, 2007). Under such technologies, the electronic point-of-sale scanners are able to read data associated with the sale including the size, price and product immediately following a sale. Similarly, the technology allows the manufacturers to accurately adjust product to suit consumer demand. Among the dominant strategies that have made Nike’s business successful relates to their working hand-in-hand with the suppliers that enable the company to manufacture their products at extremely low costs, and of superior quality facilitated by the application of the newest technologies. Such factors have made the company a market leader while their competitors continue striving for market survival.
Nike has further been very aggressive in incorporating technology in their marketing strategies, which have increasingly boosted their success in this industry. The most sustainable competitive advantage Nike has relates to their innovative product quality. The company engages in massive scientific and technological research like air sole to make footwear. Research and development (R&D) has been a constant activity in producing better products for Nike consumers. According to Igbal (2011), the competitive advantage has been valuable to both the consumers as well as the company. In spite of Nike’s competitors, Nike has retained their great competitiveness in relation to product technology, which has been impossible for other firms in the industry to imitate or substitute. Various factors have led to the successful development and implementation of such technologies at the company.
User participation is one key approach employed by Nike Corporation. The company engages employees in their technology-based decisions to provide insights on the same. Nike, therefore, is constantly involved in challenging their staffs on daily basis. Indeed, Nike’s human resources global strategy involves unleashing the potential of their human capital across all their business areas including technology to enable the individuals make valuable decisions that consequently result in Nike’s business growth. Nike’s employees have actively participated in shaping the innovation and sustainability journey of the company. In 2005, for example, all Nike’s employees participated in efforts of devising what the future held for the company in terms of sustainability. The company, thus, challenged their employees through brainstorming sessions and group exercises to define the company’s future plus the possible technology they could employ to get there. Employees’ contributions or insights during the exercise enabled the company to shape their business approach towards technologies that would promote business sustainability. Nike’s employees also are well equipped in managing change. Moreover, the customers’ needs keep changing such the staffs must also align their new decisions based on such needs. Therefore, Nike offers learning opportunities for their employees, which enables the individuals to constantly rethink the business needs (Nike Incorporation, 2010/2011).
The organization’s culture also support’s employee participation through openness and allowing creativity. The culture ignites and inspires innovation, which facilitates ideas for new technologies that increasingly boost the company’s business. Nike’s inclusion and diversity strategy facilitates this through three foundational priorities. One of them includes offering a resource center that has various exercises and tools to enable teams discover how inclusion and diversity can promote innovation and creativity. Nike also seeks empowering inclusive cultures such as ‘cultures as offense’ comprising of young employees. Thirdly, Nike inspires ideas with a purpose to ignite innovation (Nike Incorporation, 2010/2011). Through designing/developing new and creative engagement models, the company equips teams and leaders with tools that build a culture of innovation and openness where new ideas and perspectives are welcomes, heard and considered.
Under Armour Technology Disaster
Technology failures in business organizations result in negative impacts on time, resources and internal costs (Compuware, 2013). Similarly, such failures are related to lost productivity, decreased revenues and sales. Organizations that have faced such disasters also have been found to fail in meeting the service level agreements. External costs are incurred as such companies try to establish manual processes or temporary systems for correcting the failure. The direct impacts are normally absorbed by the products, operations, sales and marketing. The biggest cost to businesses after a technology disaster is usually experienced at the operational level of an organization. At the operations department, sales suffer the greatest heat as executives report lost sales or errors in order fulfillment. Similarly, company managers report that such failures affect products through causing substantial downtime. Nonetheless, the most expensive effect of a technology disaster relates to products recall. Besides the shorter effects on costs within a business organization due to technology performance failures, there are considerable long-term effects on a company’s financial health or position. Such an organization can suffer a loss or drop in market share plus a loss of brand equity due to such technology failures.
An organization should place the factors discussed above when introducing and implementing a new technology to ensure successful results. Moreover, a successful technology strategy plays a key role in a business productivity and performance. This is primarily because a new technology can help in increasing the speed within which manufacturing of products occur and ensures quick delivery of services or products to the end users. Other technologies also ensure production of high quality products, which are actually the primary issue driving investments into technology in modern firms. Occasional technology issues such as those that occur few times within a week or daily represent the greats risk or threat facing investments in technology (Compuware, 2013). In spite of proactive measures to address issues of technology failures, most executives state that failure frequencies have remained constant or at an increasing trend.
Companies that have suffered technology disasters in the past have, the majority of organizational managers confirm that technology failures demands for additional investments in efforts to resolve technology matters. Among the most frequent and immediate actions companies take in resolving the issue include buying or upgrading the new hardware or software, hiring an external consultation firm or increasing the IT staffing. In spite of such efforts in resolving technology matters when technology failure occurs, most companies consider it essential to inform or communicate the matter to their clients. Some companies that have suffered technology failure are forced to start the production process all over again while also revalidating the manufactured products especially because of regulatory requirements. According to Compuware (2013), this is an extremely expensive venture for companies that really shake their financial ability.
Under Armour’s technology failure has for long been blamed for the US speed skating team inability to deliver, in spite of the high expectations. Under Armour teamed up with Lockheed Martin to develop the ‘Mach 39’. The company promoted this new developed product as the fastest suit for speed skating in the whole history. Nevertheless, the technology used in developing this new suit has been associated with a US-based athletic team failure. ‘Mach 39’ has been considered a total failure by the end users, which has placed the company’s technological capabilities in question in relation to whether it can help improve the professional athletes’ performance (Moskowitz, 2014). Due to this failure, Under Armour has suffered greatly impacting negatively on their stock price, especially because the failures occurred on their playing field. End-users complained on the effectiveness of the newly developed product. Speedskaters complain that the newly developed skating suit was of poor quality because it was extremely tight making it difficult for the skaters to breathe. According to them, the vents placed at the back of this suit, which was designed for the purpose of releasing heat has been creating drag thereby preventing skaters from preserving the correct form (Moskowitz, 2014). Similarly, it was noted that the speed skating team did not test the new skating suit before using them in the Olympics. Further, the team had trained in Italy in a high elevation, on an ice different what was found where the Olympics took place, Sochi. The team coach also expressed some concerns relating to a similar suit developed three years previously, which was found ineffective since it slowed down skaters by creating drag.
According to Moskowitz (2014), Under Armour’s performance and stock has suffered greatly since the occurrence of this technology failure. Although this has been found to be a temporary occurrence that immensely hurt the firm’s stock price, it has provided an opportunity for the sideline investors to invest within a high-growth firm at a slightly discounted rate. Under Armour’s smaller size has made it susceptible to diverse economic setbacks while also incapacitating the company to provide dividends. For this reason, most investors have always preferred investing with Nike rather than Under Armour.
Sochi Games created a very negative/bad image concerning Under Armour’s technological ability, which has had bad implications on their business in terms of consumers trust and confidence on their products. This sports apparel company had spent countless hours developing the high-technology aerodynamic suits for racing for the purpose of improving the performance of the US-based speedskating team. Although the company intended the technology intended to enable the team-members become victorious in the skating game, none of the skaters has succeeded (Peters, 2014). The failure was blamed on the new skating suits developed by Under Armour because it interfered with the speed of skaters such that the players felt like they were struggling with the suit(fighting the suit) in order to maintain the right form. Under Armour had hoped to focus their attention on setting a record in the athletic field, but the failure came as extremely bad news since it nearly destroyed the company’s reputation as the worst athletic-product producer in history (Peters, 2014). Indeed, this was not what the company envisioned when signing to work with the skating team.
Sports serve as a big marketing tool for firms such as Under Armour. Such companies can generate substantial rewards from prominent associations with popular or successful athlete. When an organization has some strong affiliations with a successful athlete, consumers tend to associate the company’s product with the athlete’s success. For this reason, businesses can use Olympics as a strategy to demonstrate their great innovative capabilities to the world. In fact, companies do that with the aim of showing their technology cutting-edge (Peters, 2014). This was what Under Armour hoped to achieve through their ‘aerodynamic racing suit (Mach 39). The product had been tested within wind tunnels and its design was based on great contributions from Lockheed-Martin Engineers. The results, unfortunately, were on the contrary with the product becoming an object of derision and mockery, which made Under Armour appear inept rather than innovative. The company, therefore, is trying the best way possible to fix the problem of the substandard suits. According to Peters (2014), the company has tried without success to win back their public relations war.
Based on the above case, it is important to assess what led to the technology disaster experienced by Under Armour. To begin with, the new technology did not seem to interact well with the company’s culture (Waheed et al, 2010). Under Armour’s culture has always been based on excellence and quality of their products, but this was not the case with the skating suit. The product never met the standards that aligned with the company’s culture. Similarly, this failure could have been caused by the lack of involvement of the users, both employees and customers. Engaging the users would have prevented the great resistance to the new product since the users would also identify with the product and appreciate its capability. Moreover, probably they would have contributed ideas to improve the product or develop a better quality product. Users’ participation is extremely critical for any technology development and execution to be successful. Besides, embracing contributions from the users also helps in preventing resistance to the new product as it is in the case of the skating suit, Mach 39.
Commitment is similarly an essential element in ensuring successful technological projects (Waheed et al, 2010). Commitment must generate from all organizational members including the executive. Under Armour does not seem like it engaged total commitment in the development of the new technology. This is because commitment requires doing all the essential things in the entire process of developing, installing and using the technology to offer the required solution to an organizational problem. Under Armour anticipated to market their company’s offerings through developing a technology that would enable speedskaters have the best skating experience while also becoming successful. Such efforts would boost the company’s reputation as well as improve their public relations. Nonetheless, this was not achieved because the technology became a disaster to the company’s business making the company loose greatly in relation to PR and image. If all company members were fully committed to this project, they would have discovered any aspect that interfered with the quality of the product to rectify accordingly prior to releasing it to the market.
Under Armour needs to re-assess their planning processes for technology projects and make the necessary amendments to ensure every important bit of a strategy is addressed effectively for successful results (Vaughan, 2007). Planning must be within a vision, objective and goal that a company intends to achieve upon the execution of any strategy including technology. Based on the Under Armour’s case, it seems the technology disaster got them by surprise. The company had not anticipated such a failure would occur, but they were confident the newly developed technology would increasingly market their business even to other consumers. However, in every organizational project, it is critical to consider and reflect on the possible risks a certain undertaking may face. A risk analysis prior to starting a technological process enables an organization to plan ahead and incorporate some mitigation measures. Under Armour failed terribly in this respect and that is the reason their stock, stock price, image and PR were greatly hit. From the look of things, most consumers appear like they do not have trust or confidence with the company’s products anymore. In fact, the company has been very aggressive in trying to win back their company image but the results have not been very fruitful. For this reason, it is recommendable for any business organization intending to introduce or develop a new technology to take into consideration all the critical factors to prevent such technological disasters that can immensely threaten the survival of a business.
The above work has provided a detailed analysis of two different scenarios, involving cases for successful technology (Nike) and technological disaster (Under Armour). The discussion has demonstrated that successful technology initiatives must incorporate a number of factors for successful results including proper interactions between the technology and the company culture, commitment of all people in an organization (especially the senior management), developing measures of preventing resistance to technology, risk analysis, user participation and proper planning. Lack of such elements when introducing a new technology can lead to technological failures like in the case of Under Armour.
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Igbal, N. (2011). Comparison of Strategy between Nike and Adidas. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/4493713/Comparison_of_strategy_between_Nike_and_Adidas
Jasra, J., Khan, M., Hunjra, A., Rehman, R., & Azam, R. (2011). Determinants of Business Success of Small and Medium Enterprises. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(20):274-280.
Mohan-Neill, S. (2009). The Influence of Education and Technology use in the Success of US Small Businesses. Journal of Management Systems, 21(1):37-48.
Moskowitz, D. (2014). What do US Speedskating Failures say about Under Armour? Retrieved from http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/19/what-do-us-speedskating-failures-say-about-under-a.aspx
Nike Incorporation (2010/2011). Sustainable Business Performance Summary. Business Report 1(1):1-85.
Peters, J. (2014). Is the Under Armour Speedskating Suit the Worst Product Placement in Ports History? Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/blogs/five_ring_circus/2014/02/14/under_armour_mach_39_speedskating_suit_the_worst_product_placemen
Vaughan, P. (2007). System Implementation Success Factors: Its not Just the Technology. IT Management Journal, 1(1):1-19.
Waheed, S., Khalid, M., & Hussain, T. (2010). Factors that Lead Organizations to Achieve Business Excellence. Journal of Quality and Technology Management, 6(1):39-55.
Weiss, J., & Anderson, D. (2004). Aligning Technology and Business Strategy: Issues & Frameworks, A Field Study of 15Companies. Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 1(4):1-10.
Medicare Fraud: The History, Incidence, Costs and Institutional Remedies
Medicare is health insurance for the elderly in the U.S. The term Medicare fraud is used to refer to companies or individuals who look for means of dishonestly obtaining Medicare health reimbursement. Individuals and companies that engage in Medicare fraud use different techniques to achieve their objective, which is obtaining money fraudulently. Giving an accurate estimate of the amount of money that is lost because of Medicare fraud has been difficult. However, according to the Office of Management and Budget, it is estimated that 47.9 billion dollars was lost in 2010. During the same year, the total amount spent on Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office amounted to approximately 528 billion dollars. This paper seeks to discuss the history, incidents, costs and institutional remedies for Medicare fraud.
History of Medicare Fraud
Medicare is a health program created in 1965. During the first ten years of its operation, there were no mechanisms put in place to control fraud. State and federal law enforcement agencies charged with the responsibility of investing criminal activities within the Medicare program were also nonexistent (National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units , 2014). Fraud in the Medicare program was first noted when the Congress and the public realized that there were many patients in nursing homes that were being retained by some Medicare workers in order to obtain regular funds from the program. This led to the formation of National Association of Medicare Fraud Control Units (MFCU) (National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units , 2014).
The U.S Congress started hearing cases of healthcare fraud in the early 1970s. The governor of New York, Hugh L. Carey together with the attorney general Louis J. Lefkowitz decided to appoint a Special State Prosecutor for Nursing Homes, Health and Social Services (National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units , 2014). The governor and the attorney general undertook this measure as a response to the widespread fraud in New York’s nursing home industry. In 1977, Congress also implemented measures to curb Medicare fraud by passing the Medicare-Medicaid Anti-Fraud and Abuse Amendments (National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units , 2014).
Incidents of Medicare Fraud
One recent incident of Medicare fraud is evident in the case of Doctor Jacques Roy, arrested and charged with fraudulently certifying hundreds of Medicare reimbursements. Doctor Roy obtained millions of dollars for services that were never provided to patients. Doctor Roy fraudulently obtained money from Medicare by recruiting homeless people as fake patients, and then making claims for reimbursements (Thomas, 2012). If Roy is found guilty of the charges against him, he could be sentenced to life. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force has termed doctor Roy’s fraud case as the largest healthcare fraud ever committed. Doctor Roy and his co-perpetrator ran an efficient fraud scheme for years, and managed to make millions (Thomas, 2012).
Roy was hiding most of his fraud money in foreign bank accounts especially in the Cayman Islands. According to the charges brought against him, Doctor Roy was planning to change his identity and leave the U.S in order to avoid prosecution. Another incident of Medicare fraud that was being investigated in February this year is the case of a concord doctor, Spencer Wilking. Doctor Wilking pleaded guilty to taking part in activities that defrauded 27 million dollars from Medicare. Doctor Wilking aged 65 years was the head of Waltham home health agency in the capacity of medical director (Ailworth, 2014). Wilking was accused of conspiring with two others to commit fraud by forwarding bills to Medicare for services that were never offered to patients. Wilking can be sentenced up to a maximum of ten years in prisons if found guilty of charges brought against him (Ailworth, 2014).
The Costs of Medicare Fraud
As stated earlier, it is difficult to determine the exact amount of money that is lost in Medicare related fraud. Some estimates have placed the figure at 850 billion, 100 billion, and others 60 billion. However, the federal government has stated that it loses 60 billion of taxpayers’ money in Medicare fraud every year (Mcfadden, 2010). Fraudulent clinics, medical supplies firms and pharmacies are the major perpetrators of Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud has become a lucrative venture that has even attracted former criminals and drugs dealers. For example, in Florida, fraudsters buy pharmacies that have Medicare licenses and patient databases. Such pharmacies are sold for just 45,000 dollars (Mcfadden, 2010).
The owners of these fraudulent pharmacies would then bill Medicare for services that were never offered; and the patients do not exist. In 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force visited some 1,600 businesses offering health care services in Miami and found that 481 of these businesses did not exist, and yet they billed Medicare for 237 million (Mcfadden, 2010).
Institutional Remedies to Medicare Fraud
One of the institutional remedies for Medicare fraud is for states to make eligibility requirements for an institution to vend Medicare services more stringent. For example, the state of Illinois has already implemented such a measure, and it requires that small firms that are more likely to engage in fraud to undergo criminal background checks and have their workers’ fingerprints checked before being approved. After losing 250 million over a period of years, the state of California now requires that new Medicare vendors be placed on probation for at least 18 months (Malanga, 2014).
Investing in advanced technologies that can monitor Medicare program for suspicious activities can also be effective in curbing the rampant fraud. For instance, the state of Texas has hired a group of computer scientists from the University of Texas to implement their latest mapping software of Texas’ Medicaid database. This technology enables authorities in Texas to identify doctors and pharmacists who source for patients far away from their location. This can be a sign of a possible fraud (Malanga, 2014).
Another remedy that has the potential of curbing Medicare fraud is integrating Medicare billing data with state Medicaid database. The two sets of records can then be examined by advanced computer software at once. It has been observed that healthcare providers that defraud Medicare are also more likely to try to defraud Medicaid (Malanga, 2014). For example, a pilot computer program in California can examine the amount of time a doctor takes in providing certain medical procedures. Doctors with Medicare and Medicaid bills that average to 24 hours, in all workdays, are more likely to be cheating. The most technologically advanced method that can be used in curbing Medicare fraud is the use of biometric data and fingerprint at the doctor’s office. Texas is currently running a pilot program on the possibility of using this technology (Malanga, 2014).
Ailworth, E. (2014, February 26). Concord doctor pleads guilty to Medicare fraud. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/02/26/concord-doctor-pleads-guilty-medicare-fraud/PaSeDjA7PFlpCsu4s972DK/story.html
Malanga, S. (2014). How to Stop Medicaid Fraud. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from City Journal: http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_2_medicaid_fraud.html
Mcfadden, C. (2010, March 17). Medicare Fraud Costs Taxpayers More Than $60 Billion Each Year. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/medicare-fraud-costs-taxpayers-60-billion-year/story?id=10126555
National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units . (2014). History. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from http://www.namfcu.net/about-us/namfcu-history
Thomas, A. C. (2012, February 28). Biggest Medicare Fraud in History Busted, Say Feds. Retrieved Febraury 28, 2014, from ABCNews: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/biggest-medicare-fraud-history-busted-feds/story?id=15809129
The status of women in the U.S from the Civil war to Progressive era
In North America, where states eliminated captivity after revolution, females acquired rights to get married, have legal care of their kids, and to own residences. However, even in the South, an increasing number of released dark females hypothetically experienced the same rights under the law as white females. However, national tendency against both dark and Local American females made it hard to practice these rights.
In all countries, the legal status of females depended on if they are married or not. Single females, such as widows, were known as “women alone” or “fames soles.” They had the lawful right to live where they wished and to assist themselves in any profession that did not need a certificate or a degree limited to men. Single females could start agreements, sell and buy residence, or acquire personal residence, which was referred to as personality. It contains everything that could be shifted such as cash, shares, and stock.
If any woman decided to remain single, she was allowed to write a will, sue as well as be charged, serve as parents, and act as estate executors. Such rights were an extension of the northeastern lawful custom. Nevertheless, the progressive era focus on equivalent rights introduced some fundamental changes in female’s rights of inheritance. State congress everywhere eliminated primogeniture and the custom of double sharing, inheritance traditions that preferred the oldest sons. Instead, equivalent inheritance for all kids became the concept.
Marriage modified females’ lawful position considerably. When women decided to get married, they no longer had independence. Instead, they assumed the roles of reliance on their spouses. In the Modern Era, females were the central source of change, showing that they started and ensured that they achieved their goal of change. Women understood how to arrange for their cause, convince people, as well as the capability of promoting their cause.
China is the third largest country in the world, which occupies an area of 9600000sq km, and spans 62 degrees longitude and 49 degrees latitude. China has a total population of 1,336,718,015 with a growth rate of 0.494% per year. The biggest number of Chinese population is comprised of the Han Chinese. The major religious groups in china include atheist, Daoist, Buddhist. The other small groups are the Islams and the Christians. China is a communalist party headed by state. It has a per capita GDP of $ 3,678. With a GDP growth rate of 8.7% (Chow, 2010)
International Business and Economic Development and the Role of Government
Development Economics is concerned generally with growth of countries run by governments while international business is concerned with the activities and the value of international enterprises that are run by management. International Business has contributed towards the economic development of China. The growth of China market has created a new room for the growth for world economies. By embracing a market-oriented reform, China turned itself to become an emerging market. The soaring import trade of China offers enormous opportunities for business in other countries and this helped China to expand its economy. Through this, China has emerged one of the most vibrant countries with regard to the economic development in the world. The reformation and the opening up of the Chinese economy in 1978 accelerated China’s GDP growth from 362.4 billion RMB to about 30 trillion RMB within a period of 30 years. Since 2010, china has been regarded that second largest economy instead of Japan with the export value accounting for 10% of the world exports. China has adopted a market oriented economy that has had a positive effect on china and the globally. The economic reformations that China has put into operation over the last 20years now have greatly affected both personal initiatives and entrepreneurship. Consequently, poverty has been minimized and the average income has reached a very high level (EW World Economy Team, 2013). The Chinese Government has played a big role in enhancing the International Competitiveness of its firms and Industries. It has contributed greatly to the national stability, which enables the economy of china keep dynamic and sustainable. The government has played an active
role in assisting the chinese firms and industries development as the nation transitions from a planned economy to a free market. Chinese government has Provided an anticipated, competitive, equitable and socially responsible environment, conducive to investment, trade and enterprise development. It has also Promoted structural transformation towards a dynamic industrial and globally competitive economy. (Tian, 2007).
Economic activities, the Export Industries and The Main Companies in China
The main economic activities of China include agriculture, tourism, telecommunication, automotive industry, steel industry, oil and natural gas, coal, and mining. And there main export industries are automobile, steel industry, petrochemicals, equipment manufacturing, textile industry, and shipbuilding. The main companies involved in generating export turnover in China are China Ocean Shipping Group, China Aviation Supplies Corporation, Guang Dong Light Industrial Products, China National Textile Export Corporation, and China National Chemicals Import and Export Corporation (Tian, 2007).
For the past 10 years, the Chinese government has been focusing on the development of e-commerce in the most densely inhabited parts of the country. The Chinese political system is regarded as a one party communist dictatorship. The government of china contributes greatly to the national stability, which enables the economy of china keep dynamic and sustainable. However, since the 1978, when the Chinese economic scheme was changed from the command economy to a market economy, the power of economic management was increasingly decentralized, raising the issue of uncoordinated development of the regional economy. Presently, even though the central government has worked on alleviating the gap among different areas in terms of establishing standards, provinces tend to consider local profits rather than giving priority to the integrated advancement of the whole country. The local protectionism exerts disadvantageous influences upon market expansion of the Golden Bridge Company throughout the nation deterring the establishment of a broad distribution channel. China permits foreign businesses in the country. However, the Chinese government has issued policies that prohibit console games and particular online games. The restrictions set by the Chinese government could be risky to some foreign companies such as Square Enix’s, whose main product line are video games this would require such companies to readjust their key products which is not realistic (Chow, 2010)
Since the beginning of 2010, china has been ranked as the second biggest economy globally after overtaking Japan. China has maintained a standard economic expansion of 9.5% for the past 26years. In 2009, the Chinese economy reached to $ 4.814 trillion, which was about 1/3 the size of the American economy. In the 1980s, the combination of the central planning and the market oriented reformations were implemented for the purpose of increasing productivity, improving the livelihood standards and the industrial quality. Additionally, the government of China imposed agricultural reforms that dismantled the community scheme and introduced a house based scheme that offered the farmers greater decision making in agricultural sectors. Moreover, the non agricultural activities such as the local enterprises were also encouraged. Agriculture contributed by about 10.1% of the Chinese GDP in 2012. The Chinese government supported more self management for nationally owned enterprises for the purpose of increasing competition in the market and the creation of opportunities for china domestic enterprise to directly contact the foreign ones. This has help greatly in the development of the economic. Since China’s accession into the World Trade organization in 2001, China’s share in international trade has greatly increased. The leading sector of the Chinese economy is its manufacturing industries. Despite encountering a 3.3% drop in its composition of the national GDP, the Chinese industries still accounted for 45.3% in 2012 making China the leader in the gross value of industrial output (EW World Economy Team, 2013).
- Social factors
China is considered the one of the greatly populated countries globally. China is an extremely high context country where individuals prefer receiving indirect messages. In order to establish a business in china and for the business to be very successful, it is important for one to establish a strong private relation with different stakeholders. Apart from the relationship, corruption is also another major issue in china. Based on the Corruption Perception Index, China appeared position 72 among the 179 countries in 2008. The effects of corruption may be more dangerous that anticipated, particularly to the economic development of a country. Corruption has been regarded as a significant barrier for operating in the Chinese market because of the huge back stage expenditures. For Golden Bridge to acquire more import quotes and pay low tariff, the total costs may comprise of not only the common ingredients such as transport costs but also implied expense for smoothing the network. E-commerce has changed the way Chinese consider doing their shopping. They mostly prefer online shopping. In Chinese businesses, there is normally a need and expectation for a face to face contact. This is mainly for the purpose of establishing a sense of trust which is much related to the Hofstede’s idea of individualism-collectivism whereby the Chinese culture is regarded as possessing a high collective score (Chow, 2010)
According to the data supplied by the State development Plan Commission, China has significant technological development. About 50000 projects were set up under the Spark Plan, which began in 1986. These projects were technological programs aimed at enhancing the degree of information technology in rural areas. The Chinese science strategies realized china’s huge opportunities in technological areas such as computers and biotechnology, which have created a possibility for china to be innovative in such sectors. It cannot be objected that a dense network of trans-pacific contact have established by most overseas Chinese students that is likely to increase the cooperation between the United States and china scientific in the future. The space plan of the United States is considered the standard of scientific modernity in china which is held every year. The Chinese small but growing space program is considered the nationwide pride of china (Tian, 2007).
Chow, G. C. (2010). Interpreting China’s economy. Singapore: World Scientific.
EW World Economy Team. (2013, June 4). China Economy. Retrieved from http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/china
Tian, X. (2007). Managing international business in China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ethical Code of Conduct for a Long-Term Care Facility
The ethical code of conduct for long-term-care facility refers to procedures and guidelines that will govern the personal conduct of all employees working in the facility. Long-term care facilities develop and implement ethical code of conduct here after referred to as the code, as a way of ensuring that they achieve the highest level of care using ethical and integrity standards. It is the duty of employees across all levels of the organization to ensure that they follow all the ethical codes, particularly, those included in the facility`s code of ethics. According to Darr (2002), patients look for care in different healthcare facilities and long-term care facility is one of them. Each healthcare organization operates differently and as a result, each has a different code of conduct. A long-term care facility operates differently from a surgery center or a specialty hospital (Joint Commission, 2008). The majority of healthcare organizations have a code of conduct that all their employees are expected to follow. The code provides a set of behavior standards for all people within the facility. The code includes particular standards of behavior that governs the relationship between the employers and their employees, and stipulates how they interact professionally with their customers and the general public (Bardetti & Moriarty 2009). A professional code of ethics is important for a long-term care facility and its employees because of their access to protected and confidential financial and medical information that the facility`s employees are privy to. Consequently, all long-term care facility workers are required to abide by the code fully, which brings integrity in the field of healthcare delivery. This paper will focus on the on a long-term care facility. The code will cover employees at all levels of the organization including but not limited to professionals, support staff, and those in managerial roles.
2.0 Background of the Facility
A long-term-care facility refers to a healthcare organization that offers both medical and non-medical services to patients with chronic illnesses or with disability. Similarly, some long-term-care facilities take care of aged patients who by the virtue of their age no longer have the ability to look after themselves. As a result, such populations require around the clock expert care from professionals (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). Compared to other specialties, a long-term-care facility offers more to its patients and clients. For example, in a long-term care facility, employees assist patients in their day-to-day life tasks such as bathing, dressing, and in some cases feeding (Boulding, 2000). In addition, long-term care may also include provision of medical care requiring professional skills to address issues related to persistent diseases that come with old age. In the United States, a significant number of long-term care facilities are located in formal places that provide services such as living quarters for patients in need of around-the-clock medical care and other types of care like personal care and meals. In some instances, long-term care can be offered in a patient`s home. In this paper, we discuss long-term care in the context of a nursing home-a formal long-term care facility. For many countries across the globe, there has been a significant increase in life expectancy in the past few decades, and with the increase in elderly population, chronic diseases have increased too. In some cases, the old lack the capacity to look after themselves and have to depend fully on others` care. According to the World Health Organization (2014), with the rapid increase in elderly populations, there is an urgent need to for effective and customer-centered long-term care. World Health Organization (2014) estimates that approximately 12 million people over 65 years of age will require long-term care by 2020. In the U.S., four in every 10 people who will attain 65 years will require long-term care in the course of their lives.
3.0 Organization Structure
The structure of a long-term facility differs from that of other healthcare providers. To begin with, all long-term care facilities, particularly nursing homes are private entities. The organizations structure for this nursing home includes the owner, the medical director, and the administrator at the management level. At the operational level, we have the medical service department comprising of a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, attending physician, pharmacist, and a clinical nurse specialist. The nursing services department includes the director of nursing, assistant director of nursing, in charge nurses for all shifts, and division supervisors. Below the division supervisors are the Licensed Practical Nurses who perform a supervisory role over all the certified nurse assistants. In addition, the facility has other skilled healthcare workers including speech therapists, dentists, physical therapies, occupational therapist, and podiatrist (Pattison, 2001). Other important employees that form part of the organization`s structure include the business director, admissions director, and dietary supervisor.
4.0 Duties and Responsibilities of Management and Professional Staff
There are various duties and responsibilities for the different employees in a long-term health facility. We evaluate the duties and responsibilities for skilled and professional staff and those of upper management. The responsibilities and duties of upper management vary. Management is directly involved in planning, supervision, monitoring, and ensuring the highest standard of care are maintained across supervision, monitoring, and ensuring high quality of care is maintained across all the departments in the facility. Effective management of a long-term care facility requires good communication flow between management and staff. In addition, the management team must have business acumen and effective leadership. Those in managerial positions are responsible for the planning and directing of all activities in the facility using the framework set by the facility`s board of directors. These activities include effectively monitoring the operations of various groups that include medical, nursing, social services, technical, and clerical teams. On the other hand, the duties and responsibilities for skilled and professional staff include making sure that all the facility`s patients and clients are taken care of in a professional manner and that they receive their prescribed medication on time and as scheduled. The facility`s doctor has a responsibility of ensuring that all customers are examined on a regular basis.
5.0 Two Possible Ethical Dilemmas
An ethical dilemma refers to a situation involving an ethical or a moral conflict between doing something right or wrong. Ethical dilemmas are a common phenomenon in long-term care facilities and they may involve situations such as terminating an individual`s life, decision making on hospitalization, and use of sedation (Bardetti & Moriarty, 2009). In healthcare setting, ethical dilemmas normally require healthcare providers to arrive at decisions that may conflict with the ethical norm (Pozgar, 2011). Numerous ethical dilemmas may happen to both the management and professional staff in a long-term care facility.
The first example is when medical team in the facility are given special orders of Do-Not Resuscitate in a patients chart, yet they get conflicting views from the patient`s family. For example, a patient in urgent need of hospitalization has mild dementia and has difficulties in breathing. The facility`s personnel are convinced that hospitalizing the patients under short-term intubation can improve his chances of survival. However, the patient`s wish is that he should be given no life support if he has a terminal condition. The dilemma here is that this patient is lucid and has not reached the fatal state. The facility`s medical staff are in a dilemma on whether to go by the patient`s wishes or ignore the of Do-Not Resuscitate orders on the chart and hospitalize this patient with an intubation? Similarly, given that this patient and understands the conditions in which he is under, should the doctors ask him if he wishes to be hospitalized under intubation?
The second ethical dilemma that licensed practical nurses and registered nurses in a long-term care facility can face relates to applying restraints on patients suffering from dementia. A number of dementia patients are often hostile and combative and as a result, they require special attention as a way of ensuring their own safety. The most popular way to achieve this is through using restraints. However, this practice has come under heavy criticism on grounds that it may cause physical harm to patients and infringe on their independence, freedom, and respect. The employees at this facility have to make a fine distinction on situations that warrant restraint and how it should be applied without violating the autonomy and freedom of the patients. These are examples of dilemmas that both management and medical staff at the facility are likely to encounter. According to Numminen, Van der Arend, & Leino-Kilpi (2009), long-term health facilities are often understaffed unlike tertiary care centers that have sufficient clinical ethicists. However, even with fewer professionals at their disposal, the employees have to ensure that their actions are in the best interest of the patients and that they are consistent with the ethical guidelines set by the facility.
6.0 Ethical Standards for the Facility`s Staff
Every organization requires an ethical code of conduct that not only directs behavior between the field of healthcare and management, but also governs the relationship between various stakeholders including patients, employees and the society. The fundamental function of a code of ethics is to help those performing managerial and professional duties to sustain a system that enhances the quality of life and improves the wellbeing and dignity of all patients and clients in need of healthcare services (Gordon & Rosenberg, 2001). Those in management positions have to conduct themselves in a manner that instills respect, trust, and confidence to the healthcare profession. Prior to implementing an ethical code of conduct, the codes should contain the values of the organization, its culture and mission statement. The long-term care facility should choose the type of values that are vital to the organization`s long-term survival. The following ethical code of conduct will work well for the long-term care facility:
- Undertake all medical and professional activities in good faith and with integrity, honesty, and respect.
- Comply with all the regulations and laws relating to long-term care while promoting and sustaining transparency and proficiency.
- Work toward the implementation of procedures and processes that will safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of all patients and clients.
- Practice care that advances compassion, while delivering the best quality of care to both patients and their family members.
- Ensure that all care services provided at the facility are consistent with existing regulations and care at all times.
- Promote the education and training of all employees on the code of conduct and implement measures to deal with emerging concerns.
- Treat all patients with dignity regardless of their racial and cultural backgrounds
- Remain truthful in organizational and professional communication and report all negative financial information in a prompt manner to authorities to prevent deceptive or misleading information.
- Give utmost respect to the wishes and rights of individuals in the facility even when they conflict with popular norms.
- Report all cases of abuse or suspicions of abuse
- Provide accurate and reliable information to potential customers to help them make informed decisions on long-term care.
- Develop and promote a culture that does not discriminate based on ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
The ethical code of conduct listed above is useful in the effective management of the long-term care facility. However, it is worth noting that the code of ethics and conduct will work only if the leadership fully supports the regulations and enforces them with rewards for compliance and sanctions in case they are violated. The facility`s management have a responsibility to the patients and their family members to act in a manner that inspire trust and confidence.
7.0 Methods of Implementing the Code to Achieve Compliance
The majority of healthcare facilities and particularly long-term care facilities have ethical code of conduct for their organizations. However, the major problem is how to execute the code of conduct and ensure that all employees across all levels of the organization comply. The facility can use numerous ways to implement the code across the organization. The first step in implementing the code of conduct has already been developed-the development of the ethical code of conduct. The following subsequent procedures will ensure that the code of conducted is fully implemented across the organization and ensure that they are fully complied with. They include:
- Hire compliance officers who will be provide guidance and synchronize the code`s implementation. The officer will be further responsible for establishing training and communication on all subject matters related to ethics and code of conduct.
- The facility should put in place mechanisms to supervise and audit the process and put in place anonymous methods that employees can use to blow the whistle on non-compliance
- The facility should undertake an in-house survey as a way of identifying which areas stakeholders believe might cause ethical dilemmas. The areas identified should then be discussed and employees at all levels should find ways of tackling the problems beforehand.
- The code of conduct should not only be visible but also readily available to all employees. Management should ensure that they print, post and display code of conduct, with every department head given parts of the code appropriate to the department`s employees.
- As a way of ensuring that all employees know what is important to the organization, all workers ought to be informed on the goals of the facility, their specific roles and responsibilities, and the expectations and priorities of their positions.
- It is impossible to implement the code successfully if the facility does not live up to its corporate values. As a result, employees at all levels have to be empowered on decision making in a manner consistent with the corporate values. In addition, the facility should also be strict in compliance and pursue a zero tolerance policy toward those who fail to comply with the laws.
A code of conduct incorporates all behaviors that the long-term care facility will not tolerate and the consequences that will follow if they are not followed. The code will help the facility in keeping the organization and its employees safe from both real and imaginary unethical practices. It permits the employees to know which types of conduct are harmful to the facility and the likely consequences that will follow from those types of conduct.
8.0 Consequences in the Event of Violation
The majority of long-term care facilities have a zero tolerance policy toward employees who violate their code of conduct, particularly those relating to patient rights. Numerous disciplinary measures can be taken against any employee who contravenes the ethical code of conduct. The punishment used depends on the type and extent of the violation. Sanctions may include written warnings and in extreme cases, they may be fired. Long-term care facilities are expected to offer high quality of care to their clients. As part of quality, they are expected to provide service with the highest ethical, legal, and business standards (Noelker & Harel, 2001). These standards are applicable in the daily interactions with others in the facility including family members, patients and the public. For many businesses in the long-term care specialty, complying with the ethical code of conduct is a prerequisite for employment and any person found in breach of the ethical code of conduct has to face severe disciplinary action. In some cases, they are dismissed from employment. The facility should make use of numerous corrective measures to discipline those who disobey the codes. Corrective measures may include offering addition training to the offender, refund of copayments in the case of bills paid, and providing written warnings. Disciplinary measures against offending employees should be based on which code of conduct violated and the nature of the individual employee to prevent discrimination and unfair sanctions.
The ethical code of conduct for the long-term care facility offers a procedure and guideline for the organization`s employees on how they should conduct themselves. The code of conduct provides a set of behaviors to be followed by all in the facility. It governs the relationship between the employees, employer, and their professional interaction with the patients and the public. The facility`s structure as a long-term care facility is quite different from other healthcare organizations. The structure is comprised of the owner, the medical director, and the administrator. The facility has numerous duties and responsibilities for the different positions in the facility. Ethical dilemmas involve ethical and moral conflicts between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing. The fundamental function of an ethical code of conduct is to help the management team and professional staff to sustain a system that enhances the quality of life, dignity, and wellbeing of all persons in need of care services.
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“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck
In the story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, the marital relationships at this time of the century were characterized by dissatisfaction and dispassionate marriages. He brings out the character of women at the time through the actor Elisa Allen who he says due to the fact that she received no attention and affection from her husband who was very busy working in the cattle farm, Elisa enjoyed growing and nourishing her chrysanthemums. Steinbeck uses this term to refer to the character of Elisa as a way of response for not receiving any attention from her husband. At first, following the disaffection and lack of attention, Steinbeck describes Elisa as follows, “ Her face lean and strong…Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled low…clod-hopper shoes…completely covered by a big corduroy apron…”(206-207). However, this does not last for long since she eventually turns to “her chrysanthemums” following the neglect. The husband eventually notices the change in her and says, “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big” (Steinbeck 207).
In this era, a woman in the society was seen as the weaker gender compared to the man. Women had no place in the society and all the responsibilities were left to the hands of men. Women had no voice and they were not only neglected but also muted. Elisa as the character in the story becomes tired of the dispassionate marriage and the neglect that she decides to turn to a stranger who at least showed her a little affection while the husband was away. To her, this stranger’s appearance was not the best but she had to do this so as to give Henry her husband something to fix. Eventually, she becomes confident and starts even doing a complete makeover. “After a while she began to dress, slowly. She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness.” (Steinbeck 212). This portrays the difficulty that prevailed women in their quest for equality in the society.
In these early days, women characters were characterized as weak and meek, and hence incapable of making any crucial decisions in the society leave alone inheriting the powerful position in the society. Even the cultural hierarchies at this time rendered women as weak and incapable since men were always assigned the hard tasks and women the simple ones. Fighting for equality was not an easy task for women and most of them did not make it. They crumbled whenever they tried taking that direction and eventually lost hope of succeeding just like Elisa in the story where “She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly – like an old woman” (Steinbeck 213). She had lost hope; she was not willing to continue being persistent since this battle did not seem to end. During this era, it took women’s patience and perseverance to go through these hard times. They learnt a way of assimilating the masculine method of communication and used them fully to their advantage though it was not the best way to win this battle.
They had to eventually stop relying on men to be noticed. They had to find their own feminine ways of fighting for their space in the society. This would later turn to be a break through to their problem since men started treating them with a different perspective. However, they were not in this fight alone since different cultural anthropologists had come for their rescue through publishing of different research studies regarding women mistreatment and neglect, and at the same time stating the importance of gender equality in the society. It took long for the society to appreciate them but it never took forever. The society saw the need to eradicate the masculine adjective and eventually replace it with the feminine adjective that was more polite, soft and meek.
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McMahan, Susan Day, and Robert Funk. 2nd Ed. New York: Macmillan, 1989.