Volume 15, Issue 5, 2020

1.Does Commuting to University Influence Students’ Personal and Professional Development and the Likelihood of Graduate Level Employment?

- Kay Emblen-Perry, Lynn Nichol & Catharine Ross

Going to university has traditionally been a rite of passage, where the youngster leaves home, finds a new social circle and begins a new level of education. With reduced governmental support this has become a major long-term expense, and one way to reduce this is to choose a university near enough to home to commute. This reduces the stress of high rent and prolongs family support, but may create barriers to growing independence, integration into new social circles and experience that moves them towards professional life. Covid-19 could also have long-term effects, so far unknown, on how university education is delivered. Meanwhile there is evidence that commuter graduates are less successful in job applications than their residential counterparts. The benefits of more support in the home location may be offset by less support and lower participation at university. Employers may mistakenly see commuter students as having an extended childhood and lacking in employment skills. However, they may have additional experience of balancing different areas of their lives, and certainly in commuting. There are pros and cons in any arrangement, and it is important to keep a balanced view.


2.Improving Transfer of Creativity Training

- Kalliopi Selioti

Training is clearly an important part of development, but for the individual and for the organisation. Sometimes it is thought that once training has taken place development will automatically follow, but there is a second stage. Whatever the type of training, classroom, mentoring, training by new experiences, such as adventure sessions, or any other type, it will be of no avail if the lessons learned aren’t applied in the workplace. This is especially true of creativity training, where, by its nature, it is training to bring on the new and unfamiliar. It is not about learning facts or procedures. It is about learning to generate new ideas and new ways of doing things, and not getting stuck with single ideas. We live in a fast-changing world, and creativity may be the most important asset an organisation can have, but the most difficult to measure. Learning facts can be tested and the results quickly known. Learning to embrace the different, by definition, does not replicate what has happened before. Successful creativity may not prove itself in the short-term. Nevertheless, principles of learning apply. Motivation is key, both motivation to learn, and motivation to transfer that learning to the workplace.


3.Impact of Entrepreneurship Education on Graduate Employability in Malaysia

- Azlawati Binti Fahmi & Selvamalar Ayadurai

Training is a constant need whatever the job, to gain specific skills for that job and generic skills, such as time-management and communication skills which remain important despite the changing world. One of the many changes is the loss of job security, and more and more people need to create their own work, whether by steady self-marketing in the gig economy or by setting up as an entrepreneur. The Ministry of Education in Malaysia in 2015 found that nearly a quarter of graduates were unemployed six months after graduation. In response to this, they have set up Entrepreneurship Programmes, which cover the generic skills strategic and creative thinking, conceptual and interpersonal skills and communication. These are linked to employability skills. The study in this issue of the IPMA journal found that entrepreneurship competencies do have a significant effect on graduate employability, but the employability skills taught do not focus sufficiently on what industry requires, and so did not have a significant effect on graduate employability. This shows there is more work to be done in creating the right training for the future. How to create your own employment needs to become an integral part of education.


4. The Impact of Service Quality of International Emergency Services (Emergency Department) at Parami General Hospital, Yangon

- Myat Noe & William Chua

The quality of service relates to customer satisfaction, then customer loyalty, and profit. This is recognised as important, but companies may strive to improve quality in areas where customers have less concern, and neglect areas which customers value more. It is helpful to know in advance what customers actually want. This paper investigates this in relation to emergency medical services in a private hospital in Thailand. This paper looks at four factors – environment quality (comfort levels, standard of equipment and general appearance); process quality (prompt service and time given); interaction quality (respect, friendliness, listening); and cost. A participative leadership approach is recommended, with employees able to make decisions at the level of their roles. The organisational culture is also important. When there is a shared set of values and beliefs, members of that organisation act within those values and beliefs, which perpetuates that culture, and becomes a self-reinforcing culture. When that culture embraces customer service quality and customer satisfaction, there is likely to be smooth progress.


5. Analysing Factors Influencing International Market Performance for a Sigma Base Oil Company

-Nandakumar Supramaniam & William Chua

There is a constant search for factors that improve the performance of a company, in this case the oil and gas industry, but the factors studied probably apply to many types of company. This paper looks at host country regulations (an important consideration in international companies),product price, product quality, leadership style, and distribution channels.. All of these were found to affect market performance. The study consisted of a literature review, primary data in the form of questionnaire responses from a wide range of employees, aged 21-60, with experience in the oil and gas industry ranging from under one year to over ten years, and from both general and middle management, executive and non-executive, and support staff, working in various roles – strategic planning, marketing and sales, the supply chain, and finance and human resources. Secondary data was also collected from management and industry reports. The questionnaire responses showed high agreement, between 79% and 90% for five variables investigated, had an impact on performance


6. The Impact of Workplace Design on Employee Productivity: A Comparative Study of University Libraries in China and Pakistan

- Ayaz Muhammad Hanif & Zohra Saleem

Much is written about improving work output through staff selection, training, incentives and general policies. Less is written about the workplace itself and its effect on productivity. This paper looks at the physical environment of the workplace, specifically, two university libraries in China and Pakistan. A sample of 15 members of staff from each library, ranging from attendants to the senior librarian, answered a questionnaire on the effect of five factors on their productivity. These five factors were noise levels, lighting, temperature, furniture provided, and the layout of that furniture. Noise (meaning absence of noise) was considered important, as would be expected in a library. The opinions in the two libraries were similar, with some gender differences – men putting more emphasis on noise levels, women more on surroundings. Different types of statistical analysis brought out different orders of preference, but all the factors were considered to have an impact on productivity. It might well be useful for any organisation to look at the physical surroundings for the workforce. Improvements there might could improve productivity.


7. The Relationship between Wages, Productivity and Employee Retention Strategy in the Retail Supermarket : A case Study of Segi Fresh Retail Supermarkets of Malaysia

- Fong Chee Leong, P.J.K. & William Chua

The loss of the job-for-life culture also means the loss of the employee-for-life. Employers need to have policies that attract and retain workers of quality to maintain productivity. This paper looks at the relationship between wages, productivity and employee retention. Suitable pay is an important factor, although a lot of research shows that high pay does not always prevent workers looking elsewhere if other work conditions are bad. Similarly, higher pay does not guarantee higher productivity. This paper looks at the mediating effect of upskilling. Improving existing skills and learning new ones, is continuously important in these days of change and upheaval. It is also a source of motivation because new skills give the immediate boost of a sense of achievement as well as increasing opportunities for the future. High productivity can also be rewarding in itself, giving a feeling of achievement and likely praise as a result. All three factors – wages, productivity and upskilling were found to have a positive effect on employee retention. Wages and productivity, as mediated by upskilling, were also found to have a positive effect.