General Management

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    What is a lion worth to local people – Quantifying of the costs of living alongside a top predator
    (Elsevier B.V., 2022-08) Jacobsen, Kim S.; Sandorf, Erlend Dancke; Loveridge, Andrew J.; Dickman, Amy J.; Johnson, Paul J.; Mourato, Susana; Contu, Davide; Macdonald, David W.
    The presence of large predators entails a range of costs and some benefits for the communities that live alongside them. The cost in terms of the value of livestock lost to predation is well known, but this represents only a part of the costs that people experience, as it does not account for non-market costs such as fear, avoidance behaviours and threat to human life. We quantify the total cost of lion presence for agro-pastoral communities in Zimbabwe using economic valuation techniques. The total perceived value of one additional lion was estimated to be negative US$180 per person per year, which is several hundred times larger than the market value of the average loss of livestock per household. If making simplifying economic assumptions, this discrepancy reveals the magnitude of the non-market costs associated with the presence of large predators. The disvalue of lion presence was linked to fear, ecocentric values, wealth and trust in compensation institutions. We also demonstrate the importance of considering heterogeneity in preferences within communities; segments of the population did not have net negative value attached to lions, and some disliked monetary compensation. We also estimate the willingness-to-accept for two human-wildlife conflict mitigation programs in terms of acceptable increases in lion numbers, as opposed to monetary units which is the conventional approach in economic valuation studies. We argue that estimating value in terms of biodiversity outcomes should be used more widely. We also demonstrate the distorting effect of distrust towards compensation in choice experiments and argue that economic valuation methods employing choice experiments should control for this distrust when estimating willingness-to-pay. These discoveries have relevance for a wide range of situations where potentially dangerous wildlife species co-exist with people. © 2022 Elsevier B.V.
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    Testing for saliency-led choice behavior in discrete choice modeling: An application in the context of preferences towards nuclear energy in Italy
    (Elsevier Ltd, 2022-09) Contu, Davide; Strazzera, Elisabetta
    This work proposes a discrete choice model that jointly accounts for heterogeneity in preferences and in decision making procedures adopted by respondents, as well as for non-linearities in the utility function, allowing for the potential effect of salient attributes in choice experiments. We present an innovative application in the context of preferences towards nuclear energy, with data obtained from a nationwide online survey conducted in Italy. Results show that most of the variation in the choice data is indeed due to heterogeneity in the decision process, where the saliency heuristic plays an important role. Furthermore, the proposed model provides more conservative monetary valuations as opposed to standard models, potentially leading to substantial differences in cost-benefit analysis. Implications for choice modeling practitioners are discussed, emphasizing the need to account for saliency effects when modeling the choice data. © 2022 Elsevier Ltd
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    Radioactive source search problem and optimisation model based on meta-heuristic algorithm
    (Sciendo, 2022) Zhang, Min; Lu, Xuewen; Hoffman, Ettiene; Kharabsheh, Radwan; Xiao, Qianghua
    In the process of rational development and utilisation of nuclear energy, people often face nuclear accidents such as lost and stolen radioactive sources; so, the means of searching for these sources quickly in highly radioactive environments is an important security challenge. In the past, these jobs were limited to workers specialising in nuclear technology. They used gamma-ray detection equipment to search for radioactive sources, but the search efficiency was low. The main purpose of this article is to design a meta-heuristic algorithm based on imitating professional technicians to locate radioactive sources in a computer-aided manner. At the same time, due to the complexity that may characterise the actual search, the search strategy must be optimised. The article established an intelligent random search model with human thinking. Finally, it was proved based on the mathematical theory that the complexity of the model search algorithm is linear, and the simulation experiment results show that the optimisation algorithm has good efficiency and fault tolerance. © 2021 Min Zhang et al., published by Sciendo 2021.
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    Performance evaluation of college laboratories based on fusion of decision tree and BP neural network
    (Sciendo, 2022) Yujie, Chang; Weimin, Gao; Chelli, Karim; Muttar, Ahmed K. H.
    Performance evaluation can promote the continuous improvement of the laboratories in a college. It is necessary to take into account the scientific evaluation method during the process of the performance evaluation. In this paper, a performance evaluation method based on the fusion of the decision tree and BP neural network is presented. In detail, the decision tree model is used to select performance evaluation indexes with high weight. The BP neural network was adopted aiming to reduce the impact of assessment prediction of classification by non-core factors. First, the data were pre-processed by trapezoidal membership function. Then, the decision tree was generated by the C4.5 algorithm to select the evaluation indexes with high weight. Then, the BP neural network was trained with as many samples as possible by evaluation indexes; it possesses experts' experience which can be used to predict the performance evaluation results. The method overcomes the shortages of the separate model, eliminates the disturbance of human factors and improves the accuracy of the evaluation. Experiments show that the model is feasible and effective in performance evaluation of college laboratories. The outcomes of this work can provide a scientific evaluation method for people such as researchers, college administrators and laboratory managers. Also, this paper will help them to improve the management of laboratories and provide them with decision references for constructing the laboratories. © 2021 Chang Yujie et al., published by Sciendo 2021.
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    Adopting Business Analytics to Leverage Enterprise Data Assets
    (Springer Science and Business Media B.V., 2017) Djerdjouri, Mohamed; Mehailia, Abdelghani
    In today’s rapidly changing business environment, advances in information and communication technologies are happening at a very fast pace. As a result, firms are under constant pressure to quickly adapt, be competitive, and identify new business opportunities. Also, the amount of data collected by organizations today is growing at an exponential rate and includes structured as well as new types of large and real-time data across a broad range of industries such as streaming, geospatial, social media, or sensor-generated data. Enterprise data have become an invaluable strategic asset. Many organizations are using modern Business Analytics (BA) to extract new insights and the maximum possible value from these data assets, which will enable them to make timely and accurate decisions. In this paper, we briefly describe business analytics and discuss how leading world class organizations are adopting it and the technology environments that make it relatively easy and inexpensive and, the subsequent competitive benefits they have achieved. In addition, we will report some findings from surveys of executives, managers, and professionals across industries about the use of analytics in their organizations, done recently by IBM, SAS, MIT, and Gartner. Also, we will briefly address the organizational, cultural, and technological challenges faced by organizations embracing business analytics. Finally, we will discuss the unique obstacles and challenges encountered by firms in developing countries with the goal of raising awareness of organizations in the MENA region not only about these impediments but also about the benefits of these technologies and the crucial role they play in the survival and competitiveness of the firm in the complex and turbulent global market. © 2017, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.