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  • An analysis of the micro-blogging updates from investors posted on the social media site Twitter, offers an insight into the personality traits that are most closely linked to investment success. The research, published in the journal Global Business and Economics Review, suggests that successful investors predominantly exhibit two personality traits: emotional stability and openness. An additional finding is that all investors, successful or otherwise, have low agreeableness and do not exhibit extraversion.

    Agreeableness and extraversion are two of the so-called Big Five personality traits. Added to those we have openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. They are a common archetype system for exploring personality. Individuals can have any combination of those five traits, each being positioned on a spectrum from a complete absence of said trait to predominance of that trait. So, a person might be an agreeable person who is mildly neurotic, strongly conscientious, extroverted, and a great deal of openness. Some traits are likely to be found to be strongly present with others.

    R. Ramprakash and C. Joe Arun of the Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) in Chennai, India, selected a group of successful investors active on Twitter and performed an analysis of their tweets using linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC) software. They hoped to reveal from their tweets common personality traits among successful investors. The work might provide clues to the inner workings of a world that always seems to be governed by whim and vagueries and does not succumb easily to analyses that might open up ways in which to predict how investments might rise and fall in a given time period. Opportunity and risk seem to be unknowable quantities, but insights into the personality of investors might add useful knowledge.

    The researchers explain that while most research has focused on measuring the investment performance of individual investors and comparing that with their personality traits, the present study provides an interesting insight into the existing literature by identifying successful investors and observing their dominant personality trait, which, in turn, lead to specific behaviour.

    Ramprakash, R. and Arun, C.J. (2022) 'A study of the tweets of successful investors in order to identify their personality', Global Business and Economics Review.
    DOI: 10.1504/GBER.2022.10043146

  • The out-moded aphorism – "Behind every great man is a good woman" – might be brought clumsily up-to-date by writing instead that "Alongside every great person is a great partner". Indeed, writing in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, researchers from Israel have investigated the impact of a life partner on the social capital of entrepreneurs.

    Ben Bulmash of the Faculty of Technology Management at the Holon Institute of Technology in Holon, suggests that psychological capital is a concept of growing importance in the world of entrepreneurial business. In this world challenges and uncertainties are ever-present and perhaps increasingly so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, climate change, and war-mongering. There are three psychological components to psychological capita, which might be thought of as a state of mind rather than a character trait: optimism, pessimism, and self-esteem. How, asks Bulmash, are these three traits affected by the presence, support or otherwise of a life partner?

    In studying entrepreneurial activities and the world of business, the focus is often on product design, marketing strategy, financial planning, and technological aspects of the business. The right blend can lead to success. That said, previous studies have shown that positive psychological capital can lead to business longevity and success. A focus on the entrepreneur's life may, however, be just as important a factor. Bulmash now has found, as one might expect to some degree, that low levels of support from an entrepreneur's life partner lead to what might be referred to as the least favourable mental states.

    "Difficult and unsupportive relationships are detrimental to business success, possibly more so in the early stages of a business, when uncertainty is high and results not immediate," Bulmash writes. It is important when trying to understand entrepreneurial activity to understand that the entrepreneur's life and life partner can play a significant role in predicting the trajectory of their business.

    Bulmash, B. (2022) 'At the heart of things: the impact of life-partners on entrepreneurs' psychological capital', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp.476–488.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2022.122658

  • Older adults with or without health problems could continue to live independent lives as far as is practical with the use of smart technologies, such as wearable sensors, and internet-connected monitoring systems that can alert remote carers to acute problems, such as a sudden downturn in health metrics, a fall, or other issues, as soon as they arise.

    Writing in the International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation, a team from India provides a user perspective on such ambient assisted living systems. Ashish Patel and Jigarkumar Shah of Pandit Deendayal Energy University in Gandhinagar, India, explain that AAL systems must offer carers timely and detailed information when the older adult's environment or personal conditions change from their normal to a new normal that represents a risky situation has arisen or their health has suddenly declined. There are numerous wearable and situational monitoring devices that can report room and body temperature, air quality, whether a person is mobile, seated, or has fallen, and other such variables.

    The team has surveyed AAL system users to get an insider perspective on how well these systems might work. An effective AAL system must offer continuous monitoring but also security and privacy to allow vulnerable or older adults to live independently in their preferred home. It does not offer a complete approach to care, of course, but augments the caring environment for that adult offered by relatives, friends, and professionals, depending on the person's needs and choices.

    The researchers present a framework and a practical approach to a hybrid AAL system that brings together personal monitoring devices and environmental monitoring devices with a view to improving the health standards of an older person living alone. The framework takes into account the person's needs and desires rather than simply defining the requisite technological setup. The team points out that in order to incorporate the person's emotional state in such a hybrid system, there must be a certain level of compromise when it comes to their privacy, as the monitoring software and thence the carers who are there to respond to alerts from the system will have some insight into the person's inner life in order that an appropriate response can be made in a timely manner.

    Patel, A. and Shah J. (2022) 'Towards enhancing the health standards of elderly: role of ambient sensors and user perspective', Int. J. Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.96–110.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESMS.2022.122739

  • We live in the information age, you might say. More than 2.5 quintillion bytes* of data are generated around the globe every day. Managing that data is impossible and yet we make use of huge chunks of it in many disparate and sometimes unimaginable ways. Extracting knowledge from repositories and databases, the big data, can lead to a better understanding of natural and non-natural phenomena in climate change, economics, medicine, and beyond.

    Predictive analysis is key to making intelligent decisions based on such big data, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation. However, there are problems that must be addressed especially when such big data exists in the cloud.

    Krishna Kumar Mohbey and Sunil Kumar of the Central University of Rajasthan in Ajmer, India, consider the impact of big data in this context. They point out that one of the biggest issues facing those who would work with big data is that while some of it may well be structured, much of it is only semi-structured, and vast amounts are entirely unstructured.

    The storage, management, and analysis of all of this data is one of the greatest challenges facing computing today. While cloud computing provides many of the tools needed in a distributed way and to some extent has revolutionized information and communications technology (ICT), there remains a long road ahead before we can truly cope with big data fully.

    However, distributed storage and massive parallel processing of big data in the cloud could provide the foundations on which the future of big data and predictive analysis might be built. The team reviews many of the current approaches that use historical data and machine learning to build predictions about the outcomes of future scenarios based on contemporary big data sources. The team points to where research might take us next in the realm of big data and warns of the possible dead-ends.

    "The key aim is to transform the cloud into a scalable data analytics tool, rather than just a data storage and technology platform," the team writes. They add that now is the time to develop appropriate standards and application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable users to easily migrate between solutions and so take advantage of the elasticity of cloud infrastructure.

    Mohbey, K.K. and Kumar, S. (2022) 'The impact of big data in predictive analytics towards technological development in cloud computing', Int. J. Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.61–75.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESMS.2022.122732

    *2.5 quintillion bytes is about 1 million terabytes. A general household computer might have a 1 terabyte hard drive these days, so that's data maxing out the storage capacity of about 2,500,000 computers every day.

  • Machine learning algorithms can be used to make accurate forecasts about changes in population, according to research published in the International Journal of Data Science. The work demonstrates that the best of the available algorithms trained on historical data works better than conventional demographic modeling based on periodic census data.

    Fatih Veli Sahinarslan, Ahmet Tezcan Tekin, and Ferhan Çebi of the Department of Management Engineering at Istanbul Technical University, in Istanbul, Turkey, have compared the predictive power of various algorithms – extreme gradient boosting, CatBoost, linear regression, ridge regression, Holt-Winters, exponential, autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and prophet prediction model. They trained the algorithms using 1595 different demographic indicators from 262 countries recorded between 1960 and 2017. Indicators include age and gender distribution, labour force, education, birthplace, birth and death rates, and migration statistics.

    Their demonstration to predict the population of Turkey for the year 2017 proved the value of the algorithmic approach over traditional modeling. Understanding population dynamics and forecasting how a population might change in years to come is a critical part of policymaking and planning for healthcare, education, housing, transport, and infrastructure. Ten-year census cycles are useful, but they do not give a fine-grained account of a changing population, especially in the light of changes in life expectancy, migration, war, political upheaval, and pandemics, where the character of a population might change radically on a much shorter timescale.

    The researchers suggest that machine learning algorithms, ensemble regression models in particular, can offer a "better estimate" of the future population of a country. They are able to do so because they can reduce the number of factors that otherwise make it difficult to make an estimate and also through analysis of any uncertainties in the demographic data.

    "Machine learning algorithms on population estimation will make an essential contribution to…the planning of national needs and pave the way for more consistent social, economic, and environmental decisions," the team concludes.

    Sahinarslan, F.V., Tekin, A.T. and Çebi, F. (2021) 'Application of machine learning algorithms for population forecasting', Int. J. Data Science, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp.257–270.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDS.2021.122770

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on millions of people as well as the businesses on which many of us depend. A new study in the International Journal of Services, Economics and Management, looks at the impact lockdowns and other measures have had on the food and drinks industry, showing how many businesses in this sector have summarily failed because of the emergence of this lethal virus and its effects on society.

    Leandro Pereira, Margarida Couto, Renato Lopes da Costa, Álvaro Dias, Rui Vinhas da Silva of the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE) in Lisbon, and Rui Gonçalves of PIAGET Almada, in Almada, Portugal, have found that as the pandemic progressed, even as lockdown restrictions were lifted, customer fears and discomfort kept many people away from restaurants compounding the detrimental impact of the lockdown periods on the industry.

    As one might have expected, early in the pandemic, restaurant trade halved, but many places shut down all but essential services in many parts of the world in an effort to halt the spread of the disease and reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths. At the time of writing this Research Pick, the World Health Organisation has alluded to the total number of "excess" deaths associated with COVID-19 as being around 15 million worldwide. It seems inescapable that people would be fearful of such a disease.

    The team has found that in the wake of this, the biggest factors associated with fear and deterring individuals from using restaurants once more are that person's highest level of education, their age, the exaggerated proximity of employees observed in such establishments, a lack of obvious cleaning processes, and the inability to observe the establishment's kitchen and food preparation. Some of these factors such as their putative customers age and education cannot, of course, be altered by restaurant management, but other factors such improving hygiene procedures and making them visible, improving social distancing between employees and clientele within practical limits, and making food preparation visible could be addressed.

    It remains to be seen whether people will start eating out as often as they did before the pandemic. If the industry changes in a way to encourage them to do so, then that might be the case. It could be that the new-normal means fewer people going to restaurants regardless. Life is all about change a new disruption might nudge us in a different direction. The industry can do nothing but be proactive in trying to encourage customers and respond in a timely way to new challenges that arise.

    Pereira, L., Couto, M., da Costa, R.L., Dias, Á., Gonçalves, R. and da Silva, R.V. (2022) 'Food and beverage industry in a pandemic context', Int. J. Services, Economics and Management, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp.152–181.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSEM.2022.122738

  • Citrus peel and pulp is a growing waste problem in the food industry and in the home. However, there is potential to extract something useful from it. Work in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management describes a simple steam distillation method that uses a domestic pressure cooker to extract useful essential oils from the peel of sweet lime (mosambi, Citrus limetta).

    Waste mosambi peel can be obtained in huge quantities from the many fruit juice shops around the state of Delhi and elsewhere and where people make juice in their homes. The research shows how these extracted essential oils have antifungal, larvicidal, insecticidal and antimicrobial activity and so could represent a useful source of inexpensive products for crop protection, domestic pest control and cleaning, and more.

    Using waste streams from the food industry as a source of raw materials for other industries is on the rise. To be truly beneficial in terms of the environment, however, the extraction of useful materials from such waste has to approach carbon neutrality and be largely non-polluting itself. Chemists Tripti Kumari and Nandana Pal Chowdhury of the University of Delhi and Ritika Chauhan of Bharati Vidyapeeth's College of Engineering in New Delhi, India, have used a relatively environment-friendly steam distillation followed by solvent extraction with hexane to access the essential oils from mosambi peel. "The reported method of extraction produces zero waste, is energy efficient and gives a good yield," the team writes.

    The team demonstrated antibacterial activity of the extracted essential oils against bacteria including Bacillus subtilis and Rhodococcus equi. The same oils also showed activity against strains of fungi, such as Aspergillus flavus and Alternaria carthami. The extracts also show lethal activity against mosquito and cockroach larvae. The researchers suggest that appropriately adapted to preclude the need for the organic solvent step, it might be possible to develop a domestic approach to making such essential oil products from citrus peel in the home. This would, they suggest, bring science home and provide an effective alternative to costly manufactured sprays and products.

    Kumari, T., Chowdhury, N.P., Chauhan, R. and Tiwary, N.K. (2022) 'Eco-friendly extraction of Mosambi (Citrus limetta) essential oil from waste fruit peels and its potential use as a larvicidal, insecticidal and antimicrobial agent', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp.360–375.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2022.122683

  • Workplace bullying has always been a problem but recognition of this problem and how we must stand up to it and try to eradicate it from the workplace culture has only come to the fore in recent years. A conceptual review in the International Journal of Management Practice looks at the issues, the terminology, and the definitions with the aim of helping researchers fill the many gaps in the literature in a consistent manner.

    Rajnish Kumar Misra and Divya Sharma of the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in Noida, India, explain that there is a need to differentiate between bullying and other forms of negative behaviour in the workplace, such as so-called "desk rage". However, they also hope to identify the antecedents to workplace bullying and look in-depth at its consequences on companies and their staff. Fundamentally, the team's review alludes to a need for research and discussion to be all-encompassing and to recognise the boundaries of the definitions that emerge from the review.

    Harassment and incivility are deep-rooted in many areas of human activity. Bullying can take a physical form or play a psychological role, or it can be a combination of both. Either way, it can have detrimental and long-lasting effects on anyone who is a victim. In the workplace, as with many other realms, this can have serious and life-changing consequences for victims, as morale is compromised, job dissatisfaction arises, performance and commitment become less important to the employee, burnout and employee turnover increase. All to the detriment of the victims of the bullying but also to the employer.

    The research literature that has been focused on the issue of workplace bullying is inconsistent and contradictory. This new analysis could provide future research with a consistent framework with which to work to ensure that those problems are clarified and the gaps in the research filled so that the problem of bullying can be understood better and guidance emerge for managers and company owners that allows them to implement new policies to address the problem more effectively.

    Misra, R.K. and Sharma, D. (2022) 'Understanding workplace bullying: a conceptual review', Int. J. Management Practice, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.346–363.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMP.2022.122614

  • Entrepreneurship in post-conflict regions can bridge ethnic divides. That is the primary conclusion of new research published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

    Ana Kopren of the University of Graz in Austria and Hans Westlund of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, Sweden, have looked at how business activity has improved relationships in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North Macedonia where conflict and division between ethnic groups have been serious issues for many years. It was, of course, 18th Century philosopher Immanuel Kant who perhaps first suggested that economic exchange and trade between countries is a significant contributor to peace between the nations. The team adds that business networks that connect different ethnic groups are very much a positive way forward and preclude to some degree a way of life that implies coexistence by means of segregation.

    The team has surveyed some 130 entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North Macedonia and found that, perhaps as one might expect, the driving force for those business people working with diverse ethnic networks is fundamentally to increase company profits. The side effect of this drive, however, is the strengthening of bonds between the various ethnic groups within those business networks.

    The team writes that their research points to the idea that economic ties can facilitate cooperative patterns and rebuild the broken bonds and divisions between ethnic groups living in the same regions. "Entrepreneurs alleviate ethnic cleavages and improve relations between ethnic groups," the researchers suggest. In parallel, the researchers add that an influx of refugees from war-torn areas has created new challenges that demand new ways in which to integrate those people into European society for mutual benefit.

    "Social values originating from business relationships may be a foundation for reconciliation and collective action," the team adds. "Repeated business interaction instigates an advantageous social outcome that breaks down prejudices and increases cooperative achievement," they suggest.

    Kopren, A. and Westlund, H. (2022) 'Entrepreneurship bridging ethnic divides', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp.423–449.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2022.122701

  • The gig economy encompasses a wide range of paid tasks. It exists in the digital realm and in many offline activities. The common ground lies in the nature of the link between "employer" and contractor. Usually, gig workers are independent contractors carrying out a wide variety of mostly ad hoc or short-term jobs.

    A new investigation into the nature of the gig economy in the USA shows that while entry into this kind of work is equitable between men and women in terms of motivation. Both men and women hoped to earn extra income and have the freedom to choose where they work. Commonly, however, women's expectations for the actual level of remuneration was lower than that expected by men. This was borne out in reality, the research shows, where the rates for an equivalent job are indeed lower for women.

    Robert A. Peterson of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas, explains that the gig economy is a heterogeneous collection of firms and individuals engaged in a wide variety of jobs. In the USA, it represents a $1.4 trillion industry and almost 57 million workers, 40 percent of the US workforce, were involved in the gig economy in 2021. The pre-pandemic rate of growth was three times faster than the growth seen in conventional employer-employee workforces, he adds.

    "The present study is perhaps the most broad-based investigation of gig workers to date," writes Peterson, "regardless of whether they obtain or execute their gigs through an online platform or website, work only for a particular company, or engage in only a specific gig."

    Fundamentally, the notion of a gig economy is entirely familiar to a previous generation who would recognise it as nothing more sophisticated than the conventional signing of contractors to do requisite tasks within a firm without them being on the employee payroll. However, the various digital platforms – including Uber, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Upwork, DoorDash, and TaskRabbit – that have emerged in recent years have made access to contracting work much more readily available to a wider range of people. Other, traditionally non-digital, companies have also adopted digital platforms to recruit on-demand workers to carry out ad hoc tasks for them.

    The relationship between gender and occupation and gender and remuneration has been researched and discussed widely across many disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, business, engineering, medicine, and even the physical sciences, adds Peterson. However, the vast majority of this research has focused on conventional employment and has not yet considered the gig economy and the existence of a putative gender gap that mirrors what has been seen repeatedly in the traditional workplace.

    Peterson hopes to correct this and has undertaken a nationwide survey of more than 1000 gig workers who had taken on "gigs" in the previous year. They were contracted in the digital realm and in the offline world and those surveyed were not limited to conventional industry boundaries nor companies involved.

    "Hopefully, the present research will provide insights and an initial foundation for, and stimulate, future research that seeks a theoretical understanding of a phenomenon that has major economic as well as social implications," Peterson concludes.

    Peterson, R.A. (2022) 'Heterogeneity in the US gig economy with a focus on gender', Int. J. Applied Decision Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.365–384.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJADS.2022.122641

News

International Journal of Economics and Business Research is now an open access-only journal

We are pleased to announce that the International Journal of Economics and Business Research is now an Open Access-only journal. All accepted articles submitted from 10 May 2022 onwards will be Open Access, and will require an article processing charge of US $1500.

New Editor for International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing

Prof. Sheng-feng Qin from Northumbria University in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing.

New Editor for International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing

Prof. Gai-Ge Wang from the Ocean University of China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing.

New Editor for International Journal of Experimental Design and Process Optimisation

Prof. John Kechagias from the University of Thessaly in Greece has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Experimental Design and Process Optimisation.

New Editor for International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation

Prof. Mingcong Deng from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation.