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Items filtered by date: May 2014

Friday, 30 May 2014 15:39

Journal Entry 2

Journal Entry 2

As nursing leaders, I expect to make significant changes in healthcare at a local, national and global level. First I will be an advocate for quality patient care. As a family nurse practitioner, I will instill in my colleagues the need to provide patient with quality care. I will also encourage teamwork in an effort to render quality services. The spirit of teamwork will enable healthcare professionals to work together and ensure that patients are properly diagnosed, treated and taken care of till recovery. I also intend to be a visionary leader i.e. a leader who outlines the future and establishes effective strategies that can be implemented to reach the set future. I will also be flexible and open to changes aimed at improving healthcare delivery (Guo, 2000).

Change is an inevitable process that affects all organs of a society. The healthcare sector is also affected by change, which in most cases if implemented yields positive results. As a nursing leader, I will be at the forefront to encourage my colleagues and juniors to embrace positive changes that will boost service delivery. In most instance changes are preferable rather than maintaining the status quo. Healthcare leaders who are inflexible with a tendency to maintain the status quo are often left behind with regard to efficiency and quality healthcare services.   I intend to become a nursing leader who advocates for change especially when the adoption of these changes will open up opportunities for the healthcare facility.

I also intend  be at the forefront in effective planning and implementation of advance practice nursing roles with the intention of minimizing current and future healthcare challenges.Nursing education will expose me to theoretical and practical training in preparation to becoming a family nurse practitioner. Nursing education will guarantee that I am competent and with adequate nursing knowledge to execute my task and duties. Nursing education will also expose me to existing health policies that I as a healthcare professional should adhere to during my nursing practice. Similarly, Nursing education will expose me to the world of research which is suitable for information searching.

Nursing education exposes nursing students to currently activities such as evidence-based practice (EBP). EBP is vital as it enables nurses make critical nursing decisions based on credible scientific research and findings.  As a family nurse practitioner, nursing education will provide me with additional nursing knowledge that will enable me to provide individuals, families, groups and communities with relevant health services. Nursing education will expose me to relevant skills and competencies for handling different groups and categories of patients (NONPF, 2011).

The care to different categories will be based on factors such as health promotion, diseases and injury prevention, rehabilitation and support. Each category of patients will be treated based in his or her immediate needs and the best strategy that can be adopted. Since my specialty will be endoscopy, nursing education ill guarantee that I can provide quality care. Similarly, nursing education will enable me to focus on the patient as a whole and not simply curing the diseases that the patient presents.


Guo, K. (2000). The entrepreneurial manager in healthcare organizations. The business review. Vol. 15(2):11

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. (2011). Nurse practitioner core competencies. Retrieved from http://www.goshen.edu/nursing/files/2011/09/NONPF-core-competencies.pdf


Published in Sociology
Friday, 30 May 2014 15:36

Shakespeare's Othello

Shakespeare's Othello

Dramatic irony presented by Iago in Othello

Theater arts gain its dramatic aspect from the power of persuading an audience of the reality of a play through the use of primary speech given about a given circumstance. Shakespeare is well known for his ability to use speech in conveying a hidden means and gain advantage in passing the message of his world. He is a playwright who well understood the power of words. In his play Othello, Shakespeare uses the character Iago in passing his manipulative and mastery use of speech as a force that is greatly influential and propels the play forward. This essay presents how words spoken by Iago play a diverse and divisive role in the play. This is because of the inner deep hatred and homoerotic attraction that Iago has towards Othello.

 Dramatic irony through Iago’s speech

Iago plays a significant role in the play Othello by Shakespeare. He acts as an instrument towards the downfall of Othello. His speech has more than one meaning, thus playing a central role that drives the play’s actions. His motives are not clear, and one cannot easily categorize them. He faces a mixture of vice-like interests and sensibilities in light of his view of the suffering of people.Iago has a deep desire to revenge, and this can be seen from the opening scene of the play. Iago, unlike Cassio, is a common soldier and battle tested while Cassio is presented by Shakespeare as being a gentleman with less experience. Iago is described an s a person who “……of his eyes had seen the prove at Cyprus and Rhodes and on other grounds heathen and Christened.” (1.1.27-29).

The resentment that Iago has been shown in the first scene, and he fears that Othello made love to his wife Emilia. “I do not suspect the lusty Moor hath lept into my seat, the thought whereof, act likes a poisonous substance that gnaws one inside (2.1.282-84). This shows the deep hatred that Iago has towards Othello and the ways he says this is one ranging from mocking to loathing. He is accusing Othello of having slept with his wife, and he repeats this accusation later in the play. This accusation has no proof, but Iago is driven, by the rage, to revenge. Through his speeches, we learn that Iago is a person who holds grudges for a long time. He is help up by time and takes a long time to plan for revenge.

Suspicion and revenge are not the only motivators for Iago. He enjoys the game of running Othello’s life. Iago takes the version of an evil character that is close with other characters and has a comic capability of piloting the final downfall of his antagonist, Othello. This can be evidenced, in Iago’s skill, in a speech that enables him to persuade other characters. He convinces Othello that his wife is cheating and is unfaithful to him even without any proof to show this claim. Iago is so persuasive to a point that Othello believes this to be true and is held up in a trance of jealousy. Seeing this, Iago congratulates his ability by saying, “my medicine work, and work on, work!

This is how the credulous fools are caught, and many chaste and worthy dames even thus, guiltless meet approach” (IV. i. 54-57).We also see Iago convincing Cassio to drink for being appointed as a lieutenant. He also convinces Roderigo to attempt the murder of Cassio and finally convincing Othello to kill his wife because of her unfaithfulness. This way it becomes clear that Iago is in a mission of seeking revenge. However, his hidden motives are unexplainable when looking the surface meaning of the play. His main reason for hating Othello is not due to Othello’s choosing Cassio as the lieutenant, but because Othello does not listen to him and the advocates sent by Iago.

For Othello, he does not see the importance of Iago, and he does not recognize is worthiness and importance. This is the main reason as to why Iago get offended. However, this is not to rule out the fact of being overlooked for a job that he has had many years of experience as a soldier. “I have often informed thee and always tell you again and again... sI hate that Moor. My cause towards him is heartened to be of no reason, so, lets us revenge against Othello” (I.iii.373). Based on this hatred Iago accompanies Othello to Cyprus and his intention is to destroy the life and reputation of Othello Desdemona and Cassio.

Shakespeare mainly depends on dramatic irony in the play by constantly refereeing to Iago as the “honest Iago”. This emphasizes on Othello’s’ vulnerability and other characters like Cassio and Desdemona for respecting and trusting Iago. In various occasions, Iago refers to himself as a devil. He says, “ you are among those people who will not serve God if you are bound by the devil” and “ when devils have put on the blackest sin they will display themselves with heavenly actions, just the way as I do” (2.3.325-27). The way Iago chooses his words in defining himself as a devil illustrates his hidden evil intentions that other characters are not aware.

He acts as a good person, but his jealousy and resentment is clear through his words. Iago is part of this psychological drama in the way he projects himself towards Othello. He uses speech as a clever technique to active power over the minds of others.The villain motivation is not simply displayed by Iago. His actions also hint to his inner homosexual character in the way he describes Cassio’s dream. He says, “Then he laid his leg on my thigh, and sighed and kissed (3.3.435-26). Also, the scene where Iago convinces Othello that that his wife is not true to him, this signifies seduction. We question why Iago has to give all these revelation to Othello if he is not in love with him


Shakespeare uses the Character Iago to represent a person wrapped in his own feelings and thoughts. Though the aspect of psychology has improved today, people in the 1600s suffering from severe psychological conditions ware not treated and restricted to roam in the society. Iago is not a person suffering from a psychological disorder, but his imagination drives him crazy and guides him in his misguided mentality. Iago displays hatred towards Othello and calls him a Moore because of his dark skin color. This play shows aspects such as social inequality, family and workplace dynamics and gender inequality. The plays presents the discrimination that existed in Shakespeare’s time resulting from color, and gender needs that existed in early years of education.


Shakespeare, W (1996) Othello In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University Http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/othello_all.html

Friday, 30 May 2014 15:34

Article Critique

Article Critique

This is an article that discusses the life safety measures through focusing on fire prevention, fire inspections, public education, and the safety of the firefighter. According to this article, the fire departments were developed so that to protect people by first offering prevention efforts. There are many fire departments which are not responsible of the fire code enforcement; therefore, the inspections are normally performed by other bureau of the fire department.  


Fire fighters are supposed to ensure that they are aware of the buildings in their area. Doing building checkups is important and never difficult because the business owners will never stop the inspector from looking around. In every aspect of fire prevention, sharing of information is a very essential component in survival and safety. This article relates very well with what I have been learning during my course as I have learned that information is normally valuable when it has been shared and acknowledged. When doing inspection, it is necessary to share the information obtained with other people concerned so that they can be aware of your target hazards and you are also aware of theirs (Kanterman, 2011). Doing inspections and pre fire planning are necessary as they are done ahead of time and they will be very critical in saving life.

According to the article, the main cause of fire includes apathy, indifference, ignorance, and extravagance. Fire may occur as a result of fire as people are not interested in the problem of fire. During the course, I learned that many people are very much concerned with their security than fire and tend to have the belief that they are likely to be victims of crime before being victims of fire. When observing most of the houses, more door locks can be seen than fire detectors. Many people are very ignorant about the issues presented regarding fire and others live an extravagant life where people have the perception that since one has insurance, it will help in paying anything that is lost (Kanterman, 2011). The ignorance that I portrayed by people regarding fire is because of lack of public education. The fire fighting department is supposed to provide people with information about what to do in case a fire starts.

 Point of view 

I believe that the public education need to target the middle age Americans because they are less informed about how to behave when a fire situation arises. Dialing 911 is the best way that people know on how to react when fire starts, but at times it might be too late; hence, people should be informed of how they can help themselves.  From my opinion about fire prevention, I believe that the most important thing that people should do is to learn to adhere to the safety measures that have been put in place so that we can ensure the safety.

In conclusion, carrying out fire inspection, public fire safety education, and code enforcement are important strategies that should be done as they have an impact on the safety of the victims and also the firefighter. These are strategies that need to be implemented so that we can ensure the safety of people and also be able to save most of our items because there are certain items that cannot be saved by insurance such as pictures, personal documents, and even mementos.


Kanterman, R (2011). Fire prevention, public education, and firefighter safety Fire engineering


Friday, 30 May 2014 15:31

Mayo Clinic: Strengths and Weaknesses

Mayo Clinic: Strengths and Weaknesses

The value chain analysis was introduced by Michael porter in an effort to bridge the gap between a company’s internal capabilities and its opportunities. The value chain allows the identification of an organization’s core competencies and establishes those activities that give the organization a competitive advantage.  Competitive advantage is defined as those factors that give organizations an upper hand over their competitors.  Competitive advantage is derived from doing activities in a better way than competitors; doing things differently from competitors and or creating new benefits. This paper shall analyze Mayo clinic and determine two strengths and weaknesses and their competitive relevance.

 Mayo Clinic

Mayo clinic is a non profits health institution that was established in 1863 at Rochester, Minnesota. The facility was started by William Mayo and later taken over by his sons.  Mayo clinic gradually developed a reputation for the excellent services it offers to patients.  Mayo clinic has skilled and knowledgeable employees who ensure that patients receive quality care.

Additionally, the facility is recognized for its participation in extensive research related to health (Mayo Clinic, 2013). To-date, Mayo clinic has remained among the topic 10 best healthcare facilities in the world. The facility is also recognized by Forbes magazines as among the best 100 companies to work for. Mayo clinic has powerful core values that it has upheld since its inception. These core values focus on providing quality patient care; participation in extensive research so as to understand different diseases and health concerns and lastly, the promotion of education efforts by establishing colleges and medical schools.


The first strength of mayo clinic is its elaborate human resource (Young, & Ballarin, 2006). To-date, Mayo clinic has over 4000 physicians and over 50000 health staff. The broad human resource has been the facilities main strengths as it has managed to serve millions of patients it receives every year. Mayo clinic has a large presence in North America and specifically in Florida, Minnesota and Arizona. Mayo clinic also operates the mayo clinic health systems that comprise of more than 80 hospitals and clinics across North America.

Additionally Mayo clinic is also affiliated to several colleges of medicines across North America. These colleges and healthcare facilities are supported by an elaborate human resource that ensures operations run smoothly. In 2013, Mayo clinic was ranked position 41 in terms of the best employer in the country (Mayo Clinic, 2013). These recognition is proof that the over 60000 employees derive pleasure from working in the institution.

These employees play a significant role in shaping service delivery efforts at the healthcare organization thus making it a preferred choice compared to other health facilities (Porter, 2008). The many employees also enable the facility to bring different physicians and health staff together to evaluate a patient’s condition and determine the right medical approach. Such a strategy guarantees prompt healthcare delivery.The second strength of Mayo clinic is its ability to adopt and integrate technologies that enhance the delivery of services. At Mayo clinic, for instance, physicians and patients are being provided with an alternative to phone consultation. Mayo clinic has adopted technologies that allow for virtual consultation through the use of PCs, laptops and tablets.

Virtual consultation means that both doctor and patient do not necessarily have to be at the same geographical location (Porter, 2008). Mayo clinic has adopted technologies such as SBR iOS application that patients can use to connect with their doctors. The presence of virtual physician-patient consultation has improved service delivery at mayo clinic. Patients can make consultations at the comfort of their homes or offices rather than physically visiting the facility. Virtual consultations have also reduced the number of patients who visit the facility. The risk of overcrowding as patient wait to meet their physicians is non-existent. The technology has also enabled patients have access to their doctors despite working hours.


Mayo clinic, like any other businesses, is faced with numerous challenges that stem from its major weaknesses. The first weakness about Mayo clinic is its geographical distribution. Mayo clinic is found in three main states: Arizona, Minnesota, and Florida (Mayo Clinic, 2013). The fact that the facility is located in these three main places means that there are tens of other states that do not have access to this facility.

There is a need for management at mayo clinic to establish other branches across the states and eventually internationally. It is a fact that Mayo clinic offers excellent services hence people far from these facilities have to travel a long way to the nearest health facility. The minimal geographical spread has seen other competitive facilities such as John Hopkins establish itself and offer health services in areas where Mayo clinic is absent. The dismal spread of business means that mayo clinic is losing customers to competitors.The second weakness for Mayo clinic can arise from its large scale operation. Services offered by healthcare professionals attached to Mayo clinic are broad. Whereas this may be seen as an advantage, it may interfere with specialization efforts.

Healthcare facilities are currently specializing in specific health conditions e.g. cancer, pediatric diseases etc. patients tend to visit facilities that offer specialized treatment. The lack of specialization at Mayo clinic may reduce its market (Porter, 2008). Additionally, large scale operational may leave the health facility incapable of making changes that suit the external environment. Any organization that aspires to remain competitive in its market must be open to change hence the need for flexibility. The faster a company can adapt to changes e.g. technological changes or treatment methods, the faster it offers up-to-date quality patient care.


The analysis of mayo clinic from the value chain and competitive relevance point of view has proven that an organizations processes and functions determine an organization’s ability to position itself against its competitors. Value chain activities such as technology development as found in Mayo clinic boosts the organization’s ability to render quality services. The ability to offer prompt services puts them ahead of competitors who continue to struggle with long queues and delayed service provision. Similarly, the maintenance an elaborate human resource ensures the presence of qualified professionals who guarantee quality patient care. An analysis of weaknesses also sheds light on factors that make mayo clinic less competitive than its rivals. It is essential for any organization to establish its weaknesses and make relevant adjustments so as to correct them.


Mayo Clinic (2013). Mayo clinic model for care. Retrieved from http://www.mayo.edu/pmts/mc4200-mc4299/mc4270.pdf

Porter, M. (2008). Competitive advantage. Simon and Schuster

Young, D. & Ballarin, E. (2006). Strategic decision-making in healthcare organization. International journal for health planning and management


Published in Management

Title: Gender role in literature: A comparison between The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Thurber) The Necklace (de Maupassant)

The representation of women in literature has greatly evolved from the Victorian time to modern writing.  The evolution of woman in literature can be classified into three main evolution periods that include the feminine, feminist and the female age. The feminine period represent a period in history from around 1840s to 1880s which was characterized by the use of male pseudonym. The feminist period began after 1800 to around 1920s while the female period persists up to date.  

The modernist error represents women as an independent being, able to do different things or to compete with men. Gender roles in matrimony are the tasks and activities performed by male and female partners. The society predominantly defines these roles. For centuries, these roles have remained intact. Conventional, the role of women, even in developed countries, were predefined. Men were expected to shoulder responsibilities of feeding and maintaining the household while women responsibility regarded child care and marinating the house. In traditional American society, men were typified as powerful, assertive, autonomous, aggressive and controlling (Benthin, 2009).

 Early literature presented women as housewives whose role was to stay at home, take of the family and children and remain inferior to men. However, the story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by Thurber represents a break from this representation of women. Thurber presents a strong, domineering woman. Contrary, Maupassant in his story “The Necklace” represents a woman in bondage. “The Necklace” is one of the most famous short stories by Maupassant. It tells the story of a disgruntled middle-class lady whose dreams of wealth and glamour ends in disaster. Mathidle, the main character of the story are 19th century typical French desperate housewife. Because she is a woman in a man’s world, she has almost no control over her life.

She finds herself married to a husband she does not care for, cooped up in a house she despises. Her desires are to be desirable to other men. However, she is frustrated because in spite of possessing all the “womanly” virtues such as she is charming, graceful and beautiful; she does not succeed to get men’s attention.  The woman is in a loveless marriage and has to toil all day to repay a necklace.  However, the two stories use marriage to construct the role of gender in the society. Often, women are depicted doing house chores, cooking, playing with Dolls and performing other “feminist” activities. Men is depicted as masculine, sporty and stronger than women.   

 Gender role in marriage

James Thurber is regarded as one of the greatest humorists in the America literary. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is one of the best ever known stories. The main character of the story is a middle-aged man (Witty) who escapes from the routine drudgery of his suburban life into the world of fantasies of heroic conquest. Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” is a story of a young woman, Mathilde, who desires dreadfully to be accepted into a high society. The story rotates on a necklace that Mathidle borrowed to impress in party. However, the necklace got lost, and she and her husband have to toil ten years to repay the lost necklace. The popularity of “Walter Mitty” fantasies resulted to the coining of the term “Walter Mitty type” to describe persons with particular neurotic and daydreaming characteristics.  

The representation of gender role is a break from the tradition where women are characterized as women, sexist and dominated by men. The story portrays a marriage in which the wife is domineering, controlling, and bossy while the husband, Walter Mitty is passive, submissive, and his wife’s control.  However, it can also be noted that Thurber portrays Mrs. Mitty as sexist. He portrays a unique marriage, which is controlled by a bossy wife. Mrs. Witty is depicted as aggressive, patronizing and arrogant. The story clearly presents a unique gender role reversal considering that Mrs. Witty is given the “expected” traits of Mr. Witty.  On the other hand, “the Necklace” presents a feminine woman.

 Maupassant gives the woman character conventional traits that are desirable to men.  Her desire was to be liked, envied, sought and seduced. She is in an unhappy marriage. Her husband is a middle class clerk.  She lives in a world dominated by men who control various aspects of her life.  Maupassant successfully depicts Mathidle emotional and sensitive, characteristics also characterized by feminist writers. The contrast in emotion is evident when Mathidle receives the news of her invitation to the big occasion. The author depicts a happy, jubilant lady who is eager to attend the occasion. However, when the husband hands her the invitation, she slams it to the door. Methidle reacts by sobbing bitterly.

She claimed that she did not have a nice dress to attend the party. She was agitated. This scene can be interpreted to indicate how female characters use emotion exploitation to solicit favors from men.  In the third scene of the story, Mathidle experiences the horrible life of the needy after incurring debts to repay the lost necklace. She dismisses her maid, and she and her husband are forced to rent a garret under eaves. She learns to clean, cook and do laundry. The emphasis given to these house chores undermines the role of woman in marriage. The woman is reduced to doing kitchen staff and laundry, which traditionally were used to define a typical obedient woman (Suzanne & Kroll, 2002).

 The secret life of Walter Mitty is a classical case where the societal expectations regarding gender roles are reversed. The society expects Mitty to be powerful, autonomous and self-determined. His wife, Mrs. Mitty, is expected to be submissive, and dedicated to taking care of her family. The existence of Mitty is presented as boring and controlled. It is only in his daydreaming and fantasies he achieve the typical traits of a “man.” He constantly imagines himself as a doctor, navy pilot commander, sharpshooter and a noble victim of a firing squad.

 The gender role of women has gradually transformed over time from the traditional perspective. Women are attaining more freedom and independence (West, 2007). However, gender discrimination still exists, and it is currently considered as a pertinent issue that requires the intervention of the society.  In the Victorian era, a woman was expected to be at home. Marriage was the expected career of a woman. Women were expected to be helpless and weak and incapable of solving problems, leave alone making sound decisions. Maupassant seems to represent this Victorian woman in the story “The necklace.” Methidle is completely dependent on her husband, and her chores are reduced to taking of the family.

The failures of Mr. Witty and his successes in the dreams are connected to gender role. The life of Witty is characterized by daily ridicule by women.  A good example is the women who hear Witty mumbling “puppy biscuit” on the street and his wife who is constantly nagging him.  Mitty is emotional separated from his wife completely, and it is as if they are thousands of miles apart. The emotional separation is emphasized by the desire to escape, for his wife is depicted as a pure harridan (Fisher & Silber, 2010).  His wife is depicted as a female protagonist who disobeys the “expected’ norm of the society.  In the story, the female character attempts to secure a relatively autonomous sense of self.

However, these desires are prolonged disengagement that is never fully achieved, is characteristically wrenching, and leaves a residue of guilt, a sense of failed responsibility, and even a sense of self-betrayal that cannot be finally overcome. Among women, Witty is depicted as subservient and an object of derision.  Walter fails to meet the traditional characteristics of masculine man. He is embarrassed by the inability to fix his car, when he attempts to replace tires he ends up winding the entire tires with chain and he had to seek assistance.  A “young” and “grinning” mechanic comes to tow his truck.  The description of the young mechanic implies that, the young and virile mechanic was laughing at the ignorance of Witty. This makes Witty feel emasculated.  

He resolves to take the car to a shop next time to have chains removed.  Often, Witty compensates his “inadequacies” or inabilities to meet convention expectations of masculinity in his daydreams.  The subject of his daydreams rotates around traditional expectation of masculine prowess. For example, he can comfortably hit a target that is three hundred feet away, he fixes sophisticated machinery with a common fountain pen, and he can walk bravely into war in his fantasy world. Thurber’s representation of gender may be suggesting that males in contemporary society are being weak and ineffectual while women are becoming increasingly aggressive.

On the other hand, Thurber may be suggesting that men are constantly lacking opportunities to perform meaningful, heroic actions, due to the economic constraints. Maupassant describes the female character with the word “she”. The word is used repeatedly in the beginning of the story to describe her, until the mention of her husband when she is referred as Mathidle. The use of the distant single pronoun with past verbs and failing to mention or refer the name or title gives an overwhelming meaning of paragraph. The paragraph indicates a lack of “identity” (Ahmad & Al-Makhzoumi, 2006).  This indicates the dominant role men play in giving women identity. At the end of the story, mathidle is referred as “madame Liosel.”

The title signifies her role in the marriage which is as a result of the new found identity after marriage.  In addition, Mathidle lost her name and assumed the name of her husband. This represents the patriarchy theory in which the man is the head of the family.  The character of Mathidle represents the status quo of traditional characterization of women. Her husband has to work for long hours so as to meet the needs of the family while the wife stayed at home.  Unlike Mitty who ends up heroic after years of fantasies, Mathidle does not achieve her desires. This signifies the will and determination of men as Mitty did not give up on all the ridicule, but pushed(Tao, Biaqiang, 2008).Scholar critics disagree on Thurber’s portrayal of women.

Blair and hill consider Thurber as a misogynist; she hates women.  They argue that Thurber view Mrs. Mitty as the one responsible for Mitty’s loss of independence and his incapacity to function. They believe that Thurber is opposed to strong, empowered and strong-willed women.  However, other critics such as Tobias, praises Thurber’s assertive female character.The historical context of the two stories reinforces their theme of gender role in marriage.  “The Necklace” was written in 1884 after the enactment of the Married Woman’s Property Act. Women were not allowed to own property until the late 19th century. Therefore, the story was written during an era when women had a great desire to break away from the societal bondage that often regarded them as inferior.

This period was characterized by numerous women activists fighting for women’s independence and autonomy (Sudha, 2000).  Mauppassant presents Mathdile as feminine character whose values are gauged in terms of her beauty. The secret life of Walter Milly was written shortly before the second war II (1939). This period was characterized by women’s independence, empowerment and autonomy.  The United States and other western countries were experiencing massive reformations, which enabled women to acquire formal education and take up competitive jobs.  The wife of Mitty presents such an empowered woman who is autonomous and independent. She is a perfect epitome of a reformed woman who has a rightful place in society.


The two stories represent different and contrast gender roles. “The Necklace” is a perfect example of sexism and oppression of women. Right from losing her right to choose her husband to all her efforts to please men, Mathdile represents a woman who is dominated by men.  In the entire story, the husband is the entire making decisions; he conceived the idea of lying to the owner of the necklace after it got lost, and the idea of borrowing money to repay the necklace was his.  

Power is held in public and domestic life, which depicts a picture of obedient and repressed women. Male chauvinism and pride dominate the story.   “The secret life of Walter Mitty” presents a reformed woman who defies the traditional perceptions of a woman. She is aggressive, controlling and empowered.  Walter, on the other hand, is depicted as a weak man, who is dominated by women, and uses fantasies to escape this reality. These stories reflect the evolution of gender role not only in literature, but also in society.


Ahmed & Al-Makhzoumi, (2006). The role of micro and macro elements in understanding a text: An analytical study of G. De Maupassant.  Najah University Journal. Vol. 20 (2),

Benthin, A. (2009). Redefining Gender Roles: The Image of Women in Virginia Woolf’s ‘To the Lighthouse’. GRIN Verlag

Fisher J. & Silber E (1998). Analyzing the different voices. Feminist psychological theory and literary texts.  Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Maryland, USA.

Kaufman (1994). “Things close in”: dissolution and misanthropy in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Studies in American fiction.

Sudha, D. (2000). Gender roles. New Delhi: APH Publishing

Suzanne I & Kroll J (2002). The classic readers theatre for young adults. The teacher Idea Press. New York, USA.

Tao, Biaqiang (2008). Identifying and Combating Sexism in EFL Textbook. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED502011.pd on 21/11/2013.

West, R. (2007). Marriage, sexuality and gender. Paradigm Publishers


Use of symbols and imagery in the Macbeth by William Shakespeare

 The writing of the Macbeth tragedy by William Shakespeare is usually dated to 1606, and scholarly opinion finds that the play appears to have been consciously written to appeal the political views of King James of Scotland, who had just succeeded Elizabeth I by becoming the English monarch.  James believed that the ruling monarch held a scared authority that was essential to maintain the order of the state and even the universe. The killing of the king, regicide, was the worst crime because it offended God and could not be justified.

 Elements that may seem unique to Macbeth such as its plot, structure, character, and theme reflects conventions and stories that Shakespeare shared with contemporary  dramatists, historians, critics, and their predecessors.  Shakespeare selection of events in the later part of the play, in which tyranny is manifested, permits Shakespeare to shape the play into a tragedy. In doing so, Shakespeare explores the psychology of power during Macbeth reign and political ramifications of his actions that lead to his demise.  The tragedy, therefore, serves as an important social function.  The effective use of imagery, symbolism and allegory, dramatic irony makes the reading of the play interesting.  Shakespeare combines imagery, symbolism and the use of blood and violence, which contributes to the understanding of the vicious nature of Macbeth.

They make the Macbeth a play of emotions, thoughts, and planning than of action.Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses imagery to create a vivid picture in the mind of the reader, which creative cover the horror and bloodshed in the play.   Shakespeare creates images that appeal very vivid to the senses, particularly to the sense of light. This enables us to imagine the metaphors very clearly, and understand the impact of images.  He also uses patterns of images linked to various themes, which help to clarify the themes for the audiences. Certain images are also linked to specific characters. The effective use of images that are interconnected makes the play unique.

One of the outstanding imagery is the image of light and darkness (Abhinandan, 2012).  Characters such as Duncan and Banquo are surrounded by daylight. Darkness form an all inclusive space where the reality dissolves and the protagonist start intermingling with his or her own identity and with other characters or events of the play at various levels.  In the play, darkness plays an important role in the developing conflict, progression of the action and the revelation of characters.  Shakespeare uses darkness to emphasize evil, wickedness, and negativity.

 At the beginning, Macbeth portrays darkness as a blanket to hide his evil and deadly deeds.  The three witches encountered on the way evoke darkness with thunder that gives the reader that something evil or frightening is going to take place.   In some instance in the play, Banquo defines the witches as an instrument of darkness due to their wickedness.  Macbeth also relies heavily on the darkness to murder the king.The blood imagery throughout the play creates the notion of inevitable guilt. It evokes the feeling of frustration, regrets, self-punishment and shame on the part of Macbeth.  In the play, blood symbolizes murder and guilt that characterize two of the main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Blood plays a great role in revealing Macbeth’s feelings about murder.  For example, the blood symbolism exposes the trepidation of Macbeth before he kills Duncan (McKinlay Sheinber, 2008).  He hallucinate a dagger floating before him, directing him to Duncan’s room.   His brain is “heat-oppressed” or feverish about the murder that it creates a symbol of murder and the bloody dagger. After killing Duncan, Shakespeare uses blood to illustrate Macbeth horror and guilt of his heinous act of killing Duncan.  Macbeth laments, “What hands are here! Ha! They pluck mine eyes.” He laments that the sight of the blood “metaphorically” rips his eyes out.

 This indicates his magnitude of shock after killing Duncan. He is not only shocked but also feels extremely guilty.    The symbol of blood is also used after Macbeth kills Banquo.  After killing Banquo, the ghost of Banquo appears to accuse and haunt Macbeth. He protests “thou canst not say I did it. Never shake/Thy gory locks at me.” this indicates that the ghost of Banquo is bloody.  The appearance of Banquo reveals Macbeth guilt.   Shakespeare uses the same symbol of blood to indicate Macbeth acceptance of his guilt.  Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth, “I am in blood…..should I wade no more.” In this metaphor, Macbeth says he has waded so far in the pool of blood, and it was difficult for him to turn back.  The blood symbol is also used to show Lady Macbeth attitudes to murder.


Shakespeare use effectively symbolism, imagery and allegory to create the tragic picture of the play. The effective of light and darkness and blood symbols and image create scenery that is horrific and scary. This enables the play to emotional. The constant use of darkness reveals the wickedness of characters while blood is used to illustrate the bloody encounters, death, suffering and fights in the play. The use of these literary devices made the reading of the play interesting despite the ancient English used. In addition, the play is short compared to other famous plays of Shakespeare such as the Romeo and Juliet and the Merchant of Venice.


Abhinandan Malas (2012). The Darkness in William Shakespeare’s Play Macbeth: A Study. International Journal in English. Vol.III Issue III

McKinlay Sheinber (2008). William Shakespeare. Macbeth. Oxford University Press.  Oxford, UK.

FET Phase (2005). X-Kit Literature Series: FET Macbeth.  Maskew Miller Longman.  New York, USA. 


Friday, 30 May 2014 15:11

The Road not Taken-Robert Frost

The Road not Taken-Robert Frost

Literary works are the results of a poet’s creative thinking and imaginations. Literary texts are written with the purposes of drawing a reader’s attention. Attention can be drawn using the styles that a writer uses structure of the literary work or the overall meaning of a literary text.  Writers produce literary text with a specific purpose, and in most instances these texts have a basic, as well as hidden meaning. This paper analyzes the poem the road not taken by Robert Frost. The poem is basically talking about two paths that the persona has encountered in a forest. Symbolically, the poem is about the tough life choices that a person has to make and how each choice influences a person’s life outcomes.


The literary text that captured my interest was the poem The Road not Taken by Robert Frost. The poem is captivating right from the topic as it is an indication that the poem is about making a major decision. The poem is about making a choice between available options. Ordinarily decision making based on several choices is not easy to make. This is because each of the choices has its pros and cons and whichever choice that a person makes will have consequences. The poem also captured my interest as it is symbolic of the daily life choices that a person can encounter in his life. The first line of the poem introduces readers to a life of choices. The line “two roads diverged in yellow wood” already puts readers in a choice situation (Frost, 1916).

There can only be two types of routes: the correct one and the wrong one. Overall, the poem discusses the issue of decision making and the ability of a person to live with their decisions.The formalist approach best describes Frost’s poem. The formalist approach investigates the ultimate effects that a literary work has on a reader. The formalist approach analyzes literature as a unique form of human intelligence that must be examined on its own terms. According to the formalist approach all elements needed to understand a literary text are within the literary text itself. In the poem “The path not taken”, Frosty integrates different elements that structure the poem.

The poem is mainly symbolic and presents a person who is in a dilemma with regard to the appropriate path to follow. The paths as presented in the poem do not represent physical roads, but life decisions as encountered in a person’s daily life. Frost also uses word pictures such as “two roads diverged in a wood…” (Frost, 1916))I used the one less travelled by…” word picture draw readers into the poem and makes him visualize the experience as told in the poem.From the formalist perspective, the poem “the path not taken” is a poem about life choices (Frost, 1916).

Every person lead their daily lives based on the life choices they make. The poem gives a message about life and indicates that life is about the choices we make. In most cases, it is impossible to revert on choices already made as these choices significantly impact a person’s life. The poem demonstrates that in life, there actually is no right path. Life is about choices made and each choice that a person makes has consequences. Each choice that a person makes brings with it new life twists and life changes. The main message of the poem is that man should strive to cease the moment with regard to life opportunities that present themselves.


The road not taken is a poem that symbolizes the twists of life and the face of tough choices in life. The poem utilizes symbolism where the paths in the forest represent the decisions that a person can face in the course of their lives. Imagers and alliteration have also been used.


Frost, R. (1916). The road not taken. Mountain Interval

Frost (2010). The road not taken, birches and other poems. Coyote Canyon press


Friday, 30 May 2014 15:02

Pink Elephant

Pink Elephant

Evaluative report

Historical and practical, quality initiativesHow can learning from the past, inform the present, when trying to embed continual service improvement?


Service economy has experienced a tremendous growth in the past years due to service-oriented thinking. IT departments have adopted approaches like the IT service management (ITSM) especially the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). This paper will show how ITSM and Total Quality Management form a good recipe for Continuous Service Improvement. Continual service improvement deals with aligning and realigning the services of IT in accompany to the changing needs of a business.

The main essence of Continual Service improvement is to align IT services to the changing needs of a business by implementing and identifying improvements to IT services that support the processes of a business. CSI on improvement perspective is also the perspective of a business towards service quality. This is despite the fact that the aim of CSI is to improve efficiency, process effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the IT process within a whole lifecycle. For CSI to manage improvements, there is the need to define the aspects to be measured and controlled. This paper will provide an in-depth literature review of various academic sources and publications that focus on the existing approaches of quality management.

These sources will be used to research information and data on quality management frameworks and theories.The vital theories on quality management and vital contributions are specifically linked to quality gurus who will be discussed in the first section of the literature review. The paper will present the main success factors of total quality management proposed by these gurus, and how they have impacted contemporary quality management frameworks. There will also a detailed review of best practice frameworks, and relevant, quality management standards. After the literature review section, there will be the second part where I will synthesize the key points that show how the mentioned practical and historical quality initiatives can help us to learn from the past in informing the present by incorporating the earlier practices as part of continual service improvement.


The main goal of service management is to ensure that the services of IT align to the needs of a business and to support IT activities. It is essential for IT services to assist in the business processes and to enact IT act as the vital agent towards change and in business transformation. All organizations rely on IT for their success. When IT services and processes are implemented and supported in an appropriate manner, a business will be more successful and will suffer fewer losses and disruption of productive hours, increase revenues, reduce costs, achieve business goals and objectives and finally improve public relations.

Studies have shown various quality aspects that have to be considered in resource management, contract administration and management of relationships. These aspects further add value to a business. There are many aspects to learn from practical and historical quality initiatives that can be used to inform the current practices of continual service improvements. This study will use practitioner, publications and academic paper dealing with quality improvement and its benefits to a business process, products, partners and people. The quality improvement issues are based on various techniques, frameworks, approaches and models that will be analyzed in this paper. From the past studies I will be able to draw conclusions on change, security and ethical elements that impact quality practices of an organization and the overall success of the organization.

 Literature review

Total Quality Management

This section will present literature related to Quality Assurance, quality control and Total quality Management. The main contribution is from quality gurus and a summary of the vital success factors of TQM will be highlighted. ITIL as successors or of TQM will be discussed by showing its relation to TQM.The American Society for Quality defines quality as the subjective word that every sector and the person has its definition (ASQ, 2002, P 56). This association goes ahead to show that the technical usage of quality has two main roles. First is that it is a service or product of deficiencies and the second meaning I the service or products characteristic that determine the ability to satisfy an implied or stated need.

Crosby (1979) and Shewhart (1931) showed that quality acts as representatives of two states that are different. They can be the actual or preferred states. Thus, the aspects of quality are defined on the basis on whether or not they conform to a given set of requirements. Juran (1974) and Feigenbaum (1986) define quality on the basis of customer satisfaction and an instance where the satisfaction of customers is the preferred state and the received concrete service or product are the actual state. Garvin (1987) presented the 8 dimensions of product quality, which are conformance, reliability, performance, durability, features, aesthetics, perceived quality and serviceability.The Deming prize committee defines TQM as a set of different systematic activities conducted by the whole organizations so as to efficiently and effectively achieve the objectives of a company.

This is with the goal of providing services and products at top quality level so as to satisfy customers at the best price and time (JUSE, 2007, p2).The philosophies of Crosby, Juran, and Deming do provide the vital principles that form the basis of total quality (Mohseni, 2003, p 293). TQM is a framework that is commonly applied as an approach for quality management. TQM focuses on the satisfaction of customers, its result –oriented and emphasizes on participatory management (Milakovich 2004). The main principles of TQM according to Dean and Bowen (1994) are continuous improvement and customer focused. Others have suggested other principles based on the teachings of Deming (Deming, 1982), such as process improvement as being the central element of TQM initiative (Hickman & Wageman 1995).

 Quality gurus

Walter Shewhart is perceived as the founder of the modern movement of quality (Sower & Fair 2005; Wilcox 2004). He urges that quality has a subjective and objective aspect. He also urges that though it is possible to measure the objective elements of quality since they are part of human existence, the subjective aspects do have a greater importance. These aspects of quality include how we sense, feel and think (Shewhart, 1931, p 53). Processes do also have subjective variations on both the meeting of customers needs (subjective aspect) and conformance to requirements (objective aspect). These processes according to Shewhart are two variations coming from two different sources which are.

 1. aspects that detect a problem in the system

2. A chance that occurs as part of the system (Stewhart, 1925).

 Based on these two branches, he established a chart that indicates the statistical basis to help in differencing these two categories of variations. He also came up with the continual improvement cycle known as the Plan- Do-Check –Act that was later enhanced by Deming (1982).Deming Edward, in most of his career time, in America, developed the earlier work of Shewhart. He adapted the Plan - Do-Check –Act cycle by Shewhart and is now referred to as the Deming Cycle on Plan -DO-Study-Act. He is also known for improving the fast recovering of the Japanese manufacturing sector after the Second World War (Petersen, 1999). At the Japan manufacturing sector, he pushed senior managers to be involved actively in initiatives for quality improvements (Bendell, Penson & Carr 1995).

Based on his teaching, he influenced the development of Japan Product quality that is now known all over the world (JUSE, 2007). Deming (1982) viewed quality as predictable dependability and uniformity at a low cost in the production of a product desired by the market (p.176).Deming further emphasized that quality improvements lead to an improved competitive position and productivity. He states that the customer is the most central person within the whole production line (p 174). On the top management, Deming showed that they are the most responsible people in cases of quality challenges in the organization caused by their failure of lack of providing appropriate working environment and poor quality standards.

The commitment of the top management to quality improvement according to Deming is vital to any efforts of TQM.Though this philosophy by Deming was earlier based on improving services and products through reduction of variability in manufacturing processes and design and other uncertainties that were only based on statistical quality control, he later started to focus on management aspects. He proposed fourteen points that support TQM (Deming 1982), which are currently viewed as the 7 action plan.

Generally the management proposed by Deming is about the development of an organizational system that supports learning and corporation and which result to the facilitation of implementing management practices within processes leading to continuous improvement of services, products and processes so as to attain employee satisfaction and finally customer satisfaction leading to the survival of a business ((Anderson, Rungtusanatham & Schroeder1994, p. 473).Juran also lectured in Japan. He stated that [problems of quality are due to top management. His definition of quality is based on the ‘fitness for use” concept which emphasizes on the importance of satisfy the needs of customers and to identify their needs. Juran is credited for presenting the costs that result from poor quality and how these costs can be used to improve the quality. The four main aspects that Juran identified related to quality costs (Juran 1974);

 • Prevention costs such as training and quality planning

• Appraisal costs like quality audits

• Costs for external failure, such as defects after shipment of products and

• Internal costs failure ; defects found before shipping.

 Juran further argues that quality does not occur by accident. It has to be planned (Juran & Gryna 1988), thus leading him to establish his quality trilogy that comprises of quality improvement, quality control and quality planning ( Juran, 1988).Feigenbaum Armand is considered as the founder of quality control (Bendel, Penson, and Carr, 1995). He urged that an important element in the organization is quality since it is the force behind growth and success of an organization. He identified that quality control has four main stages which are (Feigenbaum, 1986):

 • Setting the standards of quality

• Appraisal conformance to the set standards

• Taking the right actions when standards are not followed

• Plans on improvements.

 Feigenbaum urged that when the operating quality reduces, the end results for developing a total quality system will fail due to lack of effective and existing customer- orientated standards of quality. Therefore, this means that the optimal quality of products will not be attained. Another reason that Feigenbaum gave for the failure is due to expenditure for prevention costs that lead to reduction of external and internal failure costs (Feigenbaum, 1886).Isikawa Kaoru promoted and integrated the seven tools for quality improvements during the 1960s (Mach & Guaqueta 2001). He also showed the effect and cause diagram known as the fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram.

Through his work, Ishikawa managed to advance the idea of quality control for companies in Japan by use of various quality tools and quality circles that help to understand the main causes of laity problems. Ishikawa (1986) states, “practice quality control is aimed to design, develop, and produce a quality product as services in a useful, economical and in a satisfactory way to customers” (p 44).Crosby Philip is mainly known for his published work, “Quality his Free” (Crosby, 1979). To Crosby, quality is about conformance to quality, and he coined the terms “zero defects” (Crosby, 1979, p 15).

Motwani (2001a) indicates that authors who implement the zero defect principle do give the right attitude of getting it right at the first time within a quality program (Motwani, p 295).Crosby suggested fourteen steps for quality improvement and was the first one to propose the idea of maturity. The maturity grid for quality improvement has five main levels that describe the various stages and aspects involved in quality management maturity. The first is the management of attitude and understanding, followed by quality organization status, followed by handling of a problem, then cost of quality in sales percentage, actions for quality improvement and finally a summary of quality posture within the organization. Researchers and organizations have polarized and adapted this concept proposed by Crosby (CMU/SEI 2006).


From the discussion above, it is clear that TQM is all about customer satisfaction. ITIL mainly uses the idea of Deming cycle of total quality management. The Plan- Do-Study-Act do form the main components of ITIL. The framework suggest that the use of Deming Cycle enhances the services provided through quality management by ensuring that results are consistent with quality standards.The ITIL framework follows a lifecycle approach. ITIL HAS five main elements in its lifecycle, which are transition, designs, strategy, continual improvement and operation which are closely related to Deming PDCA model. ITIL uses functions and processes which build up one another. ITIL labels its components as activities or processes. Within this framework, the PDCA improvement approach is applied all through the framework. This results into a best-practice guidance that can be followed partly or fully in addressing problems.

The ITSM language is consistent within the framework. ITIL has the ability to separate incident calls from requests of operational services and in Case of request changes. ITIL works from the documented best practice at every single phase.The Concept on quality is free as proposed by Cosby in addressing the manufacturing aspect of the time. This method addresses the same elements on quality, reliability, consistency and peace of mind involved in the delivery of IT services. Operations are part of a business and have to be measured as one (Crosby, 1979). Randy Steinberg in the book, “Measuring ITIL” indicates that IT needs to act and run like a business and that IT has to incorporate most practices involved in businesses management through the operating services.

Quality is everything in ITIL. This is because when a customer faces problems and seeks help from the service desk, the help desk will try to find solutions through IT.Ishikawa Diagram IS a useful diagram for the process of problem management and is often used by many businesses, and it is a very crucial tool when used with other processes that investigate the root causes of problems such as PROACT and ITIL (Gacenga, Cater-Steel, Telemann, Tan, 2011).Feigenbaum insists on having frameworks and guidelines to help organizations meet customer demand. This same aspect is emphasized by ITIL in need of continual improvement through improving organizations capabilities, and flexibility to respond to opportunities.

Adopting ITIL framework involves benefits such as service improvement on best practice processes, reduced costs, improved customer satisfaction, improved productivity and improved skills and experience. From the literature review studies have not examined the factors that impact on the implementation of IT and ARE functions. Studies indicate various common aspects that help in Continuous quality improvement and ITIL framework. First is the concept of process management mentioned by Deming (1986) and Crosby, (1996). Quality management is the belief that product and service improvement are all about improving processes (Deming, 1986 and Crosby 1996). Deming urges that processes are the main cause to quality problems.

These previous studies show that management of processes will lead to proper performance of CSI (Praeg, Claus-Peter, Spath, 2011).Deming, 1986 also shows that measurement has a vital role in the implementation of quality management no matter the size of an organization. This shows that it is essential to designs features for measures that identify the current CSI capabilities and indicate areas for improvement in order to attain the expected goals. Carroll (1995), however, urges that measurement establishment for software development is not valid, straightforward, and reliable in software use (Steinberg, 2006).

On continuous improvement, Deming (1986) argues that it is vital to have a systematic approach for continuous improvement. This shows that improvement is not a one-time event as seen in his Do-check-ACT cycle. This concept is now part of the CSI field as seen in the studies (Rai and Ravichndran 1999; ISO90003 2004 and Isaac et al, 2004).The studies also place emphasis on customer focus (Crosby, 1996, Deming 1986). These studies encourage organizations to understand the needs of customers and what they will want in the future. Therefore, focus on customers play a significant role in improving customer satisfaction and quality of services for the success of the whole system (Lin and Shao, 2000).


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Published in Social Sciences
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:54

GE’s Innovation Capabilities

 GE’s Innovation Capabilities

General Electric (GE) is an American multinational company (General Electric, 2013). It is a conglomerate whose core businesses include manufacturing of consumer and industrial appliances, capital finance, technology infrastructure, and energy. The firm is ranked as the 26th largest company in the United States by the Fortune 500 (General Electric, 2013). The success of GE is largely driven by technology. Technology is an essential resource for GE. The firm has used this resource to drive innovation and achieve a competitive edge.  Technology has enabled GE to create a platform that invites innovative ideas, and that fosters the creation of new products, markets, services and new customers.

 Technology and Innovation

GE has managed to leverage technology in order to enhance innovation and create a competitive advantage. The company has committed resources towards developing technology in areas such as aero-thermal and mechanical systems, manufacturing and material technologies, chemical engineering, and diagnostic and biomedical technologies.  The establishment of the Brazil Technology Center is evidence of GE’s commitment towards investing in technology in create a competitive edge. The Brazil Technology Center is GE’s fifth research and development facility. The center is expected to accommodate 24,000 square meters of testing and laboratory space (Porodi, 2013). The center has over 60 people, mostly engineers and scientists. GE invested R $ 500 million in the center in order to increase the pace of innovation.

 How GE has used Technology Resources to Gain Competitive Advantage

General electric has used it technology resources in order to foster research and development activities. Research and development are a key pillar of GE innovation capabilities. The Brazil Technology Center and the other four centers were specifically built in order to drive research and development activities. Research and development have enabled GE to delivering the right products to consumers. Research and development activities have enabled the organization to identify critical needs of the customers and design products that address these needs. For instance, the GE’s GeoSpring hybrid electric water heater was designed to address consumer’s desire to conserve the environment and save money (Moorman, 2013).

General electric has also used technology to foster collaboration between GE and its partners. Collaboration is also critical driver of GE’s innovation capability and a key source of competitive advantage. GE innovativeness has been fostered by the company’s willingness to work with entrepreneurs. One approach that GE has used to foster collaboration with entrepreneur is through organizing contests such the Ecomagination Challenge. This collaboration enables GE to cast a wide net in order to attract new and diverse business ideas. The Brazil Technology Center extends GE’s opportunity for collaboration. The Brazil Technology center has also been established to foster collaboration. GE’s collaboration effort is also extended to its customers.

Access GE is one of the technological solutions that GE has developed in order to improve interaction between GE and its customers. Access GE is a web-based portal that enables customers to access the GE’s team for technical and other forms of assistance. The Experienced commercial leadership is another strategy that GE has used to foster collaboration and innovation. This is two- year post-MBA program that seeks to develop future leaders and change the company’s traditional views about product development.  The graduates introduce new perspectives and unique talent into the organization. Embracing diverse view points is an essential driver of innovation.Technology resources have also enabled GE to develop new markets (Moorman, 2013). Many technology companies concentrate on delivering their products on developed markets.

Many of these products are designed to work in these developed markets, and are not compatible with the environment within the developing countries. GE has achieved success by leveraging technology to modify products in order to make them suitable for developing markets. For instance, GE was able to use technological innovation to establish a connection between MRI machines and wind turbines (Moorman, 2013). This innovation has enabled the company to supply MRI machines to areas that do not have conventional sources. It has also enabled the company to reduce the cost associated with operating the MRI machines.GE has also leverage of technology to create an efficient supply chain. The supply chain refers to the channel followed before the product is delivered to the final consumers (Dong, Xu, Zhu, 2009).

It entails purchasing of raw materials from suppliers, logistics, production, storage, and distribution. The supply chain has a significant impact on the overall aspects of the organization. This is because this chain affects critical functions of the organization and has an impact on the value that customers are able to receive. GE has managed to integrate its supply chain and create mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers (Moorman, 2013). GE is also able to use information technology to coordinate all processes along the supply chain including procurement and downstream sales and customer service. Technology has enable GE to share information with its suppliers, as well as, customers thus enhancing the process of value addition.

 Evidence of Distinctive Competency in Area of Innovation

Distinctive competency refers abilities that an organization possesses which are difficult for other organization to copy (Collis & Montgomery, 2008). Distinctive capabilities give a firm an edge over competing firms. They are the sources of competitive advantage within companies. Evidence of distinctive competency can be derived by assessing the performance of an organization against its competitors.GE has gained a strong position in the technology market. In 2012, the company’s made an operating profit of $ 22.9 billion (General Electric, 2013).

This figure represented an 11% growth in profits from the previous year. The company was able to record this performance despite its key markets, United States and Europe, having economic challenges. The company has managed to position itself in this challenging economic environment. The company was also able to post returns of over $ 12.4 billion to investors through dividends and stock buy-back. This amount represented dividend growth of 21% (General Electric, 2013). Since the year 2000, the company has paid a total of $ 106 billion as dividends. This figure is only second to dividends paid by Shell during the same period.The company has also managed to build deep relationship with customers. GE revenues have increased from $ 21 billion to $ 43 billion in the last 10 years (General Electric, 2013).

About 75% of these revenues are generated through the sale of services. The demand for GE services has increased due to the company’s ability to establish mutually beneficial relationships with its customers. The company has adopted solutions-oriented selling model in order to enhance its capacity to deliver products that match the customer’s needs.GE has also recorded remarkable growth of its business in past years. In 2002, the company acquired Enron Wind Corporation asset entrenching its control in this wind power market (Moorman, 2013). This is evidence of the distinctive capabilities that GE has managed to establish within this market.

The company plans to invest $60 trillion in infrastructure by the year 2030 in order to support the growing demand for its product (General Electric, 2013). Currently, a third of GE’s revenues are obtained from businesses that were not part of the company 10 years ago. The company has ventured into new businesses such as Gas and Oil, as well as, life sciences. This growth provides evidence of GE ability to develop distinctive capabilities. GE is still the leading company in advanced manufacturing. The company is also making big strides in areas such as software development, oil and gas, and power and water businesses.  


Organizations have different resources. These resources can be classified into tangible, intangible and human resources. The Resource Based View Model has introduced a new approach where organization used resources to develop competitive advantage. According to this model, resources can enable an organization to develop distinctive capabilities, overcome weaknesses and threats, as well as, take advantage of opportunities. One of the key resources for GE is technology. This resource has enabled the organization to develop distinctive capabilities such as innovation, ability to deliver a variety of products, ability to develop new markets, and efficiency.  


Collis D. & Montgomery C. (2008). Competing on Resources. November 8, 2013. http://hbr.org/2008/07/competing-on-resources/ar/1

Dong S. Xu S. & Zhu K. (2009). Information Technology in Supply Chains. Information Systems Research. 20 (1): 18- 32

General Electric (2013). GE 2012 Annual Report. November 8, 2013. http://www.ge.com/ar2012/#!report=home

Moorman C. (2013). GE’s Organizational Platform for Innovation. November 8, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinemoorman/2013/01/29/marketing-in-a-technology-company-ges-organizational-platform-for-innovation/

Moorman C. (2013). Payoffs from GE’s Innovation. November 8, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinemoorman/2013/01/31/payoffs-from-ges-innovation-platform/

 Porodi B. (2013). Brazil Technology Center: Speeding the Pace of Innovation. November 8, 2013. http://ge.geglobalresearch.com/blog/brazil-technology-center-speeding-the-pace-of-innovation/


Published in Education
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:43

Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) Plc

Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) Plc

Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) is a highly diversified company that deals with the production and distribution of building materials. It is an international organization that operates in over 35 countries and employees over 76,000 people (CRH, 2013). The company was established through the merger of two Irish companies; Roadstone Limited and Cement Limited. Since its establishment, the group has experienced significant growth through acquisition and other strategies. In 2012, the group earned €18.7 billion in revenues, and an operating profit of €1.075 billion (CRH, 2013). CRH focuses on three core businesses; extracting primary materials; adding value to building materials, and distribution of building materials. CRH core products include cement, bitumen, ready mixed concrete, and chemical lime (CRH, 2013). CRH is a public company with its stock listed in the London Stock Exchange, the Irish Stock Exchange, and the New York Stock Exchange.   

 Vision and Mission

CRH vision is to become a global leader in building material, deliver sustainable returns to shareholders and reduce its dependence on a single market through achieving a balance in its product portfolio and geographical presence (CRH, 2013). This vision is the foundation of CRH corporate strategies. The company has established exposures to all segments of the construction industry, enabling the company to diversify its product. The company has also expanded across different geographical regions. Europe is CRH largest market, but the company has operations in other markets including the developing economies.

 SWOT Analysis


Strengths are factors within a company that present advantages to the company (Collis & Montgomery, 2008). A strong financial position is a major point of strengths for CRH. CRH has recorded remarkable financial performance in the last decade. In 2012, the firm made revenues of over €18.7 billion and an operating profit of over €1.075 billion (CRH, 2013). Financial resource can be a major source of strength for an organization is it enables an organization to finance activities such as marketing. Financial resources also enable an organization to attract, motivate and retain the best talent. Financial resources have also been a key driver of CRH aggressive growth strategies. In the last decades, the company has acquired tens of companies in Europe and other parts of the world (Jarrar & Smith, 2011).

This acquisition would not be possible without a strong financial base. CRH financial position has provided the organization with a cheap option of financing capital projects and other activities such as corporate social responsibility initiatives. Strong financial performance also increases the credit rating of an organization thus enhancing the ability of the organization to raise funds.A diversified product portfolio is also a key area of strength for CRH. CRH operates a diversified product portfolio from cement, glass, and bitumen to communication systems (CRH, 2013).

Having a diversified product portfolio gives CRH a multiple stream of income thus increasing the company’s revenues. The diversified product portfolio also cushions the organization from risks that affect a given product. For instance, a decline in the price of cement will not have a devastating impact on the operations of CRH because the company deals with other numerous products (Jarrar & Smith, 2011). In addition, the diversified product proposal increases CRH appeals to customers because it boosts the company’s ability to fulfill multiple needs of the customer under one roof.A diversified market is also key point of strength for the organization. CRH has established a strong presence in key European countries such as the UK, Germany, and Poland.

The company has also ventured into developing economies such as India and China (CRH, 2013). CRH has also established operations in the American continent. Geographical diversification has expanded the company’s market thus leading to an increase in the company’s revenues. Geographical diversification also cushions CRH from geopolitical risks. For instance, the economic turmoil in Europe has not had a devastating impact on CRH because the company has operations outside the European region.A large scale of operation is also a major strength for CRH. CRH operates in over 35 countries and has over 3500 operation sites in these countries 9CRH, 2013). The large scale of operation exposes the company to a wide market thus increasing the company’s revenues.

It also enables the company to take advantage of economies of scale (Jarrar & Smith, 2011). This is because the company can acquire goods and services in bulk giving it a massive bargaining power. The large scale of operation also increases the firm capacity to provide materials and services at the lowest price. The ability to take advantage of economies of scale reduces organizational cost thus enabling the firm to offer low prices. The large scale of operation also enables the firm to serve a large volume of customers thus requiring a small profit margin in order to make the desired profits. The large volume of customers will compensate for a small profit margin and enable the company to make the intended profits. A small profit margin also means low prices for the consumer.


            A weakness refers to factors within an organization that present disadvantages to the organization. Product diversification is a major point of strength for CRH. However, this organizational characteristic can also become a weakness. Organizations that focus on developing multiple products often fail to develop distinct competency due to lack of specialization (Jarrar & Smith, 2011). Focusing on multiple product lines means that CRH has to divide its resources, and energy among all these product line. This can hinder the organization from achieving the full potential of the company in terms of product development.

Diversification can also hinder innovation with an organization because the company has divided its attention among multiple product lines (Jarrar & Smith, 2011). It hinders the organization from focusing its resources on one product. Product diversification also leads to the creation of complex organizational structure, which increases the number of decision-making channels. Similarly, market diversification also presents a number of disadvantages to CRH. First, market diversification can hinder CRH ability to meet and exceed customer expectations (Burger, 2010). Customer satisfaction has become the ultimate goal of all organizations that intend to survive the modern business environment.

Customer satisfaction can only be achieved when an organization is able to meet and surpass the expectations of customers. Different markets have different characteristics, needs and expectations (Burger 2010). Therefore, products that meet the needs of one market may fail to meet the needs of another market. Thus, geographical diversification can limit customer satisfaction by delivering standardized products to markets that have different needs and characteristics. Market diversification hinders an organization from focusing its attention and resources towards meet the needs of a given market. This is because the company has to divide its attention and resource among different markets.

This can also limit the ability of the firm to deliver optimal satisfaction to customers.A large scale of operation also exposes CRH to various weaknesses. The most significant weakness is that the large scale of operation reduces CRH flexibility in terms of responding to changes in the external environment. Large organizations tend to have complex and bureaucratic organizational structures (Castan & Fariza, 2009). These structures are necessary because they define the relationship between employees thus enhancing coordination and creating order. However, the complex structure may slow down decision making processes (Castan & Fariza, 2009). This may make CRH slow in terms of responding to opportunities and threats in the external environment.



Opportunities are factors outside the organization that present advantages to the organization. One of the opportunities for CRH is the rapid growth within the developing economies. CRH has ventured into developing economies such as China and India (Jones, 2013). These countries have recorded remarkable economic growth in the past decades. Rapid economic growth in correlated with increased construction activities, which present an opportunity for CRH. The rapid economic growth has also led to growth of the middle class within these countries. This is likely to increase the demand for improved housing facilities thus increasing demand for residential construction. This also presents an opportunity for CRH.  Currently, India accounts for 4% of the global construction market share while China accounts for 18% of the market share (Jones, 2013).

Growth is also anticipated in other emerging economies such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia.Another opportunity is the rebound of the US housing industry. In 2012, United States sales contributed to 45% of CRH total revenues (Catts, 2012). This figure marks a significant improvement in the US market. The number of new houses that were started in the month of October 2012, rose by 3.6 percent. The US market has begun to lift itself off from the economic crisis that devastated the housing industry. This trend presents an opportunity for CRH to expand its influence in the American market and increase revenues. Jones (2013) has projected that the three markets; India, China, and the United States, will account for 60% of construction growth by the year 2025.

Urbanization, especially in developing economies, also presents a significant opportunity to CRH. Urbanization refers to the movement of human populations from rural areas to urban centers (KPMG, 2012). Urbanization is on the increase in many countries around the world. It is projected that over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban centers by the year 2050 (KPMG, 2012). This trend presents immense opportunity to CRH. This is because urban growth is likely to increase demand for residential houses. This will, in turn, increase the demand for construction products. Urban growth will also increase demand for office and business space leading to a further increase in the demand for construction products. 


Threats are factors outside the control of the company but which present disadvantages to the company. Environmental concerns are among the major threats facing the construction industry. Emerging fears of climate change and environmental degradation are piling pressures on societies to implement strict environmental laws and policies. For instance, there is increased pressure on governments to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 50% (Moule, 2013).  Implement such an environmental policy will have a significant impact on CRH production. The company will incur huge expenses in trying to develop production technologies that will minimize greenhouse gas emission from its factories.

Environmental policies can have a significant impact on CRH since the company deals with extraction of primary products.Inflation is also a significant threat to CRH’s operations. Inflation refers to the increase in the prices of commodities. Inflation will affect the activity of CRH in various ways (Moule, 2013). First, inflation will increase the cost of acquiring materials for the company. This is likely to increase the cost of production, increase prices of the firm’s product, and/ or eat into the company’s profits. Similarly, inflation will also increase the cost of labor. Currently, CRH employs over 75,000 people (CRH, 2013). Inflation will increase the cost of living for these employees compelling the company to increase their salaries.

This implies that the company will incur large labor costs thus affecting prices and profits. In addition, inflation will also affect the purchasing power of potential consumers thus reduce the demand for housing. This will, in turn, reduce the demand for construction products thus affecting the company’s revenues.The economic condition in Europe is also a significant threat to CRH. The European region has been largely affected by the Eurozone crisis (KPMG, 2012). Most economies in this region have declined. The economic crisis has affected CRH in various ways.

The crisis has led to low purchasing power of consumers thus decreasing the demand for houses. This has, in turn, affected the demand for CRH. Europe is CRH major market and, therefore, a reduction in the demand for CRH products is bound to have a major impact on the company’s performance. There are fears that the economic crisis in Europe will persist further affecting the demand for CRH products.

 Company and Industry Success Factors

The construction industry comprises of suppliers of construction materials, and firms involved in constructing, demolishing, and renovating buildings and other structures. One the critical success factors in the construction industry is leadership (Kivark & Arslan, 2009). Leaders provide an organization with a vision and a sense of direction. The inspire confidence among other members of the organization and inspire them to work towards the goals of the organization. Without good leadership, an organization is likely to pull in different directions. Leadership introduces synergy into the organization thus enabling the organization to succeed. Leadership is closely related to management. Management refers to skills in planning, organizing and coordinating the activities of an organization (Kivark & Arslan, 2009).

The company leaders must also posses the skills required to plan for strategies that will lead to the realization of the company’s vision.  In this competitive environment, organization must make long term plans on how they intend to compete against fierce rivals.Another critical factor is the financial condition of the firm. Construction is a capital intensive business (Kivark & Arslan, 2009). Construction companies require a large financial outlay in order to manufacture construction products or undertake construction projects. Thus, a company must have the ability to mobilize financial resources in order to succeed in this business. The third success factor is favorable economic condition. The construction industry is highly sensitive to the economic conditions within the market (Moule, 2013).

Poor economic conditions result in depreciation of property value thus discouraging demand for housing products. Similarly, purchasing a house or property is a significant investment that requires significant financial investments from consumer. Poor economic conditions affect the purchasing power of consumers that causing a significant drop in the demand for construction products.Operational efficiency is also a key success factor in the construction industry. Inflation has been identified as one of the significant threats to the construction industry (Kivark & Arslan, 2009). Inflation has threatened to increase the cost of production, therefore, increase the prices of the final products.

Similarly, inflation affects the purchasing power of consumers. In order to sustain demand for construction product, construction companies need to ensure that these products remain affordable amidst inflationary pressure. The only way this can be achieved in through increase operational efficiency. CRH has invested in plants, equipments, and technologies with the aim of improving its operational efficiency.Employee development is also a critical success factor for construction companies. The construction industry has become extremely competitive (Kivark & Arslan, 2009).

Players within this industry have to find sustainable sources of competitive advantage. Short term sources of competitive advantage such as price are easily replicated by competitors thus eroding the firm competitive edge. The easiest way to develop distinctive advantage is by investing in employee development. Human resources strategies are difficult to replicate since they entail cultural and behavioral elements, which are difficult to copy. Similarly, human resource development can support other distinctive advantages such as innovation, superior customer service, and efficiency.

 CRH Driving Forces

One of CRH driving forces is an aggressive growth strategy. The company has adopted a rigorous cash generation and capital allocation strategy in order to fuel the company’s growth (CRH, 2013). CRH focuses on reinvesting it existing assets and acquiring well-run businesses in order to gain access to new development activities and create a platform for future growth. The company has made various vertical and horizontal integrations in the developed and developing economies in order to enhance the company’s position. In 2013 alone, CRH has completed takeovers worth over $ 513 million (CRH, 2013). CRH acquisition strategy has enabled the group to establish a strong production and distribution network in different geographical locations.

Accessibility to primary material is also a critical driver for CRH (CRH, 2013). The group runs integrated primary material businesses that own long-term reserves in CRH major markets. The company’s integration strategy has exposed it to long-term permitted building materials reserves totaling 15 million tons. Availability of primary materials has been a key feature in CRH growth.Ability to deliver a wide range of quality products has also been a key driver of CRH success. In the modern business environment, customers prefer an organization can provide quality products in the most convenient ways. CRH manufactures a wide variety of products for use in commercial and residential construction projects (CRH, 2013).

These products include building systems, construction accessories, clay bricks and blocks, aluminum glazing systems, architectural glass, architectural concrete products, communication, and transportation systems. CRH’s ability to deliver a variety of products enhances the firm’s ability to fulfill multiple needs of clients thus providing the client a convenient experience.  In addition, CRH has made investments in modern plants and equipments in order to improve the quality of its products. This has enabled the group to improve the levels of customer satisfaction.A highly motivated workforce is another driving force of the organization. CRH employs over 75,000 people across 35000 locations (CRH, 2013). CRH has adopted a decentralized structure and entrepreneurial environment in order to empower its employees and foster innovation.

The company is also committed toward developing the skills and leadership capabilities of its workers. CRH has a strong succession strategy that aims at promoting the values of the organization and supporting the careers of its employees. The company’s human development strategy focuses on assigning challenging tasks to employees and providing targeted mentoring and coaching. The company also provides formal education and training programs to its employees. This environment has enabled CRH to attract, motivate and retain the best talent.Corporate social responsibility is also key part of CRH operations. CRH recognizes that it is part of societies in which it operates and has remained committed towards fulfilling its responsibilities towards these societies (CRH, 2013).

 Environment and climate change are some of the major areas of concern when it comes to corporate social responsibility. CRH focuses on developing the highest standards in environmental protection. The group has developed extensive programmes that seek to improve energy efficiency, increase recycling, reduce waste, and optimize water use. CRH is on target to meet its pledge to reduce carbon emission by 15% of its 1990 levels (CRH, 2013). The company has also established programs for rehabilitating worked-out queries and pits and maintaining biodiversity in areas where these operations existed. Also at the heart of CRH corporate social responsibility initiatives are people and communities. CRH supports local communities through the provision of employment opportunities and support for community enterprises and projects.

 Use of International Strategic Alliance in CRH

Strategic alliance is a partnership created by parties to pursue a common objective but remain separate entities (Wakeam, 2013). Use of strategic alliances has been a key strategy for growth in CRH. CRH has entered into strategic alliances with various companies in order to gain access to new markets and opportunities. Joint ventures enable the company to establish its operations in a new market within a short time and minimize the risks associated with operating in strange market. CRH has entered into strategic alliances with companies such as Semapa leading to the creation of joint venture known as Secil (CRH, 2013).


CRH is a major player in the global construction industry. The company manufacturers and distribute diverse construction production to various markets around the world. Europe is CRH major market. However, the firm has operations in other regions including the US, South America, India and China. The company has various strengths including a strong financial position, large scale of operation, and a diversified product portfolio. The company is also presented with a number of opportunities include growth of developing economies and rebound of the American market. However, CRH has to overcome various weaknesses and threats.


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Catts T. (2012). CRH Wields $ 1.9 Billion for M&A as U.S. Housing Rebounds. November 12, 2013. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-20/crh-wields-1-9-billion-for-m-a-as-u-s-housing-rebounds.html

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