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Research paper

Ancient Gnosticism

Introduction

The historical perspectives pre-empt on the dual existence of the Western Culture. These twin beliefs include the Greek rationality and the biblical faith from the Hebrew culture. The Greeks traditions were embedded on the individual rationality of the mind mainly from scientific research (Goodrick-Clarke, 2008, p. 27). The Hebrew traditions, on the other hand, inclined to the authoritative divine revelations as enshrined in the biblical scriptures. Therefore, the two traditions in the ancient period provided the benchmarks for the cultural development. Thus, there were selected groups of people who firmly believed on Faith while some based their cultural beliefs and practice on reason.

However, in the wake of the first centuries to date, a third component of the Western Culture has emerged. The third current of the Western Culture is unique to its kind. It contradicts both the doctrinal faith and the pure rationality of mind (Rüpke, 2011, p. 47). The new wave tradition is based on the two pillars of Gnosticism and Hermeticism. The culture stresses on the benefits of inner enlightenment (Gnosis) and the perspective of God. In the antiquity, the new wave tradition is explained in the beliefs of the Gnostics and Hermetists, Christian sects of the ancient religion.

The preceding discussions delve on the in-depth study of the Ancient Gnosticism and Hermeticism beliefs. The historical perspective of the beliefs and teachings of the pre-Christian era represent the genesis of the study. Specifically, Gnostic and Hermetic Sects from the antiquity would be the basis for the discussion.

Ancient Gnosticism

The revolution of ancient religion faced a myriad of challenges. The religious beliefs and practices encountered contradictions about Deity. Moreover, several heresies and teachings emerged to dispel religious myths that threatened the stability of the ancient Church (Goodrick-Clarke, 2008, p. 22-56). Gnosticism that portrays a religious and philosophical movement commenced in the early Christian period.

Specifically, the teaching focuses on Gnosis. The latter is a Greek word referring to knowledge (Pearson, 2007, p. 39). Therefore, Gnosticism as a movement denotes not only relational but also experiential knowledge about God. In addition to this, the teachings in the sect account for the Divine nature of Deity and spiritual attachment to humankind. The believers of the Gnosticism are known as Gnostics.

The Gnostics considers their belief to God as unique. The sect argues that they have secret knowledge of Deity, humanity, and the whole universe which populations from other unknown beliefs. In the first Centaury, Gnosticism has emerged as one of the three top religious belief systems in the pre-Christian era. Contrary to other religious beliefs and practices, Gnosticism embraced four major values (Pearson, 2007, p. 46). The religion had unusual beliefs about Gods, Bible, as well as the universe that differ from the other two religious beliefs. Gnosticism embraces religious tolerance of faiths both inside and outside the religion. Moreover, they acknowledged the equality of both the male and female gender and therefore did not discriminate on women. Ultimately, Gnostics believed in salvation, and that one achieves the latter in the process of acquiring experiential and rational knowledge.

Ancient Gnosticism is based on two themes. The first topic explores the dualism providing divisions of the world into conflicting aspects of right and wrong. Gnosticism holds negative views concerning the world and God as the creator. Accordingly, the traditions of the belief argue that the world and the creator are evil. However, the faith provides hope to humanity by acknowledging the presence of another god other than the creator considered evil. The True God as reiterated by the faith planted a divine spark to save humankind through Gnosis.

The second theme of Ancient Gnosticism explores the process of Gnosis. It denotes the direct as well as mystical knowledge of Deity within the self (Lewis, 2013, p. 76). Briefly, the argument accounts that an individual achieves Gnosis in a personal effort and not by intermediaries such as scriptures, sacrament, or priest craft. Salvation is therefore born by the individual, not by the support of religious leaders as other beliefs purport it.

Gnosticism is associated closely with the sect of the late Roman Empire. Moreover, the belief extends from Rome passing through Egypt and final lands to the Middle East. These sects are remembered through their increasing efforts of criticizing the Church heresiologists and theologians (Lewis, 2013, p. 109). Furthermore, the teachings of Gnosis are considered to increase the gap of social alienation, the breakdown of the kinship system, and the dominance of large empires over the ethnic minority groups. Economic deprivation and the burden to state religion emerge as some of the concerns raised about the sect.

Gnosis has faced serious allegations and controversies regarding its teachings and beliefs. Therefore, it has met oppositions not only from other religious denominations but also from the political front. The Catholic heresy missionaries and the Roman Army challenged the teachings and beliefs of the movement by the end of the fifth century. However, the belief of the faith currently experiences a gradual renaissance in Egypt. One of the Gnostic confidence in the modern era is the Novus Spirits. The faith has extended its roots from Egypt and currently runs churches in San Jose and Las Vegas. Novus Spirit is the modern Gnosis. The belief started its existence in the 1940s, and then continued to grow up to date. The belief has also encountered gradual changes and growth across various generational periods (Rüpke, 2011, p. 81). In April 1986, Sylvia Browne founded the Gnostic Christian Church. As the first church service of the faith was held on 12th July 1986, the faith has been in existence over the past 7200 years.

The Faith holds on various beliefs. First, the Church holds values on the reincarnations. The Church also believes in the dual existence of God as both masculine and feminine. Furthermore, the faith explains the tenets by which people can devote their souls to God as they live in the universe considered evil. Peculiar to other Christian beliefs, the Gnostic sect does not believe in sin or the existence of hell. Surprisingly, Gnostic churches do not recognize incarnation and the belief that Jesus Christ suffered for the redemption of man from sins. Indeed, Gnostic sect considers Jesus as human Messiah and that His living lays the foundation of an example that humankind should practice (Lewis, 2013, p. 136). The belief of the sect members is the existence of an all-merciful and benevolent God who manifests to the man through the prayer. In addition to this, Gnostics illustrates that the Holy Spirit is a God presented to humanity in order to enhance the spiritual conditions while evil spirits distract. Hence, the spirit of a righteous man who abides by the commandments of God enjoys an eternal life.

Hermeticism

As opposed to Gnosticism, Hermeticism sect does not have numerous controversies. Hermeticism denotes to the belief of the writings of Hermes Trismegistus of the ancient Egypt (Tilton, 2009, p. 108). Therefore, followers of the Hermeticism are known as Hermeticists.

Hermes Trismegistus is considered to be one of the ancient wisest and holiest men. His position equates to Moses or Plato. Hermetic literary work is vast and includes theology, cosmology, magic, as well as mysticism. Ancient Scholars, therefore, embraced Hermeticism and appreciated its antiquity (Paganini, 2010, p. 17). What is more, Hermetic writings of the second and third centuries have inspired a lot to the renaissance of ancient theologians.

In 1610, Isaac Causabon, who was a Spanish scholar, was considered the first person to criticize the works of Hermes. In his view, the literary works of Hermes were from Greek and not Egypt as it was engraved in his books. Moreover, Causabon argued that Hermeticism belief was the development of both the intellectual and spiritual values of the Gnosticism (Hammer & Stuckrad, 2007, p. 61). The perspective of Causabon demeaned the works of Hermes and therefore Hermetic Philosophy disappeared from the public belief.

The renaissance of the late 15th Century uncovered the Hermetic Philosophy. It spread in the entire Europe up to the period of 16th and middle of 17th Century when it was accepted for the practice. The Hermeticist tradition explores the context of belief in the aspect of miracles and magical beliefs. Moreover, alchemy has also dominated the Hermeticism. The illustrations in the book explore the prophetic myths and the alchemical transformations together with the extraordinary nature of their occurrences (Hancock & Bauval, 2011, p. 71). Hermes asserts that the mystical phenomenon of the universe and the creatures have been found in the world. His works coincided to those of the Christian teachings and the alchemical changes in the world that lacked religious explanations. Hermes, therefore, is considered as the father of all the Theologians, Alchemists, and Magicians (Hammer & Stuckrad, 2007, p. 83). Hermeticism is the backbone of the modern theology, magic, and alchemy as it dispels the myths behind the occurrences of various events. The works of Hermes are believed to be similar to those of the Old Testament prophets who foresaw the events. According to Hermes, magic arises when the Spirit of God merges with that of man. The unity is achieved in the belief of God through His Son Jesus Christ who is the master of all magic in the Gospel.

Hermes is also considered to be the legendary inventor of all the arts and science. However, the illusion of the invention is symbolic of his unity of all the philosophical and mythical thoughts of the universe (Paganini, 2010, p. 30). Besides, Hermeticism is rooted in the symbolic unity of the Deity, human and the world.

The spread of the Hermetic philosophy has led to the development of the Western Esotericism. The latter was premised on the organic perspective of the world and the relationship between the spiritual and material components present in the universe. It, therefore, has assessed the scientific mechanization and the doctrinal beliefs that have led to the Reformation of the ancient Church.

In the 18th Century, the Counter-Reformation of the Old Church made a strong emphasis on the teachings of the Hermetic Philosophy. Specifically, associations of the lessons with magic, alchemy, and astrology created confusion between the religion and the science (Tilton, 2009, p. 109). The rationality in thought as occasioned by Enlightenment meant that scientific activities were considered backward and religious practices suspected.

Despite all the claims associated with Hermetic philosophy between the religion and the science, Hermeticism thrived and persisted in the current practices through Rosicrucianism and the Christian theosophy (Paganini, 2010, p. 74). Likewise, Hermeticism philosophy and practices occur in the secret religious sects such as the Freemasonry.

Conclusion

The different aspect of the humanity and universe has created disappointments. With the enlightenment, humanity is at crossroads on whether to follow the traditional religion or adopt the rationalism of the scientific studies. Conversely, the Gnosticism and the Hermeticism teachings dispel the myth to us. The study provides a reflection of man’s traditional practices and compares them with the current teachings to develop the New Age Thinking. The cultural and religious practices suspected at that time are therefore assessed on the literary works of scholars (Hancock & Bauval, 2011, p. 153). Therefore, the Gnosticism and Hermeticism studies provide a link between the Christian theology and the Enlightenment rationality of the current world. Nonetheless, the historical teachings are anticipated to solve the battle between the doctrinal teachings and the scientific enlightenment that commenced two decades ago.

Research paper

Starbucks

Introduction

Most people spend between one and a half to five dollars a day on coffee. Over 60% of Americans spend time at the coffee shops just to enjoy their favorite drink. For many years, the Americans and now over sixty-eight other countries familiarize themselves with Starbucks. Starbucks is one of the most known coffee brand retailer and marketer in the world today. Starbucks has been the major contributor of the coffee globally something it still enjoys for the past 40 years. However, other coffee brands and retails are rising giving Starbuck a run for their money. Apparently, Starbuck still enjoys the market, and they have the best marketing team that keeps up with the changing world.  The paper aims to discuss the marketing strategies and implementation and the strength and weaknesses at Starbuck. Furthermore, the paper presents areas for improvement and recommendations.

Starbucks is the world’s leading coffeehouse with branches in over 68 countries. The company was started in Seattle in 1971 and known for the supply of both hot and cold beverages with snacks. The company keeps revolutionizing and lately it sold packaged products including mugs, coffee beans and coffee machines among many others.  It was started by Howard Schultz for the purpose of providing Americans with the real taste of coffee and save them from travelling to Italy and Germany for the same. However, Starbucks has had its downside and in 2007 Wall Street predicted its doom (Meola). Therefore, this paper addresses the marketing strategies and implementation at Starbucks. Additionally, the paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses to help understand how Starbucks has been in the market for a very long time. Finally, the paper provides for the suggestions on different recommendations.

Marketing Strategies

Starbucks over the years focuses on the creation and the sustenance of its own culture of coffee. The company thrives at serving quality coffee to an extent that most Americans refer to it as the “third place” meaning the place other than workplace and home they spend their quality time. Utilizing Porter’s five model that provides a marketing strategy, which emphasizes the differentiation, cost leadership and the focus. The design provides for emphasis of the market strategies, cut cost strategies and the product differentiation strategy. Despite the competition from Dunking Donuts and the local coffee retails, Starbuck still manages to lead the market. This section addresses the different marketing strategies (Cole).

The latest plan is the mobile app. Starbucks launched it in 2011 and ever since has spent a lot in bettering the app. In 2015, most of the company transactions were through the mobile app recording up to around 21% (Meola). The mobile app that started with the aim of rewarding loyal customers is changing the course of the user experiences through the order and pay functionalities. The company also enjoys messaging supported by the app for purposes of promotional offers. The target of Starbucks is to implement the new mobile marketing strategies that would boost the sales annually (Cole). Therefore, Starbucks enjoys its adaptability with the changing technology to remaining as the leading coffee retail.

Place Strategy

Starbucks have maximized the capability and the potentials that comes along with wholesaling and retailing. Every year the firm opens, new branches in form of retails that help the customers to have the experience within their reach and even while travelling can still enjoy the coffee. The customers can enjoy the coffee at their various places without having to travel long distances.

Starbucks has strength in this since their establishment. The company have always changed with the consumer behavior to provide something that satisfies the consumer. Customer preferences keeps changing and unless a company meets them, there is a huge chance of failing.

Product Strategy

Starbucks maintains its high product innovation in providing the customer with a new kind of experience. Most of the products are at the different Starbucks cafes. The products distribution is mostly through Cafes, Starbucks App, Retailers and the Online Store. The customers have a new experience, and they freely choose what works best for them. Therefore, the company keeps adapting to the changing market conditions, technology and times (Dudovskiy).

Promotion Strategy

Most of the initiatives supporting the sales promotion are customer centered. Therefore, Starbucks tends to utilize the marketing communication mixing knowledge. Most of the promotion activities involve customers earning more rewards on the stars collected with every visit made to Starbucks. The rewards range from simply buy one get one drink free to birthday month complimentary cake slice to drink customization. The company through its brand celebrates sales promotion integration and CSR programs achievement (Lingley 6).

Starbucks spends a lot of money annually on advertisements. The company uses the association between Starbuck’s brand and its superior quality and pleasing experience in the ad. The messages are in the form of both print media and media advertising via billboards and television. The company has set an example in the utilization of viral marketing and social media to achieve volume sales. The firm promotes its product through unique, engaging campaigns that customers are part of.

Starbucks have plenty of marketing strategies that include getting to know customers, the addition of value to their shops that is Wi-Fi available for customers, the coffee shops close to customers globally whenever they travel, excellent enticing customer offers and the word of mouth from customers. The mentioned strategies have seen the progress of Starbucks after the set back in 2007 and 2009 that led to closing down of some of their branches. One of the uniqueness of Starbuck is that they take the customer’s opinion with the seriousness it deserves (Westwood 13).

Price Strategy

The approach used by Starbucks is Premium pricing. This plan focuses on the tendency of individuals to buy the products based on high value to high price correlation. The coffee products from Starbucks are very expensive, unlike their other competitors. Additionally, unlike other competing products within the organization, the coffee products prices are still high. The pricing strategy helps the company to maintain its image as known by the customers as the high-end specialty. This strategy is critical for the company in the maintenance of its premium brand image.

Marketing Strategies Implementation

In the implementation of the marketing strategies, the process involves mobilization of the necessary people and equipment. The proper application of the strategies is critical to the growth of the organization and increase in revenue. The implementation process follows the guidance of the vision statement that aims at nurturing and inspiring the spirit of humans through sharing a cup at a time with the neighbor. Proper implementation of the strategies will ensure that the products from Starbucks are more accessible in both the new markets and the existing markets. The implementation mechanisms are as follows:

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is one of the most efficient ways of reaching the market in an easy way. The best way to implement the strategies is by carrying out direct marketing. Direct marketing engages the customers at the local levels and it is easier to know what their feedback is. Whether they enjoy or do not enjoy the products.

Implementation of the Product Enhancement

Starbucks works towards ensuring that their customers enjoy quality products from them. Some of the latest excellent products from them include Pike Place Roast that resulted from blending milder coffee.  The incorporation of new preparation methods of coffee and a proper design style architecture at the grassroots through their unique stores called Mercantile Stores.  Recently, the company released their instant coffee blender (Kerin et al. 222).

Implementation of the technology acuteness

Starbucks impresses technology to an extent that they target to minimize and eventually do away with their customers waiting long for the services. Through its app and other technologies at the company, they aim to better the customer services. Besides, the firm enjoys a Facebook fan base of over 27 million. Starbucks ’website usually manages approximately 12 million visitors at the end of every month (Harrington).

Implementation of the Lean Techniques

In a move to achieve excellence in operation, Starbucks implemented the Lean techniques. The result was an increase in efficiency while reducing the waste across the US. The different stores worked together to ensure an improvement in the processes, waste reduction methods and proper routines. The fruits of this have been a tremendous improvement in the delivery of the product on time, increased cumulative profits and satisfied customers (Ayub et al. 6).

Implementation of the Community and Social Standards

The core values based on its establishment was to ensure that there was social consciousness. Starbucks has always involved the community through social engagements. The firm has always engaged in community work such as reseeding grass, rebuilding houses and planting trees (Harrington).

The company reaffirms its commitment to the Fair Trade. This is through practicing ethical sourcing by providing coffee that is 100% Starbucks.

Implementation of the Staff Development

The best way to achieve the marketing strategies is through investing in its people. Starbucks has always ensured the wellbeing of the employees as a priority. They provide services for them ranging from training and free medical to equity in everything they participate. Through investing in employees, Starbucks has risen to where it is currently (Harrington).

Implementation of the Customer Engagement and Quality Service

The Transformation and SLT agenda reemphasizes on establishing the best efforts in ensuring quality customer service. Therefore, Starbucks has set up store designs, which work with the local crafters, and stores to provide unique stores that allow secure delivery for the customers. The end of this makes customers within their set environment and culture feel at home, as they enjoy the services. Customers can suggest for the product enhancements, improvements and even write reviews on MyStarbucksIdea.com. The number of registered members is over 250,000 with over 100,000 submitted ideas (Schnaith 29).

SWOT Analysis (Weaknesses and Strengths)

SWOT matrix focusing on the weaknesses and strengths will help in the analysis of the future of Starbucks.

Strengths

The following provides a clear overview of the few best-known greatest strengths in Starbucks:

Ethicality, Profitability and Quality

Starbucks, unlike other well-established fast food worldwide chains, they put quality above everything. Besides, the products are harmless to the environment and are consistent in all their various locations worldwide. Despite their high prices, customers still pay because of the quality that they enjoy. The result of this is the recognition as the best coffee chains globally (Roby 26).

The firm has been able to increase its assets fast globally compared to its debt. That means there has been a decrease on the record of the debt-to-asset ratio. The profit margin keeps improving and it stands at between 12.6% to 14.4%. The profit margin is an indication of efficiently managed operations. Besides, the sound financial position of the company gives the investors the confidence to invest in the enterprise. Therefore, the company enjoys the feasibility due to investors’ engagement in the investments speculations (Dudovskiy).

Reinvestment and Efficiency Strategy

The management in Starbucks has ensured that the profits made become part of the reinvestment into the expanding business. Evidently, Starbucks has been on the rise in the number of new locations globally. The firm has a proper plan in the manner of growth that currently works well for them (Bush).

Employees Treatment

Featuring in Fortune’s top organizations that provide the best environment for employees, Starbucks has a rule that ensures the happiness of the employees. The workers form the most important part of the organization according to the CEO (Jurevicius).

Innovation

The kind of change in Starbucks is less of technology and more about the valued consumers' experiences and novel. This is through quality products that get better every year giving the users new experiences and tests (Kerin et al. 468).

Advertising

Starbucks have always been in the frontline in embracing technology. The first company to maximize the usage of social media for advertisement. Besides, it is the first company to have over 10 million Facebook likes on their page. One of the fascinating things about their advertisements is their commercials, which are exciting always to watch (Macchiato 12).

Weaknesses

Starbucks is not different from other organizations that have strengths and weaknesses. The company significantly recognizes a couple of flaws and are as follows:

High Prices

Even though most customers do not mind spending a lot of money on a cup of coffee, there are those that cannot afford to keep drinking that cup daily. Some of the customers who would be part of a vast number of loyal consumers do not have the means to make Starbucks a priority in the course of their lives (Wyman). Starbucks has exquisite ethical values and premium quality to attract many people, but the prices keep the same individuals away (Dudovskiy).

Overly Unique Coffee Products Lack

Starbucks lacks the unique market despite their unique products that include pumpkin spice lattes and Frappuccinos among many others. Many other small chains and coffee shops offer similar products and only cannot beat Starbucks in the market because of its financial capability and established name (tinageisel).

Dependence on the Home Market

The firm is in over 65 countries, but most of the branches are in America. Additionally, most of the revenue that runs the other businesses comes from the home market. Too much dependence on the home market leaves a vulnerability in a way that in the case the economy fluctuates then the business risks. Therefore, it is important for the organization to find a way that the other branches in other countries will run independently and cater for their operations (Staffuk 1).

Opportunities

New Channels for Product Distribution

Starbucks is leveraging into reaching its new customers via packaged goods operations. They are benefiting from the product line, product uniqueness and the market share. The company unlike previous, is benefiting from the new product line that is the sale of packaged coffee.

Expansion Overseas

Starbucks still has unreached market that longs for the use of their products. The company enjoys both the domestic and international markets. Starbucks is enjoying the China market where it has rapid growth reaching many parts of the country within such a short time.

Threats

Possible Stiff competition

Starbucks has recently witnessed competition in the coffee industry. The likes of Dunkin’ and McDonalds are coming up and playing a big role in the market. The competitors have customer conscious prices, which attract the customers (Roger).

Pressures on the Commodity

Diseases hitting coffee poses a threat to the price of the coffee in general. This in turn affects the frequent customers who enjoy the product. Starbucks coffee is already high and in the case of coffee rust then there is a chance of the pricing shooting beyond customer buying power.

Recommendations and Improvements

Starbucks known as one of the best companies in the world forms the largest part of the business market. However, there are key places that need improvement for it to be above the rest. Customers need a new experience in the revitalization and the reinvention of the Starbucks products. The firm should offer even non-coffee products including refreshments like yoghurt and soda. The proposed recommendations include the following:

  1. The world is experiencing the rise of middle-income individuals who would be willing to enjoy the cup of coffee at an affordable price. The emerging markets are particular and the places that the firm should reinvest if the growth is part of the organization.
  2. Starbucks needs to open up the opportunity for the selling of the other products instead of limiting itself to coffee products. Opportunities lie in fresh juice mix products and tea (Geereddy 7).
  3. Starbuck can help the customers to enjoy a good lifestyle without the worry of visiting the doctors. The firm can invest in tailoring new products that are healthy and promote a good way of life.
  4. The company should find the way of maintaining and obtaining customer loyalty. The process involves on building on the new concept of delivery using the order-delivery concept via the new mobile app and the website. Furthermore, the mobile apps can be efficient for the payment method, and they can establish the trust of the customers in the payment methods. Use of the mobile app for payment would reduce the waiting time in stores and thus ensure an increase in the efficiency (Roby 26).
Essay

Having the Best of Both Worlds

Introduction

I have lived in India, Chicago, and Dallas, Texas (USA). The shift was in itself very hectic considering the change of schools, friends, communication barriers, and the overall culture shock. At the end of the day, however, the whole experience has been much more exhilarating what with the balancing of different lifestyles, traditions, and backgrounds. In this paper, I discuss my experience of both worlds.

The Way There and Back Again

My hometown is in Chicago; I was born and raised here for seven years before my parents decided to move to India. The reason behind the shift was because my father had landed a very lucrative work contract with an NGO in India for 15 years. I have to say, back then, the news that we were shifting did not settle down well with me. I was fidgety and angry at my parents for making me leave my friends and school buddies in Chicago. I believed that that was the end of the road for me, and I would not be able to make new friends in India. I fussed about it all day long but, at the end of the day, we made the shift. At first, I despised the place, the environment, food, and new customs. My parents were worried about this and tried all they could to help me and my siblings adjust to the new culture and lifestyle. It was almost impossible to adapt to the new environment; the dressing, family values, religious beliefs, gender orientation, and even education system was all new and strange to all of us. Unlike the U.S., India’s way of life was much more traditional, restrictive, and conservative. One needed to work harder both at school and home, more so at home, where even the extended family was too involved in the everyday happenings at home.

Born and raised in the U.S., there were many times when I experienced difficulties as regards the language complexities and when the right moment to speak either English or Indian was. With time, though, I slowly adapted to the new way of life all with the help of my parents and friends at school. All of a sudden, my father’s contract came to a halt, and we had to move back to the U.S., this time, however, to Dallas, Texas. The move back was, as expected, terrible. I could barely remember anything before flying out to India. The culture shock was encountered all over again with new measures and angles to it. Having a taste of the conservative lifestyle back in India, fitting back with the Texas’ liberalism was pretty hard. It took quite some time to remodel and realign our behaviors, attitudes, and social graces in line with the new environment. Overall the different settings shaped me in a way that I can adjust in various places easily now and know what to expect at various locations more or less. Also, now after I have experienced both India and USA, I know what the right things in each place to follow are and what things help in forming a better all-around person.

Conclusion

Looking back at everything, I have had the best of both worlds living in two different countries; two cultures one life. Not many people can survive in two states, especially not in countries where the cultures and lifestyles clash, so my family and I are quite lucky to have eaten from both plates and learned a handful along this path.

Essay

Workplace Automation

Abstract

Workplace automation is a delicate issue that is perceived as a tireless struggle between humans and machines with machines being more successful in many instances. The use of computers in the working environment is affected by the type of environment, with different jobs falling under predictable settings being the most likely to be changed, while those involving routine tasks in unpredictable setting being less probable to be affected by automation. The importance of studying this relationship is that there is a broad range of careers at stake when nations employ automation as human labor will be rendered useless while robots and computers increase in usage. However, even though a broad range of careers is at stake, there exist a few that will remain unchanged in large parts for a while in future. Thus, it will be interesting to study the trends of the effect, especially with the continued advancements in technology in many sectors of the economy.

Keywords: automation, machines, environment, technology.

Workplace Automation

While the advancement in technology is inevitable, the reality that it is accompanied by adverse effects on the survival of humankind is associated with concerns over the need to implement the anticipated inventions. Robots constitute a concept of technological advancement that is increasingly becoming popular in many parts of the world as engineers continue designing inventions that make use of automation. By definition, the word “robot” is derived from Slavic language “rabota” meaning servitude, justifying their use in workplaces (Murashov, Hearl, & Howard, 2015, p. 2). According to Manyika, Chui, and Miremadi (2016), the concept of automation is perceived in the sense of a titanic struggle that is increasingly being depicted between humans and machines while machines appear to be on the winning side in most instances. Their incorporation in the workplace is interestingly a debatable issue because while automation seeks to ease workflow, there is a possibility that a majority of employees would lose their jobs in the process. In a study done by Oxford University, it has been postulated that over the next two decades, an estimated 47 percent of jobs in the United States will be rendered obsolete (Lee, 2016). With the increasingly challenging economic times, it would be interesting to witness the outcome of the introduction of robot technology in America and other nations that are making the effort to mechanize the workplace.

The Outcomes of Workplace Automation

Through the introduction of robots in the occupational sector, it is described that the key outcomes of the interplay of robotics and the workplace is that it could either lead to human capital, robot workers, or, in other cases, the symbiotic workers. The initial consideration involves careers where it is impossible to replace human capital and irrespective of the anticipated outcome, the primary effect is the human worker with an ability to execute functions with rationalism (Murashov et al., 2015, p. 15).

Another consideration involves the effect of symbiotic workers. The blend of characters that use the technology at their disposal constitutes a primary factor that defines the work environment in the process. The possible result, therefore, is the occurrence of the symbiotic workers. This is an element that constitutes human workers that have been programmed and sometimes equipped with robotic devices as though they were real robots. In fact, it is explained that such a step involves making rush decisions such as the use of robots to understand occupational safety (Murashov et al., 2015, p. 15).

Jobs that are Likely to be Complimented by Workplace Automation

A variety of jobs have been identified to be on the brink of shift through the automation process, with those involving physical activities the most probable to be replaced. In the United States, it is estimated that almost one-fifth of jobs involve physical activities that are easy to substitute using machines. Manyika et al. (2016) note that the works implied in this case are those that involve humans working in a predictable environment, which will make it easy to program computers to execute these services. The specificity in the actions done in a familiar environment thus further promotes the chance for the invention of programmable substitute. In fact, an excess of three-quarters of activities that involve physical jobs can be replaced by machines based on the technology at disposal today (Manyika et al., 2016). The best example of careers where the automation would be easily executed involve the manufacturing industry and the food service sectors where workers are used to performing routine tasks. In fact, in the production and manufacturing industries, robots are already being used as substitutes to performing the product assembly and packaging of goods following production (Manyika et al., 2016).

Another set of careers that are on the brink of being replaced by machines are those that involve data collection and automation processes. Many people feel fatigued doing repetitive tasks that comprise filing processes and manipulating data into information that can be used in other areas. In the United States, it is estimated that Americans spend one-third of their time collecting data and processing it into readable forms, and such careers are most likely to be affected by the computerizations process. A broad range of jobs are implied by this factor with works involving the retailing sector, the financial services sector, and the insurance already ripe for automation (Manyika et al., 2016). It is stated that even high-earning jobs are likely to be affected in the process with an estimated 30 percent of high-paying jobs involve similar activities and are also likely to be affected in the process. As opposed to other sectors, however, there is a chance that rather than be wholly substituted, the most probable effect will be a shift in roles such that people will end up performing different roles other than those they have been used to previously. For instance, the mortgage brokers currently spend 90 percent of their tome at work processing applications. With the introduction of automation processes, it is predicted that such employees would instead spend a majority of their time advising clients regarding loan availability and interests (Manyika et al., 2016). In the end, however, the automation process would have nonetheless resulted in shift in employment and role in the workplace.

Jobs Where Automation is less likely to be Successful

While it is predicated that a large majority of jobs will be affected through automation, there still exist a variety jobs that are yet to be perceived in the perspective of computerization. Areas, where robots are less anticipated to thrive, involve settings where machines are operated in unpredictable environments. According to Manyika et al. (2016), examples of such sectors include the collection of trash in a public place and in areas where machines are operated in unpredictable settings such as moving a crane on a construction site (Manyika et al., 2016). The hotel industry where employees are involved in making beds in hotel rooms are less likely to be affected. The unpredictability factor acts as a protective element because only human cognition can be able to relate to materials thrown carelessly in the working environment as noted in the hotel environment. This area is, however, under intense research into possible ways of designing robots that can be programmed to work efficiently in such challenging environments.

The teaching profession is also expected to remain unaffected in large parts because it anticipated that jobs involving managing humanity will be affected in smaller proportions than other sectors. Other related careers that involve managing human beings and interacting with people include nursing and dental surgery which are expected to drop by 30 percent and 13 percent respectively (Manyika et al., 2016). However, among all, teaching is the least expected be affected by automation because the education sector involves a complex interplay of experience with coding information. Other related careers that will be less affected in the process of automation involve careers where employees are involved in the use of software, the writing of promotional material, and advising customers about wear.

Reasons why it is Impossible to Replace Human Capital Completely

The primary reason that justifies the existence of automation while there is an appreciation of human labor is that tasks that cannot be substituted by the process of automation are only complemented by it (Autor, 2016). In many types of jobs, there is a multifaceted approach in the inputs used in production with the most probable outcomes involving labor and creativity. In other instances, there is a combined effect of adherence to the laid out standards with judicious application of discretion in justice delivery (Autor, 2015, p. 6). While each dimension of the pendulum plays a critical role, it is not advisable to obviate the need for the other element, as each input plays a key role in production. In fact, it is considered that productivity enhancement in one setoff tasks is likely to result in an increased economic potential in the other. Thus, the existence of tasks that are dependent on each other in the perspective of the input are likely to remain unaffected for the long term.

The Future of Robot Technology

While it is only an emerging field, it is described that scientists are already getting bred at the realization that robots are intended solely for the execution of routine tasks. In recent times, a new collaborative robotics field has been identified called managerial robotics that seeks to make more use of the computer aspect of the robot in a constructive way (Murashov et al., 2015). Rather than relegating robots to the mundane and repetitive tasks in the predictive environments, it is described that researcher are working to perfect memories which can be in turn manipulated in the workplace for managerial roles. The high-powered computers are being studies to determine their effects in carrying out complex data analysis processes and keeping a workable plan of the progress report of a given task while offering decision support (Murashov et al., 2015). While the field is only in the advancing stages, it is expected to be a success based on the preliminary findings that have proved that it is possible to utilize robots in the managerial roles in a broad range of working environments. Through the demonstrations by workers in describing the interplay of autonomy and sociality, collaborative robots are anticipated to be a huge success in the managerial roles.

Conclusion

In summary, there are three possibilities of effects of the use of robots in the workplace including the occurrence of workers, robots or symbiotic workers. A variety of jobs are expected to be affected in the process of workplace automation with the most at risk including those involving the execution of repetitive tasks in a predictable environment. Also, jobs involving collection and automation processes are expected to be affected by the implementation of machines as substitutes of human labor. However, while automation is expected to have a great impact on American jobs, some careers are less likely to be affected in the process. The primary criterion that should be used in the technical analysis of the feasibility of automation would be the amount of time spent on individual activities rather than the assessment the occupation as a whole (Manyika et al., 2016). Thus, other careers are expected to be less affected because f the complexity in the execution of tasks with the best example being jobs related to managing people. Examples of occupations within this bracket include the teaching profession and those areas where products are in a disarranged manner as occurs in areas with unpredictable environments. With time, however, it is expected that robots will take up more challenging roles such as managerial tasks as researchers continue to explore the limits of their utilization in managing systems and social elements. 

Essay

We Are Market Basket

The major saga in the story is the conflict between Arthur T. and the other side of the board, which includes, Arthur S. Arthur T, was named as the President and Chief Executive Officer (i.e. CEO) of DeMoulas, Inc. popularly known as Market Basket. Arthur T. is the son of the late Mike while Arthur S. is the son of the late George. The history of conflict between Arthur T.’s family and Arthur S.’ family dates back to 1991 when the family of the late George sued Mike and Arthur T for having violated the fiduciary responsibility. Mike had bought George’s shares reducing them to 8 percent from 50 percent. Being the president of the organization, Arthur T. was allowed to control and lead the board to ensure that the company is growing. Often, some shareholders, particularly those from Arthur S’ side, opposed the Arthur T’s style of management (Ton, Kochan and Reavis 3).

The board also accused the President and CEO of spending huge sums of money belonging to shareholders on Capital Costs. Arthur T. used all platforms to ensure the growth of Market Basket. A few shareholders did not agree with the CEOs strategy of entering into business agreements with other business companies. The board went further to hire a court judge to investigate impropriety claims plus other monetary transactions. However, the court rejected the claims. Arthur T. resisted board oversight regarding his decisions in spending. For instance, Arthur T. wanted to give a bonus of up to 40 million US Dollars to employees. Arthur S. and his family wanted to sell their minority stake because they were unhappy with the CEOs management style. This move would significantly affect the growth of the organization (Ton, Kochan and Reavis 13).

Arthur S.’s family obtained control over the board when Raffaele chose to switch sides. The board considered a motion to remove the CEO and President from his position in the company. Even though there were a series of petitions opposing the motion, Arthur S.s side insisted on the dismissal of the CEO. Arthur T. opposed a move by the executive members of the board to establish new credit lines and hiring executive search firms. Arthur T. lost the appeal to the court. The board later fired Mr. Arthur T plus two senior executives from Market Basket. Most employees demanded the reinstatement of Arthur T. claiming that his dismissal would harm business. Just a few weeks after the Market Basket President was fired, hundreds of employees quit their jobs demanding his reinstatement (Soundview).

Additionally, the company’s customers threatened to shop elsewhere. The UFCWIU (i.e. the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union) also joined the peaceful demonstrations. DeMoulas, Inc. was on the verge of closing down until the Governors for New Hampshire and Massachusetts Maggie Hassan and Patrick Deval respectively, expressed their concerns appealing for the reinstatement of Arthur T. in two weeks of demonstrating, the sales of DeMoulas, Inc. has decreased by over 90 percent. Finally, the board bowed to pressure and reinstated Arthur T. plus his team. The board also awarded them full authority to carry out organizational operations. Evidently, business was back and operating at full capacity. Customers plus vendors also returned to business (Ton, Kochan and Reavis 16).

Even though business was booming, the company was experiencing a significant gap that would greatly affect business operations. For Arthur T. to purchase 50.5 percent of DeMoulas, Inc. shares, the compared borrowed capital from banks and mortgage. This debt would affect the future of the company. Firstly, the company was forced to cut costs. Market Basket could not continue to offer low customer prices and the huge benefits to their employees (Ton, Kochan and Reavis 17).

The business law aims at creating new businesses as well as addressing arising issues when an existing business interacts with other companies, national government, and the public. The saga in this paper draws several legal disciplines such as the employment law, sales law, bankruptcy and intellectual property. To handle this case appropriately, it is important to differentiate a business organization as an entity that is separate from employees or owners. Every company has an internal constitution that is used to address internal conflict. First, a business attorney needs to address the poor relational competences between Arthur T. and Arthur S as well as the board. Apparently, CEOs are entrusted with fiduciary duties in the company. Therefore, Arthur T. was acting in his capacity as a CEO and President of DeMoulas, Inc. There is a binding contract between CEOs and shareholders, which allows the CEO to control the property of the shareholders (Emerson 42).

However, the legal responsibilities of a CEO include the duty to disclosure. The board was right to seek disclosure from Arthur T., even though he was unapologetically resistant. Second, the CEO should place the interests of the shareholders ahead his decisions. It is not right for Arthur T. to make business decisions without consulting the board of executives and shareholders. The law includes responsibility for avoiding conflict of interest. Finally, the rule of business judgment protects CEOs from liabilities of the company only if they acted honestly. In this case, I would recommend the reinstatement of Arthur T. as CEO and President DeMoulas, Inc. (Emerson 55).

Essay

Personal Statement

Having the privilege to join an Implant residency program will serve to fulfill my professional goal of becoming an excellent implant surgeon. I am already an outstanding and experienced endodontist having worked for seven years in the field of endodontics. Studying dental implantology will allow me to offer a specialized treatment option to my patients when saving their tooth that has a lower long-term prognosis. I am an enthusiastic, persistent individual, and I believe I would undergo the program successfully given my past education, experience, and passion.

I studied dentistry between the years 1998 to 2006 at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States. During my training in dental school, I attended several rotations in the Implant Center at the University’s School of Dental Medicine. Throughout those rotations, I had the opportunity to observe and assist in implant surgeries as well as implant restoration. During that time, I was fascinated by the work done at the implant center, and I discovered my interest in the field of Implant Dentistry. Since then, I have set my mind on pursuing my goals of becoming an exceptional Implant Dentist and also an excellent Endodontist. I also gained experience after my graduation in 2006 when I went back to my home country, Kuwait, to attend a 12 month intensive General Practice Residency that is focused on all fields of dentistry. Additionally, I underwent the Endodontics Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry between 2007 and 2009 where I earned a Certificate in Endodontics. I later received my Ms. Degree in oral sciences in 2011.

I feel extremely passionate about becoming an excellent implant surgeon. The knowledge of implantology will enable me to offer my patients different treatment options based on the best available scientific techniques. Being an implant surgeon will also enhance the level of satisfaction among my patients given that I would be able to provide them with treatment with a very high success rate. Apart from helping my patients, I will also have the program enhance my personal development as a dentist and the ability to handle several related challenges in the field. For instance, the studies will help me to learn new things within the profession of dentistry. I will also get the opportunity to practice implantology and become an expert. Moreover, I would be able to attain my desired level of academic fulfillment.

I would be incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to become an Implant Surgeon. I believe my dedication to this career and passion for helping others will allow me to become a valued member of this noble profession. Looking to the future, I appreciate the opportunity to fulfill my ambition of becoming an implant surgeon to be able to save teeth and place implants. I will use my knowledge as an opportunity to serve the society. I will work hard and excel in my studies towards becoming an excellent implant surgeon. Moreover, I would comply with the scholarship policies and the rules and regulations of the institution of learning throughout the one-year period. 

Research paper

Mergers and Acquisitions: McDonald’s Acquisition of Boston Market

According to Bruner (2016), it is not atypical for an organization pursuing an acquisition or merger to convey elevated hopes that such transactions will ensure its growth in the market. The objective, quite logically, is that the resultant mixture of people, products, as well as pipelines will ensure that the business reaches a newer height. This was the objective of McDonald’s when it acquired Boston Market in 2000. Thus, McDonald’s utilized the growth-by-acquisition strategy to acquire Boston Market. This was also a downstream acquisition process given that McDonald’s acquired the firm with the objective of expanding its business.

As a strategy, growth-by-acquisition offers some advantages to the acquirer. Firstly, according to DePamphilis (2013), growth-by-acquisition as a strategy offers the acquiring organization the aptitude to reach a broader geographical target. Given that the main objective of growth through acquisition as a strategy is to increase the market share in addition to acquiring greater resources and ensuring business expansion, the acquisition of Boston Market enabled McDonald’s to increase its overall market share and to compete favorably with its competitors in markets that it had not entered before. Moreover, the acquisition enabled the company to reach out to its extant and prospective clients in geographical areas that it did not serve before, and this enabled it to increase its market share.

Secondly, as a strategy, growth by acquisition enables organizations to enter a market quite faster and in time to ensure that it competes favorably and gains a competitive edge over its rivals in the market. Thus, the use of growth through acquisition by McDonald’s enabled it to enter the markets served by Boston Market much faster compared to if the company had resorted internal development as a market entry strategy. The strategy is not only rapid but additionally enables the organization to ensure its presence within the target market in a short duration of time.

Thirdly, Bruner (2016) notes that growth through acquisition enables the acquiring firms to make the most of the existing synergies. Thus, growth through acquisition is much faster, far less risky and inexpensive proposition compared to the true and tried strategies of expanded sales and marketing efforts. Additionally, the strategy provides an array of other notable advantages that include immediate economies of scale and easier financing to the acquiring firm. According to DePamphilis (2013), the use of acquisition as a growth strategy also ensure that McDonald’s attain formidable competitive advantages that range from catching the firm’s competitors off guard to instantaneous market penetration in geographical regions in which McDonald’s might have been performing poorly to an elimination of rivals through acquisition.

Based on the above-noted reasons, it can be observed that the acquisition was a wise choice for McDonald’s. The strategy enabled it to attain its key objective of growth and expansion, which in turn ensures increased profitability.

Culver’s

One of the notable companies that Culver’s may acquire or merge with to attain growth and increased profitability is Ruby’s Diner. This is mainly as a consequence of the observation that the two companies serve different geographic locations hence a merger or acquisition will ensure attainment of the various aspects of the desired growth.

Firstly, by acquiring or merging with Ruby’s Diner, Culver’s will attain growth by increasing its market presence in areas where it initially did not have a presence. This will increase its market share over and above increasing its profitability as a consequence of the increase in its client base. Acquiring or merging with Ruby’s Diner ascertains increased profits and presence in various locations and this offers the company a competitive edge over its rivals (Hill & Jones, 2012). Culver’s is known to operate mainly in the Midwest region of the United States while Ruby’s Diner has shops in various parts of the United States including the East Coast and parts of California.

Secondly, Culver’s acquisition of Ruby’s diner is bound to offer it increased competitive edge over its rivals. For instance, the acquisition is bound to offer Culver’s a faster access to the market for its products in the regions that it did not serve before. This will not only increase the firm’s profitability but will also ensure that it gains access to properly established distribution channels in the areas that were served by Ruby’s Diner (Daum, 2013).

Thirdly, by either merging with or acquiring Ruby’s Diner, Culver’s is bound to experience tax gains and this will, in turn, result in revenue enhancement as a result of the market share gain. According to Furrer (2016), firms always merger and acquire other entities based on the notion that a joint firm will enable the generation of more value compared to single firms. Thus, by acquiring or merging with Ruby’s Diner, it is anticipated that the newly acquired shareholder value will be greater compared to the total value of the two separate entities.

McDonald’s International Business-level Strategy and Corporate-level Strategy

McDonald’s upholds an international business level strategy of cost leadership in the delivery of consistent food and quality services. To keep its international business level strategy fresh, McDonald’s innovates both its markets and products. The firm’s business level strategy is held up by its functional strategies including its aptitude to realize and sustain advanced quality, efficiency, customer service and innovation (Daum, 2013). McDonald’s efficiency is portrayed in its food production process as well as additional processes requiring minimal human knowledge and input.

McDonald’s international business level strategy within the primary markets includes cost leadership and product differentiation. As from its inception in 1954, McDonald’s has served over 47 million individuals daily through its more than 30,000 franchise stores. Moreover, by partaking in the sponsorship and marketing of events including the world cup, football, and the Olympics, McDonald’s has added value to its brand name and image. Also, the differentiation model and low-cost pricing have enabled the classification of McDonald’s as an analyzer owing to the observation that the company maintains a stable business model even as it innovates on the side. Being an analyzer enables the company to maintain its extant steady state with an effective strategy in addition to enabling it to target novel markets offering room for expansion (Hill & Jones, 2012).

Regarding the corporate-level strategies, McDonald’s’ built environment is a vital strategic tool that enables it to increase the quality of its store's furnishing, layout, design, lighting, and furniture. Such aspects are used in the reinforcement of fine products’ quality, which are its basic specialization tools.

Thus, McDonald’s corporate strategy is to sustain the consumer experience, which represents the services received by the clients. The services include the coffee aromas; the apt relations displayed among the workers, cool background music, and the overall atmosphere of its stores. McDonald’s is well linked with the professional, upwardly mobile and youthful markets throughout the world (Bruner, 2016). Consumption is a subjective feeling that is experienced by the people who are in then setting. According to Furrer (2016), in a study on the effects of the built environment on consumer spending, it was determined that the validity of marketing was formed by the environmental psychology, cognitive and ergonomics of the store layout. As a result, it can be observed that McDonalds displays a unique service-scape, which has an elevated influence on local practices, consumption, tastes, and lifestyles. As a result, McDonald’s constantly contemplates whether it should be an agent of enforcement of uniform codes or not.

Uniform/standardized codes refer to behavioral codes criticizing practices, voices, lifestyles and the experience of consumption (Bruner, 2016). Extant studies have disclosed that individuals’ beliefs and thoughts are way below the degree of awareness (DePamphilis, 2013). Nonetheless, individuals found within the capacity of attaining the degree of awareness represent a smaller number of individuals.

Business-level Strategy and Corporate Level Strategy that Culver’s may utilize

One of the notable strategies that Culver’s should employ as its international business level strategy is differentiation, which refers to the integrated set of deed employed in the production of services and products, that clients view as being divergent in ways that are vital to them. Thus, Culver’s should employ a differentiation strategy, which emphasizes the uniqueness of its products as well as customer experience, with a corresponding price (Daum, 2013). The organization should aim at selling more than just burgers by selling a ‘Culver’s experience’, that entails enabling its clientele to be able to chat with friends, relax, hold meetings as opposed to offering just a place for eating burgers. Additionally, Culver’s should position itself as a premium brand to make it difficult for its competitors to imitate as opposed to making attempts at being a low price leader (Hill & Jones, 2012). In case the clients value Culver’s unique experience, they will be ready to pay more for the services.

With regards to the corporate level strategies, Culver’s should employ a strategy that fully establishes it as a leading source of the best foods in the United States of America, while at the same time maintaining its principles in the course of its growth. Culver’s should ensure the supply of the highest quality for its food product even as makes attempts at maintaining diversity, enhanced work milieu, and client contentment. All workers in its retail outlets should be provided with a great work milieu and should additionally be offered several benefits. Lastly, Culver’s should acquire the best source along with incessantly adding and changing its product offers, in addition to upholding its diversity as well as the guarantee of the finest product quality. Thus, Culver’s should make attempts at satisfying its clients and providing unparalleled services even as it gives back to the society. Although it might be initially hard and expensive, the strategy will give Culver’s an advantage of being amongst the fastest growing firm in the country (Furrer, 2016).

Research paper

Strategic Human Resource Management

Introduction

The human resource refers to the department in an organization that deals with the recruitment and welfare of all employees. Unlike other units in a company, the human resource is extensive, substantially involved in all company's dealings, and it is also inter-departmental (Boxall 2011, p. 56). Thus, the work of the human resource is to understand the nature and the processes of the organization as a whole and to implement the business strategies that demand the working together of all the human workforce within the company. Many human resource challenges currently face the world of business due to the evolution of the human resource unit. Human resource challenges refer to the issues that cause problems within an organization to the managers, employees, and the organization itself that are related to the way the personnel department is operating (Wright 2011, p. 94). It is not easy to tackle and address these problems because they touch many people in the organization. Therefore, it is the role of the team to develop key strategies that are aimed at finding solutions to the HR challenges. The role of the human resource personnel is changing and so is the business world. The effectiveness and the performance of the department depend on the understanding of the corporate strategic direction and its ability to influence policy and decision making. Moreover, human resource management challenges have to be addressed for the organization to succeed (Guest 2011, p. 7). The paper will identify and explain three human resource challenges facing organizations in the United States of America. It will further analyze the human resource practices and strategies that organizations could and are following to overcome and tackle the challenges.

Human Resource Challenges

There are many changes in the business world that affect the human resource in many issues. This is due to the increasing and fluctuating economy combined with the international and local advancement in the economy (Bratton 2012, p. 300). Despite the regional and national differences, the issues appear to be similar to all the organizations. This is clear that companies have to navigate through the waves of the global complex economy and strategize themselves to attract and retain the employees they will need to accomplish the success. Survey of different firms and companies in the United States has shown that, organizations will continue to face challenges from the evolving nature of work itself and the workforce (Storey 2014. p. 312). This is an indicator to the human resource managers that they should get ahead of the challenge by understanding the future technological, societal shifts and demographic changes in the business world to position themselves in solving the problems. The three most significant human resource challenges facing organizations in the United States are adapting to an increasing changing employee profile, understanding staff qualification, and retaining and engaging a growing workforce (Scullion 2011, p. 67).

Challenge One: Adapting to an Increasing Changing Employee Profile

Human resource unit is faced with the challenge of adapting to a changing worker profile. For instance, it is expected that millions of women employees will flood the global workforce in the coming years. Also, part-time and temporary workers are flooding the workforce, and this has posed a significant challenge to the human resource management (Harzing 2010, p. 345). In addition, the virtual workforce has increased as a result of the technological advancement.  People are able to seek employment through the internet, carry out the interview virtually and secure jobs even in other countries. The human resource interacts with them virtually but they have never met face to face. This is a difficult way of managing such a workforce (Bloom 2011, p. 1698). The organizations have to position themselves to adapt to the new breed of employees. The new workforce has been as a result of the demographic changes that have posed enormous pressure on the private and government sector to start and implement creative solutions to educate and integrate a diverse working population.  The cultural diversity among the employees makes managing people the greatest challenge facing the human resource department (Hendry 2012, p. 145). Moreover, experienced workers are leaving the workforce and thus the leadership positions remain void. Also, the older employees in the United States are working past their retirement age. This aging population of workers in the States continues to pose a significant challenge to the human resource. This will force the workers to keep working to earn their salaries for social safety benefits because the pensions and retirement benefits will no longer be available (Kehoe 2013, p. 368). This is a challenge because old and less committed workers will have to be retained in the business world even when they are not adding any advantage to the organization. Thus, the human resource has to develop incentives and strategies to eliminate these workers (Bloom 2011, p. 1700).

The challenge is difficult to tackle because these older employees, the women, and the part-time job seekers have the right to employment in the United States. The firms will need to develop new skills and search for new training opportunities for the old employees especially in the field of technology where they may feel uncomfortable and less experienced than their younger colleagues (Kakuma 2011, p. 1655). If the issue is not addressed, the firm will fail because a lot of processing and manufacturing processes are so much dependent on technology. Also, organizations will need to successfully transfer and manage knowledge and experience the younger employees as they join the markets to exercise their careers. Companies will also need to employ the young generation in the positions that require more experience and tenure after ascertaining what additional training they need to take up the leadership (Boxall, 2011, p. 117). However, preparing the youths in the United States will also present with challenges. For instance, the geographical regions with high youth unemployment rates such as Maryland State show concern that many of the youths will leave workforce permanently thus bringing up a lost generation. Thus the companies have to come up with education and skills that are attractive to other employees. The human resource management unit has to work with the education sector and the government to create solutions that prepare the future generation of the workforce for employment opportunities (Chand 2016, p. 1).

Moreover, the organizations are trying to maximize the potential for women who are underrepresented in the job markets. For instance, out of five hundred companies in the world, there were only thirteen women chief executive officers in the year 2012 with nine of these from the United States (Bratton 2012, p. 590).  The concrete reason for women under-representation is the fact that women take time out of their job places to look after their families. However, because of the need to adapt to the changing workers’ profile so many women in the US are childless because of the challenges they face after joining the male-dominated club. The issue has been taken and embraced by the politicians and the constitution which favor half female representation in the electorate. The government has also infringed the business sector to advocate for an increased number of women appointed to top management jobs (Bamberger 2014, p. 126). Thus, the firms have to develop ways of dealing with the political interferences that have imposed unwanted changes. Companies have to develop the means to maintaining high potential, committed, and interested women by giving them breaks from full-time work to attend to family commitments. The human resource has to meet the women's demands regarding promotions and salary increment with added benefits to maternity leaves, child health care, day car, and flexible working hours (Ulrich 2013, p. 201). The workforce has expanded to cover an international market and thus the human resource has to engage virtual workforce for effectiveness to be noticed. If the challenge is not tackled effectively, it might pose problems to the companies in that the employees will not be satisfied and thus they will not be able to perform. Also, the rapid changing workforce of the youths, women, old people, and the temporary workers will not be taken care of and this might bring a deficiency in the labor market. Also, the virtual workers will not be able to perform efficiently, and there will be a failed human resource that translates to a failed organization. Employees are the primary stakeholders in a firm who determines its success or failure. If they are not adequately managed, they are unsatisfied and demotivated. They do not work in commitment thus bringing failure to the company (McWilliams 2013, p. 1301).

Challenge Two: Understanding Workers’ Qualifications

The nature and definition of work continue to evolve and develop and thus managers have reported that the education systems have not provided the range of skills that the employees need in their career. The today’s' obstacles between the skills fostered by the traditional education and the actual skills required for the job have presented a significant challenge to the human resource (Guchait 2010, p. 1229). This becomes difficult for the human resource to assess the job applicant’s qualifications. This challenge has further been complicated by the lack of standardization in the education sector especially from the global view. Businesses are expanding and hiring from beyond borders. Therefore, there is the need for the human resource to assess job qualifications before hiring their workers. This becomes a challenge because of the existing disparity between education institutions and the countries themselves (Farndale 2010, p. 163). The human resource should be able to understand these differences so as to be able to make more informed decisions before employing workers, especially from foreign countries. They should also collaborate with other functional units within the organization to boost their understanding of qualifications needed by their employees to effectively executive their functions (Iles 2010, p.180).

Furthermore, in the United States there is a rapid population decline due to lower birth rates. Many companies are in fear of future skills shortages especially in the field of engineering and technical roles. Some tasks such as strategic vision and complexity handling are among the most difficult skills to find among the senior executives (Schuler 2011, p. 510). The problem this challenge has posed is the inability to cope with the competitive external environment. Some employees in the lower positions are perturbed by a lack of creativity, interpersonal communication, and adaptability.  Without these skills, many graduates in the US have been deemed unemployable. This has caused shortage of manpower in the technical organizations and thus the human resource management should develop a more proactive approach in securing employees with the qualifications they are looking for (Bradley 2015, p. 1). The human resource has to have a dialogue with the institutions of learning and the government to discuss how students should be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills needed for their jobs. The institutions have to change the way the courses are taught by integrating contemporary business issues that will be essential in equipping the future workforce with skills to bridge the labor-market niche (Dias 2016, p.1).

Challenge Three: Retaining and Engaging a Changing Workforce

The nature and the composition of the workforce are changing and so their expectations and motivations are changing too.  The human resource is the department that deals with the employment and the retention of the employees. It is therefore, the role of the human resource to understand what the workers value (Chan 2016, p. 1) For instance, do the employees value prestige, compensation, or freedom at job place?  It has to adapt benefit policies, incentives, and retention strategies that are not driven by financial benefits. Employment does not only mean competent and able staff, rather the human resource has to ensure that the employees are committed and productive. The workers should not leave the work within short periods of time because this will lead to increased turnover costs with wasted training invested in them. However, the challenge is not an easy task to solve (Farndale 2010, p. 167). Many employees are not dedicated to their work. Studies show that only 13 percent of the global workers are engaged in their jobs while 63 percent are not engaged. This means that many of the employees are not motivated. The rest of the 24 percent are unhappy and unproductive and they spread negative attitudes to their coworkers. The younger generation of workers has shown loyalty to the organizations and is ready to make an impact. The human resource has to explore different employee retention techniques that should be developed by considering the preferences of the individuals (Wooldridge 2014, p. 1).

In addition, the human resource has to adopt motivational strategies such as promotions, salary increment, and trainings to boost their employees’ commitment and retention capacity. This is a challenge to the human resource because demotivated workers tend to leave the jobs and do not work as they are supposed. They only work under supervision and they are liable in spreading negative attitudes to the other employees (Mayhew 2015, p. 1). The whole organization becomes a corrupt workforce and this will lead to failure of the company. When employees leave the job within a short period of time, the human resource has to incur a lot of expenses in looking for other able and competent replacements. In most cases, this is an expensive task because it comes with additional training for the newly recruited. In the business market, the organization may lose trust and its integrity is compromised that may lead to its failure (Guchait 2010, p. 152). A company where the employees are satisfied and motivated will work tirelessly to see the goals of the organization are met. The success of the firm signifies the success of all departments with the human resource being the pivot because it is the main stakeholder in every organization.

Human Resource Practices and Strategies

The two human resource challenges selected are; understanding the workers’ qualifications and retaining and engaging a changing workforce. Workers are the main role players in any organizations and thus the criteria for their selection and recruitment as well as retaining them should be considered. No firm can function without employees. In tackling human resource issue, good practice must be ensured (Quelch 2011, p. 1). This constitutes of having an able and willing human resource that understands the need and the preferences of the employees. Good practice also entails a transparent human resource that puts the needs of the whole organization and works to see the firm's goals are met. Also, good practice involves the use of methods and strategies that are not financially dependent (Iles 2010, p. 185). For instance, if the human resource wants their employees to be satisfies and motivated, they can offer promotions and training opportunities to them rather than rewarding them with money.

The components of an effective human resource strategy would be; first, investing in leadership development. Organizations have to invest in their own employees to develop them into leaders they want them to be. This is the best component. The human resource has to expose their best workers to an intensive leadership environment (Wright 2011, p. 95). This will serve as a long-term planning strategy because their lowest employees can rise to great leaders who can lead the organization in the future. Moreover, it acts as a motivational tool. Once the workers recognize that the human resource is investing in them to make them better, both the organization and the employee will succeed. The second component is creating a culture of collaboration and integration. The human resource has to work with the team to bring other employees up into the circle of leadership. Rewarding the individual success is not sufficient to make the team succeed and grow. The third component of an effective human resource is developing effective communication skills. Leaders should be good communicators. Communication may vary between different organizations and thus the human resource should develop a culture of training people on proper communication. Excellent communication within the organization and the employees will foster teamwork and build trust among the employees. On the other hand, poor communication creates uncertainty and mistrust (Wright 2011, p. 96). Another component the human resource needs to develop is the drive for real accountability. The human resource must be accountable; they should own problems they need to develop solutions for them. The human resource also, needs to be human and reward emotional intelligence. They should focus on helping new leaders sharpen their emotional intelligence because it is critical for the success of employees. The last component is the need for the human resource to act and advocate for employees of all levels. They should fight for their employees’ welfare especially concerning education, employment, and retirement. Employees should not be mistreated especially by being denied their pensions and retirement benefits in their old age. They should be compensated in case of accidents in the job place (Wright 2011, p. 98). If the United States of America human resource personnel adopt these strategies, they will be able to save a dying generation of employees as a result of misunderstood qualifications for their jobs and in retaining and engaging a changing workforce. The human resource practices in the US are suitable for other regions in the world because the challenges faced by the organizations and companies in the US are the same as the challenges in the global market. Thus these practices and strategies should be adopted globally (Dias 2016, p. 1).

Conclusion

The human resource management is faced with many challenges that need to be addressed to save the business world. The problems are not only in the United States, but they are shared by many economies in the world. It is the role of the human resource within the organizations to develop good practices that will help them to tackle the challenges they are facing. They need to work in collaboration with the employees to help them implement these strategies. The human resource has many responsibilities in an organization that can be summarized by being vital in developing the next generation of leaders who will be innovative and creative to take the business world to the next level.

Research paper

Compensation Management

Introduction

The term annual salary refers to the agreement between an employer and an employee regarding the amount of pay for a job over a period of 12 months. Usually, this arrangement is indicated in the contract of employment. Individuals who earn annual salaries are termed as exempt employees. Such employees neither receive a higher amount of pay for working overtime nor are they paid little for working less. On the other hand, employees who receive wages earn for every hour worked. The total earnings are calculated by the number of hours an employee has worked (DeSchere 35).

Compensation Management

Some of the job postings in the Washington Times Newspaper that are paid in form of annual salary include Credit Union Examiner, Director for Office of Import Surveillance and Perioperative Services Clinical Nurse. These job postings are categorized under exempt employees who are entitled to an annual salary. Evidently, the positions above are associated with a high status and hence a higher pay. However, these jobs do not offer any pay for overtime hours.  Managerial duties, under the FLSA (i.e. Fair Labor Standards Act), are categorized under exempt pay scales. This act means that the manager is not paid overtime wages even if he works overtime. The duties an employee performs determine if the job is categorized as exempt or non-exempt. Evidently, the job postings above involve managerial obligations and thus can be classified as exempt. Some of the duties for exempt employees include supervision, management and assigning work to employees (Whittaker 56).

Some of the job postings paid hourly include Cashiers, Maids and Waiters & Waitress. For hourly employees, their salary is paid for the number of hours they work. If an organization wants more time from its employees, then the organization must pay for the extra hours. For the position of Cashiers, Maids and Waiters, the legal overtime refers to time plus a half. During holidays, most employers pay double for hours worked. Apparently, most of these positions have many overtime works. Additionally, these employees find it easier to draw clear lines between work and personal obligations. They can concentrate on family and other activities after work. An individual under a non-exempt pay scale can look for a second job that aligns with his free time. However, these job positions make employees vulnerable. For instance, if the company experiences financial constraints, non-exempt employees are significantly affected. An organization may choose to reduce one’s working hours when business is bad (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 21).

The legal law used to determine a compensation form is termed as the Fair Labor Standards Act. This law controls compensation issues. After the amendments to the law, FLSA manages employee benefits. This act determines an employee’s minimum wage, equal pay and overtime pay. Generally, FLSA is objected to protecting both nonexempt and exempt employees. The law was passed in 1938. This law requires that exempt employees should work at least 40 hours in a week. The law was established to protect workers from being exploited by their employers. The law requires that an employee on a salary scale must earn at least 23, 600 US dollars. The company should give exempt duties to employees (Whittaker 58).

Often, sales jobs are paid in other forms besides salary and wages. Examples include Insurance Sales Representatives, Medical Sales Representatives. These job postings may be paid in the form of fringe benefits that include medical cover and accident benefits. Insurance companies also commit to their sales representatives based on a number of sales they bring.  These methods are usually chosen to motivate employees. Other organizations may fund the pension accounts of their employees. However, these forms of compensation are not so useful as compared to wages (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 30).

Conclusion

Evidently, an organization that wishes to retain or attract the employees must have a competitive compensation strategy. An attractive compensation plan helps to steer an employee towards self-discipline and reduce the risk of employee burnout (DeSchere 69).

Essay

Love in A Rose For Emily and Babylonian Revisited

Outline

  1. Babylon Revisited and A Rose for Emily portray love differently.
  1. Babylon Revisited portrays a reformed man in a quest to reunite with her daughter and give her paternal love.
  2. A Rose for Emily narrates a story of a lady who kills the man she loves so she can hold him by her side forever.
  1. Consequences of Love
  1. In A Rose for Emily, the protagonist murdered her fiancé out of her love for him.
  2. In Babylon Revisited, the main character reforms both morally and financially and goes back to Paris to reunite with his daughter.
  1. Contradicting Determinations to get Love
  1. The longing and pursuit for love in A Rose for Emily strongly contradicts with the actions of the characters and is therefore unfruitful.
  2. The quest for love in Babylon Revisited is in line with the efforts of the main character, Charlie, and there is hope that it will materialize.
  1. The Endings
  1. As A Rose for Emily comes to an end, no love is found; Emily murders Homer and gets back to her state of isolation and solitude.
  2. In Babylon Revisited, Charlie is hopeful that he would reunite with his daughter and give her paternal love in the near future.
  1. It is evident that A Rose for Emily and Babylonian Revisited portrayed Love differently.

Love in A Rose For Emily and Babylonian Revisited

Thesis: A Rose for Emily and Babylonian Revisited, both written after the Great Depression in America, approach love relationships differently; the main character of the former murdered her fiancé in the name of love while the protagonist of the latter, innocent and reformed, seeks to reconcile with his family and give paternal love to his daughter.

Introduction

The Babylon Revisited, a short story authored by F.  Scott Fitzgerald, was first published in 1931. The narrative is about Charlie Wales, the main character, who initially led a bad life in the 1920’s, lost all that he treasured with the Great Depression, but came back to Paris as a reformed man with a strong desire to recover the guardianship of his daughter, Honoria from his sister-in-law. A Rose for Emily, on the other hand, is similarly a short story, authored by William Faulkner in 1930 and set in an imaginary county, Yoknpatawpha in Mississippi. The tale is about Emily, who lives with a very loving and protective father; he does not find any of the suitors that turn up to woo her daughter fit for her. Eventually, Emily’s father dies and she gets into a relationship with a man of a lower social status, Homer Barron. The love affair is full of mystery, ending with the death of both partners.

Both stories were written after the crash of the stock market in America in 1929, which was followed by the Great Depression period. The two texts portray love differently; Babylon Revisited portrays a reformed man in a quest to reunite with her daughter and give her paternal love. A Rose for Emily, on the other hand, narrates a story of a lady who kills the man she loves so she can hold him by her side forever. She ends up living a miserable life of loneliness with no true love. This paper will compare the different ways the two literary texts deal with the topic of love.

Consequences of Love

In A Rose for Emily, the protagonist murdered her fiancé out of her love for him (Sullivan 160). Homer, Emily’s love, leaves her after he completes his construction works. As such, Emily is left heartbroken as Homer was her only hope in life. She is very hopeful that she would eventually get married; “she purchases a man’s toilet set in silver, with the letters H.B” which stands for Homer Baron (Faulkner 77). She also buys “a complete outfit of men’s clothing, including a nightshirt” (Faulkner 77). After Homer’s departure from Emily’s life without a word, he reappears after a couple of weeks. Emily is however fearful that Homer would leave her again. She therefore expresses her love and desire to stay with him forever by killing him and locking his body in a room in her house.

In Babylon Revisited, on the other hand, Charlie reforms both morally and financially and goes back to Paris to reunite with his daughter. He faces a lot of opposition from Marion, her sister-in-law but never gives up in his quest for familial love. Marion believes that he was the cause of the death of his wife. She once angrily tells Charlie, “How much you were responsible for Helen’s death, I don’t know…square with your own conscience” (Fitzgerald 222). However, a close analysis on the circumstances under which Helen died confirms that Charlie was innocent. He was involved in an argument with his wife during a dinner after which he left her behind, went home and locked the door. Helen escaped pneumonia narrowly after she walked home drunk and in slippers in a snow-stormy night. Marion having witnessed her sister being attended to by physicians in the hospital “imagined it to be one of many scenes from her sister’s martyrdom” and she “never forgot” (Fitzgerald 223). As such, her bitterness was as a result of lack of forgiveness and did not imply that Charlie indeed played a role in the death of his wife. As a matter of fact, when Charlie said that “Helen died of heart trouble” (Fitzgerald 222), Marion knew that it was the truth and did not insist on her allegations further. She instead shouted, “Do what you want!” (Fitzgerald 223). Despite the opposition,Charlie is hopeful and determined to reunite with his daughter Honoria.

Contradicting Determinations to get Love

The longing and pursuit for love in A Rose for Emily strongly contradicts with the actions of the characters and is therefore unfruitful. For instance, Emily lives a life of solitude with her domineering father only in their house. He rejects the many suitors that come in a bid to woo his daughter. Emily’s father feels that none of them is worth her hand in marriage. Ironically, she gets into a love affair with Homer, a construction worker, who is far below the status Emily’s family perceived to be in. Also, her decision to kill Homer in a bid to force him to love her and live with her forever ends the affair instead (Dilworth 251).  Her actions distance her from affection because Homer’s death gets him into a “long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love” (Faulkner 78).

On the contrary, the quest for love in Babylon Revisited is in line with the efforts of the main character, Charlie, and there is hope that it will materialize. Charlie is so regretful about his past during which his wife died; he was an alcoholic and extravagant. He desires to reunite and regain his daughter, Honoria, from the guardianship of her aunt, Marion. As such, he is determined to convince the Lincolns that he has reformed and is fit to take care of Honoria. He is financially successful despite the stock market fluctuations, which depicts him as an industrious businessman. His commitment to both business and love are seen when he thought that “the present was the thing- work to do and someone to love (Fitzgerald 224).” Consequently, he looks stable to be able to take care of his daughter. As such, he wins the trust of Lincoln, Marion’s husband, who sees her wife’s opposition to Charlie as irrational in comparison to his drinking responsibility (Tachibana 45). The title of the short story, Babylon Revisited, implies that Charlie is coming back to Paris, a place where he initially led a wasteful life; it is a symbol of reconstruction.

The Endings

As A Rose for Emily comes to an end, no love is found. Emily murders Homer and gets back to her state of isolation and solitude (Dilworth 251). When she dies, no one realizes until her body has decomposed in the house. All of the very significant characters of A Rose for Emily; Emily’s father, Homer and herself, end up dying and true love is never realized. The neighbors are astonished by the sight in Emily’s bedroom. The room looks lovely, “decked and furnished as for a bridal” (Faulkner 78). On the contrast, Homer’s skeleton lies on the bed. The revelations that she had lived with a corpse in her house for over forty years exposes her not as a lovable person but as a murderer and obnoxious.

In Babylon Revisited, Charlie is hopeful that he would reunite with his daughter and give her paternal love in the near future. His desire to live with her and love her is seen in the morning he was to go and pick her. Charlie had been allowed by Lincoln to go and stay with Honoria in Prague; Lincoln thought that “there was no need for delay” (Fitzgerald 224). Charlie and Lincoln took lunch together that day and he tried his best not to show his excitement. He meditated how relieving it was to think about the Sundays he would spend with Honoria, “saying good morning to her, and of knowing she was there in his house at night, drawing her breadth in the darkness.” It was unfortunate that Charlie’s alcoholic friends came looking for him and the Lincolns changed their mind about letting him take care of his daughter. However, Lincoln gives him a hope that they would reconsider their decision in six months time.

Conclusion

It is evident that A Rose for Emily and Babylonian Revisited portrayed Love differently. In the former, the protagonist murdered the man she loved. As such, Emily’s pursuit for true love strongly contradicts with her actions and she ends up living a miserable life of solitude. Her efforts are therefore unsuccessful. In the latter, Charlie is a reformed man who seeks to reconcile with his family and give paternal love to his daughter. His quest for love agrees with his determination and there is hope that he would regain the guardianship of her daughter.

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