Electronic Books Impact Global Environment—An Empirical Study Focus on User Perspectives

The paper has been around for over two thousand years. Ever since the Chinese first invented paper with linen and straw, it quickly outdated books made of bamboo, silk, skin, and papyrus. Today’s paper industry relies heavily on trees for its products. It was reported that primary forest area was reduced globally by 60,000 square kilometers per year, about the size of Ireland [greenfacts.org, 2009]. The paper industry and other non-lumber products consumed 1.6 billion trees, or 300 million tons of paper each year which equals to 43 percent of the total tree consumption globally [understory.ran.org, 2008]. The U.S., which contains only 5 percent of the world’s population, uses 30 percent of all paper, and the forest and paper products industry generates $200 billion dollars in sales every year, accounting for 7 percent of the total manufacturing output of the United States. About 28 percent of all wood cut in the U.S. is used for papermaking [ecology.com, 2011]. Deforestation due to paper and other industries’ needs has alarmingly endangered our environment and the nature [Parsons, 2012].

Ebooks that do not use paper are emerging from an almost zero ten years ago, to today’s total sales of $2,079 million US$ in 2012 and have grasped 31.85% of the total sales of books [mediabistro.com, 2013]. E-book sales are expected to surge to $2.7 billion by the end of 2013 with a compound annual growth rate of 72 percent, according to Yankee Group projections [Trachtenberg, 2011].

The emergence of ebooks [and all other digital forms of publishing, i.e. newspaper, magazines, etc] is challenging the traditional way of publishing and reading. The academic research in this area is still quite limited due to this emerging nature of ebooks. Newsweek, with its 80 year history, recently announced a complete seizure of its printed form, while retaining only its digital form [Hagey and Fitzgerald, 2012]. Plenty of other printed publications, i.e. PC Magazine, Gourmet, and SmartMoney, etc. have embraced digital-only strategies, encouraged by the proliferation of digital tablets and the growth in digital advertising over the past two years [Gillette, 2012].

This study, in an empirical setting, examines the users’ preferences, in order to provide some managerial insights on this digital publishing market: what consumers prefer and how they make purchasing decisions. The focus is mainly on the issues of the digital publishing and printed publishing. In addition, this study attempts through an empirical exploration to investigate if there were any differences resulted from the consumers’ viewpoints between ebooks and printed books, centering on product offerings and their qualities, price (including promotions), deliveries and usability. This study aims to explore the impact of the emerging ebooks on the publishing industry, on book readers and their reading behavior, on our society and on general global environment.

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(Author: Chiang-nan Chao, Leonora Fuxman, I. Hilmi Elifoglu

Published by Sciedu Press)

The Impact of Collaborative Innovation between Established Industry and Academic Technology Spin-offs

Economic growth is not only dependent on existing knowledge and technological innovation; economic growth needs also the development of breakthrough technologies and their market diffusions. Research laboratories and universities count for a great many of these technological innovations. However, deficiencies in the commercialization of technologies by academic institutions are manifold (Brown, 1985; Sohn and Lee, 2011; Hall et al., 2001; O’Gorman, Byrne and Pandya, 2008). Owing to the entrepreneurial limitations of research organizations, technologies are transformed by established industries or academic spin-offs that incorporate the technology while it is under development from an academic parent organization.

Figure 1 illustrates the role of the transfer performer along a technological lifecycle curve. Small firms are suited to major breakthrough product innovations, while established firms focus on product diffusion and optimization. Bollinger, Hope and Utterback (1983, p. 4) found that “Small companies see an invention as a major opportunity because it allows them to enter a marketplace. Conversely, large, established firms tend to view the small enterprises as a threat.”

With their technological expertise, internal flexibility, and agility, academic spin-offs have innovation advantages over incumbents and differentiations as a technological transfer channel to discover innovations (Hess and Zwicker, 2009; Autio, 1997; Fontes, 2005). Entrepreneurial researchers conduct research and development (R&D) projects and build new technology absorptive capacities (Vanhaverbeke et al., 2008). This leads to a prototype or pilot installation that can be used to test the production and market issues and accomplish the transformation of a research result into a technology or product.

For established firms in times of sustainable innovation, the incremental behavior of a technological lifecycle can be controlled by their established technology absorptive capacity and the relationship with their academic partners (Christensen, 2003). In turbulent times, disruptive or breakthrough innovations may occur quickly in an irregular step function. In an industry experiencing a period of turbulent innovation, with many competing technologies pushing for position, this is a genuine challenge for established firm’s external technology absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal, 1989). This is also confirmed by the theory for large incumbents to become ambidextrous (Tushman and O’Reilly, 1996). Enterprises should actively increase their technology scanning behavior. Radical innovations then become possible. Open innovation theory (Chesbrough et al., 2006) suggests an “opening up“ of R&D for an external breakthrough technology development (e.g., with spin-offs).

Di Guardo and Harrigan (2011, p. 10), in a comprehensive meta-analysis analysis, found a “… technological change groups common theme is analysis of strategic alliances as a vehicle to speed capability development by acquiring and exploiting knowledge developed by others while minimizing firms exposures to technological uncertainties.” Firms need to increase innovation and technological screening behavior across firm boundaries to early technology lifecycle phases and increase cooperation with academia and its spin-offs as alliance partners.

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(Author: Stephan Hess, Simon Suhrbeer, Roland Y. Siegwart

Published by Sciedu Press)

Financialization of Turkey Industry Sector

Financial statements are the final product of accounting process. Income statement provides data for investment and other decisions. Income measurement and financial position of an economic entity has always been a challenge for accounting standard setting bodies. The main purpose of financial reporting is to provide information for user groups, especially stockholders and creditors to assist them in making decisions. Financial statements (including notes) are the main instruments in conveying the information to the users of financial information.

2007-2008 mortgage crisis, namely the second big crisis in the history of capitalism, is directly related to the financialization of private incomes that are spared for the expenditures for housing, education, healthcare, pension, and insurance, or in other words; the increase of their occupation with the financial markets. Even though the gross domestic produced in the global economy is increasing in the last thirty years, the rate of economic growth is interrupted from time to time due to financial and economic crises. While growing criticisms suggest that the world economic order is expanding on an unstable, shortsighted, and unequal manner; this paper discusses the occurrence of the crisis which took the world economy under its influence since August 2007, around the financialization concept as the last stage of capitalism.

Financialization means the shifting of capital accumulation priorities by the firms from real investment activities to short term, risky, and high yielding financial assets, whereas it means that the increase in indebtedness of households due to easy borrowing through financial intermediaries who do not make any risk evaluation. Additionally, the creation of profits which are increasingly created in the financial markets by the non-financial corporations (NFCs) causes the reduction of funds that are available for fixed capital investments.

Financialization, which started in the U.S.A., rapidly grasped the world with the help of globalization. A façade of this transformation is formed by the movements of rapidly innovated new products and the dramatic enlargement of the financial sector, whereas the other side of this transformation the active and leading role of the financial actors in the economy by continuing to grow in the face of this situation. In that sense, growing importance of the financial sector seems to be an indicator of financialization.

On the one hand, the capital search of commercial companies were facilitated by qualitative and quantitative transformation of banks and other financial institutions during the financialization process, liberalization of capital movements, globalization and integration of financial markets; on the other hand commercial banks started to bear towards short term profit oriented credits, while giving up financial intermediation via lending financial capital to industrial and commercial institutions and concentrated on capturing personal incomes which they see as profit source.

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(Author: Isil Tellalbasi, Ferudun Kaya

Published by Sciedu Press)

The Incorporation of International Accounting Concepts in the Curriculum at Private Universities in the State of Pennsylvania

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a method of presenting the financial position and results of operations for corporations that has been adopted by “120 nations and reporting jurisdictions” (Benjamin, M. 2/29/2012). The United States is one of the countries that has not adopted IFRS but still uses Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) maintained by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set and extended deadlines on the incorporation of international standards and is currently working on a convergence project (Deloitte, 2009).

Accounting educators are struggling with the incorporation of international standards in the accounting curriculum. Many private colleges and universities have limited number of courses available to cover a range of accounting topics to prepare students for careers in accounting and the Uniform Certified Public Accounting examination. “The American Accounting Association, whose members are accounting professors, created a task force in 2007 to develop IFRS curricula that could be rolled out to colleges” (Leone, M., 10/8/2009). Accounting professors at private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania were surveyed to determine the progress of incorporating international standards in the curriculum. The results of the survey are listed in Tables one to four and the survey questions are listed in Appendix one.

This study sent a survey to private Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities with undergraduate accounting programs (Pennsylvania Colleges Offering a Major in Accounting – College Toolkit, 12/5/2012). The accounting professors were asked to rate on a scale of 1 – 5 the incorporating of international accounting concepts into the undergraduate accounting curriculum. The concepts could be covered in existing courses or by designing a stand-alone course in international accounting. A copy of the survey is in Appendix 1. The survey also asked the professor “Does your university have an elective or required course on International Accounting”? We received 32 surveys that answered the 20 questions concerning incorporating international accounting concepts in the curriculum. Seven of the colleges reported having a stand-alone course in the undergraduate curriculum.

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(Author: Michael J. Gallagher

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Outcomes of an Ethical Work Climate among Salespeople

More than thirty years ago Murphy and Laczniak (1981) stated that marketing was the business function most often linked with unethical behavior. Although all areas of marketing can be scrutinized for questionable ethical behavior, professional selling is often mentioned as the marketing area where dubious behavior occurs. Salespeople are the “front line” representatives of the company. Their behavior is related to the company’s image (Jaramillo, Mulki, and Solomon, 2006). Thus, ensuring ethical behavior among salespeople is important. One of the best ways to encourage ethical behavior among salespeople is to develop an ethical work climate.

While sales force research has shown that ethical climate is related to a variety of work outcomes (Babin, Boles, and Robin, 2000; Jaramillo, Mulki, and Solomon, 2006), recent research has shown that the presence of an ethical work climate is related to the degree to which salespeople identify with their company (DeConinck, 2011; Briggs, Jaramillo, and Weeks, 2012). Various positive work outcomes such as increased job satisfaction, performance, and organizational commitment, and lower absenteeism and turnover (Ashforth, Harrison, and Corley, 2008; Weiske et al., 2009; Riketta, 2005) occur when employees identify with their organization. Thus, understanding the relationship between ethical work climate and organizational identification is important.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship among of ethical climate and several work outcomes among salespeople. This study makes two important contributions to research investigating ethical climate in a sales force. First, few studies have analyzed the relationship between organizational identification and ethical behavior/ethical climate (Briggs, Jaramillo, and Weeks, 2012; DeConinck, 2011; Umphress, Bingham, and Mitchell, 2010; Walumbwa et al., 2011). This situation is surprising given the number of studies linking organizational identification to various employees’ attitudes and behaviors (Riketta, 2005).

The second important contribution made is to examine the relationship between ethical climate and turnover. Most prior research has investigated ethical climate and its relationship to turnover intentions, but not actual turnover (Fournier et al., 2010; Jaramillo, Mulki, and Solomon, 2006; Stewart et al., 2011). Turnover among salespeople is especially important given the high number of salespeople who leave either voluntarily or involuntarily (Darmon, 2008). Therefore, additional research into understanding the relationship among ethical work climate and actual turnover, and not turnover intentions is important.

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(Author: Jim DeConinck, Mary Beth DeConinck, Debasish Banerjee

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Determinants of Employees Performance in Corporate Sector: Case of an Emerging Market

Corporate sector in Pakistan is facing fierce competition as far as manpower is concerned. In such a competitive environment retaining existing employees is a daunting task when competitors are trying to attract employees from other organizations through offering attractive compensation plans, healthy workplace environment and lots more. While provision of such incentives build a sense of belongingness among employees it prevents them to switch from one organization to another and subsequently improves their job performance. That is very central for smooth and effective operation of an organization.

In subsequent sections the researchers present brief extracts from literature regarding the concerned areas, then come the methods employed to delineate the proposed research model, the hypotheses, research design and sampling design and finally the results, discussions and conclusion.

Foundation for high performance must be investigated by the organizations. No organization can progress by one or two individuals’ efforts; it is the combined effort of all the members of the organization. Performance is a major multidimensional concept aimed to achieve results and has a strong link to strategic targets of an organization. Employee performance means employee productivity and efficiency as a result of employee growth. Employee performance will impinge on the organization’s performance. However the excellent working of the workforce at all levels of organization has a major influence on organization’s performance.

Each employee’s productivity has an impact on organization’s goals therefore it is essential that each individual employee should be managed. Performance of the employees plays a key role for organizations. Employees are the asset for the organization. Organizations have learned the importance of the people in the organization in that without them the organization’s objectives could not be accomplished.

There are many factors in employees’ workplace environment that greatly impact their level of enthusiasm and performance. The workplace’s environment affects employee confidence, output and commitment – both positively and negatively. Therefore it is not just a coincidence that new incentive programs which focus on lifestyle changes, work/life balance, health and fitness issues were previously not considered as significant payback tactics, but are now common practices amongst well-reputed corporations, and primary considerations of potential employees.

The class of the employees’ workplace environment highly affects their level of motivation and the following performance. How well they engage with the organization, especially with their workplace environment, influences to a great extent their error rate, level of innovativeness, relationship with other employees, rate of absenteeism and, finally how long they continue to work.

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(Author: Mubbsher M. Khan, Maryam Jabbar

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An Empirical Study of Asymmetric Pricing in Retail Gasoline and Diesel Markets in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore

Gasoline and diesel are the main sources of fuel required for modern life and transportation, and the adjustment of gasoline and diesel prices has become a major public issue. The drastic fluctuations in recent international oil prices have affected retail gasoline and diesel prices in various countries and prompted public opinion and academia to question the pricing behaviors of oil companies. Galeotti, Lanza, & Manera (2003) stated that because of the strong dependence of people on mobility made possible by vehicles, the public is highly sensitive to changes in gasoline and diesel prices. A majority of people believe that increases in oil prices are rapidly reflected in increased gasoline and diesel prices, whereas declines in oil prices are only slowly mirrored in decreasing gasoline and diesel prices. Economists compare this price asymmetry to “rockets and feathers” (Bachmeier & Griffin, 2003; Bacon, 1991; Borenstein, Cameron, & Gilbert, 1997; Godby, Lintner, & Wandschneider, 2000; Johnson, 2002; Manning, 1991; Radchenko, 2005; Radchenko & Shapiro, 2011).

Price asymmetry indicates various levels of adjustment to gasoline and diesel prices in response to positive and negative cost impacts, and demonstrates the rigidity of price adjustments; that is, changes in oil prices are not immediately and completely transmitted to gasoline and diesel prices. Because in an oligopoly, such as the gasoline and diesel market, the market is controlled by a small number of players, numerous studies have attributed gasoline and diesel price asymmetry to the collusive behavior of retailers or governments. When the cost of crude oil decreases, merchants or sellers in an oligopoly tend to collude to maintain (and not reduce) the retail prices to increase retail profits. However, when the cost of crude oil increases, retailers in an oligopoly immediately increase prices to prevent their profits from dropping. The collusive behavior of retailers in an oligopoly causes gasoline and diesel prices to show an adjustment pattern of rapid increase and slow decrease in response to changing oil prices (Al-Gudhea, Kenc, & Dibooglu, 2007; Borenstein et al., 1997; Chen, Finney, & Lai, 2005; Radchenko, 2005; Verlinda, 2008).

Nevertheless, gasoline and diesel are crucial products to society. To protect domestic gasoline and diesel prices from the excessive intervention of international crude oil markets, governments often intervene to stabilize prices (Chou, 2012; Karrenbrock, 1991; Tappata, 2009; Wu, Huang, & Liu, 2011). In addition, Kirchgassner & Kubler (1992) indicated that when the cost of crude oil increases, retailers are hesitant and become unwilling to rapidly increase prices because they might be accused of abusing their market power and consumer price gouging. However, similar motives do not exist when crude oil costs decline. Consequently, government intervention or the responses of retailers to politics cause a trend of rapid decreases and slow increases in prices when oil prices change. Kirchgassner & Kubler (1992) referred this type of price asymmetry as “politico-economic asymmetry”.

Price asymmetry and imperfect or incomplete pricing can be empirically investigated based on two dimensions, that is, the adjustment level and path of retail prices in response to positive and negative oil price impacts. In this study, data from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore (sample interval: 2004M1 to 2012M6) were used, and an asymmetric error correction model (asymmetric ECM) was employed to estimate the effects of positive and negative oil price impacts on retail gasoline and diesel prices. The results of estimations regarding long-term adjustment coefficients showed that gasoline and diesel retailers, who engage in imperfect competition, raised prices more rapidly when the prices were excessively low. However, short-term increases in oil prices did not more significantly increase retail gasoline and diesel prices. The results of a price asymmetry test showed that price asymmetry is common. Furthermore, the majority of the price adjustment paths were inconsistent with the “rockets and feathers” trend advocated by several previous studies; rather, they were more consistent with the politico-economic asymmetry proposed by Kirchgassner and Kubler (1992), which was possibly caused by government intervention behavior.

The analytical framework of this study is as follows: Section 2 introduces the empirical model used in this study. Section 3 describes the data sources and characteristics. Section 4 summarizes the relevant empirical results and offers a discussion. Section 5 provides concluding remarks.

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(Author: Kuo-Wei Chou, Chin-Yuen Chang, Fei Hu

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Immigrant Small Business in Sweden: A Critical Review of the Development of A Research Field

This paper presents and analyzes research on immigrants’ small businesses (ISBR) in Sweden. The main aim of the paper is to critically examine the current state of immigrant small business research (ISBR) in Sweden, discuss the main trends in the field and a possible future research agenda for ISBR. We start with a brief description of international research on small businesses among immigrants.

International research dealing with immigrants’ small businesses emerged as a separate academic field as early as 1972, when the American sociologist Ivan Light published his book Ethnic Enterprise in North America (Kloosterman & Rath 2003; Waldinger 2001). From the beginning, the field was dominated by cultural explanations. This research tradition has its origin in the United States and is the result of American economic, political and social circumstances, but tradition has also significantly affected ISBR in Europe, including Sweden to some extent.

Several theories are relevant in this context. During the 1970s so-called middleman minority theory, launched by the American sociologist Edna Bonacich (1973), was very influential. Put briefly, Bonacich showed how minority groups, in order to cope with discrimination and other stresses they were exposed by the majority community, intensified their group solidarity, which in turn affected their economic activities. Mutual trust and loyalty results mainly in a more efficient allocation of resources within the group, but it also eliminated competition within it.

This initial theoretical argument resulted over time in the establishment of several new concepts in the field. One of them was the concept of ‘ethnic economy’, encompassing any minority ethnic or immigrant employees, employers or self-employed workers (Bonacich & Modell 1980). Another concept related to ethnic economy (that is, mutually dependent ethnic enterprises in a geographically limited area, oriented towards ethnic customers) was that of ‘ethnic enclave economy’ (Wilson & Portes 1980; Wilson & Martin 1982).

Since the mid-1980s the research field has been strongly influenced by the concept of ‘embeddedness’, which was developed by, among others, Granovetter (1985), Portes & Sensenbrenner (1993), and Waldinger (1995). The concept emerged as a (sociological) reaction to the blindness of neoclassical economics to social relations within the economy.

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(Author: Zoran Slavnic

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VIX Futures ETNs: Three Dimensional Losers

The proliferation of VIX-based products, designed to provide investors with tools for managing volatility, raises questions as to their ability to do so. This research tests the performance of one category in the growing product list: volatility Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) and Funds (ETFs). Specifically, the population of nine long volatility ETNs and three volatility ETFs is tested using risk-adjusted returns to standardize the comparison of each portfolio’s parameters to three benchmarks including the S&P 500, a base portfolio and a null strategy. In the fall of 2012, seven long volatility ETNs ceased trading due to lack of investor interest and are, therefore, not included in this analysis.

Regardless of the facet evaluated, volatility exchange traded funds and notes do not provide risk-adjusted returns (RARs) which consistently outperform the benchmarks. (Note 1) The S&P 500 is either the total return index or the excess return index depending on the fund’s strategy as identified in Table 1. The base portfolios are tailored to mirror the fund’s objective and consists of a core long position invested directly in 1-2 month maturity VIX futures (Basest), or 3-4 month maturity (Basemd), combined with a long position in the S&P 500. The null strategy equates to no investment resulting in a zero RAR.

Two tests are composed along three dimensions. Test 1 measures the fraction of time periods when the RARs for each fund exceeds the S&P 500. Test 2 compares the average risk-adjusted return (ARAR) for each fund to the ARAR for each benchmark.

The three dimensions examined are:
1. Portfolio Construction. The 12 funds are tested as individual portfolios (IPs) and then re-tested when combined

with the S&P 500 to form 12 constructed portfolios (CPs). A total of 24 portfolios are evaluated.
2. Time Sensitivity. The performance of the IPs and CPs is tested under one-day, one-week and one-month holding periods.

3. Portfolio Weighting. The CPs are tested using two different weighting methodologies: the Unit Change and the White Noise Beta.

The goal is to determine whether the performance of volatility ETN portfolios is sufficient to compensate for the higher risk and higher expenses relative to the benchmarks. The three dimensions serve to determine the robustness of the test results.

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(Author: G.D. Hancock

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New Service Development: The Supplier Capability Approach

The development of new services is intricate since both explicit and, particularly, latent customer needs can fluctuate strongly (Matthing, Sandén, & Edvardsson, 2004). Thus, the character of the service industry has changed to be more oriented towards involving customers in new service development (NSD) in order to increase the success of the services (Carbonell, Rodriguez-Escudero, & Pujari, 2012, 2009).

The active role of a customer, in turn, requires interaction and the establishment of a close and trusting relationship (Carbonell et al., 2012; Matthing et al., 2004; Nicolajsen & Scupola, 2011). Thus, this change requires a service supplier to develop its capabilities to enable and enhance the active role of its customers. Even though NSD with customers has attracted research attention, studies have mostly focused on customer participation and input (e.g., Alam & Perry, 2002; Carbonell et al., 2012; Nicolajsen & Scupola, 2011) such that the relevance of supplier capabilities and the ways they develop have not been sufficiently explored.

On the other hand, capability studies concentrate on suppliers of products (e.g., Coviello & Joseph, 2012; Croom, 2001; Lin & Huang, 2013) and capabilities related to NSD have been neglected even though the characters of services make their development processes distinct (Martin & Horne, 1993). Scholars note that service providers must develop dynamic capabilities (Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997) as they are required for service innovation (den Hertog, van der Aa, & de Jong, 2010; Kindström, Kowalkowski, & Sandberg, 2012). Johnsen and Ford (2006) study on interaction capabilities suggests that they are best developed through interaction with other parties. Hence, the NSD capabilities of service suppliers may be best developed through cooperation with their customers. For the above reasons, this study both identifies the capabilities that support NSD with customers and details the means of developing the capabilities.

The study is structured as follows. The theoretical part connects NSD that involves customers and the capabilities that are required of service companies and their development. Thereafter, the research methodology and key findings of the study are discussed and recapitulated. Finally, the study concludes with theoretical and managerial implications, coupled with an evaluation of the study and future research avenues.

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(Author: Outi Nuojua, Jaana Tahtinen

Published by Sciedu Press)