Trust and Organizations: Confidence Across Borders

Marta Reuter, Filip Wijkström and Bengt Kristensson Uggla, editors, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 224 pp., $115 (book).

Exploration of trust within and between organizations, and then between organizations across national borders, is an important topic. This book is a compilation of 10 papers from an interdisciplinary group of academics affiliated with European programs. The papers are presented as chapters and investigate what happens to trust and confidence in the unpredictable space between conceptualization, theory, practice and the assessment of results.

Quality is not the primary focus of this book but implementation of quality programs, identification of standards and enforcement of requirements requires confidence and trust—especially if it’s to cross borders. Trust and confidence are explored in relation to different types of borders or boundaries—institutional, organizational and geographical—as the overlapping and blurring of such boundaries become characteristics of the increasingly transnational world.

It is interesting to note that international quality programs and standards are key points of emphasis in the papers presented. Insights offered in the papers are useful for those involved in challenging international processes requiring delivery of confirmed quality results.

In all sectors, an increasing number of people work in organizations based on trust. Examples are institutions such as banks, schools, accounting firms and medical practices that must deliver confidence to customers, students and patients. The experience and professional expertise of the staff and systems in place for quality control are very important. The authors explore mechanisms developed to create, manage, confirm and deliver trust in companies, government, private organizations and public administrations.

Gerald Brong
Ellensburg, WA

Practical Engineering, Process, and Reliability Statistics

Mark Allen Durivage, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 288 pp., $42 member, $70 list (book).

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the use of statistical tools and techniques has become a necessity for many engineering, manufacturing and quality practitioners. These professionals are tasked with ensuring the manufacturing processes they are involved with remain capable, and the products they are responsible for meet design and reliability requirements. I found this book to be a valuable resource that could help these individuals to manage these tasks more effectively and efficiently.

The book is organized into 25 chapters, and each chapter includes a brief statement on the chapter’s focus and a detailed description of a specific statistical and reliability concept covered. Several practical examples on how to use the concept then follow. In addition, the book includes many statistical tables used in the examples. By including these examples in each chapter, the author has fulfilled the promise of making this book a useful resource for the aforementioned professionals, allowing them to use the information in an efficient and effective manner and giving the book an advantage over other publications covering the same topic.

By grouping the chapters and 17 statistical tables into the engineering, process and reliability applications, the author could have made searching for a specific concept more efficient. In addition, in the preface, it is stated the book assumes the reader has been exposed to basic statistical concepts; however, it is not clear what these basic concepts entail and whether they are covered in the book.

Regardless of these minor shortcomings, this book helps those readers prepare for and take various ASQ certification exams. It also can be beneficial to other engineering and quality professionals who wish to sustain and improve various processes in their organizations.

Herzl Marouni

Global Supply Chains: Evaluating Regions on an EPIC Framework

Mandyam Srinivasan, Theodore Stank, Philippe-Pierre Dornier and Kenneth Petersen, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2013, 448 pp., $70 (book).

This book offers readers a lot of information. The authors give their evaluation of regional conditions and how they affect the supply chain and the movement of goods within that locale. Supply chain is defined as a worldwide network of suppliers, manufacturers, planned infrastructure in the form of transportation networks, availability of electricity, IT infrastructure, warehouses, distribution centers and retailers through which materials are acquired, transformed and delivered to customers. Forward supply chain and reverse supply chain activities are considered.

Ten global regions are identified. Short summaries for each country with a significant supply chain within the region are presented. Each country is then assessed on the following, using a weighted EPIC scale:

  • Economy: wealth and resources in terms of production and consumption.
  • Politics: political landscape with respect to how well it nurtures supply chain activity.
  • Infrastructure: existing and planned infrastructure in the form of transportation networks, availability of electricity and power and IT infrastructure.
  • Competence: competence of workforce, logistics and speed of customs and security clearance.

What results is a final scorecard (A through F) with comments for each identified country, and the region as a whole.

Additional explanations are given, including EPIC variables and their sources, decision uses for the EPIC variables and a consideration of total cost of ownership (operations). Final summaries and conclusions listing current and future trends complete the authors’ coverage.

This book will be extremely helpful for organizations or service providers who are considering expanding into an unknown area, or if a customer adds a location in a faraway place.

Marc A. Feldman

Innovation in Business Education in Emerging Markets

Ilan Alon, Victoria Jones and John R. McIntyre, editors, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 296 pp., $115 (book).

This book includes 15 chapters organized into three parts: regional trajectories, content adaptations and new directions. In a sense, it is a very specialized document with a lot of useful and interesting information for experts in education in emerging countries.

An obvious topic missing from the book is massive open online course (MOOC) applications and MOOC pedagogy. Chapter 11 on mobile apps in education touches on similar issues but falls short of discussing MOOCs.

Most chapters are descriptive and factual without in-depth synthesis except for the final chapter on new ways to think about business education for emerging markets. This chapter discusses six basic functions of higher education:

  1. Information dissemination.
  2. Directed activities.
  3. Feedback and evaluation.
  4. Knowledge creation.
  5. Content selection.
  6. Credentialing.

Overall, the chapters are rather short, providing a high-level view, but the bibliographies are detailed and comprehensive. As indicated, the book is relevant to and recommended for experts in business education and libraries in business schools and schools of education.

Ron S. Kenett
Raanana, Israel

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