Monday, August 20, 2012

Furniture Depot

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The argument that Furniture Depot sales have increased because of internet ads lacks some important facts that must be addressed to substantiate the argument. The evidence that follows this description simply states that internet advertising helped increasing the sales without providing any support or proof to the main argument.

Firstly, the argument assumes that the increase in sales at Furniture Depot is due to internet advertising. But there is no evidence that the people who bought furniture at Furniture Depot actually found out about the store through internet advertising. It is possible that people who bought furniture might have heard about Furniture Depot through TV/radio/ banners on highways. It is also possible that people who bought furniture might have recommended other people to do the same.

Secondly, the argument never considers any other factors apart from internet advertising that might have caused an increase in the sales. It is possible that Furniture Depot as part of marketing strategy had a lot more discount sales this year than the previous year. Also Furniture Depot might have introduced flexible lending schemes thus increasing its customer base.


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Finally, it is also possible that Furniture Depot has started selling items, which are not expensive and can be afforded by the average population. It is possible that the company was only selling expensive brands of furniture before this year that did not cater to the mass population but a selected few.

Because the argument leaves out several key issues, it is not sound or persuasive. The argument might have been more thorough and convincing if it provided statistics as to what % of people who came to store did so because of internet ads and also provide some evidence that there were no other factors involved.



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Boys and Girls

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In most parts of the world today, freedom is something you have when you move-out on your own; however, in other areas freedom is out of reach and even unknown. In Alice Monros short story, Boys and Girls, a girl lives a different life on a farm with her family. Between being forced to work in the kitchen with her mother and wanting to work on the field with her father, she yearns for freedom without even knowing it. Alice Monro uses symbols- through the foxes and horses- to portray the narrators inner-self, for sometimes symbolism speakes louder than words.

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Although we sometimes may not like to speak of it, every person has strengths and weaknesses. In this short story, the narrators strength is portrayed by the fox. The fox, a dominant animal, preys on animals smaller than it. The narrator is dominating through-out the story as well. She feels bigger and smarter than her little brother. Like the fox, she is meant to be free, doing what she likes and when she wants. And yet, she is being stripped of her skin, as the fox of his fur, until there is nothing left to take. When the narrators father says that she is just a girl, the fox inside of her dies; her weakness, portrayed by the horse, then takes over. As wild and free as a horse is, once captured it gives up. Because of the love she has for her father, the narrator starts to believe his degrading comment. Like the horses captured, awaiting their sentence, the narrator realizes that she is condemned to live the life of her mother. Attending to her childrens and her husbands every need, she will slave away in the kitchen until finally her time comes.

The kitchen in which the narrators mother constantly works in, is far from freedom. It is dark, stuffy and hot, threfore the girl despises the kitchen and enjoys being outside. However, the rest of the farm is not much different. Overall, it is surrounded by a fence, which is attached to a gate. Without question, the entire farm seems like a prison. The girl, the mother, the foxes and the horses are all encaged in this prison by the man with the rifle-the father. In this short story, the narrator realizes that her destiny lies within the gate. The fox inside of her no longer exists; only the lonely soul of a broken down horse.



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Friday, August 17, 2012

Marketing Research and Strategy

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Marketing Research and Strategy

In order to answer this question, we must first define what marketing research is. ‘Marketing research is a systematic approach to gathering facts and figures related to the marketing of goods and services’ (Tull and Hawkins). This is a very simple but useful definition that can be expanded to underline the purpose of this activity to ‘formalized means of obtaining information to be used in making marketing decisions’. These ‘marketing decisions’ are the answers that organizations must answer in response to questions about their customer base. Marketing research is all about gathering information to encompass a wide range of issues relating to an organization and its environment. Marketing research can either take place internally within the firm or externally using a specialist marketing research firm. I will examine the ways in which marketing research can improve performance and the benefits of using a specialist research firm.

Marketing research is an important part of a firm’s business strategy. This is reflected in American Marketing Association’s statistics that states 77 percent of the nation’s consumer goods manufacturers maintain formal marketing research departments. This stresses the growing need for marketing research particularly in the face of the change towards stiffer competition by other firms in the same markets. Marketing research is a must if organizations wish to get ahead of the pack to find out more about their customer’s needs, the rival’s prices and ensuring the consumer is happy with the product after purchase. Approximately three out of four new products will fail to attract enough buyers to remain available for purchase. Most marketers give the reason as a failure to understand market needs. Firms view the matching of a new product to potential customers to improve the chances of a product’s success. A firm’s own sales analysis is also a reason for marketing research to see how their own products are selling and contrasting the figures to competitors. This is useful if a firm realizes its own product is not performing well and offers guidance on how the product can be further developed either by product enhancement or promotional campaigns. A prime example is the UPC scanning system used by supermarkets, which allow them to record what purchases are made by each individual customer, how much they spend and on how many products. The introduction of the ‘club card’ allows this information to be further refined so that supermarkets also have information such as the name and address of customers, post code (geographical location) of the customer. So if there is a large majority of purchasers from rural areas, the supermarket may find it usual to have higher spending on, say, gardening products and thus gives them scope to diversify more into this area of product. Using this customer data, supermarkets can increase the spending on certain brands by offering money off coupons or the saving of stamps for a special offer to either heighten the selling of a product that is not regularly purchased, or to ensure that the selling of a good product is maintained

Marketing research can be divided into three main categories to result in improving performance scanning, risk assessment, and monitoring. By splitting down marketing research into categories, it helps the firm to concentrate on specific activities that it could improve upon.


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Scanning activities search for opportunities and challenges in the firm’s environment. This is useful in the firm’s changing economic climate. This marketing research function allows the marketers to track and identify any changes in technology, markets and cultural and economic conditions that will affect the firm. Such questions include ‘Can research indicate promising markets that we have not yet reached’? A way of finding out the answers to these questions is to use questionnaires, perhaps offering a free one off product in return for answering the questions. However, it is important that those being questioned are able to understand what is being asked by using clear straightforward language, avoiding dual-meaning words, ensuring the appropriate responses are available and providing a checklist to aid recall to receive relevant feedback. Once these opportunities and challenges have been exploited, the firm can move on to develop effective strategies and tactics, which often carry considerable risk. It is uncertain whether a change in the methods already used will actually bring any benefits to the firm, hence the need for risk assessment.

Marketing researchers will direct their risk assessment activities towards evaluating the likelihood of success by linking proposed actions to feedback from customers in real or simulated conditions. One such method of undergoing this type of research may be to use promotions at stalls and asking for feedback. Risk assessment activities will thus enable firms to measure the costs and benefits of a particular course of action, such as introducing a new product or implementing a new promotional technique.

Where scanning and risk assessment focus on the future, monitoring activities assess current events. This part of market research seeks to discover how well past decisions are working out now. This may include activities such as analyzing sales and profit data, customer satisfaction levels, and results from advertising and promotion programs. The questions the marketing researcher might ask include ‘What is our overall market share? Scanning takes into account the overall look at the market and it’s competitors. This can be exemplified by the washing machine market. If a washing machine only has a ‘C’ rating in energy conservation in comparison to a competitor’s ‘A’ rating the firm could indeed do better in improvements. One way a market researcher can find out this type of information is that of the ‘mystery shopper’, who will look at prices and information of a rival’s products whilst acting as a customer. In a sense, monitoring activities can be defined as diagnostic tools. They aim the marketing research effort at identifying problems and suggesting ways of fixing them.

In some cases, firms may not feel they have the technical assistance or expertise to conduct marketing research themselves. Those firms that fall into this category may call upon specialist independent research firms. This is also possible if a firm only wants to concentrate on certain product lines, brands or geographic areas. Others organize their research functions according to the types of research they need performed, such as sales analysis, new product development, or advertising evaluation. If this is the case, contracting firms may call upon specialist research firms to carry part of the study or even the whole study depending on the cost and budget. One important consideration the contracting firm must take into account is whether the data collected from the research firms is reliable and accurate as well as confidential from other competitors.

To gain an insight into just how valuable research is to companies, marketing research firms in one year earned almost 40 percent of the $4.6 billion outside the United States in one year. Specialist research firms may be divided into three categories syndicated services, full-service suppliers, or limited-service suppliers. This makes it easier for the contracting firm to tailor their research needs more easily.

Syndicated services are organizations that regularly provide a standardized set of data to all customers. This can be highlighted by Media mark Research Inc. (MRI) who operates a syndicated product research service based on personal interviews with adults regarding their exposure to advertising media. Advertisers, advertising agencies, magazines, newspapers, broadcasters and cable TV networks are included as their clients.

The J.D. Power and Associates Company that specializes in the domestic and international automobile markets can reflect full-service research suppliers. It contracts with clients to conduct complete marketing research projects. A full-service supplier becomes almost a part of the client’s business as it performs all the steps in the marketing research process.

Limited service research suppliers are marketing research firms that specialize in a limited number of activities, such as conducting field interviews or performing data processing. The National Research Group Inc. reflects this type of marketing research and work almost exclusively for clients in the movie industry. Their specialty is to rate entertainment facilities through input from audiences of moviegoers. Studies can also be requested to help advertising strategies and track awareness and interest. Syndicated services can be considered a type of limited-service research supplier.

In conclusion, we have observed that firms can indeed use marketing research to improve their performance. This ‘improvement’ can be highlighted by the firm in being able to learn more about their customer’s requirements and how they can improve upon their product in comparison to rival firms by the collecting of information that is specific to the firm’s needs. Techniques such as the club card means that a firm can tend its product range towards what the consumer requires. And if the firm feels it does not have the know-how about marketing research, there is a role for specialist marketing research firms to produce the relevant information.

J.D. Power and Associates Reports Auto Industry Achieves. www.jdpw.com

Tull, Donald S.; Hawkins Del I Marketing Research Measurement and Method;

A Text with Cases /e. New York, NY, MacMillan, University of Phoenix (Ed.). 2001

Basic marketing A global-managerial approach (1th ed.). [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. New York McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Soccer Robots

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Soccer robots must have information about themselves and their environments that is sufficient to and accurate enough for the robots to complete their tasks competently. Therefore, the information received must be reliable and certain. This information depends largely on the images captured by the camera sent to the robots. Hence, machine vision techniques form an important integral of the robotic soccer system.

A precise and fast global vision system has to be designed for robot control and navigation in an unknown, dynamically changing system. The following requirements have to be accomplished during the course of the project:

- Computational Efficiency

- High Reliability

- Good Precision

- Robust to noise, changing of lighting and different colour schemes

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This project involves developing a fast and robust vision processing system to effectively track the moving robots’ and ball’s locations, velocities and orientations. The project may incorporate learning algorithms for training the system in the aim of achieving a robust and intelligent vision system.

This report reviews the workings of phase 1 and phase of the project. The first section summarizes the literature survey done and suggestions of a robust real time processing technique suitable for use.

The second section describes the work accomplished to date. This section presents the workings of a GUI application with the use of the Matrox Meteor II frame grabber, Intel OpenCV .0 and Microsoft DirectX 8.0. The choice of using them will be illustrated. Finally, a proposed future work plan is included which includes the classification of colours and the design of the colour patches on the robots.



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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Internal PR Paper

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Abstract

Public relations can have a long term direct impact on an organization’s reputation, profits, and it’s future. The public relations specialist serves as the voice for businesses, associations, universities, hospitals, and many other types of organizations. A good PR specialist will build and maintain positive relations with the public. Often, their importance is recognized as a key result of success of many organizations.

The Need for PR

The public relations professional handles many functions including consumer, media, community, politics, conflicts, investor relations, etc. It is their job to know and understand the needs and attitudes of these core types :

· Consumers

· Management

· Employees

· Community

· Public interest groups

· Stockholders

· Journalists

· General public

It is also a very vital part of the job keeping all interested parties informed about Organization’s policies, accomplishments, and activities. They need also report back to management in reference to the public’s attitudes and concerns in which they have must deal directly with.

PR professionals also prepare press releases and contact people in the media to give statements. Many times, the journalists will contact the company and ask to speak directly with PR.

They also organize programs that promote the company to the public. They are often community based projects that promotes an image of trust.

PR in the Health Care Industry

Public relations plays a major part of daily activities at UNC hospital. This organization offers many services from well-baby checks to chronic disease care to life saving surgeries. UNC is always looking for ways of improving health care. They pride themselves as a leader in health promotion and disease prevention.

Another place that has PR written all over it, is the organization’s Mission Statement:

Who We Are and What We Stand For Mission

The University of North Carolina Hospitals is a public, academic medical center operated by and for the people of North Carolina. Our mission is to provide high quality patient care, to educate health care professionals, to advance health research and to provide community service.

Vision

The University of North Carolina Hospitals seeks to be the preeminent public teaching hospital and health industry employer in the Southeast.

Values

We care about the people we serve and those with whom we work. We value excellence, effectiveness and efficiency. We are devoted to public service of the highest quality. We strive to continuously improve all that we do to meet fully the needs and expectations of our patients, referring physicians and other constituencies.

Patient Care

We value our patients as people who deserve the best we can offer in responding to their needs and expectations. To fulfill these needs and expectations, we strive to provide excellent health care competently and economically.

Human Resource Development

As an organization, our employees, affiliated professionals and volunteers are our most important resources. We value and support initiative and innovation. We are committed to individual growth and development to achieve our fullest potential. We value collegiality and teamwork, open communication and fairness. We recognize that to care best for others, we must also care about ourselves.

Research and Education

As the teaching hospital of the University of North Carolina, we foster research and education. We value research activities that help expand knowledge and enhance health care delivery. We value the education of health care professionals who exemplify the best qualities and standards of their professions.

UNC goes out of it’s way to promote it’s services to the extent of having it’s own newsletter that it provides to the general public to keep interested parties up to date of what is in progress. Some most recent stories that dealt with interests to the community include

· Grandchildren of Werner Von sing at Children’s Hospital.

· “Heels in Motion” mall walkers club started at the mall

· Dr. Folds receives Professional Recognition Award

· UNC Healthy Woman Pavilion

· Wellness Center to Break Ground

It is a necessity that a facility such as this promotes well being and distances itself from any type of negative publicity. A bad reputation in the medical field, could be extremely damaging once the public has a bad mind set against such an organization.

Negative PR

Earlier this year, a long time competitor, Duke University Hospital had unfortunate circumstances that caused major damage to its reputation. It involved a huge mistake by the team of surgeons performing a transplant on a young girl from Mexico. The surgeon did not confirm that the appropriate blood type was a match for this little girl. The transplant was performed and her body rejected the organs and eventually died. This tragedy not being harmful enough on the facility but the poor public relations that occurred prior to and after the death in my opinion did the most damage.

Instead of acknowledging the mistake and seeming sympathetic, the hospital’s first response was to pass blame elsewhere. Then after the young girl passed and her parents were mourning, and the general public was still in shock, they made the mistake of making the comment that the family did not have any rights since they were not legal citizens. Many saw this as throwing salt in an open wound and very insensitive. Even though it may have been an attorney that made the negative comments, it was still a representative.

This facility didn't try to do damage control after the public was outraged, but by this time, it was a little too late. The damage was already done.

Based on public complaints from this case, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations downgraded the facilities accreditation status to “Accreditation with Requirements for Improvement.” They were cited by JCHO in six performance areas:

· Aggregation and analysis

· Planning

· Role in improving performance

· Assessing competence

· Information management

· Planning and governance

Possibly if the facility made an effort to be responsible and take immediate action

In correcting the situation and working to regain public trust, the results may not have been as damaging.

Conclusion

Public relations is a necessity in any kind of an organization whether it’s a major corporation or a non profit. Not only does it need to promote the organization, but it also needs to build a trust within the community. Bad PR can be very damaging and possibly ruin the company. Most of your successful businesses rely on their PR professionals.

References

http//www.unchealthcare.org/public_affairs.htm

http//www.wral.com/news/18506/detail.html

http//stats.bls.gov/oco/



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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Assets

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The accounting literature distinguishes between two approaches to define revenues: an inflow concept and outflow concept.

The inflow concept of revenues defines revenues as an inflow or an increase in assets and reduction of liabilities arising from the operational activities of the firm. An inflow concept represents an asset liability approach.


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The outflow concept of revenues defines revenues as an outflow of goods and services, or by the use of companys resources. The outflow concept follows the revenue-expense approach.

Asset liability approach measures income statement as a change in assets and liabilities. This approach is superior to revenue-expense approach, because assets and liabilities are real and income is determined by changes in net assets. Revenue-expense approach turns things other way around, and says that net assets are consequences of income measurement. Currently accounting system uses revenue expense approach to define income, where income is derived by matching costs to recognized revenues. The main disadvantage of this approach is the ambiguity of matching expenses to revenues. Kyle will explain in more detail the he matching principle.

The downside to asset-liability approach is that it expenses all of the expenses in current period rather than capitalizing them. For example, purchase of new equipment used for the production is expensed in the period it was purchased, rather than amortizing it for its useful life. This way we have losses showing in the current period, rather than deferring some expenses to other periods equipment is used. Even though, we currently use Revenue Expense approach, some accounting concept like R&D costs are expensed in current period, thus following asset liability approach. The reason behind this accounting treatment is because of uncertainty whether R&D costs created any value to the business.

In both inflow and outflow concept, definition of revenues does not include gains. Gains are nonrecurring income to be displayed separately in the financial statements. As the CICA Handbook states gains are increases in net assets or equity from incidental transactions and events affecting the entity, and all other events affecting the entity except those that result from revenues or equity contributions.

One of the current issues facing accounting is when to recognize revenues. Many of the companies report revenues earlier in order to show better performance for the current period, but than the revenue turns to be unrealizable. Accounting standards recognize revenues in the period during which the major economic activities necessary for creation and disposition of goods and services has been accomplished. Three criteria should be followed when recognizing the revenue:

· there is reasonable assurance regarding the measurability and collectability of consideration

· there is existence of a transaction

· and there is substantial completion of the earning process.

Currently the firm must be direct participant in the transaction before revenues are recognized. Thus the historical cost of asset is used for valuation basis. Some argue that the firm does not need to be a party to the transaction but that a market transaction in general is sufficient. For example, the asset should be revalued at the market price, and gain can be recorded prior to sale.

Generally revenues are recognized at the point of sale. But there are situations when revenues are permitted to be recorded other than the time of sale. These are

- During production

- End of production

- When cash is received

Recognizing revenues during production uses % of production method, which is acceptable for long term construction contracts. Some products have readily determinable price, and there is high demand for the product, such as gold, silver, wheat, that the revenues can be recognized at the end of production. Revenues that are recorded when the cash is received use the installment or cost recovery method. This is necessary, when we are not sure about measurability or collectability or substantial completion has not been met.

Two additional bases for recognizing revenues have been suggested, but not approved. These are accretion basis, where products market price is known, and the changes of the assets are recorded, such as growth of timber. Another alternative is recognizing revenues at discovery basis, for example when natural gas is discovered. The discovery is argued to be the significant to the earning process.

Last items of the income statement are expenses and losses.

There are three accounting techniques used to create an expense, matching allocation and expiration. The tree possible cases are

· costs that are directly related to the revenue of the period are matched against revenue

· costs that are associated to the period but not as a direct relation with revenue are allocated to the period

· cost that cannot be associated to any period and are expired are expensed immediately. 



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Thursday, August 9, 2012

PCMM

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INTRODUCTION

The People Capability Maturity Model is a tool that helps in successfully addressing the critical people issues in organizations. The People CMM employs the process maturity framework of the highly successful Capability Maturity Model for Software as a foundation for a model of best practices for managing and developing an organization’s workforce. The Software CMM has been used by software organizations around the world for guiding dramatic improvements in its ability to improve productivity and quality, reduce costs and time to market, and increase customer satisfaction. Based on the best current practices in fields such as human resources, knowledge management, and organizational development, the People CMM guides organizations in improving processes for managing and developing workforce. The People CMM helps organizations characterize the maturity of their workforce practices, establish a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate workforce development with process improvement, and establish a culture of excellence.

The People CMM consists of five maturity levels that establish successive foundations for continuously improving individual competencies, developing effective teams, motivating improved performance, and shaping the workforce the organization needs to accomplish its future business plans. Each maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau that institutionalizes new capabilities for developing the organization’s workforce. By following the maturity framework, an organization can avoid introducing workforce practices that its employees are unprepared to implement effectively. Each maturity level provides a layer in the foundation for continuous improvement of the organization’s workforce capability. Achieving each level of the maturity model institutionalizes a different component of workforce capability, resulting in an overall increase in the workforce capability of the organization. Each process area comprises a set of goals that, when satisfied, stabilize an important component of workforce capability. Each process area is described in terms of the practices that contribute to satisfying its goals. The practices describe the infrastructure and activities that contribute most to the effective implementation and institutionalization of the process area. The following diagram shows the different levels in the PCMM framework.


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WHAT IS THE PEOPLE CMM?

The People Capability Maturity Model is a roadmap for implementing workforce practices that continuously improve the capability of an organization’s workforce. Since an organization cannot implement all of the best workforce practices, the People CMM introduce them in phases or levels. Each progressive level of the People CMM produces a unique transformation in the organization’s culture by equipping it with more powerful practices for attracting, developing, organizing, motivating, and retaining its workforce. Thus, the People CMM establishes an integrated system of workforce practices that matures through increasing alignment with the organization’s business objectives, performance, and changing needs.

The People CMM’s primary objective is to improve the capability of the workforce. Workforce capability can be defined as the level of knowledge, skills, and process abilities available for performing an organization’s business activities. Workforce capability indicates an organization’s

· Readiness for performing its critical business activities,

· Likely results from performing these business activities,

· Potential for benefiting from investments in process improvement or advanced technology.

In order to measure and improve capability, the workforce in most organizations must be divided into its constituent workforce competencies. Each workforce competency represents a unique integration of knowledge, skills, and process abilities acquired through specialized education or work experience. Since the People CMM is an evolutionary framework, it guides organizations in selecting high priority improvement actions based on the current maturity of their workforce practices. The benefit of the People CMM is in narrowing the scope of improvement activities to those vital few practices that provide the next foundational layer for developing an organization’s workforce. By concentrating on a focused set of practices and working aggressively to install them, organizations can steadily improve their workforce and make lasting gains in their performance and competitiveness. The People CMM is popular because it allows organizations to characterize the maturity of their workforce practices against a benchmark being used by other organizations. Many workforce benchmarks focus on employee attitudes and satisfaction rather than workforce practices.

STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS OF THE PEOPLE CMM

The components of the structure of the People CMM include

1. Maturity levels

2. Process areas

3. Goals

4. Practices

The architectural structure of the People CMM is depicted in the figure shown below. Practices represent guidelines for satisfying process area goals, which in turn provide the objectives and scope of a process area. Process areas contribute the means by which the organization is transformed at each maturity level to produce a new organizational capability.

1. Maturity Levels

The People CMM consists of five maturity levels that lay successive foundations for continuously improving talent, developing an effective workforce, and successfully managing the human capital of an organization. Each maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau that establishes and institutionalizes a level of capability for improving the workforce within the organization. The five maturity levels provide the top-level structure of the People CMM. Each maturity level is composed of several process areas (PAs). Each process area contains a set of goals that, when satisfied, establish that process area’s ability to affect workforce capability.

The Initial Level - Maturity Level 1

Organizations at the Initial Level of maturity usually have difficulty retaining talented individuals. Low maturity organizations are poorly equipped to respond to talent shortages. Organizations at the Initial Level typically exhibit four characteristics

1. Inconsistency in performing practices,

2. Displacement of responsibility,

3. Ritualistic practices, and

4. An emotionally detached workforce.

Managers and supervisors in low maturity organizations are ill prepared to perform their workforce responsibilities and their management training is sparse. The organization may typically provide forms for guiding workforce activities such as performance appraisals or position requisitions. However, sufficient guidance or training is not offered for conducting the activities supported by these forms. As a result, managers are left to their own devices in most areas of workforce management. Since low maturity organizations rarely clarify the responsibilities of managers, inconsistencies are to be expected. Consequently the way people are treated depends largely on personal orientation, previous experience, and the individual “people skills” of their manager, supervisor, or team leader. While some managers perform their workforce responsibilities diligently, others perform some workforce activities with little forethought and ignore other responsibilities altogether. They perceive management to be about producing results, not about creating and developing people who produce results. However, in launching People CMM-based improvements, managers must be held accountable for performing basic workforce practices even though their personal methods for performing them may differ.

The Managed Level - Maturity Level

The first step toward improving the capability of the workforce is to get managers to take workforce activities as high priority responsibilities of their job. They must accept personal responsibility for the performance and development of those who perform the unit’s work. The practices implemented at Maturity Level focus a manager’s attention on unit-level issues such as staffing, coordinating commitments, providing resources, managing performance, developing skills, and making compensation decisions. Building a solid foundation of workforce practices within each unit provides the bedrock on which more sophisticated workforce practices can be implemented at higher levels of maturity. In a Maturity Level organization, managers are vigilant for any problems that hinder performance in their units. Frequent problems that keep people from performing effectively in low-maturity organizations include Work overload, Environmental, Distractions, Unclear performance objectives or feedback, Lack of relevant knowledge, Poor communication, and Low morale.

As an organization achieves Maturity Level , units become stable environments for performing work. Units are able to balance its commitments with available resources. They can manage their skill needs, both by acquiring people with needed skills and through developing the skills of those already in the unit. Managers are focused on managing individual performance and coordinating individual contributions into effective unit performance.

The Defined Level - Maturity Level

Organizations at the Repeatable Level find that, inspite of performing basic workforce practices, there is inconsistency in how these practices are performed across units and little synergy across the organization. The organization misses opportunities to standardize workforce practices because the common knowledge and skills needed for conducting its business activities have not been identified and communicated. Once a foundation of basic workforce practices has been established in the units, it is then required for the organization to develop an organization-wide infrastructure atop these practices that ties the capability of the workforce to strategic business objectives.

The primary objective of the Defined Level is to help an organization gain a competitive advantage from developing the various competencies that must be combined in its workforce to accomplish its business activities. These workforce competencies represent critical pillars supporting the strategic business plan, since their absence would otherwise pose a severe risk to strategic business objectives. In tying workforce competencies to current and future business objectives, the improved workforce practices implemented at Maturity Level become critical enablers of business strategy. At Maturity Level , the organization builds an organization-wide framework of workforce competencies that establishes the architecture of the organization’s workforce. Each workforce competency is an element of the workforce architecture, and dependencies among competency-based processes describe how these architectural elements interact.

At the Defined Level, the organization adapts its workforce practices to its business needs by focusing them on motivating and enabling development in its workforce competencies. Once workforce competencies are defined, training and development practices can more systematically focus on developing the knowledge, skills, and process abilities. Further, the existing experience in the workforce can be organized to accelerate the development of workforce competencies in those with less skill and experience. A common organizational culture typically develops as the organization achieves the Defined Level. Since these workforce competencies are strategic to the business, the organization reinforces their importance by developing and rewarding them. As a result, the entire workforce begins sharing responsibility for developing increasing levels of capability in the organization’s workforce competencies.

The Predictable Level - Maturity Level 4

At the Predictable Level, the organization manages and exploits the capability created by its framework of workforce competencies. The organization is now able to manage its capability and performance quantitatively and is able to predict its capability for performing work because it can quantify the capability of its workforce and of the competency-based processes they use in performing their assignments.

The framework of workforce competencies enables the organization to better exploit the capabilities of its workforce and can be done in three ways.

· When competent people perform their assignments using proven competency based processes, management trusts the result that is produced. This trust enables the organization to preserve the results of performing competency-based processes and develop them as assets to be reused by others. In essence, people trust the asset because they trust the methods through which it was produced. When these assets are created and used effectively, learning spreads more rapidly through the organization and productivity rises when reuse replaces redevelopment.

· The trust also gives managers the confidence they need to empower workgroups. In achieving Maturity Level 4, management senses less risk in empowering workgroups and is willing to delegate increasingly greater levels of authority for managing day-to-day operations and for performing some of their own workforce practices. Increasingly free of managing operational details, managers at Maturity Level 4 are able to turn their attention to more strategic issues.

· When members of each workforce competency community have mastered their competency-based processes, the organization is able to integrate different competency-based processes into a single multidisciplinary process.

The quantitative management capabilities implemented at Maturity Level 4 provide management with better input for strategic decisions, while encouraging delegation of operational details to those at lower organizational levels.

The Optimizing Level - Maturity Level 5

At the Optimizing Level, the entire organization is focused on continual improvement. These improvements are made to the capability of individuals and workgroups, to the performance of competency-based processes and to workforce practices and activities. The organization uses the results of the quantitative management activities established at Maturity Level 4 to guide improvements at Maturity Level 5. Maturity Level 5 organizations treat change management as an ordinary business process to be performed in an orderly way on a regular basis. Although several individuals may be performing identical competency-based processes, they frequently exhibit individual differences in the methods and work styles they use to perform their assignments. At Maturity Level 5, individuals are encouraged to make continuous improvements to their personal work processes by analyzing their work and making needed process enhancements.

At Maturity Level 5, the process performance data collected across the organization is evaluated to detect instances of misalignment. Further, the impact of workforce practices and activities is evaluated to ensure they are encouraging rather than discouraging alignment. Corrective action is taken to realign performance objectives and results when necessary. Innovative practices that demonstrate the greatest potential for improvement are identified and evaluated in trial applications and if found effective, they are deployed throughout the organization. This makes the workforce capability continually improving and this improvement occurs through both incremental advances in existing workforce practices and adoption of innovative practices and technologies. The culture created in an organization routinely working at the Optimizing Level is one in which everyone strives to improve their own capability, and contributes to improvements in the performance of their workgroup, unit, and the organization. Workforce practices are honed to support a culture of performance excellence.

2. Process Areas

Each process area organizes a set of interrelated practices in a critical area of workforce management, such as staffing, compensation, or workgroup development. Each of these areas constitutes an important organizational process. The process areas at each level of maturity create an inter-linked system of processes that transform the organization’s capability for managing its workforce, where a Process Area (PA) is defined as a cluster of related practices that, when performed collectively, satisfy a set of goals that contribute to the capability gained by achieving a maturity level. Each process area contains a set of goals that, when satisfied, establish that process area’s ability to affect workforce capability. Process areas identify both the capabilities that must be institutionalized to achieve a maturity level, and the practices that an organization should implement to improve its workforce capability. The following diagram shows the process areas.

3. Goals

Each process area contains three to five goals stating the objectives it was designed to accomplish. These goals constitute the requirements an organization should satisfy in implementing the workforce practices in a process area. Collectively they indicate the scope, boundaries, and intent of the process area. Goals apply to only one process area and address the unique characteristics that describe what must be implemented to satisfy the purpose of the process area. Goals apply to only one process area and address the unique characteristics that describe what must be implemented to satisfy the purpose of the process area. The goals of a process area summarize the states that must exist for that process area to have been implemented in an effective and lasting way and the extent to which the goals have been accomplished.

Goal achievement can be used to determine whether an organization has effectively implemented a process area. A process area has not been satisfactorily implemented until all its goals accurately describe the organization’s behavior or state of affairs. When the goals of all process areas included at a maturity level have been satisfied, the organization will have achieved the maturity level and established a new level of capability in managing its workforce.

4. Practices

Each process area is described in terms of the practices that contribute to satisfying its goals. The practices, when collectively addressed, accomplish the goals of the process area. The workforce practices in each process area provide guidance for improving an organization’s capability to manage and develop its workforce. These practices have been selected for inclusion because they contribute to satisfying process area goals. However, these are neither an exclusive nor an exhaustive list of the practices an organization might implement in pursuing the goals of a process area. Nevertheless, when the recommended workforce practices are performed collectively, the organization will achieve the collective states described by the goals of the process area.

Practices are expected model components and describe what practices an organization that is achieving a set of goals will typically implement. The practices are meant to guide individuals and groups implementing improvements or performing assessments. Both the practice as described, or acceptable alternatives to them, must be present in the planned and implemented processes of the organization before goals can be considered satisfied. “Practice” is used throughout the People CMM to refer to standard, defined workforce management processes. These processes may be defined at various organizational levels.



USES OF THE PEOPLE CMM

The People CMM help organizations to

· Characterize the maturity of their workforce practices

· Guide a program of continuous workforce development

· Set priorities for immediate actions

· Integrate workforce development with process improvement

· Establish a culture of professional excellence

The value of the People CMM is in the way that organizations use it. The People CMM can be applied by an organization in two primary ways

· As a guide in planning and implementing improvement activities, and

· As a standard for assessing workforce practices.

Most of the experience in applying the People CMM has been in the software and information technologies industries, and the lessons learned in these industries should be relevant to most other segments of industry and government as well. Since its release in 15, the People CMM have been used throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and India to guide and conduct organizational improvement activities.

REFERENCES

1. www.software.org

2. www.sei.cmu.edu

3. www.masetllc.com

4. www.informit.com

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Drunk Driving

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There is no doubt that the problem of drunk driving has reached academic proportions in America, especially among young people. Rob Waldron has seen his share of accidents that have had something to do with the consumption of alcohol. The most tragic of these events came when his brother, who attended a frat party and drank heavily, took his own life in a drunk driving accident. Waldron believes the death of his brother could have been prevented if colleges would take responsibility for the actions of students on their campuses. Colleges should look at the activities of students and develop ways to allow students to conduct traditional campus activities (such as fraternity parties) without putting their own lives in danger.

Drinking will not stop on college campuses; it is part of the college experience. However, administrators can develop rules and regulations to ensure the safety of students who choose to drink. Abolishing social houses will not solve the problem, as Waldron states. Rather, colleges should fund security of some kind to prevent drunk students from driving around campus. Waldron’s family proposed a fund be developed to pay a police officer to patrol the main entrance to the Middlebury campus and stop drivers who appear to be intoxicated. The campus shot this idea down. The problem will not be solved until there is intervention by colleges.

Colleges seem to be hands off when it comes to the controversial issue of drinking and driving. Waldron believes that colleges refuse to touch this issue, because “taking responsibility for drinking and driving will make trustees and college presidents legally liable for college students’ drunk-driving behavior.” This is true, however, colleges have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all students regardless of the nature of their activities. Drinking and driving will never be controlled until colleges seriously look at the issue at hand and develop some way to control it. There are several steps Waldron suggests colleges do to help the problem. Among these are interacting with local police and developing a policy for students who drink and drive. Another step that may help the problem is contacting organizations such as S.A.D.D and M.A.D.D to help open students eyes that this is a real problem.

Intervention on the administrative level may be the only solution colleges have to stop drinking and driving. Students are too irresponsible and naive to realize a problem exists. They will continue to drink and get behind the wheel of motored vehicles until college administrators develop strict regulations to deter students from such activities. Drinking at college will never stop, but students dying in drunk driving accidents can. Colleges need to take action against this problem to prevent the deaths of students. The problem will never solve itself and students will never solve the problem, so it lies in the hands of administrators and college presidents to tackle the issue at hand.


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Monday, August 6, 2012

Analysis of Swift’s "A Modest Proposal"

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Swift begins A Modest Proposal with the goal of “preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public” (Swift, 466). Sounds great to me! Where can I sign up? These were my original thoughts when I began reading this piece. In fact I though this would just be another boring lecture on what is going wrong, in which Swift would bring up ideas which sounded wonderful and poetic but could not be feasibly carried out. I even began to question the reason for A Modest Proposal’s place in a text book. I had no idea what was in store for me.

A Modest Proposal is satirical writing at its finest. It describes in detail Swift’s “modest” idea that to help to ease the suffering of the poor, and to stimulate Ireland’s floundering economy, Ireland should turn babies into a commodity. Swift suggests that if babies were to be eaten there would not only be another source of income for poor mothers, but a delicious delicacy that could be eaten on special occasions by the rich and well-off. I chose this piece because of Swift’s sense of humor. I could see him as someone I could get along with. I also really enjoy when someone is able to get their point across though humor and wit, because I know how hard that is to do.

The first thing that caught my eye about this proposal, aside from the fact that Swift is suggesting the eating of thousands of young infants, is who gave Swift the idea for his proposal in the first place, an American. Swift says, “I have been assured by a very knowing American…that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food” (Swift). When I first read over this passage I thought little of the fact that Swift mentioned an American as a source for this horrific idea. However, as I read over it a few more times and paid more attention to the footnotes, I realized that there was more to the reference than chance. This passage says a lot about the attitude towards the American colonies at the time. The average citizen in England really thought that Americans were some savage, barbaric race that had left their homeland to live in the undiscovered wilderness. I think Swift really proves that fact when he uses an American as a tool for satire. He calls the American “well knowing” and that, to the English, would probably have been laughable. It introduces the satire of the piece and makes it easier for the reader to identify with the proposal because they already understand America’s “barbaric” ways. This passage is not only interesting because of its satirical content but also that of its cultural significance. It is unusual to hear the English voice in regards to America, it makes you think that maybe we were not always as cultured as we sometimes think we are.

Swift is also courageous enough to satirize England. Swift states that he “could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it”(Swift). Swift suggest that England has already done all that they can to the citizens of Ireland, they might as well eat them. Swifts anger is justifiable. At the time Ireland was completely controlled by England, who had severely limited the power of the Irish government, as well as making it almost impossible for any sort of fair trade to be established. They had taken advantage of Ireland to the fullest and were willing to sacrifice the welfare of an entire country for their economic development. With just a brief history on the political tensions of the time it is easy to see why a work such as this would be very influential and thought provoking to the men and women who read it. It is interesting looking back on all the political pieces of this time period because they all are based in some sort of satire. Today, although satire is still used as a political tool, it seems that it is not as effective or powerful as it once was. Personally I believe satire is one of the more elegant and insightful ways to get a point across.


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The portion of the piece that I was most taken with was within that last page or so. For the majority of the piece Swift’s tone could be described as witty, maybe even whimsical. However, in the last section of "A Modest Proposal" Swift abruptly jumps into a tirade of anger and truth aimed at those who scoff at any real and thoughtful proposal that people have brought up. The interesting thing is that even though Swift has changed his tone almost completely he never loses his satirical style when he writes

"Let no man talk to me of other expedients of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound; of using neither clothes nor household furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture" (Swift).

Here Swift takes the side of those who had denied him before, and shows the absurdity of their argument. He demonstrates how easy it is to make a significant difference in the state of Ireland while pointing out the “pride, vanity, and idleness” of the upper class men and women at the time. Swift had written numerous serious proposals earlier in his career and all had been denied. This is where the true satire of the title comes out as well. Swift suggests that “a vein of parsimony, prudence, and temperance” is too dear a thing to ask people to put forth, but rather that the only modest and reasonable thing to ask is that they eat the children of the poor.

Works Cited

Sherman, Stuart. The Longman Anthology of British Literature The Restoration and the 18th Century. New York Addison-Wesley, 2000



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Sunday, August 5, 2012

SWOT Analysis of Wal-Mart

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SWOT ANALYSIS OF WAL-MART

By Vassilis Georgiadis & Panagiota Panagiotou

Principles of Management

Professor MR. Kehagias

When Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in 16 in Rogers Arkansas, it was the beginning of an amazing American story that no one could have predicted. Sam Walton after the World War opened his first Walton’s Ben Franklin store in Versailles Missouri but the outcome of his business wasn’t what he expected so he moved his business to Bentonville in Arkansas. He was right. Sam built has become the world’s number one retailer. In our days in Wal-Mart Business there is a diversification into grocery (Wal-Mart super centers), international operations, membership warehouse clubs (SAM’S Clubs), and deep discount Warehouse outlets (Bud’s Discount city). Wal-Mart provides work up to 600,000 Americans.

Within the following text we gonna refer to a SWOT analysis of Wal-Mart. A SWOT analysis is a method of analyzing an operation’s competitive situation that involves assessing organizational strengths (S) and weaknesses (W), as well as environmental opportunities (O) and Threats (T).

STRENGTHS
A strength is an internal characteristic that has the potential of improving the organization’s competitive situation.

· Sam Walton used to open his first shops to towns with small population and after that was creating a distribution center near them. By opening his shops to towns with population less then 50,000 was gaining an advantage. The big companies of its type they wouldn’t be a competitor of his because they wouldn’t care about small markets. So Walton by doing that he had the chance to dominate in the local market and find the money (that at first he hadn’t) to expand. The distribution centers that he was creating near to his shops were giving him another strategic advantage. He was able to refill his selves and change the products of his stores very fast. But the most important was that these distribution centers were planned to support his further expansion in the area.

· Further more another point that can be taken under consideration as strength is the fact that Wal-Mart is trying to have a good relationship with the customers. In every Wal-Mart store there is a greeter for the people who will provide information and smile to everyone that gets into the shop. The staff of the shop is well trained and is very polite and helpful to everyone. There are also established convenient shopping hours for every one. Finally, the prices of each Wal-Mart store are probably lower than any other store in the area and there is a great variety in all kind of goods. By doing all these that doesn’t cost a lot Wall-Mart are gaining customers because people like to be treated nice.

· Wall-Mart Corporation gives also a great importance to the local community and has good relations with them. Wal-Mart has settled a prize of money for the student who will have the best marks in the area at the end of the year. Each store also participates in fund-raising projects with the local community. But the most important is that in every local Wal-Mart store there are all the local products in well-viewed positions. Managers in Wal-Mart have realized how important is to have a good relation with the local community because in that way the local community will support them against their competitors.

· Another strength of Wal-Mart is the good relation with their employees. Most of the employees in Wal-Mart have access in information like costs, freight charges, profit margins that other companies make available only for top managers. Top managers are travelling often to the stores and discuss with the people. That makes people feel that the company cares about them. Also the company identification badges contain only photos and first names. All these are very important for the employee’s psychology because they are not treated like numbers. David Glass Company’s president and chief executive words how the company’s good relation to the employees give to the company a great strength “We have no superstars just only average people operating in an environment that encourages people to perform way above average”

· Another strength that the company has and kept the company from shrinking is the well-established reward system. For every store there is an expected rate of profits. If profits overcome that point then the individuals that run the store take a share of the profits. Rewards are also being given when the money that is being lost from thefts is less than these that were expected. All these make people that run the company considers it, as it was their own.

· Moreover another strength of Wal-Mart and one of its biggest long-term advantages is its hyperproductive culture. The company makes every employ from the C.E.O. to the clerk to work very hard and take a relatively small wage. But the relentless work ethic makes everybody rich at the end because compensation includes stock.

· Another major strength of the company is based on the executives’ controls on the performance of the company. Every Saturday the managers of Wal-Mart select the best 5-week stores and the worst 5 stores. After that they work on what went wrong to the 5 worst stores and try all together to correct the mistakes made or find new ways to improve sales in these stores.

· The company made some joint ventures and acquisitions in Mexico and North America that gives the company a competitive advantage. In Mexico there is a successful partnership with Cifra that still have and run their own stores. Wal-Mart is so satisfied with this joint venture that are going to eliminate a clause that gave it an out under certain conditions. Their partners are planning to build super centers and Sam’s Clubs like the ones that Wal-Mart has under the name Bodega.

· In addition, Wal-Mart is using the cross docking system that gives to the company a great strength opposite to their competitors. The cross docking system although it gives to a company many advantages in saving money and time it’s very difficult to be used. It requires perfect time control and information. Wal-Mart managed to imply this system so it had the opportunity to feed its stores in 48 hours when other companies were making two weeks. When the goods were carried to the docks Wal-Mart didn’t store them in the warehouses but it had such a schedule that allowed them to load the goods immediately to the trucks that the company owned. Another major element is that the trucks were also going to the stores fully loaded and that helped a lot in saving time because they were making fewer courses. But in order this to happen there was a plan for the ships to carry the goods that will full fill a truck, which was going to a particular shop.

· Another advantage that Wal-Mart has is that the company achieved vertical integration and economies of scale. Because of its large size Wal-Mart achieved to have low average cost in whatever they buy. By achieving vertical integration Wal-Mart started depending less to other people such as suppliers or truck owners and that made the company more flexible.

· Wal-Mart had established a very good information and network system that provides everything that the managers need to run such a big company. The network system they established allowed the managers of all stores to have communication via monitors and discuss about the problems of the company face to face even if they were miles away.

· Finally Wal-Mart is able to follow the local tastes of the people because of the well established distribution centers and good information technology. That gave the company a major strength in growth because it was able to go into new markets or global and correspond with success to local people needs.

WEAKNESSES
Weakness is an internal characteristic that leaves the organization potentially vulnerable to strategic moves by competitors.

· The company’s enormous size is creating difficulties in management. During the past years the company has been led from the top and run from the bottom. This was the strategy that Walton followed and his managers as well. But now because of the huge size the company was forced to restructure into four divisions and add more management layers. This is a weakness for the company because there will slow down the decisions and there will gonna be lots of bureaucracy. When an executive asked in how many days could they renew the collection of clothes in all stores the answer that he got was eight months.

· The information system used although it is one of the best sometimes there are troubles because of the big size of the company. For example some stores in Maine were receiving bags of grass while there were snow everywhere.

· The last years Wal-Mart is trying to get into prepared food market. Although is well known as a big retailer, Wal-Mart has no experience from such markets. So this will be a weakness against other competitors that are already well established in the market.

· As Herb Zarkin the C.E.O. of Waban Inc says Wal-Mart doesn’t have the same impregnability in warehouse business as it does in retailing. This is an obvious weakness that Wal-Mart has against its competitors. It’s a weakness that Wal-Mart finally managed to overcome and enforced its rival Kmart to sell to them half of its Pace division stores and close the rest.

OPPORTUNITIES
An opportunity is an environmental condition that offers significant prospects for improving an organization’s situation relative to competitors

· Wall-Mart has the chance to make use of the space in every department more efficiently. This is an opportunity for Wal-Mart to market down to household level and advertise to a market segment of one. The company wants in order to do that to put on the selves the right quantity in the right time and by doing this came up with the customers need better.

· Wal-Mart wants to move back to the original concept of a warehouse club so it is making some changes in SAM’S club. By doing that they want to sell in the clubs “high quality merchandize at great prices”. That’s an opportunity for Wal-Mart because until now it was well known only for low quality products in low prices. Now in SAM’S club are concentrating on only 800 items that will offer high quality on lower price. These clubs size will be 110,000 to 10,000 square feet.

· SAM’S clubs t is thinking to allow corporations and institutions to buy on credit provided through GE capital. The company is also thinking to create a kiosk through which the companies will be able to bye merchandise. This is an opportunity to broaden sales. It will also help SAM’S locate itself on the information superhighway if the market takes that road.

· The company can also see an opportunity in super centers in order to expand and increase sales. Although Wal-Mart is inexperienced in running stores within there will be food supermarket products and also the usual products of a Wal-Mart store it will have high profitability, bigger earnings, better returns than discount stores because now there gonna be more products on sale. According to analysts super centers returns 6% on investment comparing to 0% for a discount store and 0% for a SAM’S club.

· Further more the company has the opportunity to dominate in Canadian market as well and be the leader of the retailers in North America after the good results that the joint venture with a company in Mexico provided. The company has already acquired 1 Woolco stores that are behind in sales in their region comparing to their competitors. Wal-Mart executives believe that if they use the system with which Wal-Mart is being managed and also bring about some changes in order to meet Wal-Mart standards Woolco will do great in Canadian market.

· The Internet ages we are through by now is a great challenge and by the same time an opportunity for Wal-Mart to expand in new markets. Wal-Mart saw this opportunity and has under consideration to start selling their products within the Internet and with the help of AOL. Selling products through the Internet means even less cost for the company because it is not supposed to pay anything for stores or employees, and lower prices for the customers.

THREATS
A threat is an environmental condition that offers significant prospects for undermining an organization’s competitive situation.

· Wal-Mart is by know facing price pressures that it never thought will appear. Companies like Limited category killers, home deport and circuit city and some other companies like Spiegel that sells their products through catalogs are going after a price war with Wal-Mart. The result is that low prices getting even lower day by day. This is a threat that company’s executives never expected to come up and it might get worse if they won’t take the proper action.

· Another threat that Wal-Mart faces comes from the target division of Dayton Hudson. This company has the ability of massive production of goods so it’s more likely to be able to achieve economies of scale and low average cost in production. By doing this is able to compete Wal-Mart in prices. Except all these they accused Wal-Mart for mistaking on items used in comparisons. It also tries to attack to Wal-Mart doing something what Wal-Mart already does, improve their public relations.

· Another major threat comes from the citizens of the towns in which Wal-Mart is planing to open new stores. Many citizens protest against that because they see stores as large as Wal-Mart is as a threat for the local economy. Small supermarkets, groceries are more likely to be closed down wherever Wal-Mart super centers are being established because they wouldn’t be able to compete the low prices of such stores.

· Finally a threat for Wal-Mart comes from the Internet as well. Yahoo and Kmart have already gone on a joint venture to support both companies’ interests and sell the products of Kmart through the Internet. So Wal-Mart is by now planning to do the same with a big competitor of yahoo’s AOL.

In conclusion Wal-Mart is by now the largest retailer in America with plans to go over other continents. It has many strengths that can be based on to complete these plans and a few weaknesses that has the abilities to overcome and introduce higher profits. Despite the big size of the company it still has lots of opportunities to become even bigger. On the other hand there are many threats from competitors who would like to take market share from Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s accomplishments will be exceeded by not only today’s associates, but also the associates of the future. That was the prediction of Sam Walton as he accepted the Medal of Freedom from President George Bush in March 1.

“We're all working together; that’s the

Secret. And we’ll lower the cost of living

For everyone, not just in America, but

We’ll give the world an opportunity to

See what it’s like to save and have a

Better lifestyle, a better life for all. We’re

Proud of what we’ve accomplished;

WE’VE JUST BEGUN.”


SAM WALTON

FOUNDER AND C.E.O. OF WAL-MART CORPORATION



VASSILIS GEORGIADIS PANAGIOTA

WORKS CITED

Principles of Management Bartol and Martin

Wal-Mart official cite

Business week cite

The standard.com article display


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Thursday, August 2, 2012

OCD

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As mentioned above, generally one type of obsession produces a certain compulsion, sort of a cause and effect situation. Obsessive thoughts of contamination and being dirty would usually result in compulsive hand washing and/or showering, for example. One book describing the life of someone suffering from this specific obsession, thus resulting in that compulsion, is "The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing", by Judith L. Rapoport, M.D. Not only does it focus on the experience and treatment of this specific case of OCD, but it also describes a woman who feels as though she must check her stove hundreds of times a day to make sure she has turned it off, as well as a woman who eventually plucks out every single hair in both eyebrows, in an attempt to ensure that her eyebrows are symmetrical. Another book describing the different types of OCD one can possess is "Just Checking Scenes from the life of an obsessive-compulsive", by Emily Colas. The author describes in the book how she was a young, intelligent, well-educated wife who had a secret that got in the way of certain activities. In the beginning, it was germs and food, but eventually her everyday actions were plagued by some kind of obsession and resulting compulsion. While all types of OCD require some kind of treatment, the appropriate remedy can vary, depending on the specific behaviors resulting from each obsession/compulsion.These different obsessions and compulsions are generally grouped into several broad categories, including aggressive obsessions, contamination obsessions, sexual obsessions, miscellaneous obsessions, somatic obsession-compulsions, counting compulsions, repeating rituals, checking compulsions, ordering/arranging compulsions, hoarding/collecting compulsions, and miscellaneous compulsions. There are most likely other obsessions and/or compulsions that don’t fit into these specific categories, but these are the most common.

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