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Friday, 30 May 2014 15:02

Pink Elephant

Written by

Pink Elephant

Evaluative report

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


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

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

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


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

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

 Literature review

Total Quality Management

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

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

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

 Quality gurus

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

 1. aspects that detect a problem in the system

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

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

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

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

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

 • Prevention costs such as training and quality planning

• Appraisal costs like quality audits

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

• Internal costs failure ; defects found before shipping.

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

 • Setting the standards of quality

• Appraisal conformance to the set standards

• Taking the right actions when standards are not followed

• Plans on improvements.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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The National Institute Of Standards And Technology

NIST issues Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework  by Steve Caponi & Elizabeth Sloan. Accessed from http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/275074/Data+Protection+Privacy on 11/28/2013.

The national institute of standards and technology (NIST) issued the preliminary cybersecurity Framework as required under section 7 of the President executive order of February 2012 aimed at improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity.  The order was promoted by the increased cyber intrusion into critical infrastructures.

 These intrusions are threatening the national and economic security of the country.Critical infrastructure refers to systems and assets both physical and virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such as a system would have debilitating impacts on security, national economic security, and national public health or safety. They include infrastructures in the energy sector, finance and banking, healthcare, transportation, telecommunication, defense and utilities.  The executive order also called for policy coordination, sharing of cybersecurity information, protection of privacy and civil liberties, and the development of a framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructures. The framework includes standards, procedures and processes for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructures.

 The executive order requires the NIST issue the final version of the framework in 2014 February. Industry players are welcomed to give their contribution in the course of the month of November.  Therefore, institutions are expected to conduct a gap analysis of their cybersecurity, privacy, and data governance management to identify areas they need to comply with the NIST framework.The preliminary framework is organized into five overarching cyber functions that include identity, protect, detect, respond and recover. Each of the above functions has numerous categories that are related to programmatic activities. They include activities such as “asset management,” “access control, detection processes.

 Aim of the framework

These standards will be voluntary and not a one-size-fits-all.  This is because each institution has different and unique risks.   The aim of the standards is not to replace existing organizational cybersecurity programs but to complement. The goal of the standards is to help improve existing cybersecurity protocols and create a reference for establishing new programs.  It is intended to prioritize flexible, repeatable, performance-based and cost effective programs.  They will serve as best practices for companies and agencies in the sectors included in the definition of critical infrastructure.   The standards are intended to provide specific guidance for detecting and responding to attacks, mitigating the fallout from cyber incidents and managing overall cyber risks.

 Characteristics of the framework

The framework provides a common language and mechanism for organizations to:

Describing current cybersecurity posture

Describing their target state for cybersecurity

Identifying and prioritizing opportunities for improvement in risk management

Assessing the progress toward the target state

Fostering communications among internal and external stakeholders

 Structure of the framework

The preliminary framework is organized into five overarching cyber functions that include identity, protect, detect, respond and recover. Each of the above functions has numerous categories that are related to programmatic activities. They include activities such as “asset management,” “access control, detection processes.

 It is a risk-based approach composed of the framework core, the framework profile, and the framework implementation tiers.

Framework core is the compilation of standards intended to foster the communication of cyber risks across an entire organization

The framework profile is a snapshot of an organizations current security readiness, which can be used to track progress in implementing security protocols.

The framework implementation tier describes how a specific organization manages its cybersecurity.


Friday, 30 May 2014 11:17

Art and Politics in Latin America

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Art and Politics in Latin America

Pan Labyrinth is a chilling and fanciful story that is based against the fascist regime of rural Spain of 1944 (Pan Labyrinth. com, 2013). This is a story about Ofelia a twelve year old girl who is lonely and dreamy. Guillermo Del Toro’s in this film presents the society’s fear as we see in the life of Ofelia. Ofelia is faced with terrors in her dream world as she tries to escape and partly as a form of defiance against the violent regime of her step father. This is a film that not only shows the presence of monsters, but they also walk among humans. The main message of this film is the idea that innocence has a power that cannot be imagined by evil.

This is the underlying message that runs all through the film because Ofelia personifies the idea that there is nothing that is more powerful other than active choice to stand up by the atrocity and at the same time stay pure and uncorrupted. This essay examines the graphic and unflinching treatment of violence and innocence as presented by Del Toro in his film.The film is set in 1944. This is a time when the Spanish Civil War had come to an end five years ago (Richards, 1998). The central art image of this film is based on the ancient myth of Saturn/ Cronus of the Romans and Greeks respectively. Del Toro shows that his major inspiration of incorporating supernatural creatures in his work was through the work of Francisco de Goya, the painter.

In fact in one of the scenes, we see fairies being bitten by a Pale Man into half and gobble them. This directly relates to one of Goya’s Black Paintings, Saturn devouring his son (Loga, 1910). This painting shows god’s expression that denotes madness, violence and fear while devouring his child (Bolen, 1989).The monster in del Toro’s film is Cronus the Greek Myth who is an epitome of cruelty. The Pale Man Scene is a reflection of both Francoism and Vidal, and it forms the most cryptic and captivating reflection since it has a major symbolic aspect. Pagan and Christian elements do mingle with fantasy in the way we see Ofelia in the underworld. It is a major nightmare for Ofelia since she is filled with fear of being consumed by Cronus.

The entire Pale Man scene acts a reflection of reality of the oppressive regime under Franco (Crandall, 1984). Del Toro’s idea of depicting the image of violence was influenced by is an experience in Mexico (Del Toro, 2006).The concept of innocence is presented in the film. The child’s physical and emotional needs are in collision with Cronus Complex. A child has the right to be taken care of as part of the human experience. Lack of the basic nurture means that a child is lost in family demands, by providing care instead of being cared. Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth is the caretaker of her mother who sick and frail. This scene reveals a shocking scenario especially when she has to take care of her mother who is hemorrhaging. Her mother only whispers “help me” as she is covered in a pool of blood.

The film presents horrors as we see Ofelia being a little girl escaping the violence and horrors of war. In one, scene, we see Vidal is enjoying himself as he shoots the heads of some rebels. We also view clandestine activities of a housekeeper working for Vidal as she informs the rebels about Vidal’s plans and whereabouts. The world that Ofelia lives in is one filled with violence, hatred, corruption and fascism, but still there are hope, righteousness, forgiveness, and truth, and most essential of all being love. John King shows that Mexico in its Hollywood film presented the exotic images of danger and desire. He says “Mexico is a region where he saw dark desires run riot. It not only focus on wine, song, and women, but also treasury, death and rape (Fuentes 1985, in King: 459).


Pan Labyrinth (2013) official website. Retrieved from Http://www.wbshop.com/product/code/1000032077.do

On November 25, 2013

Fuentes (1985) Pancho Villa, the Mexican Revolution, John Reed, and Raoul Walsh (King: 459. King: 459

Crandall, J (1984) the Cronus Complex. Clinical Social works Journal. 12:2, p 108-117.

Bolen, J (1989). Gods in Everyman. San Francisco: Harper and Row.

Del Toro, G (2006). El labyrinth del fauno. Madrid: Ocho y medio.

Loga, V (1910). Francisco de Goya. Leipzig: Klinkhardt and Biemann.

Richards, M (1998) a time of Silence: Civil War and the Culture of Repression in Franco’s Spain, 1936-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge UP

Saturday, 24 May 2014 15:35

Science Fiction

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Science Fiction

Question One

The “hard work” music montage strives to demonstrate to viewers the high technological devices used to investigate a murder or an illness. The music montage does not focus on the characters in a scene, but the equipment that characters are using so as to resolve a problem. Viewers get an opportunity to have an up close of the technologies in use as directors intentionally eliminate the characters using this equipment. The elimination of humans in these music video montages ensures that viewers focus on the equipment only.

 Question Two

In addition to hard work music montages strive to demonstrate how the truth cannot remain hidden with the use of technology.  Technology is thus given some sort of authority over the humans. In the series Bones, Angela has the ability of reconstructing faces of murder victims, but instead of using these skills, she uses digital technology as it yields accurate results.

Question Three

The music montage stands apart from the dialogue scenes like a separate music video

 Question Four

C. The forensic science shows rely on science and technology to find the truth rather that emotional and fallible humanity

A. The bodies of technicians are covered in lab coats so as not to distract viewers from the science equipment


Retrieved from http://flowtv.org/2007/11/technofetishized-tv-csi-bones-and-regenisis-as-science-fiction-television/


Saturday, 24 May 2014 14:59

Physical Science as Critical Thinking

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Physical Science as Critical Thinking

Volare a Grandezza

Description of Symbols in the Heraldic Shield

1.0 Motto: Volare a Grandezza

Volare a Grandezza is a Latin phrase that means flying to greatness (S.O.M.A., 2010). This motto reflects the ambition and vision that I have for the academic and other aspects of success, in life. It means that I am ready to fly high to any height to achieve greatness. I always try to be the best in all that I do.

2.0 Animal: Hawk

The hawk symbolizes power and aggression. The attributes associated with the hawk include being observant, long-sightedness, guardianship, messenger from the universe, and wise of opportunities. In Native American culture, the hawk is symbolic to a messenger. It was believed that the hawk delivers messages such a reminder to the talent we are not utilizing, or the gratitude we are not expressing, or anything else we may be overlooking. There are many species of hawks, each of whom represents a unique message from the universe. Hawks are visionaries and protectors of the air. They are symbolic to the key of greater levels of consciousness.

Therefore, this symbolic power awakens the vision in us and inspires us to adopt a creative purpose for life. Having the hawk as a choice animal implies that our lives are filled with responsibility. We are required to seek the overall view.A hawk possesses a variety of hunting skills. For example, it follows the effort of its prey to get way, swiftly (Erickson, 2012). With the powerful beak and claws, it captures and kills its prey. For humans, this is indicative of destiny. A man can run but cannot hide from destiny. Eventually, destiny catches up with every man.

3.0 Plant: Oak Tree

Undoubtedly, the oak and the eagle are two masterpieces among God’s creation (Omeife, 2013). Each of the two is king in its domain. For example, the eagle is king among birds while the oak is king among trees. The oak tree is symbolic to courage and strength. Socrates, the great Greek, regarded the oak as an oracle tree. The leaves of the oak tree are medicinal. They are used to heal certain diseases. In the state of Georgia, the oak tree is state symbol for the strength, greatness, and endurance of the people of Georgia. In the same way, the oak tree in the heraldic shield symbolizes the need for strength and endurance, in order to be successful in endeavors of life.

4.0 Colors: Green, White, and Brown

Culture conditions the colors that we see (Gage, 1999). Every color has a positive and negative symbolic meaning (Hartman, 1998). However, this heraldic shield utilizes the desirable meanings of color. Green is symbolic for nature, environment, good health, youth, renewal, and spring. It carries all the positive connotations of nature. Brown denotes comfort, endurance, comfort, simplicity, and stability. White symbolizes simplicity, purity, youth, peace, and precision. These three colors converge in attributes such as good health, endurance, and stability. These are the values inherent in my personality and culture. For everything that I do, I want it to bring endurance, good health, and stability.

Works Cited

Erickson, L. Hawk Ridge: Minnesota’s Birds of Prey. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012

Gage, J. Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism. Berkeley/Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1999

Hartman, T. The Color Code: A New Way to See Yourself, Your Relationships, and Life. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1998

Omeife, C.O. The Eagle and the Oak Tree: A Reflection on Values and Choices. London: Xlibris Publishing, 2013

S.O.M.A. Soma’s Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Maxims, and Phrases. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2010


Saturday, 24 May 2014 05:51

Leadership And Corporate Culture

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Leadership And Corporate Culture

The goal of the leaders in an organization has been considered as increasing production and profits. Leaders are considered as being responsible of ensuring ethical conduct and standards of morals. In order to have ethical leadership, there is a need for ethical leaders. Leaders who are ethical help in ensuring that ethical practices are carried out in the organization. The role of leaders is very essential in the structure of the organization and understanding the best leadership styles for the organization and using it in the right situation tend to make a difference between failure and the success of the organization (Fitch, 2009).

Leaders normally use different leadership style based on the decision making behavior so that to influence followers. The leadership styles that are used include coercive, affiliative, democratic, and authoritative (Benincasa, 2012).  Organizations usually make ethical decisions every day. Ethics in decision making helps and guides people in making better choices. Leaders in an organization help people in making good ethical decisions. Ethical decision making is important in the success of an organization, and the different leadership styles have an influence on ethical decision making.

 Leadership style

Effective leaders normally select the leadership style with an analysis of the matter in hand. During decision making process, it is extremely essential for the leader to ensure that they is a strong code of conduct for the organization and also make sure that they lead by example (Yuki, 2001). A leader who is ethical will also have employees who are ethical.In authoritative leadership style, the leader is normally considered as being inspiring to the employees so that to follow the vision of the organization and create a strong and positive climate for performance.

Authoritative leadership style tends to facilitate change. For an authoritative leader, they tend to assume that she or he is right. This is a style of leadership that can make the leader to making decisions that are based on a broader set of ethics (Benincasa, 2012). Ethics need leaders to set a tone for action. In case employees start showing unethical behavior, the leader is required to provide guidance. In this leadership style, the leader normally retains all the power and also decision making. An example is Howell Raines the executive editor of New York Times.According to the affiliative leadership style, the leader normally values the needs and emotions of people and they rely on friendship and trust so that to promote flexibility and innovation (Ferrell, et al 2010).

This is a style that normally works best during times of stress and during the time the teammates want to build trust. This style of leadership tends to influence ethical decision making because leaders are supposed to ensure that the teammates are in a good relation when making any decision in the organization. This is an excellent style that leaders can use in helping resolve problems so that to ensure bonding and make sure that every employee feels a belonging to the organization (Ferrell, et al 2010). Coercive leaders normally demand instantaneous obedience, and they tend to focus on self-control, initiative, and achievement. This is a style which can be very effective in times of crisis, but it can also create a negative climate for performance in the organization.

A leader with democratic leadership style normally rely on participation and teamwork so that to arrive at collaborative decisions. This is a style that focuses on communication during decision making, and it creates a positive climate for achieving results. It is more likely for democratic leaders to make ethical decisions. This is more likely to happen if the people working with him are in favor of ethical decisions. During ethical decision making, when more people are involved in the process, there are higher chances that the ethical problem will be determined and addressed (Ferrell, et al 2010). An example of a democratic leader is the CEO of Apple company who usually empower employees to taking decisions.


            A leader influencing a corporation is referred to as a transformational leader. These are leaders who enforce a corporate culture. Ethical leaders contribute to corporate ethical culture through inspiring employees and also the lower level leaders will join hand in enhancing the vision and mission of the organization. When establishing a corporate ethical culture, it entails creating organizational values, which are as a result of the vision and mission of the organization.

Ethical leaders contribute to corporate ethical culture as they have the ability of directing and guiding others in achieving the goals of the organization (Brown, et al 2005). Since the leaders can influence the corporate culture and ethical posture of the organization, they should provide a standard of ethical conduct. The culture of a company is very powerful because it has the ability of shaping the overall effectiveness of the firm and its long term success. When ethical leaders are making any decisions regarding an organization, they are able to understand the current culture so that they can decide on whether to change it or maintain.


Benincasa, R (2012). 6 Leadership styles and when you should use them retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/1838481/6-leadership-styles-and-when-you-should-use-them

Fraedrich, J Ferrell, L & Ferrell, O (2010). Business ethics Cengage Learning

Trevino, L Harrison, D & Brown, M (2005) Ethical leadership Organizational behavior and human performance 97 (2)

Yuki, G (2001). Leadership in organization Prentice Hall

Fitch, W (2009). A study relationship between ethical decision makingRetrieved from http://dspace.iup.edu/bitstream/handle/2069/182/Walter?sequence=1


Friday, 23 May 2014 13:54

Quality Indicators in Healthcare

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Quality Indicators in Healthcare

Quality indicators are parameters that are used to measure the overall performance of healthcare organizations. Quality indicators use data elements to establish measurement of quality. It is these measurements that are then translated to statistical summary. Quality indicators are also used to detect and indicate potential problem areas within the healthcare organizations. Healthcare organization can use quality indicators to improve the quality of patient care they provide at the facility (Klassen, & O’Donnell, 2009).

The need for the provision of quality healthcare services is driven by the notion that healthcare services should be safe, timely efficient, equitable, effective and patient-centered. These six elements form the foundational framework of quality indicators. A patient who visits a healthcare facility is involved in a variety of processes from the time of entry to the time he receives the medical attention that he needs. Each of the processes that a patient encounters determines the overall perception of the quality of services that the patient will receive.


Quality measurement and management are some of the most essential elements in healthcare provision.  Quality evaluation is, therefore, a necessary process in healthcare. However, evaluation of quality varies due to the different understanding of quality across the different stakeholders. Stakeholders involved in healthcare include, service providers, patients, payers, public health professional’s etc. patients, for instance, define quality in terms of their preference, values and responsiveness to their healthcare needs (Ashton, 2000). Physicians, on the other hand, tend to define quality healthcare with reference to attributes and results of patient care. Healthcare managers, on the other hand, perceive quality as the ability to provide for the needs and demands of the healthcare provider and patient.

The differences in perception of quality should not be a hindrance in the provision of quality healthcare services. Clinicians and patients can, for instance, merge their perceptions of quality and work towards achieving the ultimate quality of patient care. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines quality care as the extent with which health services increase the chances of achieving desired health results which are consistent with professional knowledge. Clinicians aim to provide quality services, whereas patients determine quality based on their experience at a healthcare organization.

Clinicians should take into consideration the patient’s perception of quality care and integrate it with the professional measure of providing healthcare services (Klassen, & O’Donnell, 2009).Quality management is needed in healthcare facilities because the quality of healthcare services that patients receive is vital. Quality management ensures that there exists a strong healthcare structure that acts as the driving force of the provision of quality care processes and subsequent health outcomes. Quality management also addresses the presence of capabilities such as effective leadership, human capital and group dynamics as essential structural elements of quality improvements.

Quality management is also vital as it ensures that healthcare facilities are committed to continuous quality improvement and total quality control measures. There are several areas that can be monitored to determined quality in healthcare. First is the organizational culture which can be used to determine the level of supportive supervision and accountability (Honoré, & Scott, 2010). Similarly, organizational cultures can be adjusted to encourage team work and emphasis on quality improvement in principles and practice. The second area is leadership of healthcare organizations. An effective leadership ascertains optimal performance within a healthcare organization.

A strong leadership outlines the way forward for the facility with regard to the provision of quality services. Technology and evidence-based research is another area that can result to the adoption of effective and safe practices that can be adopted by practitioners. Various accreditation bodies such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare organizations conduct surveys to determine the quality of healthcare services offers in critical access hospitals, managed care, long-term care facilities, home health agencies and behavioral health care centers.JCAHO evaluates and accredits approximately 18,000 healthcare organizations and programs across the United States. JCAHO has the state of the art, professionally developed standards which it uses to evaluate health care organizations across the country.

The second accreditation agency is the agency for healthcare research and quality which focuses in the reduction of cost, improvement of patient care and quality of services. AHRQ also engages in research aimed at minimizing medical errors. It also sponsors and conducts research that provides evidence based information on healthcare outcomes. The information gathered from the numerous researchers is used, by decision makers to make informed decisions with regard to the provision of quality healthcare services (Klassen, & O’Donnell, 2009). There are numerous other organizations that are involved in matters related to quality improvement in healthcare organizations. Some of these organizations are not-for-profit while others are specific to certain states.


Quality maintenance and improvements should be the aim of all healthcare organizations. The successful implementation of quality standards requires the participation of all stakeholders involved in the healthcare organization. With emphasis of quality improvement, healthcare organizations should strive to adopt quality standards that boost performance. Quality indicators are essential measures of the level of quality that a healthcare facility upholds. Ideal quality indicators are those that measure inputs, processes and outcomes. Similarly, the indicators must also have the potency of affecting the quality of healthcare services provided by an organization.


Ashton, J. (2000). Monitoring the quality of hospital care. Health manager’s guide

Honoré, P. & Scott, W. (2010). Priority areas for improvement of quality in public health. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services

Klassen, A. & O’Donnell, M. (2009). Performance measurement and improvement frameworks in health. International journal for quality healthcare. Vol. 22(1): 44-69


Friday, 23 May 2014 12:21

Environmental Factors

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  Environmental Factors

 Many environmental exposures are responsible of cancer development in addition to smoking. Unlike smoking, there are many environmental factors which can be avoided if humans were aware of their existence. More than 55 percent of American’s cancer deaths are as a result of environmental factors such as diet and smoking. It has been difficult to estimate or examine the role played by environmental contaminants simply because lifestyle, genetics, and environmental exposures are responsible for cancer development. Evidence shows that environmental factors play a major role in the development of different types of cancer that affects humans. This paper will examine the role environmental factors play towards development or causation of cancer disease in the society.


Environmental factors as causes of cancer in the society are often misunderstood and complex topic. The term environment itself has a good number of meanings when it refers to causation of cancer. In the past, environmental causes of cancer referred to any other cancer apart from those which were caused by inherited or hereditary factors. According to the current studies, environmental factors that cause cancer include all cancer related factors which are caused by certain practices such as lifestyle. These practices include viruses, use of tobacco, diet, and many others. Environmental factors that contribute to cancer development comprise of external environmental factors, as well as personal environmental factors (Sfanos & De Marzo, 2012).Many environmental epidemiologists who have been engaged in cancer research activities have concluded that environmental factors have a major role in the causation of cancer in the society. The current individual’s exposure to environmental pollutants poses a great risk in cancer development.

Researchers say that there is a good number of deaths that are caused by cancer that results from environmental factors. According to American cancer society, cancer has been ranked as the second leading killer in US and the leading cause of death in the world. Every year, it is estimated that around 1.5 million new cases of cancer are recorded in US and more that 600,000 people die from cancer disease. Experts who have done extensive research on the role environmental factors play in causation of cancer; they have agreed that most cancers cases are caused by personal environmental factors. Personal lifestyle such as alcohol, diet, and smoking in the current society has a great impact in the development of cancer cases. It has been discovered that smoking alone contributes around 30 percent of all American cancer related deaths.

Physical inactivity, obesity, and diet according to the American cancer society contribute another one-third of cancer deaths, (Boffetta, 2006).Different environmental factors are linked to different kinds of cancer. This is a clear indication that environmental factors have a role to play in the causation of cancer in the society. Lifestyle factors such as excessive weight, exercise, and diet, are believed by experts to play a role in the development of certain types of cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. Study shows that an infection with something like Helicobacter Pylori bacterium is a relevant environmental risk factor for causation of stomach cancer. There is a recent rapid rise in the risk factor for stomach cancer in most parts of the world. Study shows that stomach cancer and colorectal cancer are as a result of environmental causes that are related or linked to lifestyle factors.

Smoking is linked to a number of cancers such as throat cancer, kidney, pancreas, cervix, stomach, voice box, colon, mouth, bladder, and the lung cancer among others. Experts have found that exposure to asbestos caused lung cancer while the exposure to Benzedrine a certain chemical, which is found in dyes, is linked to bladder cancer, (Vera-Ramirez at al., 2013).Unlike other causes of cancer in the society, it has been discovered that environmental factors play a major role in causation of cancer. The reason behind this is due to the fact that environmental factors are freely exposed to human life, and they can easily affect someone without knowledge. Another thing is that there is a high probability of someone to get more than one types of cancers simply because there is a risk of more than one factor affecting someone. Physiological stress according to research indicates that human immune system is being affected something that results to the occurrence of certain types of cancer, (Miceli, 2005).


In summing up, it has been established that cancer is the second killer in US and the leading killer in the world. Study shows that environmental factors play a significant role in the development of cancer related cases. Unlike other causes of cancer in the society, it has been discovered that environmental factors play a major role in causation of cancer. More than 55 percent of American’s cancer deaths are as a result of environmental factors such as diet and smoking.


Boffetta, P. (2006). Human cancer from environmental pollutants: The epidemiological evidence. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology & Environmental Mutagenesis608(2), 157-162. doi:10.1016/j.mrgentox.2006.02.015

Miceli, D. L. (2005). Seeking the Truth about the Environment and Your Health: Separating Truth from Fiction. AMWA Journal: American Medical Writers Association Journal20(4), 163-164

Sfanos, K., & De Marzo, A. (2012). Prostate cancer and inflammation: the evidence. Histopathology60(1), 199-215. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04033.x

Vera-Ramirez, L., Ramirez-Tortosa, M., Sanchez-Rovira, P., Ramirez-Tortosa, C. L., Granados-Principal, S., Lorente, J. A., & Quiles, J. L. (2013). Impact of Diet on Breast Cancer Risk: A Review of Experimental and Observational Studies. Critical Reviews In Food Science & Nutrition53(1), 49-75. doi:10.1080/10408398.2010.521600


Technology, Privacy Concerns, And Ethical Issues

The principle promise of modern medicine is to deliver improved quality of care and health outcomes at low costs through technological innovations (Jennings, Baily, Bottrell, & Lynn, 2007). The quality of the U.S. health lags behind the country’s scientific knowledge base. Evidence from research attests to the fact that there is a persistent underuse, overuse, or misuse of medical services. It is for this reason that applications designed for smartphones have become vital health care tools. Smart scanning of embedded health care information through the use of Quick Response or QR codes is one such example of the way in which technology has influenced modern health care.

These are codes that can be used to access online libraries, schedule clinic visits, access electronic health records, and other essential health care practices. Some health care researchers such as Sarhan (2009a) have warned of unforeseen legal and ethical issues that could arise from rapid adoption and use of health care technology. Although the use of technological information has been on the rise, there has been little discussion about related legal and ethical issues.This paper investigates safeguards and ethical standards in the use of health care technology, with an objective to appraise current health care technologies. The focus is on the use of QR codes in emergency response services.

Privacy Concerns and Ethical Issues in Health Care Technology

Informed consent, confidentiality, and non-maleficence are the basic principles in health care practices (Sarhan, 2009a). The justification for the adopted and use of technologies is to reduce costs and increase access to health care. This is in line with the principle of beneficence. Efficient service implies improved quality of care. Technology minimizes traditional barriers to services related to time and locations. Hence, it increases accessibility of health care services. The control of data is within the jurisdictions of health care organizations. The advantage with this is that coordination of multi-professional teams is efficient as data can be dispersed readily. Professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, American Nursing Association, American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, and others have ethical codes of practice that guide respective members, in terms of the expectations for ethical standards and principles.

 Relevance of QR Codes

The society is continually becoming reliant on advanced technology (Sarhan, 2009b). Emergency care providers and first responders make life-or-death decisions with no or little information about the patient’s medical problems (Jennings, Baily, Bottrell, & Lynn, 2007). The ability to access medical records can assist in improving the quality of care the patient receives during an emergency situation.  The problem in various communities is that not all emergency managers are well equipped to ensure effective communication during a disaster or emergency. Inefficient communication renders a bad situation worse. Emergency management is a new discipline. It is only until recently that emergency workers begun sharing knowledge about experiences in emergency communication.

 In emergency situations, confusion can be inevitable (Ibid). Quick Response codes provide a tool that enhances emergency communication and vital information access. There is a wide use of smartphones among populations. These are communication devices that run on applications. The rapid growth in the ownership of smartphones makes QR codes a vital option for expanding access to emergency information and guiding populations to emergency notification websites. QQ codes take advantage of the widespread use of smartphones to enhance efficiency in health care service delivery.

Culture, knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, routines, and practices are behavioral factors that relate to the use of technology (Sarhan, 2009a). For this reason, the future of the application of technology in health care will be influenced by the behavior and attitudes of patients. For example, there is an increased use of the internet and mobile phones to access medical services. There is also a growing demand for quick access to medical services. It is also important to note that there is an increasing frustration with current services. There is also a requirement amongst the population for increased involvement of patients in decision making. These are issues that measure the patient perception of health care services.


Quick Response codes can be used to monitor the health of patients from a distance, manage health care needs, and provide advice or consultancy (Sarhan, 2009b). For example, health care personnel can treat patients at home without the need to travel to the clinic. Also, nurses can monitor the progress or deterioration of the health of patients and discuss treatment in liaison with other team members. The other disadvantage is that health education information is made available to persons regardless of their location.


The use of QR codes can have problems with patient privacy, confidentiality, data security, and data transmission. In relation to confidentiality, patients trust practitioners with personal information. It is expected that professionals safeguard the confidentiality of such data. There is a chance that health care professionals may use or disclose confidential information for malicious reasons. Therefore, they should bear the absolute responsibility for the protection of patients from material, spiritual, social, and emotional harm. Data transmission relies on firewalls and encryption protocols for security.

However, these security tools require constant updating. Therefore, they cannot prevent people from misappropriating medical records for economic gain and malicious reasons. The other disadvantage is that smartphones are a preserve of the internet-savvy people. It is expensive, and people who are old may find that there is absolutely no need to spend a lot of money in technology.

 The Marin County Scenario

The Marin County scenario where QR codes have been proposed for emergency situations provides an example of the challenge related to privacy issues. For the proposed Lifesquare pilot study to succeed in convincing county citizens to input their medical information into the website, Lifesquare needs to inform people about ways in which the QR code stickers will be handled. This is the same case as for ScanMedQR.com, which manufactures necklaces, bracelets, and cards for wallets with QR codes that provide access to health records.

Just like any other situation that involves the adoption of new technologies, acceptance of the QR code technology will face a challenge particularly with the elderly people. Unlike young persons, the elderly members of society do not readily see any justification for the adoption of new technologies in health care. The people of Marin County should realize that emergency situations are times when rapid decision making is required. These are situations where the information about the patient is required immediately, in order to provide appropriate and timely treatment to emergency victims.

The current status of private information management is in case different from the data management required for QR codes. For example, the driver’s license contains personal information. Also, private information is also contained in credit cards belonging to private organizations. Confidentiality of information with the use of QR codes is the same as with the credit card and driver’s license. It can be safeguarded the same way that it is done for these items. The stickers will help save lives during times of emergencies. Therefore, I do not view the need to forego the pilot, which is an opportunity to enhance the quality of health care and reduce costs due to privacy concerns. Just like they sign up for a credit card or drivers license, people should sign up on the Lifesquare website.

 Conclusion and Recommendations

It is important for every health care seeker to understand that innovations help health care institutions to provide timely care at low costs. In addition, they help patients gain access to hospital services and make vital appointments. However, the implementation, improvement, and integration of advanced technology in health care requires health care organizations and governments to create rigorous policies, strategies, and procedures to safeguard adherence to legal and ethics standards of practice. Involving the patient in decision making is very important. This is the reason why piloting is an important part of addressing ethical concerns with new technologies as applied to health care services. Stakeholders in the Marin project should consider culture, knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, routines, and other behavioral factors that relate to the adoption and use of technology.


In view of the requirement for privacy and confidentiality with the use of QR codes, individuals require protection from spiritual, social, material, and emotional harm. The basic recommendations for health care personnel are that

  1. Patients have a right to privacy, with respect to medical details and records.
  2. Health care personnel must safeguard the patient privacy, unless waived in a meaningful way.
  3. The disclosure of data must be related to a prevailing medical condition to fulfill the specific purpose of treatment. 


Jennings, B., Baily, M.A., Bottrell, M., & Lynn, J. (2007). Health Care: Quality Improvement: Ethical and Regulatory Issues. Garrison, NY: The Hastings Center

Sarhan, F. (2009a). “Telemedicine in health care: the legal and ethical aspects of using new technology. Nursing Times, 105(43): 18-20

Sarhan, F. (2009b). “Telemedicine in healthcare: exploring its uses, benefits, and disadvantages”. Nursing Times, 105(42): 10-13


Friday, 23 May 2014 06:41

Food Availability

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Food Availability

Poor countries

Food availability refers to sufficient quantities of food that is available on a consistent basis. There are more than one billion people of the world’s population who are chronically hungry.  People tend to go hungry even when food is available because they do not have money to buy it. During Bengal famine that happened in 1943, there were about two to three million people who died due to the fact that there was an economic boom that raised prices above the reach for the poor (Plicher, 2012). Most of the poor population in the world tends to live in 82 countries, which cannot be able to produce enough food that will feed the entire population and these countries also tend to lack financial resources (Yu, et al 2010).

Food distribution in a country tends to ensure that there is high availability, and this is normally dependent on the development of a country. The distribution of food is never considered being even. When focusing on less developed countries, factors that are considered include serious crop failure, rapid population growth and depleted food reserves. Food availability in the poor countries has been affected by the fact that the countries does not have good infrastructure (Plicher, 2012). Most of the poor countries tend to have poor transportation networks. This means that food will not be possible to be transported to isolated parts of the countries.

This is more affected by the fact that the government in the countries is not able to develop good transport links like roads and even railway.Poor transportation networks tend to result to lack of food availability for the population in the poor areas, and it tend to leave this people to depend on subsistence farming that is vulnerable because of the changing climatic conditions. Food that is available in the poor countries is normally provided at a higher price, and it hurt the poor because the poor families in the poor countries tend to spend a lot of their income on food which cannot be compared to what the rich people in rich countries spend.

 Rich countries

Rich countries tend to face food availability problems in the aspect that include supplying food to the remote areas and even the rise in dependence of imported food. Rich countries are well known for wasting of food. Statistics indicate that approximately one third of food purchased in rich countries is never consumed (McCarthy & Walsh 2006). History indicates that the problem that the rich countries are facing is unprecedented food surplus which tend to create a big gap between the poor and the rich countries.Rich countries tend not to have problems with food availability because the government can be able to provide its people with food and access is never a problem. It is estimated that in every year, the rich countries usually waste over 220 million tons of food.

Food availability has never been a problem to rich countries because, since time in history, these countries have adequate harvest techniques hence factors such as poor infrastructure, processing and packaging pre and post harvesting management are never a problem (Plicher, 2012). In case food is destroyed because of environmental factors, these countries usually have food that have been stored that can be used.

 How countries changed

Poor countries have been able to resolve the issue of food availability with the fact that there are aid programs. By receiving aid, the poor countries are able to develop their infrastructure, which has made it possible for food that they are receiving from the rich countries to be accessible to even people in the remote areas. The aid programs are also offering these countries with strategies and equipments that they can use so that to help in reducing food loss (Tansey, 2008). New ways of food production are considered so that to avoid loss of food. Poor countries have always found a problem because of the fact that they produce food, but do not have good storage facilities.

Therefore, when there is drought, they are likely to suffer from starvation because there food has been destroyed due to the fact that there are no good storage facilities.However, foreign organizations are providing these countries with advice and strategies that can be used so that to increase and strengthen the supply chains through diversification of marketing and production of the small farmers. This helps in having direct links with buyers. Investors are also invited to the countries where they invest more in transportation, infrastructure, processing, and packaging. Therefore, the rates of food availability in the poor countries have increased. With help from the Food and Agriculture Organization, it has targeted the poor countries so that to raise the nutrition levels, improving the lives of the rural population, improve agricultural productivity, and this has contributed to the growth of the economy in poor countries (Tansey, 2008).

In those rich countries, consumers tend to buy products that fail to meet the appearance standards as long as they are good and safe. In order to help in reducing the amount of food waste, political initiatives and educations in schools have been encouraged so that to change the attitude of the consumers. This is a strategy that has been implemented, and now the rate of food lost has reduced in number. There have also been strategies where United Nations have invested in post harvest technologies that have helped to reduce food loss and increase the supply of food in sub Saharan Africa. Sub Saharan Africa is estimated to have food loss of about $4 billion in a year, and this is food that would be used to feed about 48 million people (Morris, 2012).

Through the use of the technology, it has helped in eradicating the problem of food availability in most of the poor countries.In order to ensure that there is food availability in the poor countries; governments have considered using storage containers, metallic silos, and even hermetically sealed bags. These are strategies that have been successful in Asia and it is possible for Africa to benefit a lot from the practices. Governments have considered developing infrastructures so that to help in avoiding food loss and to facilitate the commercialization of food, water, and electricity so that to process food.  When people buy food that has been processed in their own country, its availability is cheaper than when they have to purchase food that has been imported. This is a strategy that has helped many countries both rich and poor to improve their economy and also develop as there is easy access of food.


McCarthy, D & Walsh, F (2006). The irony of a rich country Journal epidemiol community health 60 (12)

Morris, N (2012). Developing countries hit hardest by food rises retrieved fromhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/developing-countries-hit-hardest-by-food-rises-8022717.html

Plicher, J (2012). The Oxford handbook of food history Oxford University Press

Tansey, G (2008). The future control of food Routledge Publishing

Yu, B You, L &Fan, S (2010). Towards a typology of food security in developing countries International food policy research institute


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