SIU Journal of Management, Vol.7, No.1 (June, 2017)

The full issue is available here: SIU JM 7.1

CONTENTS

Volume 7, Number 1, June, 2017
Editor’s Introduction (download 7.1.Editor.Introduction) 4

RESEARCH ARTICLES

1. Impact of Corporate Governance Attributes on Intellectual Capital Disclosure: Evidence from Listed Banking Companies in Bangladesh – Swadip Bhattacharjee, Shimul Chakraborty and Sumon Bhattacharjee (download Bhattacharjee)  7
2. Effect of Socio-Cognitive Technique on Tobacco Smoking Cessation Among Undergraduates in Selected Public Universities in South-West Nigeria – Aaron Akinloye, Olufemi Adegbesan and Mary Sam-Odutola (download Akinloye)  37
3. Physical Activity Intervention Effects on Tobacco Smoking Cessation among University Students – Aaron Olalekan Akinloye, Mary Sam-Odutola and Adetoun Akinwusi (download Olalekan)  53
4. The Adoption Intentions of Smartphones among Young Consumers: Diffusion of Innovation Theory Perspective – Suleman Anwar, Ayesha Ramzan Butt, Eliane Bragança de Matos and Muhammad Kashif (download Anwar)  69

CONFERENCE REPORTS

 International Conference on Recent Trends in Business Management

(ICRTBM, 2017)   (download 7.1.Conference)                                                                  93

BOOK REVIEWS

1. Chronicles on Our Troubled Times by Thomas Piketty – John Walsh (download Piketty)  96
2. Food Security in Post-Conflict Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities by Bishnu Raj Upreti, Sagar Raj Sharma and Suman Babu Paudel, eds. – John Walsh (download Upreti) 99
3.  Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Policy Manual by Ha-Joon Chang and Ilene Grabel – John Walsh (download Chang)  103

CALL FOR PAPERS                                                                                                               108

AUTHOR’S GUIDELINES                                                                                                     110

ABOUT SHINAWATRA UNIVERSITY                                                                                113

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD                                                                                        115

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Review of Yasunari Kawabata’s The Old Capital

The Old Capital

Yasunari Kawabata

Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 1988

ISBN: 978-4-8053-0972-8

VI + 164 pp.

Translated by J. Martin Holman

The title of this book refers to Kyoto, which is indeed a former capital of Japan and the site for the action of this quite (characteristically Japanese) slim novel. I am not sure whether, in the original language, this title could be taken to have a Bourdieuesque element in that it focuses so much on the cultural capital of Japanese society. Culture includes not just women’s clothes and food, although it is often thought to do so and these are both much in evidence here but, also, the social relations embedded in work and in the practices of production and the class structure and its dialectical relationship with language and forms of behaviour. These elements underlie a superficially simple story of a young woman who discovers she was a foundling and has a twin sister whom she is able to befriend. Yet it is the simplicity of the story and the language with which it is described that reveals why Yasunari Kawabata was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.

The narrative is centred on dutiful Chieko, the daughter of a man with a modest business dealing in women’s clothes. Change is coming to Kyoto and her father is wrestling with ways to incorporate the bold new visions of Paul Klee into the traditional methods of making the obi and matching it to the kimono. Nevertheless, the pace of traditional life continues and is marked by the orderly arrival of the various celebrations and rituals of public life. However, the harmony and unity on which many such rituals are based seem to be breaking down:

“Large benches were lined up along a path in the cherry grove, and there was a great commotion of people drinking and singing in a boisterous crowd. Some old country women were dancing gaily, while the drunken men lay asleep, snoring. Some of the men even rolled off the benches (p.46).”

It is not necessary to say that it is the spread of transportation infrastructure that links agricultural places of production and urban centres of consumption to the benefit of both, that has brought about this sordid scene in which decent forms of behaviour have become imperilled. All the representations of the old capital remain in place but they are occasional punctured by some reminder that the world has been moving on and disruptions are emerging.

Chieko was given to believe that her parents had, in effect, kidnapped her from her natural parents but later it was revealed that she was left outside the shop one night. Further, it appears that she has a twin sister but this was problematic for everyone. I did not know what the issue is with twins but a brief article on the Time website (content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,770452,10.html) which includes the following: “… Japanese mothers believe that to bear more than one child at a time is a bestial act, frequently try to hide multiple births by separate registry of offspring, even by infanticide.” So, ashamed at having borne twins, Chieko’s parents abandoned her and kept with them Naeko, to live in the countryside in what it subsequently appears is rather difficult rural poverty. Of course, the action then goes on to focus on Chieko’s desire to meet and establish a relationship with her sister and the latter’s reluctance to cross the social and class barriers that have grown up between them. This is all managed with a simplicity of language that is characteristic of Japanese literature. The translator, J. Martin Holman, has done a good job in keeping out of the way of the text and not making it sound too American. He notes, in a brief foreword, that at least some of the text written in a Kyoto dialect that has not made it into this version of the text. To have done so would have required, presumably, footnotes or other interruptions which some readers dislike. Alas, therefore, some nuances of the original language may have been lost.

This is an engrossing work that repays careful attention to the small, ephemeral details of daily life and the ways in which they have an impact on people in different stations of life. The author himself is famous or infamous for his mysterious death – he was found in a gas-filled room in such a way as to suggest suicide or, less likely, having become the victim of an unusual accident. An ambiguous act conducted in silence is a very typical way of considering Japanese society as described by its best literature.

John Walsh, Shinawatra University

Review of Steve Hanley’s The Big Midweek

The Big Midweek: Life inside The Fall

Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski

Pontefract: Route, 201?

ISBN: 978-1901927-65-8

448 pp.

I have been listening to The Fall, off and on, for more than 40 years and I own dozens of their LPs. From the very beginning (Dragnet was the first LP I bought and it remains probably my favourite, perhaps in part for that reason), a Fall record meant two principal things, the occasionally manic mysterious ranting from frontperson Mark E. Smith and the bass playing of Steve Hanley. Around these two central characters, a variety of others floated around, making more or less of a contribution on the way – the group has always had a constantly rotating membership, owing in no small measure to the abusive and exploitative Smith, as it has now emerged. Hanley left the group during one of the periods when I was not listening much to music and, as I have picked things up again, I have been acquiring albums not necessarily in chronological order. Although some of the new ones are OK, they really cannot compete with earlier work – I know that is always dispiriting to read and it may be influenced by nostalgia and hatred and fear of all change (I don’t like the new pound coin) but I think it may be because, as I have learned from this remarkable account of life as a member of the band, the rapid decline of MES. Where once his lyrics were dense, difficult to understand and often challenging, over time they have tended to become abusive and intolerant and his penchant, on stage, of turning off the amplifiers of band members who have been irritating him indicates a measure of contempt not just for the audience but for the music itself. As I write this, news came through earlier today that a series of shows in America has been rescheduled as Smith has been hospitalised and cannot possibly travel anywhere. Given the nature of his lifestyle over an extended period of time, it would not be surprising if he fails to make old bones.

In this memoir, Hanley and co-author Olivia Piekarski describe the bass-player’s life with The Fall in all of its plethora of emotions, ranging from the exhilaration of actually playing on stage to the boredom of travelling on tour and taking in, along the way, celebrations of friendship and creativity to the bitterness of being betrayed. Here he is on life while gigging:

“We’ll pack up after a gig, drive all night and most of the day, get to the next venue, unpack, set up, play and repeat the whole process, snatching the odd hour or so of sleep on the way to the next place. I’ll nod off looking at the back of [drummer] Karl’s head and get jolted awake by a pothole minutes or hours later, still looking at the back of Karl’s head (p.108).”

However, “These are the places you learn your craft. How to make one riff sound good for a quarter of an hour.”

For extended perods, the band is poor and Hanley is obliged to make ends meet by doing shifts in his dad’s pie shop and having to put up with abuse about how he was going to be a legendary rock star from various family members who, being Irish, are very familiar with the profanely sarcastic mode of discourse. When brushes with good fortune do occasionally arrive (often with the assistance and support of the late, great John Peel), they are quickly shunned, frequently through Smith’s wilful refusal to make the music as good as it could be – it is evident throughout the book that he has little interest in the music itself. After all, he once infamously declared that ‘if it’s me and your granny on bongos, then it’s The Fall.’

Further, when good times beckon, the spoils are not equitably distributed. Under the influence of a good woman (his quondam wife Brix), Smith splashes out after a tour of the USA and subsequent interest from a record company:

“The deal goes through and it’s good enough for Mark to buy a BMW, only Brix has to drive it because he doesn’t like driving. He is never sober enough for a start, plus he’s not into the idea of authorities like the DVLA knowing who he is and where he lives (p.196).”

This introduces another of the themes constantly running through the book: the drinking. Smith is drunk at the beginning of the book and remains so for the next 440 pages. There are some drugs but it is the drink that really matters as it both keeps people going through difficult conditions and, also, inspires the acts of lunacy and destructiveness which keeps the band from achieving what it might have done. Hanley himself admits to a problem with it but this, it seems, is bound up with the experience of creating and performing music. For people who have not ever seen The Fall play live, there is not much of a performative element to any particular gig, unless it is Smith and his increasing desire to destroy the sound balance or provoke a fight with a disaffected band member. Instead, it is all about the rhythm and the experience.

Fair-minded and likeable throughout, Handley is a friendly and credible narrator and it comes as quite a shock finally to reach the inevitable ending: “… one thing’s certain, I’m never going to play bass with The Fall again (p.440).”

John Walsh, Shinawatra University

Review of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle

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The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick

London: Penguin, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-241-96809-3

249 pp.

It is fifteen years after the conclusion of World War II and the world has been conquered by the Axis powers. Since the USA decided to adopt an isolationist policy, the Soviet Union and Western Europe were conquered by the Nazis, who thereby developed the technology that enabled them to defeat the Americans, together with their Japanese allies. While the Germans occupy the eastern half of the USA, the Japanese have taken over the western portion. The Nazis are not satisfied with this victory, since they have also drained the Mediterranean Sea in order to have additional agricultural land, launched the genocide of the continent of Africa and started sending rocket ships to Mars. Further endeavours are also taking place and those who remain in defeated countries quite reasonably fear for the future.

In Japan-occupied USA, the situation is somewhat different. The Japanese take all the leading positions in society, of course but they need the Americans to keep things running, carrying the sedan chairs, cooking the noodles, working the shops and massage parlours and so forth. The new overlords have become fascinated with articles of Americana and seek to view with each other to find the most authentic pieces possible. They portray an obvious Occidentalist (i.e. anti-orientalist) approach to the Americans that is one of the most interesting aspects of this book. Within this society, the Americans must find ways of making a living without causing trouble and hope that the Germans do not come – their murderous ethnic psychoses threaten just about everybody. People’s responses are, of course, diverse and there is some hint of dissent. Most notably, this comes in the form of the book The Grasshopper, which has been written by the eponymous Man in the High Castle. Can life continue or will the Nazis extinguish what is left of any spark of freedom (luckily, it could not possibly happen here, could it)?

This novel has recently been recreated as a television series, although I have not seen it. When I heard about the recreation, it inspired me to think that this would turn out to be a rather different kind of book than it has turned out to be. There is a bit of action along the way and gunplay takes place before the conclusion but this is not the main focus of the book. Instead, it is a fascinating consideration of how people react to adversity. The characterisation is vivid and most of the dialogue does its job in terms of helping to promote the willing suspension of disbelief.

Books which are claimed to be alternative histories can be problematic in that they adopt a rightist perspective that sees one person or one event making a decisive difference which then causes effects that spiral outwards and change everything that they encounter. That there is a wish fulfilment element to this can also be unfortunate. Dick avoids these issues through deeper investigation of history than can usually be expected from popular fiction but, then, he has demonstrated this in a number of other works, some of which have also found their way on to the screen. Here again he has proven himself to have been one of the most interesting voices of his generation – of course, even he did not have the imagination to suggest that one day the American people would elect a president who would have welcomed the Nazis.

Review of Alice Munro’s Open Secrets

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Open Secrets

Alice Munro

New York, NY: Vintage International, 1994

ISBN: 978-0-679-75562-3

294 pp.

Alice Munro is one of several winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature with whose work I had been unfamiliar. It is impossible to read everything, especially when I have to spend a lot of time reading stuff for work. So, on a visit to the San Min bookshop, the local Taipei bookshop, I decided the time had come to find out something about her work – there were several collections available and, not really knowing which was which, I chose this one slightly at random.

Open Secrets consists of eight quite lengthy short stories which range across space and time but which are, nevertheless, interlinked through the interactions between various recurrent characters. The most startling aspect of her work here is the way in which a story will begin, typically as the description of how a particular life or relationship develops but then the point of view abruptly shifts to a different but related character to take the story to the next stage. This enables Munro to provide multiple perspectives on the world she is describing and this is very effective.

The style itself is not overly reliant on fireworks. The first story begins this way:

“In the dining room of the Commercial Hotel, Louisa opened the letter that had arrived that day from overseas. She ate steak and potatoes, her usual meal, and drank a glass of wine. There were a few travellers in the room, and the dentist who ate there every night because he was a widower. He had shown an interest in her in the beginning but had told her he had never before seen a woman touch wine or spirits (p.3).”

This is a world of bourgeois manners in which escape or transformation is tantalisingly close but cannot ever be fully achieved. Perhaps that is a little harsh because some characters do achieve a measure of happiness (or at least the avoidance of unhappiness) and are able to move from place to place. The final story, for example, Vandals, includes a reasonably satisfactory relationship between an Englishman who left for the USA after the war and then established a successful career as a taxidermist and a woman who had previously drifted about the world somewhat like a ghost. Along the way, there are some minor satisfactions to be had. Overall, though, these are escapes from the boredom of everyday life. These are fended off with the creation of routines and schedules of actions to navigate everyday life. For example, in The Albanian Virgin:

“I had made a desperate change in my life, and in spite of the regrets I suffered every day, I was proud of that. I felt that as if I had finally come out into the world in a new, true skin. Sitting at the desk, I made a cup of coffee or of thin red soup last an hour, clasping my hands around the cup while there was still any warmth to be got from it. I read, but without purpose or involvement (p.106).”

Finding the significance in a moment of apparent mundanity is one of the points of short fiction and Munro proves herself to be both proficient and unexpected in her art. Her stories are long enough that characters find their actions have not only consequences but second order effects that resonate long into the future. These are stories and characters that linger in the memory and have the stamp of authenticity. I will be looking forward to discovering more of her work.

 

Review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie

New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2014

ISBN: 9780316246620

It is not surprising that this book is a multiple award winner (e.g. the 2014 Hugo and Nebula novel prizes, among others) because it is an astonishing vision of a distant human future. The central figure, Breq, was once the artificial intelligence powering a giant spaceship. The complexity of operations that giant spaceships are obliged to manage requires numerous semi-autonomous mobile units and, for these, it is convenient to use the dead or, at least, the permanently sequestered. Humanity is engaged with a colonial project involves invading and conquering planets that are vexatiously rebellious. To crush the morale of the rebels, prisoners are taken and imprisoned in the holds of ships and then used as meat puppets by fractions of the ship’s mind for face-to-face conversations. This is both horrifying and apparently successful as a policy.

However, where such power is available, inevitably there will be conflict and Breq has suffered as a result. Where once she was thousands of individuals all directly linked to the central intelligence, now she is just one body and somewhat frustrated as a result. However, she is not without resources and her superior intellect has provided her with the means to obtain as much money as she needs to accomplish her goals of investigation and revenge. Still she must face the problems that all individuals face in going from place to pace and organizing transport and logistics. Along the way, she takes company with a drug-addled space cadet named Seivander who may have played a role in the central event of her life – the moment when she changed from being the Justice of Taen to becoming One-Esk – that is, the destruction of the greater part of her existence and the integrity of her memory of that event. The unlikely couple pursue the quest of understanding that is going to occupy several novels.

In addition to the science fiction background of aliens, space travel and surviving in harsh environments, this book is concerned with identity and reality. To what extent can we, as people, be assured that our existence is as we perceive it to be or do we edit and re-edit the narrative of our life to account for changes that we did not predict (which is slightly reminiscent of the guy who lives with the cat called The Lord)? What is the relationship between mind, body and consciousness? The development of these ideas is not very sophisticated so far but this may change in future episodes. However, it is quite enjoyable to find a science fiction novel in which not only does the dialogue convince but the characters have a means of development. One of the recommendations on the back cover likens the author to Iain M. Banks and this is a useful comparison. Like Banks, she can bring the almost inconceivable into fictional reality and combines humanity with acts of extraordinary wickedness. All in all, then, a terrific book and I look forward to the next episode.

Provision of Educational Services in Special Economic Zones in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Yesterday I attended the last day of the Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop at the Asia Hotel in Bangkok organized by the British Council and hosted by Khon Kaen University. The purpose of the workshop is to help foster links between British and Thai academics, particularly early career Thai academics.

My presentation was on Provision of Educational Services in Special Economic Zones in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Abstract

Special economic zones (SEZs) are time and space-limited areas in which the regular laws of the land do not apply. Instead, various provisions are made to privilege capital above labour and, thereby, encourage domestic and especially international investment. States welcome this kind of investment because it provides direct employment and the prospect of technology transfer and industrial deepening. In the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) (i.e. Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Yunnan Province of China and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Zone) SEZs are being enthusiastically promoted because of the help it is hope they will provide states in passing through the Factory Asia Paradigm (FAP) – i.e. import substituting, export oriented, intensive manufacturing based on low labour cost competitiveness and a potential exit from it that would represent graduation from the Middle Income Trap. At various stages of the FAP, it is necessary to provide educational services to employees at different levels of seniority. This might include specific on-the-job training, vocational skills-based education or more advanced forms of learning to foster creativity and innovation. Within the GMS, educational provision has begun to be provided in some of the different types of SEZ that have been opened or which are still being built. More will be expected in the future as, for example, the Thai government has recently called for foreign universities to open facilities within its SEZs to try to meet state-level developmental goals. This paper investigates the current level of provision of such forms of education and compares it with what might be required, together with a brief consideration of how the gap might be bridged.

Keywords: education. Greater Mekong Subregion, special economic zones, vocational education

There is going to be book on the workshop’s themes in due course and I plan to submit a chapter to it.

The Role of E-Commerce in Enabling Mekong Region Subsistence Farmers to Enter Regional and International Markets Equitably

This weekend I was at the Grande Westin Sukhumvit Hotel for the Second ERIA (http://www.eria.org/) Workshop on Cross-Border E-Commerce in ASEAN and East Asia.

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My paper was “The Role of E-Commerce in Enabling Mekong Region Subsistence Farmers to Enter Regional and International Markets Equitably.”

Abstract

There are still large numbers of subsistence farmers in the Greater Mekong Subregion who live in or close to poverty. A recent four-country survey found that nearly half of all people interviewed has some form of food insecurity experience over the past year and these results were higher for people in rural areas (Hapfel & Walsh, forthcoming). Problems from which such households suffer include lack of capital and education, poor access to specific inputs and technical knowledge and no awareness of how to obtain market access. When farmers do enter into contracts for cash-crop production, they face problems such as lack of effective contract law, contracts in verbal not written forms and the propensity of either side to the contract to change conditions in response to short-term price changes. In any case, farmers suffer from the need to trade commodities in volatile markets, the lack of local market development that would make product diversification less risky and inability to convert commodities into value-added products in the context of a region vulnerable to environmental shock and the emerging effects of global climate change. While farmers’ fortunes have been transformed in Thailand, this was at least partly the result of an active, interventionist private sector and extensive transportation and distribution infrastructure that do not exist to anything like the same extent in other Mekong region countries. However, what people in rural areas do now have in great numbers is access to the internet through relatively cheap mobile telecommunications. The penetration of mobile telephones in every country has now become very high and, while freedom of speech with respect to political issues is still restricted, this rarely has an impact on commercial relationships and networks. At the very least, this technology permits people to exchange knowledge about market prices and demand conditions for various products. However, the technology does not permit communications with people speaking a different language nor suggest how to find new market contacts, especially when they are cross-border in nature. There is a need, therefore, to try to understand what mechanisms need to come into existence in order to promote the kinds of remote linkages required to help bring farmers into market relationships on a more or less equitable basis. Is it necessary to introduce either new laws or regulations to ensure e-commerce takes place in a desirable manner or else to change the way that existing laws or regulations are policed? This paper identifies the current conditions under which farmers in the Mekong region currently exist and analyses their ability to access both mobile telecommunications in itself and the network benefits that may flow from it. It also outlines what legal and regulatory frameworks exist and how they may need to be modified to promote equitable market development. The analysis leads to a discussion of what might be achieved through e-commerce in this context and provides recommendations for stakeholders at a variety of levels.

Keywords: agriculture, e-commerce, equitable development, Greater Mekong Subregion, markets

The event went well and we researchers are now asked to submit the final version of the papers on August 20th, 2017.