From Text to Practice - The role of the Bible in daily living of African people today
Masiiwa Ragies Gunda
Solomon Olusola Ademiluka
Solomon B. Nkesiga
- That the Bible is a manual for daily living is attested in almost all Christian denominations, how this role is transformed into practice is clearly an area that remains a contested terrain among Christians. This volume is our modest contribution to looking at the relationship between the Bible and our practices. The central question that the articles in this volume respond to is: how is the Bible related to our daily life? This question is especially important on the African continent where religion appears to be gaining influence. Without taking anything away from western biblical scholars, African biblical scholars must also engage with the question: how do we put into practice the teachings of the Bible? This volume contains papers presented at the International Bible Symposium 2009 in Bamberg (Germany) and additional contributions.
Cosmopolitan Relationships in CouchSurfing : an explorative analysis of a Web 2.0 platform
- In an era marked by massive global interconnectedness and dependencies, questions of world citizenship inevitably resurface and the Internet, as a tool for instant, global communication, is at the center of the contemplation. Scholars have traditionally focused their attention on the rising inequalities associated with globalized
flows of goods and capital and the Internet is framed largely in terms of an empowerment structure with no integral effect on identity. This thesis explores how cosmopolitan community formation on the Internet can work by analyzing CouchSurfing, a hospitality network that makes use of Web 2.0 technology to govern membership and interaction. It creates a stable community of frequent, decentralized interaction. It facilitates cultural learning and supports the establishment of encumberable relationships across cultures.
Removing systematic patterns in returns in a financial market model by artificially intelligent traders
- The unpredictability of returns counts as a stylized fact of financial markets. To reproduce this fact, modelers
usually implement noise terms − a method with several downsides. Above all, systematic patterns are not
eliminated but merely blurred. The present article introduces a model in which systematic patterns are removed
endogenously. This is achieved in a reality-oriented way: Intelligent traders are able to identify patterns and
exploit them. To identify and predict patterns, a very simple artificial neural network is used. As neural network
mimic the cognitive processes of the human brain, this method might be regarded as a quite accurate way of how
traders identify patterns and forecast prices in reality. The simulation experiments show that the artificial traders
exploit patterns effectively and thereby remove them, which ultimately leads to the unpredictability of prices.
Further results relate to the influence of pattern exploiters on market efficiency.
Interactions between the real economy and the stock market
- We develop a simple behavioral macro model to study interactions between the real
economy and the stock market. The real economy is represented by a Keynesian goods
market approach while the setup for the stock market includes heterogeneous speculators.
Using a mixture of analytical and numerical tools we find, for instance, that speculators may
create endogenous boom-bust dynamics in the stock market which, by spilling over into the
real economy, can cause lasting fluctuations in economic activity. However, fluctuations in
economic activity may, by shaping the firms’ fundamental values, also have an impact on
the dynamics of the stock market.
Why a Simple Herding Model May Generate the Stylized Facts of Daily Returns: Explanation and Estimation
- The paper proposes an elementary agent-based asset pricing model that, invoking the
two trader types of fundamentalists and chartists, comprises four features: (i) price determination
by excess demand; (ii) a herding mechanism that gives rise to a macroscopic
adjustment equation for the market fractions of the two groups; (iii) a rush towards fundamentalism
when the price misalignment becomes too large; and (iv) a stronger noise
component in the demand per chartist trader than in the demand per fundamentalist
trader, which implies a structural stochastic volatility in the returns. Combining analytical
and numerical methods, the interaction between these elements is studied in the
phase plane of the price and a majority index. In addition, the model is estimated by
the method of simulated moments, where the choice of the moments reflects the basic
stylized facts of the daily returns of a stock market index. A (parametric) bootstrap
procedure serves to set up an econometric test to evaluate the model’s goodness-of-fit,
which proves to be highly satisfactory. The bootstrap also makes sure that the estimated
structural parameters are well identified.
HIV/AIDS and the Bible in Tanzania. A Contextual Re-reading of 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33
Mussa Simon Muneja
- This volume was passed as doctoral thesis by the University of South Africa (UNISA). The author contends throughout the book that it is arguably clear that the AIDS epidemic has infected and affected our world in radical ways. Although every sector, including Biblical Studies, has come to its ‘senses’, by realising the urgency to respond; there still appears to be inadequate contextual engagement with the biblical text to stimulate empowering and transformative readings of the Bible.
The author presents his interpretative case aimed to contribute to scholarship by determining the extent to which the church, the academy and Persons with HIV have adhered to stigmatising interpretations. He uses reader response method theoretical framework as applied within the context of African theology because it is socially located.
Unlike many books, this one emerges from empirical findings. The data was collected through focus groups and personal interviews. The purposive sampling included 70 participants, who were divided into three key categories: academic theologians, university students and persons with HIV. All participants in the study re-read 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33 in order to ascertain if the characters therein could be relevant to the context of AIDS.
Towards the end, the author sums up his case by endorsing that, characters from 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33 can provide an empowering message in the context of AIDS. Although this biblical text has often been misused to promote stigma, this study confirmed that it was nonetheless possible to use the same text to unearth redemptive and empowering interpretations. Therefore the book recommends that the move towards an HIV/AIDS Biblical Hermeneutics invites socially engaged scholars along with ordinary readers to read the text together for transformative purposes.
Individual, Firm-specific and Regional Effects on Internal Employment Trajectories in Germany. With Special Focus on Education, Further Training and Skill Formation
- This paper contributed to life course research by analyzing individual, firm-specific and regional effects on employment trajectories. It was assumed that the benefit of education depends on the employment history, firms and regional structures; therefore, we combined the German LIAB, a linked employer-employee dataset, and data on regional characteristics from the Federal Employment Services (BA) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR). Based on this new and hierarchical struc-tured data set, a multilevel framework was deployed to evaluate employment trajectories in a two-stage procedure. First, job tenure was estimated by a Piecewise Constant Exponential model; then, an independent Competing Risks model with the three destination states “career
advancement”, “no change” and “career decline” was performed to analyse the internal career paths.
The main findings can be concluded as follows. First, evidence suggested that individuals have different career prospects depending on the education degree they especially acquire in the first period of their life course. Second, long term current employment reduces scarring effects; thus, future employment trajectories can be stabilized. Third, firms offer different op-portunity structures which influence the chances and risks in employment careers in different ways; particularly, further training leads to more stable jobs and better promotion prospects. Fourth, regional factors hardly explain job exit rates, but the unequal internal career prospects in different types of region indicate a regional segmentation of the labour market.
In further research we will estimate another model for the year 2002 to control for different economic situations. Additionally, the effects of the regional characteristics should be investigated in more detail.
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA): An Empirical Evaluation of Characteristics, Adoption Determinants, Governance Mechanisms, and Business Impact in the German Service Industry
- Since the first introduction of the term Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) by Gartner analysts in 1996, the idea of service orientation of IS architectures including SOA and its supporting technologies has become a widely adopted concept both in industry and research. SOA leverages the principles of object-oriented and component-oriented programming not only for the development of single systems but for entire system landscapes by adding a new service layer consisting of loosely coupled modular services. In recent years, a number of definitions for SOA appeared that varied with respect to their scope. Researchers applied the concept of service orientation not only for designing business application systems (i.e., a narrow scope of SOA), but also for designing the business architecture and so introduced the concept of a “Service-Oriented Enterprise (SOE)”.
Early SOA research focused on technical aspects regarding the characteristics of SOA. However, while providing a solid technological base for implementing SOA, the business perspective on SOA has been largely neglected and gained increasing attention in recent years. Even though recent research has already increased the understanding of SOA from a business perspective, researchers struggle to provide theoretical foundations as well as to apply quantitative empirical research to investigate the relationships on a larger empirical basis. The cumulative dissertation thesis at hand addresses these areas by drawing on a multi-theoretical foundation and applying a multi-method approach in order to address the following research directions:
Adoption: Why and under what circumstances do organizations introduce SOA?
Business impact: What are the benefits resulting from SOA?
Governance: How should SOA introduction and management be governed to achieve the benefits?
These research directions are targeted by the eight research articles included in this dissertation thesis following a quantitative approach. First, the foundation for the thesis is laid by reviewing the literature and identifying research questions. Next, nine case studies were conducted to understand SOA adoption, its implications for the organization as well as the used governance mechanisms in depth, and to refine the research models based on further insights from practice. Third, necessary prerequisites for applying quantitative methods are developed in terms of conceptualizing SOA adoption and developing measurement instruments for SOA adoption and SOA maturity based on their characteristics. Based on this preliminary work the developed research models that draw on different theoretical foundations – e.g., modular systems theory, dynamic capabilities theory (DCT), or the technology-organization-environment (TOE) framework – were tested using quantitative methods. Besides different theoretical foundations, the individual papers leverage different statistical analyses, such as structural equation modeling (SEM), factor analysis, or cluster analysis. For our quantitative analyses, we used the data of 247 participating organizations collected through a survey carried out in the German service industry. The results of the analyses are documented in eight research articles that are partly published and partly under review at international journals.
Five different approaches to SOA adoption are identified: no SOA adoption, service-oriented business architecture, medium extent among all four SOA dimensions, medium extent with high service orientation of IS architecture, and high extent among all four SOA dimensions. SOA adoption is based predominantly on organizational prerequisites such as IT employees’ IT expertise, top management support, and the compatibility of SOA with an organization’s IT setting. Further determinants are relative advantage, costs, and organization size. Notably, the complexity of implementing SOA is seen as a cost driver but not as an inhibitor. The results show that an organization’s SOA adoption is also influenced by observable SOA adoption from other firms (“same group”, i.e., management fad) and from media, consultants and other sources (“outside group”, i.e., management fashion).
This thesis offers a theoretical and empirical explanation for SOA’s business impact. The results substantiate the oft-proclaimed business value discussion of SOA by showing quantitatively significant relationships between the degree of SOA and business-relevant value dimensions in terms of reducing costs and increasing business agility, data quality, process monitoring, internal straight-through processing (STP), and business-to-business (B2B) integration of processes. Also, we offer a theoretical foundation by drawing on the concept of dynamic capabilities to argue theoretically and to show empirically that IT flexibility is a meaningful explanatory factor for SOA’s business value. Further, the results show a diminishing marginal utility of increasing SOA maturity. In addition, this is the first study that conceptualizes and empirically evaluates a measurement instrument for business process management (BPM) and offers first insights into how BPM and SOA jointly affect business process quality. Moreover, SOA is identified to be a good foundation for business process outsourcing (BPO) as it increases related benefits and flexibility while reducing associated risks.
This thesis offers an evidence-based contribution to the discussion of the role of SOA governance mechanisms and a validated measurement model that is useful when bringing together managerial and technical perspectives regarding service orientation. Notably, establishing new SOA decision-making bodies, such as the often called for SOA centers of excellence (CoE), hampers modularity, integration and reuse in the beginning. Thus, one important managerial result is that organizations do not necessarily need to implement new decision-making bodies but should prefer adapting existing ones. Among others, standards, employee qualification, and IT/business communication are important for these purposes. Managers pursuing better IT scalability are also well advised to follow this recommendation, as these three mechanisms (but only these of the investigated) also drive scalability. For improving modularity, clear service development processes and the collaborative work of business units are applicable governance mechanisms. Further, the findings suggest that managers should not hope for better alignment automatically following the SOA implementation, but instead explicitly implement management actions that facilitate collaboration between business and IT as this further improves the outcomes of implementing SOA.
Answering these research questions contributes to theory in multiple ways by offering theoretical and empirical explanations for the determinants of SOA adoption, governance mechanisms, and SOA’s business impact, as well as providing a newly developed multidimensional SOA research concept and a measurement instrument for SOA maturity. Moreover, answering these research questions also contributes to a topic of high practical relevance. According to Forrester Research, 84% of the global 2,000 enterprises (i.e., organizations with 20,000 or more employees) use SOA. Despite the high rate of SOA adoption among very large organizations the same study shows that only 12 percent of the global 2,000 enterprises achieve the intended SOA benefits. Thus, insights into questions surrounding important adoption determinants for implementing SOA, SOA’s realistic potential business impact, and effective SOA governance mechanisms are of particular importance for managers, especially given that typically there is a high cost associated with introducing SOA.
Using Agent-Based Modeling to Explore the Dynamics of Financial Markets and the Potential for Regulation
- The present cumulative dissertation comprises five contributions in the area of agent-based modeling of financial markets. The contributions can be outlined as follows:
• Contribution 1 focuses the influence of the frequency of publication of fundamental information on market dynamics and efficiency.
• Contribution 2 investigates the question of Contribution 1 with respect to three existing financial market models. The goal is to stress test the robustness of the results and to create a more profound understanding of relevant variables.
• Contribution 3, analyzes the influence of competitive conditions on the risk-preference of agents. The study is based on an evolutionary model which uses a genetic algorithm. As a practical example, the professional competition between fund-managers is considered.
• In Contribution 4, a model is developed in which intelligent agents are able to identify systematic patterns in prices and to exploit them. This behavior produces a chaotic evolution of prices – a central statistical property of financial markets. Artificial intelligence is achieved by means of an Artificial Neuronal Network.
• Contribution 5 has been created on behalf of the Bank of England. The goal is to identify the influence of high frequency trading on market dynamics. The model used in this study is characterized by a relatively realistic mechanism of trading and is validated in a quantitative way against eight statistical indicators.
Resistance to IT-induced Change - Theoretical Foundation and Empirical Evidence
- In this PhD thesis the question “Why do people reject technologies?” is investigated and a variety of theoretical founded and empirical evaluated answers are given. Too many IT implementation and organizational change projects in firms still fail as the underling Information Systems are inadequately used. The thesis evaluates the reasons for user resistance behavior including individual characteristics such as personality traits, process characteristics, technology characteristics, and characteristics of the change process. Moreover, it can be shown that user resistance is not only related to the observed usage behavior, but also in work- and process-related consequences. The results contribute not only to IT adoption and change management literature, but also to the literature on Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) as the thesis investigates employees’ reactions to information systems in HR departments.