• A framework for analysing blockchain technology adoption: Integrating institutional, market and technical factors

      Janssen, M.; Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P.; Ismagilova, Elvira; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Irani, Zahir (2020-02)
      The adoption of blockchain technologies require the consideration of a broad range of factors, over and above the predominantly technology focus of most current work. Whilst scholarly literature on blockchain technology is only beginning to emerge, majority are focused on the technicalities of the technology and tend to ignore the organizational complexities of adopting the technology. Drawing from a focused review of literature, this paper proposed a conceptual framework for adoption of blockchain technology capturing the complex relationships between institutional, market and technical factors. The framework highlights that varying outcomes are possible, and the change process is focal as this shapes the form blockchain applications take. Factors presented in the framework (institutional, market and technical) interact and mutually influence each other. The proposed framework can be used by organisations as a reference point for adopting blockchain applications and by scholars to expand, refine and evaluate research into blockchain technology.
    • Analysing supply chain integration through a systematic literature review: a normative perspective

      Kamal, M.M.; Irani, Zahir (2014)
      This paper aims to focus on systematically analysing and synthesising the extant research published on supply chain integration (SCI) area, given the significance of SCI research area. More specifically, the authors aim to answer three questions: “Q1 – What are the factors (e.g. both driving and inhibiting) that influence SCI?”, “Q2 – What are the key developments (e.g. both in research and industry) in SCI area?” and “Q3 – What are the approaches employed/discussed to integrate supply chains?”. Over the past decade, SCI has gained increasing attention in the supply chain management (SCM) context, both from the practitioners’ perspective and as a research area. In realising the global transformations and competitive business environment, a number of organisations are collaborating with their supply chain (SC) partners, to conduct seamless SC operations. A systematic and structured literature review is carried out to observe and understand the past trends and extant patterns/themes in the SCI research area, evaluate contributions and summarise knowledge, thereby identifying limitations, implications and potential directions of further research. Thus, to trace the implementation of SCI practices, a profiling approach is used to analyse 293 articles (published in English-speaking peer-reviewed journals between 2000 and 2013) extracted from the Scopus database. The Systematic Review Approach proposed by Tranfield et al. (2003) was followed to analyse and synthesise the extant literature on SCI area. The analysis presented in this paper has identified relevant SCI research studies that have contributed to the development and accumulation of intellectual wealth to the SCI and SCM area. Each of the 293 papers was examined for achieving the aim and objectives of the research, the method of data collection, the data analysis method and quality measures. While some of the papers provided information on all of these categories, most of them failed to provide all the information, especially for Q2 and Q3 that resulted in 23 and 21 papers, respectively. This study would have benefited from the analysis of further journals; however, the analysis of 293 articles from leading journals in the field of operations and SCM was deemed sufficient in scope. Moreover, this research has implications for researchers, journal editors, practitioners, universities and research institutions. It is likely to form the basis and motivation for profiling other database resources and specific operations and SCM-type journals in this area. This systematic literature review highlights a taxonomy of contextual factors driving and inhibiting SCI for researchers and SC practitioners to refer to while researching or implementing SCI. It also exemplifies some areas for future research, along with the need for researchers to focus on developing more practical techniques for implementing SCI and improving organisational performance. The prime value and uniqueness of this paper lies in analysing and compiling the existing published material in relation to Q1, Q2 and Q3, including examining other variables (such as yearly publications, geographic location of each publication, type of publication, type of research methods used), which lacks in the recent published five SCI literature review-based articles (by Kim, 2013; Leuschner et al., 2013; Alfalla-Luque et al., 2013; Parente et al., 2008; Fabbe-Costes and Jahre, 2007). This has been achieved by extracting and synthesising existing publications using “Supply Chain Integration” keyword. This paper provides a critique of the conceptual and empirical works in SCI discipline and offers research agendas that can stimulate future researchers to carefully explore the topic.
    • Are U.K. Citizens Satisfied With E-Government Services? Identifying and Testing Antecedents of Satisfaction

      Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P.; Irani, Zahir; Lee, Habin; Hindi, N.; Osman, I.H. (2016-08)
      Citizens’ satisfaction is acknowledged as one of the most significant influences for e-government adoption and diffusion. This study examines the impact of information quality, system quality, trust, and cost on user satisfaction of e-government services. Using a survey, this study collected 1518 valid responses from e-government service adopters across the United Kingdom. Our empirical outcomes show the five factors identified in this study have a significant impact on U.K. citizens’ satisfaction with e-government services.
    • Artificial Intelligence and Food Security: Swarm Intelligence of AgriTech Drones for Smart AgriFood Operations

      Spanaki, K.; Karafili, E.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Despoudi, S.; Irani, Zahir (2021)
      The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present the emerging need to explore new ways of AgriFood production and food security as ultimate targets for feeding future generations. The study adopts a Design Science methodology and proposes Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques as a solution to food security problems. Specifically, the proposed artefact presents the collective use of Agricultural Technology (AgriTech) drones inspired by the biomimetic ways of bird swarms. The design (artefact) appears here as a solution for supporting farming operations in inaccessible land, so as unmanned aerial devices contribute and improve the productivity of farming areas with limited capacity. The proposed design is developed through a scenario of drone swarms applying AI techniques to address food security issues. The study concludes by presenting a research agenda and the sectoral challenges triggered by the applications of AI in Agriculture.
    • Big data in an HR context: Exploring organizational change readiness, employee attitudes and behaviors

      Shah, N.; Irani, Zahir; Sharif, Amir M. (2017-01)
      This research highlights a contextual application for big data within a HR case study setting. This is achieved through the development of a normative conceptual model that seeks to envelop employee behaviors and attitudes in the context of organizational change readiness. This empirical application considers a data sample from a large public sector organization and through applying Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) identifies salary, job promotion, organizational loyalty and organizational identity influences on employee job satisfaction (suggesting and mediating employee readiness for organizational change). However in considering this specific context, the authors highlight how, where and why such a normative approach to employee factors may be limited and thus, proposes through a framework which brings together big data principles, implementation approaches and management commitment requirements can be applied and harnessed more effectively in order to assess employee attitudes and behaviors as part of wider HR predictive analytics (HRPA) approaches. The researchers conclude with a discussion on these research elements and a set of practical, conceptual and management implications of the findings along with recommendations for future research in the area.
    • Big data-driven fuzzy cognitive map for prioritising IT service procurement in the public sector

      Choi, Y.; Lee, Habin; Irani, Zahir (2018-11)
      The prevalence of big data is starting to spread across the public and private sectors however, an impediment to its widespread adoption orientates around a lack of appropriate big data analytics (BDA) and resulting skills to exploit the full potential of big data availability. In this paper, we propose a novel BDA to contribute towards this void, using a fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) approach that will enhance decision-making thus prioritising IT service procurement in the public sector. This is achieved through the development of decision models that capture the strengths of both data analytics and the established intuitive qualitative approach. By taking advantages of both data analytics and FCM, the proposed approach captures the strength of data-driven decision-making and intuitive model-driven decision modelling. This approach is then validated through a decision-making case regarding IT service procurement in public sector, which is the fundamental step of IT infrastructure supply for publics in a regional government in the Russia federation. The analysis result for the given decision-making problem is then evaluated by decision makers and e-government expertise to confirm the applicability of the proposed BDA. In doing so, demonstrating the value of this approach in contributing towards robust public decision-making regarding IT service procurement.
    • A brand preference and repurchase intention model: the role of consumer experience

      Ebrahim, R.; Ghoneim, Ahmad; Irani, Zahir; Fan, Y. (2016)
      Consumer brand preference is an essential step towards understanding consumer choice behaviour, and has therefore always received great attention from marketers. However, the study of brand preference has been limited to traditional marketing focusing on functional attributes to maximise utility. But now the shift to experiential marketing broadens the role of the brand from a bundle of attributes to experiences. Technological advancements have helped to increase the similarities between brand attributes and product commoditisation. Consequently, consumers cannot shape their preferences among brands using rational attributes only. They seek out brands that create experiences; that intrigue them in a sensorial, emotional and creative way. This study seeks to develop a model that provides an understanding of how brand knowledge and brand experience determine brand preference and to investigate its impact on brand repurchase intention. Accordingly, exploratory focus group discussions are employed followed by a survey of mobile phone users in Egypt. The findings provide insights into the relative importance of consumer perceptions on different brand knowledge factors in shaping brand preferences. It also demonstrates the significance of consumers’ experiential responses towards brands in developing their brand preferences that in turn influence brand repurchase intention. The model therefore offers managers a new perspective for building strong brands able to gain consumer preferences.
    • Circular economy versus planetary limits: a Slovak forestry sector case study

      Beckmann, A.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Irani, Zahir (2021)
      Purpose: Circular economy is presented as an approach to economic growth that is in line with sustainable development. However, the recent literature has highlighted the limits of the concept in terms of environmental sustainability. The study examines the relationship between circular economy and conservation of ecosystems, using a case study on the implications of a circular economy for Slovak forests and forest sector. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative methodology through a focused review of the relevant literature on circular economy and sustainable development and primary data gathered through semi-structured interviews with 15 experts and practitioners in the forest sector, forest conservation and circular economy context, both from within as well as outside of Slovakia. Findings: The study finds that the forestry sector has an important role to play in a shift to a circular economy in Slovakia, with significant opportunities for improved efficiency as well as substitution of wood for non-renewable resources. There is also growing potential for ecosystem stewardship and restoration. However, the increased application of biomass could crowd out other needs, including for biodiversity. Safeguarding these services depends ultimately on good governance. Originality/value: The study highlights that circular economy taken in a narrow focus on resource efficiency is insufficient to ensure environmental sustainability but rather needs to be set within the broader environmental and social context.
    • COBRA framework to evaluate e-government services: A citizen-centric perspective

      Osman, I.H.; Anouze, A.L.; Irani, Zahir; Al-Ayoubi, B.; Lee, Habin; Balci, A.; Medeni, T.D.; Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P. (2014-04)
      E-government services involve many stakeholders who have different objectives that can have an impact on success. Among these stakeholders, citizens are the primary stakeholders of government activities. Accordingly, their satisfaction plays an important role in e-government success. Although several models have been proposed to assess the success of e-government services through measuring users' satisfaction levels, they fail to provide a comprehensive evaluation model. This study provides an insight and critical analysis of the extant literature to identify the most critical factors and their manifested variables for user satisfaction in the provision of e-government services. The various manifested variables are then grouped into a new quantitative analysis framework consisting of four main constructs: cost; benefit; risk and opportunity (COBRA) by analogy to the well-known SWOT qualitative analysis framework. The COBRA measurement scale is developed, tested, refined and validated on a sample group of e-government service users in Turkey. A structured equation model is used to establish relationships among the identified constructs, associated variables and users' satisfaction. The results confirm that COBRA framework is a useful approach for evaluating the success of e-government services from citizens' perspective and it can be generalised to other perspectives and measurement contexts.
    • A cognitive analytics management framework for the transformation of electronic government services from users perspective to create sustainable shared values

      Osman, I.H.; Anouze, A.L.; Irani, Zahir; Lee, H.; Medeni, T.D.; Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P. (2019-10-16)
      Electronic government services (e-services) involve the delivery of information and services to stakeholders via the Internet, Internet of Things and other traditional modes. Despite their beneficial values, the overall level of usage (take-up) remains relatively low compared to traditional modes. They are also challenging to evaluate due to behavioral, economical, political, and technical aspects. The literature lacks a methodology framework to guide the government transformation application to improve both internal processes of e-services and institutional transformation to advance relationships with stakeholders. This paper proposes a cognitive analytics management (CAM) framework to implement such transformations. The ambition is to increase users’ take-up rate and satisfaction, and create sustainable shared values through provision of improved e-services. The CAM framework uses cognition to understand and frame the transformation challenge into analytics terms. Analytics insights for improvements are generated using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). A classification and regression tree is then applied to DEA results to identify characteristics of satisfaction to advance relationships. The importance of senior management is highlighted for setting strategic goals and providing various executive supports. The CAM application for the transforming Turkish e-services is validated on a large sample data using online survey. The results are discussed; the outcomes and impacts are reported in terms of estimated savings of more than fifteen billion dollars over a ten-year period and increased usage of improved new e-services. We conclude with future research.
    • Cost overruns in transportation infrastructure projects: Sowing the seeds for a probabilistic theory of causation

      Love, P.E.D.; Ahiaga-Dagbui, D.D.; Irani, Zahir (2016-10)
      Understanding the cause of cost overruns in transportation infrastructure projects has been a topic that has received considerable attention from academics and the popular press. Despite studies providing the essential building blocks and frameworks for cost overrun mitigation and containment, the problem still remains a pervasive issue for Governments worldwide. The interdependency that exists between ‘causes’ that lead to cost overruns materialising have largely been ignored when considering the likelihood and impact of their occurrence. The vast majority of the cost overrun literature has tended to adopt a deterministic approach in examining the occurrence of the phenomenon; in this paper a shift towards the adoption of pluralistic probabilistic approach to cost overrun causation is proposed. The establishment of probabilistic theory incorporates the ability to consider the interdependencies of causes so to provide Governments with a holistic understanding of the uncertainties and risks that may derail the delivery and increase the cost of transportation infrastructure projects. This will further assist in the design of effective mitigation and containment strategies that will ensure future transportation infrastructure projects meet their expected costs as well as the need of taxpayers.
    • Cost performance of public infrastructure projects: the nemesis and nirvana of change-orders

      Love, P.E.D.; Irani, Zahir; Smith, J.; Regan, M.; Liu, J. (2017)
      The cost performance of a wide range of public sector infrastructure projects completed by a contractor are analysed and discussed. Change-orders after a contract to construct an asset was signed were, on average, found to contribute to a 23.75% increase in project costs. A positive association between an increase in change orders and the contractor’s margin were identified. Taxpayers pay for this additional cost, while those charged with constructing assets are rewarded with an increase in their margins. As the public sector embraces an era of digitisation, there is a need to improve the integration of design and construction activities and engender collaboration to ensure assets can be delivered cost effectively and future-proofed. The research paper provides empirical evidence for the public sector to re-consider the processes that are used to deliver their infrastructure assets so as to reduce the propensity for cost overruns and enable future-proofing to occur.
    • Critical analysis of Big Data challenges and analytical methods

      Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Kamal, M.M.; Irani, Zahir; Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P. (2017-01)
      Big Data (BD), with their potential to ascertain valued insights for enhanced decision-making process, have recently attracted substantial interest from both academics and practitioners. Big Data Analytics (BDA) is increasingly becoming a trending practice that many organizations are adopting with the purpose of constructing valuable information from BD. The analytics process, including the deployment and use of BDA tools, is seen by organizations as a tool to improve operational efficiency though it has strategic potential, drive new revenue streams and gain competitive advantages over business rivals. However, there are different types of analytic applications to consider. Therefore, prior to hasty use and buying costly BD tools, there is a need for organizations to first understand the BDA landscape.Given the significant nature of the BDand BDA, this paper presents a state-ofthe- art review that presents a holistic view of the BD challenges and BDA methods theorized/proposed/ employed by organizations to help others understand this landscape with the objective of making robust investment decisions. In doing so, systematically analysing and synthesizing the extant research published on BD and BDA area. More specifically, the authors seek to answer the following two principal questions: Q1 –What are the different types of BD challenges theorized/proposed/confronted by organizations? and Q2 – What are the different types of BDA methods theorized/proposed/employed to overcome BD challenges?. This systematic literature review (SLR) is carried out through observing and understanding the past trends and extant patterns/themes in the BDA research area, evaluating contributions, summarizing knowledge, thereby identifying limitations, implications and potential further research avenues to support the academic community in exploring research themes/patterns. Thus, to trace the implementation of BD strategies, a profiling method is employed to analyze articles (published in English-speaking peer-reviewed journals between 1996 and 2015) extracted from the Scopus database. The analysis presented in this paper has identified relevant BD research studies that have contributed both conceptually and empirically to the expansion and accrual of intellectual wealth to the BDA in technology and organizational resource management discipline.
    • A decision support model for identification and prioritization of key performance indicators in the logistics industry

      Kucukaltan, B.; Irani, Zahir; Aktas, E. (2016-12)
      Performance measurement of logistics companies is based upon various performance indicators. Yet, in the logistics industry, there are several vaguenesses, such as deciding on key indicators and determining interrelationships between performance indicators. In order to resolve these vaguenesses, this paper first presents the stakeholder-informed Balanced Scorecard (BSC) model, by incorporating financial (e.g. cost) and non-financial (e.g. social media) performance indicators, with a comprehensive approach as a response to the major shortcomings of the generic BSC regarding the negligence of different stakeholders. Subsequently, since the indicators are not independent of each other, a robust multi-criteria decision making technique, the Analytic Network Process (ANP) method is implemented to analyze the interrelationships. The integration of these two techniques provides a novel way to evaluate logistics performance indicators from logisticians' perspective. This is a matter that has not been addressed in the logistics industry to date, and as such remains a gap that needs to be investigated. Therefore, the proposed model identifies key performance indicators as well as various stakeholders in the logistics industry, and analyzes the interrelationships among the indicators by using the ANP. Consequently, the results show that educated employee (15.61%) is the most important indicator for the competitiveness of logistics companies.
    • A decision support system for vessel speed decision in maritime logistics using weather archive big data

      Lee, Habin; Aydin, N.; Choi, Y.; Lekhavat, S.; Irani, Zahir (2018-10)
      Speed optimization of liner vessels has significant economic and environmental impact for reducing fuel cost and Green House Gas (GHG) emission as the shipping over maritime logistics takes more than 70% of world transportation. While slow steaming is widely used as best practices for liner shipping companies, they are also under the pressure to maintain service level agreement (SLA) with their cargo clients. Thus, deciding optimal speed that minimizes fuel consumption while maintaining SLA is managerial decision problem. Studies in the literature use theoretical fuel consumption functions in their speed optimization models but these functions have limitations due to weather conditions in voyages. This paper uses weather archive data to estimate the real fuel consumption function for speed optimization problems. In particular, Copernicus data set is used as the source of big data and data mining technique is applied to identify the impact of weather conditions based on a given voyage route. Particle swarm optimization, a metaheuristic optimization method, is applied to find Pareto optimal solutions that minimize fuel consumption and maximize SLA. The usefulness of the proposed approach is verified through the real data obtained from a liner company and real world implications are discussed.
    • Determining Sustainability Key Performance Indicators for Food Loss Reduction

      Al-Dalaeen, Q.R.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Irani, Zahir (2021)
      Purpose: this paper presents notable themes regarding the relationship between sustainability development and the food loss issue. In doing so, it provides coherent knowledge concerning this global problem and highlights the key research areas in this context. Design/methodology/approach: this paper is a viewpoint piece; normative literature and supposition are used to orientate the views of the authors. Findings: this paper has identified the main causes of food loss at each stage of the food supply chain. It has then classified the causes into three groups based on organisational environment: internal causes, micro-environmental causes and macro-environmental causes. In addition, the authors suggest a need to adopt a holistic view of the performance measurement system in the food industry through incorporating sustainability pillars with traditional performance perspectives in the context of food loss. Practical implications: food loss generating from various causes along the supply chain means that more food should flow across the supply chains to reach consumers’ homes. This paper provides reassuring insights that will help the decision-makers in food companies to revise the performance measurement system in the context of food loss reduction. Social implications: reducing food loss will contribute to increasing food availability and decreasing food prices, which leads to strengthening economic and physical access for those people who are not able to get food. Consequently, it considers a mandatory step to enhance food security. Originality/value: to raise the significance of food loss reduction along the supply chain and to stress an urgent need to adopt a holistic view of the sustainability performance measurement system with a particular focus on the food loss issue.
    • Disruptive Technologies in Agricultural Operations: A Systematic Review of AI-driven AgriTech Research

      Spanaki, K.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Fakhimi, M.; Despoudi, S.; Irani, Zahir (2021-01)
      The evolving field of disruptive technologies has recently gained significant interest in various industries, including agriculture. The fourth industrial revolution has reshaped the context of Agricultural Technology (AgriTech) with applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a strong focus on data-driven analytical techniques. Motivated by the advances in AgriTech for agrarian operations, the study presents a state-of-the-art review of the research advances which are, evolving in a fast pace over the last decades (due to the disruptive potential of the technological context). Following a systematic literature approach, we develop a categorisation of the various types of AgriTech, as well as the associated AI-driven techniques which form the continuously shifting definition of AgriTech. The contribution primarily draws on the conceptualisation and awareness about AI-driven AgriTech context relevant to the agricultural operations for smart, efficient, and sustainable farming. The study provides a single normative reference for the definition, context and future directions of the field for further research towards the operational context of AgriTech. Our findings indicate that AgriTech research and the disruptive potential of AI in the agricultural sector are still in infancy in Operations Research. Through the systematic review, we also intend to inform a wide range of agricultural stakeholders (farmers, agripreneurs, scholars and practitioners) and to provide research agenda for a growing field with multiple potentialities for the future of the agricultural operations.
    • E-government implementation: A bird’s eye view of issues relating to costs, opportunities, benefits and risks

      Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P.; Irani, Zahir; Lee, Habin; Osman, I.H.; Hindi, N.
      After more than a decade of comprehensive research work in the area of electronic government (e-government), no attempt has yet been made to undertake a systematic literature review on the costs, opportunities, benefits and risks that influence the implementation of e-government. This is particularly significant given the various related challenges that governments have faced over the years when implementing e-government initiatives. Hence, the aim of this paper is to undertake a comprehensive analysis of relevant literature addressing these issues using a systematic review of 132 studies identified from the Scopus online database and Google Scholar together with a manual review of relevant papers from journals dedicated to electronic government research such as Electronic Government, an International Journal (EGIJ), International Journal of Electronic Government Research (IJEGR) and Transforming Government: People, Process, and Policy (TGPPP). The overall review indicated that although a large number of papers discuss costs, opportunities, benefits and risks, treatment of these issues have tended to be superficial. Moreover, there is a lack of empirical studies which can statistically evaluate the performance of these constructs in relation to the various e-government systems. Therefore, this research would help governments to better analyse the impact of costs, opportunities, benefits and risks on the success of e-government systems and its pre-adoption from an implementation perspective.
    • Enabling sustainable energy futures: factors influencing green supply chain collaboration

      Irani, Zahir; Kamal, M.M.; Sharif, Amir M.; Love, P.E.D. (2017)
      This article explores the relationship between sustainability strategies and future energy needs, supply chains need to reduce their CO2 emissions through developing their green credentials and improving performance. Knowledge management (KM) is an enabler to support collaboration efforts. The SCM and KM areas have largely focused on improving organisational performance. While the latter has yielded successful outcomes in different sectors, there is still a scarcity of research on identifying influential factors highlighting those aspects which may enable green supply chain collaboration (GrSCC), thus leading to sustainable energy futures and carbon-efficient production. This paper examines the role of KM in facilitating GrSCC. Through the identification of key factors extrapolated from the literature, a model for implementing GrSCC using a futures-based perspective is proposed. This paper inductively demonstrates the relationship between identified GrSCC factors through fuzzy cognitive mapping technique. Findings support a futures-based perspective that enhances understanding and refines forward-looking strategies for GrSCC.
    • Evaluating the use and impact of Web 2.0 technologies in local government

      Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Irani, Zahir; Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P. (2015-10)
      Second generation web-based technologies (Web 2.0) such as social media and networking sites are increasingly being used by governments for activities ranging from open policy making to communication campaigns and customer service. However, this in turn has brought about additional challenges. By its very nature, Web 2.0 technologies are more interactive than the traditional models of information provision or creation of digital services. Such technologies open up a new set of benefits, costs and risks to those government authorities who make use of these social and digital media to enhance their work. This study draws on the extant literature together with an in-depth qualitative case enquiry to propose an emergent framework for evaluating the intra-organisational use of Web 2.0 technologies and its impact on local government. The study findings identified additional four factors (i.e. benefits: intra-marketing, informal engagement, costs: workload constraints and risk: integration with other systems) as part of the evaluation criteria which have not previously been discussed in the existing literature surrounding the context of Web 2.0 use in local government. The study concludes that a combined analysis of the evaluation and impact assessment factors, rather than one particular approach would better assist decision makers when implementing Web 2.0 technologies for use by public administration employees.