Abstract: Dominance-based hierarchies have been taken for granted as the way we structure our organizations, but they are a part of a paradigm that has put our whole existence in peril. There is an urgent need to explore alternative paradigms that take us away from dystopic futures towards preferred, life enhancing paradigms based on wellbeing. One of the alternative ways of organizing ourselves that avoids much of the structural violence of existing organizations is the acephalous group (operating without any structured, ongoing leadership). Decision making becomes distributed, transitory and self-selecting. Such groups are not always appropriate and have their strengths and weaknesses, but they can be a more effective, humane way of organizing ourselves and can open windows to new ways of being. Acephalous groups operate at many different scales and adapt their structure accordingly. For this reason, a comparison of small, medium and large-scale acephalous groups reveals some of the dynamics involved in acephalous functioning and provides a useful overview of these emergent forms of organization and foreshadows the role they may play in future.
Abstract: One of the major tasks of product development is to collect the opinions of potential customers and to then find out the status of certain product features. The status of a product feature means whether or not it must, should, or could be included in the product, or even avoided. In doing so, a simple relative frequency-based computing approach is not sufficient. Rather, a logical computing approach is a better option. Based on this contemplation, this study describes a methodology to identify the status of a product feature in terms of must-be, should-be, or could-be categories, where the collected customer opinions are computed using a logical approach. Possibility distributions (i.e., fuzzy numbers) play a significant role in the logical computation. A Kano-model-based questionnaire is employed to collect the customer opinions. Through a case study, it is demonstrated that the proposed approach is effective in dealing with both the subjectivity and controversy that the customer opinions may exhibit. The results of this study are useful for making decisions in the early stage of a product development process in a lucid manner.
Abstract: In the Near East, nomadic hunter-gatherer societies became sedentary farmers for the first time during the transition into the Neolithic. Sedentary life presented a risk of isolation for Neolithic groups. As fluid intergroup interactions are crucial for the sharing of information, resources and genes, Neolithic villages developed a network of contacts. In this paper we study obsidian exchange between Neolithic villages in order to characterize this network of interaction. Using agent-based modelling and elements taken from complex network theory, we model obsidian exchange and compare results with archaeological data. We demonstrate that complex networks of interaction were established at the outset of the Neolithic and hypothesize that the existence of these complex networks was a necessary condition for the success and spread of a new way of living.
Abstract: Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) is a widely used approach through manufacturing environments in a variety of sectors. With a tendency to go to specialized, smaller lot sizes in several industries (e.g., the pharmaceutical sector), companies are dealing with capacity bottlenecks if the planning rhythm wheel is not well calibrated or when production lines are not flexible enough in terms of changeover (C/O) and set-up times (S/U) (OEE is too small). A well-established communication system including other enterprise resources or production factors (e.g., Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP) is favorable to any extent. More and more questions arise from stakeholder communities and end-users on whether or not supply chains and manufacturing environments are sustainable and safe. Departments such as Environmental Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS & S) and Product Stewardship are too often at the “blind” side of the ICT interface. When it comes to product and organizational sustainability, data seems to be lacking in order to conduct sustainability assessments proficiently. Years of intensive research and experience proved that primary data to perform sustainability assessments often are measured through equipment control sensors (e.g., flow rates, temperatures, etc.) and sent to PLCs and many other systems. Nevertheless, these data measurements are in many cases simply not penetrating through the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) because these bottom-up engineering data seems to be of little value to planning, procurement, etc. This communication paper deals with how sustainability assessments can be embedded in business operational management systems. After all, who does not want a “live Carbon Footprint” for process improvements and external sustainability reporting instead of a series of expensive resource consuming studies of 4 to 6 months digging into data logs in traditional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)? This communication paper has taken one step further in coupling business ERP systems with environmental sustainability of products, services and enterprises.
Abstract: The research on electronic learning environments has evolved towards creating adaptive learning environments. In this study, the focus is on adaptive curriculum sequencing, in particular, the efficacy of an adaptive curriculum sequencing algorithm based on matching the item difficulty level to the learner’s proficiency level. We therefore explored the effect of the relative difficulty level on learning outcome and motivation. Results indicate that, for learning environments consisting of questions focusing on just one dimension and with knowledge of correct response, it does not matter whether we present easy, moderate or difficult items or whether we present the items with a random mix of difficulty levels, regarding both learning and motivation.
Abstract: Companies often use specially-designed production systems and change them from time to time. They produce small batches in order to satisfy specific demands with the least tardiness. This imposes high demands on high-performance scheduling algorithms which can be rapidly adapted to changes in the production system. As a solution, this paper proposes a generic approach: solutions were obtained using a widely-used commercially-available tool for solving linear optimization models, which is available in an Enterprise Resource Planning System (in the SAP system for example) or can be connected to it. In a real-world application of a flow shop with special restrictions this approach is successfully used on a standard personal computer. Thus, the main implication is that optimal scheduling with a commercially-available tool, incorporated in an Enterprise Resource Planning System, may be the best approach.