Thursday, May 31, 2012

Research Paper on Employee Motivation

Research Paper on Employee Motivation

How to Motivate Employees in the Workplace?
Motivation in the workplace is a crucial subject in the modern business world, since it is the force, which drives the entire organization and affects its performance. One of the biggest questions, which is constantly being asked by the majority of the managers is, how to motivate an employee and to set a productive environment within an organization. This paper will examine the common behaviors of employees in the workplace and will try to identify the factors, which affect their motives. In the first part of the paper an already existing literature will be studied. The main purpose of this study will be to identify the existing problems, which occur in the workplace. The second part will concentrate on identifying the tasks, which could help managers to motivate their employees. Different theories will be examined, and the effect of their applications will be discussed. The third part will discuss the role of managers in the motivating process. And, finally, the last part will conclude the paper and its findings.

Motivation is one of the most crucial elements of an organization’s functioning. This is what gathers people together and gets the work done in the best possible way. Motivation is given a great attention, because it influences every part of the business. An organization cannot be functioning without people. It cannot be successful without its employees working together as a team toward the same goal. However, motivating people is one of the most difficult tasks for every manager. Every employee in the company is, first of all, an individual. As any individual, each employer has its own needs and beliefs. Managers have to find the way to set a required environment for everyone to feel satisfied and necessary for the company.

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Motivation in the workplace and its major difficulties
The problems in the workplace usually arise because of two things: employee’s inability to perform a task and employee’s inability to perform the task correctly. While the first factor deals with a person’s professional skills, the second one is about his or her role in the company, discipline, and attitude toward the work. Inability to perform a task can be caused by a misunderstanding between an employee and a manager. Workers might not fully understand their responsibilities and tasks within the company. In this case manager can solve the problem by giving clear guidelines and explaining in details, what an employee is responsible for. Inability to perform tasks correctly, on the other hand, is a more important and complex issue. This problem is, usually, caused by the hidden needs and beliefs of an employee. If, for example, a person was raised in the family, where punctuality was never given a great importance, he or she might experience problems with being on time at the meetings and at work in general. A certain employee can be a great professional with a big potential; however, he or she might experience difficulties with sticking to the company’s rules. In this case a manager must go deeper into an issue and not just tell the employee, how to work and what to do. It might be easier for a person to quit the job than to change his or her beliefs and habits. However, it might be risky for the company to lose a valuable worker.

The major problems arise in the workplace, when a manager needs to decide what leadership style (and, consequently, organizational culture) to use within a company. “Leaders can shape a team’s culture in various ways, for example, by charismatic motivational speeches, by giving an example, or by incentives, i.e., by rewarding desired actions and by punishing unwanted activities” (Gürerk, Irlenbusch & Rockenbach, 2009). The decision of choosing between awarding and punishing techniques appears to be the most difficult and needs a careful examination. There are issues, which are connected to both approaches, and they will be discussed later in the paper.

Theories and their applications
Maslow’s Theory. It was mentioned above that each person has his or her own needs and beliefs. Abraham Maslow, however, was the first one, who has developed a theory, where he divided and explained in details certain behavioral features of separate individuals. He divided person’s needs into physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow’s theory is formed in a hierarchical way, so that physiological needs appear to be in the bottom of the pyramid and self-actualization- on top. He explains that in order for a person to exist, he, first of all, needs to have food, water, sleep, breathing, etc. All these things, according to Maslow, are necessary in order for the person to be able to move forward and to work on his personal traits. Moreover, Maslow explains that these are the most important needs for every person, which provide him with the initial satisfaction. Safety needs come after physiological ones. These needs are connected to person’s home, work, health, family, etc. People need to feel secure about where they are going to sleep, how they are going to earn money and, consequently, support their families. Those are also very strong needs, which affect every person’s satisfaction and behavior. Next need is a need for socializing. Each person needs to belong to a certain group of people in order not to feel alone and unneeded. He needs to feel love and affection in order to feel more confident and successful. Whenever previous three needs are satisfied, person moves forward and experiences the necessity in the respect of other people around him, self-esteem, confidence, recognition, achievement, etc. Person needs to feel he has a purpose in life and is able to set his own goals. The respect by other people is crucial, since it affects a person’s self-esteem and confidence. The last, but no least, is the need for self-actualization. While all the previous needs were connected with the person’s external factors, this last need starts developing in the person’s mind. The process of self-actualizing is very complex and tricky, since the needs in this category are not easy to understand. A Person might not be aware of the problems he is facing on this stage, because those needs are deeper and are connected to a person’s inner analyses and convictions.

Maslow’s theory can be a powerful tool in the hands of a manager. Despite its complexity (especially on the higher stages), it illustrates, what are the most important factors, which influence every person’s behavior. This knowledge is very useful, since it can assist in approaching an employee from a correct perspective. The problem can be solved relatively easily, if it becomes clear that a person has a difficulty with satisfying one of the above mentioned needs. Motivating employees, however, is not only about finding out about their five basic categories of needs. Even if the problem is connected to them, manager has to find a correct approach in order to clear things up and improve the way an employee feels in the company.

Hawthorne Study. Hawthorne study was designed in order to find out whether physical factors influence employees behavior in the workplace. It has not shown any specific results; however, it helped to understand another important issue. After a study was completed it became clear that workers started working harder after they have felt an increased attention from their managers. During the study, managers were constantly around their employees for analyzing changes in their behavior, and, as a result, it has caused workers willing to work more and harder. The study has also shown that a performance of the workers was influenced by the ability of managers to handle a communication within the team. Researchers understood that a workplace is a social system for the employees, and that it is highly important to create a pleasant environment within the company for people to feel safe and tranquil.

Theory X and Theory Y. Another theory about employee’s motivation was developed by Douglas McGregor. This theory is called ‘Theory X and Theory Y’. Theory X claims that all workers try to avoid extra tasks, because they dislike working. Apart from that, it says that people are afraid to take responsibility and must be guided and controlled most of the time. It argues that setting a precarious environment within the company is incorrect, because there are only two proper ways of motivating: rewarding and encouraging self-perfection. According to this theory, however, employees have to behave and work according to the rules set by their managers. Theory Y, on the other hand, leaves a place for self-analyses and creativity in the workplace. It claims that an employee can motivate himself in a pleasant working environment. This theory assumes that a worker will not even be afraid to take responsibility and will try to work more and harder. It emphasizes an importance of a pleasant and satisfying environment within the company.

Immaturity/ Maturity Theory. Chris Argyris offers in his Immaturity/Maturity theory to go deeper into the personality and see how it develops with years. It claims that by analyzing the changes, which happen in every person, managers can have a clearer picture of how to approach their employees. This theory defines seven major changes, which happen in the process of a person’s growth. First assumption claims that with time people become more active and movable. Then it claims that adults are less dependent on other people. Third assumption is that adults have a tendency to change their ways of behavior. Fourth says that with time people get more attached to their interests. In fifth assumption Argyris claims that adults become influenced not only by present, but also by the past and future. Sixths assumes that all the adults are on more or less the same level. And, finally, the last assumption claims that grown-up people can recognize and control their own ‘self’. Theory’s author argues that not every person reaches his or her maturity level. This is important, because it shows that people have to be regarded as separate and different individuals. It also shows that, according to the level of immaturity or maturity of a person, he needs an absolutely different approach.

Motivation-Hygiene Theory. ‘Motivation-Hygiene Theory’, was developed by Frederick Herzberg. In his study he found that there were different factors, which caused satisfaction and dissatisfaction of employees. According to Herzberg’s theory employees are satisfied when they are recognized; are allowed to work on their own; are given a responsibility; are able to achieve goals set either by themselves or by a company; etc. However, they are dissatisfied when their salary is too low; they have bad relationships with other employees or with a certain manager; they are being constantly controlled; etc. This theory, which is based on the various employees’ evaluations, provides managers with more specific guidelines, which can be used in order to motivate employees and set a pleasant environment within the company.

Steps to motivate an employee
Usually money is considered to be the best motivator. However, this assumption is being frequently argued and does not guarantee improvements. Moreover several studies have proved that awarding system sometimes can result in the employees’ discouragement. “Psychological research suggests that excessive rewards can in some cases produce supra optimal motivation, resulting in a decline in performance” (Ariely, Gneezy, Loewenstein, Mazar, 2005). It is explained in the study that motivation needs to be separated from the performance. The widespread assumption that increased motivation increases performance is, indeed, not always correct. In the study by Ariely, Gneezy, Lowenstein and Mazar in 2005 it was mentioned and explained that performance depends on different factors, which are not connected to the motivation. They explain further, “Psychologists has documented situations in which increased motivation can result in a decrement in performance– a phenomenon known as “choking under pressure”. This happens, for example, when a person must perform in front of the public and is too concerned with his or her performance. In general, it is stated that the more person thinks about a certain process the less successful a performance of the task will be.

Sometimes an employer fails to understand that money is not the most important factor in his or her employee’s existence. It is important, but is far from being the most important. There are many factors, which interfere with this assumption. The above mentioned study proves that the awarding techniques can sometimes lead to the decrease in performance.

The subject of ‘performing in the public’ is further discussed in the study by Ariely, Bracha and Meier in 2007. In this study researchers claim that motivation, which interacts with image, is more effective in private rather than in public. Their research proves that awarding systems have a negative effect on the employees’ performance in public.

Some managers believe that employees work better if they fear the people, who are above them in the company. This assumption is also being argued frequently. There is a common belief that the awarding techniques increase motivation, while punishments do the opposite. The study by Gürerk, Irlenbusch and Rockenbach in 2009, however, shows that in the later stages managers are disposed to choose the punishing approach rather than awarding one. Moreover, it proves that the first method has a positive effect on employees’ motivation. Researchers explain that employees’ fear for the punishment already results in the initial increase in motivation.

Other assumptions are connected to the beliefs that whatever motivates managers also motivates their employees. This is a wrong approach, since every person wants and needs different things. Whatever is good and satisfying for a manager, might be unacceptable or unnecessary for an employee. Finally, some managers believe that employer’s behavior is something, which cannot be changed or influenced. Many studies and practices show that this is not the case, and that a person can be understood and motivated.

Manager’s role in the motivating process
Managers play the most important role in motivating company’s employees. They are responsible for the tasks to be accomplished and for the workers to be satisfied and productive. However, their role in the company is often underestimated. Managers are the people, who have to lead the entire company. They are responsible for setting the goals for the company and communicating it to the employees in a correct way. Supervisor must make sure that his or her information reaches workers and makes them work hard toward the goals. Managers are the leaders in the companies. Employees usually look up to them and expect to see the example of the required model of behavior. Nevertheless, it appears to be one of the most difficult tasks for a manager to guide its employees for a long period of time.

One of the first things, which a manager should do, before thinking of the ways to motivate his employees, is to examine his own approach toward the work. It is impossible to motivate someone, if one is not motivated himself. It is important for a manager to enjoy his work and feel connected and responsible towards it.

Managers must understand that organizational goals are somewhat different from those of its employees. There are many things to consider before finding the best method for motivating employees. People vary greatly in their needs, and this makes it very difficult for managers to find one correct approach. Organization and its employees must sometimes be separated in order to better concentrate on each. In any case, whatever the employee’s goals are, they must match with those of an organization.

Whenever a manager tries to identify the employees’ goals, he must examine each person separately. As was mentioned above, every person is different and needs a different approach. This might be a difficult task; but it will guarantee the success of the motivating process. It is crucial to be able to talk to each worker and to get a deeper understanding of his beliefs and needs. Manager must understand what it takes for an employee to be satisfied with his work.

In addition to that, motivating employees must not be considered as a task or a project. It is a never-ending process, which should always be maintained and further developed. Motivating requires a lot of time and energy; however, it can be gone very easily. Person’s life constantly changes, and, consequently, so does his behavior. In order to prevent certain problems before they emerge, managers must always be flexible in their methods and approaches toward people.

Finally, managers must think of the ways to reward workers for the changes performed by them. Good result must always be noticed and encouraged. It is essential for the employee to feel satisfied with his own work. It is also important for workers to feel their supervisors are satisfied with their performance.

Despite of the method, which a manger thinks is the best to use, the most important thing in motivating employees is to understand its importance and necessity. Manager’s major goal in the company is to improve its performance both internally and externally. However, these two tasks are linked, and in order for the company to be successful in the market, it must be able to organize its internal forces. Employees, which are motivated in the correct way, will be a good tool in every manager’s hands. It will not only guarantee the success of an organization, but also will make the process of running business easier and pleasant.

This paper has illustrated that the common beliefs can often cause the negative results. It has shown that awarding techniques sometimes result in the employee’s discouragement. It has also shown that punishing techniques are more effective than awarding ones. Finally, it has illustrated that the motivating process is very complex and involves many nuances, which need to be considered by a manager.
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Term Paper on McDonald’s

Term Paper on McDonald’s

Introducing McDonald’s into Kazakhstan
“McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 32,000 local restaurants serving more than 60 million people in 117 countries each day ( In 1940 two brothers, Dick and Mac McDonald, opened a restaurant in United States, which was offering a wide menu for the visitors and the service for those, who wanted to purchase food straight from the car. In 1954 Ray Kroc became the first franchisee of Mc Donald’s (Daszkowski; About.Com). He has brought a new opportunity for expanding to the company.

The success of the two entrepreneurs has attracted the attention of American businesses, which were willing to join and to further develop its chain together with them. At present, Mc Donald’s franchise costs $45,000; however, there are many other costs and investments which need to be made in order to open a new restaurant ( Despite of the company’s popularity and success, its restaurants are still not integrated in several countries. The following paper is going to examine one of such countries, Kazakhstan. It is going to describe the previous failure of Mc Donald’s to enter Kazakh market and its grounds. It also will propose several actions, which need to be made by Mc Donald’s in order to successfully expand to the new market.

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Kazakhstan is located in Asia and is surrounded by such countries as Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Its total area is 2 717 300 m2 and its population is 15 399 437. The countries’ two major religions are Islam (47%) and Russian Orthodox (44%). The country is rich with natural resources and agriculture, which allow it to be steadily developing.

In 1991 Kazakhstan became an independent country after the fall of the Soviet Union. The independence was followed by the significant changes in the governmental operations, which were introduced by the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1997. During the same year the capital moved from Almaty to Astana. The economic situation in the country has worsened after its independence, and its gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen to 61.4% by 1995 (comparing to 1990). However, after 2000 country’s GDP started improving and has increased by 9.6%. Its economy continues growing, and in 2005 it was included in the top ten world fastest-growing economies. (

Mc Donald’s history in Kazakhstan
As was mentioned above, Kazakhstan growth has experienced serious fluctuations in the time period between 1990 and 2000. The separation from the Soviet Union and other countries, which were its members, has resulted in the decline in the country’s GDP and the overall performance. It took Kazakhstan and its government ten years to restructure the country and its operations. Due to these changes, country has significantly fallen behind in its development, and its level is still very low comparing to, for example, European countries.

Due to this and several other reasons Mc Donald’s appeared to be unsuccessful in expanding its business to Kazakhstan. The country is still in the list of the states, which do not have a single Mc Donald’s restaurant even in their capital cities ( Despite of a large number of Mc Donald’s restaurants in the Kazakhstan’s big and influential neighbor, Russia, the former Soviet Union member does not rush with introducing a chain of the fast food restaurants. There are several explanations to why Mc Donald’s has difficulties in entering Kazakhstan’s fast-food market.

First of all, Kazakhstan has a very strong culture, which is also reflected on its food. However, the country is popular not only because of its traditional food, but also because of the variety of cuisines of different countries one can find there. The country is full with restaurants, which offer cuisines of such cultures as Kazakh, Russian, European, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Turkish, Argentinean, Cuban, etc (Blogger, 2009). Despite the variety of kitchens in Kazakhstan, one of the leading fast-food chains did not succeed in entering this developed and competitive market. Kazakhstan has spent many years being a part of a Soviet Union, and this has left a great effect on the country’s mentality and living style. For example, for many years Kazakh perception of having a good meal was sitting in the elegant and fancy restaurant for a long period of time, having few courses and drinking alcoholic beverages in between (Blogger, 2009). Mc Donald’s, on the other hand, was offering a restaurant, which did not include national dishes and had fewer choices in the menu. In addition to this, together with the fast service, which Mc Donald’s offers to its customers, the time a person spends in the restaurant is also expected to be shorter in comparison to the regular restaurants.

Second of all, as was mentioned above, Kazakhstan’s two main religions are Islam and Russian Orthodox. 47 percent of Kazakhstan’s population are religious and have certain food restrictions. Muslims, for example, do not eat pork and have different laws, which need to be observed when killing an animal for consumption. Mc Donald’s restaurants have their own processes of delivering and preparing the meat, and, in addition to it, most of the products offered by Mc Donald’s include meat.

Finally, Kazakhstan has a very developed agriculture sector. Its territory allows farming activities, and a great part of the population has its own farms and livestock. Most of the restaurants in the country receive supplies from the domestic farmers and producers. Kazakh people are very careful about the quality of their food and its preparation. Mc Donald’s, in turn, has its own suppliers, who deliver the ingredients, which are unknown to its customers. For example, Mc Donald’s in Russia has signed a contract with a burgers supplier from Argentina (

An additional important fact about Kazakhstan, which Mc Donald’s would have to take into consideration in the future, is that in the 19th century it was found that a large number of Kazakhs cannot consume milk because their organisms cannot process lactose (Blogger, 2009). This is important for Mc Donald’s, because of its popular milkshake, which is one of the key items in the menu.

As was mentioned above, Kazakhstan has suffered a significant decline in its economy after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since 1991 its GDP and other financial factors were strongly below the average, and it took the country ten years to recover from it. Only by the year 2000 Kazakhstan started showing an increase in its economical activities. In 2007 country’s GDP was $102.5 billion, which was 2.2 percent lower than in 2006, but 8.5 percent higher than in 2002 ( Due to the strong agricultural and natural resources sectors together with certain changes in the governmental activities, Kazakhstan succeeded in improving its situation and performance significantly and was recognized as one of the fastest-growing economies. These changes have attracted a large amount of foreign investors.

Mc Donald’s can have a great potential of introducing its fast-food service to the Kazakhstan’s market at present. In addition to the improving economic factors, Kazakh people’s lifestyle is also changing. Consequently, fast-food industry is becoming stronger and more influential. Turkish fast-food restaurants, for example, are becoming strong competitors for the traditional Asian cuisine (Blogger, 2009). They offer a famous doner-kebab to Kazakh people and become very successful in the industry. According to Blogger, “Obviously, catering in Kazakhstan is changing […] the speed of modern life is dictating its rules”, and Mc Donald’s could consider these changes as an opportunity for expanding its business into another Asian country.

Kazakhstan has developed significantly in the course of the last ten years. The country has one of the strongest economies in the world. It is rich with natural resources and has a very strong and developed export system. Country’s unemployment rate continues reducing, and the individual income rate is becoming higher each year. The country has nearly all the resources for supplying its residents and businesses. All the advantages of entering a Kazakhstan’s market can assist Mc Donald’s as good tools for achieving this goal.

There are several criteria, which need to be met by an individual or a group of people, who are willing to join Mc Donald’s and to purchase a franchise for building a restaurant in Kazakhstan. Currently Mc Donald’s is searching for people, who have “High integrity, business experience in the market, history of success, ability to work well with a franchisor, retail experience, knowledge of the real estate market and significant capital” ( Company needs reliable people, who are familiar with the business practices in the country, where it is going to expand. Kazakhstan is not an exception. The reason, why Mc Donald’s needs partners, who will be familiar with the country’s culture and business practices, is because the market needs to be carefully examined and researched before the fast-food restaurant chain’s entrance. Obviously, the success of one single franchise will influence the entire company. Therefore, it is in Mc Donald’s interest to sell the rights to the people, who will be able to adapt its business to the country’s market.

According to and there are several requirements, which need to be met in order to become Mc Donald’s franchisee:

The cost of a Mc Donald’s franchise alone is $45,000. However, the total investment, which needs to be made in order to run Mc Donald’s restaurant or a chain of restaurants, reaches $950,200-$1,800,000
An individual or a company, who is willing to purchase a franchise, is required to have $100,000 in cash liquidity. In addition, there must be a previous experience in running a business
If there is a need for the loan, Mc Donald’s requires paying 25% cash as a down payment, and the rest financed with the loan for no longer than seven years
There need to be twenty employees hired to work for the restaurant
In return, Mc Donald’s provides with a mandatory training, which takes one week for headquarters and twelve to 24 months for in-store employees. It also supports the franchisee with “newsletters, company meetings, security and safety procedures, a grand opening and toll-free help phone line”. Mc Donald’s also helps with advertising campaign.

Steps toward the expansion
Before introducing Mc Donald’s to Kazakhstan franchisee needs to examine its market. The first step, which needs to be made, is conducting a research. The company must find out, whether its restaurant will be successful in the new market. In order to do so, it needs to examine Kazakh people’s reaction to the Mc Donald’s future entrance to the market. Future customers need to be asked, whether they believe the need another fast-food restaurant in their cities. This survey must be aimed at finding out, what reputation Mc Donald’s has in Kazakhstan, and how do Kazakh people perceive it.

According to Amirbekov, the research, which was made in Kazakhstan several years ago, has shown that majority of the country’s residents were not aware of Mc Donald’s existence (Kazakhstan Expert). However, these results might vary in different cities and among people of different ages.

Since Kazakhstan has two biggest and most developed cities, Almaty (former capital city of Kazakhstan) and Astana, Mc Donald’s needs to consider opening its restaurants in both cities. Many businesses and big organizations are still located in Almaty, and this city is considered to be the business center of Kazakhstan (Blogger, 2009).

After making a research in the market company (together with the franchisor) needs to come up with the effective business plan. There is a fixed set of marketing activities, which a franchisee needs to consider. However, depending on the country, several adjustments need to be made. A business plan for introducing Mc Donald’s restaurants to Kazakhstan must include all the necessary steps, which are required to be performed for this task. It must include the budget, people or organizations involved in the project, and time frames for each task. A business plan must be prepared by the management team in Kazakhstan, which will be formed at the same time, when the franchisee is chosen.

First thing that needs to be considered in the business plan is whether Mc Donald’s should be introduced to only one city or to both Almaty and Astana at once. Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan, while Almaty is its most known city. The significant fact is that the population in Almaty is more than twice bigger than in Astana. In Astana population is 602,480, while in Almaty- 1.3 million ( In addition to this, Almaty seems to be more developed than and ahead of Astana.

Mc Donald’s could consider introducing its restaurants to both cities at a time; however, this could be too risky for the company. One of the approaches would be to introduce the first restaurant in Almaty and to take some time for observing and evaluating its performance there. After an examination of its performance Mc Donald’s could enter Astana.

Mc Donald’s management must examine country’s customs and its people’s habits. This knowledge will assist the company in understanding both the core issues and opportunities of this project. This knowledge will also allow Mc Donald’s to introduce certain changes to its business practices. Such changes could be, for example, having a domestic supplier of meat and other ingredients. Mc Donald’s could enter a partnership with several farmers, who would deliver all the necessary products at the required amounts.

Further changes could include introducing an advertisement campaign, which will be aimed at convincing people of different religions that Mc Donald’s food is healthy, nutritious, and does not include any prohibited or unhealthy items. One of the greatest advantages of Mc Donald’s is that it does not include any alcoholic beverages in its menus, which could seem attractive for the people, who follow Islam religious views. In addition, the company could introduce a special item in the menu, which would be made out of the products, which are made according to the Islam laws. Like, for example, Israel, where there is a kosher Mc Donald’s, Kazakhstan could have a division, which would produce food, which can be consumed by Muslims.

Before creating an advertisement campaign, Mc Donald’s must take into consideration two important aspects. First is that there are two major religions in the country, Islam and Russian Orthodox, which in total is 91 percent of the entire population. Second factor is that Kazakhstan is a bilingual country. Its ‘state’ language is Kazakh, while Russian is its ‘official’ one ( However, Russian is used mostly in business.

Above are mentioned few of the actions, which can be performed by the company. In case these steps will bring satisfying results in Almaty and Astana, Mc Donald’s can move forward and expand into other large cities in the country, such as Qaraghandy, Shymkent, Taraz, Pavlodar, Kyzylorda, etc. However, before entering those cities Mc Donald’s must consider that due to the large territory of Kazakhstan, markets might vary from city to city, and other large cities can have less potential for launching the fast-food restaurants in them. Market examinations and researches, therefore, must be made separately for each city.

Expected growth
There are fixed fees, which a franchisee must pay to Mc Donald’s. According to, there are two types of fees: service fee and rent. Service fee is based on the restaurant’s performance and is four percent of the monthly sales. Since Mc Donald’s usually owns all of the property, the second fee, which franchisees must pay, is the rent.

These fees (and the growth in general) cannot have any exact predictions, which can be expected by Mc Donald’s, from expanding to Kazakhstan market. However, in case all the steps will be made accurately, Kazakhstan’s new Mc Donald’s restaurants will have a great potential in delivering big profits to the company. The number will vary from city to city, and it will greatly depend on the target group, which a newly introduced restaurant chain and its advertisement will be aimed at. In addition to the success of the company in the new market, a global economy will play a big role in the development of Mc Donald’s business. Kazakh financial stability was not affected significantly by the world’s economy collapse; however, as a country surrounded by and financially connected to its neighbors it might experience a slight decline within next few years.

The effect of the global financial crisis on the country must also be considered by Mc Donald’s before entering a new market. However, as was mentioned above, the events in the global economy’s decline did not have a great effect on Kazakhstan’s performance. Therefore, Mc Donald’s does not have to delay its entrance to the country’s market.

The growth and the profit from the newly introduced restaurants introduced by Mc Donald’s will depend on their location. Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan, and, therefore, some of the businesses and big organizations were moved to this city. As in any capital, the lifestyle in Astana is expected to be more loaded and busier comparing to other cities in Kazakhstan. Almaty, on the other hand, is twice bigger population wise.

The level of Almaty, in general, is considered to be higher than in Astana. The reason for this is that Astana has become a capital comparatively not so long ago. It is still less known than Almaty. Therefore, the business growth in Almaty is expected to be higher than in any other city in Kazakhstan.

Other cities in Kazakhstan are less developed than those two, which were previously mentioned. Despite of that, they still can have a great potential for Mc Donald’s. For example, Qaraghandy is the second largest city in Kazakhstan after Almaty. This means that it has a larger population and, consequently, more potential customers for the company. Other cities, which were mentioned above are also larger than Astana, and, therefore, have great opportunities for Mc Donald’s entrance to their markets population wise. However, these country’s residents’ purchasing power might be below the average since they are less developed and might not have the necessary environment for conducting a business. In any case, it will take some time for Mc Donald’s to introduce its restaurants to Almaty and Astana and to examine its success there. This means that in this period of time, the situation in other large cities of Kazakhstan can still improve and offer good opportunities to the company.

This paper has examined both the situation in Kazakhstan and Mc Donald’s opportunities in this country. Despite of the previous negative experience of Mc Donald’s in Kazakhstan, it has a great potential of introducing its restaurants’ chain at present. The country has developed in the course of ten years, and its economy has significantly improved. Two major cities, Almaty (the business center) and Astana (the capital), have the most opportunities for Mc Donald’s, since these cities are the most developed among all other places in Kazakhstan.

Apart from the great amount of opportunities, which Mc Donald’s can find in the country, it might also be faced with certain difficulties. These difficulties can be connected with, for example, country’s main religion and food preferences. Since Islam is one of the two main religions in the country, special changes must be applied to the business practices of Mc Donald’s as well as its menus. Advertisement campaigns must also be aimed at the people, who have certain restrictions due to their religion. Mc Donald’s must clearly identify its target group and to concentrate mainly on it, because Kazakhstan is a country of many cultures, which demand different approaches.

This paper has also discussed the changes, which can be applied by Mc Donald’s in order to strengthen its position in the new market. One of them is introducing a special division, which will be aimed at producing food and beverages, which can be consumed by Muslims. Another change could be reconsidering the delivery of all the ingredients, including meat, and establishing domestic farmers as restaurant’s suppliers.

In case all the activities will be performed accurately by Mc Donald’s and its partners, the newly introduces restaurants are expected to produce high incomes for the company. In general, Kazakhstan market has a great potential and the necessary economical environment for Mc Donald’s expansion in case it will carefully think through all its activities.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Research Paper on Design

Research Paper on Design

The topic of design, though widely discussed during the recent decades, still lacks much of the theoretical historical background in the form of solid literary pieces that would integrate the material and evidence from the various specialized design fields of the last three centuries.

“The History of modern design: graphics and products since the Industrial Revolution” by David Raizman is an attempt to create such an introductory textbook that offers clear and concise summary and analysis of the main modern design trends, concepts and techniques. Most of the statements made by the author are supported with illustrated descriptions of the art objects or techniques of a certain period of all kinds. The themes under discussion include various forms and fields of design: advertizing posters, paintings, glass, metal, wooden furniture and appliances, etc. “The History of modern design: graphics and products since the Industrial Revolution” is a valuable source of well-arranged illustrated information on the stages of development of the design fields in the modern era.

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In his book David Raizman refers to design in two basic meanings: the first one stands for the elements of artwork and an awareness of the order and arrangements of those elements, while the second refers to “the conception for the completed form of an object that is a preliminary stage in the process that leads to the final product. The latter, “the conception” notion of the design, emerged as a result of the mechanization of production during the nineteenth century. The “form follows function” basis of the modern design has been derived from the needs of the capitalism to sell the products – the consumption largely depended upon the design, marketing and advertising techniques applied to certain goods. Inevitably, the modern design should be studied in the context of the economic conditions it supported. The mass consumption proved that many products satisfied the customer’s desires, reaching far beyond their actual needs and the practical functions the goods offered. The social, psychological and economic motives for purchasing particular goods enable us to understand the way design functions in the society. In support of the statement of social meaning of the consumption, the author mentions the sumptuary law, which aimed at blurring the distinctions between the classes and thus protecting the authority. The law’s enactment resulted in the minimization of consumption and laying-off of the new design development at the same time. The sumptuary law’s relaxation quickly revived commerce and competition, which, in return, stimulated design as the visible expression of attitudes and values of the modern society. Design, for instance, was a significant feature of the display of authority by French monarchy of the seventeenth century; it defined the English middle class a century later and the rebelling spirit of the swinging London of the first decade of the second half of the twentieth century. The stages of design development are contextualized by the art, technology, politics, economics, consumer behavior and many other accompanying factors. The author uses all sorts of examples to evidence the development of the design – from vessels to home appliances – an extensive list of goods determining certain design eras. David Raizman ponders over the intertwining of continuity and change as the main phenomena of the design history, the everlasting competition of an artist and an artisan.

The beginning of the twentieth century – one of the most designer-driven centuries – was the time of the Art Moderne of antebellum Paris. David Raizman begins the XX century chapter with an illustration of the “maison moderne” by Manuel Orazi, a poster, depicting a slim lady sitting next to the contemporary ceramic and glass works of art. He confronts the poster with the facts of two prominent design workshop ventures folding during the first five years of the twentieth century – Sigfried Bing’s La Maison de l’Art Moderne and Julius Meier-Graefe’s La Maison Moderne. The author names two core reasons for the reduction and diffusion of the Art Nouveau market: the competition from the segment of the luxury furniture antiques and the contribution of Gallé and Majorelle art nouveau less expensive serial production design, which might as well have caused the spurn of the more exclusive customers of Bing and Meier-Graefe. The Société des Artistes Decorateurs’ popular idea of the equality of arts and the stimulus of self-expression and innovation embodied in the combination of fine and decorative arts displayed together on the annual Salon d’Automne. At the same time the author emphasizes that the French designers had a reputation for individuality and originality backed by their historical link to the fine art and the craft excellence of the pre-Revolution period. Their search of new sources of inspiration, new themes and directions might have also been provoked, according to David Raizman, by the political and cultural tensions of France and Germany, and the sophisticated French design was simply a response to the simple shapes and rational approach of the German design, favored at the time by the public. The abovementioned Salon d’Automne of 1905 hosted the “Fauves” whose masterpieces were signified by the higher degree of abstraction, bold unnatural colors.

Raizman notes that boldness, eroticism, exoticism and intensity of expression were common for the end of the first decade and the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century and were aimed at the elite audience. From clothing and visual arts, David Raizman turns to the topic of Modern Art furniture, partially inspired by the French Neoclassical Furniture of the late eighteenth century, but still bold colored, featuring taut curves and bringing the sense of joy, vitality and pleasures, though having symmetrical basis of composition and skilled combination of the constructive forms and the ornaments. The author illustrates the antebellum Art Nouvaeu furniture style with two mahogany armchairs by Maurice Dufrène that exemplify the direction the French designers pursued before the outbreak of World War I. Raizman emphasizes the “simple harmony between structure and decoration” notable for these pieces of art, adding to the “expressive similarity between the fine and the decorative art”. The author summarizes the trends of the French designers and artists of the beginning of the twentieth century as the provision of joy and well-being to the public. He also mentions Henry Matisse’s “Notes of a painter”, where the aim of a canvas to calm and soothe has been compared to “a good armchair which eases a physical fatigue”. David Raizman analyzes the contemporary trends through studying the works of Louis Süe and André Mare (The black ebony cabinet, 1927), the influences of Cubism and the challenges of the new materials and techniques, as in the interior furnishings of Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (c. 1919, desk, designed for David-Weill residence, beech, amboyena veneer, shagreen, ivory) and Armand Albert Rateau (1922, chaise longue of patinated bronze).

Another dimension of design observed are the block-printer wallpaper depicting skaters by Raoul Dulfy and pink and silvery-white radiating petal shape against a black ground printed silk textile by Paul Poiret, both expressive and vivid in color, bringing the emphasis upon leisure. The works of the latter, including clothing design, were admitted to be quite shocking for the time as these pieces allowed more freedom of movement and a close relationship between the body and the garment (e.g. the “harem” pants for women).

It is important to notice that many glass, textile and furniture designers and craftsmen of the early twentieth century were initially trained as painters or sculptors, which influenced the patterns and techniques used.

The studies of the glass design around the first decade of the twentieth century show a huge interest in experimentation with various techniques as the medium allowed individual and original expression. However, the experimentation began smoothly and bases on strong traditions and influences of Emile Galle. The variety of experiments included the enameling technique of pâte de verre, however clear glass offered more space for the experimentation: relief surfaces, trapping bubbles, streaks and internal decoration all signified the main trends in glass design of the 1920s (the author provides a clear example of such techniques with Maurice Marinot’s bottle with stopper, blown glass with acid-etched decoration). Another bright example of the glass design experiments of the 1920s are the works of René Lalique, who initially created some of the most celebrated examples of the Art Nouveau jewelry but later started working with glass as a transparent medium with textured effects (e.g. the Firebird lamp, glass lamp with bronze base, 1925). Lalique later collaborated with perfumier François Coty in order to design first labels for perfume bottles and the later glass bottles themselves.

Another bright example of experimentation with design in the early twentieth century was Jean Dunand who used various techniques to find new decorative patterns. Dunand learned the lacquering technique from Seizo Sugawara and deepened the process, finding new optimal ways of creating decorative lacquered surfaces (a brilliant example of the black lacquer cabinet is provided as an illustration of the applied techniques).

The Arte Moderne designers began emerging as early as the 1905 but the majority fully developed their skills and techniques after the World War I.

Metal design, also well developed after the WWI, was widely used in the interior decorations, notably in the luxurious ocean liners during the 1920s and 1930s.

Jean Puiforcat, whose metal designs and stone sculpture were both favored by the artist himself, stands for the naturalism trough the means of geometry, balance and regularity. His silver and crystal five-piece tea and coffee service illustrate the rational beauty and geometric precision, particular for the great ocean liners’ most popular design.

The readers meet “the simplified abstraction” in an advertising poster of the luxury liner L’Atlantique by A.M. Cassandre, who believed that poster artists are rather transmitters of the information, not the authors. His sophisticated visual and verbal punning approach to transmitting the idea to the initiated spectator was clear and attractive, e.g. “Dubonnet” poster advertisement, which favors animation imagery or, others believe, the Cubist abstraction.

The end of the World War I broadened the horizons for the Art Modern in terms of the commercial scope. First of all, the commercial potential has increased through the growth of the retail outlets - Sue and Mare’s Companie des Arts Francaises, Rene Joubert’sf Decoration Interieure Moderne, Rulhman’s storefront business and the prominent French department stores have all provided greater possibilities for the creative designers to exhibit and trade their masterpieces.

Another option to grow and be noticed was the large exhibition, such as the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes of 1925 (initially planned from 1911 but delayed due to the outbreak of the World War I). This exhibition was notable in terms of participation: the hostilities with Germany lingered after the war end, and thus German representatives were not invited, while the U.S. designers declined their participation due to the inability to comply with the “pro-modern” design criteria of the organizers. The interiors and furnishings exhibited feature luxurious decoration and rare materials and were rather aimed at the exclusive market than the mass. Some interiors, however, favored angles instead of curves and used or imitated industrial materials like smooth metal sheeting, expanses of plate glass, polished marble and lacquer.

Jean Dunand’s Smoking Room, Francis Jourdain and Pierre Chareau’s Physical culture room and Le Corbusier’s Interior all illustrate different approaches to interior design popular during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Geometry and the modern industrial forms have been closely intertwined in the design of the early 1920s. The term purism emerged around 1918 to signify the existence of the permanent beauty standards in all forms of art based on harmony, proportion and clarity. The similarities were discovered between different types of goods and objects of art and portrayed in the Purist paintings, e.g. “the mechanically mass-produced flasks and bottles, elementary geometry and the tectonic clarity of the Classical art and architecture”.

According to the Purism idea, all forms were governed by the universal principles of logic and economy. This “mechanical beauty” derived from the classicism offered a basis for all kinds of design. AS a result of these ideas, collective standards and standardized industrial production was favored against the individual approaches to design. The contradictions between the followers of this concept and the Société des Artistes Decorateurs (S.A.D.) which favoured elitist attitudes in design and production resulted in a quarrel over the design principles and targets. The Union des Artistes Modernes (U.A.M.) that followed the split within the S.A.D. obviously favored the factory assembly furnishings bringing new role for the designers in relation to standartization and interchangeability. The switch also enabled further experimentation with the industrial materials, which evoked the modern values of efficiency and hygien. David Raizman illustrates the newly-emerged concepts with the designs of Eileen Grey (the 1927 circular table with adjusted height is a perfect example of the mechanization and industrialization of the design) and Rene Herbst (chaise sandows made of tubular steel and rubber straps). The author also mentions the so-called french terrace chair, of an anomynous design, manufactured from around 1926, which offers a possibility of being conveniently stacked, adding to the utility of the industrial furniture. The author continues with the discussion of the De Stijl principles of balance between the universal and individual.

It is notable that David Raizman uses the most outstanding examples to illustrate the trends in the various fields of the modern design – most of the illustrations are «classical » and well-known to the majority of art and design students, however, the blend of the author’s observations enable to generalize the overall state and trends of design of any period under discussion. Such a generalizing illustrated approach is extremely valuable for understanding of the mutual interdependence of the political, social and cultural trends and the design. It is also important that the author’s literary work stimulates further interest and curiosity on the numerous subjects described. “The History of modern design: graphics and products since the Industrial Revolution” by David Raizman is a useful source of information for the modern design studies.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Nat Turner’s Rebellion Essay

Nat Turner’s Rebellion Essay

Nat Turner’s rebellion was made possible by a unique combination of his personal traits and general and specific circumstances which existed in the American South during his lifetime. As concerns the general situation in the state of Virginia at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, many whites owned slaves who had to work hard, usually on plantations, for mean sustenance and were scared into obedience by religious rhetoric. Slaves had to start working at the age of twelve, and this was the age Nat was separated from his master’s children with whom he used to play. Children of slaves were not getting any of education their white counterparts did.

However, there were sporadic riots in several places, which perhaps contributed to Turner’s determination to start a rebellion. The incident when two white guards were murdered while transporting slaves through the town might have produced the most significant influence. Furthermore, the fact that Blacks were free in the North also had an impact on the frame of mind prevailing in Virginia. When Turner was nine, his father escaped to the North, and nobody heard from him ever since.

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Another factor at play was religion. While most whites were persuading slaves that their condition was created and approved by God, there were certain religious groups who spoke against slavery, for example, the Quakers. As a consequence, some white were choosing to grant their slaves freedom, and this was sometimes happening in Southampton County as well. Some Methodists and Baptist were also against slavery at the beginning, yet that changed as time went by.

The specific situation of Turner and his fellows was changing dramatically several times. When his first master died, and all the slaves became the property of his son, their work routines underwent a significant change. The new master made slaves toil even harder than they had before. However, both masters recognized Turner’s exceptional intelligence and spirit; it was often discussed that Nat should be granted freedom. Yet when Nat was sold to Thomas Moore, it became evident that freedom was a pipe dream for most slaves in the South at that point of time.

While many Blacks were discontent with their personal situation, it took a leader of Turner’s caliber to stage a large-scale rebellion. Even when Nat was a child, he was discovered to have a mark which is regarded as a sign of leadership potential, according to African beliefs. Apart from this quality, Turner’s religiosity was another important factor. He used the word of God to explain to his fellow slaves the principles of civil rights, equality and dignity. Slaves from neighboring plantation flocked to listen to what he had to say. However, these outstanding leadership capabilities did not help Turner to elaborate a detailed plan of the rebellion and think about its ultimate goals.

Perhaps the most interesting question to be answered in the context of this essay is whether Turner’s ways of conducting the rebellion were justified. At first, Nat refused to take a life, so it was Will, one of his closest companions, who killed Turner’s master. As the rebellion unfolded, it became very violent as slaves murdered whites, including children, and plundered their houses. At the end of the night when the rebellion took place, many slaves turned out to be drunk and disoriented; many appeared not to subscribe to the abolition agenda at all and to be motivated by the desire to avenge their masters.

On the one hand, the situation of slaves as intolerable, and their revolt was a sign of desperation. They would not have been able to achieve anything by peaceful means only. However, from a historical perspective, it turned out that the legacy of Turner’s rebellion was not powerful enough to propel a real change. While the state of Virginia has briefly considered abolition as a means of preventing further conflicts of the kind, slavery was not repealed. In fact, the events of 1831 caused a backlash: as more literature in support of abolition was published, slave owners decided that education could be dangerous for Blacks, thus it was prohibited to teach slaves to read or write.

At the same time, it would be incorrect to state that Turner’s rebellion did not produce any important legacy. Changes in the mindset of slaves and slave owners started to take place. It was one of the first instances when Blacks asserted their power in an aggressive and highly visible way. Therefore, Nat Turner has secured a special place in the American history, and he should be recognized as a prominent fighter for slaves’ rights by generations to come.
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Comparative Analysis Research Paper

Comparative Analysis Research Paper

1. In this part of the paper, a comparative analysis of regional economies listed below will be provided.

(1) Moscow and Moscow Region
In Moscow and Moscow region, the structure of economy is very different. While the city of Moscow boasts a well-developed services and large public sector, the Moscow region is heavily industrialized: metals, chemicals, oil, electricity and foodstuffs are produced there. There are major factories manufacturing aerospace equipment, trains and carriages for under- and overground transportation, elevators, photographic and optical equipment, construction materials, medications, textiles, carpets and pottery. The region is an important transport hub, and a sizeable proportion if its profits is derived from transit of goods as well as financial and migrant flows. It attracts highly qualified workforce from across the country and abroad. Therefore, the region’s economic potential is estimated as very high, although there are some pressing social and environmental problems discussed below that might have a detrimental impact on its future development.

(2) Western Siberia
Western Siberia is the primary location of oil and gas extraction and processing. Metal industry, especially production of alluminium, is also of high importance for regional economy. The rise of such industries under the condition of ineffective or even inexistent law enforcement and massive corruption provided for the emergence of so-called oligarchs who managed to consolidate wealth and then also political influence in their hands. Largest oilfields are in the vicinity of Tyumen, and the biggest oil refinery is situated in Omsk. The Kuznetsk Basin is important for coal mining and production of steel, iron, machinery and chemicals. Since wood and water are two other major sources of income, logging and generation of hydroelectric power add to the region’s budget. Transportation is another feature of regional economy which makes it more sustainable: Trans-Siberian, South Siberian and Turkestan-Siberian railways cross the area, and navigation is possible around Ob-Irtysh watershed. Wheat, sugar beets, oats and rice are grown.

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(3) Ukraine
Like any other Soviet republic, Ukraine suffered the negative consequences of USSR disintegration. For the first time, GDP growth was registered in 2000 and averaged 7 percent in the subsequent years. A minor crisis occurred in 2005, the year after the Orange Revolution, when apprehensions about political stability prompted citizens to withdraw 13 percent of deposits in two months, the IMF (2008) informs. Coupled with a 30 percent fall in the price of steel, Ukraine’s main export, it resulted in lackluster growth of less than 3 percent. The economy recovered next year due to steady capital inflows, Russia’s energy subsidies, and the rise of steel prices that exceeded their long-term trend.

The country was particularly hit by the global financial crisis. Exports growth, availability of short-term capital and strong consumption overheated the economy. Banks’ loan-to-deposit ratio increased to 140 percent. Real estate prices in Kiev were higher than in Amsterdam or Rome, with new construction sites operating round the clock. Incomes rose by as much as 40 percent, and imports increased by nearly 60 percent. In 2007, Ukraine boasted second highest growth of stock market index in the world, up by 135 percent. This allowed the government to pursue expansionary fiscal policy with large investments in pensions and infrastructure. Revenues were also used to increase the size of the government. A downside was runaway inflation, peaking at 31 percent in May 2008, accompanied by a 50 percent jump in food prices.

The bubble burst exactly when the global crisis hit, and Ukraine was exposed as a country most vulnerable to the vagaries of international commodity and capital markets. Steel, which accounts for 40 percent of Ukraine’s exports, fell in price by 65 percent between July and November 2008. Half of the country’s steel mills stood idle last December. Metallurgy accounts for 30 percent of Ukraine’s GDP, employs half a million people, and generates 12 percent of tax revenues, American intelligence agency Stratfor (2008) estimates. To further aggravate the situation, shutdown of international capital markets and the need to service the multibillion-dollar debt for Russian gas imports dealt a mighty blow to the government’s fiscal position.
Slowdown in construction and retail sectors was felt as well. According to the World Bank, real GDP fell from 11 percent year on year expansion in August to the 14 percent contraction in November (Hugh, 2008). National currency, hryvnia, lost half of its value since the end of summer. The currency was de facto pegged to the US dollar because of the hyperinflation in the mid-1990s which reached 10,000 percent in 1993 (Ghosh, 1996).

While Ukraine grew at astonishing rate for the last several years, structural vulnerabilities of its economy were exposed by the crisis. These deep-seated problems include the reliance of the banking sector on foreign funding, weak market institutions, difficult business environment, the highest share of shadow economy in the region, stalled land reform and contested privatization. Economic troubles are aggravated by systemic political risk: administrative inefficiency, poor rule of law, protection of vested interests, weak corporate governance, government’s interference in the economy, and risks of property expropriation are the problems marring the investment climate. The country has started to recover from the crisis with the help of an emergency loan from the IMF, yet the progress has been limited to date.

(4) Georgia
Most ex-Soviet republics went to the IMF and World Bank for assistance following the collapse of the USSR, and Georgia was no exception. The country has implemented all the recommendations coming from Washington consistently and in good faith; therefore, it managed to restore economic stability and boasted a substantial rate of growth in the early 2000s. Georgian economy suffered a slowdown after the Asian financial crisis and the present economic downturn.

About half of Georgian population work in agriculture, given a rather low level of urbanization. However, much of it is subsistence farming, when households grow just enough for their own consumption. A major exporting sector of agriculture is winemaking. Traditionally, most of wine produced in Georgia was sold to Russia. Amid political conflict, Russia banned wine imports from the Caucasus republic in 2006, which had a devastating effect on the Georgian economy. Russia also banned the imports of Georgian mineral water Borjomi as a result of “a trade war between the small Caucasus state and its giant neighbour” (Walsh, 2006, para. 1).

Other important sources of income are Black Sea tourism, citrus fruits, tea and grapes (although damage has been done to this industry by the conflict in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia), manganese and copper, machinery, chemicals, textiles, and hydroelectric power – Georgia exports some of its electricity to Russia.

5) Kazakhstan
First of all, it is necessary to mention that Kazakh economy is the largest in Central Asia. Minerals, metals and oil are the basis for Kazakhstan’s newfound richness. Moreover, climatic conditions across most of its vast steppe are very favorable for agriculture: apples, walnuts and grains are grown there. Machine building, more specifically construction, agricultural and military equipment, is also well-developed. The country followed the fate of all other ex-Soviet countries and suffered a major recession during the 1990s. However, growth picked up in the 2000s, particularly due to the rising prices of its main exports, oil and gas. At the same time, developing Caspian Sea oil fields is an undertaking contested by local residents and environmentalists.

In 2000, Kazakhstan repaid all of its debt to the IMF, seven years earlier than planned, becoming the first ex-Soviet republic to do so. Two years after, it was given investment-grade credit rating by a major international agency. The country aims to be independent in terms of economic policy yet maintains close links with Russia.

2. In this part of the paper, contemporary social and economic conditions and environmental problems in Moscow City will be analyzed. Visitors sometimes describe this metropolis, with a population of ten and a half million, as a grim and morose place where insecurity and depression are in the air, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis. Moscow is a city of glaring inequalities: while a small proportion of population is extremely rich, many people live in poverty. As a consequence, Moscow is named among the world’s most expensive cities. Russian economy, fueled by petrodollars but also suffering from runaway inflation, has allowed some people to accumulate extreme wealth, while others are deprived of their right to a decent living standard: “Moscow has the highest number of billionaires in any one city, but it also has many people on about $200 a month” (BBC, 2008, para. 3).

Political corruption is another major problem. For instance, “[o]pposition leaders in Russia have accused the authorities of fixing the forthcoming election for a new city council in Moscow, and claim that all democratic candidates have been kicked off the ballot” (Harding, 2009, para. 1).

Still, it is easier to find work in Moscow than in many other cities in the Russian Federation, especially the countryside, therefore there is constant internal migration from the periphery to the capital city. There are palpable tensions between people born in Moscow and those who have come there only recently. These tensions are very significant if we speak about migrants from former Soviet republics such as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, or from regions of Russia with predominantly Muslim population, such as Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan. Migrants from Chechnya are believed to engage in criminal activities; Chechen mafia is world-famous for its brutality, vast network of contacts and access to resources, both human and economic (Stratfor, 2008). Migrants from Central Asian countries are also sometimes discriminated, yet they are rather looked down upon than expressed hostility against.

For rich people, the so-called oligarchs, there are a lot of luxurious shops and leisure facilities in Moscow. The city is also a major business hotspot, and there are a lot of services for business travelers on expense accounts. Some people speak of “two Moscows”, one “geared at the ordinary citizens who use the subway, live in apartment blocks and baulk at the flashy restaurants and shops aimed at the minted moguls - and Western tourists - who earn far more than they do” (BBC, 2009, “Parallel lives”, para. 3).

Perhaps because many young females living in Moscow secretly cherish a dream of marrying an oligarch or at least a well-to-do Westerner, style and image are very important for them. Moscow girls usually wear high heels and flamboyant outfits at any time of the day, regardless of whether they are going to work or a nightclub: “If there is one thing Muscovites like to do, it is to flash what disposable income they do have” (BBC, 2009, “Parallel lives”, para. 4). Since people are obsessed with logos and other brand attributes, a vast majority of Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags Moscow girls are floating around with are fake.

What makes Moscow so expensive are the real estate prices. Few young managers are able to afford renting a place of their own, and buying an apartment is a pipe dream for most of them. At the same time, some sort of a middle class has started to emerge recently, as many global companies are setting up their offices in Russia.

Since real estate is so profitable, a lot of conflicts concerning property development flare up on a regular basis. In October, Moscow’s mayor was accused “of flattening the Russian capital’s architectural heritage and replacing its historic buildings with tasteless sham replicas” after “builders knocked down a protected 19th-century make way for a block of luxury flats” (Harding, 2009, para. 12).

Environmental problems also loom large. Rapid development has left little land for open spaces and green areas. Furthermore, due to its extremely large size, there are constant traffic jams in Moscow. There is a well-known case when the Spartak football team’s bus got stuck in one of massive jams, and players had to take the metro to be in time for their game (Rodgers, 2007). At the same time, metro network is very well-developed, fast and convenient. If Moscow authorities succeeded in encouraging residents to use it instead of private cars, the environmental situation could be ameliorated. Since it is much faster to commute by metro than drive though the city center, especially during rush hours, some people drive from their homes to the nearest metro station and live their cars there to continue the journey underground. Moscow authorities plan “to construct underground parking located by the end-of-the-line metro stations. Drivers will leave their car by the station and take a 20-minute metro ride instead of a few hours stuck in traffic” (Alenushkin, 2009, “Uncorking the jam”, para. 3). Moscow’s metro is hailed as “a model of speed and efficiency” putting “London - with its frequent delays and seemingly endless engineering works - to shame” (Rodgers, 2007, “Driven Underground”, para. 2) However, meteo is still overcrowded, which can be explained by the mundane fact that there are more residents in Moscow than the city can handle. Thus, many Muscovites prefer cars, for the reasons of both comfort and status: abundance of cars in Moscow is “the most obvious sign of Russia’s new wealth” (Rodgers, 2007, “Struck in traffic”, para. 7). Presently, the authorities estimate “the total number of cars registered in Moscow at 3.82 million and this number grows annually by some 200,000-300,000 news cars” (Alenushkin, 2009, para. 2). It is predicted to rise to 8 million by 2015. There have been suggestions to introduce a traffic congestion charge, like in London. However, “[i]n a city where having to pay to park is still considered daylight robbery, the idea of paying to drive won't be an overnight hit” (Rodgers, 2007, “Struck in traffic”, para. 16). Parking is one of the factors contributing to neverending jams, since traffic rules allow drivers to leave their cars at an angle to the sidewalk, which takes up half a lane on each side of the road (Alenushkin, 2009).

As a result of intense traffic, but also because of planes and round-the-clock construction work, noise pollution has reached unacceptable levels. Moscow's Environmental Health Service estimates 70 percent of city’s residents live in dangerous noise conditions (Arnold, 2007). Air pollution is also on the rise due to the number of cars in the city. However, traffic jams and attendant problems are not the only environmental issues in Moscow City. Moskva river on which the city stands suffer from waste dumping and occasional oil spills.

3. In this part of the essay, the consequences of the USSR’s breakdown for Siberia will be analyzed. First of all, it is necessary to note that the dissolution of the Soviet Union brought about great hardship for all of its former republics and regions. Its collapse left all of them economically devastated: the crisis of the 1990s was several times deeper than the Great Depression in the U.S. People did not have anything to eat for days, and children were not allowed to play outside from fear of kidnappers and racketeers. A vast proportion of population lost all of their savings and social security benefits during the collapse.

The effects of the collapse in Siberia where felt even more than in some other parts. Siberia was integrated very well into Soviet economic structures, and severance of ties with other republics had a very negative impact on the region’s economy. Siberia is rich in natural resources, therefore primary economic activities there are related to mining, extraction and oil pumping. Siberia is a “land mass bigger than Europe and the US combined, 12% of the world's forests, the biggest gas reserves on the globe, gold and diamonds, oil and furs” (Traynor, 2002, “Cruelty”, para. 1). During the USSR times, natural resources from Siberia were exported to other republics in return for manufactured goods. When the collapse occurred, Siberia faced a problem any non-diversified oil economy would face if international markets were to shut down suddenly: unable to export and import in the same quantities as before, the region was not able to meet its own economic needs.

Some cities were built – in accordance with the central plan – to serve the needs of one particular factory or military facility. When the latter closed in early 1990s, there were no jobs left in such cities, they were left in misery and decay. Such towns were many: Siberia “exerts a powerful hold on the Russian imagination, the very word conjuring romantic stirrings of conquest and forebodings of cruelty” (Traynor, 2002, “Cruelty”, para. 1), and Soviet planners were eager to colonize Siberia and get access to its natural resources. Prison camps and secretly military facilities were also located there. Sometimes residents were forced to move to Siberia; in other cases, they moved voluntarily in search of a better life. Those who came to live in Siberia were rewarded by the Soviets: new towns “offered jobs, hope, and community – a new life carved out of the taiga in a latterday example of Russia’s endless quest to tame the immense wilderness that is Siberia” (Traynor, 2002, para. 1).

It all came to an end when the USSR disintegrated. Without jobs and means for subsistence, people started to migrate massively to other parts of the country of even other countries as “a result of idling factories, collapsed collective farms, the closure of coal, diamond, and gold mines, the decline of the once massive military industries, and the decay of the frontier garrisons in what was a heavily militarised society” (Traynor, 2002, “Cruelty”, para. 15).

Infrastructure – like water and heating facilities – is now missing in many places, since there are no officials or funds to look after it. What happened to Siberia after the end of the Soviet era is sometimes referred to as the failure of “one of the most brutally ambitious social engineering projects attempted anywhere” (Traynor, “Cruelty”, 2002, para. 6). During the 1990s, more than 60 percent of inhabitants left the Chukotka region, while Magadan lost more than half its residents. From the Arctic naval port of Murmansk, 15 percents migrated elsewhere. 12 percent moved to the west from the Russian Far East, which in absolute number would exceed a million people. 20 percent of inhabitants were evacuated in the framework of government initiatives aimed at saving on the high costs of sustaining life in the extreme north (Traynor, 2002).

Therefore, it is quite evident that social and demographic ills exacerbated economic problems in the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most of Siberian population lives in cities, which suffer from unacceptable levels of pollution, and rural areas are in decay. Furthermore, population is declining and ageing simultaneously, and Siberia is already one of the most thinly populated areas in the world. Additional problems are caused by the fact that there are more women in Russia than men. In Siberia, it had led some groups to advocate for polygamy, since the problem of “men shortage” in rural Siberia is “exacerbated by war, alcoholism and mass economic migration” (Katbamna, 2009, para. 7).

A minor turnaround happened when Putin became president. Having consolidated some power over the decaying region, he placed a high emphasis on oil and gas extraction in Siberia. Still, few residents on the ground felt the effects of change. It looks like “the gas monopoly Gazprom, the oil majors, the aluminum tsars will continue to exploit Siberia’s mineral wealth and fill Moscow’s coffers” (Traynor, 2002, “Lifeblood”, para. 3). There are ongoing attempts to reverse the processes of economic decline and loss of population, yet it remains to be seen if they can deliver. For example, Russian government has approved a plan for “3.5-fold growth in Siberia's gross domestic product by 2020 and a diversification of the Siberian economy away from reliance on raw materials into hi-tech industries and manufacturing” (Traynor, 2002, “Lifeblood”, para. 4).

Such plans are welcome only by the Russian government itself. Western experts argue the best thing which can be done in this situation is to move people from Siberia to the European part of Russia (Traynor, 2002). However, it is important not to move Siberians to Moscow and Moscow region, which are already overpopulated. There are many areas in the European part of Russia with favorable climatic conditions and manufacturing potential which could use additional human resources.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Decision Making Research Paper

Decision Making Research Paper

This paper illustrates common thinking styles and studies their affect on critical thinking process. The research is mainly focused on distinctive features of convergent/divergent thinking and the reflection of emotional thinking on decision-making. The author came to the conclusion, that every mentioned style has its practical advantages and disadvantages in thinking, as some subjective side of purposeful activity, which practically changes objective conditions, means and subjects of a human life and by that forms the very individual and all his mental ability.

In decision-making process each of us, voluntarily or not, applies a certain thinking style. In the concept of thinking style finds its reflection one trivial fact - we think differently about same. In other words, when it comes to problem-solving or decision-making, two people, chosen at random, will most likely not simply approach to a situation in different ways, but behave, as if they deal with two different situations.

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From scientific perspective, individual distinctions in thinking appear to be very versatile and depend on a great number of factors, which makes it difficult to reduce them to a common denominator. Thinking style could be defined as open system of intellectual strategies, modes, skills and operations, which person is predisposed to. Thinking styles start to form in childhood, develop during all life and usually seem optimal to their bearers. Nevertheless, better understanding of thinking styles help us in finding common language with "difficult" people and influencing them more effectively, making our intelligence more powerful and effective and becoming more exact and impartial in perception, understanding and assessment of what other people speak and do.

Convergent and divergent styles in thinking
The model of structure of the intellect, discovered Joy Paul Guilford, marks out divergent thinking, as an ability to find as many possible answers to a particular problem, and convergent thinking, as an ability to find the best single answer to a problem.

Distinctive features of convergent style are abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. People, who belong to this style, are able to use efficiently different theories, embody in practice finished ideas and resolve problems, which are clear to them. In problem-solving and decision-making they prefer to deal rather with technical tasks and formulated problems, than with social and interpersonal relations issues.

Divergent style is characterized by dominance of concrete experience and reflective supervision. Individuals with divergent thinking can easily visualize of contradictory mixed situations. The given style is called divergent because such people feel confident in situations, which demand generation of new ideas and development of alternative prospects. They like creative activity connected with comprehensive consideration of the problems, based on search of the every possible information and so-called "brain storms». Such people use methods of an induction and differ in extraordinary width of interests. According to the research data, representatives of divergent thinking style are defined by the developed imagination, emotionality, bent for art and desire to work in the groups, where participants have different opinions.

In particular, the division of thinking into divergent and convergent and their various influence on management style is of great importance in understanding the specificity of the intelligence of manager. As practice shows, rather big load in activity of the manager is on convergent, rather than divergent thinking. It is caused by high responsibility and, consequently, with necessity of search of the most well-grounded decision, and also with the pronounced repeatability of typical situations of an administrative cycle, with regulatory requirements to this activity, etc. Convergent thinking style corresponds in full measure to practical problems as such, unlike theoretical, informative problems, which demand strong divergent abilities. Basically, the practically-social intelligence of the manager is a certain symptom complex, in which dominates convergent thinking. Of course, it does not mean that convergent thinking is better, than divergent, and the last is not important for the manager. The divergent thinking style is, certainly, also useful, and, moreover, in a number of management situations it is simply required. In confirmation to stated above is the fact, that overwhelming majority of those, who stay unemployed are convergent thinking. This could be explained by few factors – people with divergent thinking are easier to be trained and adapt to new conditions much quicker, they are more initiative, high creative, competent of the business and efficient in decision-making.

Emotional thinking style
Another controversial thinking style is emotional thinking. Though logic operations are integral part of thinking, it could not be defined as a process, based solely on logic and intelligence. Emotions frequently interfere in thinking process and change. In fact, submitting to the domination of blind feeling, our thoughts are being regulated by aspiration to conformity with subjective feeling, rather than with objective reality. They start to follow the principle of pleasure, instead of the principle of reality, and, as a result, our thinking selects those arguments, which speak in favour of desired decision. However, emotions are capable not only to distort, but also to stimulate thinking. It is well known, that feeling gives to the thought bigger passion, intensity, sharpness, purposefulness and persistence. Productive thought would be impossible without exalted feeling just like without logic, knowledge, skills and abilities. The only question is, how strong this feeling and whether it exceeds the bounds of the optimum, which provides certain reasonablenes of thinking.

In the processes of thinking emotions are especially pronounced during the moments of finding decision of a difficult problem. Here they perform heuristic and regulatory functions. Heuristic function of emotions consists in selecting some zone of optimal search, which has a required solution of the problem. Regulatory function of emotions in thinking is shown in their capability to speed up the active search of the necessary solution in the case, when it is conducted in a right direction, and slow it down, if the intuition prompts, that the selected course of the thought’s direction is erroneous.

As soon as the principle of the solution is found, or when there is an intuitive sensation of the approach to the solution, individual stays in the condition of emotional upheaval. The condition of emotional activation acts as some nonspecific signal of the "search stop " and indicates the actual approach of final decision-making. It could be also called an emotional anticipation of the basic problem-solution.

After all, the opposite side of emotional thinking style is the fact that decisions, based on vague intuitive impressions, cannot be logically analyzed and people make various decisions in most cases without any understanding, why one or another decision is being made.

Style of thinking plays a key role in decision-making process. And if thinking is considered to be an integrated and mediate of cognition of reality, than any decision in this contest could be best described as a main product of the thinking process, which provides generation of new ideas, search of variants, their estimation, comparison and, as a result, an alternative choice.

One of the examples of the differentiation of thinking styles is the polarity of convergent/divergent thinking, discovered by Guilford. The main difference between mentioned styles is that the first one is connected with ability to generate original decisions on the basis of the unequivocal data and is an indicator of creative basis, and the second one is aimed at search of the only correct decision, and indicates logic rational thinking.

Special place in understanding critical thinking belongs also its emotional compound. The psychology of the emotional thinking style has a range of characteristic features, which can influence the decision making process both positive and negative way. Representatives of the emotional type of thinking rely on intuition and own impressions, can long hesitate in decision-making and change it several times. They think in a figurative way, and are more inclined not to evaluate reality by common accepted norms, and proceed from their own idea of what is good or bad.

Though one fact remains to be undeniable – any critically thinking person should be able to admit in himself the presence of certain emotions. Ultimately, the awareness and skilful use of emotional sensitivity, emotional consciousness and emotional potential always lead a qualitatively new and higher level of thinking.
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