Friday, 20 January 2017

The role of organizational facilitators in promoting job-related mental health and group service effectiveness: a two-wave analysis

Esther Gracia (Universitat de València, Spain and IDOCAL Research Institute, Valencia, Spain) and  Marisa Salanova, Edgar Bresó and Eva Cifre (Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain) published in Work & Stress: An International Journal of Work, Health & Organisations Volume 30 Issue 3 (2016)


This study aimed to add to knowledge by providing a more systematic integration of work characteristics, workers’ health and performance. The two-wave multi-source study was conducted to test the relationship over time between the healthy states of groups of service-oriented workers and their service effectiveness when their organizations provide facilitators such as training, technical support and autonomy.

The study takes healthy states to be a composite of affective-motivational and competent collective states (collective vigour and service competence) and service effectiveness. Service effectiveness was a combination of service quality as assessed by customers and their loyalty intentions.

Data from 53 hotels and restaurants in Spain were aggregated from 256 boundary workers (i.e. workers in direct contact with customers) and 530 customers at Time 1 and from 470 customers at Time 2 six month later.

Structural equation modelling showed that organizational facilitators at Time 1 were related to the service effectiveness reported by customers at Time 2, and also that there was a relationship between service effectiveness at Time 1 and the healthy states reported by the groups at Time 2. That is, contrary to what is widely believed, there was an influence of performance on well-being.

Understanding the gender and ethnicity attainment gap in UK higher education

an article by D.R.E. Cotton, M. Joyner, R. George and P.A. Cotton (Plymouth University, UK) published in Innovations in Education and Teaching International Volume 53 Issue 5 (2016)


In recent years, the success rates of different groups of students in higher education have come under considerable scrutiny, with gender and ethnicity identified as key attributes predicting differential achievement of ‘good degrees’.

A review of previous studies highlights the need for research which looks beyond ‘the deficit model’ to explain the attainment gap. This research used a mixed-methods approach to explore the academic and social experiences of students, as well as lecturers’ views on student achievement, in one UK University.

Findings suggest that there are significant differences in motivation and confidence speaking English for different ethnic groups in this study, and a divergence in attendance and study time by gender – both of which may go some way to helping understand the gaps in attainment. In addition, male and BME students tended to overestimate their likelihood of achieving a good degree outcome, compared to other groups.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Detecting liveness of fingerprint biometrics

an article by G. Arunalatha and M. Ezhilarasan (Pondicherry Engineering College, Puducherry, India) published in International Journal of Internet Protocol Technology Volume 9 Number 4 (2016)


Biometrics refer to automated recognition of individuals based on their biological and behavioral characteristics. Biometric systems are widely used for security. But biometric systems are vulnerable to a certain type of attack.

The type 1 attack or direct attack is done at the sensor level using fake input. Spoofing refers to the fraudulent action by an unauthorised person into biometric systems using fake input that reproduces one of the authorised person's biometric inputs.

Liveness detection provides an extra level of authentication to biometrics. The fingerprint liveness detection is performed by measuring the following features of the fingerprint. They are Gabor-Shen feature, orientation flow feature, and frequency domain feature. This approach is based on fingerprint image quality. The SVM classifier is used for classification. The ATVS database is used for conducting experiments.

This technique is software based as it requires no external hardware. This approach is inexpensive.

Sexual Orientation, Income, and Stress at Work

Benjamin Cerf (U.S., Census Bureau, Washington, DC) published in Industrial Relations: a journal of economy and society Volume 55, Issue 4 (October 2016)


I present a model explaining recent findings that partnered gay men earn less than partnered straight men while partnered lesbian women earn more than partnered straight women.

In an environment with compensating differentials and a gender gap in potential income, an income effect leads partnered gay men to choose jobs with lower income and higher amenities than partnered straight men. The same mechanism generates similarly reasoned predictions about income and amenities for women and single people.

Canadian data on stressfulness of one’s working environment support these predictions.

Becoming a Drug Dealer: Local Interaction Orders and Criminal Careers

an article by Waverly Duck (possibly Yale University, New Haven, USA) published in Critical Sociology Volume 42 Issue 7-8 (November 2016)


This article reports on an ethnographic study of the process by which a young man became a drug dealer in a in a small northeastern US city. Drug dealing was the principal occupation in his predominantly black neighborhood.

This process is treated as an initiation into a criminal career that involved not only the mastery of specific steps of drug dealing but also learning the expectations of the local interaction order framing the space where he lives.

Approached in this way, one young man’s story offers a window into the local interaction order of a drug-dealing space: a set of local social practices that must be routinely mastered in the area where he grew up.

The pervasiveness of drug-dealing practices in the local interaction order offers valuable insight into how and why male youth in this locale would enter the drug trade and are at considerable risk of arrest.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Impact of Immigration: Why Do Studies Reach Such Different Results?

Christian Dustmann and Uta Schönberg (University College London, UK) and Jan Stuhler (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain) Dustmann, Schönberg and Stuhler also at Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at UCL) published in Journal of Economic Perspectives Volume 30 Number 4 (Fall 2016)


We classify the empirical literature on the wage impact of immigration into three groups, where studies in the first two groups estimate different relative effects, and studies in the third group estimate the total effect of immigration on wages.

We interpret the estimates obtained from the different approaches through the lens of the canonical model to demonstrate that they are not comparable. We then relax two key assumptions in this literature, allowing for inelastic and heterogeneous labor supply elasticities of natives and the "downgrading" of immigrants.

"Downgrading" occurs when the position of immigrants in the labor market is systematically lower than the position of natives with the same observed education and experience levels. Downgrading means that immigrants receive lower returns to the same measured skills than natives when these skills are acquired in their country of origin.

We show that heterogeneous labor supply elasticities, if ignored, may complicate the interpretation of wage estimates, and particularly the interpretation of relative wage effects. Moreover, downgrading may lead to biased estimates in those approaches that estimate relative effects of immigration, but not in approaches that estimate total effects.

We conclude that empirical models that estimate total effects not only answer important policy questions, but are also more robust to alternative assumptions than models that estimate relative effects.

JEL Classification: I26 J15 J22 J24 J31 J61

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‘You can’t move in Hackney without bumping into an anthropologist’: why certain places attract research attention

an article by Sarah Neal (University of Surrey, UK) Giles Mohan and Allan Cochrane (Open University, UK) and Katy Bennett (University of Leicester, UK) published in Qualitative Research Volume 16 Number 5 (2016)


In social research some places and populations are disproportionately targeted by researchers. While relatively little work exists on the concept of over-research those accounts that do exist tend to focus on participant-based research relationships and not place-based research relationships.

Using interdisciplinary approaches and fieldwork experiences from a recently completed qualitative study of urban multiculture in England we develop the over-research debates in three key ways.

First, the notion of ‘over-research’ carries negative connotations and we reflect on these as well as the possibility of more nuanced readings of research encounters.

Second, we develop a more relational analysis, in which place – the London Borough of Hackney – is understood to be an animating force in the research process.

Third, we argue that our experiences of the research provide evidence that many of the participants in the project were adept and confident in their engagements with the research process.

In this way, the article suggests, disproportionate research attention may foster not research fatigue but a more knowing and co-productive research relationship.

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