Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Analysing—Online Queries on Sexual Health


Sexuality is an important aspect of the human personality and influences the thoughts, behaviors and emotions of humans. With so many aspects of one’s life being influenced by sexuality, it is only natural that humans have always had questions regarding sexuality.

The stigma attached—

People suffering from sexual health problems and dysfunctions have a lot of stigma approaching health care professionals. With the coming in of Internet-based services, people are finding it easier to seek help online anonymously.

As an industry, this is likely to continue to grow and offer opportunities to people in distress to seek help.

According to a recent United States survey, 52 million adults have used the World Wide Web to obtain health or medical information.

However, the information consumed may/may not be accurate—

“Sexually frustrated men make a beeline for anyone who calls himself a sexologist, blissfully unaware that India has no medical sexology course.”

Even India’s most famous sexologist, Dr Prakash Kothari, concedes that “there is no qualification to become one. One becomes a sexologist either from experience or attending conferences abroad.”

Gender disparity:

96.8% of the queries come from men. Why?

Variety of reasons were culled out from the research such as:

  • The gender difference could be due to the clinician being a male, and that this could also have created hesitation in women seeking help.
  • Sexuality is still treated as a taboo, reinforced by parents, prominent personalities, and society at large.
  • It could also be related to the assumption that women in India do not experience sexual issues.
  • Anxiety, shame, and embarrassment displayed by men influenced with pornography instigate them to ask numerous questions on online healthcare portals which may/may not have expertize.

A probable solution and gateway to authentic health information—

The Indian Government has started a National Health Portal Gateway to authentic health information. www.nhp.gov.in offers a number of services which include mSwasthya—a mobile app which can be used to consult a doctor—among other uses. So the reach is far and wide even in the rural areas of the country and can be accessed by anyone having a smartphone.

Monday, July 22, 2019


Breaking the glass ceiling: How women directors positively impact a firm

The corporate world is experiencing a change in the regulatory norms related to the gender diversity at the board level. The regulations of Norway, Spain, Iceland and France require that the board of directors of publicly traded firms are to be comprised at least 40 per cent of women. 

In India also, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has made it mandatory to have at least one woman director on the board of all the listed firms. However, this change in the corporate laws related to the mandatory appointment of a woman director as a board member raises an important question. Would this mandatory appointment of at least one woman director at the board level really improve the firm performance?

The existing literature on the appointment of women directors and their contribution to the financial performance of the firm has been extensively examined in the Western and developed countries. In a recent study in Spain, the impact of the presence of women directors on firm performance was positive. A similar observation was found in the US context (Dezsö & Ross, 2012).

Role of gender in the success of a firm—

The theoretical base for the relationship between women at the board level and firm performance can be established on the basis of two important theories, namely human capital theory and social identity theory. The human capital theory provides the economic perspective and argues that the value of an individual depends on the amount of skill, education and experience. 

Skills, education and experience of women differs from that of men (Metz & Tharenou, 2001).

This may result in the differential performance and may result in the difference in the firm performance. Social identity theory argues that each individual identifies himself or herself with a particular group (Tajfel & Turner, 2004). Extending this theory to gender, women identify themselves with their own group, which in turn influences their behaviour and thereby their performance on the board.

What does the study indicate?

It is found in the study conducted that the positive impact of women director is significant for the business group-affiliated firms and insignificant for standalone firms. 

The result has to be seen in the context of a call for more gender-specific regulations to increase the participation of women in corporate affairs. 

However, the study provides insights into the regulators and policymakers that such regulations could have the positive impact on the performance of corporate firms in a developing country like India, as it is different in its social, economic, cultural and legal aspects.
Vision




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Thursday, July 11, 2019


You market what you speak/post!

  • In 2005, disappointed with Dell’s customer service, blogger Jarvis coined the term ‘Dell Hell’ in his blogs, which brought Dell national embarrassment.
  • In 2012, McDonalds launched a campaign on twitter with hash tag #McDStories about the heritage of company’s food, which turned into a chaos when the hashtag was being used to share negative or funny stories about the company.
  • In 2014, Zomato, had to take back its hiring advertisement and issue an apology. It had created a controversial recruitment ad, comparing two cities—New Delhi and Bengaluru—on different parameters and lifestyles, which did not go down well, especially with people working in Bengaluru.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication is widely accepted as a critical factor in building marketing strategies and communications. Invention of the Internet and proliferation of social media have added a new electronic dimension to traditional WOM, thereby converting it into electronicWOM (eWOM).

eWOM impacts—

    Consumer’s purchase decision process
    Utilization of eWOM to build brand strength
    Consumer loyalty
    Information diffusion, and
    Creating buzz among potential consumers.

Features of eWOM communication–

→ It can be expressed in different forms such as opinions, online ratings, online feedback, reviews, comments, and experience sharing on the Internet.

→ It utilizes online communication channels, for example, blogs, review sites, discussion forums, online e-retailers, firm’s own brand and product sites, and social networking sites.

A take-away for marketers—

The traditional marketing approach is being revised and modified to utilize the power of the Internet. Consumers have more power with them due to proliferation of social media and the Internet forums and communities.

→ Marketers can utilize eWOM for
  • Building product awareness,
  • Improving sales and other related performance parameters,
  • Strengthening brand value,
  • Building customer loyalty.

→ eWOM also acts as direct feedback to marketers.

→ They can use positive and negative eWOM to improve their product and service deliveries and to offer recoveries and address consumer grievances.



Click here to know more about electronic Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Disaster Management and Women



“If women and girls are left out of disaster management efforts or risk reduction measures, the talents, skills and knowledge of 50 per cent of the whole population will be ignored and their needs are unlikely to be met.”


 Indian Journal of Gender Studies


Different types of disasters have globally increased in intensity and magnitude. Gender shapes people’s responses to disasters, both directly and indirectly. Although both women and men can be vulnerable to the negative consequences of disasters, women are generally looked at as helpless victims.
Considering women as a highly vulnerable group can be the result of highlighting the negative effects of disasters on women rather than their coping capacities.

To ignore women’s capacities and focus only on men’s abilities can adversely impact women, households and the whole community.

Women’s capacities in the recent natural disasters of Iran were explored in a qualitative study which was carried out in East Azerbaijan, Bushehr and Mazandaran, stricken by earthquakes and floods in the years 2012 and 2013.

Incorrect media portrayals—

The media show the images of women as a passive group waiting for rescue and relief by strong men. These pictures reflect the common notions of gender, which shape disaster management policy in hazard-prone regions.

For instance, the analysis of shots taken from women after the Australian tsunami showed that women were absent in 55.5 per cent of all photos. In 35.5 per cent of pictures, rescued women were depicted as the passive victims who could not do anything but cry and ask for help.

Observations—

     A number of studies did mention women’s capacities in disasters including high level of risk awareness, social networking practices, extensive knowledge of their communities, environmental resource management and caring abilities.

     The management skills of women have been neglected in post-disaster scenarios.

     Women are the key organizers in their families in everyday life, and more so in disastrous situations.

     This study, probably the first of its kind, indicates that women can survive disasters better and turn into a resilient group in disaster-stricken communities as well as disaster-prone regions.

     Women’s disaster management skills grew out of their experience in handling family affairs and contributing to family livelihood.

     Disaster management officials can benefit from women’s knowledge, skills and capacities in policy-making, planning and resource allocation.




Click here to read similar articles.

Monday, July 01, 2019


How loyal are the Indian Shoppers towards their malls?



“Once shoppers get what they value the most, they are expected to be more loyal to the shopping mall.”
It was often debated whether Indian loyal shoppers look for hedonic or utilitarian benefits during their visit to a shopping mall. Since shopping malls are relatively new to the Indian markets, shoppers are expected to show initial euphoria due to the novelty value of the entity.
In contrast with the traditional retail stores, shopping malls offer superior aesthetics, ambience, and marketing orientation.

This implies that shoppers look beyond the basic chore of shopping and experience while shopping plays a vital role. To attract the attention of shoppers, mall developers make huge investments in mall promotion and ambient factors in order to enhance the shopping experience.

As the Indian shoppers’ euphoria about shopping malls gets toned down with time, mall managers need to focus on something more substantive. 

Such fundamental benefits can be offered to shoppers only if mall managers know what is more relevant for the shoppers visiting the malls. 
Past studies have identified a number of factors such as—
  • Ambience,
  • Physical infrastructure,
  • Convenience,
  • Safety, and
  • Marketing activities.

High-risks involved—

Shopping malls involve high capital investment that is recovered over a very long time period. At the same time, consumer preferences too evolve over a period of time. Besides high initial investment, shopping malls have a high operating cost to keep the infrastructure and facilities in good shape. Over time, the operating cost (maintenance cost) increases steadily because physical infrastructure and facilities deteriorate exponentially with time. The manpower costs also rise.

This study establishes that Indian mall shoppers predominantly look for convenience.

This strongly indicates that Indian mall shoppers are more utilitarian than hedonic. Results of this study, however, should be examined in its proper context.

Click here to read the full article.

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