Key Dimensions (key + dimension)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Emotional intelligence and its relationship to transformational leadership and key project manager competences

Nicholas Clarke
Abstract Key dimensions of project manager behaviors considered to be associated with successful project outcomes have included both appropriate collaborative behaviors and transformational leadership. More recently, emotional intelligence has been suggested as a unique area of individual differences that is likely to underpin sets of behaviors in this area. Based on a sample of 67 UK project managers, it was found that emotional intelligence ability measures and empathy explained additional variance in the project manager competences of teamwork, attentiveness, and managing conflict, and the transformational leadership behaviors of idealized influence and individualized consideration, after controlling for cognitive ability and personality. [source]

Reflections on and alternatives to WHO's fairness of financial contribution index

*Article first published online: 28 FEB 200, Adam Wagstaff
Abstract In its 2000 World Health Report (WHR), the World Health Organization argues that a key dimension of a health system's performance is the fairness of its financing system. This paper provides a critical assessment of the index of fairness of financial contribution (FFC) proposed in the WHR. It shows that the index cannot discriminate between health financing systems that are regressive and those that are progressive, and cannot discriminate between horizontal inequity on the one hand, and progressivity and regressivity on the other. The paper compares the WHO index to an alternative and more illuminating approach developed in the income redistribution literature in the early 1990s and used in the late 1990s to study the fairness of various OECD countries' health financing systems. It ends with an illustrative empirical comparison of the two approaches using data on out-of-pocket payments for health services in Vietnam for two years , 1993 and 1998. This analysis is of some interest in its own right, given the large share of health spending from out-of-pocket payments in Vietnam, and the changes in fees and drug prices over the 1990s. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Isotopic tracking of prehistoric pinniped foraging and distribution along the central California coast: preliminary results

R. K. Burton
Abstract Zooarchaeological data from Monterey Bay and the adjacent central California coast corroborate earlier observations from northern California and Oregon that Callorhinus ursinus (northern fur seal) was a much more common component in prehistoric marine mammal prey than its present pelagic distribution and foraging habits would predict. C. ursinus remains from mid-Holocene Monterey Bay occurrences are predominantly from female individuals, associated with an inshore piscifauna, and lack associated artifactual evidence for deep water exploitation. Taken together with evidence from Oregon, this suggests that mid-Holocene C. ursinus populations had different foraging, resting, and, arguably, reproductive behaviours than historically reported. Currently debated is whether the contrast between prehistoric and present patterns of pinniped species representation results from: 1) late Holocene prehistoric resource depression by aboriginal hunters, 2) depredations of the early historic fur trade, or 3) non-anthropogenic climatic or oceanographic change. The issue has thus far been addressed with presence or absence data on pinniped species and age/sex classes in dated contexts. While these are fundamental data, they cannot shed light on the nature of foraging behaviour of the species in question, a key dimension of the problem. This paper reports a pilot study utilizing stable isotope analysis aimed to elucidate prehistoric pinniped foraging patterns, specifically that of C. ursinus. Elements from six archaeological sites in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties were analysed for stable isotope compositions of carbon and nitrogen in bone collagen and compared to a latitudinally ordered modern dataset. Results for archaeological C. ursinus strongly suggest that prehistoric animals habitually foraged at lower latitudes than characterize the species today, supporting earlier claims of their year-round residency south of Alaska. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Does Pediatric Patient-Centeredness Affect Family Trust?

Stephen J. Aragon
Abstract: Despite its recognition as a key dimension of healthcare quality, it is often unclear what exactly patient-centeredness means. A generally accepted measurement model of patient-centeredness is still nonexistent, current operational definitions lack sufficient specificity to inform providers how it relates to outcomes, and the influence of patient-centeredness on pediatric patients and families has not been quantified. This study demonstrates that patient-centeredness is a measurable ability of pediatricians that increases family trust. As an ability, it is teachable. The study offers an evidence-based model for future research with specific implications for quality measurement and improvement in the outpatient pediatrician's office. [source]

Unmet Need Among Rural Medicaid Beneficiaries in Minnesota

Sharon K. Long Ph.D.
Given the vulnerabilities of rural residents and the health care issues faced by the Medicaid population generally, the combined effects of being on Medicaid and living in a rural area raise important questions about access to health care services. This study looks at a key dimension of health care access: unmet need for health care services. The study relies on data from a 1998 survey of rural Minnesota Medicaid beneficiaries. An overall response rate of 70% was obtained. For this study, the sample is limited to women who were on Medicaid for the full 12 months prior to the survey, resulting in 900 respondents. The study finds that the rural Medicaid beneficiaries face high levels of unmet need: more than 1 in 3 reported either delaying or not getting doctor, hospital, or specialist care that they felt they needed. Although the study lacks direct measures of the consequences of the high levels of unmet need, there is evidence that greater emergency room use is associated with unmet need. The survey data cannot necessarily be generalized to other rural areas, and like all surveys, this one is subject to nonresponse bias as well as potential biases because of respondent recall and self-assessment of medical needs. Nevertheless, these findings are suggestive of negative consequences of unmet need for both Medicaid beneficiaries and program costs. [source]

Capturing Flow in the Business Classroom

Yi Maggie Guo
ABSTRACT This study focuses on the flow experience in business education. Flow experience, characterized by concentration, control, and enjoyment, can lead to better learning outcomes. Leading preconditions of flow include the balance of challenge and skill, feedback, and goal clarity. Other situational factors affect the flow experience through the mediating effects of these three factors. In this article, we extend an existing framework linking flow and learning. Using the model as a guide, we start our research effort of flow in business education by conducting a field survey of student learning experience in terms of flow and influential factors. Data were collected using business students taking an introductory Operations Management course. The analysis reveals that flow does exist in classroom learning. Its key dimensions are concentration, sense of control, and enjoyment. The more important leading factor is having clear feedback. Characteristics of both the instructor and students play a role in the flow experience of students during lecture. It is evident that flow theory offers a useful framework for business education research. Suggestions for future research are made. [source]

We're warmer (they're more competent): I-sharing and African-Americans' perceptions of the ingroup and outgroup

Elizabeth C. Pinel
Researchers currently know very little about how African-Americans regard themselves and their salient outgroup (i.e., European-Americans). The current study examines how experiences with individual ingroup and outgroup members affect these evaluations on two key dimensions in intergroup research: warmth and competence. In particular, the study asks what effect I-sharing (i.e., sharing a subjective experience) with an African-American or a European-American has on African-Americans' perceptions of the warmth and competence of their ingroup and outgroup. Results revealed an ingroup preference on the dimension of warmth when participants had I-shared with a fellow African-American but not when they had I-shared with a European-American. No such ingroup preference emerged on the dimension of competence. Instead, participants exhibited an outgroup preference on this dimension after I-sharing with a European-American. The discussion entertains possible explanations for these differential effects of I-sharing on judgments of the ingroup and outgroup. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Patients' perceptions of cultural factors affecting the quality of their medical encounters

Anna M. Nápoles-Springer PhD
Abstract Objective, The aim of this study was to identify key domains of cultural competence from the perspective of ethnically and linguistically diverse patients. Design, The study involved one-time focus groups in community settings with 61 African,Americans, 45 Latinos and 55 non-Latino Whites. Participants' mean age was 48 years, 45% were women, and 47% had less than a high school education. Participants in 19 groups were asked the meaning of ,culture' and what cultural factors influenced the quality of their medical encounters. Each text unit (TU or identifiable continuous verbal utterance) of focus group transcripts was content analysed to identify key dimensions using inductive and deductive methods. The proportion of TUs was calculated for each dimension by ethnic group. Results, Definitions of culture common to all three ethnic groups included value systems (25% of TUs), customs (17%), self-identified ethnicity (15%), nationality (11%) and stereotypes (4%). Factors influencing the quality of medical encounters common to all ethnic groups included sensitivity to complementary/alternative medicine (17%), health insurance-based discrimination (12%), social class-based discrimination (9%), ethnic concordance of physician and patient (8%), and age-based discrimination (4%). Physicians' acceptance of the role of spirtuality (2%) and of family (2%), and ethnicity-based discrimination (11%) were cultural factors specific to non-Whites. Language issues (21%) and immigration status (5%) were Latino-specific factors. Conclusions, Providing quality health care to ethnically diverse patients requires cultural flexibility to elicit and respond to cultural factors in medical encounters. Interventions to reduce disparities in health and health care in the USA need to address cultural factors that affect the quality of medical encounters. [source]

The Changing Nexus: Tertiary Education Institutions, the Marketplace and the State

Francis A. Steier
This article examines the evolving relationship between the marketplace, the state and tertiary education institutions. The context of these relations has evolved strikingly in recent years, which have seen three major developments: growing system differentiation, changing governance patterns and diminished direct involvement of governments in the funding and provision of tertiary education. This article first describes the key dimensions of the rise of market forces in tertiary education throughout the world and the main implications of this phenomenon. It then articulates the rationale for continuing public intervention in the sector and, in conclusion, outlines the nature of an appropriate enabling framework for the further development of tertiary education. [source]

Theorizing Religious Effects Among American Adolescents

Christian Smith
A large body of empirical studies shows that religion often serves as a factor promoting positive, healthy outcomes in the lives of American adolescents. Yet existing theoretical explanations for these religious effects remain largely disjointed and fragmented. This article attempts to formulate a more systematic, integrated, and coherent account of religion's constructive influence in the lives of American youth, suggesting nine key factors (moral directives, spiritual experiences, role models, community and leadership skills, coping skills, cultural capital, social capital, network closure, and extra,community links) that cluster around three key dimensions of influence (moral order, learned competencies, and social and organizational ties). [source]

Intervention fidelity in family-based prevention counseling for adolescent problem behaviors

Aaron Hogue
This study examined fidelity in multidimensional family prevention (MDFP), a family-based prevention counseling model for adolescents at high risk for substance abuse and related behavior problems, in comparison to two empirically based treatments for adolescent drug abuse: multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Randomly selected videotapes of 109 MDFP sessions, 57 MDFT sessions, and 31 CBT sessions were observationally rated along two key dimensions of implementation: intervention parameters and intervention techniques. Overall, MDFP was similar to MDFT and different from CBT in a manner congruent with its theoretical principles of interactional, systemic intervention. However, deficiencies in parental monitoring and developmental knowledge interventions point the way for continued model development. The utility of fidelity process research for conveying intervention technology along the prevention-treatment continuum of mental health services is discussed. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comm Psychol 33: 191,211, 2005. [source]

The professionalism of practising law: A comparison across work contexts

Jean E. Wallace
Traditionally, the literature assumed that solo practitice best exemplifies the ideal professional work arrangement and that when professionals become salaried employees their professionalism is seriously threatened. The primary goal of this paper is to examine lawyers' sense of professionalism across two work contexts: solo practitioner offices and law firm settings. We also examine status distinctions within law firms, between associates and partners, and compare both to independent practitioners. Solo practitioners and law firm partners are similar on most key dimensions of professionalism, whereas the greatest contrasts occur between partners and associates within law firms. Partners and solo practitioners share similar experiences of autonomy and service as owner-managers, whereas partners and associates share greater collegiality among professionals, perhaps fostered through law firm cultures. All three groups report comparable amounts of variety in their work and are equally committed to the practice of law. The key factors that account for gaps in professionalism reflect the nature of law practices, primarily through time spent with corporate clients and pressure to generate profits. We conclude that different versions of lawyers' professionalism are influenced by the everyday aspects of their work and one version is not necessarily more professional than the other. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Showing the Poor a Good Time: Caring for Body and Spirit in Bologna's Civic Charities

Nicholas Terpstra
As poor relief in Christian Europe was being reformed through the sixteenth century, tensions emerged between a traditional charitable culture that allowed for occasional festivity, and the newer charitable culture that emphasized discipline, restraint, and efficiency. An undated document relating to a dispute that broke out in the main civic welfare agency of Bologna (Opera Pia dei Poveri Mendicanti) shows that gender and class were key dimensions of these two cultures, and underscores that the two should not be seen as sequential but as co-existing and competing. This study examines the dispute and proposes a dating for the document in the 1590s. [source]

Family Disruption and Support in Later Life: A Comparative Study Between the United Kingdom and Italy

Cecilia Tomassini
Global population aging has led to considerable disquiet about future support for frail older people; however, the determinants are poorly understood. Moreover, most industrialized societies have witnessed considerable changes in family behavior (e.g., rises in divorce and declining fertility). Such trends may have adversely affected the support systems of older people; nonetheless, only recently has research begun to address this issue. Employing data from the longitudinal British Household Panel Survey (1991,2003) and the 1998 Indagine Multiscopo sulle Famiglie "Famiglia, soggetti sociali e condizione dell'infanzia," we investigated the association between family disruptions due to divorce, separation, or death and three key dimensions of informal support: (i) frequency of contact with unrelated friends (among all respondents aged 65 years and over); (ii) co-residence with children (among unmarried mothers aged 65 years and over); and (iii) regular or frequent help received from children (e.g., household assistance including care) among parents aged 65 years and over. In addition, we conducted a comparative investigation of the relationship between family disruptions and the use of home care services (i.e., health visitor or district nurse; home help; meals-on-wheels) among parents aged 65 years and over. Our findings suggest that in a culture like the U.K.'s, where relations between kin are primarily influenced by individualistic values, support in later life appears to be primarily related to need, whereas in societies with a strong familistic culture (like Italy's), support is received irrespective of the older person's individual characteristics. [source]

Creating a New Welfare Reality: Early Implementation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

LaDonna A. Pavetti
This article describes the new welfare reality that has emerged since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The author focuses on four key dimensions of this new system: conditional availability of cash assistance, the promotion of rapid entry into the labor market, an increased emphasis on the provision of work supports, and limited expansion of services for nonworking Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) recipients. Stringent work mandates reinforced with tough financial penalties for noncompliance and limits on the number of months families can receive assistance have created a cash assistance system that requires significantly more of families than the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Although it is true that more is expected of families, many states have also substantially increased the support provided to families as they make the transition to paid employment. [source]

The Impact of Interorganizational Internet Communication on Purchasing Performance: A Study of Chinese Manufacturing Firms

Shaohan Cai
SUMMARY This study investigated the effect of interorganizational Internet communication on purchasing performance. On the basis of a review of the relevant literature, three key dimensions of Internet communication behaviors were identified: frequency, diversity and formality. A model was developed to depict the antecedents of interorganizational Internet communication and the impact of such communication on purchasing performance. Responses from 284 Chinese manufacturing firms were used to test the study's hypotheses. Results revealed that the frequency, diversity and formality of Internet communication played an important role in determining the level of purchasing performance. Additionally, formality was critical to managing information flows over the Internet and preventing potential Internet information security risks. Further, results indicated that two factors, perceived Internet security risks and norms of Internet information sharing, significantly influenced Internet communication behaviors. [source]

Toward a Critique of Latin American Neostructuralism

Fernando Ignacio Leiva
ABSTRACT This article offers a critical assessment of the first postneoliberalism development framework that emerged in Latin America after 1990. The ability of neostructuralism to present an attractive narrative about a twenty-first-century "modernity with solidarity" is based on abandoning key tenets of ECLAC's structuralism and the thinking of Raúl Prebisch and Celso Furtado; namely, a focus on the distribution and appropriation of economic surplus and a framing of Latin American development problems in a world capitalist system. This article argues that Latin American neostructuralism's discursive strengths, as well as its analytical weaknesses, stem from the marginalization of power relations from key dimensions of the region's political economy. Since 2000, neostructuralism has exacerbated its descriptive, short-term perspective, further dulling its analytical edge, by focusing on policies that promote social cohesion and state intervention in the cultural and the socioemotional realm. [source]

The New Research on Civil Wars: Does It Help Us Understand the Colombian Conflict?

Vanessa Joan Gray
ABSTRACT The article synthesizes contributions from the recent comparative research on civil war and the case-specific literature on Colombia to argue that too often, commentators on this conflict overlook some of its key dimensions. A comprehensive analysis shows that no fewer than six factors are fueling violent conflict in Colombia: economic forces, state weakness, landscape, U.S. policies, long-duration and spin-off violence, and malicious opportunism by non-combatants. The first three are the ones that matter most. The case made here is that when analysts disregard the range and interrelat-edness of the factors involved, the result is a distortion of reality and a tendency to support policies that will not enhance the prospects for peace. [source]

Assessing the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Reforms: A Closer Look at the Criteria and the Impacts on Diverse Stakeholders

LAW & POLICY, Issue 2 2000
Daniel Mears
Research to date has taken a relatively narrow view of the criteria by which the effectiveness of juvenile justice sentencing policies are to be assessed. This narrowness is particularly striking given the comprehensive "get tough" reforms that recently have been enacted in nearly every state. Drawing on previous research and an analysis of the potential effects of a recent juvenile justice sentencing reform in Texas, this paper argues for greater attention to conceptualizing and empirically assessing effectiveness broadly, including reference to intended and unintended effects, multiple goals and means, and diverse stakeholders. The argument is sustained first by outlining and discussing these key dimensions and then by empirically illustrating the potential importance of one of these dimensions , diverse stakeholders and their respective interests. [source]

The Stepparent Relationship Index: Development, validation, and associations with stepchildren's perceptions of stepparent communication competence and closeness

There is a growing consensus among family researchers that many of the challenges facing members of stepfamilies revolve around the role of the stepparent. Using schema theory, this study extends recent research on the stepparent role by developing an empirically reliable measure for the primary dimensions that stepchildren identify as part of their stepparent relationship schemas. Participants included 522 young adult stepchildren from 4 different states who completed an inventory assessing key dimensions of the stepparent-stepchild relationship, as well as stepchildren's perceptions of stepparents' communication competence and closeness. The results produced a new multidimensional measure, the Stepparent Relationship Index, as three dimensions of the stepparent-stepchild relationship emerged from factor analytic techniques: positive regard, (step)parental authority, and affective certainty. Each subscale produced acceptable reliability estimates, and initial evidence of concurrent validity was obtained. [source]

Stand and Deliver: Private Property and the Politics of Global Dispossession

Stefan Andreasson
Property rights necessarily generate violent, and oftentimes lethal, processes of dispossession. While liberal theorists from Locke to Hayek consider property rights as an essential and emancipatory component of human freedom, they fail to consider societal power asymmetries impeding the ability of property rights to protect the interests of the weak and marginalised. If property rights produce freedom and prosperity, they do so very selectively. More obvious is the ongoing historical process of already propertied classes making ,clever usurpation into an irrevocable right' by extending private property regimes along two key dimensions , type and space. Examining various uses of private property over time reveals processes whereby relatively basic notions of private property, enforced by a Weberian state at the local level in the early era of industrialisation, are extended to encompass new and sophisticated forms of property that are enforced globally via international institutions. Two contemporary empirical cases of using property rights are examined in this paper: land reform in Southern Africa (specifically Zimbabwe) and intellectual property rights. In this context of ongoing dispossession, further privatisation and commodification can only exacerbate contemporary problems of marginalisation and dispossession. [source]

Decentralisation in Africa: goals, dimensions, myths and challenges

Paul Smoke
Decentralisation is a complex and often somewhat elusive phenomenon. Many countries around the world have been attempting,for several reasons and with varying degrees of intention and success,to create or strengthen sub-national governments in recent years. Africa is no exception to either the decentralisation trend or the reality of its complexity and diversity. Drawing selectively on the large academic and practitioner literature on decentralisation and the articles in this volume, this article briefly outlines a number of typical prominent goals of decentralisation. It then reviews some key dimensions of decentralisation,fiscal, institutional and political. These are too frequently treated separately by policy analysts and policy makers although they are inherently linked. Next, a few popular myths and misconceptions about decentralisation are explored. Finally, a number of common outstanding challenges for improving decentralisation and local government reform efforts in Africa are considered. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Assessing the technological capabilities of firms: developing a policy tool

R & D MANAGEMENT, Issue 3 2007
Howard Rush
The development of technological capabilities results from an extended learning process and external policy agents can play an important role in its development. This paper outlines trends in governmental and non-governmental policy initiatives and the use of concepts such as capability and absorptive capacity, which are positioned within generic-staged models of capability maturity. This paper describes the development of a technology capability assessment/audit tool that has been designed to help locate firms within four archetypes based upon their level of maturity on nine key dimensions of the management of technology. The tool is intended to help bridge the gap between our theoretical understanding of the principles of technology management and policy practice , allowing policy makers to design mechanisms that focus resources in areas of greatest need through the appropriate selection of policy mechanisms and the targeted design of policy. The use of this tool in field experiments is described along with the implications for policy making. [source]

Dynamics of affective experience and behavior in depressed adolescents

Lisa B. Sheeber
Background:, Depression is often characterized as a disorder of affect regulation. However, research focused on delineating the key dimensions of affective experience (other than valence) that are abnormal in depressive disorder has been scarce, especially in child and adolescent samples. As definitions of affect regulation center around processes involved in initiating, maintaining, and modulating the occurrence, intensity, and duration of affective experiences, it is important to examine the extent to which affective experiences of depressed youth differ on these dimensions from those of healthy youth. Methods:, The affective behavior and experience of adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 75) were compared to a demographically matched cohort of healthy adolescents (n = 77). Both samples were recruited from community high schools. A multi-source (parents and adolescent), multi-method (interviews, behavioral observations, questionnaires) assessment strategy was used to examine positive and negative affects. Results:, Depressed youth had significantly longer durations, higher frequency, and greater intensity when experiencing angry and dysphoric affects and shorter durations and less frequency of happy affect when compared to healthy youth. The most consistent, cross-method results were evident for duration of affect. Conclusions:, Clinically depressed adolescents experienced disturbances in affective functioning that were evident in the occurrence, intensity, and duration of affect. Notably, the disturbances were apparent in both positive and negative affects. [source]

Exploring the Appeal of Product Design: A Grounded, Value-Based Model of Key Design Elements and Relationships,

Charles H. Noble
Product design is increasingly being recognized as an important source of sustainable competitive advantage. Until recently, the domain of design has been loosely categorized as "form and function" issues. However, as this paper will explore, product design deals with a much richer range of issues, many of which have not been considered in the marketing literature. To explore the domain and elements of design, the paper begins with two major goals: (1) to elicit the key dimensions of design and to develop an enriched language for the understanding and study of design; and (2) to integrate the design dimensions within a broader model that ties initial design goals to eventual psychological and behavioral responses from consumers. To achieve these ends, grounded theory development is used by conducting an extensive literature review, in-depth interviews, and an interactive object elicitation technique. Drawing from this rich source of qualitative information as well as diverse literature fields, a framework is proposed for the creation of design value in consumer products. This framework not only explores the domain of design but also highlights the important elements of design that go well beyond the clichéd form and function issues. The resulting model reflects specific marketplace and organizational constraints that may help or impede the conversion of designer goals to so-called design levers. These levers are used to convey three types of values to consumers: rational, kinesthetic, and emotional. The framework then explains how and when these different values may be perceived by the consumer. Within this framework, testable research propositions and specific directions for future design-based research are also offered. Beyond its potential to spur marketing and new product development (NPD) management thought, the framework offered here represents a significant contribution to the field of design, which has historically been represented as a highly fragmented body of knowledge. Formalizing this framework should help overcome perhaps the largest obstacle to date to marketing-related and NPD-related research in this area,the lack of a detailed and consistent nomological view of the scope of design dimensions including testable linkages. Design has become an important tool that can be used by managers to develop dominant brands with lasting advantages. This research lends the NPD manager and the marketing manager better insights in into how this increasingly popular focus can be used to influence consumer behavior and firm success. "Design may be our top unexploited competitive edge." Tom Peters, 2004 (cover review of Norman, 2004) "We don't have a good language to talk about [design]. In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer., But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation." Steve Jobs, Apple Computers [source]

A new index of access to primary care services in rural areas

Matthew R. McGrail
Abstract Objective: To outline a new index of access to primary care services in rural areas that has been specifically designed to overcome weaknesses of using existing geographical classifications. Methods: Access was measured by four key dimensions of availability, proximity, health needs and mobility. Population data were obtained through the national census and primary care service data were obtained through the Medical Directory of Australia. All data were calculated at the smallest feasible geographical unit (collection districts). The index of access was measured using a modified two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method, which incorporates two necessary additional spatial functions (distance-decay and capping) and two additional non-spatial dimensions (health needs and mobility). Results: An improved index of access, specifically designed to better capture access to primary care in rural areas, is achieved. These improvements come from: 1) incorporation of actual health service data in the index; 2) methodological improvements to existing access measures, which enable both proximity to be differentiated within catchments and the use of varying catchment sizes; and 3) improved sensitivity to small-area variations. Conclusion: Despite their recognised weaknesses, the Australian government uses broad geographical classifications as proxy measures of access to underpin significant rural health funding programs. This new index of access could provide a more equitable means for resource allocation. Implications: Significant government funding, aimed at improving health service access inequities in rural areas, could be better targeted by underpinning programs with our improved access measure. [source]

Understanding and addressing the essential costs of evolving systems

Joseph W. Davison
A major attribute of telecommunications software systems is change. For evolving telecom systems, significant expertise is needed to effectively handle and capitalize on these changes. This paper discusses some of the key dimensions of change that occur during telecom systems software development, the areas of expertise that software developers apply in managing these changes, and some of the means by which high-performing project members have overcome the learning curves associated with these systems. We base our results on data gathered from several Bell Labs multiyear development projects and interviews with experienced staff. [source]

The design and development of an instrument for assessing the quality of partnership between mother and social worker in child and family care

M. Sheppard
Partnership with parents has become a central feature of child care policy and practice. It is related to a general emphasis on the importance of parents evident in issues such as parental responsibility and family support. As such it would be extremely helpful to have an instrument which provides a measure of the quality of partnership. It would be useful both in individual cases, where it could be used to help strengthen partnerships between social workers and parents, and on a wider basis, providing authorities with data with which to assess, in general, the quality of partnership. This paper reports on the design and development of an instrument for assessing the quality of partnership with mothers. First it focuses on key conceptual elements of partnership, which are considered to be role, and role relationship (of social worker and mother), and power. The paper then identifies key dimensions to the notion of partnership, dimensions which are generally agreed, and relate to the key conceptual elements. The ways these are operationalized are described, and the use of the instrument is analysed. The findings go some way to showing the instrument has both validity and reliability, when considered in the context of practice. It is suggested that this instrument may be used both in research and in practice. [source]