Chapter 3 Case Study

Case Studies - (Chapter- 3) Environment
 

Q. 1. Mr. Ajay after completing MBA from USA comes to India to start a new business under the banner Ecom Creations Ltd.  He launches a new product in a e-learning for senior Secondary School students in Commerce stream, which already has n established market in UK and USA but not in India.  His business starts flourishing in India.  Now more Indian companies entered into the market with other subjects also.

Identify and quote the lines from above para which highlight the significance of understanding business environment.                                                              (4 marks)

Ans.

  • “Comes to India to start a new business … launches a new product in e-learning for Senior secondary school students in Commerce stream.”
  1. It helps in assisting in planning and policy formulation.
  2. It helps the firm to identify opportunities and get the first mover advantage.
  • “His business starts flourishing in India.”
  1. It helps in improving performance.
  • “Now more Indian companies entered into the market with different subjects also.”
  1. It helps the firm to identify threats and early warning signals.

 

Q. 2. Just after declaration of Lok Sabha Elections 2014 results, the Bombay stock exchange’s price index (Sensex) rose by 1000 points in a day. Identify the environmental factor which led to this rise giving reason.  Also explain any two other dimensions of business environment.                                                                                     (5 marks)

Ans. Rise in stock market index (Sensex) is economic environment.  But Political environment (declaration of Lok Sabha Elections 2014 results)) led to this rise.

Two other dimensions of business environment:

  1. Legal Environment:
  2. Technological environment:

 

Q. 3. The court passed an order that all schools must have water purifier for the school children as

  1. Society in general is more concerned about quality of life.
  2. Innovative techniques are being developed to manufacture water purifier at competitive rates.
  3. Incomes are rising and children at home are also drinking purified water.

The government is also showing positive attitude towards the water purifier business.

Identify the different dimensions of business environment by quoting from the above details.                                                                                                        (5 marks)

Ans.

  1. Legal environment:
  2. Social environment:
  3. Technological environment:
  4. Economic environment:
  5. Political environment:

 

Q. 4. ‘It is common now to see CD-ROM’s, computerized information kiosks, and Internet/Word Wide Web multimedia pages highlighting the virtues of products.’ Name the dimension of the business environment highlighted by this stateme.                       (1 mark)

Ans. Technological environment

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NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 29 CHAPTER 3: CASE STUDY SELECTION CRITERIA AND RECOMMENDED TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PROJECTS Introduction Task 3 in the study work plan required the study team to describe the characteristics of transportation research projects that would be useful for in-depth evaluation and to identify a suitable number of projects for Task 4 case study evaluation. We conducted seven in-depth case studies, and each individual case study consisted of a “whole” study, in which facts were gathered from various sources about the entire lifecycle of the transportation research project—from research proposal to funding (where possible) through implementation—and conclusions were drawn on those facts and are presented here. In analyzing the case studies, our tasks were to:  Map the communication flow and content from initiation through implementation,  Determine the communication practices that were used,  Elicit the participants’ understanding of their roles as communicators and advocates of the project,  Determine patterns of responses (from audiences) to the communication strategy, and  Assess effectiveness of communications for securing research (and implementation) support. Our overall research strategy was to conduct case studies of a wide range of successful transportation research project investment decision-making. Our primary objectives were to highlight lessons learned about effective communication practices from each case study and across all case studies. Each case study covered the following information:  Context: Background information about the research project/program; political, institutional or other situational factors of interest; history of conditions influencing the situation; and current concerns for issues, as well as descriptions of the key actors and the key audiences for communications.  Facts about the Case: Detail on “the value of the research”; narrative that describes the goals and objectives of communication approaches or messaging strategies; map of the communication flow (message senders/receivers, key messages and actors involved); patterns of response from audiences; whether or not participants understood their roles as advocates for the project/program and as communicators of the value of the research.  Challenges Encountered: Perspectives of the various actors relating to the challenges that emerged and how (if) these were overcome; actions taken; and any changes made to strategy.  Outcomes: Analysis of post-communication situation—assessment of the effectiveness of communications for securing research (and implementation) support; the outcomes they expected versus the outcomes that resulted; what lessons for communicating the value of research can be learned from the case; which (if any) attributes of effective communications identified played a significant role. This information will provide the best insight into how to replicate the success in other circumstances.

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 30 Hypothesis Testing A primary benefit of the case study approach is that it is useful for both generating and testing hypotheses. From our analysis of the communications efforts leading to the passage of the research components of SAFETEA-LU (Working Paper #1), we identified several strategies and themes that appeared to be associated with effective communications. The case study evaluations will enable us to test the generalizability of these findings to successful cases of investment in transportation research projects, to identify additional effective strategies and tactics, and to expand on the techniques used. The common threads, or attributes, of effective communication practices that were identified in Chapter 2 were the following:  Communicating the national value or grand vision of the research  Building broad coalitions  Defining a “strategic space” for flexibility of action  Building long-term, multidimensional relationships  Working from within  Using multiple messaging strategies: o Providing research-based information o Identifying “sticky” messages, e.g., demonstrating benefits in terms of resolving problems, saving lives, increasing efficiency, etc.  Establishing a basis for exchange or reciprocity  Tailoring the “ask” to the current mood and concerns of the audience and/or constituent interests  Using illustrative success stories  Presenting information in straight-forward, easy-to-understand language  Hiring, training, and/or selecting professional communicators or lobbyists. The testing of the generalizability of these attributes can be enhanced by strategic selection of cases. Strategy for the Selection of Cases There are various known strategies for the selection of cases that are best organized into two approaches: random selection and information-oriented selection. In random selection, cases are randomly selected from a large sample mainly for establishing credibility (i.e., avoiding subjective bias). In information-oriented selection, cases are selected to demonstrate a characteristic or attribute of interest. In our work, we will use the information-oriented selection approach, because random selection of a small number of cases from a very large universe of potential transportation research projects might result in cases that are not applicable to the project objectives. Given the small number of case studies conducted in this project and the information-oriented selection approach, we applied the following specific criteria: 1. A mixture of both “hard science” and “soft science” research. 2. A variety of types of performing organizations (e.g., universities, state DOTs, private sector) responsible for the research (from research proposal to funding to implementation). These organizations also act as the communicators or “senders of communications.”

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 31 3. Diversity in the locations of the performing organizations. 4. Different types of audiences for communications about the value of the research.7 We identified nine transportation research projects that passed panel review that we felt will inform the research objectives. We researched the first seven of these as case studies. The final two were held in reserve in case one or two of the first seven turned out to be uninteresting or infeasible after preliminary screening. The selected research projects were identified from a number of sources: TRB’s Research in Progress (RIP) database, TRB’s Research Pays Off series, research projects identified by interviewees for the first two tasks, and research projects put forth by members of the panel or the study team. In selecting the nine transportation research projects or programs from this universe, we defined “research” as a product that could be used more than once by other persons for other applications, to distinguish it from a planning study, for instance. We also systematically excluded research that we felt might have resulted because of a response to a Request for Proposal. We wanted to focus on research that needed to be “sold” to a sponsoring or funding agency or to another audience for implementation. In addition to these two factors, the nine projects were selected to meet the four specific criteria identified above. Selected Cases A. Hard Science 1. Adaptive Control Software (ACS) Lite: A significant portion of traffic delays in metropolitan areas is caused by poor traffic signal timing. ACS Lite, a reduced-scale version of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Adaptive Control Software (ACS), offers small and medium-size communities a low-cost traffic control system that operates in real time, adjusting signal timing to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease traffic congestion. ACS Lite can be used with new signals or to retrofit existing traffic signals. (NANCY) Performing Organization: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (FHWA), Siemens, Purdue University, and the University of Arizona Location: National Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  Implementers in industry (to get them to be the deliverers)  Various state DOT and local operations professionals (by industry) Rationale: This was a market-ready innovation and was integrated by vendors (manufacturers) so that it was part of the signal timing packages. Delivery was through industry. This case study provided insight into how support for the research to develop the technology was obtained, and how the industry was “sold” on the value of the research product so that it is now the “promoter” of the innovation to small- and medium-size communities. It answered the question: how is industry communicating the value of this research product to these communities? 7 The audiences noted in the case study capsules represent our assumptions at this point. We may find that these will change after we find out more during the execution of the case study research.

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 32 2. Development of a Tough Alloy Structural Steel: Using a high performance steel developed by Northwestern University on behalf of FHWA and US Navy, researchers modified its composition to increase its cold weather toughness and weldability to make it more suitable for highway bridge applications. This new alloy represents a major development in hot- rolled high performance steels that do not require quenching and tempering or other thermo- mechanical processing. The cost per ton is directly competitive with conventional weathering steel (ASTM A588). Northwestern collaborated with the Illinois Department of Transportation to have structural beams fabricated from this special steel, which were then used as main support members on a replacement railroad overpass. Constructability was good, no painting was required, and the bridge continues to perform well under periodic monitoring. Performing Organization: Northwestern University Location: Midwest Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  Illinois DOT Executives and engineers Rationale: The case had to be made to IDOT to actually use this steel in a bridge. The case study examined how the university researchers found out that the department had a problem and what they did to convince the department that they had developed a solution to that problem. So Northwestern had to “sell” them on the value of the prior research. They did, and it has worked well. This steel was developed under UTC funding. IDOT’s installation provided needed matching. 3. Seismic Safety Retrofit Program (California Bridges): Caltrans, as a result of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, initiated a major research program to improve the seismic safety of bridges in the state. The program focused on developing retrofit strategies to improve the performance of existing bridges, as well as improve the current design guidelines for new structures. This program continues today, albeit at a slightly reduced scale. The program involved a significant research component to identify the causes of earthquake damage and then to deploy possible solutions to those factors to the actual bridges. The research program was initiated in the early 1990s and focused on understanding the hazard (i.e., earthquake), as well as the structural response to the hazard. A ground motion research program (one research component) was a combined effort of Caltrans, a utility company and the state Energy Commission. This effort required the Legislature to enact a budget change to allow Caltrans to participate. The bridge structure solution set was designed to take that information and design specific fixes to the problems. Performing Organization: Caltrans and consortium of utility companies . Location: West Coast Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  State Legislature  Public  DOT engineers.  Public utility companies Rationale: The cost of the research projects was large; an average of $5 million per year since 1989—the ground motion testing program was an additional $14 million. An aspect of

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 33 this case study was to ascertain how the sponsors were able to sell “research” instead of just doing something more immediate. To implement the research, the state needed to defer other capital improvements. This situation required tough decisions among the executives within Caltrans. It turns out that the benefits from the research effort have been enormous; the understanding of the directionality of forces in an earthquake saved between $70 million and $100 million in construction costs on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake demonstrated that newly retrofitted structures could survive the design event. In addition to communicating the benefits of such a high cost research project, the significant commitment to seismic retrofit also required that the capital construction program be significantly curtailed (approximately one-half of the expected road building program in the early and mid-1990s was postponed). This represented two significant efforts—voter approval for bonds to do the construction program and working with local governments that received fewer new road projects in a state with congestion problems. 4. Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bridge Deck: Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) tested the utility of using a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite cellular deck system to rehabilitate cast-iron thru-truss structures. Testing of the technology was done using a full- scale, two-bay section of the bridge that was constructed and tested in the Structures Laboratory at Virginia Tech. Test results showed that no cracks initiated in the joints under the service load, and no significant change in stiffness or strength of the joint occurred after 3 million cycles of fatigue loading. The proposed adhesive bonding technique was installed on the historic Hawthorne Street Bridge in Covington, Virginia, in 2006. Corrosion and other infrastructure damage had rendered the bridge unsafe for vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and it was closed to traffic. The bridge reopened after installation of the new FRP bridge deck that tripled its load limit because of the significantly reduced deck weight. Performing Organization: Virginia DOT and Virginia Tech Location: East Coast Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  FHWA’s Innovative Bridge Research Construction (IBRC) Program (now the Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment [IBRD] program under SAFETEA-LU)  DOT engineers  Public (note: because a significant historic bridge was restored, the research and the opening received significant play in the news media, which demonstrated how new technologies can help save historic structures) Rationale: This research demonstrated the application of innovative technologies in the repair, replacement, rehabilitation, or new construction of bridges or other highway structures. VDOT needed to sell the value of its bridge research program to FHWA to receive the funding under the IBRC program, and then after implementation, it needed to market the value of such research to engineers within the department for implementation of the results.

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 34 5. Eliminating Cross-Median Fatalities: Statewide Installation of Median Cable Barrier in Missouri: According to Missouri data, a motorist crossing the median is highly likely to collide with another vehicle, and the chances are high that the opposing vehicle will be a large truck. To address this issue the Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT) researched several options and decided to install a median cable barrier system on I-70 and on other Missouri Interstates. When the cable is struck, the posts yield and the cable deflects up to 12 feet, effectively catching and decelerating the vehicle and keeping it in the median. The installation of 179 miles of median cable barrier on the freeway has nearly eliminated cross- median roadway deaths. In 2006, only two cross-median fatalities occurred on Interstate 70, a staggering 92 percent decrease. Performing Organization: Missouri DOT Location: Midwest Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  MoDOT executives  State DOT Engineers (MoDOT and other states)  Public  Media Rationale: This was a cost-effective safety improvement. This case study provided insight into how support for the research to analyze crash location data, search for solutions, prepare and disseminate the information within the agency/division, and get the go-ahead to start implementation was achieved. It was interesting to find out how the researchers were able to sell the idea within the Department to get funding for the study, what the role of research at the national level or in other states was, and how they communicated the value of the research to the public and media. In addition, FHWA promoted cable median barriers to other states—how are these being “sold” to other states and what is the reaction of the states to the sales program?

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 35 B. Soft Science 6. Road User Fee Pilot Program: With the steady erosion of revenue from the state’s gas tax, the Oregon State Legislature created the Road User Fee Task Force (RUFTF) to examine various alternatives for replacing Oregon’s gas tax as the primary source of revenues for repairing, maintaining, and building Oregon’s roads. RUFTF, administered by Oregon DOT, identified mileage-based charging as a potential solution. Oregon DOT launched a mileage fee pilot project in the Portland area to test several key aspects of charging a per mile fee at the pump in lieu of paying the state gas tax. Based on the results of the pilot program, Oregon DOT will draft model legislation for the Oregon State Legislature to consider. Performing Organization: Oregon DOT and Oregon State University Location: Northwest Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  State Legislators  Public  Media Rationale: This was a high-risk transportation research project that needed to be approved for research funding by the legislature. This case study provided insight into how a state DOT can communicate effectively with its legislature and then sell a research idea to the general public. How was the state legislature “sold” on the value of the idea and the pilot program? Implementation of research results needed to be “sold” to the legislature and the general public. This project had high policy and public acceptance risk, although there was some technology risk as well. 7. National Cooperative Freight Research Program: A National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) was authorized in SAFETEA-LU. The NCFRP is managed by the National Academies, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The NCFRP Oversight Committee, the governing board for the program, met on December 14–15, 2006 and selected 10 projects for the Fiscal Year 2006 and 2007 programs. Performing Organization: Broad coalition of public-private interests Location: National Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  Congress  National stakeholder groups  Various state DOTs  Private sector Rationale: Selling programs is harder than selling projects. The National Cooperative Freight Research Program was a successful result of a concerted communications effort involving public and private entities to communicate the “value” of a dedicated and formal freight research program.

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 36 C. Possible Projects 8. Development of a Cold Region Rural Transportation Research Test Bed in Lewistown, Montana http://www.coe.montana.edu/wti/wti/display.php?id=267: The objective of this project was to improve transportation maintenance, operations and safety with cold-regions research through the collaboration of academia, industry and government. Northern tier states as well as many countries must address similar issues regarding the impacts of harsh winter conditions on operation and maintenance activities, and how these activities affect the environment, roadway infrastructure, and travelers’ safety. Oftentimes it becomes necessary to research innovative designs, maintenance practices and technology applications to address these challenges. However, conducting this type of research can create a public nuisance or safety hazard. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, transportation research can oftentimes be one-dimensional. Researchers worldwide recognize and appreciate the multidimensional aspects of this type of research, yet do not have the opportunity to simultaneously study them in a controlled environment. The Western Transportation Institute developed, along with a consortium of five western U.S. state DOTs, a research test bed to study rural transportation issues related to design, maintenance and operations in a colder climate using the runways, taxiways, and other underutilized assets at the Lewistown airport. Establishing a single research facility that has the capability to conduct a broad array of transportation research will save much needed resources over many years. Performing Organization: Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University, Bozeman Location: Mountain Region Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  State DOTs in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California (especially the Maintenance Offices)  U.S. Congress Rationale: This was programmatic—a long-term effort to conduct both basic and applied research. The communication approaches and messaging strategies to “sell” the value of the state-of-the-art research facility on a difficult topic were interesting; the project benefits were communicated differently to the maintenance offices (where technical benefits were important) and the Congressional office (where local job creation at an underutilized airport was important).

NCHRP 20-78: Final Report Page 37 9. Seattle Area Freeway and HOV Lane Performance Monitoring: The Washington State Department of Transportation sponsors an analysis of the operation of the freeway and high- occupancy vehicle facilities in the Seattle region conducted by the University of Washington Transportation Research Center. The project uses the same data used to produce the real-time travel time and speed Website maps and has also benefited from funding by the Transportation Northwest (TransNow) Regional University Transportation Center. The case study will focus on the research communication techniques and the connections between data and the messages used in conjunction with legislative and public audiences. Performing Organization: University of Washington Transportation Research Center, Seattle Location: Northwest Key Audiences for Communicating the Value of the Research:  State Legislators  Public Rationale: This long-running research project has been a leader in the development and use of archived travel time, speed, and volume data. The research products included a variety of reports and technical memoranda that are used to evaluate transportation improvements by researchers, DOT staff, and legislative staff. The project has also pioneered the development of a number of communication methods, particularly graphic elements, which have provided WSDOT and many other agencies across the country with ways to use data in discussions about the effect of various transportation elements with the state legislature and the public.

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