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Qualification Framework Strategies: Impact on work forces of logistics industry in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong government has developed the qualification framework policy in the vocational training since 2005. The qualification framework in the “Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualification” ordinance has been established in May 2007. So far, the qualification framework strategies have been applied to three different industries such as electrical work since 2006. In turn, the framework policy would be put on the logistics industry from 2008. However, the cargo volume to/from the PRD region through Hong Kong logistics facilities revealed a downward trend which threatens the operations of existing logistics firms last three years. Also, the economic policy of the Hong Kong government implements the practice of Laissez-faire for all its industries. Their policies are not sufficient to enhance the competitiveness of the logistics firms in the territory. Hong Kong logistics industry could be facing marginalization from their competitors in the Pearl River Delta.
Thus, many logistics work forces in Hong Kong have been intimidated, particularly for those got lower educational qualification. Many experienced work forces with higher educational background have moved Mainland China and worked in the local logistics firms. Therefore, many stakeholders in logistics industry expressed their doubt about whether the qualification framework strategies apply to the industry could help the work forces or even enhance the capabilities. The purposes of this paper are to study the impact on work forces of logistics industry in Hong Kong and measure the effectiveness of their strategies Hong Kong used.
HK QUALIFICATION FRAMEWORK: AN INTRODUCTION
According to Hong Kong Education Bureau (Cited, 2007), that there is such advent of globalization as well as rapid advances and the presence of popular sense in technology and the transforming Hong Kong region to such knowledge centered economy. Thus, there mentions that local work aspects have to be fully equipped in enhancing capacity as well as competence through ensuring of development in manpower despite fast phase changes of the world. (Cited from, HK Education Bureau, 2007 Qualifications Framework Retrieved at: <http://www.hkqf.gov.hk/guie/HKQF_intro.asp>) Then, the Education Bureau also said that, people will need to facilitate academic as well as vocational education by means of having comprehensive network of learning pathway that can be through QF. Moreover, the strengthening of HK industries in such role for vocation development and training to have effectiveness of the HK QF supported by such logistics as the Specification of Competency Standards has been duly formatted by the logistics industry in Hong Kong. The Bureau is then assisting diverse industries in setting up Industry Training Advisory Committee which represents employers and employees as well as professional parties. (Cited from, HK Education Bureau, 2007 Qualifications Framework Retrieved at: <http://www.hkqf.gov.hk/guie/HKQF_intro.asp>)
Truly then, under HK QF, such qualifications are not restricted to certain training achievement and academic matters as such Prior Learning Recognition was developed by the industries to recognize worker skills and knowledge in support of such experience in the field. The employee required of flexible sense and of learning patterns in catering to responsibilities of family and work. There is the presence of CAT system as the learners systemically build up credits for the training and learning achieved through such course in a distinguished qualification. (Cited from, HK Education Bureau, 2007 Qualifications Framework Retrieved at: <http://www.hkqf.gov.hk/guie/HKQF_intro.asp>) The system provides flexible reality in suiting to individual situations and thus, reduces training repetition truth. The HK QF is not only useful in the workplace but as well as to education as there is development of support under academe structure for higher education giving learning diversification in such experiences and choice of the students’ by which enabling them to be experts of essential skills as required by many Hong Kong industry sectors. (Cited from, HK Education Bureau, 2007 Qualifications Framework Retrieved at: <http://www.hkqf.gov.hk/guie/HKQF_intro.asp>)
Specifically, the following are the objectives of this study:
To investigate the implications of QF as applicable for HK logistics industry
To identify and examine QF strategy issues like QF legitimacy, participation involved in HK academic advocacy
To attempt to establish the role that QF play in logistics industry through impact on the work forces in HK
To examine the work of the HK institutions in such university and attempt to evaluate the extent as to which QF in HK fulfills particular standards To advance HK institution profile of QF with emphasis on logistics industry function role to have understanding as well as knowledge of the impact on work forces through QF
To use information gathering technique suitable for selected sample and the acquiring of information
1. What are the crossovers between work and other domains of HK logistics industry in the experience and appropriation of QF strategies? How does the framework cycle are being used to reinforce such programs related?
2. What are several HK logistics in work forces issues that make adoption and use of QF difficult between practical and social resources?
3. How important is QF as resource and factor in the diffusion of logistics processes and its appropriation manner?
4. Why do HK authorities and its people must take on QF functions that are becoming popular? Can people ask how HK institutions will accept qualification changes?
Introduction to research methodology and design
The research methodology and design process would involve such primary as well as secondary sources for bringing about a substantial studies that are literature based and theoretically inclined for which such research methods utilized may truly serve its first hand purpose for this study. The primary sources will have to represent original thinking of the QF in a way that it denotes ample share of HK logistics information as the core data for the research will have to be in case studies as well as survey questionnaires equipped with suitable statistical data and its measures as it can have direct observation to the research process as undergoing research should be handed in with empirical facets and crucial points gathered by the researcher. There should also be the integration of secondary data as findings and assumption studies made by several researchers can be a good option that supports any valid information as explored by the indication of QF strategies as an impact to the work forces reflected within the HK logistics.
The secondary resources will then analyze and evaluate information as being found in the primary sources and creates information more accessible to the readers and the parties involved as these were supported by good books, peer reviewed journals as well as articles and other publication types. The research paradigm for this particular QF research will be in practice of recognizing the application of various research methodologies and techniques as it should be grounded by means of comprehensive theories as well as better understanding of the qualifications framework considering that they reflect such work forces of the logistics industry in Hong Kong and such design needs to be integrated and interpreted in useful manner for the QF ways to be successful in due practice. The integration of research methodology for the study within one paradigm can possibly be with certain sort of controversy. When moving the case method for instance, can have such shifts from one paradigm to another and in handling study discipline, such careful approach is amicably needed.
Then, in QF research, it can be crucial to adopt some sense of development of research in process and research paradigm will be structured around some level of ideal framework through theoretical integration as well as practical value since, the analytical approach will have to take place at diverse levels so research paradigm are combined and integrated to form cycle of approaches in research endeavors for QF value. The empirical data requires organization such as through frequency distribution and be able to and calculate percentages. The data to be collected often has comparisons to be made, and should take into account that data is collected from sample of population and subject to sampling and concerned with statistical testing. Every type of empirical research has implicit, if not explicit, research design. In the most elementary sense, the design is logical sequence that connects empirical data to a study's initial research questions and ultimately, to its conclusions. In essence the research design is blueprint of research, dealing with at least four problems: what questions to study, what data are relevant, what data to collect, and how to analyze the results (Cited from, Yin, 1994). It is much more than work plan because the main purpose is to help to avoid the situation in which the evidence does not address the initial research questions. Hence the research design deals with a logical problem and not a logistical problem, and also specifies how the investigator will address several critical issues of Qualification framework approach and its ample representations.
Furthermore, the research process describes flexible set of guidelines that connects theoretical paradigms to strategies of inquiry and methods for collecting empirical material. It situates researchers in the empirical world and connects them to specific sites, groups, institutions and bodies of relevant interpretive material that will include documents and archives in relation to HK logistics manner. This chapter covers the methods of the study. In the main, it deals with data collection and covers how data is derived from primary and secondary sources.
Case study as qualitative research method
The qualitative approach to research is typically used to answer questions about the nature of phenomena with the purpose of describing and understanding them from the participants’ point of view. Creswell (Cited from, Leedy, 1997 p. 104) defined quantitative study as ‘an inquiry into social or human problems, based on testing theory composed of variables, measured with numbers and analyzed with statistical procedures in order to determine whether the predictive generalizations of the theory hold true’. In contrast, he defined a qualitative study as ‘inquiry process of understanding a social or human problem, based on building complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants, and conducted in a natural setting’. As the nature of the case study focuses on one aspect of problem, the conclusion drawn will not be generalized but rather related to one particular event. The combination of multiple methods, empirical materials, perspectives and observation in a study is best understood, then, as strategy that adds rigor, breadth and depth to QF investigation.
The Case Study Design
The core research design useful for the QF in determining such impact of the work forces within HK logistics industry is by means of realizing case study approach for research as this will be typically uncover applicable data points from such QF strategy in lieu to its proponents basing from the HK perspectives such as relating to its government and other institution adopting QF like in vocation and training education as it does have the control of data to be presented. Thus, the case study design have the capability of uncovering causal paths and mechanisms and by precise detail there identifies several causal influences and interaction effects which might not be treated as operationalized variables in statistics investigation as particularly helpful in generating useful hypotheses and theories in developing inquiries regarding QF and its presence in HK through its logistics dominance.
Thus, the case study approach will amicably involve the utilization of such methodological information integrating certain suitable ideas and concepts from such primary resources as handed well using first hand findings and research outcomes signifying the appropriateness of QF in HK logistics by means of realizing any case study material based on amiable research tools and techniques to be executed in the study. The cases will then reflect knowledge and information as seen directly in such HK Qualifications Framework through secondary resource assimilation like those found in HK Education Bureau discussing crucial points regarding the QF process. The case study can be in descriptive manner as it does intend to present factual data in a more organized structure as there adheres to the QF nature and its situational status and the case approach will be describing QF conditions as related to the logistics assumptions in Hong Kong and be in standard validation and reliability due to certain useful responses within the case presentation.
A good feature of QF research is the attempt to have respondents communicates their opinions and an evaluation in some measurable form by developing range of scales that has unique properties. Although such scales are good but in some extent they can just establish association between variables for QF and HK logistics. The measurements adoptable for this study must take such forms of non-comparative scales to be illustrated as qualitative approach can involve numeric value and on the other hand, be it in semantic way with complete scaling measurements as equipped to understand QF strategies as a whole sense of execution such as in education and training aspect. Hypothesis tests can be carried out on data collected in nominal form as establishing cause and effect. There will be utilization of interval scaling as the researcher can justify the use of the arithmetic mean as measure of average. The interval scale has equal units of measurement and possible to interpret not only the order of scale scores as possible to add or subtract constant of the scale value without affecting the form of the scale, requiring interval scales for this study is just appropriate supported by likert scales for the survey method as every scale item will have 5 categories, with scale values ranging from -2 to +2 with 0 as neutral response. Likert scales are treated as yielding Interval data by the majority of marketing researchers. The scales which have been described in this chapter are among the most commonly used in marketing research. Whilst there are a great many more forms which scales can take, if students are familiar with those described in this chapter they will be well equipped to deal with most types of survey problem.
The research will then be employing a sort of a qualitative research process as there finds theory building that will be used in explaining the relationship of such specific study elements supporting QF and logistics in HK. Generally speaking, the researchers for qualitative means have positioned range of connected methodologies in order to investigate the idealism of such QF in HK logistics industry as impact on the work forces. Furthermore, through such application of the Likert scale measurement, the degree of agreement as well as disagreement will be given desired numeric value wherein there can include such 2-5 interpretative points from strongly agree up to neutral scaling aspect down to strongly disagree as to be effective in calculation processes (Cited from, Underwood, 2004 p. 1 in Greymaterial, May 3, 2007).
The weight of such scaling reflected by the responses can be in such range example and its interpretation such as for example:
9.50 – 10.00 = Highest
4.50 – 5.00 = Middle
1.50 – 2.00 = Lowest
The data to be presented will have to be in tabulation and due analysis through the use of deviations in median and percentage standardization. Future research studies that could be of use by the researchers can be seen in the matter of how effective this particular research study to the society that will be transpired that the study is of applied values and norms that could be the useful indication of the studies to be discussed and be able to assimilate in the future research studies that is more or less related to the presumed study.
Sampling and Sample
The research sample adheres to HK institution using QF strategies in their work forces with the adaptation of logistics industry and that these, HK institutions can be in the academe world. There can be reflected in the Universities in HK, one will be the HK University. The sampling can be in form of stratification as it does not increase the sample size as the distribution of population is being known, as there has to be selection of HK institutions for enough QF representation in logistics assumptions as can be precise as well as convenient than simple random sampling. Supposing there stratified university by area of specialty in having adopted such QF strategy such as QF related to engineering as well as math and vocational courses and to ask them regarding such distinction amidst such training and education offered by the university. The theory goes without stratification; one expects variation of views expressed by faculty members in drawing research sample.
The study procedure must be explained to the participants. Reassurances must be made to them like their answers will be taken in anonymously and that their answers will remain between the participant and the interviewer. Also, questions that they think might not be appropriate for them to answer can be left out if they chose to. Primary and secondary data will be used in the study. Primary data will be consisted the answers to the questionnaires of the samples while secondary data will be consisted the research done by the researcher including interviews held to compile pertinent information about the problem of the study. Quantitative and qualitative data will be analyzed. Quantitative will be sourced to the primary data gathered and will be undergone into compilation, frequencies, percentages and determination of relationships. Qualitative data will come from the open-ended questions in the questionnaire that will reflect the personal opinions of respondents not included in the selection, data will be significant when quantitative data is discovered to have deviations from the hypothesized variables.
Data Collection Approach
The study adopted the data triangulation technique by using combination of data sources with the effect that the strengths and weaknesses in each source are compensated when used together. The aim was to improve the validity of the findings. Jones used a diversity of methods including survey questionnaire to allow for triangulation. Data collection for case studies can rely on many sources of evidence as no single source has complete advantage over all the others. In fact, the various sources are highly complementary and good case study will therefore want to use as many sources as possible. The benefit of QF in education is that it will be channel for well established communication process and spontaneous interaction between students and teachers. In a study evaluating computer-assisted instruction, as such Coates and Humphreys (2001) assessed the effectiveness of web-based course supplements to face to face instruction. The basis of their study looked at existing, traditional face to face courses that added web-based components without complete overhaul of the design and pedagogical approach.
The data to be gathered will be tallied by the researcher and will be encoded in the computer. Hard copy will be printed to ensure that files are kept including the questionnaire responses of the sample. Frequencies will be computed into percentages and will be presented through graphs, tables and textual arrangements. The latter will clarify the graphs and tables. Data will also undergo interpretation to determine the causal relationships of the predetermined independent and dependent variables. Such data will form the heart of the findings of the study and will indicate the applicability of the research. The research study anticipates discovering such realization and actualization of IT systems as the study will integrate imperative and critical points to be reflected in the research analysis and discussion of research findings and be able to meet the guidelines and procedures as duly recommended. The skills for data gathering are to be categorized accordingly as it will occur accordingly. When it can be accomplished, there can be pivoting of proposal for further research about the topic reflecting QF strategies in HK logistics as essential factor for integrated business solution. There needs for updating significant primary and secondary with proper occupation of modern tools and techniques and the need to strengthen on the overall research in its execution and style of completion. The proposal then, may possibly explain relevance of research approach and its effectivity to the served purpose respectively.
The analytical strategy value of this study is to make QF strategies contribution to the quantitative evaluation of the effects of web-based instruction on student outcomes in higher education. This describes the tools, test measures and techniques for collecting that could be of so much use to collect data in simple ways as the study may use certain established validity and reliability and to see to it that the mind in terms of age and or education will relate vividly to the cultural appropriateness of the study such as the measure of depression that may not be valid or reliable when being used by the students. The instruments are in the form o f surveys as well as comparison with the respected analysis that is of relevance in dealing to the context of the study. This will adhere that the study will apparently need certain points to focus as it tries to ensure that not all variables are useful in the process within a desired mainframe that will have in dealing to what should be the expected results of the study that involves discussion and analysis of what needs to be pointed out on the study and that the study is limited only to what should be prioritize as the study was tested and conducted as a whole process.
Furthermore, information system in QF strategy can provide certain benefits that are critical for business as with better utilization of management, business can make strategic decisions with more certainty of the outcomes. These systems help in satisfying diverse needs of customer base of the business. (Cited from, Kadiyala and Kleiner, 2005 p. 164) Aside, information systems increase productivity through optimum use of the needed resources along with development as well as growth in communication technologies then, the information systems acquire positive impact on business and will provide strategic solutions to business issues and challenges. (Cited from, Kadiyala and Kleiner, 2005 p. 164) Thus, in order to meet customer needs within the global market, businesses need to always upgrade their recent information systems and be able to adopt new technologies in order to adapt to the changing business process and trends. Then, QF implications were recognized as business continuity and enterprise agility drivers and from systems performances perspective, they can be used to reduce downtime and consequently contribute in achieving better financial results as each minute of the downtime has its price. Therefore, continuous computing solutions are main prerequisite for business continuity in contemporary business, denoting reliable and available enterprise-wide data access and they drive business quickness.
Truly, ‘’QF is new endeavor which involves relatively complicated concepts and details. Promoting QF to relevant stakeholders in different industries so as to enhance their knowledge and recognition of QF represent great challenge. The successful implementation of QF was to have good understanding of the uniqueness of industry concerned and to obtain the consensus and support of different stakeholders. The development of QF is long-term commitment which requires ongoing communication with different stakeholders and development of partnerships with them. We will continue to adopt an industry based and progressive approach in implementing QF, experience in other countries reflects that the implementation of QF may take over ten years to achieve’’. (Cited from, Hon Sin Chung-kai and Michael Suen, in Press Releases, LCQ18: Qualifications Framework October 31, 2007 Issued at HKT 12:01)
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