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1.3.3 Bringing remote sweatshops within reach continued

There are, to my knowledge, at least two ways in which this challenge has been mounted. The first, which I have already touched upon, gathered momentum in the 1990s when, to great effect, different elements within the growing antisweatshop movement sidestepped the tangled arrangements of the market by targeting the most visible icons of global trade, the big retail ‘brands’: Adidas, Nike, Gap, Umbro, Puma, Reebok, Fila, French Connection, Mattel, Disney, and so on. The antisweatsho
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1.2.6 Defining global markets

Global markets for manufactured goods, as opposed to, say, primary commodities such as oil and timber, arose largely in the second half of the twentieth century as trade between countries intensified. The lowering of transport costs and the relative fall in trade barriers enabled firms in one country to compete with a domestic rival in another. The supply of manufactured goods across the globe as a result of worldwide demand, principally from the affluent economies, thus heightened competitio
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6.4.5 Complexity

The final concept, discussed in Case Study 3, is the complexity of interactions between society, technology and environment, illustrated by Figure 14. A simple technical fix to a problem, such as the introduction of a harmless gas (Freon), or a new predator (the Cane Toad), can have many unintended out
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6.4.1 The dual nature of technology

Exercise 5

List the main advantages to you of using a refrigerator in your home, then list some of the potential environmental hazards that using a fridge might entail.

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5 Conclusion

International economic relationships are constituted in large part by international trade and investment. I have argued that the current trade regime, apparently one of voluntary adherence to negotiated rule-making, is actually systematically weighted against the needs of developing countries. This asymmetry is rooted in a context where rich countries are eager to prescribe free trade for others but reluctant to impose it on themselves and able to avoid doing so. Its consequences are exacerba
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2.7 Representing feedback through system dynamics diagrams

System dynamics diagrams, also sometimes called ‘stock flow’ diagrams, can be derived from causal diagrams, although in some cases it might be easier to start directly with the system dynamics diagramming technique, especially if you need to explore around one particular object’s attribute, such as population number.

System dynamics diagrams are drawn using four symbols: boxes representing attributes or ‘stocks’ of objects (e.g. level of water in a tank); valves representing
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1.3 Activities

Activity 4A engages you in developing a more sophisticated visual model of one of the themes raised in the ‘Powerdown Show’ programme. The sign graph diagramming technique is the ultimate visual modelling approach for revealing positive and negative feedback relationships, so you will be using this technique to first explore, and then communicate, the dynamic nature of the complex situation you have chosen to investigate.

The first sign graph you will develop will focus on r
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3.3.3 Higher aromatics

Benzene rings can be fused in various ways to create component parts for some of the complex aromatic repeat units shown in Table 5. One of the most important is bisphenol A, made by fusing two phenol rings with acetone:

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3.3 Petrochemical intermediates and monomers

About 80 per cent of all petrochemicals end up in polymers, the most important building blocks being ethylene, propylene, butadiene and benzene. The first three can be polymerized directly but an important slice of their production is used to create more complex monomers. Ethylene is the progenitor of most vinyl monomers (Figure 3
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2.3.2 Chain branching

A germ of the idea is shown by the formulae for 2- and 3-methylpentane in Figure 16. A single methyl group (CH3—) can occur in two different positions along an essentially linear carbon-carbon chain. The methyl group is a very simple kind of branch along the chain, and it is easy to extend the idea to much larger
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Stage 7: Implement changes

Finally, the agreed changes are implemented.

Like the hard systems approach, soft systems methodology is not seen as a ‘one pass’ procedure, but as a learning process. Iteration is a feature of the methodology's application. Learning is achieved in both approaches by the use of models, although soft systems has subsequently been enhanced to include a specific analysis of the culture and politics of the problem situation, as shown in Author(s): The Open University

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • make an effective business case for a change to an operations activity or similar using appropriate written and/or oral forms of communication;

  • show the widespread utility of operations management principles at all levels across all types of organisation;

  • introduce a transformation model of operations management, with stakeholder value as the principle output;

  • provide models, concepts and
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8.3 Summary

A fundamental musical and acoustical relationship is the octave. Pitches that are one or more octaves apart are heard musically as different instances of the same sound. A one-octave increase in pitch corresponds to a doubling of frequency.

For musical purposes, a pitch range of one octave is divided into discrete steps, known as scales, the individual pitches of which are given letter names (A, A

4.4 Where is the complexity and what is it?

When I first described some of my experiences of the child-support case study above, I attributed the properties of mess, complex, or hard-to-understand to the situation. So, are mess, complex, and hard-to-understand the same thing? If they are, why is the unit called Managing Complexity, rather than, say, Managing Messes? A glib answer is you might not have been attracted to it because of the everyday meaning of mess. Yet another answer is that complexity is a rich term whose everyday meanin
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3.6 Learning and effective action

I claim that learning is about effective action. It is distinguished when I, or another observer, recognise that I can perform what I was unable to perform before. Following Reyes and Zarama (1998), I am going to claim learning is an assessment made by an observer based on observed capacity for action. From this perspective, learning is not about ideas stored in our mind, but about action. So what makes an action effective? Reyes and Zarama (1998, p. 26) make the following claims:


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3.1 The state of ‘Being’

The structure of Section 3 is set out in Figure 25. Use this as a way of keeping track of the argument I am making.

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7.2.2 Trap 2: the impoverished rich picture

A distinguishing feature of rich pictures that turn out to be useful seems to be they are just what they say they are, rich. If I take usefulness as the criterion, the useful rich pictures are the ones bursting with interest and activity. They don't seem to tell a single story, there are lots of stories going on simultaneously. They reveal stories you didn't consciously build into them.

How is such a rich picture to be achieved?

Use everything you find in the situation. This means
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7.1 Introduction

The last activity was a demanding task. People I asked to do it during the writing of this unit, found it took a lot of concentration but it brought up lots of ideas, feelings and suggestions for action. Most of them were also concerned their rich picture might not be good enough. I imagine you will share some of these reactions. If you share any of these concerns, remember there are lots of ways of drawing a good rich picture and almost all rich pictures can be improved. Improving your rich
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18.2.3 Complexity

If an innovation is perceived as difficult to use it will diffuse more slowly than one that is easy to understand. For example users of early personal computers needed an understanding of a programming language in order to use their machines. For most potential PC users this made the innovation too complex to consider buying. Then a graphical user interface was developed and incorporated by Apple Computer into the Lisa computer in 1983 (Author(s): The Open University

5.11 Sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation

As it's sometimes difficult to say whether a particular innovation is radical or incremental, a useful distinction made recently is between sustaining innovations and those that are disruptive. You'll read more about these ideas in Part 3.

Briefly, a sustaining innovation is a new or improved product that meets the needs of most current customers and serves to sustain leading firms in their market position. So in this context improvements to gas lighting, say, would be sustaining
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