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Join the Debate: Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference Discusses Global Health
by Wittenborg News -

Join the Debate: Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference Discusses Global Health


Join the Debate Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference Discusses Global Health

Theme Intersects with Healthcare, Geopolitics, Social Issues, Culture, Business and Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic put global health on the spotlight. In addition to causing deep transformations in various sectors, the sanitary crisis also changed how the global population views and addresses health-related matters. However, it is important to highlight that the term 'global health' encompasses much more than the pandemic, which is just an example of a situation related to this field of study.

This broad topic, which has implications on all spheres of life, is Theme 9 of Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference, set to take place from 14 to 16 August in Apeldoorn. Academics, students, policy-makers and industry professionals are welcome to submit their intellectual contributions and join the debate (see the submission deadlines and guidelines here). 

Wittenborg Associate Professor of Applied Sciences Dr Cha-Hsuan Liu points out that all human beings and our living environment are connected nowadays, and in addition to physical health, the global population also faces challenges regarding mental health. 

“Besides contagious diseases, the prevalence of chronic diseases such as heart conditions and diabetes is also a global issue. At the same time, when it comes to mental health, we see that global events such as wars and violent attacks affect everyone, and not only the direct victims.” 

According to Liu, global health issues are related to socio-political factors such as how healthcare systems are maintained and even to measures concerning local and national infrastructure policies. 

“For instance, if a highway is built in front of your house, the intense traffic will impact your daily life. The noise and the CO2 emissions might affect your health and your lifestyle, and even cause illness. The same goes when we are talking about where facilities such as power plants, landfills and water treatment stations will be constructed. They are usually installed in faraway or rural areas, where the disadvantaged segments of the population live. This is a kind of injustice because it places an extra burden on these people. Therefore, global health is also connected to social equality and equity issues.” 

Liu underscores that global inequalities and environmental issues including climate change are pivotal in shaping the context of global health. 

“The division between the Global North and the Global South also affects global health matters. Developed countries often relocate their factories to developing nations and send their waste to these regions, sometimes compensating them financially. However, developing countries often lack the proper infrastructure to manage these materials, leading to their disposal in rural areas, which in turn affects the health of local communities.” 

Liu adds that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, developed countries like the United States and European nations had access to vaccines long before the vast majority of African countries. “The global discrepancies regarding the distribution of vaccines were very clear. The fact is that countries need international political power to have access to drugs, medicines and vaccines. So, many developing countries have started to realise how important it is to engage in international diplomacy and to become part of international organisations in order to have more negotiation power.” 

According to the associate professor, cultural and ideological factors also played a significant role in the way countries responded to the pandemic.  

“In Asian countries, for example, the governments determined that everyone had to wear masks and the population complied with it, because the majority of the people considered these collective practices as a way of saving lives. In contrast, many individuals in Western countries refused to wear masks or get vaccinated due to prioritising individual freedom over other values. The response to the pandemic was also affected by the political ideologies of the governments in power. Furthermore, responses were influenced by the dissemination of news, information, fake news and conspiracy theories across various media platforms.”

Impacts on business and technology  

Liu highlights that researchers can also delve on the significant developments that businesses, the economy and technology have experienced in light of the pandemic and other global health trends.  

Among them are the changes to logistics and international mobility. “We now have many small businesses dedicated to logistics, while previously we had to rely solely on major players like DHL to provide these services. Mobility has also changed, with many events, conferences and other activities now taking place online. Because of this, the market of online meeting platforms has boomed. During the pandemic, when there were flight restrictions, people opted for travelling more often on buses and trains. This also raised awareness about sustainability issues; nowadays, in Europe, in-person events often give people vouchers for travelling by train instead of plane tickets.” 

Regarding the field of healthcare, the associate professor underlines that people have started caring more about their mental and physical health, engaging more often in activities such as mindfulness practices, yoga and meditation. Additionally, the interest in sports and physical exercise has also increased. 

The health tech sector, in turn, has gone through major breakthroughs. One example is the fact that, previously, the pipeline to develop vaccines, medicines and other pharmaceutical products would take from 10 to 20 years. Now, these procedures can take as fast as six months to one year.  

“In light of the urgency of the pandemic, people needed to adopt faster processes to mass-produce drugs and vaccines. Several new technologies have been implemented to the processes of R&D (research and development) and production. One example is the organ-on-a-chip, which creates ‘human in vitro models’ for both healthy and diseased organs, offering drug advancements in toxicity screening and also replacing animal testing.” 

Liu also comments that the number of international cooperations in the medical care industry is on the rise. She mentions the fact that Pfizer and other players among the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies developed and patented COVID-19 vaccines but then licensed their intellectual property to different corporations such as BioNTech, from Germany. By doing this, they were able to speed up production and distribution in different parts of the world. 

Liu believes that this kind of international cooperation is bound to be increasingly more frequent, highlighting that it is connected to the rise of the intangible economy, which encompasses assets such as patents, brands, trademarks and copyrights. 

“If we want to supply certain products on a global scale, then we need to think globally and invest in consortiums involving corporations from different countries or even continents. That is also what happened in Africa, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) took into account the shortage of vaccines and demanded that the big pharma companies issued their patents to certain African countries. This way, the vaccines could be produced and distributed locally and effectively,” she concludes.

WUP 17/04/2024 
by Ulisses Sawczuk 
©WUAS Press 


1138 words

Empowering Women in Leadership: Strategies from SER Topvrouwen 2024
by Wittenborg News -

Empowering Women in Leadership: Strategies from SER Topvrouwen 2024


Event Sheds Light on the Path to More Women Becoming Supervisory Board Members

On 18 March, Wittenborg's Brinklaan location hosted the inaugural SER Topvrouwen meeting of 2024, shedding light on women's leadership and the pivotal roles of supervisory board members.

SER Topvrouwen, also known as Top Women Apeldoorn, was co-founded by Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng. Comprising women in leadership positions in prominent Dutch institutions and corporations, SER Topvrouwen aims to amplify visibility and accelerate the progression of female talent.

At this exclusive event, approximately 20 women had the opportunity to hear from Jannie Benedictus, a financial journalist, who shared insights on female participation over the past 25 years. Dorothea van Rijnen also discussed the role supervisory board members before the networking session.  

Feng noted that Benedictus provided intriguing insights, while Van Rijnen offered practical tips. "Jannie delved into topics such as the gender pay gap, part-time versus full-time work, societal perceptions of female participation, the balance between family, children, and career, as well as the surprising number of women who do not fear for financial dependence on their partners, often full-time working men. However, it is evident that while strides have been made towards gender equality, there is still progress to be made."

Empowering Women: Practical Tips for Becoming a Supervisor

Van Rijnen, a headhunter since the mid-90s, has been associated with Vanderkruijs since 2007 and joined Boer & Croon in 2022. With a focus primarily on public sectors like healthcare and education, she specialises in executive and supervisory roles within these domains.

She covered various supervision-related topics, including definitions, board composition, professionalisation, motivations, requirements, target demographics, pathways, and strategies for success.

Van Rijnen outlined the three main duties of a supervisor, which mainly involve overseeing long-term value creation, acting as an employer, and offering advisory support on strategic matters.

She also emphasised the importance of considering factors such as time availability, regional engagement, and relevant experience, alongside broader attributes such as governance understanding, adaptability and an open, listening demeanor.

So, how does one become a supervisor anyway? According to Van Rijnen, to become a supervisor, individuals can enrol in a modern supervision course, respond to (online) advertisements and network with agencies.

Excelling in the role, however, requires a blend of knowledge, skills, and attitude, including soft skills, a thorough understanding of corporate governance and personal effectiveness.

Additionally, visibility within the organisation and understanding current trends are essential.

She concluded her presentation with a powerful thought: Recent data indicates a positive shift in gender balance within supervisory boards, with 82% now having one-third female commissioners, as of March 2024. However, as van Rijnen suggests, when more women take on supervisor roles, reports like these will no longer be news, marking significant progress towards gender equality in leadership.

WUP 15/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 

Empowering Women in Leadership Strategies from SER Topvrouwen 2024 Empowering Women in Leadership Strategies from SER Topvrouwen 2024 Empowering Women in Leadership Strategies from SER Topvrouwen 2024

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Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference: Exploring Education in a Globalised Era
by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference: Exploring Education in a Globalised Era


Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference: Exploring Education in a Globalised Era

Dadi Chen Explores Recent Changes and Opportunities in Education 

As we find ourselves in an era of globalisation, 'Education in a Globalised Era' has been chosen as Theme 10 of Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference, set to take place from 14 to 16 August in Apeldoorn.

Dadi Chen, Deputy Head of the School of Business, who is also a reviewer during the conference, sheds light on 'Education in a Globalised Era' and 'preparing the next generation for a boundary-less world', noting that this phenomenon is already occurring in many countries. Despite acknowledging that education lags behind other industries, Chen notes significant shifts, particularly seen in the increasing number of students opting to study abroad.

"When people choose to study at an international business school or university, they become more independent, making it easier to adapt to diverse learning and work environments," Chen explains. "International education positively influences individuals, especially in the era of technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technological advancements."

One pressing question posed by Chen revolves around the evolving role of universities in today's information-rich world. Traditionally perceived as "bastions of knowledge", universities now face challenges posed by platforms like ChatGPT, for instance. Chen prompts us to consider how educational institutions adapt, whether by integrating such platforms or becoming part of them.

According to him, the focus lies on training students to be future professionals who are proficient in using technology yet remain independent thinkers. To navigate these changes, it is also important to update the education system to cater for students from diverse backgrounds and industries. This involves continuous improvement of teaching methods, administrative processes and overall educational infrastructure.

Diving into sub-themes: Curriculum Internationalisation

Researchers exploring the theme 'Education in a Globalised Era' might delve into sub-themes such as leveraging technology for global business education, cultivating cross-cultural leadership, analysing the benefits and challenges of international experience, nurturing innovation in the global business landscape, building collaborative initiatives with global institutions, and instilling universal standards and values in business practices.

To offer more insight into one of the sub-themes called 'Curriculum Internationalisation', Chen says that international business schools and universities should be cautious of assuming their curriculum's automatic internationalisation just because they have international staff and students who often still use textbooks published in the United States and used in Europe, for instance.

"The trend of global communication means everything is mingled. So, if you want to convince people of the quality of your country's learning materials, you must consider their perspective. How do they perceive the value you're offering, considering potential conflicts? If people say, well, the principles that you invented do not apply here in this country, you need to consider that."

He appreciates the term 'boundary-less' because it reflects how modules can now be accessed online from various countries, allowing individuals to gain a global perspective on the knowledge they acquire through education.

Changes in the educational landscape do not stop there though. He says that many of Wittenborg's MBA (Master of Business Administration) students, for example, have work experience in different countries, making them knowledge contributors. "I've noticed that lecturers are more modest than before. Lecturers have started asking students, 'What have you done?' and 'What is your experience?' and 'What would you do if you were in that situation?' It is important to ask the students to be a part of the learning process in this case."

This can also lead to a potential shift away from traditional textbooks, envisioning a classroom environment where real-world examples are sourced globally and openly shared among students. "Lecturers now learn from students," he remarks. "We're in the same classroom, talking about the same thing, wanting to develop together. It's a positive change spurred by internationalisation."

Chen invites researchers to submit papers on these themes for the conference. Ultimately, he underscores the significance of the Globalisation Conference as a platform for researchers to communicate, share and discuss their findings across various topics.

WUP 12/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 


684 words

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'
by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'


Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

Wittenborg Hosts Book Signing Event in Amsterdam

On 20 March, Dr Cara Antoine, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology, Innovation & Portfolio Officer at Capgemini and board member of the Netherlands Chapter at Women in Tech, presented her Amazon bestseller, 'Make it Personal: Discover the Five Dimensions of Human Collaboration in the Workplace'.

Hosted by Wittenborg at its Amsterdam study location, the event brought together Wittenborg staff, students and members of Women in Tech Netherlands chapter to purchase signed copies of Antoine's book and network.

Introductions

Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, welcomed attendees and provided a brief introduction to the business school. Senior IT Auditor and Women in Tech Youth Ambassador, Reshelle Naidoo then discussed Women in Tech, which aims to empower women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by 2030. Naidoo highlighted the importance of female representation in technology and finance studies, questioning, "How can we accelerate this change?" She also shared a message from the chapter's director, Lieke Lamb, who thanked Antoine' for her leadership and generosity. "Cara's contributions do not end with leadership alone," Naidoo read. "In a remarkable gesture, she has chosen to donate today's proceeds of her book to Women in Tech."

Antoine then spoke about her book in detail.

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

From thesis to bestseller: Dr Cara Antoine's success

The book, which was officially launched in October 2023, took Antoine almost six years to write. Referring to her time at Royal Shell, she said, "Imagine being in a place of work, where you are surrounded by brilliant people, who have great ideas and who really want to make a difference, in a sector which is very important for the world, which is the energy sector. But, at the same time, these brilliant individuals could not figure out how to collaborate or learn how to connect with other people."

Antoine later chose to enter into a DBA (Doctorate in Business Administration) at the University of Bradford School of Management in the United States. When it came time to work on her thesis, she had to identify what she wanted to research. The theme of relationships in the workplace emerged, focusing on how our actions influence positive outcomes in collaboration. "I was so inspired by the environment that I worked in, that I thought this was the place where I could study and do my research and understand the dynamics between people."

Antoine then reached out to individuals in large organisations around the world. She also read around four hundred pieces of literature to procure the theoretical side of her thesis. After doing a thematic analysis, Antoine said that it was interesting to peel back the layers and understand that when it comes to trust in an organisation, for instance, there can be negative and positive connotations. Is the organisation stimulating or hindering our progress because of broken trust, for example? Five themes therefore evolved out of this approach. Her study quickly turned out to be a human study, answering questions such as 'What makes people tick?' and 'What are they motivated by?' 

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

Antoine then shared that she often challenge the traditional HR systems found in most organisations. They tend to focus on weaknesses, telling individuals they excel in only a few areas. Instead, we should prioritise enhancing their strengths. "By amplifying what individuals are already good at, we unlock their full potential. It's not just about excelling in those areas, it's about expanding the possibilities of what they can achieve. This approach yields much more from each individual."

After completing her thesis, Antoine reflected on how she wanted to contribute to organisational knowledge. "The university told me, 'Thanks for this block of a thesis, we are now going to put it on the shelf of a library. And that's it.'"

That's when she got the idea to write a book and conduct workshops, among many other things.  

Insights on female leadership  

After Antoine discussed her book, Feng and Naidoo joined her for a panel discussion, covering topics such as education, female leadership and generational differences.

When asked about balancing being a woman and a leader in her field, Antoine shared her experiences of being the first in many situations. For example, at 14 years old, she was the only girl in her class among boys. Fortunately, she had a teacher who believed in her. She emphasised the importance of being the first, not for personal achievement, but to pave the way for others and promote inclusivity. "By being the first, you have an opportunity to be a catalyst for change. It is an opportunity to change the representation of what you want to see. It is not about being 'number one'. It is about opening the gateway and involving others."

Drawing inspiration from Antoine's success

Wittenborg MBA (Master of Business Administration) student and business owner from Macedonia, Marija Cvetanovska also attended the event after she saw that Antoine's book was selling really well on Amazon.  

"I really got inspired by a woman who combines work and life at the same time," Cvetanovska explained. "That is what I wanted to learn. Tonight, I enjoyed Cara's speech on the ups and downs of life. It puts a personal stamp on it. I really got inspired by that because sometimes I wonder if I took the correct steps in my own studies and my business. Isn't it too challenging? Isn't it too risky? Now I've realised, I'm not the only one [taking risks]."  

WUP 10/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal' Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal' Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

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Wittenborg Professor Explores Future of AI Integration in the Workplace
by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Professor Explores Future of AI Integration in the Workplace


Wittenborg Professor Explores Future of AI Integration in the Workplace

Dr Gabor Molnar and Co-authors Explore Need for Human-Centric AI Integration in HRM

In a world where manning tables once dictated workforce management, a new era is dawning. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising Human Resource Management (HRM) as we know it. No longer confined to old-school methods, AI is reshaping HRM functions, driving efficiency and data analysis.  

To explore the role of HR in the age of AI, Associate Professor of Applied Sciences at Wittenborg, Dr Gabor Molnar, alongside co-authors Ali Fenwick and Piper Frangos, have published a paper to explore the need for a human-centric approach in integrating AI within organisations.  

"Our paper titled 'Revisiting the role of HR in the age of AI: bringing humans and machines closer together in the workplace' has significant implications for the industry, particularly for organisations aiming to leverage AI at the workplace," Molnar said of the paper, published in January 2024 by Frontiers, one of the most cited research publishers and open science platforms. "My co-authors and I have received several speaking invitations suggesting that the topic is both timely and crucial."

Molnar and his co-authors view AI integration not only as inevitable but also as an opportunity to improve organisational effectiveness and employee well-being.  

Until now, AI has remained a significant source of concern for employees in many organisations. Privacy and ethical issues, recruitment bias and questions of "Will AI take my job?" have become common water-cooler talk. However, Molnar and his co-authors argue that by recognising and addressing these challenges proactively, organisations can ensure smoother AI implementation and mitigate potential risks. 

Wittenborg Professor Explores Future of AI Integration in the Workplace

Research and discussion  

The authors offer a historical overview of the evolving role of HRM, as well as its significance in the age of AI, before outlining strategies for HRM to facilitate closer collaboration between humans and machines in the workplace.  

To do this, they group HRM practices into three specific "bundles" where HRM professionals exert their influence: people, culture and compliance.  

Their research further offers insights into three phases of AI usage in the workplace, including technocratic, integrated and fully embedded. The initial two phases draw from recent research on AI in HRM. The final phase, their conceptual viewpoint, outlines a logical evolution of AI into the workplace of the future.  

In the technocratic phase, AI is used to automate and improve specific HRM functions. The integrated phase prioritises collaboration between AI and humans in daily tasks and personalised employee experiences. Lastly, the fully embedded phase concentrates on managing interactions between humans and AI to enhance the overall human experience and align with broader societal objectives.  

Molnar and his co-authors go on to create a roadmap for HRM professionals to navigate each phase, by, for instance, training decision makers on AI functionality or making sure that HRM collaborates with AI developers to ensure user-friendly, intuitive, and responsible AI integration. It is also important to foster innovation, collaboration and effective change management in an organisation.  

"HRM professionals can use the guidance provided in the paper to advocate for responsible AI adoption within their organisations, promoting transparency, fairness and inclusivity," Molnar explained. "This could lead to an environment where humans and machines complement each other's strengths and where organisations can unlock greater productivity and innovation potential."

What's more, HRM professionals can leverage this perspective to spearhead initiatives that promote cross-functional collaboration, upskilling, and reskilling efforts to ensure that employees are equipped to thrive in an AI-enabled environment. 

WUP 08/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 


606 words

As Spring Arrives, Around 60 New Wittenborg Students Join the Business School
by Wittenborg News -

 

As Spring Arrives, Around 60 New Wittenborg Students Join the Business School


As Spring Arrives, Almost 60 New Members of the Wittenborg Family Join the School

Students Based at Wittenborg's Campus and Study Locations in the Netherlands and Germany

For the almost 60 new international students joining Wittenborg in the Netherlands and Germany, the arrival of spring marks the beginning of a new phase in life. 

From 25 to 28 March, the new members of the Wittenborg family were welcomed at the school’s main campus in Apeldoorn and study locations in Amsterdam and Munich, where they experienced the traditional Introduction Week. In addition to attending lectures about the practical aspects and culture of the countries where they will be living, the students were taught valuable lessons on Wittenborg’s infrastructure, services and organisation.  

The activities were concluded with an Introductory Lunch in all of Wittenborg’s units, which gave the staff and the new students the chance to enjoy delicious food and make new friends.  

In total, 16 nationalities are represented in this intake. The new bachelor’s, pre-master’s and master’s students come from Uganda, Russia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Iran, Peru, the United States, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Italy, Sri Lanka and Türkiye.  

Wittenborg has six intakes per year. Following the February and April intakes, the next ones will be in May, August, October and December.   

During the Introductory Lunch held in Apeldoorn, Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng shared her experience. Feng highlighted that she came to the Netherlands from China as an international student in 1999, and has gone through all the pains and gains of this journey.  

Moreover, she emphasised that Wittenborg’s goal is to help students become a better version of themselves. “In this process, it is essential to show respect and appreciation for the people who are working hard every day around you and who might have been invisible to you. Ask yourself constantly: ‘Did I say hello to the cleaner this morning? Did I wish a good day to the train conductor?’”

As Spring Arrives, Almost 60 New Members of the Wittenborg Family Join the School

The Wittenborg CEO concluded by pointing out that the school provides an international environment where students have the opportunity to hear new languages and learn about each other’s cultures. “You are also helping us to become better versions of ourselves, to widen our perspectives and to be truly international or global citizens.” 

Pre-master’s student Alasadat Mirsadeghi, from Iran, said that she chose Wittenborg because as a university of applied sciences it offers a practical approach and relevant connections to the world of work. “The Introduction Week has been very good, and everyone here is friendly and nice. I can already see that Wittenborg provides the highest standards of study and academic excellence. Because of that, I expect that we will have great professional opportunities in the future, whether we decide to stay in the Netherlands or to go back to our home countries.” 

For Nigerian bachelor’s student Francis Chinonso, one of Wittenborg’s strongest qualities is the fact that it is an international, English-language school. “I have made some new friends from different countries, and it has been easy to socialise here, because it is a very international environment. On top of that, we have had some very helpful lectures that taught us plenty of useful things. My plan is to advance my education and, after I complete my studies, I intend to apply what I have learned and start my own business in Nigeria.” 

WUP 05/04/2024 
by Ulisses Sawczuk 
©WUAS Press

As Spring Arrives, Almost 60 New Members of the Wittenborg Family Join the SchoolAs Spring Arrives, Almost 60 New Members of the Wittenborg Family Join the SchoolAs Spring Arrives, Almost 60 New Members of the Wittenborg Family Join the School

 

(Edited by Peter Birdsall - original submission Friday, 5 April 2024, 10:30 AM)

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Exploring AI's Impact on Retail: Insights from Jerry Stam's Guest Lecture
by Wittenborg News -

Exploring AI's Impact on Retail: Insights from Jerry Stam's Guest Lecture


Exploring AI's Impact on Retail Insights from Jerry Stam's Guest Lecture

Generative AI's impact on retail, life and money is already evident

Wittenborg's IBM (International Business and Management) students were treated to a special guest lecture by IBM Associate Partner Jerry Stam on 11 March in Apeldoorn.  

With an extensive background in retail spanning over two decades, including roles at IKEA, Hema and Blokker, Stam focuses on realising digital solutions for retailers at IBM and is widely respected by small and medium-sized retail enterprises in the Benelux.

Exploring AI's role in retail

During the lecture, Stam spoke about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and retail in an intertwined fashion, aiming to show how AI is already being used, its potential applications, and how it influences us all.

"Retail is a fascinating industry as we all interact with it almost every day," Stam explained afterwards. "At the same time, it's directly affected by societal developments, including inflation, housing and technology."

Exploring AI's Impact on Retail Insights from Jerry Stam's Guest Lecture

Challenges and opportunities

Stam provided numerous examples illustrating the impact of AI in retail. Some of Stam's examples included Ikea's AI-powered assistant in its OpenAI GPT store — where customers can simply request, "Show me a bright living room layout for a big apartment with the use of sustainable materials," and explore tailored design solutions.

However, he also pointed out that the multinational retail corporation in the United States Walmart abandoned plans to deploy robots for inventory checks in stores, reportedly finding it simpler to delegate the task to humans.

He explained that these developments have an impact on the labour market and how people progress throughout their careers.  As AI will make it easier to access and consult large bodies of data, more entry-level jobs will be impacted as some of the work that is part of such jobs is automated.  

"For example, it is much easier to ask ChatGPT or similar to summarise a particular topic. Such research would otherwise take a lot of time and provide an excellent way to learn on the job. This will likely mean we need to find new ways to train and build skills. It will likely also impact more senior jobs. As the information is more readily available more quickly, it seems the focus will shift even more to decision making." 

Exploring AI's Impact on Retail Insights from Jerry Stam's Guest Lecture

Evolving trends in retail, life and money

As for retail, Stam highlighted that consumers are embracing a mix of digital, physical and hybrid channels, with hybrid shopping the most popular choice for 27% of all consumers and a significant 36% among Gen Z, especially for home goods.  

Livestream shopping is also gaining popularity, with brands collaborating with social media influencers for real-time product presentations. Social commerce, particularly on platforms like TikTok, fosters deeper brand connections for consumers seeking guidance and inspiration.  

AI-driven solutions are further addressing informational fatigue in retail. Budget Bots, exemplified by Cleo AI, offer tailored spending advice, simplifying decision making for younger users. Innovative platforms like Ziscuit in the United States streamline grocery shopping by allowing stores to bid for fulfilling orders, offering convenience and savings to shoppers.  

Apart from its impact on retail, Generative AI's impact on life and money is also evident.  

In life, it was noted that diversity and inclusion are gaining significance worldwide, prompting retailers to tailor both online and offline experiences for accessibility. However, privacy concerns arise with home technology integration.  

As for money, younger generations face financial challenges, often living with parents or sharing rented apartments due to housing affordability issues. There's a tension with unsustainable consumption, prompting a shift towards mindful spending driven by political and environmental awareness.  

Reflecting on these and numerous other examples, Stam believes it is evident that AI and Generative AI, in particular, will significantly shape our future.

"The way we interact with the data and information that is available as a society will change rapidly going forward," Stam continued. "This will impact our whole society in multiple and very different ways. It will therefore also change how retail finds, designs, sells and services products. It is interesting to see how some retailers are already adapting, while some laggards will struggle even more."  

Stam added: "It's always fascinating to observe students and engage with them. Their diverse backgrounds often lead to interesting questions and insights."  

WUP 04/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 


729 words

Wittenborg Researchers Publish Paper on Work-life Balance and Remote Working
by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Researchers Publish Paper on Work-life Balance and Remote Working


Wittenborg Researchers Publish Paper on Work-life Balance and Remote Working

Work by Rauf Abdul, Shohreh Parham and Conor Sheehan Published in Prestigious Peer-Reviewed Journal

Wittenborg scholars Rauf Abdul, Shohreh Parham and Conor Sheehan co-authored a paper that was recently published in the European Journal of Higher Education, focusing on how the recent pandemic continues to reshape the way we work considerably. 

Titled ‘Work-life balance and remote working in the pandemic and beyond: The lived experiences of university academics in the Netherlands and UK’, the study explores the impact of remote working on the work-life balance of university academics in these two countries. 

According to Wittenborg's Head of the School of Business Rauf Abdul, it is important to consider how the future of work will be shaped, especially with the widespread use of artificial intelligence. 

“New and innovative forms of work and completing tasks will be implemented by organisations. In general, the study highlights the need for a more nuanced understanding of the impact of remote working on work-life balance. While remote working has the potential to improve work-life balance, it is not a cure-all solution and can also have negative impacts. Additionally, perhaps considering the role and impact of AI could extend this discussion to a different level. By recognising these complexities and taking steps to address them, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future of work,” he underlines.  

Methods of research and findings  

To undertake their research, the authors employed qualitative methods, conducting in-depth interviews with 30 respondents selected from two universities, one in the Netherlands and the other in the UK. 

The study finds that remote working has had both positive and negative impacts on the work-life balance of university academics. On the positive side, remote working has allowed academics to have more control over their schedules and to spend more time with their families and loved ones. It has also reduced commuting time and travel expenses, which has indirectly led to a reduction in stress levels. Additionally, remote working has allowed academics to work from anywhere, which has increased their flexibility and autonomy, consequently increasing their motivation to contribute more in some cases. 

However, the research also concludes that remote working has had a negative impact on the work-life balance of university academics. For example, remote working has led to an increase in workload and a blurring of the boundaries between work and personal lives. This has resulted in academics feeling like they are always ‘on’ and struggling to switch off from work. Furthermore, remote working has led to a decrease in social interaction and a sense of isolation, which has negatively impacted the mental health and well-being of academics. 

Abdul comments that the findings of the study have important implications for policymakers, employers and employees. While policymakers need to recognise the importance of work-life balance and ensure that remote working policies are designed to support this, employers need to provide adequate support and resources to help employees manage their workloads and maintain a healthy work-life balance while working remotely.  

“Employees, in turn, need to be aware of the potential negative impacts of remote working and take steps to mitigate these, such as setting clear boundaries between work and personal life and prioritising self-care. They should have clear work routines and personal time outside the set work routines,” he emphasises.

WUP 03/04/2024 
by Ulisses Sawczuk 
©WUAS Press 


585 words

'A Recipe for a Good Mood': Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night
by Wittenborg News -

'A Recipe for a Good Mood': Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night


'A Recipe for a Good Mood' Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night

Staff and Students Gather to Have Fun 

Wittenborg recently hosted an International Food & Karaoke Night at its Amsterdam study location, bringing staff and students from both master's and bachelor's programmes together for an evening of fun.  

Sam Kalya, Wittenborg's Recruitment & Sales Representative, shared insights into the event that took place on 15 March, highlighting the vibrant atmosphere. "Staff and students had a lot of fun. It is important to remember that part of being an international student is the social aspect."

Apart from karaoke, staff and students also had the option of showcasing a dish from their home country. There were about ten dishes to choose from. MBA (Master of Business Administration) student in Amsterdam, Zeinab Askarian's Kalam Polo was a fan favourite. "I wanted to introduce some of Iran's traditional dishes to people from other countries and get their feedback."

Zeinab explained that Kalam Polo's ingredients are rice, cabbage, meatballs and some vegetables. "It is cooked in a specific city of Iran. My mother-in-law taught me how to prepare it."

Zeinab encouraged other students to take part in similar events and cook dishes representing their cultures. "I want other students to participate in such events and cook themselves."

Zeinab also shared her experience of trying different dishes from various cultures at the event. She mentioned, "I was familiar with the dishes from Iran but there was a dish from India that I also really liked."

Andreas Ooijer, a Senior Lecturer at Wittenborg, kickstarted the karaoke before the special guest, Boris Cvetanovski, better known as Ris Flower, took the stage. The Macedonian singer-songwriter performed his original songs and popular covers. 

'A Recipe for a Good Mood' Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night

"Participating in events that celebrate diverse cultures and aim to connect people through music perfectly aligns with my purpose as a performer," said Boris. "And also - music and food together? That's a recipe for a good mood. It was an opportunity to bring people together using the universal language of music."

Boris shared that one of his favourite moments was when he performed 'Another Brick in the Wall' by Pink Floyd. "The energy in the room went wild! Seeing both students and lecturers singing along with equal passion and interacting with each other was a powerful reminder to me that music truly transcends age and background."

Apart from the food and music, Boris, whose wife Marija is also a student at Wittenborg, enjoyed the conversations he had with people. "We discussed their home countries' music, cultural backgrounds, and what inspired them to study at Wittenborg. It was also great hearing about their experiences as international students in the Netherlands so far." 

WUP 02/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 

'A Recipe for a Good Mood' Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night 'A Recipe for a Good Mood' Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night 'A Recipe for a Good Mood' Wittenborg's International Food & Karaoke Night

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Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference Addresses Environmental Challenges
by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference Addresses Environmental Challenges

Discussions to Centre on the Impacts of Climate Change as well as Sustainable Solutions

Discussions to Centre on the Impacts of Climate Change as well as Sustainable Solutions

Climate change resulting from human action has impacted our planet in unprecedented ways. While some parts of the world have experienced massive fires, increasing droughts and desertification, others are faced with the rising level of the oceans or a higher incidence of storms and tsunamis. 

The consequences for humanity are evident every day, such as increasing food prices due to the impacts on production and the loss of biodiversity. In light of the seriousness of the climate crisis and its global character, ‘Environmental Challenges’ has been chosen as Theme 5 of Wittenborg’s Globalisation Conference, set to take place from 14 to 16 August in Apeldoorn. 

Scholars, students, policy-makers and industry professionals are welcome to submit their papers and posters on this theme in order to take part in the debate (check the submission guidelines here). General registrations for the conference can be made until 1 August. 

According to Wittenborg Associate Professor Vanessa Menezes, businesses should not only be aware but proactive in facing these issues and developing solutions that are aligned with society’s expectations and global needs. “It is crucial to promote more sustainable consumption behaviours, change packaging materials to more environmentally friendly alternatives and incentivise local suppliers to decrease their use of fuel. These are just some of the initiatives that can be undertaken to address some of the largest contributing factors to climate change. Such actions are also good for the companies since they reduce costs and increase brand awareness.” 

She highlights that while the overall population has become more aware of climate issues, people are still not taking many sustainability-driven actions on a daily basis and the level of awareness varies across the world. 

“Here in Europe, we see that people are concerned, discussing and developing regulations and impactful initiatives. People are trying to guarantee a safer and fairer environment; we see that part of the population is pressing companies to act and most of the companies feel the pressure to fit in these standards. However, what I see is that most companies do not change their behaviour because they believe it is the best thing to do, but rather due to the demands from the customers and other stakeholders. They are afraid of being ‘cancelled’ or having to deal with a boycott.” 

Menezes points out that technology is evolving very fast, and innovations related to environmental sustainability are being implemented all the time. However, the initial adoption of these innovations can be really expensive because it requires companies to invest in research, and not all businesses have the financial resources and expertise to do so. 

As an experienced researcher and lecturer in the fields of hospitality and hotel operations, Menezes explains that hotels use a lot of natural resources. Hotel guests’ expenditure on water and energy, for instance, is three times higher than that of ordinary citizens. Therefore, creating technologies that employ renewable sources is a priority, especially given the constant energy and water crises faced by humanity. 

“An example of how technology can provide interesting solutions is the Peppermill Reno Hotel Resort, located in Reno, Nevada, United States. The resort uses geothermal energy to heat the water for their spa and swimming pools. This consists of obtaining energy from the heat coming from the Earth’s interior. So, it is an energy source that is already available, you just need the right technology to use it.” 

The lecturer adds that sustainability technologies can often be very simple, smart and efficient, which is the case of the solutions devised by Evigence, a North American company that combines sensors with data analytics to monitor the freshness of food in real time. “Food waste is a huge issue worldwide and it is a massive problem in the US, where it is estimated that almost 40 percent of the entire food supply in the country is wasted. So, this company applies different technologies such as sensors and scanners to control all the processes from production to consumption and provide insights that help optimise freshness in supply chains, inventory and even in consumers’ homes.” 

In Menezes’ view, partnerships between the public and private sectors play an essential role in the development of sustainable solutions. Some governments have financed projects, implemented regulations and offered financial incentives to companies that have started social or environmental initiatives. Nevertheless, this is not the case for all countries and regions of the world, and these actions are unevenly distributed.

She concludes by underlining that students, researchers and professionals have plenty of opportunities in the field of environmental sustainability. “They can develop new ideas, apply current technologies to different scenarios, analyse the results from good practices and educate people about how to shift towards a more sustainable planet. Empirical research is always fruitful and providing efficient, simple-to-apply results is crucial. It is worth mentioning that sustainability is about the people, the planet and prosperity, so there are many things to discuss when it comes to working for a better, safer and fairer planet.”

WUP 29/03/2024
by Ulisses Sawczuk
©WUAS Press


869 words

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