What determines whether interest groups choose to contact politicians or bureaucrats? Despite the importance of this question for policymaking, democracy, and some prominent principal-agent understandings of politics, it is relatively unexplored in the literature. We argue that government stability plays a major part in interest groups decisions is their assessment of the likelihood that politicians currently in power will continue to be in the future. We deduce logical, but totally contrasting hypotheses, about how interest groups lobby under such conditions of (...) uncertainty and then test these using a heteroskedastic probit model that we apply to a unique longitudinal survey of interest groups in Japan. We find that when it is unclear if the party controlling the government will maintain power in the future, interest groups are more likely to contact the bureaucracy. When it is believed that the party in power will retain control for a considerable period, interest groups are more inclined to contact politicians. In addition, during times of government uncertainty, interest groups that are supportive of the governing party (or parties) are more likely to contact politicians and those that are less supportive will be more likely to contact bureaucrats. (shrink)
Recent developments in information technology and Web services have increased the potential for creating more rapid and extensive social networks and business relationships. Web 2.0 technologies, commonly referred to as online social media, have become important tools within the growth of information and communication technology (ICT) in the last few years. Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Wiki and other services, which are widely used by individuals, also have an effect on customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Consequently, social CRM (SCRM) (...) is emerging as a new paradigm for integrating social networking in more traditional CRM systems. However, social CRM is yet to be fully utilised as a value-adding tool in improving customer relationships. This paper reports on a scoping study that explored the current situation of CRM adoption in banking industry in Saudi Arabia. The aim of this paper is to identify the factors that may influence businesses and customers’ adoption of social CRM. Various models have been proposed to study ICT and information systems acceptance and usage. This paper proposes an enhancement to one of these models, specifically the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), by incorporating a range of factors identified in the social networking and business relationships literature believed to influence social CRM adoption. In particular, the model proposes that familiarity, caring behaviour, sharing information and perceived trustworthiness can generate cognitive view about the relationships between employees and customers. This view besides Web 2.0 features may offer a way of analysing the potential adoption of social CRM. (shrink)
The question of the existence of cultural universals immediately leads us to the problem of intercultural communication and of so-called incommensurability. Over the last few decades, these topics have been the subject of controversy in the philosophy of science, and the stock of universalism has been falling as a result of the rise of Kuhn’s paradigm theory and Quine’s thesis of the indeterminacy of translation. Nowadays cultural pluralism or relativism is rather dominant among philosophers and has begun to appear plausible, (...) too, from an anthropological or sociological point of view. But philosophically, as is well known, relativism harbors many difficulties and paradoxes. As philosophers, therefore, we cannot accept imprudent relativism just as it is. (shrink)
In the October edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Akabayashi and colleagues state that ’to establish a heterogeneous [induced pluripotent stem cell] iPSC bank covering roughly 80% of Japan’s population…the Japanese government decided to invest JPY110 billion over 10 years in regenerative medicine research; a quarter of this was to be allocated to the iPSC stock project'. While they claim this amount of money to be an unfair distribution of state resources, we believe their assessment is based on a (...) misunderstanding of the facts. Similarly, other criticisms by them are based on mistaken interpretations. This article is a rebuttal to the arguments that form the basis of Akabayashi and colleagues’ five criticisms by explaining their misinterpretations. (shrink)
The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake caused extensive damage to the Tōhoku district of Japan and gave rise to many arguments concerning the meaning of “disaster” as well as the road to recovery. In particular, the severe accident of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant reminded us of the overconfidence of science and technology. In this article, I will discuss concepts such as “disaster of civilization,” “impermanence,” “betweenness,” and the double structure of the Japanese view of nature.
Rhodopsins are one of the most studied photoreceptor protein families, and ion‐translocating rhodopsins, both pumps and channels, have recently attracted broad attention because of the development of optogenetics. Recently, a new functional class of ion‐pumping rhodopsins, an outward Na+ pump, was discovered, and following structural and functional studies enable us to compare three functionally different ion‐pumping rhodopsins: outward proton pump, inward Cl− pump, and outward Na+ pump. Here, we review the current knowledge on structure‐function relationships in these three light‐driven pumps, (...) mainly focusing on Na+ pumps. A structural and functional comparison reveals both unique and conserved features of these ion pumps, and enhances our understanding about how the structurally similar microbial rhodopsins acquired such diverse functions. We also discuss some unresolved questions and future perspectives in research of ion‐pumping rhodopsins, including optogenetics application and engineering of novel rhodopsins. (shrink)