Archive for October, 2010

Public attitudes towards corporate manslaughter reveal desire for moral accountability and more meaningful regulation

October 28, 2010

Mediating Punitiveness: Understanding Public Attitudes towards Work-Related Fatality Cases

From European Journal of Criminology

It has been suggested that public opinion about crime and justice drives the adoption of harsher and more emotive criminal justice policy via a process of ‘penal populism’, as politicians are willing to respond uncritically.

This paper presents the findings of an investigation into public attitudes towards work-related fatality cases, situations where the activities of a corporation or organization have caused the death of a worker or member of the public. The commencement in early 2010 of manslaughter prosecutions against Continental Airlines in France following the Paris Concorde air crash of 2000, which resulted in 113 deaths, demonstrates the ongoing significance of debates about corporate homicide liability.

This investigation has found public attitudes in relation to such fatalities are primarily non punitive in nature, however respondents did regard offenders in moral terms. What is expressed is a desire for moral accountability, rather than for punishment. The findings can inform the ways in which processes of legal reform are approached. There is a need to consider the degree to which social attitudes towards regulation in different societies make ‘criminalization’ necessary or not, and to identify why some jurisdictions manage to survive without corporate criminal liability.

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In-house gyms, meditation rooms and on-site laundry services introduced to accommodate changing work values

October 27, 2010

Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing

From Journal of Management

This study examines a US nationally representative sample of young people and measures their values at the same age at different points in time, to observe generational differences in values. It is recognized that today’s workforce consists of individuals from four generations: the Silent Generation (born 1925-1945), the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1981), and Generation Me (1982-1999). Results indicate that leisure values increased steadily over the generations and work centrality declined. Generation Me place more value on work that provides extrinsic rewards.

One of the biggest challenges for organizations in the coming years will be the retirement of more than 75 million older workers and their replacement by a comparable number of young people entering the workforce. Organizational practices are changing to adapt to the work values of Generation Me; SAS has an in-house gym; leading companies have added amenities focusing on work–life balance on site like facilities for laundry and massages; eBay set aside two rooms for meditation; and KPMG now offers workers 5 weeks of paid time off during their 1st year. Other companies have tried to attract the young generation with programs that allow employees to volunteer to help others during work hours or that emphasize the social good behind their products or mission. The findings of this study of the outlining differences in work values can have practical implications for the recruitment and management of the emerging workforce.

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“I can’t get no sleep!” Hope for insomniacs with new guidelines for healthcare professionals

October 26, 2010

British Association for Psychopharmacology consensus statement on evidence-based treatment of insomnia, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders

From Journal of Psychopharmacology

Although grammatically questionable, the lyrics of the hit by Faithless ring true for many, encapsulating the frustrations for insomniacs and other sleep disorder sufferers. The conditions are very common, yet are not generally well understood by doctors and other health care professionals. Between 6-15% of adults in western countries are thought to have full-blown insomnia. This paper can offer hope of better understanding and treatment with guidelines for psychiatrists and physicians caring for those with sleep problems.

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Hosting the 2012 London Olympics may damage rather than regenerate local communities and businesses

October 21, 2010

Visibilities and Invisibilities in urban development: Small business communities and the London Olympics 2012

From Urban Studies

The coming of the London 2012 Olympic Games has been presented as a unique opportunity for the regeneration of east London. This article considers the potential repercussions of regeneration. It warns that the process of clearance of the area and eviction of local businesses for new infrastructure can destroy pre-existing socioeconomic practices and paradoxically erode employment opportunities and the quality of life for existing residents. The study examines the impact the Beijing 2008 Olympics had on local communities, highlighting just how regressive and top-down policy-making can be. The irony is that, ultimately, the Olympics may lead to less diversity in this part of London. This article raises questions about how power-infused visualisations shape the form and character of urban policy interventions. The focus on creating ‘legacies’ has given a renewed impetus to debates over the relationships between mega-events, regeneration and urban change. The article concludes that there needs to be a move away from the dominant metaphor of visibility and the ‘spectacular’, to a greater concern with the less visible elements of urban society.

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The rehabilitation aim of probation officers at odds with UK Government punishment agenda

October 20, 2010

Attitudes and beliefs of trainee probation officers: A ‘new breed’?

From Probation Journal

In recent years the UK Government has been placing less emphasis on the idea of probation as a form of rehabilitation, instead re-framing it as ‘punishment in the community,’ with a focus on protecting the public. It has promoted the idea that it has got tougher although still retaining a commitment to some form of rehabilitation. The Government also removed the requirement for probation officers to qualify as social workers. This research examines the attitudes of trainee probation officers and reveals a contrast with the Government’s approach: the main reason given for joining the service was to engage on a humanistic level with offenders and to offer ‘help’. There was little support for a law enforcement or control agenda. Attitudes did not seem to alter as a result of training.

Should the respondents in this study be more widely representative of probation practitioners and continue to hold these attitudes, beliefs and values there may be implications for the probation service and for them as individuals, as well as for broader organizational level. This observation raises some concerns about potential clashes and low levels of resistance, others can see an opportunity for something positive as the attitudes and beliefs reported upon provide some hope that the outcome, i.e. ‘real practice conducted by practitioners, can continued to be based on a more humanistic, person-based approach.

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The role of media discourse framing attitudes towards the use of embryonic stem cells

October 19, 2010

Beliefs about science and news frames in audience evaluations of embryonic and adult stem cell research

From Science Communication

There has been great global attention to the recent announcement that US doctors have begun the first official trial of using human embryonic stem cells in patients after getting the green light from regulators. The shift in political stance towards embryonic stem cell research is a result of the change in US government to the Democratic Party, led by President Ohama. Although many scientists are supportive and excited about the potential, this type of stem cell research is still considered controversial by some others.

This study investigates how demographic variables (gender, science background and interest, political and religious orientation) and beliefs about science influence audience evaluations of studies on embryonic and adult stem cells. It also recognizes how media discourse on biotechnology has tended in the past to be framed in terms of political controversy and ethical dilemmas. Support for embryonic stem cell research increases as exposure to this research in the media increases, but this relationship is attenuated by both religious and ideological predispositions. Are attitudes changing? Will media discourse shift further to encourage more liberal public opinion or are conservative attitudes fixed?

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War crimes and the ruin of law

October 14, 2010

From Millennium – Journal of International Studies

The Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has acted as a prototype for international criminal justice in the aftermath of violent conflict and stated that ‘those who perpetrate horrific war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity will not go unpunished’. It poses the question if such differentiation between acceptable / unacceptable, justifiable / unjustifiable, and right / wrong war killings normalize and legitimize the brutal violence, injuries and deaths through war. This article considers the socio-political effects of the war crimes tribunal in terms of its conceptual impact on our collective understanding of war itself. it concludes with a number of strategies for rethinking what it means to account for violence. It argues that as tribunals function to exceptionalize certain behaviors in war as uniquely abhorrent perhaps pacifism is the only real alternative to work toward.

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Male—female pay disparities in Federal employment

October 13, 2010

A major difference? Fields of study and male—female pay differences in federal employment

From The American Review of Public Administration

Why do men still earn more than equally experienced and educated women in the federal service? This article examines how male–female differences in work experience and education affect pay disparities among college graduates in the federal civil service and how changes in those differences have influenced progress toward pay equality. The study analyses data over a twenty year period from 1983 – 2003, and reveals women’s average pay rose from 72% to 89% of men’s. The narrowed pay difference in recent decades can be attributed to women’s rising seniority levels and an increase in women’s representation in more traditionally male well paid fields like engineering, computer science, and math. Although there has been progress, overall men still earn more than women, continued efforts are therefore required to achieve equality.

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Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and implications for US national security

October 12, 2010

From International Relations

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program causes concern for a variety of reasons and in particular generates threats to US national security. This article outlines how the deep animosity between Pakistan and India has been a key driving force behind the nuclear program. They have fought three major wars against each other: India is far larger and more powerful, and unsurprisingly in each of these wars Pakistan suffered defeat on some level. Consequently Pakistan decided to move forward decisively and develop nuclear weapons over all other national objectives. Its possession of nuclear weapons is viewed as the single possible equalizer between the two states.

This research examines the environment in which Pakistan’s program nests, how these environmental variables may interact, what sorts of dangers may arise from them, and how these variables and dangers might themselves interact synergistically.

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Amplifying differences to develop our own identity and mitigate sibling rivalry

October 8, 2010

Sibling differentiation, identity development, and the lateral dimension of psychic life

From Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

Last week in UK politics some commentators remarked how “brotherly love took a backseat to a lust for power” as the Miliband brothers competed against each other for the position of Labour party leader. Shortly after Ed took the crown David announced his decision to quit front bench politics. This competition has prompted observations regarding the dynamics of their relationship and inevitably their sibling rivalry.

From the time of Freud onward, the mainstream psychoanalytical view of sibling rivalry is that both are inherent to the human condition and infused with parental dynamics. This article examines sibling differentiation and identity development, recognizing how a child amplifies differences with siblings to reduce rivalry with them. Our relationship with siblings is structured around a particular psychic challenge: to find one’s unique place in a world of similar others.

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