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Merits, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 6 articles

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18 pages, 3028 KiB  
Article
Automated Competence Assessment Procedures in Entrepreneurship
by Markus Marschhäuser, Fabienne Riesel and Volker Bräutigam
Merits 2024, 4(2), 173-190; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020013 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 520
Abstract
This study endeavors to automate the assessment of competencies within the domain of entrepreneurship, specifically targeting the augmentation of entrepreneurial cognition and conduct within universities in German rural regions, like Lower Franconia. Employing methods, including literature analyses and expert interviews, we formulated and [...] Read more.
This study endeavors to automate the assessment of competencies within the domain of entrepreneurship, specifically targeting the augmentation of entrepreneurial cognition and conduct within universities in German rural regions, like Lower Franconia. Employing methods, including literature analyses and expert interviews, we formulated and validated an entrepreneurship competence profile and accompanying self-assessment tool. The ensuing evaluative framework is poised for seamless integration into learning management systems, thereby facilitating intelligent competence monitoring within educational environments. Purpose: The aim of this thesis is to develop an automated competence assessment procedure in the field of entrepreneurship. This can be used in the university environment in the long term to promote and teach entrepreneurial thinking and behavior in order to sustainably improve the quality of learning outcomes and achieve targeted promotion of entrepreneurship. Methodology: Based on a relevant literature analysis, four guideline-based expert interviews were created and conducted. The results of the interviews were compiled and validated in a structured competence profile (entrepreneurship competence profile). Based on this competence catalog for entrepreneurs, an empirically valid self-test was created using standard psychometric questionnaire construction methods. Results: The entrepreneurship competence profile and a consequential empirically validated self-test for competence assessment were created. This test provides the basis for the long-term competence development of students and can further be embedded automatically into a learning management system (LMS) as part of intelligent competence monitoring, which allows for the recording of competencies for each student and the individual incorporation of gap closure into the curriculum. Originality/value: In previous research, there were no competence profiles or competence assessment procedures in the field of entrepreneurship that derived relevant competencies directly from actors within this environment. This work illustrates the development of a competence assessment procedure for entrepreneurs and shows which methods can be used to close prevailing research gaps in the field of intelligent competence monitoring. Full article
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14 pages, 316 KiB  
Hypothesis
Time Incongruences and Wait Crafting
by Elisabeth Nöhammer
Merits 2024, 4(2), 159-172; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020012 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 484
Abstract
A lot of time and effort is put into reducing waiting times in organizational life. However, jobs can include phases of waiting. The aim of this conceptual paper is to analyze waiting on the job level and provide a theoretical rationale for individual [...] Read more.
A lot of time and effort is put into reducing waiting times in organizational life. However, jobs can include phases of waiting. The aim of this conceptual paper is to analyze waiting on the job level and provide a theoretical rationale for individual management of waiting times of employees. Wait crafting is introduced based on (job) crafting and its advantages for individuals and organizations outlined. Steps towards integrating the possibility of job crafting and needs for future research are indicated. Full article
13 pages, 385 KiB  
Article
Knowledge of Infection Prevention and Control and Practice Behaviors among Career and Volunteer Firefighters in Rural Communities
by Edrisa Sanyang, Ashley Adams, Ritchie Taylor, Vernell McDonald, Gretchen Macy and Jacqueline Basham
Merits 2024, 4(2), 146-158; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020011 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Due to the emerging threat conditions in the work environment, firefighters are at a high risk of exposure to not only toxic substances but also biological agents in the dayroom and during emergency runs. The aim of this study is to evaluate firefighter [...] Read more.
Due to the emerging threat conditions in the work environment, firefighters are at a high risk of exposure to not only toxic substances but also biological agents in the dayroom and during emergency runs. The aim of this study is to evaluate firefighter (career and volunteer) knowledge and practice behaviors on infection control. This study surveyed 444 firefighters (210 career, 234 volunteer) in rural Northwestern Kentucky. The self-reported survey focused on individual characteristics, knowledge on exposure incident control, precautionary actions, and personal protections. We evaluated the descriptive characteristics of knowledge and practice scores stratified by firefighter groups (career and volunteers). The associations between infection control training received (yes/no) and firefighter knowledge and practice scores were also examined. Firefighters who were trained on infection control prevention had significantly higher knowledge scores (M = 63.7, SD = 13.4 vs. M = 59.7, SD = 15.9; p = 0.012). Volunteer firefighters exhibited better infection control practice behaviors than career firefighters (M = 70.6, SD = 13.0 vs. M = 67.4, SD = 11.1; p = 0.05). Firefighters who followed infection control guidelines (M = 69.5, SD = 11.9 vs. M = 58.1, SD = 9.9; p = 0.012) and expressed need for a comprehensive training on personal protective equipment (PPE) selection (β = 3.41, SE = 1.54, aOR = 30.22, 95% CI: 1.47–620.87; p = 0.028) had significantly higher practice scores compared to those who did not. The study results have policy implications for infection prevention and control (IPC) in rural fire departments, both career and volunteer. A review of infection control policies is needed, especially as it relates to training and practice behaviors during emergency calls and in the dayroom. Results also suggest the need to develop strategies to improve the culture of PPE use and training on the selection of PPEs appropriate to the emergency response type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Occupational Safety and Health)
14 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Influence of Crime on NEET Rates: A Regional Analysis of Italy
by Iacopo Odoardi, Dario D’Ingiullo, Ada Di Nucci and Davide Quaglione
Merits 2024, 4(2), 132-145; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020010 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 403
Abstract
The occurrence of criminal activities has the potential to hinder socioeconomic advancement, preventing individuals from investing in human capital and pursuing employment opportunities. Our investigation focuses on the hypothesis that the NEET (not in education, employment, or training) rate is related to crime [...] Read more.
The occurrence of criminal activities has the potential to hinder socioeconomic advancement, preventing individuals from investing in human capital and pursuing employment opportunities. Our investigation focuses on the hypothesis that the NEET (not in education, employment, or training) rate is related to crime levels. Through an econometric analysis based on regional data, we examine the impact of crimes against property and against persons on NEET rates within central-northern and southern Italy, while controlling for prevalent determinants of the NEET phenomenon. Our findings reveal that, compared with prevailing discouragement factors such as youth unemployment and lack of interest in tertiary education, crime exerts a more pronounced influence on elevating NEET rates. This effect is particularly evident in the relatively less developed southern regions, where violent crimes, although relatively uncommon, may disproportionately contribute to feelings of apprehension and uncertainty regarding future prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
14 pages, 657 KiB  
Project Report
Training to Achieve Sustainable Employment for Youth and Young Adults
by Cristina de Sousa and Fernando Acabado Romana
Merits 2024, 4(2), 118-131; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020009 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 311
Abstract
This paper presents the outcomes of the “Training for Sustainable Employment of Youth and Young Adults” project, originally developed with the assistance of a consortium of institutions in six countries. These countries comprised five EU member states, Portugal, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic, [...] Read more.
This paper presents the outcomes of the “Training for Sustainable Employment of Youth and Young Adults” project, originally developed with the assistance of a consortium of institutions in six countries. These countries comprised five EU member states, Portugal, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Spain, and an EU candidate, Turkey. The main objective of the project was to analyse the gap between the needs of employers and the skill sets of youth and young adults, in order to assess the training needs of young people to equip them to be sustainably employed. In addition, the project set out to create a course programme that contained targeted training to meet the identified training needs of both employers and young people. The data collection was performed using a focus group (n = 144) and an online survey aimed at a convenience sample of the target groups (n = 244) in the six participating countries. The data were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings indicated six main competencies to develop in training: flexibility, inclusivity, diversity, and wellbeing; innovation and knowledge management; mobilisation of human resources; international orientation; entrepreneurship; and presentation. In conclusion, this study illustrated the need for a course programme to be established, structured around the six categories that correspond to the main topics obtained through the consortium’s research. Therefore, the main gain of the project study was the creation of a course programme, focused on improving young people’s inclusion in the job market and meeting companies’ needs for skilled employees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
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9 pages, 257 KiB  
Brief Report
Does Changing a Scale’s Context Impact Its Psychometric Properties? A Comparison Using the PERMA-Profiler and the Workplace PERMA-Profiler
by Sean P. M. Rice
Merits 2024, 4(2), 109-117; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020008 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 477
Abstract
The present study evaluated the empirical distinction between the PERMA-Profiler and the Workplace PERMA-Profiler, which measure flourishing using the same items with different contexts (i.e., general vs. workplace orientations). Both scales were administered online via MTurk (N = 601), and single-group measurement [...] Read more.
The present study evaluated the empirical distinction between the PERMA-Profiler and the Workplace PERMA-Profiler, which measure flourishing using the same items with different contexts (i.e., general vs. workplace orientations). Both scales were administered online via MTurk (N = 601), and single-group measurement and structural invariances were assessed. Partial metric and scalar invariances were supported, indicating that the PERMA constructs were measured equivalently across scales (except for the relationships factor). Structural properties (covariances, means) were not invariant, indicating distinct utility for each scale in their respective contexts. The results suggest that simple adaptations to items to change their context, but not content, may retain the original scale’s psychometric properties and function with discrimination. Full article
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