IT continues to be an indispensable and built-in constituent of the services industry and in effect IT has had a major impact on the organizational public presentation of the services sector of the private sector every bit good as the authorities over the past few decennaries ( Charalabidis, Sarantis, and Askounis, 2009 ) . Furthermore, the usage of IS/IT has changed the manner administrations compete today as IT is progressively considered as a strategic resource which requires top direction attending ( McFarlan, 1984 ; Norris & A ; Demeter, 1999 ) . As SIS focuses on the strategic usage of IS/IT in the complex managerial procedure of the administration, the function of SIS has been analysed by utilizing the constructs from strategic direction literature and IS/IT by many research workers.
Consequently, this chapter discusses the relevant literature from the countries of strategic direction and information systems to obtain an apprehension of the strategic direction of information systems for the intent of this research survey.
As SIS is developed and implemented within a strategic direction environment, the chapter foremost reviews the different positions on scheme from the literature on strategic direction and thenceforth reviews the function of information systems in obtaining competitory advantages from a strategic point of view. It besides discusses the function of Information Technology ( IT ) in a house from the strategic direction literature and the impact which IT has on an administration. Thereafter a brief treatment on the usage of information systems in the Abu Dhabi public sector is presented.
Scheme and Strategic Orientation to Management
The term ‘strategy ‘ is hard to specify as it continues to be germinating and as a consequence the term ‘strategy ‘ has been defined otherwise by different writers ( Andersen, Belardo, and Dawes, 1994 ) . Likewise, De Wit and Meyer ( 2004 ) province that there is no consensus among the writers on most of the cardinal issues within the field of strategic direction which had resulted in widespread dissensions such that holding an acceptable definition of the term ‘strategy ‘ is illusory.
For case, Mintzberg, Lampel, Quinn, and Ghoshal ( 2002 ) assert that scheme has been viewed from assorted different positions which include: program, procedure, form, place, political relations, and gambit. Furthermore, strategic activities like, strategic planning ( Harrison, 2003 ) , strategic determinations and strategic direction ( Fitzroy & A ; Hulbert, 2005 ) are used interchangeably, which together make specifying scheme more complicated.
However the undermentioned definitions from the strategic direction literature have been given here to supply an apprehension of scheme, the most noteworthy being Chandler ‘s ( 1962 ) early definition of scheme.
Chandler ( 1962, p.13 ) defined ‘strategy ‘ as, “ the finding of the basic long term ends of an endeavor and the acceptance of classs of action and the allotment of resources necessary to transport out these ends ” .
iˆ Harmonizing to Andrews ( 1980 ) , “ scheme is the form of aims, intents, or ends and major policies and programs aˆ¦ to specify what concern the company is in or is to be in and the sort of company it is or is to be ” .
Johnson and Scholes ( 2001 ) have defined scheme as, “ the way and range of an organisation over the long term, which achieves advantage for the organisation through its constellation of resources within a altering environment, to run into the demands of markets and to carry through stakeholder outlooks ” .
In Barney ‘s ( 2002 ) words, “ aˆ¦ Strategy is aˆ¦ a house ‘s theory about how to vie successfully ” .
De Wit and Meyer ( 2004 ) define scheme as, “ a class of action for accomplishing an organisation ‘s intent ” .
Increasingly today in the strategic direction literature, scheme is seen as the interrelatedness between these procedures: strategic thought, strategic planning, and strategic determinations ( Harrison, 2003 ; Fitzroy & A ; Hulbert, 2005 ) .
Fitzroy and Hulbert ( 2005 ) distinguish between: Strategy, Strategic Decisions, and Strategic Management as follows:
“ Strategic Decisions: are those that affect the long-run wellbeing of the organisation
Scheme: is the common subject underlying a set of strategic determinations
Strategic Management: is concerned with making organisations that generate values ” .
On the other manus, Harrison ( 2003 ) distinguishes Strategic Thinking, Strategic Planning and Strategic Management as follows:
“ Strategic Thinking: a originative and intuitive procedure that leads to creative solutions and new thoughts
Strategic Planning: the formal planning elements of scheme preparation that consequence in a strategic program: a procedure that tends to be instead stiff and sterile
Strategic Management: a procedure through which organisations analyze and learn from their internal and external environments, set up strategic way, create schemes that are intended to travel the organisation in that way, and implement those schemes, all in attempt to fulfill cardinal stakeholders ” .
What Strategy is all about?
Many writers have rather different readings as to what scheme is all about. Andrews ( 1980 ) who coined the footings ‘strategy preparation ‘ and ‘corporate scheme ‘ , considers that scheme chiefly is about scheme preparation and corporate scheme ( organisation-wide ) . And to Porter ( 1985 ) scheme loosely consists of ‘corporate scheme ‘ and ‘competitive scheme ‘ and it is critical for directors in modern administrations runing in progressively market-based economic systems today to efficaciously explicate both corporate scheme and competitory scheme.
Porter ( 1996 ) , in his influential article, argues that scheme is basically about a house ‘s pick and about intentionally and deliberately taking to be different from other houses. Strategy means making different things and making it otherwise. Similarly, Barney ( 2002 ) asserts that, to directors runing in today ‘s market economic systems scheme is about the creative activity of ‘sustainable competitory advantages ‘ . And harmonizing to Normann and Ramirez ( 1993 ) scheme is about making ‘strategic value ‘ .
Major Functions of Strategy
There are three major critical functions of scheme in today ‘s administrations ; and these are Grant ( 2002 ) :
Strategy as a mark
Scheme as determination support
Strategy as a procedure of coordination and communicating.
Features of Strategy
From the above treatment it appears that scheme, whether in the public sector or private sector, has the undermentioned cardinal features:
Involves important committednesss and resources.
Together these important features indicate that scheme and the direction of it is critical for today ‘s administrations and its directors.
Strategic, Administrative, and Operational Management
The above mentioned features of scheme indicate that strategic direction is rather different and distinguishable from the other sorts of direction, administrative and operational. Ansoff ( 1968 ) calls them as strategic, administrative, and operational direction.
‘Strategic Management ‘ trades with the wide long-run hereafter of an administration and the possible ways for it to develop and implement schemes to fix for alteration and manage alteration efficaciously ( ibid ) .
‘Administrative Management ‘ is concerned with structuring an administration ‘s resources and its activities to make successful organizational public presentation and involves apportioning and scheduling an administration ‘s resources and activities to back up every bit good as facilitate the administration ‘s scheme ( ibid ) .
‘Operational Management ‘ trades with the smooth running of the administration ‘s daily activities ( ibid ) .
However all these facets of strategic, administrative, and operational direction are interrelated between each other. In other words strategic, administrative, and operational direction are in nature interdisciplinary ( Barney, 2002 ) . Yet the range of strategic direction is much wider than both administrative and operational direction ( Fitzroy & A ; Hulbert, 2005 ) . In effect it is imperative for directors to recognize this and run consequently in order to develop and prosecute a holistic strategic attack to their administrations to obtain successful organizational public presentation ( ibid ) .
Making a Successful Scheme
Directors make strategic determinations in the present yet the consequence of those strategic determinations is in the hereafter. As a consequence it is impossible to find in the present whether a scheme is successful or non before the result happens. However, Grant ( 2002 ) suggests a utile model which shows the links between the most common elements that are found in successful schemes. See Figure 1 below:
Figure 1: Common Elementss in Successful Schemes
( Beginning: Grant ( 2002 )
The intent of long-run aims is to accomplish the strategic purpose of the endeavor ( Grant, 2002 ) . In order to make this it is critical for the administration to measure and obtain a profound cognition and apprehension of its internal and external environments ( ibid ) . Further a clear and nonsubjective assessment of resources needed must be carried out before perpetrating them to strategic programs ( ibid ) .
In order to gain the aims of a scheme directors should guarantee that these elements are implemented efficaciously in their administration ( ibid ) . And to successfully implement schemes directors must place and measure the needed alterations in their organizational procedures, administration civilization, and organizational construction ( Mathur & A ; Kenyon, 1997 ) .
The major aim of competitory scheme is to make competitory advantage in the industry in which the house is runing and the competitory scheme determines how the house will vie ( Porter, 1985 ) . Researchers and the administrations, in both the populace and private sectors, have written on SIS theory by following Porter ‘s ( 1985 ) competitory scheme model. Harmonizing to Porter the ‘Five forces ‘ that make up the industry construction determine the organizational public presentation of the single houses that make up the industry. In Porter ‘s ‘positioning scheme ‘ the strategic place chosen by the house is normally across the way of cost leading and distinction ( ibid ; Turban, King, and Lang, 2010 ) .can select have a pick of four generic schemes available to accomplish better organizational public presentation:
“ Cost leading,
Cost focal point, and
Focussed distinction ” .
Although absolute distinction does non be within the public sector administrations yet the operations of the populace sector administrations can be divided into a series of organizational activities ( for e.g. in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Water & A ; Electricity Company ( ADWEC ) , General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police ( ADP ) , Abu Dhabi Customs Administration, etc ) . In effect competitory advantage accrues out of the alone ways in which a house organises and performs its activities.
Achieving sustained competitory advantage in any competitory environment, harmonizing to Porter, consequences from being the lowest-cost manufacturer of the product/service or by successfully distinguishing it from those of its rivals in footings of ‘value ‘ . The concern processes which a house carries out and the activities it performs consequence in making value for its clients ( Porter & A ; Millar, 1985 ) . In Porter and Millar ‘s position, to accomplish competitory advantage over its rivals, a house must either make better value to its clients and execute its activities comparatively more expeditiously than its rivals ( lowest cost ) ; or execute its activities in a distinguishable and alone manner which creates greater value to purchasers and commands a premium monetary value ( distinction ) . And in order to better their bing concern procedures to heighten organizational public presentation, administrations make investings in IT for enabling efficient, low cost operations, cost control in the administration ‘s value-creation activities ( Miller, 1988 ) .
Strategic Information Systems
The strategic usage of information systems by houses for obtaining competitory advantage was foremost strongly posited by Porter and Millar ( 1985 ) . And since the work of Porter and Millar, many research workers have asserted that the strategic usage of IS by a house can by and large take to deriving competitory advantage or cut downing a competitory advantage of the house ‘s rivals ( Wiseman, 1985 ; Porter & A ; Millar, 1985, Porter, 1996 ; Turban et Al 2010 ) .
Strategic Information Systems ( SIS ) is the application of Information systems, “ used to back up and determine an organisation ‘s competitory scheme ” ( Wiseman, 1985, in Cavaye & A ; Cragg 1993, p.126 ) . Harmonizing to Reponen ( 1993, cited in Turunen & A ; Kamarainen, 1999 ) , “ Strategic Information Systems are information systems which are designed to convey competitory advantage or have resulted in a competitory border ” . A more recent definition of Strategic Information Systems is given by Hemmatfar, Salehi, and Bayat ( 2010, p.160 ) . They define a Strategic Information System as, “ the information system to back up or alter endeavor ‘s scheme ” ( ibid ) .
SIS and Competitive Advantage
SIS is used to back up an administration ‘s strategic determination devising and for drive, formulating, back uping, and implementing scheme ( Doyle, 1991 ) . And in pattern, the strategic usage of IS has been found to make competitory advantages by associating administrations with their clients and providers through efficient information sharing between them ( ibid ) . Further, SIS has created higher information processing capablenesss for industry jointly which any member house in the industry could non accomplish on its ain ( Norris & A ; Demeter, 1999 ) . This is because SIS can strongly act upon the manner in which an administration performs its single activities and can better the linkages both within and between the administrations ( McFarlan, 1984 ; Wiseman, 1984 ) .
The footings ‘Strategic IS ‘ and ‘Competitive IS ‘ appear to be confounding in the literature ( Cavaye & A ; Cragg 1993, p.126 ) . This is because IS applications are used for developing internal scheme for the intent of bettering an administration ‘s internal operations which in bend contribute to the development of the administration ‘s competitory scheme ( ibid ) . From a survey of 14 SIS-based administrations Neo ( 1988 ) concluded that many SIS that are internally oriented evolve finally have a competitory orientation. Cavaye & A ; Cragg ( 1993 ) assert that SIS that is internally oriented can take an administration to heighten its merchandise and service offerings which in bend would take the administration to go much more competitory. Furthermore, many empirical surveies indicate that SIS applications are used at the internal scheme degree and at the competitory degree every bit good as at the overall concern portfolio degree ( King & A ; Sabherwal, 1992 ) . SIS therefore has both an internally strategic function and a competitory strategic function ( Cavaye & A ; Cragg 1993 ) .
Modern administrations today develop and use SIS to obtain and derive a comparative competitory border over other houses ( O’Brien, 2004 ) . And competitory border may be gained through rendering better services than the rivals at lower costs ( Reponen, 1993, cited in Turunen & A ; Kamarainen, 1999 ) .
Although the competitory advantage can be sustained merely till the rivals build a better or similar SIS, yet a house can still obtain important distinction from its rivals through its distinguishable administration construction or superior direction of institutional context ( Turunen & A ; Kamarainen, 1999 ) . The public sector administrations, in peculiar, have alone construction in footings of group-organisation construction and common incorporate organizational maps ( ibid ) . The presence of these alone elements in the populace sector administrations by and large helps them to prolong competitory advantage ( ibid ) . When the information system of the populace sector administration is integrated with these elements it non merely take the house to derive sustainable competitory advantage, but besides would do it highly hard for the rivals to retroflex the IS ( ibid ) .
From their survey of 81 SIS, King and Sabherwal ( 1992 ) found that Strategic Information Systems can successfully supply cost advantages and distinction. Likewise, there are sufficient groundss available to demo that SIS has provided sustained competitory advantages ( Cavaye & A ; Cragg 1993 ) .
Use of SIS in public sector endeavors can take to deriving competitory advantages ( Turunen, 1998 ) . Cases of usage of SIS for competitory advantage are when the information systems in administrations are ( Ward & A ; Griffiths, 1996 ) :
Associating the administration to its clients.
Making effectual integrating of the usage of information resources in the value-adding procedure and value-chain activities.
Giving the direction utile information to assist in developing and implementing appropriate scheme for the administration.
It is imperative for the populace sector administrations to prolong competitory advantage since the budgetary allotments are made by the Government to which other public administrations compete every bit good ( Turunen, 1998 ) .
The major end of developing an SIS is to pull off information systems efficaciously for bettering operational efficiency, promote and present high quality merchandises and services, and construct strategic information resources to heighten administration competence ( Ward & A ; Peppard, 2003 ) . As a consequence, the cardinal aim of SIS is to better fight by altering the nature or behavior of concern through investings in IS/IT for obtaining competitory advantage ( ibid ) . This cardinal SIS aim is straight related to the administration ‘s success as SIS can significantly lend to successful organizational public presentation and farther betterments can be obtained as good with the sweetenings to IT capabilities that can take to be decreases ( Wiseman, 1985 ) .
In the context of the populace sector, the major focal point of the application of SIS is to function the critical intents of supplying high quality goods and services for the citizens for advancing the economic development of states and international trade to prolong socio-economic public assistance ( Palvia, Palvia, and Zigli, 1990 ) . As a consequence, the usage of SIS is indispensable for today ‘s administrations to back up, form, and implement organizational vision and missions every bit good as organizational policies and way ( ibid ) .
Strategic Information Systems Planning
An built-in portion of concern planning and a subsystem of SIS, Strategic Information Systems Planning ( SISP ) is concerned with the efficient and effectual usage of administration ‘s IS resources ( Lederer & A ; Sethi, 1996 ; O’Brien, 2004 ) .
SISP is defined by Lederer and Sethi ( 1996, p.105 ) as, “ the procedure of placing a portfolio of computer-based applications to help an administration in put to deathing its concern programs and recognizing its concern ends ” .
Research indicates that the top two major ends of SISP are to ( Earl, 1993 ) :
Align IS with the administration ‘s demands, and
Search for chances for usage of IT to make competitory advantage.
It is critically of import to guarantee that the strategic ends, purposes, and aims of the administration should drive all the programs ; and all the programs of the administration should back up the same scheme and ends to guarantee alliance of IS with the administration ‘s demands for making competitory advantage ( Grover & A ; Segars, 2005 ) . Since information systems have a strong potency to alter the manner a house performs its activities it is imperative that any alterations to Be must be aligned with the ends of the administration ( Li & A ; Chen, 2001 ) .
In many administrations today SISP is straight parallel to their concern planning procedures and it supports and facilitates the preparation of corporate scheme and in making so SISP contributes to successful organizational public presentation ( Earl, 1993 ; Grover & A ; Segars, 2005 ) .
Harmonizing to King ( 1988 ) IS be aftering as used in todays administration has evolved through three phases ( see Figure 2 ) :
Systems be aftering
Strategic Information Systems Planning
Figure 2: Three-Stage Development of IS Planing
( Beginning: King, 1988 )
King was the first research worker to theoretical account IS be aftering which paved the manner for farther researches ( Teo & A ; Ang, 2000 ; Li & A ; Chen, 2001 ) . King ‘s IS be aftering theoretical account is based on ‘input – procedure – end product – impact ‘ shows organizational ends and organizational resources as inputs to the system that creates IS program which is composed of the administration ‘s IS mission, IS ends, and IS resource demands which together is intended to bring forth positive impact on organizational public presentation ( see Figure 3 ) .
Figure 3: King ‘s IS Planning Model
( Beginning: King, 1988 )
SISP today addresses be aftering non merely at the strategic degree but besides at the tactical and operational degrees and therefore it handles information in many different ways ( Grover & A ; Segars, 2005 ) . As a consequence more and more administrations are incorporating their planning activities with SIS for effectual information coevals and airing for obtaining successful organizational public presentation ( ibid ) .
SISP and Organisational Performance
Organizational public presentation covers the wide scope between the administration and direction system for obtaining information for the intent of driving scheme. The extent to which information systems really contribute to obtaining the coveted organizational ends and their effects on organizational public presentation, determines SISP effectivity ( Hamilton & A ; Chervany, 1981 ) .
Organizational public presentation, harmonizing to Huselid ( 1995 ) , is the concluding result of the administration ‘s effectual usage of its resources which produce improved fiscal benefits and contribute to organizational growing. Furthermore, administrations that possess typical competency have a higher likeliness of accomplishing successful organizational public presentation and organizational growing ( Snow & A ; Hrebiniak, 1980 ) . Organizational public presentation can be ascertained from appropriate steps established for directing and supervising activities in order to obtain coveted results ( Huselid, 1995 ) .
SISP procedures are a critical constituent for organizational public presentation ( Li & A ; Chen, 2001 ) . Since SISP is composed of systems and IS procedures which are interconnected with the administration it straight influences organizational public presentation ( Ward & A ; Peppard, 2003 ) . Additionally, SISP processes include how an administration performs its activities which in bend affect organizational public presentation ( Grover & A ; Segars, 2005 ) .
Confronting an of all time altering external environment which besides warrants internal organizational alterations, administrations progressively depend on SISP to rationalize their determination devising with IS procedures to supply strategic information. This is because IS processes set up communicating webs to inform effectual organizational determinations and to maintain the administration ‘s operations traveling on successfully ( Neo, 1988 ) . Management must plan and develop SISP to guarantee that the administration ‘s operations are focussed toward customer-orientation in order to implement scheme efficaciously for a positive organizational public presentation ( King & A ; Sabherwal, 1992 ) .
Higher likeliness of successful administration public presentation is possible when the IS has been suitably aligned with the house ‘s competitory capacities and the direction should guarantee that their SIS incorporates this ( Henderson & A ; Sifonis, 1988 ) .
Measuring Organizational Performance
Formal appraisal procedures are required to measure organizational public presentation. The Balanced Scorecard ( Kaplan & A ; Norton, 1996 ) is a widely used tool for planning and pull offing the public presentation of administrations and laterally for developing the concern scheme ( Ward & A ; Peppard, 2003 ) . Many administrations are utilizing Kaplan and Norton ‘s Balanced Scorecard ( BSC ) model to pull off efficaciously and mensurate their IS/IT attempts ( Keyes, 2005 ) . Kaplan and Norton assert that traditional public presentation rating based on fiscal accounting parametres is deficient and weak as they are historical. They argue that the traditional fiscal steps can be augmented by four cardinal rating procedures ( see Table 1 ) which integrate a house ‘s strategic ends with tactical and operational actions for improved appraisal of organizational public presentation. The four interconnected rating steps for analyzing and measuring organizational public presentation are ( Kaplan & A ; Norton, 1996 ; 2000 ) :
Internal Business Process
Learning and Growth.
Table 1: The Four Positions in a Balanced Scorecard
( Beginning: Kaplan & A ; Norton, 1996 )
For each of these four positions aims can be established and cardinal public presentation indexs ( KPIs ) assigned for each objective which leads to the information needed to mensurate organizational public presentation.
Given the current concern scheme, the end products from the building of the Balanced Scorecard can enable administrations to transport out a strict appraisal of their IS/IT demands and prioritised IS/IT chances and therefore ease SISP every bit good as measuring and measuring organizational public presentation. This is because the KPIs within a BSC model aid supervise the feed-forward measurings to find whether the aims and work procedures contribute to desired results ( Kaplan & A ; Norton, 2000 ) .
Abu Dhabi Public Sector
An oil-rich state, Abu Dhabi is one of the seven emirates that make up the federation of the United Arab Emirates ( UAE ) . Abu Dhabi lies across the Arabian Gulf flanked on the West by Qatar and on the E by the Sultanate of Oman. As at terminal of twelvemonth 2009 Abu Dhabi ‘s population stood at 1.643 million[ 2 ].
The Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi began its Government restructuring programme in twelvemonth 2005, which includes public sector reform among all the Government projects, in order to hike the efficiency of the work force in the populace sector every bit good as to heighten Government productiveness to outdo function the public assistance needs of its people[ 3 ]. As a consequence of the public reform the Government of Abu Dhabi expects its directors of the populace sector administrations to utilize the resources allocated expeditiously and efficaciously for accomplishing successful organizational public presentation. And in order to make this the assorted public sector administrations should hold automated information systems and develop appropriate public presentation measuring systems to guarantee effectual and efficient service bringing to people[ 4 ].
Presently, there are 706 public sector administrations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi[ 5 ]. The major public sector administrations among these are ( merely 10 of them are listed here as cardinal illustrations ) :
General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police ( ADP )
Abu Dhabi Airports Company ( ADAC )
Abu Dhabi Customs Administration
Abu Dhabi Education Council ( ADEC )
Abu Dhabi Systems & A ; Information Centre ( ADSIC )
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority ( ADTA )
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council ( UPC )
Department of Economic Development ( DED )
Department of Finance ( DOF )
Health Authority-Abu Dhabi.
Today ‘s public sector administrations operate in an progressively competitory and tight fiscal environment ( Salminen, A. & A ; Niskanen, 1996 cited in Turunen & A ; Kamarainen, 1999 ) . It can be seen from the above sampled list that all these public sector administrations of Abu Dhabi are service-based administrations. Each of these public sector administrations compete for budgetary allotments from the Government of Abu Dhabi.
Furthermore, there is besides indirect competition between the populace sector administrations and the administrations in the private sector ( Turunen & A ; Kamarainen, 1999 ) in Abu Dhabi every bit good as in the other Emirates. A good illustration in this respect is the competition for the proviso of health care services between the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi and private sector health care suppliers in Abu Dhabi. Likewise, the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi competes with Dubai Health Authority.
A well designed SIS non merely enables scheme but besides has the possible to supply competitory advantage for the populace sector administrations in Abu Dhabi through improved services every bit good as lower costs which would besides beef up the preparation of effectual scheme.
Information Systems and Abu Dhabi Public Sector
There are three classs of IS in usage in Abu Dhabi public sector.
Class 1 consists of information systems that include population-related registries, transit registries, commercial registries, and legal registries ( e.g. public public-service corporation companies, national library, and records of immoveable belongings ) .
Class 2 comprises information systems that handle the Government of Abu Dhabi ‘s cardinal planning and authorities budgeting, and national accounting and fiscal coverage. More of import map of Category 2 information systems is concerned with income transportations through revenue enhancements and subsidies.
Class 3 is composed of information systems that handle the direction of critical resources of the Government of Abu Dhabi viz. , finance information systems, human resource information systems, and information systems used for the direction of the Abu Dhabi Government ‘s works and machinery, stuffs, and paperss.
The end product from these three classs of information systems provide critical information, given the sensitive nature of Government information, which needs to be managed efficaciously and expeditiously at all times. In effect, the Government of Abu Dhabi has designed the functionality of these informational systems to enable their chosen scheme to supply enhanced public services to its citizens.
The chapter discussed the literature that is related to this research survey. Based on the literature a questionnaire would be developed to roll up the necessary empirical groundss in order to carry through the purposes and aims of this survey.