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Learning lessons of dotcom age

By on May 12, 2021

first_img Comments are closed. Learning lessons of dotcom ageOn 13 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today The second half of last yearsaw one young e-business crash after another and was in stark contrast to thepreceding 12 months when, it seemed, dotcoms could not fail. After consulting work in a numberof e-businesses, including the ill-fated Boo.com, Robin Derrett, formerEuropean HR director of retail outlet Gap, set up a consultancy to supportstart-ups, venture capitalists or incubator companies involved with dotcoms.Derrett runs thehrpeople.com withco-director Tanya Sinclair, who worked with him at Gap as UK recruitmentmanager. It also offers interim HR management and outsourced HR services.Current clients include the idea-to-IPO incubator Gorilla Park, Shell InternetWorks, the Ministry of Sound and e-Kingfisher, the e-channel of the majorretailing group.Why did youdecide to set up thehrpeople.com?Robin Derrett While working indotcoms I realised the need for quality HR support. Many receive no HR supportuntil it is too late. I like the feeling of providing an HR contribution earlyand really making a difference. It’s an opportunity to reinvent HR’s service tobusiness.Tanya Sinclair We realised whatdotcoms want isn’t the standard service – they need someone to stay with themand execute it. How does yourrelationship with the client work typically?RD Usually clients are in the50 people or less category and are usually an e-business. We go on site for sixto 12 weeks and put in the HR infrastructure: performance management,contracts, payroll, organ- isational structures, compensation and benefitspackages and recruitment. We only recruit for the customer on its own site – weare not a recruitment agency and need to remain separate from it.TS None of our clientrelationships have been the same so far. At Gorilla Park, I went in as acompensation and benefits specialist and ended up looking after recruitment andan HR office. With e-Kingfisher, it wanted a rapid expansion and we puttogether a preferred supplier list and got on with hiring. For the group’sB&Q channels, I did a specific generalist role and set up the HRdepartment.We have lots of ways we cansupport clients. We also offer what we call HR direct where a client retainsour services when it needs us. What are thecommon mistakes people make when staffing an e-business or e-division?RD Using poor qualityrecruitment providers and processes, lack of anticipation of what life in adotcom is like, under-recruiting the skills required, lack of courtship of keyrecruits, offering wrong packages and poor planning. TS Lots of line managers saythey can’t make a decision – they are not really sure what core competenciesthey’re looking for. We have found that unless the recruitment and selection processis slick and the company is set up to offer jobs quickly, it will miss outbecause the candidate will have had three other offers by then. There has beentoo much emphasis on stock options – people much prefer a higher salary now.Bonus programmes and giving employees targeted goals are of interest though,and are more effective.You couldn’tsee a newspaper at the end of last year without reading about another dotcomcrash. What were the main factors for failure as you saw it?RD The failures are in no smallpart due to lack of HR support – whether it be recruiting and retaining theright talent, or packing growth in line with finances. Other factors were lackof focus and delivery against objectives, poor structures, increasingly poorcommunications and immature management. Boo was a high-profilecasualty. You were brought in a long time after launch but what were its mainfailings?TS The management was talentedand bright but lacked corporate experience and there was a lack of empowerment –one or two key individuals wanted to make all the decisions. From day one wehad six offices in New York, Paris, London, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Munichbecause it was launched as a global company. One of the first things I had todo was make 50 to 60 people redundant because there was no manpower plan orclear organisation chart.But it was an amazingexperience – the culture, passion, energy and belief, even when the liquidatorswere in everyone thought we would get a buyer. Whenever I enter a company now Iask where the plan is, the mission statements, the budgets and who is makingthe decisions.How do you feel the nextwave of dotcoms will fare?RD I suspect that the nature ofstart-ups will remain the same, only the venture capital and money people willbe more rigorous about management skills and many will take a closer look atwhat HR has to offer at an earlier stage.TS I think we’ll see thecontinued emergence of dotcorps which will combine the sturdy principles ofold-fashioned business with the pace and culture of dotcoms. Unless dotcoms canadopt some of their disciplines, they’ll have difficulties. If they’re smartthey should investigate best practice from both sides.Everyone said the main problemwith Boo was it spent too much on marketing – but it wasn’t just that.Unfortunately, the real lesson we should learn has not been so wellarticulated.http://www.thehrpeople.com/Websiteof the week: www.trainingpages.co.ukNot all websites are open abouthow many visitors they have because, quite frankly, it can make pitiful reading.Not so, though, Training Pages from information systems and marketing companyGB Direct; it bares all in its automatically updated access statistics section.You can view how many people have visited the site this year on any given day.23 January saw most hits with 2,131, but even Sundays score around the 400-500mark – what ever happened to the day of rest?. While all of this makesinteresting reading, the site’s primary aim is finding you a course and with10,984 courses grouped into 335 categories, it should succeed. As well assearching through each category, you can search by keyword or refine yoursearch by selecting desired experience, delivery method and duration. All ofour searches returned a healthy crop of courses, complete with mini synopsis,which can then be clicked through for full details. Users are then given theoption of contacting the course provider via e-mail or phone. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Will the UK’s resurged unions ever catch up with EU framework?

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first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Will the UK’s resurged unions ever catch up with EU framework?On 31 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Britain has seen a fairly constant decline in trade union influence sincethe 1970s and the causes have been much debated. The Thatcher reforms to unionlaw, and the shift from heavy industry to a service-centred economy weresignificant. So too was high unemployment. The recent emergence of a tighter labour market, however, and the LabourGovernment’s changes to labour law, signalled a renaissance in unionmembership. Union influence is now recovering from low levels. But how typicalis it of other European countries? The general picture across the EU is of stable levels of influence. Unionsin Europe are underpinned by supportive institutional frameworks and workscouncils. These frameworks are largely accepted by European managers andprovide a stable basis for unions at an enterprise level. The countries most similar to Britain in terms of union decline are Finlandand Sweden. However, in both Finland and Sweden unions continue to enjoy highlevels of legitimacy within the political system. The trend towards reducedinfluence in all three countries (and, to a lesser extent, in Germany) isexplained by an increasing trend towards decentralised bargaining. Unions findit difficult to move from sectoral to enterprise bargaining. Other countries demonstrate a different trend. In France and Spain, forexample, the number of organisations reporting increased influence outweighsthose reporting the opposite. Even though union membership in these countriesis low, the institutional frameworks and labour markets are supportive. TheSpanish economy, in particular, has shown high levels of growth during the1990s. Unions in European countries are clearly moving in different directions interms of their influence in organisations. This creates a challenge formanagers in devising Europe-wide policies. last_img read more

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Grocery standard develops staff for senior positions

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first_img Comments are closed. Grocery standard develops staff for senior positionsOn 23 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. A new training scheme in the grocery trade has been set up to help groomfuture senior managers. The Institute of Grocery Distribution has introduced the FoundationCertificate in Management for junior managers and staff who are new to thesector. Sainsbury’s has already sent 46 employees on the course, which covers a widerange of roles including manager trading, customer service and stock control. Jackie Watson, talent director at Sainsbury’s, explained, “It isimportant that future senior managers are exposed to the key issues in thewider trading environment, enabling them to think outside their day-to-dayroles.” The course, accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University, comprisesworkshops, assignments and a project, with the best candidates qualifying for acash prize and a trophy. www.igd.org.comlast_img read more

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Guru

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first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. This week’s guruThe force won’t be with you if you’re overweightGuru will be watching with interest changes to policing in the UK followingpublication of the Police Reform Bill, which the Home Secretary hopes willboost efficiency and cut crime rates. He is interested in how other countries are developing their police forcesto boost the performance of officers. In India they are taking thetransformation process quite literally. Police authorities have told overweightofficers to lose weight or risk losing a month’s salary. “The size of a policeman’s belly has a bearing on the crime rate. Unfitpolicemen have no place on the force. They can’t chase criminals if they can’twalk properly,” said Allahabad’s superintendent of police RK Vishwakarma. German men get fringe benefits Working for the civil service is a demanding job. Grappling withlegislation, dealing with endless reams of bureaucracy and prudently budgetingpublic cash is no walk in the park. That’s just in the UK, so spare a thoughtfor civil servants in Germany, where the Teutonic quest for organisation andefficiency is relentless. It’s a situation that would have Guru pulling his hair out, which isprobably why German male civil servants are entitled to state support for wigsfollowing a landmark ruling. Before the decision by the federal court of administration, only women wereentitled to free wig funding. But in a landmark boost for equality, the fringebenefit has been extended. It overturns a previous ruling that was accused ofsplitting hairs when denying folically challenged men the right to wigs funds. Post-industrial name change Will Hutton and his merry band have finally realised they have been workingunder a misnomer. There is no point in being called the Industrial Society whenthe UK hasn’t been able to describe itself in that way since the mid-1970s. So, those clever types are trying to come up with a new name. The frontrunner is The Work Foundation. Although it sounds like a dirty process in theconstruction industry, it has to be better than the pretentious Latin names somany are favouring (Demos, Amicus and the less well-known Ideas’r’us). Considering that the whole UK workforce will be working in customer serviceswithin five years, Guru thinks the Crazy Call Centre Collective might be moreapt, or at least the Post-Industrial Society. Got any ideas we can forward to Mr Hutton c/o Guru? Paying the price for poor grammarStaff at Nottingham City Council andjournalists at a Swiss newspaper will be watching their spelling, punctuationand grammar after their employers announced plans to fine them for makingmistakes.Graham Chapman, council leader at Nottingham Council wantsstaff to pay into a swear box for such grammar crimes.And journalists at Le Temps newspaper in Switzerland are up inarms over an editor’s plans to fine them E3.4 euros (about £2.15) for spelling,punctuation and factual errors.The hacks have called a meeting to discuss the measure, whichthey call “childish and authoritarian”. Guru is relieved there hasnever been a question mark over his spelling but he would like to see a fullstop to this approach to schoolboy errors. GuruOn 12 Feb 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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T&G calls for voluntary sector partnerships

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first_img Previous Article Next Article T&G calls for voluntary sector partnershipsOn 25 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. The Transport and General Workers’ Union is calling for the voluntary sectorto forge a new partnership with the trade unions to overcome recruitment andretention problems. Jack Dromey, national organiser for the T&G, urged bosses not to shortchange charity workers on pay. He told delegates at the National Council for Voluntary OrganisationsConference: “The voluntary sector boasts a resource the private sectorwould pay in spades for – a committed, motivated workforce. “However, as the T&G would argue, in any sector – public, privateor voluntary – if you want quality delivery you need to pay for quality people.That means no short-changing charity workers on pay. “Many organisations have made the leap into the 21st century in termsof service delivery and campaigning for social change. It is theirresponsibility to ensure their working conditions are equallyprofessional.” Dromey said the Government must play a part by raising standards in thevoluntary sector by establishing a skills council. “The voluntary sector and trade unions have a lot to gain from forginga new partnership,” he said. “We share common values and a common purpose and we urge managers inthe voluntary sector to work with the unions to improve recruitment andretention. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Employers must be proactive on breastfeeding

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first_img Previous Article Next Article Employers that fail to provide facilities for breastfeeding risk breakingthe law according to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). EOC chair Julie Mellor said it was important that employers understood theirlegal responsibilities towards women who choose to continue to breastfeed whenthey return to work. This follows last week’s Government’s recommendation thatwomen should breastfeed for the first six months. “Many women who choose to continue breastfeeding face problems at workbecause of a lack of flexibility from employers,” said Mellor. “Somewomen have even been forced to resign or have been dismissed. “There are various forms of practical support employers can offer womento help them continue breastfeeding after they return to work. The employerwill then fulfil their legal obligations, while also ensuring they don’t losevaluable members of staff at the end of their maternity leave.” The EOC’s advice (above) follows its decision to launch an investigationinto workplace discrimination against pregnant women after widespread reportsof discriminatory behaviour. EOC advice on how to treat breastfeeding women – Allow rest periods and access to a private room – Provide access to a refrigerator – Allow rest periods and a private room for breastfeeding if there is aworkplace nursery – Ensure there are no health and safety risks that could affect her or thebaby – Allow for the recommendation that babies should be breastfed for at leastsix months – Do not ban her from returning to work because she is breastfeeding – Do not refuse to accommodate breastfeeding Comments are closed. Employers must be proactive on breastfeedingOn 20 May 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Letters

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first_img Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 20 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. This week’s lettersExposing sexism is just one step on the road to equalityI am very grateful to Personnel Today for exposing the Sunday Times’ ad withthe title, ‘What turns businessmen on? Domination’ (News, 6 April). However, your own headline: ‘Sexist Sunday Times angers female readers’,obscures the fact that many men also found this advert offensive, andregistered complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority. Some might argue that the boast of being the ‘most read publication amongbusinessmen’ is simply a representation of the ‘facts’. Perhaps – butrepresentations can be self-perpetuating. The danger is, the more we depict the business world as being male-dominatedand white, the more this is unlikely to change (there is still only one femalechair on the FTSE 100 after 30 years of the Sex Discrimination Act, as well asa 25 per cent pay gap). In addition to rendering business women virtually invisible from thebusiness world, this advert’s use of aggressive language in conjunction withsexual innuendo is a very disturbing development. In a world where sexual harassment and bullying are sadly all toocommonplace, this is not only irresponsible, but profoundly sinister in itsperniciousness. Tess Finch-Lees Independent Global Diversity Specialist Meaningful feedback is the key to success I read with great interest your recent article on ‘Failing to manageperformance’ (News analysis, 2 March). Poor business planning is one of the reasons that performance managementsystems fail. Many companies ‘forget’ to link business objectives to theirperformance objectives and what people do on a daily basis. This is crazy –individual and organisational outputs are directly linked. Even when businessplanning takes place, HR representatives are often excluded from suchdiscussion. This makes no sense as a company’s employee base represents (onaverage) 70 per cent of its intangible assets, and therefore a significantproportion of its value. Employee motivation remains a top priority for companies, yet overridingevidence suggests that performance management systems are actually having theopposite effect. This is because the systems in place are far too complex. HRjargon is used instead of concise language. Individuals need a clearperformance management system that outlines achievable goals, and willtherefore be motivating. Technology is not the answer. Managers need to be properly trained in givingmeaningful feedback and setting and monitoring realistic and relevantperformance objectives if employee motivation is to be sustained. Ilana Album Senior consultant, Credos Better rewards are not enough for staff I was concerned to read the article ‘Management is key as pay gap keepsgrowing’ in your 6 April issue. It makes me wonder whether the Government and HR really is at the bidding ofthe ‘fat cats’. It is insulting to those in lower-paid jobs that as the pay gapwidens, companies think they can console them with a more sophisticatedapproach to ‘rewards’, such as work-life balance and better working conditions.It is an admirable gesture, but these ‘rewards’ do not pay the bills. Muchof the stress exhibited in the workplace results from financial or emotionalworries. Fiona Digby-Ovens Administrator, Management Development Women need to be better represented I fully support Jane Goodwin’s letter (23 March). Initially, I thought I wasbeing over-sensitive to the gender issue when I tutted with indignation at themale-dominated articles presented to the largely female HR community. This current issue follows the narrowly aligned race and gender norms ofprevious Personnel Today issues. None of the articles focus on workplaceachievements or innovations steered by women. I would like you to reflect upon whether or not Personnel Today has achievedan accurate and fair representation of the contribution of women in HR. Caroline Millar Details supplied Employment law is getting in the way Caterers fed up with new employment regulations are not alone. The SmallBusiness Council’s research published last week illustrates what a bluntinstrument employment legislation has become. The study, carried out by Opinion Leader Research, showed many businessesare striving to improve employment practices, but few attribute their successto legislation. In fact, few believed new regulations were a positive force,and many felt changes in legislation were having a negative impact on employeerelations. The bottom line is that small businesses have a low awareness of employmentregulations, and see complying with them as a low priority. I firmly believe there are a host of more effective measures thanlegislation to encourage good employment practices. As William Sargent,chairman of the Small Business Council, explained at the launch of theresearch: “Policy makers need to consider alternatives to regulation,because regulation does not always work.” Sarah Anderson Chair, Regulatory Interest Group of the Small Business Council PT website needs to get down to business I really enjoyed your fun quizzes on the website. I scored full points onemployment law and top marks for suitability for homeworking. Any chance ofmore similar quizzes, perhaps on a more serious note? Jane Morgan Details supplied Please check out www.personneltoday.com in the ‘Test Yourself’ series.This time we tackle ethics. Is experience really that more important? One of your flexible learning advertisers repeatedly feeds us the headline‘Experience is Everything.’ If that really is the case, why is the advert trying to sell me a CIPDqualification? Mumtaz Habibi Details supplied Time for CIPD to give cheaper alternatives I currently work as personnel officer for Europe’s largest pelagicprocessor, and I have been trying to find a suitable distance learning route togain the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification.I have more than six years’ experience in the role, along with othertraining courses, and have dealt with all areas of personnel and HR. Unfortunately, the CIPD enforces a necessity to attend workshops on themainland UK, and are not prepared to listen to individual circumstances. If I followed a distance learning route, which can be expensive anyway, thenthe cost of the course would rise by around £1,200 for each visit to a weekendworkshop. I think that the CIPD and training providers should start to recogniseindividual circumstances, and try to sound a little interested when consideringalternatives such as local testing centres. Can anyone help? Chris Manson Personnel officer, Shetland Catch Ltd Civil service job cuts are not the solution Having worked alongside civil servants, I do not believe that simply cuttingthe number of jobs will improve efficiency (News Analysis, 30 March). I believe the management styles are inefficient, and that there is a highproportion of lethargy among long-term employees who are happy to sit andproduce the minimum required. This is not measured or monitored by senior managers and creates a negativeimage for the rest of the civil servants. Details supplied last_img read more

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Readers respond to coaching

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first_imgReaders respond to coachingOn 9 Feb 2006 in Personnel Today Here readers have their say about articles published in Training & Coaching Today. This month, two readers respond to training adviser Gary Platt’s view – published in our January issue – that coaching is a “here today and gone tomorrow” phenomenon. To go to the original article, click here.This was a brilliant article, obviously written by a hands-on trainer. I suspect that Mr Platt doesn’t waste too much time on listening to consultants who have ‘new-wave ideas’. It was a breath of fresh air and an article that new trainers ought to take note of. I can envisage all the corporate seagulls choking on their bread as they are dismissing the reality of the content.Peter Frankum,Training managerCoaching – here today and something else tomorrow! I don’t think so.Initially born out of constructionist learning theory (Dewey, circa 1890), the first peer-reviewed mention of coaching was made by Gorby in 1937.He described older employees coaching new employees on waste management. Executive and business coaching emerged from leadership programmes in the 1980s. Place this in the context of the emergence of HR as a power player in the corporate world, talent shortages and a heightened awareness of the value of Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence, whose research indicates coaching is one of the top two quoted competencies for getting results. We can say that the 1990s saw the emergence of coaching as a profession, within an identifiable industry.Today? Well a search on Google under the specific heading of ‘executive coaching’, generates 11,600,000 results.So, why is coaching here to stay? Simply because when it works, it’s fabulous to see the poor performer generate hitherto unattainable returns.The executive who reframes his behaviour and dynamically affects the culture and working conditions company-wide, the ‘aha!’ moments, the impact of a simple conversation on an individual about to exit a business who then perceives a new way… I could go on.Will coaching stay? Without a doubt, changing and growing, adapting to new needs and lessons learned; business will learn to choose coaches wisely and integrate a coaching culture more subtlety.Coaching is here, it just might not look the same tomorrow.Guy BloomGroup talent manager Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

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FTC approves CoStar’s $250M Homesnap acquisition

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first_imgThe Homesnap acquisition is another way for CoStar to compete in the residential real estate market. It’s made $2 billion worth of acquisitions since 2014, including Apartments.com ($585 million), ApartmentFinder ($170 million), ForRent ($385 million) and Cozy Services ($68 million).With 150 employees, it is on track to generate $40 million in revenue this year, up 45 percent year over year. More than 1.1 million agents use its free product, which it claims represents 90 percent of licensed U.S. agents.“With the new addition of clients and information … we are almost tripling the size of our addressable markets,” Florence said in November.In New York City, which does not have an MLS, Homesnap recently struck a deal with the Real Estate Board of New York to build out a public-facing portal for residential listings.Earlier this week, REBNY sent a cease-and-desist letter to software developer Michael Gabriel and data partner RealPlus over a new listings platform they planned to launch called homes.nyc. The trade group said the two improperly used residential listings data from REBNY members.Contact E.B. Solomont Share via Shortlink Message* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name*center_img CoStar’s Andrew Florance and Homesnap’s John Mazur (CoStart; LinkedIn)CoStar Group got federal regulators’ stamp of approval to buy residential tech provider Homesnap for $250 million, but the data giant still faces scrutiny over another acquisition that would strengthen its grip on residential listings.CoStar said the Federal Trade Commission cleared its purchase of Homesnap after the two companies submitted the proposed merger last month. Homesnap works with multiple listing services around the country, acting as a front-end portal for agents.In a statement, CEO Andy Florance praised the quick review and said it would allow coStar to “close this transaction quickly.”Days after CoStar and Homesnap announced their deal last month, the FTC sued to block CoStar’s $588 million purchase of rental listing platform RentPath, which operates Rent.com and ForRent.com and filed for bankruptcy last year. In an administrative complaint, it said the deal would give CoStar too much control since it already operates Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com and ForRent.com.CoStar countered that the FTC was “wrong in its assessment.”Read moreWatch out Zillow, here comes CoStar FTC sues to stop CoStar’s $585M Rentpath buy Accusations and rivalry spur legal fight over new NYC listings portal TagsCostar GroupResidential Real EstateTechnologyzillow Email Address*last_img read more

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The accuracy of simple methods for determining the height of the maximum electron concentration of the F2-layer from scaled ionospheric characteristics

By on May 9, 2021

first_imgThe techniques for estimating hmF2 from M(3000)F2 are reviewed with particular stress put upon those in which the effects of underlying ionization are accounted for by a correction (ΔM) to M(3000)F2, formulated in terms of the ratio foF2/foE(=xE). The simplifying assumptions involved in the three practical implementations (Bradley and Dudeney, 1973; Dudeney, 1974; Bilitza et al., 1979) are emphasised and their consequences investigated quantitatively using a numerical simulation. The factors considered are the dependence upon ymF2, the importance of the underlying layer shape (in particular the significance of the F1-ledge), and the influence of the geomagnetic field. It is demonstrated that the correction technique relies upon ymF2 being a direct polynomial function of hmF2. Analysis of observational data suggests that this relationship holds in practice. Fluctuations in ymF2 about this mean variation are shown to produce only small effects which decrease in magnitude as the amount of underlying ionization increases. The results indicate that underlying layer shape becomes very important when a large amount of underlying ionization is present (xE<2.5). However, the global morphology of the occurrence of the F1-ledge is such that it is invariably present in such circumstances (ignoring the polar regions). Hence, the ionosphere tends to assume a specific profile form for low xE cases. The three implementations are shown all to fortuitously incorporate this behaviour. It is demonstrated that exclusion of the geomagnetic field introduces a very small extra uncertainty dependent upon gyrofrequency and geomagnetic latitude, which decreases as the amount of underlying ionization increases. The three implementations are compared and it is concluded that the Dudeney (1974) scheme gives the best overall performance. The more modern and complex Bilitza et al. (1979) scheme appears to have no performance advantages, whilst containing a sunspot number dependent geomagnetic term whose behaviour is irreconcilible with the numerical simulation. The Dudeney (1974) equation is shown to be accurate to between 4 and 5% at magnetic mid-latitudes. The scope for further refinement is considered but rejected as being unlikely to produce an increase in accuracy commensurate with the effort required.last_img read more

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