• The Isle of Man: All dressed up but nowhere to go. Can place branding and marketing strategies help turn around the fortunes of the Isle of Man?

      Moss, Danny; Ashford, Ruth; Clements, Florida (University of Chester, 2020-11)
      Place branding and marketing has become one of the tools employed in the competition between countries and cities for attracting businesses, investments and a talented workforce. Place branding and its underlying factors, place identity and place image, have been widely researched especially in the last two decades, however it is yet to be agreed upon models and frameworks which can assist practitioners in their day-to-day activity. Through investigating the role of place identity in place branding strategies, this research aims to explore how place branding strategies can help the IoM to enhance its image and attract businesses and a talented workforce. Identification of a place brand model or framework would assist the IoM brand managers in their efforts to show the IoM as an attractive location for businesses and workers. This research was conducted adopting a social constructionist philosophy and following an interpretivist theoretical perspective. The focus of the research is placed on comparing and contrasting how the Isle of Man is perceived by local and relocated business people with how it is portrayed through the IoM government websites, providing a contrast between place identity and place brand identity. Therefore 15 interviews are analysed using thematic analysis and six IoM government websites are analysed using qualitative content analysis. From the findings emerged a strong sense of ambiguity when looking at the IoM as a place for business and as a place of residence highlighting the fact that people’s perceptions about places are not one dimensional. This finding supports the suggestion that places have multiple identities. Also some of the characteristics of the IoM were aligned with what was presented in the websites, but other characteristics did not, which coincided with dissatisfaction for the respondents. These findings suggest that misalignment of certain place brand attributes with place identity coincides with dissatisfaction, however the source of dissatisfaction is not the misalignment but rather the quality of the attributes not matching the expectations. Classification of the place brand attributes that give rise to dissatisfaction or satisfaction is identified as an important factor in developing the place brand strategies. The contribution of this research is focused on making a difference to business practices by offering a practical solution; an adaptation of the Two-factor Theory is suggested as a tool that could aid the process of brand attribute classification. The application of the Two-factor Theory could assist the IoM brand managers to monitor and develop the alignment of place identity with place brand identity. Whilst the adaptation of the Two-factor theory has already been confirmed in product branding, further quantitative research could help in establishing its reliability and validity for place branding.
    • Category management and strategic sourcing processes in local government: A phenomenographic investigation of the lived experiences of procurement managers

      Manning, Paul; Talbot, Jon; Benn-Ohikuare, Gregory A. (University of Chester, 2020-09)
      Increasingly tight financial constraints have meant category management (CM) and strategic sourcing (SS) processes have been adopted and integrated into the public sectors including English local government authorities (LGAs). The extant literature, however, argues that empirical research in these areas are underdeveloped especially in relation to competency and competencies. Therefore, this study aims to qualitatively investigate the different experiences of procurement managers in LGAs in England in terms of competency for accomplishing effective job performance through the use of CM and SS processes. The research methodology adopted is phenomenography, and data were collected through semi-structured interviews from a purposive sample of ten procurement managers. The data were analyzed following phenomenographic principles to identify the referential and structural aspects of experience. Ultimately, three main conceptions of competency for accomplishing effective job performance through the use of CM and SS processes are identified: Stakeholder Management; SocioTechnical Knowledge; and Achievement Orientation. This study not only expands the research context of phenomenography, but also contributes to the understanding of procurement managers’ conceptions of competency for accomplishing effective job performance through the use of CM and SS processes. The implications for procurement professionals are discussed.
    • Medium and large family businesses of North West England as learning organisations

      Harris, Phil; Lam, Wing; Page, Steve; Passikku Hannadige, Yimashi S. (University of Chester, 2020-10-30)
      This study is an exploration of the learning strategies of family businesses in the North West of England, within the framework of the theory of the Learning Organisation (LO). The main purpose of this study is to explore and evaluate the notion of the Learning Organisation and to investigate its prevalence and application to the Family Business sector within North West England. To date, a very limited amount of studies focused on the characteristics of the LO within the medium and large family business context. Therefore, this study contributes to knowledge by determining practical guidance for implementing LO characteristics that can be applied to family businesses. The study used a qualitative methodology, associated with the social constructivist and interpretivist paradigm. Six medium and large family businesses operating in North West England were chosen to facilitate the qualitative research. In the North West of England, medium and large family businesses have complex features which create high demand for owners and employees to adopt learning strategies discussed in the LO concept which makes it an ideal context to explore the prevalence and the application of LO characteristics. This research makes a number of contributions to knowledge. Firstly, through review and analysis of the currently available theoretical work from more than 40 LO theorists and practitioners spanning the last four decades. The development of this “theoretical frame of reference” and the terminology used for identifying and analysing of LO characteristics is not only seen as a vital fundamental step in the course of this thesis, but also as a major contribution to providing structure and improving the future academic study of LO. Second, findings from the study suggest that medium and large family businesses have shown the existence of some of the LO characteristics within the three main levels of the organisations. The notable findings of the research are that medium and large family businesses need to develop a learning culture with organisational learning to incorporate with the business strategy and provide a transformational leadership so as to achieve the possibility of becoming a LO. The findings identify that family businesses in the North West region have the potential to become Learning Organisations should they implement the proposed recommendations and changes to their currently family business models. Third, the thesis makes a methodological contribution by introducing a model of Learning Organisations which specifically relates to family businesses. Furthermore, this model aims to facilitate a learning culture that suggests family businesses adopt key characteristics of the LO for continuous improvement, collective learning, and enhancement of performance.
    • Exploring International Student Satisfaction in Private Higher Education Institutes in London

      Wall, Tony; Mehashwari, Vish; Qureshi, Fayyaz H. (University of Chester, 2020-07-29)
      In March 2019 the government of the United Kingdom developed a new strategy to strengthen Britain's leading role in the global higher education market, by aiming to increase the number of international students studying in the country by more than 30 per cent – which in turn would help to boost the income of educational exports to £35 billion (UK Government, 2019). The purpose of this study is to explore an understanding of international student satisfaction in institutions of private higher education in London, adding to the paucity of literature centred on international student satisfaction in private higher education in the UK in general and particularly in London. The private higher education sector in the United Kingdom is expanding rapidly, especially in London. An indicator of this is the number of private higher education institutions with degree awarding powers, which increased from only one private university to ten within less than a decade. Student satisfaction is a complex phenomenon and arguably related to or even extended from the concept of customer satisfaction, a relatively well-known concept in marketing literature. In higher education, only a few studies, mostly based on quantitative methods, are available within the subject area of student satisfaction. Furthermore, this existing body of work is limited to the public higher education sector. This is equally true for international students studying in private higher education institutions (PrHEIs) in London. This signifies the need to investigate thoroughly the perception and experience of international students studying at PrHEIs in London. The outcome of such a study should contribute to improving the quality of educational provisions not only in PrHEIs but also in public higher education institutions (PuHEIs). For this particular study, qualitative research was employed, by conducting twelve indepth interviews with international students to capture their experiences whilst measuring their levels of satisfaction, leading to the production of rich data. From this data, three themes emerged along with several subthemes; (1) Flexibility in policies - tuition fee policy, admission policy, multiple intakes and speedy admission processes, (2) Student friendly management- fast communication, a simple structure, quick decision making and easy access to senior management and (3) Feel being customers - customised service while the other significant existing themes such as course and institution selection, pre-arrival and arrival experience, learning & teaching , resources and overall satisfaction were matched to the expectations of the international students and findings in the literature. Recommendations were made particularly around emerging themes and subthemes in order to improve satisfaction by giving more value to student opinions and being more responsive to their needs and demands. This study further concludes that this can only be achieved if higher education (HE) considers students as customers. A need for further research was identified, to study more closely the relationship between new themes and subthemes and student satisfaction.
    • How and why are hourly paid employees motivated to work in a family owned food manufacturing sector SME within the United Kingdom?

      Manning, Paul; Bellamy, Lawrence; Sheffield, Duncan J. (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      The purpose of this study is to establish how and why hourly paid employees are motivated to work in a family owned food manufacturing sector SME within the United Kingdom. The study also seeks to identify and understand how these motivational factors are contingent on hierarchical level and life stage within hourly paid employees in UK food manufacturing SMEs, in order to develop an understanding of work-based motivation among hourly paid employees from a manager’s perspective. The research uses a case study approach within a third generation family-owned cheesemaker. The results of this study suggest, within the particular work environment and sample of respondents under review, that motivation originates from a combination of intrinsic factors, extrinsic factors and social influences. Using survey questionnaires and semi-structured interview techniques, the research established the main a priori themes driving work motivation within the organisation under review, namely; (1) job security, (2) financial motivation, (3) the work itself, and (3) changes in motivation over time. The results also identified a number of a posteriori themes which were of particular importance to the participating respondents, namely: (1) camaraderie and teamwork, (2) that the organisation was a progressive company with an enviable reputation, and (3) overtime. The study indicates that social influences can have a profound effect on motivation at work and can also be a source of increased productivity within an organisation. For example, camaraderie is proven to be a motivating factor among employees and contributes to workforce stability within the context of this case study. The research findings suggest that workforce stability breeds success and provide a framework for performance improvement based on developing human resource practices that focus on cultivating employee motivation. Identifying the key motivators in today’s society may provide organisations with opportunities to improve productivity through the motivation of their staff. Furthermore, staff retention could increase if workers become more motivated, which may lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness within an organisation. Motivated and committed employees could subsequently increase the competitive advantage of the organisation.
    • Transitions and student wellbeing in higher education: Exploring the role of Independent Learning Skills

      D'Artrey, Meriel; Wall, Tony; Rowlett, Debbie (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      The number of reported mental health issues amongst university students continues to rise, affecting student attainment and progression. Within this context, this study explores students’ experiences of wellbeing during transition to university, specifically exploring the under-researched area of how Independent Learning Skills (ILS) and wellbeing interrelate. A novel conceptual framework combining aspects of ILS and wellbeing was constructed which then informed semi-structured interviews with university business school students and a Template Analysis. The study found a variety of ways in which the development of ILS and student wellbeing can be helped and hindered during transition to university, for example, how student and university practices appear to affect ILS and wellbeing. As such, this study sits in contrast to previous research in combining two areas not typically combined to examine student transition, offering new practical insights into supporting students. Key contributions that have been made as a result of this research include a deeper understanding of the relationship between specific ILS skills and specific elements of wellbeing. The experiences that students had were found to be inconsistent relating to academic support and these experiences both positive and negative were shown to mediate the relationship between ILS and wellbeing. Early experiences of the students were shown to have an anchoring effect on ILS and wellbeing, for example not engaging with support offered by their Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) was later shown to have hindered achievements and feelings of wellbeing. The diversity of learning needs and preferences identified from the research was also found to relate to students’ development of ILS and associated feelings of wellbeing. Further research has been identified that seeks to explore the relationship between ILS and wellbeing to specific student outcomes, including student grades, retention and progression outcomes.
    • The experiences of older drivers in adopting new technologies in cars: an exploratory study

      Talbot, Jon; Bellamy, Lawrence; Varshney, Anuraj (University of Chester, 2020-03-28)
      Emerging technologies are at the forefront of semi-automation in cars. These advances in semi-automation have the potential to maintain independent mobility amongst older drivers, prolong safe driving practice and contribute towards reducing the burden of climate change. This practitioner based qualitative study aims to explore diversity of experiences of older drivers in England towards both the adoption of car technologies and its role in supporting effective self-regulation. The research investigator is a practitioner and this study has benefitted empirically through combining the practitioner's experiential learning and academic rigour to generate new knowledge in the field of older drivers' adoption of car technologies. The findings of this study have highlighted that older drivers are supportive of the use of technologies that provide them with feedback on their driving behaviour rather than taking away the control of the car from them. Additionally, the study found that there are several barriers likely to deter older people from using technologies relating to training, user engagement. This practitioner study concludes that concerted effort from all stakeholders would be required to create a favourable environment for older users to ensure maximum diffusion of these new technologies and realise its full benefits. As part of the professional doctorate knowledge gained from this study, is intended to be disseminated within the researcher's practice and other relevant stakeholders.
    • The roots and uses of marketing knowledge: A critical inquiry into the theory and practice of marketing

      Ashford, Ruth; Stokes, Peter; Smith, Terence D. (University of Chester, 2019-03-19)
      This thesis engages with the vital conversation about the nature, roots and uses of marketing knowledge, looking beyond the traditional reification of practice in theory and verification of theory in practice, making an original and imaginative contribution to marketing in the conceptualisation and creation of an integrative Marketing Knowledge Process Model. The ontology of this study is anchored in subjective individual meaning; the epistemological stance assumes that this meaning is socially constructed, grounded in context. Consequently, rich empirical data extracted from a comprehensive range of marketing constituencies - academics, practitioners, managers, consultants, authors, lecturers and students - are analysed in the interpretive paradigm using a phenomenological methodology with grounded theory data capture and thematic analysis. In its examination of the polarities, hybridity and iterative flow of marketing knowledge creation and consumption, the framework which has evolved presents a unique perspective on the ideologically-driven power relations implicit in the theory/practice dichotomy debate. In place of duality, this new scholarly structure, and its accompanying argument, adds valuable insights into the theoretical, practical and pedagogical representation of marketing and introduces a feasible, holistic perspective created in marketing praxis which posits a cohesive argument for a theory/practice bipartite fusion not dichotomy.
    • Professional ‘lived’ experiences of middle managers in Further Education (FE) colleges in Wales: A study of the impact of major change

      Rowland, Caroline; Moss, Danny; Walford, Robert (University of Chester, 2019-01-14)
      Merger organizational change has been prolific across Wales and has significantly affected all Further Education (FE) colleges. The main merger driver was to reduce operational costs, whilst in the pursuit of increased organizational and departmental efficiencies and effectiveness. An imperative to widening access to education, an increase in the quality of curriculum provision and a need to reduce duplication of curriculum programmes were also important considerations. It is these changes that have shaped college organizations and the college middle manager role, post-merger, with a resulting impact on middle managers professional ‘lived’ experiences. The author’s research examines the effect of merger on the middle manager role and the influence of the college context on the ‘lived’ experiences of middle managers managing curriculum departments. The review of the literature highlights key relationships between mainstream management and the college middle manager role, as well as the influences likely to have an impact on this role. The author has developed a conceptual model with key elements consisting of professional ‘lived’ experiences of middle managers and role construct and behaviour, management and leadership. This study is exploratory in nature and uses a social constructionist philosophical approach. A subjectivist epistemology was adopted for this study, with the researcher applying a thematic analysis and an investigation of multiple realities. Data for this research was collected from in-depth semi-structured interviewees, which gave interviewees the opportunity to highlight their specific day-to-day professional ‘lived’ work experiences. The research study outlines a number of conclusions, which accord with this study’s specific research objectives and recommendations. In the post-merger era, the middle manager role has become more complex and challenging. Conclusions indicate a broader role for the middle manager, and a role defined by the college’s professional context, which contributes to influencing the college middle manager role. This study contributes to the field of academic study, and to professional practice. It provides insights to understanding the role of middle managers in the FE sector and also offers recommendations for college strategy and policy. Finally, it highlights opportunities for further research in Wales and beyond.
    • Understanding the role of social media in relation to alternative food networks: a case of Chester and its region

      Harris, Phil; Alexander, Roy; Moss, Danny; Sidsaph, Henry W. (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) are a system of food provision which is considered as the embodiment of the Sustainable Development (SD) agenda. They typically operate counteractively to conventional food networks (CFNs) seeking to reconnect all members in the supply chain through ethical and sustainable engagements. They are grounded by the theoretical underpinnings of quality conventions (Murdoch, 2000; Thévenot, 2002) and embeddedness notions such as alterity, valorisation, and appropriation (Dansero & Puttilli, 2014; Kirwan, 2004). Many scholars have focused on exploring AFNs in various contexts, initially focusing on binary notions of dichotomy between AFNs and CFNs, then developing discourse in terms of assessing hybridity (Holloway et al., 2006; Maye, 2013; Ponte, 2016; Renting, Marsden, & Banks, 2003; Tregear, 2011). Recent studies have indicated the potential for further research concerning social media based AFNs (Bos & Owen, 2016; Reed & Keech, 2017; Wills & Arundel, 2017). Therefore a contribution in terms of further understanding this issue arises from this thesis. The research was conducted in the midst of the referendum for the UK to withdraw from the European Union, the subsequent ‘leave’ vote resulting in a level of uncertainty in terms of policy implications. One policy implication may be that the UK will have to readdress the way it engages and supports its food and agriculture sector post-Common Agricultural Policy, therefore this research comes at a timely juncture. This research adopts an interpretivistic epistemological stance, with a constructivist ontological position. Social network analysis (SNA) of Twitter connections was conducted in order to assess connectivity and density of the AFN that was present in Chester and its region. Content analysis of this network was then conducted in order to understand SD related terms and shortlist pertinent actors for further analysis. Interviews were conducted with nine actors from this network in order to critically evaluate their perceptions of SD from an online and offline perspective. The results of the SNA suggest that the AFN of Chester and its region was not particularly well connected in terms of density. However, the SNA was a useful data collection tool, especially concerning the replicability and transferability of participant selection strategy. Further results suggested that there was a need for more organisational structures to support AFNs in becoming more mainstream and collaborative. It was also clear that there was still a degree of opposition between CFNs and AFNs, despite hybridity. A final finding of the research is the consideration of smart localism. The implications of this research are discussed, along with suggestions for future research including; the need to better understand leadership, relations between AFNs and CFNs, the role played by intermediates, and the expansion of social media based research.
    • Emerging pluralities in the enactment of care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship

      Johnson, Nerise D. (University of Chester, 2018-09-24)
      Despite intensified overseas competition, internationalisation remains at the heart of most universities growth strategies. Evidence suggests that the international student experience of care is distinct with context specific expectations. With a paucity of research on care in a higher degree setting this study set out to explore the incidence and enactment care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship. It utilised a qualitative, inductive approach, sampling fourteen participants (ten international students and four postgraduate tutors) from a single postgraduate degree programme at a post 1992 small city university. Findings indicated that the enactment of care was plural with emergent themes of mentorship, friendship and recognition of the individual. It identified that participants’ used the word care when describing their relationship but more frequently used language from which care could be inferred when analysed within an abductively bounded framework. This challenged the extant literature which had suggested that the need for care would recede as the cared for moved into adulthood. However, the way in which care was enacted was understood to be particular to the students’ postgraduate status. At the same time, the value of care appeared to be stratified with tutor actions considered less significant if they were perceived to be contractually motivated. Two key recommendations for practice arising from this research were that in the current climate of standardisation and metrification, there remained opportunities to enrich the quality of care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship. Secondly, creating these caring relationships with international students was plural and complex which necessitated postgraduate tutor reflexivity of their pedagogic and pastoral practice if they were to enrich the quality of care offered.
    • Charity Fundraising Events – An understated domain: The changing landscapes of charity fundraising event management processes, contexts and ‘communities’ in the United Kingdom

      Bellamy, Lawrence; Stokes, Peter; Brown, Timothy (University of Chester, 2018-08-22)
      Events Management is often regarded as a modern phenomenon, emerging in the last 25 years as an academic subject and practical discipline from a variety of existing fields. Despite this rapid growth there are still aspects of the event industry that are disregarded within the academic literature. This research address this by examining the contribution that charity fundraising events make. Furthermore this research provides new insights into the development and management of charity fundraising events. Conducted between 2011 and 2017 using mixed methods research, the thesis follows an interpretative approach and contributes to the knowledge of events management. Utilising Communities of Practice (CoP) as a conceptual framework the practices, processes and characteristics of events management and charity fundraising events was explored. The fieldwork research entailed examining 120 charity’s economic data regarding fundraising events, an industry survey of 215 event professionals, and 25 in-depth qualitative interviews with charity fundraising event professionals. The findings indicated that there is a unique approach and process to undertaking charity fundraising events, with a particular focus on sponsors, stakeholders and volunteers. This charity fundraising event process is also revealed to be a multi-event management process, as opposed to the singular approach promoted within the literature. Furthermore the economic value of charity fundraising events is demonstrated to be significant. Charity fundraising events are also established to be a critical strategic tool for charities to raise funds, raise brand awareness and, most significantly, to engage with supporters to become part of the charities donor journey. Finally, within the event industry, including charity fundraising events, there is clear evidence of CoP characteristics and practices. The thesis draws together insights from the literature and fieldwork, the event industry and event professionals, and provides a platform from which further research can be developed.
    • Expanding the Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Perspective: An exploratory investigation into pedagogy and practice at the University of Chester

      Hancock, Connie (University of Chester, 2018-08-18)
      Purpose: This work conducts an exploratory investigation into the domain of entrepreneurship in Higher Education (HE), how it is perceived, interpreted and embedded, both from a pedagogic and philosophical perspective, into a contemporary university landscape in order to cultivate entrepreneurial behaviours in undergraduate students. It is implied in government imperatives and directives that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs are the fiscal panacea that will lead us towards the light in the economic gloom that currently pervades. The cultivation of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours has been specifically linked to Higher Education by the European Commission, although scholarly research into developing an entrepreneurial landscape within the HE sector is significantly lacking. Whilst studies exploring the entrepreneurial university and transformative opportunities in response to economic pressure has been undertaken from the 90s onwards, this field and its potential to inform and impact on Higher Education continues to represent an understudied area. The purpose of this research therefore, is to consider the methodologies and strategies that can support a cultivation, integration and embedment of entrepreneurship education in a Higher Education context, specifically the University of Chester, with a view to creating a blueprint for future Entrepreneurship undergraduate Programmes. Methodology: The approach is one that embraces an inductive and qualitative research methodology with data secured from three groups of respondents: undergraduate students, staff engaged in the delivery and support of entrepreneurial endeavour and external stakeholders contributing to an entrepreneurship agenda. Data were gathered from student participants by means of semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Data was secured from staff and external stakeholders via the mode of face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A multiple perspective methodology was employed in order to effectively provide a triangulation of perceptions on the development of an institutional entrepreneurial culture from a pragmatic perspective. The data were analysed and interpreted by way of template analysis (Stokes, Wall, 2014; Philips, Lawrence and Hardy, 2004; Hardy and Thomas, 2013). Contribution: This work expands upon the ways in which entrepreneurship education may be understood in the context of a comparatively small university in the north-west of England and extends the thinking into how practice may be extended to maximise undergraduate entrepreneurship. Most significantly, this research offers up a conceptual blueprint in the form of a model that demonstrates how entrepreneurially orientated mind-sets and behaviours may be fostered in undergraduates within the context of University of Chester.
    • An Investigation into the Influence of Social Media Message Context on Retailer-Consumer Interaction: A Case Study from the Lens of a UK Retailer

      Ashford, Ruth; Manning, Paul; Smith, Philip (University of Chester, 2018-07-13)
      This thesis investigates social media and retailer-consumer interaction with a research site of a well-established medium sized specialist retailer within the outdoor activities sector (the case organisation), selling goods and services online, and offline from physical retail stores across the United Kingdom (UK). The research investigates the case organisation’s response to the development of social media channels, with the purpose of developing understanding of the influence of content posted by the retailer on Twitter and Facebook platforms. The ease of access of these social media communications allowed the researcher to freely view the context of the case organisation’s activity and helped shape the questioning of research participants in their face-to-face semi-structured interview. The research aimed to develop understanding, and therefore qualitative methods were most appropriate. The philosophical assumptions were for a subjectivist ontology and interpretivist epistemology. The theoretical framework of uses and gratification theory (UGT), provided a priori themes to identify the retailer’s postings into social, entertainment or information value to the consumer. This study demonstrates that the case organisation’s posting activity on its primary Twitter and Facebook accounts, were predominantly of information value to the consumer, whereas users appeared to interact more with postings that were of social or entertainment value. The apparent under resourcing of the specialist product sub-community accounts (S1 and S2) appears to be suppressing social media activity, and thereby interaction with community members. But by reassigning management of S1 and S2 activity to generalists within the social media team, these research findings indicate that the case organisation is putting the close ingroup interaction that these sub-communities serve at risk. The one store-based subcommunity Facebook account (S3) was achieving a more balanced mix of user interaction than the case organisation’s primary account; indicating that local staff involvement was a motivating factor in consumer interaction. These research findings indicate that by re-evaluating the context of messages posted on its primary Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the involvement of local store account activity, consumer interaction on these channels will increase. Furthermore, the research findings suggest that by developing a transparent corporate social media strategy, that includes clear policy and operating procedures, those actors on the periphery of social media activity will benefit from the resultant clarity of understanding. And the call for training in managing social media activity for business by these actors can be addressed and delivered within the framework of a robust social media strategy. While there are inherent limitations in researching a single-case organisation, the generous access granted to the researcher provided a unique opportunity to investigate the research aim and objectives in a real-world setting. Moreover, this indepth study of Twitter and Facebook activity at the case organisation contributes to theory and practice by providing new insights and understanding on the influence of message context on consumer interaction from the lens of a specialist retailer.
    • Identity Construction and its Influence on Wine Tourism Diversification Decisions: Case Study of Family Wineries in Langhe, Italy

      Lyon, Andy; Warhurst, Russell; Canovi, Magali (University of Chester, 2017-07)
      The aim of this thesis is to examine family wineries’ wine tourism diversification decisions in terms of wine producers’ self-constructions. The focus lies on understanding which motives drive family businesses’ decisions to engage in diversification. A case study approach is adopted, using the Italian wine region of Langhe in Piedmont. The dominant debates within the current literature have primarily concentrated on the economic-social dichotomy in relation to diversification decisions. It has been argued that diversification decisions are predominantly economically driven, highlighting the importance of profit maximisation and risk reduction. This thesis highlights the limitations of the economic-social dichotomy approach and argues for the need to take the social context into account when examining the decision-making process. An interpretivist approach to research is adopted in order to extend current understandings of family businesses and their motives underlying diversification decisions. In line with the interpretivist perspective, this thesis uses discourse analysis (DA) as a methodological approach for analysing and interpreting wine producers’ accounts. The findings reveal that by engaging in discourse about wine tourism diversification, wine producers construct a distinctive, coherent and desired sense of self, which in turn influences family wineries’ decisions to diversification. In this instance, the concept of identity formation plays a central role in explaining family wineries’ motives for diversification. Linking wine producers’ motives for diversification to their self-constructions provides a new insight into how family businesses engage in decision-making. Wine producers’ discourses reveal that their decision-making processes are inextricably linked to sustaining a positive sense of self. Decisions are not only taken to achieve economic goals, but are likely to be influenced by deeper motives, notably wine producers’ identity constructions. The main contribution of this thesis is that it advances understanding of family businesses’ decisionmaking processes by developing a multi-layered conceptual framework to go beyond the economic-social dichotomy in order to reveal wine producers’ semi-conscious and unconscious motives for diversification.
    • An Examination of Daughter Succession in Turkish Family Owned Businesses: Gendered Norms, Cultural Influence and Leadership Challenges

      Page, Steve; Ozdemir, Ozlem (University of Chester, 2017-02)
      Succession planning and successor selection is a key theme in the FOB (Family Owned Business) literature. To enable the business to continue, FOB owner needs to decide who will be the next leader before resigning. Although the succession process is one of the most researched areas within the family business field, studies have mostly focused only on incumbent or successor viewpoints. However, the purpose of this study is to fill the gap and offers a different perspective on daughters’ succession by analysing owner, successor, and employee points of view. This dissertation aims to identify cultural patterns, and how factors based on different cultural patterns influence the daughter succession process in Turkish family businesses. Additionally, aim to reach novel insights regarding women entrepreneurs in Turkish FOBs, particularly how they gain business leadership positions, and the explicit and implicit factors determining the succession process. The research is grounded in the multidimensional model of succession process in family business theory, which has been expanded to include interactive and collaborative action, by addressing the family business cultural effects associated with stewardship theory. The adoption for this study of an epistemological interpretivist philosophy within a social constructivist perspective is justified. Data was collected from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 FOB owners and daughters, and surveys of 252 FOB employees to obtain information on their perspectives about selecting daughters as FOB successors.
    • Mothers undertaking part-time Doctoral study: Experiences, Perceptions and Implications

      Stokes, Peter; Cronshaw, Suzanne (University of Chester, 2017-03)
      This thesis explores the lived experience of women with children, i.e. ‘mothers’ undertaking part-time doctoral study and considers the challenges and conflicts that arise from what Brown & Watson (2010) describe as ‘dual lives’, managing the doctoral student role with the roles of mother and worker. The research aimed to consider extant conceptualisations and understandings so that alternative discourses could emerge, viewing the part-time doctoral experience through the lens of mothers. This was undertaken through the analysis and application of conceptual frameworks that fuse Communities of Practice (Wenger 2008), Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan 1985), Self-Categorization Theory (Turner 1987) and Lived Experience (Manen 1990). The marginalized voices of ‘Mothers doing doctorates’ provide a new perspective on the ‘non-traditional’ PhD student experience, allowing a deeper understanding of the challenges facing this ‘community’ by identifying and analysing key themes of identity, motivation, feelings and beliefs within a framework of communities of practice. Identifying Wenger’s Communities of Practice as a framework for discussion, a model was developed in relation to the field data to understand the women’s experiences of part-time PhD study. This model focused on four key areas: learning as belonging, learning as becoming, learning as doing and learning as experience. Each area related to a major theme in the women’s experience, that of identity, motivation, the student experience and their own feelings and perceptions about themselves and the process. The findings determine the process of studying for a PhD provided the women with a means of identity expression that had previously been stifled through the adoption of the role of being a ‘mum’. Through part-time doctoral study, this sense of re-awakening both intellectually and personally provided women with a renewed sense of positivity and confidence, demonstrating a resistance against the dominant ideology that dictates women’s ‘natural’ place is in full-time motherhood (Hughes 2002). It provided them intellectual stimulus and allowed them a voice, that the mother role had smothered as it was not in-keeping with the in-group identities highlighted by the women as central to their public and private domain. The academic development of the women helped them to ii see themselves as ‘worthy’, strengthening their own identity as they developed a redefined sense of self. In securing data from thirty-five women, this research provides an original insight into the experiences of an obscured and marginalised group. The combination of narrative and autoethnographic methods has surfaced original data that highlights the experiences and impact of part-time PhD study on women with children. The contribution to current thinking around part-time PhDs is the critique of extant normative practice, this research illustrates and exemplifies how these existing processes marginalise mothers doing part-time doctorates and points to new approaches in practice.
    • An Exploratory Examination of SMEs in Germany: Sustainability and Responsibility Engagement of ‘Mittelstand’ Firms in Baden-Württemberg

      Stokes, Peter; Kraus, Patrick (University of Chester, 2015-11)
      This thesis contributes to a field of scholarly research that seems to be receiving increasing attention, especially in recent times, although one has to acknowledge that there is still a severe lack of understanding. It is generally believed that the vast majority of research is still focused on large corporations, given their visibility and individual impact on the society, and this is particularly true in the re-search on sustainability and responsibility. In the course of this work, an extensive review of the relevant literature was conducted, including a holistic systematic analysis of a sample of leading small business and entrepreneurship journals, fol-lowed by an in-depth, narrative review based on a much broader selection of articles from various sources. The review revealed that there is little research on sustainability and responsibility in SMEs in Germany and that the vast majority of this research is quantitative in nature. The aim of this research is to, thus, develop an in-depth understanding of the sustainability and responsibility engagement of manufacturing SMEs in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and, hence, also present and analyse the views of the participants in this research. Manufacturing SMEs were selected as the focal sample as the sector is very important to the regional community and it can be assumed that, given the nature of their operations, they are in some ways engaged in sustainability activities. For this reason, an interview-study with 30 participants from the SME sector was conducted, underpinned by an interpretive research paradigm. The interviewees included owner-managers (OMs) and managing directors (MDs) from a purposively created sample of SMEs. It must be noted that the focus is not on addressing some CSR role models, but on the ‘ordinary’ SME in-stead. The findings of this research are multifaceted. It was found that many SMEs in the sample tend to follow an extreme, long-term perspective based on a special ethos or values, such as fairness, honesty and trust. There seems to be a consider-able reservation towards the business principles of large corporations. The re-search provides an in-depth discussion on various sustainability dimensions identified in the data. This includes embeddedness in the local community, which varies considerably between the participating firms; focus on employees, which tendsto be seen as the most important resource, and caring for them is for most participants an essential point; and engagement in environmental issues, which tends to be of lower importance for participants except in the case of practices that directly lead to positive economic results. Overall, the research identifies that economic considerations dominate the worldview of participants. However, firms are not considered instruments of short-term profits; instead, natural, long-term development of firms is the overall goal. The research additionally finds that some SMEs in the sample are motivated to find a balance between informal and formal management approaches. In total, one can conclude that the behaviour of SMEs can-not be directly considered to be related to the principles of sustainable development. However, the sample firms and their behaviour are definitely closer to a responsible way of doing business in comparison to many large corporations which also tend to affect many SMEs negatively through their market power and price pressure. This research provides an insight into the world of (owner)-managers of SMEs, thus contributing to a field that is currently dominated by descriptive quantitative research in Germany.
    • Towards a collaborative enterprise: The value of stakeholders

      Rowland, Caroline; Page, Steve; Williams, Roy (University of Chester, 2016-10)
      Social housing, traditionally provided by not-for-profit (NFP) housing associations, has become increasingly competitive as exchequer subsidy has reduced and the market has opened up to the profit-making private sector. These changes have increased the need for housing associations to engage and collaborate with stakeholders. The author’s research examines stakeholder engagement and collaboration in One Vision Housing, a NFP housing association. A constructivist epistemology, based on an idealist ontology, using primarily inductive logic, is adopted through a case study methodology. Data is collected through interviews, focus groups, surveys, participant observation, direct observation and physical artefacts. The review of literature highlights the relationship between stakeholder theory, stakeholder management, organisational culture, organisational learning and knowledge management. The author has developed a conceptual model in respect of these relationships.
    • Human resource development as a strategic tool for developing the Omani economy: The case of Duqm Special Economic Zone in Oman (DSEZ)

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Al Zeidi, Sarhan S. (University of Chester, 2016-12)
      Research is increasingly acknowledging the pivotal role of national human resource development (NHRD) in economic development. There is a growing call to conduct research in country-specific contexts to further explore this concept and the factors that influence its outcomes. The concept differs from one country to another; therefore, many HRD studies focus on one country. However, few have focused on the Middle East region, and there has been even less research on Oman. The aim here is to fill this research gap by analysing Oman’s HRD practices. Specifically, the intent is to identify the gap in skillsets in Oman and to develop an NHRD model that is appropriate for the country’s economic requirements for national skills development.