While the Faculty of Business and Management is predominantly concerned with teaching and learning, it also offers a number of business services, from consultancy and research to in-house and bespoke training. The Faculty also manages the University's widely acclaimed work-based learning facilities.

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  • Exploring SMEs attitudes to Net Zero & social media: Action Case research as a force for good

    Fenton, Alex; Marianne (Maz), Hardey; Wasim, Ahmed; Koral, Chris; University of Chester; University of Durham; University of Stirling
    We recently presented a full paper at the British Academy of Management 2022 entitled: Exploring SMEs attitudes to Net Zero & social media: Action Case research as a force for good. Action case is a method designed to bridge the gap between understanding and change. We created a research team of academics and practitioners in conjunction with the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme to explore this important topic. We aimed to address a research gap in SME understanding and attitudes to Net Zero and their communications. Our Action Case approach included a small-scale qualitative survey of SMEs and social network analysis of Twitter. We discovered a lack of clarity regarding the help available to SMEs and Net Zero. While the survey revealed some support for Net Zero from SMEs, it was unclear how this support corresponded with their social media strategy. The SNA revealed a dearth of SMEs in online discussions around Net Zero on Twitter. Government agencies and other organisations were dominant in these internet discussions. We also found SMEs opposed to government environmental programmes like clean air levies, which some saw as harmful to their operations. The Action Case method was demonstrated to be an effective method for bridging the academic-practice divide, and future research should build on this topic.
  • A study of learners’ interactive preference on multimedia microlearning

    Leong, Kelvin; Sung, Anna; Au, Robin; Lee, Ching; University of Chester; The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Emerald, 2022-09-13)
    This study aims to explore how learners prefer to interact with microlearning video. Microlearning is an emerging topic in work-based learning and the benefits of using video in supporting learning have been widely discussed. However, only very few of previous works were conducted on discussing how learners prefer to interact with microlearning video. This paper aims to fill this knowledge gap. A questionnaire was used in this study for data collection purposes. In total, the invitation had been sent to 236 enrolled learners from the 3 targeted modules through emails. 77 participants completed the survey with the response rate 32.6%. Chi-square is used in this study in order to conclude whether the findings from the sample related to hypotheses are statistically significant. By analysing primary data collected from a UK University, our findings suggest that: i) the perceived usefulness of the control functions and the expression functions of multimedia microlearning videos are generally high, ii) More participants prefer to have more control in their multiple-choice question’s arrangement and open-ended question’s arrangement, On the other hand, there is no significant difference on the preference of when to attempt assessment. This is the first time that a study like this had been conducted to review and discuss the interactive preferences between learners and multimedia microlearning. This study could shed some lights on future research in the field of microlearning and work-based learning.
  • Football Fandom as a Platform for Digital Health Promotion and Behaviour Change: A Mobile App Case Study

    Fenton, Alex; Anna, Cooper-Ryan; Marianne (Maz), Hardey; Wasim, Ahmed; University of Chester; University of Salford; Durham University; University of Stirling (MDPI, 2022-07-09)
    The last decade has seen a dramatic shift toward the study of fitness surveillance, thanks in part to the emergence of mobile health (mHealth) apps that allow users to track their health through a variety of data-driven insights. This study examines the adoption trends and community mediation of the mobile fitness application ‘FanFit’, a platform aimed at promoting physical activity among sports fans by creating a fitness app branded to their favourite team for health promotion. Objective: Our study looked at the impact of a specially designed mobile app (FanFit) as a digital health intervention for initiating and maintaining physical activity as part of football club membership. Our analysis indicates that app users will adopt healthier behaviours as a result of the app’s sense of fan community and behaviour change. Methods: The findings reported here are based on an implementation of the FanFit app and, in particular, on those who participated in a more in-depth study (n = 30). These participants were Rangers FC supporters with a mix of genders (n = 19 males and n = 11 females). Focus groups and interviews were conducted with participants to ascertain users’ perspectives on the most effective methods for nudging users toward adopting and maintaining a pattern of fitness behaviours. Results: The findings show that the user community was interested in fitness and wanted to live a ‘healthy lifestyle,’ which was augmented and fuelled by the app’s competitive architecture design. Furthermore, the data reveal a new fan-health discourse about a person’s developing wants, talents, and identities as embodied beings. Conclusions: We have developed and presented valid links between the use of sports club apps and health programmes. The app could be useful for sports programmes and club providers looking for mHealth applications that provide community support through fan discourse with opportunities for both male and female fans.
  • Exploring the impact of agility and learning in organisations

    Rowe, Lisa; Brook, Cheryl; University of Chester; University of Portsmouth
    Welcome to Volume 14, Issue 2 of the Journal of Work Applied Management, a Special Issue dedicated to examining how work-based learning, action learning and organisational development methods are delivering against the unprecedented and urgent need for organisational agility, flexibility and ambidexterity. The diversity of ways in which these work-applied approaches are effectively curated are increasingly evident across different levels of organisational learning, development, and adaptation in response to the “megatrends” of technological hyper-connectivity, urbanisation, geopolitical tensions and a global climate crisis, amidst a challenging phase of post pandemic economic recovery affecting workforce readiness, supply chains and inflation (Deloitte, 2017; Price Waterhouse Cooper, 2021; 2022).
  • An examination of the dynamics of intergenerational tensions and technological change in the context of post-pandemic recovery

    Moore, Neil; Rowe, Lisa; Stokes, Peter; Lichy, Jessica; Rodgers, Peter; Smith, Simon M.; University of Chester; De Montfort University; IDRAC Business School, Lyon; University of Southampton; Oxford Brooks University
    Technological change is a feature of contemporary life encompassing interactivity, collaboration and, above all, real-time content sharing and livestreaming. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new dynamics in relation to digitisation and technology usage. Within organizations, these changes have been swift and profound, leading to online meetings, events and virtual team management. An explosion of literature has accompanied these changes and their human impacts. However, the generational and intergenerational issues remain under-examined and therefore constitute an important gap. The paper examines the literature on workplace technology, digitalisation and human impacts in relation to the COVID-19, and particularly, through the lens of different generational adoptive patterns. Taking an inductive qualitative approach, the paper’s empirical focus is analyses of semi-structured questionnaire data from intergenerational senior executives. The findings showcase alternative understandings of technology in the late-COVID-19 era and of Xer generational (i.e. born 1961-1981) resilience and operational change dynamics. This allows a number of contributions and implications to be developed.
  • Enhancing the degree apprenticeship curriculum through work-based manager and mentor intervention

    Quew-Jones, Rebecca; Rowe, Lisa; University of Portsmouth; University of Chester (Emerald, 2022-06-03)
    Purpose – Educational policy instruments such as apprenticeship levy and forthcoming lifetime skills guarantee are creating unprecedented opportunities for rapid growth in a range of work-based learning (WBL) programmes, requiring increasingly complex levels of collaboration between providers and employers. Apprenticeships require providers to assume responsibility in ensuring apprentices’ work-based managers and mentors (WBMMs) are equipped to provide effective support to individuals as they learn ‘on the job’. After six years of higher education institution (HEI) apprenticeship curriculum delivery there is opportunity to examine existing WBMM practice to inform the design, content and delivery of a shared knowledge base via a practical interactive toolkit. By developing clearer understanding of WBMMs’ experiences, expectations and challenges, the study aims to reduce potential gaps in knowledge and skills and encourage more effective collaboration between employers and providers to better support apprentices as they progress through WBL programmes. Design/methodology/approach – This paper discusses evolution of higher level and degree apprenticeships, explores guidance for WBMMs and investigates the influence of expectations and motivations of WBMMS. Theoretical and conceptual foundations relating to WBL programme delivery and WBMM role are analysed and discussed. Qualitative data drawn from semi-structured surveys are analysed thematically to investigate common patterns, clarify understanding and identify development areas to inform future university provider and employer practice. Findings - The findings suggest a number of themes to improve apprentice management; further clarity of WBMMs role, greater involvement of WBMM’s for negotiated learning, unplanned experiences do add value and scope for richer mentoring dialogues. WBL value for WBMMs is broader than expected, incorporating apprentice performance and output improvements, and solving complex problems. Research limitations/implications - The research is drawn from an established University with five years of experience. However, the context in which programmes are delivered significantly varies according to providers and employers. This means factors other than those highlighted in this paper may continue to emerge as the research in this field develops. Practical implications- The practical implications from findings can be used to cultivate stronger collaboration, providing a foundation of knowledge intended to provoke further dialogue regarding content for an interactive toolkit. The findings signal the need for further resources, a review of the restrictions associated with levy funding for co-creation of a more effective national apprenticeship framework. Originality / Value - This paper builds on a limited body of research examining employers’ perspectives of apprenticeship management. Degree apprenticeships have attracted limited scholarly attention over six years since their inception (Bowman, 2022) resulting in a significant paucity of research that focuses upon employer role. This study addresses this void by exploring WBMMs experiences, requirements and expectations, revealing new insights for providers of WBL, employers and individuals employed as WBMMs.
  • Understanding tourists’ policing attitudes and travel intentions towards a destination during an on-going social movement

    Lai, Michael; Yeung, Emmy; Leung, Rosanna; Macau University of Science and Technology; University of Chester; I-Shou University (Emerald, 2022-05-11)
    Purpose Policing activities aim to provide a safe environment for tourists. With the recent major protests that have erupted around the world, and the novel use of excessive police force against protestors, people may wonder if the policing deployment is for destination safety or to deter tourists from visiting. This paper aims to investigate anti-police and pro-police attitudes and tourists' behavioural responses towards a popular destination experiencing an ongoing social movement. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected between December 2019 and January 2020 (during the social movement). An online survey with a snowball sampling method was adopted to reach international tourists who were aware of the social movement in Hong Kong. Findings The results revealed that an individual with an anti-police attitude was found to be related to cognitive and affective destination images and perceived risks while those holding a pro-police attitude were more concerned with destination images only. No significant correlation was found between attitudes towards policing and travel intention. Originality/value This research presents a first attempt to investigate the relationship between tourists' policing attitudes and their behavioural responses during an ongoing social movement in a popular destination city.
  • A Review of the Publication Trend of Data Analytics

    Leong, Kelvin; Sung, Anna; Au, Robin; Lee, Ching; University of Chester; The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Lincoln University College, 2022-04-01)
    Data Analytics has been considered as a promising topic. This paper aims to review the trends of Data Analytics in terms of related publications. More specifically, in this study we analysed 18-years real-world data obtained from Web of Science database for the purpose. These data include the first relevant publication found in the database. In total, 18610 relevant publications have been identified during 2004 to 2021. According to the findings from analysing the identified publications, we suggest that Data Analytics is a glowing global topic involving affiliations and funding sponsors from different countries. On top of the industrial voice saying Data Analytics is an emerging topic, the findings from this paper can provide an additional reference for the education sector, government, and academia, to conduct, promote and support the Data Analytics related research. We believe this is the first time that a study has been conducted to comprehensively review the development trends of Data Analytics. Hopefully, this study can shed some light on related research.
  • Retraining and Reskilling Financial Participators in the Digital Age

    Leong, Kelvin; Sung, Anna; University of Chester
    In recent years, coding is an emerging topic in the financial industry. The concepts behind these topics are reskilling and retraining, that is, financial professionals need to be equipped with new knowledge and skills. This chapter will introduce the latest changes in the financial industry, particularly with a focus on the development of FinTech (Financial Technology) and Data Analytics and then will explore what skills do finance workforce are needed in the digital age. Furthermore, discussions will be given on various types of technology that learners may encounter and potential challenges of their learning in the digital age. What follows is a review of how do people learn. Finally, a discussion about microlearning will be given as a solution and recommendation.
  • A Comparative Study on Students’ Learning Expectations of Entrepreneurship Education in the UK and China

    Lam, Wing; Harris, Phil; Ullah, Farid; Li, Lan (University of Chester, 2022-03)
    Entrepreneurship education has become a critical subject in academic research and educational policy design, occupying a central role in contemporary education globally. However, a review of the literature indicates that research on entrepreneurship education is still in a relatively early stage. Little is known about how entrepreneurship education learning is affected by the environmental context to date. Therefore, combining the institutional context and focusing on students’ learning expectations as a novel perspective, the main aim of the thesis is to address the knowledge gap by developing an original conceptual framework to advance understanding of the dynamic learning process of entrepreneurship education through the lens of self-determination theory, thereby providing a basis for advancing understanding of entrepreneurship education. The author adopted an epistemological positivism philosophy and a deductive approach. This study gathered 247 valid questionnaires from the UK (84) and China (163). It requested students to recall their learning expectations before attending their entrepreneurship courses and to assess their perceptions of learning outcomes after taking the entrepreneurship courses. It was found that entrepreneurship education policy is an antecedent that influences students' learning expectations, which is represented in the difference in student autonomy. British students in active learning under a voluntary education policy have higher autonomy than Chinese students in passive learning under a compulsory education policy, thus having higher learning expectations, leading to higher satisfaction. The positive relationship between autonomy and learning expectations is established, which adds a new dimension to self-determination theory. Furthermore, it is also revealed that the change in students’ entrepreneurial intentions before and after their entrepreneurship courses is explained by understanding the process of a business start-up (positive), hands-on business start-up opportunities (positive), students’ actual input (positive) and tutors’ academic qualification (negative). The thesis makes contributions to both theory and practice. The findings have far reaching implications for different parties, including policymakers, educators, practitioners and researchers. Understanding and shaping students' learning expectations is a critical first step in optimising entrepreneurship education teaching and learning. On the one hand, understanding students' learning expectations of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education can help the government with educational interventions and policy reform, as well as improving the quality and delivery of university-based entrepreneurship education. On the other hand, entrepreneurship education can assist students in establishing correct and realistic learning expectations and entrepreneurial conceptions, which will benefit their future entrepreneurial activities and/or employment. An important implication is that this study connects multiple stakeholders by bridging the national-level institutional context, organisational-level university entrepreneurship education, and individual level entrepreneurial learning to promote student autonomy based on an understanding of students' learning expectations. This can help develop graduates with their ability for autonomous learning and autonomous entrepreneurial behaviour. The results of this study help to remind students that it is them, the learners, their expectations and input that can make the difference between the success or failure of their study. This would not only apply to entrepreneurship education but also to other fields of study. One key message from this study is that education can be encouraged and supported but cannot be “forced”. Mandatory entrepreneurship education is not a quick fix for the lack of university students’ innovation and entrepreneurship. More resources must be invested in enhancing the enterprise culture, thus making entrepreneurship education desirable for students.
  • The ambidextrous interaction of RBV-KBV and Regional Social Capital and their impact on SME management

    Kraus, Patrick; Stokes, Peter; Tarba, Shlomo Y.; Rodgers, Peter; Dekel-Dachs, Ofer; Britzelmaier, Bernd; Moore, Neil; Pforzheim University; De Montfort University; University of Birmingham; University of Southampton; Loughborough University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2022-01-18)
    This paper argues that regional culture, encompassed within intricate forms of social capital, is inextricably linked to the resource-based view (RBV) concept - focused on inimitable resources possessed by a firm. These resources encompass knowledge (pertaining to the knowledge-based view (KBV)) – including the cultural knowledge and understandings that reside in a given region - as a key resource that is available to a firm, creating resources in order to render it competitive. The paper conceptually develops RBV-KBV within an organizational ambidexterity framework and highlights how regional context, RBV-KBV and firm dynamics inter-operate. This responds to an important gap in the literature, underscoring the vital role of regional contextualised RBV-KBV. Rather than viewing these contexts as taken-as-given artefacts it is important to see them as culturally, socially, and historically constructed and rooted phenomena. Drawing empirically on a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with German manufacturing SMEs in the Baden-Württemberg (BW) region (SW Germany), this paper provides novel insights into how SMEs manage resources and regional social capital in order to expand judiciously into international (emerging) markets. In so doing, the paper presents a novel organizational ambidextrous conceptual framework showing how companies move from traditional exploitative and conservative regional cultural RBV-KBV bases to more explorative and innovative internationalising ones. Within this, the paper also contributes fresh insights into the explorative ‘hidden champions’ phenomenon by showing how the latent BW conservative RBV-KBV and its regional social capital-informed exploitative postures act as persistent moderating drivers of explorative internationalisation.
  • Thriving at Work (Integrated Learning): An investigation into adult learners’ experiences of vitality and learning when successfully engaging with work integrated learning

    Wall, Tony; Foster, Scott; Weston, Philippa J. W. (University of Chester, 2021-08)
    Higher Education (HE) has a key role in re-educating an aging UK workforce through part-time programmes aimed at older (30+) working adults. However, since 2010 HE enrolments have plummeted further compounded by high attrition rates. As such, there is an urgent need for HE to research this important but overlooked student category in order to attract and support them. As a HE lecturer in work integrated learning, the researcher has a vested interest in addressing this gap as well as contributing to the thriving at work literature. Taking a social constructivist stance, narrative inquiry has been applied to explore eleven adult work integrated learners’ experiences of thriving to gain a deeper understanding of what positively influences their vitality and learning and how HE can facilitate them. Her findings show learners’ vitality towards work integrated learning mirror their vitality towards work. The opportunity to shape and share learning helps elevate and maintain vitality levels as well as deepen the learning experience so enabling them to thrive. Further, attitudes are not only influenced by the current context but also experiences and events from childhood. However, although HE tutors can positively influence learners’ experience of work integrated learning, most of HE appears to have little impact. As well as exploring thriving in the context of work integrated learning, this study contributes to the thriving at work literature by providing insights which suggest vitality exhibits state-like and trait-like qualities. When vitality combines with work integrated learning, it creates a virtuous circle where one construct builds on the other to enable the learner to thrive. This is further enhanced by learners’ shaping and sharing their learning experience with others. However, learners’ ability to engage with HE successfully in the present is also influenced by their experiences from the past and can impact on their needs and expectations. To attract and retain this important learner category, HE must understand and respond to learners’ needs and expectations not just via interactions with specific tutors but through the HE systems and processes laid down to support them.
  • How can the Organisational Ambidexterity concept be applied to the automotive industry as it aims to exploit current vehicles sales profit pools and explore autonomous electric mobility services?

    Manning, Paul; Moore, Neil; Moore, Andy (University of Chester, 2022-03-24)
    The Automotive Industry is facing unprecedented disruption from electrification, connectivity, autonomous driving, and diverse mobility. Throughout its 130-year history, the industry has been built on increment change and could now be facing an existential crisis if it does not respond to these disruptors. Organisational Ambidexterity (OA) is the dual challenge of exploiting current profit pools whilst also exploring future revenue streams. The literature presented four antecedent themes that will form the basis of this research (Differentiation vs Integration, Individual vs Organisation, Static vs Dynamic and Internal vs External). The most recent a priori body of knowledge is set against a backdrop of mergers and acquisitions within the automotive industry to achieve globalisation, scale and explore new markets. The current backdrop of facing disruption has received very little attention to date, which this thesis has set out to redress. OA is a social construct, created by the perceptions and actions of the actors within the research site. The nature of disruption is also a mutually constructed reality, assessed by the actors according to their own beliefs on the scale and impact on their organisations and themselves. A subjectivist ontological approach is taken, with an interpretivist epistemology viewing the world as assimilated through perception and discourse. This research is qualitative, using semi-structured in-depth elite interviews to gather data, and represents privileged access. Analysis will be using the Constant Comparative Method, with the coding steps carried out manually. The researcher is embedded in the research setting and will take a participant-observer approach. This methodology of elite interviews, reinforced with emic indwelling and manual coding, delivered rich insights in the current context of the automotive industry. This thesis makes contributions on three fronts. The contribution to theory provides an upto-date view of OA within the automotive industry, assesses the relevance of the four antecedent themes, and identifies three emergent themes – Collaboration, Speed and Scale. The contribution to practice is to provide managers and organisations insights and guidance on how OA could be applied. The findings provide privileged insights into how collaboration operates, identifies some of the challenges, and empathises with the Traditional and Contemporary OEM’s and their different stances. Outside of the Automotive industry, any industry that is facing disruption can gain transferrable insights. The contribution to methodology is demonstrating that elite interviews, underpinned by emic indwelling, can deliver rich insights from a privileged setting.
  • Binge Watching and the Role of Social Media Virality towards promoting Netflix’s Squid Game

    Ahmed, Wasim; Mariann, Hardey; Fenton, Alex; Das, Ronnie; University of Stirling; University of Chester; Durham University; Audencia Business School, Nantes (Sage, 2022-03-23)
    Management literature has extensively studied viral marketing in the last decade; however, there is a lack of research in understanding network structures and the role of influencers within popular cultural consumption, such as on-demand digital media and binge-watching. In this article, we investigate the role of social media in popularising the East Asian dystopian cultural drama Squid Game. We studied this phenomenon by analyzing social network structures, dynamics and influencer characteristics that transformed Squid Game into a popular global digital cultural consumption sensation. Stemming from the foundational theories of popular culture binge-watching, network theory, and the social media echo chamber effect; we demonstrate how careful ‘seeding’ and ‘broadcasting’ behaviour adopted by Netflix and key influencers helped ‘reciprocal merging’ of creative media content within the broader social media space. Our study found that 13,727 Twitter users were tweeting or mentioned on the day show was released, with a combined follower count of over 853,000,000. Our research findings further present the characteristic of individual group-based echo chambers and their role in value co-creation towards expanding the network boundary through e-WOM. This phenomenon led to the show’s unprecedented popularity amongst a global audience within a short period. Contributions of our work expand viral marketing and echo chamber concepts into the binge-watching and popular digital culture realm, where the interplay between dramatized Asian and Western dystopian social norms provided the very fabric of user-led promotion and value co-creation.
  • Inclusive policy-working with minority ethnic young people for decent work

    Wall, Tony; Hindley, Ann; Luong, Minh Phuong; Ngo, Nga; Ho, Thi Hanh Tien; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester; Tay Bac University; Phu Xuan University; Hanoi University
    Young people are one of the most significant assets in policy making. They contribute insight from the perspective of those affected by a policy or policy change, and as our future community and business leaders. Despite this, the involvement of young people in policy making remains relatively rare in many countries, including Vietnam. Although Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, young people experience relatively low wages, job insecurity, job informality and poor working conditions. Policy involvement can raise the awareness and motivation of those involved in policy making, but is challenging because long-standing marginalisation that can make people feel they do not have a voice worthy of consideration by government and other policy makers. Even creative and participatory methods need to be adapted to help young people to feel able to share their voice with those who are older and more powerful in society. This policy briefing outlines how the creative, participatory method of appreciative inquiry can be used to enable policy makers to work successfully with younger people in the context of policies to expand ‘Decent Work’. ‘Decent Work’ is particular category of work which is described by the International Labour Organization as work which is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. Participation of minority ethnic young people in policy making related to Decent Work is critical because of the complex distribution of governmental policy working across the fields of education, work, and culture. Young people offer rich, first-hand insight into the efficacy of policy which in turn should enable all parts of society to contribute economically and socially. Specifically, the briefing pinpoints the preparation needs of younger people, especially those who typically are disadvantaged in economic, educational or other social terms, to engage in such participatory methods, as well as the adaptations needed to enable them to participate and contribute to policy activities. This policy briefing draws from a study examining the empowerment of minority ethnic young people (aged 18-25) to re-vision Decent Work in Vietnam with policy-makers, employers, and university leaders (see overview of study below). This particular brief draws from appreciative inquiry groups which aimed to explore new ways of working and the strategies the project needed to develop to enable the young people to feel they were able to share their voice and contribute (see context of study below). The policy briefing outlines practical ways to facilitate an inclusive approach to engaging minority ethnic young people in dialogue with policy makers and other stakeholders at national or local governmental levels. Whilst the recommendations in this report are directly relevant to national and local governmental policy makers across the policy fields of education and work in Vietnam and similar developing countries, the underlying principles may have a wider resonance and applicability to policy makers across other geographic contexts with similar characteristics. For example, the rising occurrence of informal and unstable work opportunities which do not provide sufficient wage ‘to live’ has been noted for over two decades in the UK and US. Similarly, although the project focuses on policyworking related to Decent Work, the principles have a wider applicability to other policy fields. We invite all national and local government and non-governmental policy makers to consider the practical value of the recommendations and principles within this brief.
  • Policy interventions for minority ethnic young people and Decent Work

    Wall, Tony; Hindley, Ann; Ngo, Nga; Ho, Thi Hanh Tien; Luong, Minh Phuong; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester; Tay Bac University; Phu Xuan University; Hanoi University
    Minority ethnic young people in most countries are some of the most likely to be unemployed or be in unstable or badly paid employment. Vietnam is a case in point where its minority ethnic young people face relatively low rates of employment, wages, job insecurity, job informality and poor working conditions. To address these employment issues, Vietnam’s educational policy interventions have included the provision of minority ethnic boarding schools and foundational programmes, differentiated access arrangements and specialised vocational or training programmes for minority ethnic young people. But how do these relate to the aspects of ‘Decent Work’ for students and graduates of higher education, that is, opportunities described by the International Labour Organization describes as productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. This policy briefing draws from a study examining the empowerment of minority ethnic young people (aged 18-25) to re-vision Decent Work in Vietnam with policy-makers, employers and university leaders (see the overview of study below). The briefing pinpoints key lessons and insights from Vietnam, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, where policy initiatives have attempted to enable greater access to employment opportunities for the diverse communities of minority ethnic people living across the country (see context of study below). Specifically, the briefing identifies the range of impacts that the various initiatives seem to have on the young people, in terms of their sense of empowerment to be able to access and participate in Decent Work. The briefing outlines practical ways policy interventions might change to deepen access to Decent Work for minority ethnic young people. Whilst the recommendations in this report are directly relevant to policy makers across the fields of education and work in Vietnam and similar developing countries, the underlying principles have a wider resonance and applicability to policy makers across other geographic contexts with similar characteristics. For example, the rising occurrence of informal and unstable work opportunities which do not provide sufficient wage ‘to live’ has been noted for over two decades in the UK and US. We invite all policy makers in the fields of education and work to consider the practical value of the recommendations and principles within this brief.
  • Policy levers for empowering Decent Work

    Wall, Tony; Hindley, Ann; Ho, Thi Hanh Tien; Ngo, Nga; Luong, Minh Phuong; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester; Tay Bac University; Phu Xuan University; Hanoi University
    There is a global rise of precarious work which does not pay enough or is not secure enough for people to live, or which is physically or emotionally toxic. The International Labour Organization (2022) describe ‘Decent Work’ as work which is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. Decent Work is an ambition to empower marginalised groups from histories of disadvantage. As it describes a category of work related to income and social integration, it directly connects to other global challenges such as poverty, hunger, inequality, and health and wellbeing. Despite global policy efforts, even the ‘working poor’ are an increasing population in developed countries like the UK and the US. Policy can be developed to create these the conditions for ‘Decent Work for all’ so that no one is left behind. This policy briefing pinpoints key factors (policy levers) impacting Decent Work for all, drawing insights from Vietnam, one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It draws from a study examining the empowerment of minority ethnic young people (aged 18-25) to re-vision Decent Work in Vietnam with policy-makers, employers and university leaders (see overview of study below). This particular brief draws from survey data to examine the links between exclusionary factors and Decent Work (as defined through 15 characteristics indicated by the International Labour Organization scope above). It pinpoints key principles which can act as policy levers, such as addressing mismatches in localised labour and education markets, problems in policy implementation at the local level, through to a deficit in the range of empowerment capabilities of young people to change their employment prospects at a national level. Whilst the recommendations in this report are directly relevant to policy makers across the fields of education and work in Vietnam and similar developing countries (see context of study below), the underlying principles have a wider resonance and applicability to policy makers across other geographic contexts with similar characteristics. For example, the rising occurrence of informal and unstable work opportunities which do not provide sufficient wage ‘to live’ has been noted for over two decades in the UK and US. We invite all policy makers in the fields of education and work to consider the practical value of the recommendations and principles within this brief.
  • The complementarities of Digitalization and Productivity: Redefining Boundaries for Financial Sector

    Gul, Razia; Ellahi, Nazima; Leong, Kelvin; Malik, Qaiser; University of Chester; Foundation University, Pakistan (Taylor & Francis, 2021-12-21)
    Digitalisation is portrayed as a transformative force, remodelling the way we live and businesses operate. In today's unprecedented business environment, the survival of organisations is in technological advancement and online presence. When masses rely on digital financial payments, there is a pressing need for the financial sector to offer innovative products and services to meet customers’ needs and achieve sustainable performance. This paper aims to investigate the impact of data analytics on the productivity of banks in Pakistan and employed two-step system generalised methods of moments for estimation. The findings suggest that 5.9% productivity is increased for banks that invested in data analytics on average. It was also found that productivity increase is associated with an investment in data analytics compared to a mere investment in any software. However, the moderating role of dynamic capabilities on the relationship between data analytics and banks’ productivity is insignificant, which raises a question on the relevance of research and development expense with human capital development. It is recommended that banks should invest in those analytics that have predictive, visualising and analytical capabilities. The use of these innovative technologies should be combined with training and human capital development to ensure sustainable firm performance.
  • A practical and theoretical approach to assessing Micro-Enterprise brand image signals

    Davies, Gary; Lam, Wing; Leong, Kelvin; Wang, Dian (University of Chester, 2021-10)
    This thesis aims to investigate how Micro Enterprises (MEs) communicate their brand image to their markets. The research takes a comparative approach and examines firms in both the UK and China. The main theoretical base for the work is that of the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) which holds that entities with humanistic associations (including brands and corporate brands) are automatically judged for their ‘warmth’ (trustworthiness, sincerity, supportiveness) and their ‘competence’ (effectiveness, efficiency). The status (prestigious, glamorous) of the entity is also included in the SCM model but as an antecedent to competence judgements. Recent work alternatively considers it as a dimension of imagery which is automatically judged by customers. The methodology is a mixed method and has three interlinked pieces of work, the first two of which are more exploratory and the last more confirmatory. A case study approach first explored the signalling of 14 MEs using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with their owner-managers. A thematic analysis of content showed that managers emphasize their competence and that fewer provided unprompted examples of status positioning. The second study involved the content analysis of parts of 66 ME websites labelled ‘who we are’ or similar. Competence descriptors were again the most frequent followed by warmth and then status items. The two studies evidence that MEs signal competence, warmth, and status but in that order of emphasis. An experimental study was conducted where the status signalling of a fictitious ME (a gift company) was manipulated. It explored why MEs use the signal less and test whether this changes the perceived competence of the company and the purchase intention and person-brand congruence of potential customers. The increase in status did not increase competence and it reduced outcome behaviour and warmth. As warmth explains consumer attitude best, using the status signal can reduce potential sales. This holds regardless of country (the UK and China), and control variable values. However, perceived higher prices and giving too much irrelevant information mediated and therefore explain the effect of status on consumer attitude. The main effects were positive, but the indirect effects were negative due to perceived higher prices and irrelevant information. Finally, all variables considered in this study were tested using Structural Equation Modelling, adding to the insights from the final study The primary contribution is to better understand how MEs communicate their imagery to their market. SCM thinking is also tested and developed in the context of ME marketing and recommendations made for its adaption.
  • Disruptive Philanthropy: Assessing the Challenges of Funding from “Big Tech” for a UK Charity

    Manning, Paul; Baker, Nigel T. (University of Chester, 2020-12-31)
    The immense wealth generated by the technology sector – or Big Tech – since the end of the 20th century has created a new breed of philanthropists, keen to use the business practices of Silicon Valley to ensure their money is employed to optimum social impact. This study considers how a long-established, UK-based journalism charity can understand, and engage with, the new philanthropic practices of the digital economy in to order to fund transformative change, while appreciating, and managing, the associated benefits and risks. A characteristic of the digital economy is that it has blurred conventional boundaries between commercial and philanthropic practices. Accordingly, this study was conducted through the theoretical framework of “hybrid organizations” – defined here as non-profit entities which adopt business practices to achieve social ends but face the challenge of balancing the competing institutional logics of mission and money. This study synthesises the literature on the new, more market-oriented philanthropic models - collectively described here as “disruptive philanthropy” – to provide a conceptual model to guide hybrid, non-profits like the journalism charity that wish to engage with the digital economy. The model is then used to inform a qualitative, inductive study of the journalism charity using semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of eight stakeholders from the journalism charity and four “elite” interviewees from the digital economy. This study makes a number of contributions to theory and practice in terms of understanding the digital economy’s business ethics and how non-profit organizations can assess clearly whether the funding support it is seeking from the digital economy is philanthropic or commercial. The conceptual model serves as a guide to hybrid, non-profit organizations on the factors to assess when seeking engagement with the digital economy. A framework is offered to help non-profits ensure good governance when accepting funds from the digital economy. The study reinforces the need for non-profits to have a clear identity and mission to obtain philanthropic funding. Finally, the study provides an understanding of how organizations from the digital economy assess their funding support through the benefits to their own “ecosystems” – which can be commercial, philanthropic or hybrid in nature.

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