• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Political corruption in Africa: Extraction and power preservation

      Robberts, Theresa (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020-07-17)
    • Soft Power and International Political Marketing

      Sun, Henry; harris, Phil; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020-06-28)
      Joseph Nye defines soft power as the ability of “getting others to want the outcomes that you want” through persuasion and attraction of one’s ideas or the ability to set the political agenda to shape the preferences of others. Nye further argues that in the international arena, besides the military and economic power, there is a third dimension which is characterized as indirect power, cooptive power, and intangible power in contrary to direct power, coercive power, and tangible power. Nye states, “The ability to establish references tends to be associated with intangible power resources such as culture, ideology and institutions. This dimension can be thought of as soft power, in contrast to the hard command power usually associated with tangible resources like military and economic strength.” Henry Sun defines international political marketing as following: International Political Marketing seeks to establish, maintain and enhance long-term relations among nation-states, political actors and organizations, so that the objectives of stakeholders involved are met. This is done by mutual exchange and fulfillment of promises through cross-border and cross-culture marketing strategy and management
    • 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.
    • Pictures, Colors and Emotions: Shaping the UK's E-Tourism Experience

      Schneider, Anke; Loibl, Wilhelm; Hindley, Ann; Vienna University of Economics and Business; University of Chester; University of Chester (Routledge, 2020-03-27)
      The role of online media has become more important for tourism as DMOs try to differentiate through the use of pictures on digital channels, such as websites. The aim is to provide a positive image that has a positive impact on the consumer buying decision. Pictures draw significant amounts of attention and a pictures colour characteristics are critical in maintaining interest through emotional connections. These colour characteristics concern hue, saturation and luminance, which create a positive or negative emotional response in the prospective user. Due to this importance of a pictures colour characteristics on websites, this chapter explores these colour characteristics of pictures on UK DMO websites, in order to determine the positive or negative emotions conveyed to the viewer. Results show that most pictures are neutral but the amount of negatively perceived pictures is very high. It was found that the overall visual e-tourism experience can be improved with only small post-processing changes with minimal danger of distorting reality.
    • Principles of Responsible Management Education

      Wall, Tony; Mburayi, Langton; Johnson, Nerise D.; University of Chester (Springer, 2020)
      Business and management education has received stark criticism over the last decade on a number of grounds including the extent to which it is producing leaders and managers who are effective, efficient, and more importantly, ethical (Ghoshal, 2005). This includes the claim that business and management education is not doing enough to promote the sorts of awareness and capacities for sustainability which transpire into practice (Crawford-Lee and Wall, 2018). Indeed, there is an ongoing view that current forms of business and management education promote dispassionate and detached perspectives in favour of profit, despite the development of social responsibility and triple bottom line paradigms (Wall, 2017; Wall, Tran and Soejatminah, 2017). Empirical work now seemingly supports this with evidence which suggests that business and management students are less ethical and are more corruptible than students from other disciplines (e.g. Haski-Leventhal, 2014), and that the Master of Business Administration (MBA) – the supposed flagship postgraduate programme of business schools – produces graduates which are demonstrably more self-serving than others (Miller and Xu, 2016).
    • Human capital, international standards

      Stokes, Peter; Wall, Tony; De Montfort University; University of Chester (Springer, 2020)
      The drive for progress is a central underlying tenet of the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG), and any form of progress will involve resources, structures and protocols. Yet it is also recognised that all of these are necessarily driven through human resources, or more generally expressed, people/human beings, thus, it is important to focus attention on the human dimensions that are ultimately the driver of initiatives such as the UN-SDG. The establishment of national and international standards can play an important role in this and constitute mappings and protocols which seek to span, encompass and codify recommended conditions, practice, and processes in relation to a given product, domain, or phenomenon (Stokes et al, 2016). The process of their drafting almost invariably involves consultation with a wide array of stakeholders and the resultant documents provide employees, managers, directors, and policy makers with guidelines which inform and work as a guide to ‘good practice’ (Crawford-Lee and Wall, 2018, forthcoming)...
    • Organizational Resilience and Sustainable Development

      Evans, Vicky; Cregan, Karen; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-forth)
      Organisational resilience has been conceptualised in a variety of ways. Koronis and Ponis (2018) have articulated this as three distinct concepts: (1) the capacity of an organisation to 'bounce back' (to survive) after an adverse or traumatic event, (2) the capacity of an organisation to adapt to circumstances and events before they are experienced as adverse, as traumatic or a crisis, and (3) the aggregated capacities of people to absorb crises and operationally adapt to new situations. As yet, there is no consistently used terminology or conceptual foundations. Nevertheless, four key drivers of organisational resilience are highlighted in the literature – preparedness, responsiveness, adaptability and learning – which can be used as a starting point to identify associated interventions which may develop those drivers (Koronis and Ponis, 2018). Maturity models of organisational resilience suggest how these drivers develop progressively, interacting and reinforcing one another to the fullest extent in organisations which manage resilience holistically, achieving an “anti-fragile” stage of maturity where an organisation improves, prospers, and/or thrives in conditions of volatility, change or disruption in the wider environment (e.g. Leflar and Siegal, 2013; Ruiz and Martin et al, 2018).
    • Shaping the future : A study using scenario analysis

      Pownall, Ian; University of Chester (SAGE, 2019-12-31)
      Scenario analysis requires the integration of a diversity of concepts, views, data and practices for organisations. It is an analysis that draws upon current understanding of organizational and environmental contexts but also one that reflects creativity in the construction of future scenarios within which organisations could compete. This case study explores the application of scenario analysis using the ‘Field Anomaly Relaxation’ (FAR) technique by a group of regional stakeholders to understand and prioritize emergent futures in a UK seaside town. The discussion is focused on two phases of that research project; the series of stakeholder meetings to prioritize emergent futures and the factors shaping them; final analytical and interpretive phase that generated four distinctive scenarios which were used to frame ongoing strategic planning by local and regional organisations.
    • Mental Toughness Development

      Wall, Tony; Strycharczyk, Doug; Clough, Peter; University of Chester; University of Huddersfield (Springer, 2019-11-29)
      Though there are different conceptions of mental toughness, there are a number of important commonalities, including: self-belief, attentional control, resilience, a success mindset, optimistic thinking, emotional awareness and regulation, ability to deal with perceived challenge, and contextual awareness and understanding (Crust and Clough 2011). As such, mental toughness has been conceptualised as a personality trait which describes the mindset that is engaged by people across extreme events as well as everyday events (Clough and Strycharczyk 2015; Stokes et al, 2018). It is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience, and grit, but whereas most personality models and measures assess the behavioural aspects of personality (how we act), mental toughness differs in that it assesses something more fundamental, that is, ‘how we think’, or why we act (and respond emotionally) to events (Clough and Strycharczyk, 2015).
    • Spirituality and wellbeing in the workplace

      Foster, Scott; Wall, Tony; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (2019-11-29)
      The late 20th century and the early 21st centuries have seen a growing interest in spirituality in general and its role in the workplace (Petchsawanga and Duchon, 2012; Bell and Burack, 2001; Sedikides, 2010; Wagner-Marsh and Conley, 1999). However, despite this growing interest in spirituality and its place within the organisation, the concept remains undertheorized, and there is no generally accepted definition. The literature is primarily dominated by speculative discussion, fragmentation, dearth and incomprehensibility and a marked lack of empirical data, especially quantitative research (Khaled et al. 2012). Corner (2008: 377) goes on to note that, much of this work is in fact useful and thought-provoking but “…needs to be extended with experience or empirical data to prevent theories being remote from the phenomenon they intend to describe.” Often, the words spirituality, ethics and religion tend to overlap, so there is a need to clarify the concepts (Giacalone and Jurkiewicz, 2010). In a broad sense, ethics normally differentiates between right and wrong, religion is concerned with beliefs, prayers, and related formalised practices, whilst spirituality tends to refer to an individual’s determination to experience a deeper meaning to life through the way in which they live and work. (Snyder and Lopez, 2008).
    • Future proofing the degree apprenticeship workforce - an exploratory study of resilience behaviours, resources and risks

      Moore, Neil; Moss, Danny; Rowe, Lisa (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-11)
      The Higher Education Institution (HEI) employer interface has attracted much attention recently, particularly over dissatisfaction with graduate work-readiness. Concurrently, pressure upon new graduates is accelerating through the unprecedented pace of global change in technologies, communications and robotics, revolutionising the workplace and requiring new lifelong learning strategies which embed critical transferable skills and resilience to adapt, thrive and perform effectively in an increasingly unpredictable global environment. Degree apprenticeships developed to counter such skills issues have forced HEIs to adapt pedagogic strategies and adopt work-based learning frameworks to ensure curricula meet new political apprenticeship reforms. The extant literature reflects an increasing demand for employee resilience, yet despite widespread acknowledgement that employability is dependent upon a self-driven and evolving conceptual toolkit containing resilience and transferable skills, there remains a dearth of research into the complex, multi-faceted interrelationships between resilience and skills. Central to this research is an examination of the influence of degree apprenticeship programmes upon resilience development within this evolving generation of learners, and the potential limitations caused by wider influences that shape resilience across a range of occupational settings. The theory of resilience is therefore a highly relevant conceptual lens with which to explore the experiences of degree apprentices, their employers and the academic team within a UK Business School. This research is particularly distinctive in its adoption of a qualitative approach to investigate the impact of situational influences upon resilience by incorporating a range of settings and professions. It provides a holistic evaluation involving multiple stakeholder perspectives to produce a contemporary view of funded HE work-based learning programme provision. The use of qualitative methods has added depth to the data, through the provision of rich and thick description to illustrate correlations between the characteristics and behaviours demonstrated by resilient students, highlighting the broader influences of environmental factors upon resilience. As such, this research makes an original contribution to the extant body of knowledge over the conceptualisation of resilience, revealing new insights into the influence of background and upbringing, goal setting and leadership competencies. Previously unexplored contextual tensions emerge, revealing challenges to educational providers’ perceptions of innovative pedagogies and exposing weaknesses in current practice. Together the findings and recommendations offer the opportunity to develop effective pedagogic practice, transferable to any work-based programme across a range of disciplines, further increasing the significance of this study.
    • Mental toughness

      Strycharczyk, Doug; Clough, Peter; Wall, Tony; Perry, John; AQR Limited; University of Huddersfield; University of Chester; Mary Immaculate College (Springer, 2019-10-26)
      Since the turn of the 21st Century, Mental Toughness has been defined in a variety of ways (e.g. Clough, Earle & Sewell, 2002; Coulter, Mallett & Gucciardi, 2010; Fourie & Potgieter, 2001; Golby & Sheard, 2006; Gucciardi, Gordon & Dimmock, 2008; Jones, Hanton & Connaughton, 2007). Although they differ in many respects, the conceptualisation share a number of similarities. For example, self-belief is at the core of most definitions, motivation is central to most as is persistence in achieving and the ability to deal with setbacks. As such, Mental Toughness is an umbrella term that entails positive psychological resources, which are crucial across a wide range of achievement contexts and in the domain of mental health. Clough and Strycharczyk (2015: 33) suggest that: Mental Toughness is a narrow plastic personality trait which explains in large part how individuals respond differently to the same or similar stressors, pressures, opportunities and challenges… irrespective of prevailing circumstances.
    • Workplace stress management

      Parkyn, Matthew; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      Sustainability encapsulates not only ecological and socio-economic dimensions, but also those dimensions focused on developing the quality of life of every human being (Di Fabio, 2017). As the global rise of work-place or work-related stress is now recognised for its interconnectedness with and impacts on other aspects of health such as depression and mortality and sustainable development more broadly, such as poverty, stress has become a significant sustainable development challenge (ILO, 2016; HSE, 2015; EU OSHA, 2014). Indeed, stress can be understood in a variety of ways, including biological or physiological stress (in terms of the pressures placed on the material body), experiential (in the sense of how those demands are perceived and made sense of), and a combination of these. In particular, work-related stress is the response people have when presented with work contexts, demands, and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities. Therefore, stress management encompasses a range of activities that are deployed by individuals, teams and organisations to manage the experience and impacts of stressors (ibid), and therefore has a role in the mitigation of the wider sustainable development impacts aforementioned.
    • Creative writing for health and wellbeing

      Wall, Tony; Field, Victoria; Sučylaitė, Jūratė; University of Chester; Canterbury Christ Church University; Klaipėda University (2019-10-01)
      Creative writing for health and wellbeing has emerged from a constellation of arts-based practices which have been explicitly linked to health and wellbeing, that is, a set of practices which are recognised as having a role in “resolving the social and cultural challenges facing today’s world” (UNESCO, 2010, p.8). With a burgeoning empirical base of evidence of the role and impacts of arts-based practices for health and wellbeing, there is an increasing acknowledgment that such practices can help “keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived [and] help meet major challenges facing health and social care… ageing, long term conditions, loneliness and mental health” (APPG, 2017, p.4)...
    • Organizational Initiatives for Spiritual Wellbeing in the Workplace

      Foster, Scott; Wall, Tony; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      Spirituality can be understood in a pluralistic way, with varying conceptualisations through history and in different cultural contexts, and have included conceptions which place it synonymously with the practice of religious rituals as well as practices which enable people to experience a higher life purpose separate from a religious belief. However, within the context of work, its discussion has come to focus on re-orienting or re-balancing the experience of organisational life in developed countries in The West towards a more sustained and meaningful life in a context of workforce diversity and a greater sense of connectedness to others (Wall et al 2019). Against this backdrop, in the last decade, there has been a steady rise in interest regarding spiritual wellbeing and an increase inthe correlation between the expression of one’s spirituality and cases that are regarded as discrimination (Krahnke and Hoffman, 2002; Loo, 2017). Spiritualty has quickly become topical within the workplace and within business literature, partly due to the increase in technology such as the internet and social media (Long and Mills, 2010; Krishnakumer and Neck, 2002; Pawar, 2016; Bhatia and Arora, 2017). Whilst organisations are attempting to understand the complexity of spirituality, there are warnings in the literature that workplace spirituality is a prominent reality in the current business environment and it should not be dismissed (Deshpande, 2012; Alas and Mousa, 2016; Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2014). Therefore, workplace spirituality can be defined as a “contextualised phenomenon that examines questions of how spirituality relates to one’s work organisation and can be conceptualised as a lived experience and expression of ones spirituality in the context or work and workplace”. (Sheep, 2006:358)
    • Resilience Education and Training

      Cregan, Karen; Rowe, Lisa; Wall, Tony (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      Gilligan (2000) describes resilience as process which engenders a sense of strength and confidence to succeed despite individual challenges faced and Noble and McGraph, (2011a; p.79) define it as "the ability to persist, cope adaptively and bounce back after encountering change, challenges, setback, disappointments, difficult situations or adversity and to return to a reasonable level of wellbeing". It has been suggested that these challenges can be controlled by an individual’s behaviours, thoughts and actions which, can be taught (American Psychological Association, 2018). However, Wu et al (2013) argue that developing resilience in individuals requires several ‘factors’ not least, an understanding of the genetic, epigenetic, developmental, psychological and neurochemical processes, as these can contribute to how an individual can cope with and develop resilience in the face of stress and trauma. In this way, resilience education and training is about building the capacities to cope as well as adapt to changes in generative ways, and includes a diverse range of strategies to develop personal purpose, confidence, flexibility and social support networks.