• 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.
    • Service learning and sustainability education

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2019-07-01)
      In the context of higher education, service-learning has been adopted for various dimensions of sustainability education across disciplines including environmental studies (Helicke 2014), engineering (Seay et al 2016), entrepreneurship (Niehm et al 2015), nursing (Dalmida 2016), clinical studies (Petersen et al 2015), psychology (Bringle et al 2016), and political sciences (Benjamin-Alvarado, 2015). It has been described as a philosophy, pedagogy, and programme (Jacoby 2015), conceptualised as a form of experiential education based on ‘reciprocal learning’ (Sigmon, 1979) where the ‘head, hands and heart’ can become integrated (Sipos et al 2008). Here, both the learner offering service and the recipient of that service are considered equally important, and both are mutually changed or transformed in some way (a relationship signified by the use of a hyphen between service and learning, ibid). Such reciprocity, however, distinguishes service-learning from volunteering and community service (which typically tend to prioritise the recipient of the service learner’s efforts), as well as field and internship education (which typically tend to prioritise the learner) (Sigmon, 1994)...
    • Human capital, international standards

      Stokes, Peter; Wall, Tony; De Montfort University; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-07)
      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)...
    • Reflective practice for sustainable development

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-07)
      The efficacy of developing institutional approaches for, and curriculum content about, sustainable development, has been criticised as insufficient to change behaviour in practice (Wall et al, 2017). This partly reflects the deeply engrained nature of educational practices and systems and their effects on learners, and how these are an intimate part of how (un)sustainable futures are perpetuated. As Orr (1994, p. 5) articulates it, “[t]he truth is that without significant precautions, education can equip people merely to be more effective vandals of the Earth”. Against this backdrop, scholars have called for approaches which employ a deeper link between individuals’ knowledge and their critical attributes, that is, a greater need to facilitate the capacities of learners to engage in critical reflection to help transform how they view their responsibilities regarding a sustainable future (Viegas et al, 2016)...
    • Mental Thoughness Development

      Wall, Tony; Strycharczyk, Doug; Clough, Peter; University of Chester; University of Huddersfield (Springer, 2019-07)
      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).
    • Workplace stress management

      Parkyn, Matthew; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-07)
      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.
    • Stress management training and education

      Parkyn, Matthew; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-07)
      Stress is 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 a work environment where job demands and pressures are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope with those demands. Therefore, stress training and education encompass the range of activities that are deployed by individuals, groups, and organisations to develop awareness, knowledge and skills about stress, stressors and how to manage these, with a view to manage the experience and impact of stress.
    • Spirituality and wellbeing in the workplace

      Foster, Scott; Wall, Tony; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (2019-07)
      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).
    • HIGHER EDUCATION OUTREACH: EXAMINING KEY CHALLENGES FOR ACADEMICS

      Johnson, Matthew; orcid: 0000-0002-9987-7050; Danvers, Emily; orcid: 0000-0002-0170-5331; Hinton-Smith, Tamsin; Atkinson, Kate; Bowden, Gareth; Foster, John; Garner, Kristina; Garrud, Paul; Greaves, Sarah; Harris, Patricia; Hejmadi, Momna; Hill, David; Hughes, Gwen; Jackson, Louise; O’Sullivan, Angela; ÓTuama, Séamus; orcid: 0000-0001-9315-9640; Perez Brown, Pilar; Philipson, Pete; Ravenscroft, Simon; Rhys, Mirain; Ritchie, Tom; Talbot, Jon; Walker, David; Watson, Jon; Williams, Myfanwy; Williams, Sharon (Informa UK Limited, 2019-02-04)
    • 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.
    • Critical discourse analysis and the questioning of dominant, hegemonic discourses of sustainable tourism in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa

      Lyon, Andy; Hunter-Jones, Philippa; University of Chester; University of Liverpool (Taylor & Francis, 2019-01-14)
      The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how critical discourse analysis (CDA), an under-utilised methodological approach, can be used to critically question the dominant, hegemonic discourses surrounding sustainable development and sustainable tourism development. The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve in South Africa provides the study context. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the framework for review, sustainable development an integral part of this framework. This research study examines three SDGs in particular: discourses surrounding SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 15 (life on land). Interviews (n=35) were conducted, in South Africa, with multiple stakeholder groups. CDA techniques were applied to data analysis to examine the sustainable development/sustainable tourism discourses attached to the SDGs under review. Neoliberal discourses linked to the economy, the environment, and a sustaining of the tourism industry through top-down planning and unequal power distributions emerged. Conclusions reflect both upon the opportunities utilising a tool such as CDA presents, along with the limitations to take account of in applying it. CDA applications which explore SDGs by listening to the voices of the poor are suggested as one avenue for further research.
    • Organizational Initiatives for Spiritual Wellbeing in the Workplace

      Foster, Scott; Wall, Tony; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Springer, 2019)
      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)
    • Entrepreneurial resilience

      Evans, Vicky; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019)
      The vast majority of businesses in all countries - between 70% and 95% - are micro-businesses, i.e. enterprises that employ fewer than ten people (OECD, 2017). Their impact on the economies and societies in which they operate is therefore significant, collectively acting as important sources of employment, growth and innovation (ibid, 2017). However, the existence of many of these businesses is often precarious, especially in the early stages of their development. Many newly created businesses fail within the first few years of life with mortality rates ranging from around 10% (UK, USA, Sweden) to 45% (Slovak Republic) in the first year (ibid, 2017). As a result, the entrepreneurial activity to create and manage these businesses is very demanding and exposes entrepreneurs to situations which would be expected to create high levels of stress among the general population (e.g. a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment, high responsibility, high workload). The demands of business start-up and ownership could be expected to create a higher risk of mental health problems. Isolation and long working hours could contribute to an increased risk of depression. Moreover, for many entrepreneurs, their business ventures are personal passions and their self-worth and well-being can be intimately connected to the success of those ventures (Murnieks, Mosakowski and Cardon, 2014). On a practical level, the pressures are often high and can create anxiety as personal financial well-being is often directly related to the ability to close the next deal. Furthermore, Spivak, McKelvie and Haynie (2014) highlight a possible “dark side” of entrepreneurship outcomes, finding that habitual entrepreneurs can suffer from symptoms of behavioural addictions - withdrawal-engagement patterns, obsessive thoughts, and negative emotions - arising from repeated venture creation activities. However, at the same time, Baron, Franklin and Hmieleski (2016) find that entrepreneurs experience lower stress compared to other occupational groups when creating new ventures. Baron et al (2016) suggest self-selection effects as the underlying mechanism producing entrepreneurs that are above average (as a group) in their capacity to handle stress effectively, arguing that those who persist in entrepreneurship acquire this capacity, the resilience to handle the stressors and challenges of their entrepreneurial context.
    • Work based learning in the United Kingdom: What we know of practice and an example: The WBL module and WBIS program at the University of Chester

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (IGI Global, 2019)
      The chapter summarises the development and spread of Work based learning in British universities and includes case studies of at the University of Chester, where all three modes of practice are evidenced.
    • Redressing Small Firm Resilience: Exploring Owner-Manager Resources for Resilience

      Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; University of Chester; University of Sunderland (Emerald, 2019)
      Purpose: The owner-manager of small firms is recognised as having a potentially significant role in the small firm’s competitiveness, growth and failure. However, the owner-manager’s own resilience has been largely overlooked in the small firm resilience literature. The purpose of this paper is to redress this and expand the debate and empirical basis of small firm owner-managers’ personal resources for resilience. Design/methodology/approach: This longitudinal qualitative study deployed semi-structured interviews with nine owner-managers, each being interviewed three or four times. Analytical procedures were employed utilising an established framework which conceptualised four key personal resources for resilience as adaptability, confidence, social support, and purposefulness. Findings: There were four key findings: (1) owner-manager adaptability can appear in extremes including a sense of helplessness or optimism where disruptive circumstances are not sensed as problematic, (2) owner-manager confidence levels often echo their own mindset of adaptability, that is, from helplessness to positive ambition, (3) owner-managers can utilise discursive tactics with strong/weak ties for a range of affective as well as technical resources for resilience, and (4) purposefulness tended to be framed in terms of a necessity for a longer term future state related to own or family lifestyle, rather than profit. It is also noted that the owner-manager and the firm are closely interrelated and therefore enhancement of personal resilience resources is likely to positively influence their resilience, and therefore the resilience of the organisation and strategic capability of the firm. Originality/value: The small firm resilience literature typically focuses on the organisational level which de-emphasises the salient role of the owner-manager and their resilience. This study attempts to redress this.
    • Exploiting the social fabric of networks: a social capital analysis of historical financial frauds

      Manning, Paul; The University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-10-21)
      ABSTRACT The article will present two strategic cases of financial fraud that demonstrate the recurring reference points that conmen use to facilitate their white-collar crimes. The cases are constructed from the Ponzi and Madoff financial frauds, perpetrated by the most well swindlers of the twentieth and (so far) twenty-first centuries. The article will illustrate that their ‘modus operandi’ shared essential reference points, as it owed as much to their sophisticated socioeconomic insights and consequent exploitation of social capital processes, as it did to their sophisticated insights into criminal financial schemes and financial engineering. This article will demonstrate that social relations and the resources that inhere in these relations (social capital) can be negative. This contribution will add to an emerging field of analysis that considers deviant organizational behavior. For this article, the negatives of social capital will be described as its shadow aspect, which for financial fraud includes decision-making based on excessive in-group trust, as well as general credulity replacing due diligence. The article’s theoretical contribution will be to develop understanding of historical phenomenon, in this instance of financial fraud, with the application of the shadow side of the social capital concept.
    • 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.
    • The effect of stroke type, stage of competition and final race position on pacing strategy in 200m swimming performance

      Thomson, Edd; Ward, Daniel (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of stroke types, final race position and stage of competition on pacing strategy in elite women’s 200m swimming performance, and to appraise medallist’s stroke rate (SR) and stroke length (SL). Elite women’s 200m backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle performances (n = 576) formed twenty-four groups based on stroke type, final race position (medallists/non-medallists) and stage of competition (heats/semifinal/final). A mixed design with independent groups (stroke type/final race position) and repeated measures (stage of competition) was used. Official race and 50m split times were converted to velocities and normalised to average to show pacing strategy. Medallists SR and SL (n = 68) were quantified using a bespoke software. Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U tests (post hoc) appraised significant differences between stroke types, multiple Mann-Whitney U tests appraised significant differences in final race position. Finally, Friedman test and multiple Wilcoxon tests (post hoc) appraised significant differences between both stages of competition and 50m splits. Generally, split times showed significant differences between splits (p<0.05, ES = 0.41-0.88) and normalised velocity showed significant differences between stroke type (p<0.05, ES = 0.33-1.10). Whereas, normalised velocity reported no significant differences regardless of final race position or stage of competition (p>0.05). Medallists SR and SL showed significant differences between splits (p<0.05, ES = 0.10-0.51) and stroke type (p<0.05, ES = 0.35-0.82). It was concluded that pacing strategies were dependent on stroke used with ‘fast start-even’ (backstroke/freestyle) and ‘positive’ (breaststroke/butterfly) reported, however, pacing remained consistent regardless of final race position or stage of competition. The differences were underpinned by stroke mechanics and changes in SR and SL.
    • Through the looking glass: the factors that influence consumer trust and distrust in brands

      Mal, Carmen; Davies, Gary; Diers-Lawson, Audra (Wiley, 2018-09-27)
      This paper aims to identify the factors responsible for creating brand trust and brand distrust among consumers. It uses a grounded theory approach to guide the conduct and analysis of 20 semi-structured interviews that yielded 120 descriptions of consumer-brand interactions. The 3 stage model that emerged shows a process whereby consumers prioritize product/service quality information and subsequently consider how the company behind the brand behaves towards consumers in the name of the brand, specifically behaviors signalling its integrity and benevolence. Finally, consumers consider characteristics of the company behind the brand (e.g. its financial status) and how it behaves in its own name towards other stakeholder groups (e.g. employees). The process for distrust mirrors that for trust, implying the two are polar opposites. The data also show that trust and distrust in a brand can co-exist but within separate domains.
    • 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.