• Beyond learning by doing: an exploration of critical incidents in outdoor leadership education

      Hickman, Mark; Stokes, Peter; UCLan and University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2015-08-03)
      This paper argues that outdoor leader education and training is generally characterized by the development of procedural skills at the expense of equally crucial but usually ignored, ‘soft skills’ (for example, contextualized decision making and reflection). Consequently, this risks producing practitioners with a potentially unsophisticated and limited awareness of the holistic outdoor environments and situations and an over-reliance on ‘how to’ skills which may, in turn, impede the development of links between theory and practice. This paper analyses a research project that undertook the application of critical incident theory to a study of undergraduates in a United Kingdom outdoor leadership degree programme in an attempt to promote and examine the processes of developing ‘softer’ reflective skills in the students. In addition, the paper’s argument and data, while not directly dealing with wider audiences (clients and national qualification bodies), provide inferences and allusions to potential consequent enhanced development and benefits of heightened reflective understanding and practice to these groups. Methodologically, the study examines a range of critical incidents in a purposive homogenous sample of 20 students from a vocational undergraduate outdoor studies course. Students were asked to identify and reflect on critical incidents in practice settings of their own choice. These settings spanned a range of contexts from outdoor centre work in the United Kingdom to assistant leadership positions on educational expeditions in remote locations overseas. Qualitative data analysis was carried out through the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings supported the conceptual premise and indicated that outdoor leadership programmes need to develop a broader and holistic skills base rather than persist with the extant predilection towards primarily physical and technical skills. Allusion is made to the suggestion that this could ultimately potentially enhance effectiveness with clients and employability prospects. In summary, a focus on critical incident method early in education and training processes has the potential to equip practitioners with the holistic and complex set of skills required in the contemporary outdoor workplace.
    • The ethical challenge of Big Tech’s “disruptive philanthropy”

      Manning, Paul; Baker, Nigel Timothy; Stokes, Peter; The University of Chester, The Thomson Institute, De Montfort University
      This article provides a review of research into global philanthropy and the disruptive practices of new technology companies. In this article we detail how “Big Tech” has created a new marketization of philanthropy, based on its sectoral values of innovation, entrepreneurialism and focus on financial and performance metrics. Consequently, we argue for a new ontology of philanthropy that acknowledges marketization as its guiding principle. The study examines and compares different market-focused, philanthropic paradigms, which have evolved through the business values of Big Tech and examines their moral motivations. The topic is viewed through the lens of ‘hybrid organizations’; a model for non-profit entities and social businesses which, in turn, are seeking a market-oriented pathway of balancing the twin demands of managing mission and money. A conceptual framework is then provided to inform practitioners in non-profit organizations about the issues and risks of engaging with the new types of philanthropy, to which we collectively refer as ‘disruptive philanthropy’. The article concludes by recommending further research into the ethics of Big Tech to understand the true motivations behind its philanthropic practices at a time when the sector is under intense governmental and media scrutiny.
    • Facilitating Literature Searches for Work based learning Students Using an Action Research Approach.

      Talbot, Jon; Bennett, Lee; University of Chester
      This paper describes an action research project in a university to identify the requirements of Work based learning (WBL) students in respect of literature searches for practice enquiries and outlines measures subsequently taken to improve student support. The study confirms previous research that WBL students need to consult a wide variety of source material and not just academic texts. Students report uncertainty in using non-academic sources and difficulties searching. As a result, academic practices have been adapted to provide more consistent, comprehensive support. These include the production of online resources and modified practices by tutors and librarians. In line with the action research approach practices are monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure their continuing relevance.
    • Family-Centred Motivations for Agritourism Diversification: The Case of the Langhe Region, Italy.

      Lyon, Andrew; Canovi, Magali; University of Chester, ESCP Europe (Taylor and Francis, 2019-08-07)
      This paper examines the motivations underlying family wineries' decisions to diversify into agritourism. Empirical evidence is provided by a sample of North Italian family wineries that have recently engaged in agritourism. While the majority of studies have adopted an economic-noneconomic dichotomy approach when examining the motivations for agritourism diversification, this paper highlights the limitations of this approach, outlines the complexity of motivations and argues for the need to take the family context into account. Drawing on the socioemotional wealth (SEW) framework, we offer a conceptual model and derive a set of propositions to show how family owners' motivations for agritourism diversification are primarily driven by family-centred goals. This paper thus contributes to a better understanding of diversification in general, and of farming families' motivations for agritourism diversification in particular. Practical implications at the European and regional level are discussed. KEYWORDS: Agritourism, wine tourism, diversification, socioemotional wealth, family business
    • Funding the growth of UK technology-based small firms since the financial crash: are there breakages in the finance escalator?

      North, David; Baldock, Robert; Ullah, Farid; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2013-07-04)
      This paper presents recent research assessing the impact of the financial crisis on young and established Technology-Based Small Firms (TBSFs) and considers whether their ability to contribute to economic growth is being affected by ongoing problems in obtaining external finance. It reports on original findings from a survey of 100 TBSFs undertaken in late 2010 as well as 20 in-depth interviews with a range of finance providers. The surviving TBSFs exhibited considerable demand for external finance since 2007, particularly for working capital and early stage R&D, sought mainly from banks, but also with younger TBSFs seeking business angel finance and innovation grants and more mature TBSFs seeking venture capital finance. However, both debt and equity finance have become harder to access for TBSFs, particularly for early stage funding and for more R&D intensive firms, hampering their growth potential. Where external finance has been available, the terms and conditions set by providers were often unacceptable to business owners. The paper concludes that the smooth operation of the finance escalator has proved difficult to achieve under recent financial conditions and identifies a number of breakpoints relating to TBSFs which government policy needs to address.
    • Intellectual capital and new ventures: the entrepreneur's cognizance of company management

      Hancock, Connie; Hormiga, Esther; Valls-Pasola, Jaume; University of Chester; University of Barcelona
      The purpose of this research is to analyse the intellectual capital gauges most often utilized by entrepreneurs in the management of new ventures and to relate the use of these gauges to business performance. On the basis of interview data collected from 103 entrepreneurs, we provide evidence that the use of such measuring techniques impacts positively on overall business performance. Moreover, the results indicate that those entrepreneurs utilizing some form of intellectual capital (IC) measurement have superior results. Consequently, we highlight the importance of detecting, measuring and utilizing IC for new ventures stressing the potential benefits that such analysis can have on the initial steps taken by an entrepreneur in venture formation and business development.
    • Managing talent across advanced and emerging economies: HR issues and challenges in a Sino-German strategic collaboration

      Stokes, Peter; Liu, Yipeng; Smith, Simon M.; Leidner, Sarah; Moore, Neil; Rowland, Caroline A.; University of Chester, University of Birmingham; University of Southampton; (Taylor and Francis, 2015-10-19)
      The HR practices involved in global talent management continue to advance and evolve. A majority of talent management commentary is from multinational corporation (MNC) perspectives. However, the less commented small-to-medium sized enterprise (SME) also confronts challenges grounded in economic (i.e. resources, finance), organisational (i.e. size, scope and structure) and consequent behavioral rationales (i.e. mindsets and stances). This paper establishes and examines a number of propositions which consider how these factors impact on an advanced economy SME’s talent management in emerging economy collaborations. An interpretive qualitative methodology is employed using interviews conducted within two cases – SME and an MNC comparator case. The SME case is used as the driving force of the paper and its theoretical focus and findings. The MNC is used to develop issues as a comparator case. The findings show SME economic and organisational drivers producing behavioral dynamics in relation to mimesis of planned actions yet informal serendipitous responses in reality; a predilection for the proximate and familiar; design configurations of short-term expatriate visits and inpatriates; cumulating in on-going inpatriate acculturisation and re-acculturation oscillation. Consequently, the implication is that the SME needs a HR practices encompassing resignation to the situation, flexibility and resilience in order to survive and progress.