• An accelerated practitioner research approach (APRA) for leaders and managers

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2012-01-31)
      Negotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/from the outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice to enable professionals to design rigorous practitioner research. An action research approach approach, drawing on appreciative inquiry and grounded theory, involved peer questioning, validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. Within the ‘situated’ model, the professional starts/focuses on problems or areas for development in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’) and adopts a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical lens. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We also expect greater strategic impact when the designs area implemented.
    • An accelerated practitioner research approach for professionals: A study

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2011-11)
      Negotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice with professionals across professions and disciplines, to enable them to design rigorous practitioner research. Data is drawn from one of the largest centres for negotiated work based learning. Procedure and/or instruments : This study draws on practice and data from the University of Chester’s Centre for Work Related studies, one of the largest providers of negotiated, work based university-level learning, globally. Academics at the Centre worked with practitioners who were studying the ‘Research Methods for Work Based Learning’ module as part of their work based learning undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The module delivery team developed facilitative approaches and tools through multiple action research cycles over the last two years. Each cycle involved a grounded, appreciative inquiry approach by the delivery team (four academics), and the wider Centre for critical peer questioning of evidence and logic, peer validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. The latest version is openly shared and critiqued. What are the findings and interpretations? : Critical reflections amongst the delivery team highlighted the initial challenges above. As a result, a new approach was defined based on a ‘situated knowledge’ model, whereby the professional focuses on problems and developmental areas in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’). With such a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical underpinning, a new ‘core process’ and key questions was developed. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We are also expecting greater strategic impact when the professionals implement these designs.
    • Across the Continents: the Global Reach of Public Affairs

      Harris, Phil; University of Chester (Wiley, 2016-05-03)
      Editorial. Public affairs has grown from an industry and research base focused on North America and Europe to one reflecting the world and incorporating the growing consumer strength and development of Asia. When we launched this journal a decade ago, it was dominated by North American research and practice, reflecting much of the then existent economic and cultural hegemony. Increasingly, this was balanced by European contributions as the European Union evolved, and the UK lobbying and communications industry developed alongside its Commonwealth connected partners. This general issue reflects the new world with authors, contributing from Brazil, China, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK and the USA. It allows one to evaluate and assess similar issues in each region and state and the campaigns and policy development to aid clarity, accountability, good governance and transparency. Commentary to various papers covering China, Etc.
    • Americanisation of Southern African political campaigns

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Simenti-Phiri, Easton D.; University of Chester (North American Business Press, 2014)
      This paper seeks to examine extent and rationale of Malawian and South African campaigns incorporating America –style practices and becoming Americanised. Specifically the paper explores existence of evidence supporting the notion of Americanisation in both Malawian and South African politics. Using a mixed methods approach, semi structured interviews, focus group discussions and content analysis were conducted. Results show evidence of Americanisation and increased use of marketing and campaign professionals in both Malawi and South Africa, due to democratisation, development of the media and changes in the social-economic factors. Practical implications of these findings and ideas for further research are presented.
    • The Americanisation of Southern African Political Campaigns: A comparative study from Malawi and South Africa

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Simenti-Phiri, Easton D.; University of Chester (North American Business Press, 2014-10-13)
      This paper seeks to examine extent and rationale of Malawian and South African campaigns incorporating America –style practices and becoming Americanised. Specifically the paper explores existence of evidence supporting the notion of Americanisation in both Malawian and South African politics. Using a mixed methods approach, semi structured interviews, focus group discussions and content analysis were conducted. Results show evidence of Americanisation and increased use of marketing and campaign professionals in both Malawi and South Africa, due to democratisation, development of the media and changes in the social-economic factors. Practical implications of these findings and ideas for further research are presented.
    • Animal cruelty, foie gras, pigeons, aid policy and public affairs

      Harris, Phil; University of Chester (Wiley, 2016-11-22)
      This is a general issue of the Journal of Public Affairs. It includes articles examining a range of subjects, from development aid policy to concern about perception of pigeons and policy towards specialist products.
    • Approaches to supervising work based learning students’ workplace research

      Talbot, Jon; Lilley, Andy; University of Chester (Emerald, 2014)
      The paper describes a small research exercise designed to identify the practices of Work Based Learning tutors facilitating student research projects.
    • Are we any closer to sustainable development? Listening to active stakeholder discourses of tourism development in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa.

      Lyon, Andrew; Hunter-Jones, Philippa; Warnaby, Gary; University of Chester; University of Liverpool; Manchester Metropolitan University (Elsevier, 2017-02-24)
      ‘Biosphere reserve’ is a United Nations (UN) designation stipulating that a region should attempt to follow the principles of sustainable development (SD). This paper adopts a stakeholder analysis framework to analyse the discourses of those tourism stakeholders who can actively affect SD in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (WBR), South Africa. Adopting an inductive qualitative methodology generated multiple research themes which were subsequently analysed using critical discourse analysis (CDA) techniques. These themes indicate that seeking SD in biosphere reserves is problematical when there are distinct ideological differences between active stakeholder groups and power relations are unequal. Adopting CDA allows us to make some sense of why this is the case as the technique appreciates not only how tourism development occurs, but also why it occurs in a particular way. This paper adds to the literature on stakeholder analysis in tourism specifically and also has wider implications for SD more generally.
    • Art-Based teaching on sustainable development

      Wall, Tony; Österlind, Eva; Fries, Julia; University of Chester; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
      The connections between art, art making, education, and responsibility in relation to the wider natural and social world have been given increasing attention over the last thirty years. For example, there have been a variety of journal special issues dedicated to art, education, and: ecology (Krug, 1997), social justice and social change (Bolin, 1999), community and responsibility (Carpenter, 2004), ecology and responsibility (Stout 2007), health and wellbeing (Haywood Rolling 2017), and human rights (Kraehe 2017). Such a rise has been linked to trends in the human search for meaning and significance amongst (and resistance against) globalisation, domination of market forces, and an increasingly complex and chaotic environment (Taylor and Ladkin, 2009)...
    • Arts based approaches for sustainability

      Wall, Tony; Österlind, Eva; Fries, Julia; University of Chester; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
      The arts encompass a broad and diverse landscape of interrelated creative practices and professions, including performance arts (including music, dance, drama, and theatre), literary arts (including literature, story, and poetry), and the visual arts (including painting, design, film) (see UNESCO, 2006). They have been explicitly linked to sustainable development in higher education at a global level through UNESCO’s Road Map for Arts Education (UNESCO, 2006) and The Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education (UNESCO, 2010). Specifically, the arts have been deployed to promote human rights, enhancing education, promoting cultural diversity, enhancing well-being and, most broadly, “to resolving the social and cultural challenges facing today’s world” (UNESCO, 2010: 8)...
    • Author Response: Provocative Education: From Buddhism for Busy People® to Dismal Land ®

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2016-03-11)
      When we engage with Žižekian thought, we might conceptualise contemporary education as part of wider machinery to perpetuate and deepen the grasp capitalism has in a globalising world (also see Furedi, 2006, 2010). We might see how ideas, knowledge, and ‘everything else’ (c.f. Hawking, 2001, 2007) can and is packaged up into forms that are easily consumed by audiences buying the educational objects. Such processes of commodification actively render objects to the audience for sale, and appear across all spheres of human activity; this is why we must remember that according to some philosophical stances, the signified has a slippery relationship with the signifier (c.f. Lacau and Mouffee, 1985). Three examples help animate this phenomenon and some of the different consequences of it. The first example illustrates how commodification can apply to areas of life that we might think of as difficult to capture spiritually or experientially: now, for time-poor people who want to quickly reap the existential benefits of Buddhism, there is a wide range of easily accessible texts at affordable prices to choose from. Titles include “Buddhism for Busy People”, “Buddhism Plain and Simple”, “The Little Book of Buddhism”, “Buddhism Made Simple”, “Buddhism: for Beginners!”, “Buddhism for Dummies”, “Sit Like A Buddha”, “Hurry Up and Meditate”, “Enlightenment to Go”, and “The Dalai Lama's Cat”. In and through such texts, commodified versions of Buddhism appear, much the same way as Buddha-like statues appear in NASA photos of Mars (Feltman, 2015).
    • Becoming a manager in a contact centre

      Warhurst, Russell; Trehan, Kiran; Beattie, Rona; Cureton, Peter J. (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2014-11)
      This thesis uses an abductive research strategy to discover how individuals in a UK contact centre became first-line managers. Managers play a significant role in organisations as supervisors of staff, yet there is no general agreement as to what they do or how. Adopting an idealist ontology and a constructionist epistemology, this ethnographic project uncovered stories of becoming by using questionnaires, observations and interviews with twelve participants. The context was a private / public sector partnership to provide advice and guidance to a local community. The use by organisations of contact centres is maturing in the private sector and growing in the public sector. It is an especially important arena to explore in the UK economy as currently many contact centres that were outsourced to cheaper, high quality labour markets are returning to the UK. Analysis of data showed clearly that learning to become a first-line manager occurred throughout the life course in three distinct stages; formative development, and reflecting the values and behaviours of parents and teachers; pre-management occupational development, and the experience of being managed; and development actually in the role of a first-line manager. The thesis makes four contributions to the extant literature. Firstly, these three stages were shown to be the route in the transition from legitimate peripheral participation to mastery. Situated learning theory provides no such clarification. Secondly, learning to become a first-line manager did not necessarily change identity as many writers claim. Identities of first-line manager evolved by building on personal and occupational identities that had been developed earlier. Thirdly, teachers made a vital contribution to developing future first-line managers by affirming and strengthening family values. They also encouraged their pupils to recognise the connection between effort and gaining reward for achievement. Finally, the messy terrain of learning theory has been clarified, not as grand theory, but as mid-range theorising through a new conceptual framework. This schema synthesizes learning orientations with learning metaphors and learning viewed as a noun or a verb, and the various influences on learning from structure and agency. The four learning modes are adapt, assimilation, accommodation and aspire.
    • Behavioural Economics and Social Economics: Opportunities for an Expanded Curriculum

      Manning, Paul; University of Chester (Emerald, 2018)
      The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) undermined the legitimacy of orthodox economic assumptions, which nevertheless continue to frame business school pedagogy. In consequence, there is an opportunity for socio-economic insights to be more fully incorporated into the business school curriculum. This article reports and reflects on a socio-economic case study that was delivered to MBA students. The article demonstrates that the developing literature on behavioural economics has the potential to enhance students’ social-economic understanding of key areas of the curriculum. The paper presents an inter-disciplinary socio-economic teaching case that was informed by insights from behavioural economics. The teaching case concerned a socio-economic understanding of corruption and white-collar crime. It was also inter-disciplinary to include inputs from business history and criminology. The aim of the teaching case was to develop an appreciation among students that corruption and white-collar crime can be analyzed within a social economics lens. The teaching case example discussed in this article offered an alternative socio-economic understanding to core areas of the MBA curriculum, enabling students to apply a behavioural economic approach to corruption and more generally to white-collar-crime. The findings derived from this case study is that behavioural l economics has the potential to enhance the teaching of socio-economics. The GFC presents an opportunity to re-shape the business school curriculum to acknowledge the centrality of socio-economics and consequently to offer an alternative to the dominant ontological assumptions -taken from the economic understanding of rationality-that have previously under-pinned business school pedagogy. The originality of this article is to apply behavioural economics to a socio-economic teaching case studies in core subject areas of the MBA curriculum.
    • Being in-between: a narrative investigation into manager identity work in a UK Housing Association

      Page, Steve; Harris, Phil; Rostron, Alison I. (University of Chester, 2016-06)
      This thesis uses narrative methods within a social constructivist paradigm to investigate the identity work of managers in a North West England Housing Association, in the context of being ‘in-between’ those whom they directly manage, and those whom they are managed by. Within the complex field of identity studies it draws on a narrative conceptualisation of identity and utilises methods based on narrative structural analysis and the work of Propp (1968), and on a Levi-Straussian (1963, 1983) concept of mythical thought. The thesis is based on an embedded case study strategy in which managers are regarded as individual units of analysis within the bounded system of the case organisation. Data was collected primarily by eliciting stories from managers through interviews, and from observation and document collection over a fifteen month period. The case study organisation is a registered provider of social housing in the North West of England. Management in social housing is an under-studied area, and the complex environment, which makes multiple demands on managers to be both business and socially focused makes it an ideal context in which to investigate manager identity work. The thesis proposes the concept of the ‘medial manager’ as any organisational actor who is both managed themselves and who manages others. Its focus therefore extends from first level supervisors or team leaders through middle managers to senior managers reporting to Executive Board level. It makes a number of contributions to knowledge. First, a conceptual model of medial manager identity is developed through reflexive abductive iteration between primary data and extant literature which allows underlying processes of identity work to be identified, and understanding of identity work to be developed in several ways. These include identifying three distinct but inter-dependent phases of identity work, identifying key affording and constraining factors which help to explain different responses to subject positions by managers, and a more detailed understanding of the role of narrative in identity work. Second, the thesis adds to our understanding of managers. It reveals that the tensions between different interests commonly attributed to the middle manager role are also part of the daily experience of managers at other levels, and perhaps especially at team leader level. Third, the thesis makes a methodological contribution by developing a method of story elicitation and narrative analysis which is shown to be capable of revealing rich and granular detail into the workplace identities and processes of identity work accomplished by medial managers.
    • Beyond introspective reflective learning: Externalised reflection on a UK university’s Doctor of Professional Studies programme

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (University of Middlesex, 2012)
      The paper discusses the nature of reflective learning at doctoral level and argues that insufficient attention is paid to levelness in formal reflective learning for academic credit. It also discusses the problems associated with self reflection as introspection and argues that at doctoral level reflective learning should be external to the individual and directed at facilitating emergent practice change.
    • 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.
    • Brand personality: Theory and dimensionality

      Davies, Gary; Rojas-Mendez, Jose I.; Whelan, Susan; Mete, Melisa; Loo, Theresa; University of Chester (Emerald, 2018-03-12)
      Purpose: To critique human personality as theory underpinning brand personality. To propose instead theory from human perception and, by doing so, to identify universally relevant dimensions. Design/Method: A review of published measures of brand personality, a re-analysis of two existing data bases and the analysis of one new database are used to argue and test for the dimensions derived from perception theory. Findings: Existing work on brand personality suggests 16 separate dimensions for the construct but some appear common to most measures. When non-orthogonal rotation is used to reanalyse existing trait data on brand personality, three dimensions derived from signalling and associated theory can emerge: Sincerity (e.g. warm, friendly, agreeable), Competence (e.g. competent, effective, efficient) and Status (e.g. prestigious, elegant, sophisticated). The first two are common to most measures, status is not. Research Implications: Three dimensions derived from signalling and associated theory are proposed as generic, relevant to all contexts and cultures. They can be supplemented by context relevant dimensions. Practical Implications: Measures of these three dimensions should be included in all measures of brand personality. Originality: Prior work on brand personality has focussed on identifying apparently new dimensions for the construct. While most work is not theoretically based, some have argued for the relevance of human personality. That model is challenged and an alternative approach to both theory and analysis is proposed and successfully tested. Keywords: Brand personality; signalling theory; stereotype content model; brand image.
    • Branding of Southern African politics: The Case of the Democratic Progressive Party of Malawi and the African National Congress of South Africa

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Simenti-Phiri, Easton D.; University of Chester (Global Business and Technology Association, 2015)
      A paper which examines the professionalisation of political campaigns in Southern Africa, using comparative methodology to examine the cases of Malawi and South Africa, selecting prominent political organisations in each.
    • Business and organizational development: Global perspectives, cultures and domains

      Moore, Neil; Stokes, Peter; University of Chester (Inderscience Publishers, 2014)
      Recent years have seen an acceleration of alternative approaches to, and appreciations of, business and organisational development. Approaches focusing on cognitive elements, behavioural aspects and critical perspectives have emerged and become established in the mainstream. In turn, these approaches have facilitated and supported alternative domains, such as organisational learning, sustainability, social and environmental responsibility and gender issues. Contemporary organisational leaders are realising that, in order to cope with the complex and chaotic environments they face, alternative approaches and considerations are needed. This special issue provides space to explore and examine a number of these contexts through specific domains and issues. It achieves this by developing a range of perspectives, both epistemologically and geographically related, and presents case studies that focus on a range of emerging markets, sectors and approaches.
    • Business schools as educational provocateurs of productivity via interrelated landscapes of practice

      Wall, Tony; Jarvis, Madeleine; University of Chester; University of Chester (Chartered Association for Business Schools, 2015-12-01)
      In an ever-changing and global marketplace, it could be argued that the role of business schools is no longer to train graduates for specific roles. Whilst this concept that we are educating ‘for jobs that don’t yet exist’ has become more widely accepted, educational practices in business schools are arguably still contained by traditional Western practices of individualistic student instruction. Indeed, even the relevance of academic theory to practice has sparked heated debate in business schools for some time and has led to calls for a different attitude of engagement with theory (Ramsey, 2011, 2014). Some have pushed the debate from relevance to relevating as a process of challenge, change and impact (Paton, Chia and Burt, 2014). But even this is insufficient to spark forms of business and management education which provoke new ways of thinking and acting in practice which are infused with social connectedness and are beyond single discipline thinking. Notions of ‘autonomous learning’ and working ‘critically’ may be viewed as a positive development from pedagogy to andragogy in UK tertiary education. However, these can still be interpreted in deeply individualistic ways which are oppositional to notions of learning rooted in and oriented towards larger social groupings (Goodall, 2014, Yunkaporta and Kirby, 2011). Simply ‘training’ individuals in specific management activities is likely to be insufficient in unlocking transformative (and productive) community action. A new educational ontology of being is needed.