• Heroes and Helpers, Victims and Villains: A syntagmatic analysis of manager stories

      Rostron, Alison I.; University of Chester (British Academy of Management, 2015-09-08)
      This paper builds on the growing body of work using narrative as a means of both conceptualising and researching identity. Drawing on the work of Propp, it presents a method of syntagmatic analysis which attends to the narrative plots underpinning stories, and the narrative roles adopted by the narrator and roles ascribed to others. The paper presents research into manager workplace identities at a UK Social Landlord. It demonstrates how a syntagmatic analysis of manager stories reveals rich insights into the workplace identities of managers, and the identity work they undertake in order to construct and sustain such identities. It further reveals how managers personally position themselves in relation to the range of possible organisational functions of a manager, and in relation to the organisation and other organisational actors. By attending to individual stories, such analysis also draws attention to the plurality of manager experience.
    • Higher Degree Apprenticeships as Drivers for Social Change and Opportunity

      Rowe, Lisa; University of Chester
      This case study examines the impact that Higher Degree Apprenticeships have as drivers for social change and opportunity. It underpins a Chapter which explores the journey of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.
    • Higher Education Academy impact study report - University of Chester

      Willis, Karen; University of Chester (2007)
      This study aims to examine aspects of the impact of work based learning on both employees and employers and forms part of a larger scale study undertaken by the HE Academy. Employees who had successfully completed work based learning programmes of study at undergraduate level (excluding Foundation Degrees) were interviewed as, where possible, was their line manager or employer representative. Several issues arose concerning access to employers for interviews, which in some cases extended to difficulties in gaining access to former learners from organisational cohorts. Evidence emerging from the study highlights the effectiveness of higher level negotiated work based learning programmes in developing employees in ways that extend beyond role-specific competence. In particular, benefits in the development of self-awareness; learning to think and question; and improved confidence and work performance were valued by employees and employers alike. Work based learning projects, involving the reflection on practical experience, were thought to have benefited both individuals and organisations. More than half of the employees interviewed have since changed jobs or gained promotion, and the majority are now engaged in further higher level programmes of study. Employer support is seen to be an important factor for most learners, but not for all. The role of the HE tutor, though, is seen by learners as central to their success. Credit accumulation and accreditation of prior learning and experience are significant stages in engaging learners and facilitating their progression. Most learners are highly self-motivating, but cohort learners on programmes designed through employers need to be supported by them in the course of their studies. In-house programmes linked to assessment for HE accreditation need to be well-integrated and learners clearly advised by the employer on the commitment and expectations.
    • HIGHER EDUCATION OUTREACH: EXAMINING KEY CHALLENGES FOR ACADEMICS

      Johnson, Matthew; Danvers, Emily; Hinton-Smith, Tamsin; Atkinson, Kate; Bowden, Gareth; Foster, John; Garner, Kristina; Garrud, Paul; Greaves, Sarah; Harris, Patricia; et al. (Informa UK Limited, 2019-02-04)
    • Historical and Contemporary Contexts: The Representation and Character of ‘Modern’ Organizations

      Stokes, Peter; University of Chester (Kogan Page, 2016-04-01)
      Chapter 2: Historical and Contemporary Contexts: The Representation and Character of ‘Modern’ Organizations Peter Stokes Objectives This chapter aims to outline the modernistic and positivistic philosophies and paradigms which underpin contemporary markets, management and organizations by: • elaborating the historical context of the role of the enlightenment and the emergence of science; • explaining the development of the Industrial Revolution, the development of positivism and the recognition of modernism and its powerful implications for the shape and nature of organizations and management; • elaborating the nature and role of Taylorism and Fordism as consequences of the general modernistic movement and events; • contextualising modernism and positivism by developing a conceptual understanding of epistemology and frames of reference; • providing examples of modernistic effects in organizations such as hard and soft management and corporate cultures, key performance indicators and metrics, audit cultures, managerialism, McDonaldization and the role of fashions and fads in management thinking and ideas. Introduction Chapter One mapped out the contemporary nature of the work and organizations and their environments, in local and global terms, and underlined the contexts and issues which have become important for organizations. The Chapter now proceeds to examine modernism and the phenomena of, for example, managerialism, Taylorism and McDonaldization and how they have endured as powerful influences on contemporary work settings. The management of change and evolution have been a recurrent experience in business and organizations generally. It has become common to read in texts that, in the contemporary era, change is happening at an unprecedented rate and on a global scale. However, organizations and societies have always undergone change. At times, this change has seemed radical and unpredictable whilst at other times there have been periods which have provided a semblance of stability and continuity (Linstead, Fulop and Lilley, 2009:619). Historically, it is possible to cite many major events which have caused severe and extensive disruption to established society processes and structures which have caused companies and organizations to go bankrupt and disappear forever. Changes might be relatively small or, alternatively, may be on a continental scale. These might include major tragedies such as, for example, plagues and illnesses (the Black Death and the post-First World War influenza outbreak (1918-1919) both of which killed hundreds of thousands of people and brought about significant transformations in social hierarchies, land and wealth distributions); conflicts (such as World War I and II (1914-18 and 1939-1945)) and economic collapses and depressions (The Wall Street Crash (1929) and the ‘Credit Crunch’ Recession (2008)). Moreover, whatever changes are taking place in a period, different periods of history are characterised by particular values and beliefs regarding the drivers that shape the epoch. Such beliefs are likely to change over time and acknowledging this is important for contemporary managers and organizations because by generating an appreciation of this it will facilitate a better understanding of the energies and forces at play in the contemporary world and workplace. A key philosophy that has shaped the 20th and 21st Centuries has been that of modernism which can be considered to have followed on from pre-modernism. Modernism can be considered to have exerted influence from the mid-1600s until the contemporary era, whilst Pre-modernism embraces Ancient History (that is, for example, Ancient Greek, Roman and other civilizations of the surrounding eras) leading up towards the early Medieval period (Cummings, 2002). Modernism is important to understand because the values it embodies are very different from those that prevailed in the preceding pre-Modern and Medieval eras.
    • Hotel Employer’s perceptions of employing Eastern European employees: a case study of Cheshire, UK

      Lyon, Andrew; Sulcova, Dana; University of Chester (Cognizant Communication Corporation, 2009-02-01)
      This article examines and reveals hotel employer’s experiences of employing Eastern European workers in Cheshire in the UK. Cheshire has a vibrant and significant visitor economy, with its main tourist destination Chester receiving over 8 million visitors a year and has over 30% of its income generated from the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors. There is almost full employment in many parts of the region and many employers struggle to fill vacant positions, particularly at the lower skill levels. Many visitor economy employers are now reliant on migrant labour from Eastern Europe. The objectives of this study are to examine the experiences of employers of Eastern European employees and to compare and contrast the contribution of Easter European employees and local employees using six key themes. This article analyses the outcome of in-depth, one-to-one interviews with accommodation employers from Cheshire in the north west of England in the UK. The findings suggest that some employers can put forward a number of clear, positive reasons for employing Eastern European workers. These reasons are mainly driven by the migrant workers having certain abilities which British employees lack. On the other hand however, some employers also suggest that Eastern European workers have certain limitations which could have implications for the quality of service delivery. Key words: Migrant workers, quality, employer perceptions
    • 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.
    • How can the Organisational Ambidexterity concept be applied to the automotive industry as it aims to exploit current vehicles sales profit pools and explore autonomous electric mobility services?

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

      Rowland, Caroline; Shaw, Peter A. (University of Chester, 2011-06)
      This is the supporting documentation submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by publication. The research issues addressed were the extent to which the four Vs of vision, values, value-added and vitality are pre-requisites for an individual to be able to step up successfully into demanding leadership roles, and at times of major change, what are the key requirements that enable an individual to continue to step up into demanding, leadership roles successfully and sustain that success? The proposition which has been tested in a wide range of contexts is that leaders step up successfully if they apply a balance of the four Vs of vision, values, value-added and vitality. The research concluded that continuing to step up successfully and sustaining that success involves a clear focus on coherence, context, courage and co-creation. It is the active interplay between these two sets of requirements which determine whether a leader is able to cope successfully with demanding leadership challenges in a sustained way. This relationship is illustrated in the diagram below. The research was based on an exploratory approach which was inductive whereby the perspectives of a wide range of senior leaders were sought both in terms of their experiences and what was observed. The research also included an element of auto-ethnography. The approach of the four Vs was published in the book, “The Four Vs of Leadership: vision, values, value-added and vitality”. This framework was tested with a wide range of senior level leaders in different sectors. The rigorous use of this framework was then applied to develop clarity of thinking in areas such as career choices, decision-making, business coaching and the taking on of new opportunities which were set out in a sequence of subsequent books. The interplay of the four Vs and four Cs has contributed to the leadership impact of a range of senior leaders at times when they have been handling rapid change. The work furthers understanding about sustaining leadership effectively through times of turbulence.
    • Human capital, international standards

      Stokes, Peter; Wall, Tony; De Montfort University; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-09-26)
      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)...
    • Human resource development as a strategic tool for developing the Omani economy: The case of Duqm Special Economic Zone in Oman (DSEZ)

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Al Zeidi, Sarhan S. (University of Chester, 2016-12)
      Research is increasingly acknowledging the pivotal role of national human resource development (NHRD) in economic development. There is a growing call to conduct research in country-specific contexts to further explore this concept and the factors that influence its outcomes. The concept differs from one country to another; therefore, many HRD studies focus on one country. However, few have focused on the Middle East region, and there has been even less research on Oman. The aim here is to fill this research gap by analysing Oman’s HRD practices. Specifically, the intent is to identify the gap in skillsets in Oman and to develop an NHRD model that is appropriate for the country’s economic requirements for national skills development.
    • Identifying barriers to the adoption of Certificated and Experiential Accreditation/Recognition of Prior Learning: A global perspective

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2019-01-25)
      The presentation reviews research into practice in the UK and beyond to identify barriers to adoption and examples where there has been a systemic increase. The various terms used to describe practice are outlined and its application in the UK and beyond briefly reviewed. The presentation will refer to national, institutional and pedagogical constraints to the wider adoption of practice. Two national examples are cited where practice appears most widespread- the USA and France. Possible explanations are cited and examples of institutional practice in each country described. Finally lessons from a global perspective are used to highlight opportunities and constraints in the UK.
    • Identity Construction and its Influence on Wine Tourism Diversification Decisions: Case Study of Family Wineries in Langhe, Italy

      Lyon, Andy; Warhurst, Russell; Canovi, Magali (University of Chester, 2017-07)
      The aim of this thesis is to examine family wineries’ wine tourism diversification decisions in terms of wine producers’ self-constructions. The focus lies on understanding which motives drive family businesses’ decisions to engage in diversification. A case study approach is adopted, using the Italian wine region of Langhe in Piedmont. The dominant debates within the current literature have primarily concentrated on the economic-social dichotomy in relation to diversification decisions. It has been argued that diversification decisions are predominantly economically driven, highlighting the importance of profit maximisation and risk reduction. This thesis highlights the limitations of the economic-social dichotomy approach and argues for the need to take the social context into account when examining the decision-making process. An interpretivist approach to research is adopted in order to extend current understandings of family businesses and their motives underlying diversification decisions. In line with the interpretivist perspective, this thesis uses discourse analysis (DA) as a methodological approach for analysing and interpreting wine producers’ accounts. The findings reveal that by engaging in discourse about wine tourism diversification, wine producers construct a distinctive, coherent and desired sense of self, which in turn influences family wineries’ decisions to diversification. In this instance, the concept of identity formation plays a central role in explaining family wineries’ motives for diversification. Linking wine producers’ motives for diversification to their self-constructions provides a new insight into how family businesses engage in decision-making. Wine producers’ discourses reveal that their decision-making processes are inextricably linked to sustaining a positive sense of self. Decisions are not only taken to achieve economic goals, but are likely to be influenced by deeper motives, notably wine producers’ identity constructions. The main contribution of this thesis is that it advances understanding of family businesses’ decisionmaking processes by developing a multi-layered conceptual framework to go beyond the economic-social dichotomy in order to reveal wine producers’ semi-conscious and unconscious motives for diversification.
    • The Impact of Wine Tourism Involvement on Winery Owners' Identity Processes

      Canovi, Magali; Lyon, Andrew; Mordue, Tom; ESCP Europe; University of Northumbria; University of Chester,
      This paper examines how involvement in wine tourism has affected winery owners’ identity processes. Using Breakwell’s Identity Process Theory (IPT) as a conceptual framework, we investigate the extent to which place is a part of winery owners’ self-identities, thereby giving them senses of belonging, distinctiveness, continuity, and self-esteem. Simultaneously, we find that these senses and feelings influence winery owners’ perceptions of the benefits and dis-benefits of wine tourism development in their region. We also discover how personal involvement in tourism can strengthen or threaten winery owners’ identities and thereby affect their support or otherwise for wine tourism. Empirical evidence is provided via a sample of twenty-eight winery owners in Langhe, Italy, who have recently engaged in various tourism-related activities due to the continuous development of the local tourism industry. Our research recognises that place is an integral part of the identity process.
    • Impacts of COVID-19 and social isolation on academic staff and students at universities: A cross-sectional study

      Leal Filho, Walter; Wall, Tony; Rayman-Bacchus, Lez; Mifsud, Mark; Pritchard, Diana; Orlovic Lovren, Violeta; Farinha, Carla Sofia; Petrovic, Danijela; Balogun, Abdul-Lateef; Hamburg University of Applied Sciences; University of Chester; Winchester Business School; University of Malta; University of Bedfordshire; University of Belgrade; NOVA University Lisbon; Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (BioMed Central, 2021-06-24)
      The impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the shutdown it triggered at universities across the world, led to a great degree of social isolation among university staff and students. The aim of this study was to identify the perceived consequences of this on staff and their work and on students and their studies at universities. Method The study used a variety of methods, which involved an on-line survey on the influences of social isolation using a non-probability sampling. More specifically, two techniques were used, namely a convenience sampling (i.e. involving members of the academic community, which are easy to reach by the study team), supported by a snow ball sampling (recruiting respondents among acquaintances of the participants). A total of 711 questionnaires from 41 countries were received. Descriptive statistics were deployed to analyse trends and to identify socio-demographic differences. Inferential statistics were used to assess significant differences among the geographical regions, work areas and other socio-demographic factors related to impacts of social isolation of university staff and students. Results The study reveals that 90% of the respondents have been affected by the shutdown and unable to perform normal work or studies at their institution for between 1 week to 2 months. While 70% of the respondents perceive negative impacts of COVID 19 on their work or studies, more than 60% of them value the additional time that they have had indoors with families and others. . Conclusions While the majority of the respondents agree that they suffered from the lack of social interaction and communication during the social distancing/isolation, there were significant differences in the reactions to the lockdowns between academic staff and students. There are also differences in the degree of influence of some of the problems, when compared across geographical regions. In addition to policy actions that may be deployed, further research on innovative methods of teaching and communication with students is needed in order to allow staff and students to better cope with social isolation in cases of new or recurring pandemics.
    • The Impacts of the Early Outset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Climate Change Research: implications for policy-making

      Leal Filho, Walter; Wall, Tony; Alves, Fatima; Nagy, Gustavo J; Fernández Carril, Luis; Li, Chunlan; Azeiteiro, Ulisses M.; Mucova, Serafino; Platje, Johannes; Rayman-Bacchus, Lez; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-06-16)
      Since January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the media and exercises pressure on governments worldwide. Apart from its effects on economies, education systems and societies, the pandemic has also influenced climate change research. This paper examines the extent to which COVID-19 has influenced climate change research worldwide during the first wave at the beginning of 2020 and how it is perceived to exploit it in the future. This study utilised an international survey involving those dedicated to climate change science and management research from Academia, Government, NGOs, and international agencies in 83 countries. The analysis of responses encompasses four independent variables: Institutions, Regions, Scientific Areas, and the level of economic development represented by the Human Development Index (HDI). Results show that: (1) COVID-19 modified the way the surveyed researchers work, (2) there are indicators that COVID-19 has already influenced the direction of climate change and adaptation policy implementation, and (3) respondents perceived (explicitly concerning the COVID-19 lockdowns of March-April 2020), that the pandemic has drawn attention away from climate policy. COVID-19 has influenced the agenda of climate change research for more than half of the respondents and is likely to continue in the future, suggesting that the impacts on their research will still be felt for many years. The paper concludes by outlining critical implications for policy-making.
    • The importance of colour on the communication of financial data in management

      Sung, Anna; Williams, Taylor; Flora, Sun; Leong, Kelvin; Andoniou, Constantine; University of Chester
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the importance of colour on the communication of financial data in management and to encourage future discussion on related topic. Design/methodology/approach – Hypothesis was designed building on relevant literatures. Quantitative discrete data were collected through a mini-test activity in a lecture from students. The results were reviewed and evaluated by relevant statistical tool. Findings – The authors found consistent statistical significance results in the mini-test. The findings support that users prefer to choose the financial data presented in cool colours in business management context. Research limitations/implications – Gaining the understanding of colour’s influence on decision making and behaviour is subjected to complexity. There are many other contextual factors should be taken into consideration in practice. Although the design of the mini-test in this study is relatively simple, it still provides clues for the issue. With the discussions and findings of this paper, the authors shed some light on the direction of potential uses of colour on the communication of financial data in management context. The findings could also be used by management educators to facilitate related discussions among students regarding the complexity of business communication and the importance of perception in decision making. For example, decision making could be affected by various factors (such as colour) outside verbal and text. Originality/value – Managers often need to use financial data in communication for various purposes in work place. The authors believe this is the first time that a study like this had been conducted to specifically review and discuss the importance of colour on the communication of financial data in management. Hopefully, the work reported in this paper could be viewed as reference for management educators, researchers and managers in future research or practical applications on related topics.
    • Inclusive policy-working with minority ethnic young people for decent work

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

      Wall, Tony; Tran, Ly Thi; Soejatminah, Sri; University of Chester; Deakin University; Deakin University (Springer, 2016-10-31)
      National systems of vocational education and training around the globe are facing reform driven by quality, international mobility, and equity. Evidence suggests that there are qualitatively distinctive challenges in providing and sustaining workplace learning experiences to international students. However, despite growing conceptual and empirical work, there is little evidence of the experiences of these students undertaking workplace learning opportunities as part of vocational education courses. This paper draws on a four-year study funded by the Australian Research Council that involved 105 in depth interviews with international students undertaking work integrated learning placements as part of vocational education courses in Australia. The results indicate that international students can experience different forms of discrimination and deskilling, and that these were legitimised by students in relation to their understanding of themselves as being an ‘international student’ (with fewer rights). However, the results also demonstrated the ways in which international students exercised their agency towards navigating or even disrupting these circumstances, which often included developing their social and cultural capital. This study, therefore, calls for more proactively inclusive induction and support practices that promote reciprocal understandings and navigational capacities for all involved in the provision of work integrated learning. This, it is argued, would not only expand and enrich the learning opportunities for international students, their tutors, employers, and employees involved in the provision of workplace learning opportunities, but it could also be a catalyst to promote greater mutual appreciation of diversity in the workplace.
    • Influences on relationships between Ministers and Civil Servants in British Government: A study based on the perceptions of former Ministers

      Talbot, Jon; Wall, Tony; Stokes, David (University of Chester, 2016-06)
      This thesis focuses on the relationships between Ministers and Civil Servants in British Government. It is argued that the deliberative space for officials to devise and critique policy in tandem with Ministers is contracting. The change occurred after Margaret Thatcher incentivised officials to behave in certain ways, and her embrace of New Public Management made relationships within government more transactional. Given this scenario the thesis explores how relationships between Ministers and officials can be improved. To determine this twenty-five former UK Government Ministers were interviewed complementing an earlier study which examined the issue from the perspective of senior officials. These Ministers reported that successful relationships were most likely to be established when Civil Servants demonstrated effective leadership, commitment to implementing policy, honesty, technical skill, and awareness of political and external realities. In addition it is thought that time invested early in the relationship helps to communicate Ministers’ expectations. Ministers also reported what they feel to be behaviours which undermine the relationship: misunderstanding the professional role of officials, relying upon special advisors rather than direct contact with officials, a lack of managerial experience, and public criticism of officials. Ministers also identified Civil Servants’ behaviours likely to result in poor relationships - appearing averse to change, being unable to rationalise the advantages of existing approaches, and a reluctance to lead or assume responsibility. Some of the perceptions identified in the literature, such as Civil Servants seeking control and lacking competence, were not afforded the same prominence by Ministerial interviewees. They highlighted systemic issues including the feudal and hierarchical nature of Whitehall, and their perception that the wrong skills and behaviours are incentivised. They also noted the lack of training for Ministers and their inability to pass on their experiences to colleagues. In addition to these observations about personal relations respondents expressed a deeper concern about the changing roles and expectations between Ministers and officials. Despite the evident contradiction between contemporary practice and the constitutional position created by Haldane in 1918, Ministers still appear to accept the latter as the basis for their relationships with officials. Further research may be required to explore this, alongside the disparity identified between the ministerial view from the literature and my interviewees, and the training lacuna. The thesis concludes by making a number of recommendations concerning future practice.