Now showing items 1-20 of 252

    • 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.
    • Research Policy and Practice Provocations: Coaching evaluation in diverse landscapes of practice – towards enriching toolkits and professional judgement

      Wall, Tony; Jamieson, Mark; Csigás, Zoltan; Kiss, Olga; University of Chester; European Mentoring and Coaching Council (European Mentoring and Coaching Council, 2017-03)
      The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), with its vision to be the ‘go to’ body for coaching and mentoring across the globe, considers research to be a cornerstone of its strategy to spur the enhancement of practice, to spur innovation, and to drive the highest standards in professionalisation...
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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)
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Charity Fundraising Events – An understated domain: The changing landscapes of charity fundraising event management processes, contexts and ‘communities’ in the United Kingdom

      Bellamy, Lawrence; Stokes, Peter; Brown, Timothy (University of Chester, 2018-08-22)
      Events Management is often regarded as a modern phenomenon, emerging in the last 25 years as an academic subject and practical discipline from a variety of existing fields. Despite this rapid growth there are still aspects of the event industry that are disregarded within the academic literature. This research address this by examining the contribution that charity fundraising events make. Furthermore this research provides new insights into the development and management of charity fundraising events. Conducted between 2011 and 2017 using mixed methods research, the thesis follows an interpretative approach and contributes to the knowledge of events management. Utilising Communities of Practice (CoP) as a conceptual framework the practices, processes and characteristics of events management and charity fundraising events was explored. The fieldwork research entailed examining 120 charity’s economic data regarding fundraising events, an industry survey of 215 event professionals, and 25 in-depth qualitative interviews with charity fundraising event professionals. The findings indicated that there is a unique approach and process to undertaking charity fundraising events, with a particular focus on sponsors, stakeholders and volunteers. This charity fundraising event process is also revealed to be a multi-event management process, as opposed to the singular approach promoted within the literature. Furthermore the economic value of charity fundraising events is demonstrated to be significant. Charity fundraising events are also established to be a critical strategic tool for charities to raise funds, raise brand awareness and, most significantly, to engage with supporters to become part of the charities donor journey. Finally, within the event industry, including charity fundraising events, there is clear evidence of CoP characteristics and practices. The thesis draws together insights from the literature and fieldwork, the event industry and event professionals, and provides a platform from which further research can be developed.
    • Expanding the Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Perspective: An exploratory investigation into pedagogy and practice at the University of Chester

      Hancock, Connie (University of Chester, 2018-08-18)
      Purpose: This work conducts an exploratory investigation into the domain of entrepreneurship in Higher Education (HE), how it is perceived, interpreted and embedded, both from a pedagogic and philosophical perspective, into a contemporary university landscape in order to cultivate entrepreneurial behaviours in undergraduate students. It is implied in government imperatives and directives that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs are the fiscal panacea that will lead us towards the light in the economic gloom that currently pervades. The cultivation of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours has been specifically linked to Higher Education by the European Commission, although scholarly research into developing an entrepreneurial landscape within the HE sector is significantly lacking. Whilst studies exploring the entrepreneurial university and transformative opportunities in response to economic pressure has been undertaken from the 90s onwards, this field and its potential to inform and impact on Higher Education continues to represent an understudied area. The purpose of this research therefore, is to consider the methodologies and strategies that can support a cultivation, integration and embedment of entrepreneurship education in a Higher Education context, specifically the University of Chester, with a view to creating a blueprint for future Entrepreneurship undergraduate Programmes. Methodology: The approach is one that embraces an inductive and qualitative research methodology with data secured from three groups of respondents: undergraduate students, staff engaged in the delivery and support of entrepreneurial endeavour and external stakeholders contributing to an entrepreneurship agenda. Data were gathered from student participants by means of semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Data was secured from staff and external stakeholders via the mode of face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A multiple perspective methodology was employed in order to effectively provide a triangulation of perceptions on the development of an institutional entrepreneurial culture from a pragmatic perspective. The data were analysed and interpreted by way of template analysis (Stokes, Wall, 2014; Philips, Lawrence and Hardy, 2004; Hardy and Thomas, 2013). Contribution: This work expands upon the ways in which entrepreneurship education may be understood in the context of a comparatively small university in the north-west of England and extends the thinking into how practice may be extended to maximise undergraduate entrepreneurship. Most significantly, this research offers up a conceptual blueprint in the form of a model that demonstrates how entrepreneurially orientated mind-sets and behaviours may be fostered in undergraduates within the context of University of Chester.
    • 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)...
    • Cognitive Influences shaping Grade Decision Making

      Pownall, Ian; Kennedy, Victoria; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (Emerald, 2018)
      Whilst the marking process is a well explored area, there is limited analysis of the influences that shape the intention grading decision at the point at which it is made. This can be particularly important when those influences may vary during the marking process making reflective analyses also difficult to explore. We draw upon a small sample of assessed scripts from two UK HEIs and undertake a factor analysis of potentially important influences that shape the grading decision at the cognitive point it is made. Our findings indicate that for the sample analysed, the markers most important influences were those associated with the normative view of marking although they also suggest potential influences from when the script was graded and the fatigue of the marker concerned. Our findings indicate that for the sample analysed, the markers most important influences were those associated with the normative view of marking although they also suggest potential influences from when the script was graded and the fatigue of the marker concerned. The work is confined to undergraduate management students and limited by the sample size.A factor analysis reveals the cluster of influences that contribute to observed grade outcomes, but provides less clarity upon relative interdependencies between those factors.There are additional constraints in that the constructed data collection tool was self administered. The data collection instrument (VBA Excel workbook) is we believe, quite innovative in capturing immediate cognitive reflections. It could be developed for other decision making research. We also believe there are staff developmental outcomes from the work, to sustain and enhance assurance in the grading process. As far as we can determine, research that has explored the influences shaping grading and mark allocation tends to be reflective or after the event. Our research data is constructed at the same time as the grade / mark is determined.
    • 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)...
    • 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)...
    • Drama and theatre for health and well-being

      Wall, Tony; Fries, Julia; Rowe, Nick; Malone, Niamh; Österlind, Eva; University of Chester; Stockholm University; York St John University; Liverpool Hope University; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
      The rock art of indigenous communities from 20,000 years ago have been interpreted as early indications of how humans have connected performance, in a broad sense, with the health and well-being of their communities (Fleischer and Grehan, 2016). Now, at a global level, there is increasing recognition that drama and theatre can facilitate a variety of health and wellbeing outcomes for an extensive range of groups, not pre-determined by affluence or socioeconomic status (APPG, 2017). In a broad sense, drama and theatre are a constellation of arts based practices, processes, and spaces, which intentionally work with more or less fictive characters, roles, relationships, and plots, in order to generate a wide range of experiences or outcomes (Wall, Österlind and Fries, 2018, forthcoming). Indeed, theatre and drama have been described as “the most integrative of all the arts: they include singing, dancing, painting, sculpture, storytelling, music, puppetry, poetry and the art of acting” (British Medical Association, 2011, p 10), which can help people to understand and then change how they relate to and then live out their own world.
    • Coaching and ethics in practice: dilemmas, navigations, and the (in)spoken

      Wall, Tony; Hawley, Rachel; Iordanou, Ioanna; Csigás, Zoltan; Cumberland, Nigel; Lerotic-Pavlik, Nathalie; Vreede, Alex; University of Chester; European Mentoring and Coaching Council (2018-05-23)
      This Research Policy & Practice Provocations Report is the third issue in a series which aims to influence how we think about and how we conduct coaching and mentoring research. Developing our ethical compass is challenging but rewarding process as part of the professional development of coaching and mentoring practice. This report brings you an opportunity to refresh your thinking regarding ethics and ethical issues, and prompts us to consider expert perspectives towards illustrative challenges. Ethics and ethical practice are often seen as crucially important, both professionally and morally (Wall, Iordanou, Hawley and Csigas, 2016), and indeed has been found to be an area which is especially important to the high impact world of the coach and mentor (Wall, Jamieson, Csigás, and Kiss, 2017). In the last Provocations Report, for example, we highlighted an important question that needed to be addressed: “What might be the ethical tensions in evaluating coaching?”.
    • A qualitative investigation into practitioner perspectives of the role of customers within the design and delivery of local government contact centre services

      Moore, Neil; Manning, Paul; Nott, Derek J. (University of Chester, 2018-07-12)
      Local authorities have experienced significant cuts in income whilst grappling with increased demand, an aging population and welfare reform. This pressing imperative has driven local authorities to challenge their sense of self and in doing so consider the participative role that customers can and do play. This study sought to examine practitioner perspectives of customers, their role, impact and constraining and enabling factors within the design and delivery of local government contact centre services. There is limited empirical research on practitioner perspectives of the role of customers within a local government environment. There are multiple terms used to describe the concept of customer but an absence of established approaches to examine the role that customers play within socially constructed phenomenon within local government demonstrating a gap in current academic thought. Whilst the rationale for involving customers in local governance is debated, the application of theory in to practice is limited thereby further constraining the opportunity for local authorities to leverage potential benefits afforded through participative approaches to the design and delivery of contact centre services. An interpretivist stance was adopted with qualitative techniques employed within the research. Using a priori codes developed through the review of extant literature, thematic analysis of forty-four customer service strategies spanning single tier, upper tier and metropolitan local authorities was undertaken. Themes were further developed through analysis of transcripts from seventeen semistructured interviews with managers responsible for the design and delivery of local government contact centre services. This research highlighted the differing and often contradictory practitioner perceptions of the concept of customer and the role that customers play in the design and delivery of local government services. Whilst organisations espoused a desire to progress participative principles due to the potential benefits afforded through such approaches, the extent to which these were operationalised by practitioners was limited and this coupled with a perceived sense of passivity on the part of customers resulted in little or no positive impact on current service performance. As extant literature and research is limited on the role of customers within local government, this study expands current academic thought providing particular insight on the practitioner perspective. The research findings provide a robust foundation on which theorists and practitioners in particular can formulate participative strategies and associated policies thereby providing meaningful opportunities for customers to co-design and co-deliver local government services and through which potential benefits, financial and non-financial, can be realised.