Over the last three decades, researchers have been attempting to understand the dimensions associated with Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction. A conclusion is being drawn that improved Service Quality leads to greater customer retention and market share, therefore there are rich rewards for any service company that can adopt a strategic Customer Service philosophy in a cost effective manner. Many constructs have been developed in an attempt to derive a measure of Customer Satisfaction, but none to date have demonstrated a universal approach capable of coping with the nuances of all service typologies. As the goal of improved Customer Satisfaction is to increase customer engagements and therefore profit for the adopting company, this dissertation deploys a Service Quality Measurement instrument across the stages of the Customer Relationship Lifecycle. There are few academic examples of research instruments being deployed in this manner however; many of the existing constructs contain elements of this conceptual model. The research evaluates whether the stages of the Customer Relationship Lifecycle should be the starting point for service providers to build their own Service Quality customer surveys. It examines whether this process is an appropriate construct for service providers to evaluate how to capture customers, and then build the relationship through to successful and hopefully repeat transactions. The researcher goes on to examine the data captured to establish whether there are issues associated with the profile of the customer which would influence the results of a Customer Satisfaction Survey and consequently provide insight as to potential reasons why existing Service Quality questionnaire constructs produce inconsistencies. Finally, consideration is given to development of this conceptual model and its potential for understanding how Service Quality is influenced by different Service Typologies.
This research presents the results of a study undertaken within a small local authority. It examines the relevance of both stakeholder theory and contemporary strategic thinking to determine whether stakeholder voice has an impact upon the formulation of strategy within the context of the local authority examined. The role of the stakeholder is argued as being fundamental in the development of effective strategy, and therefore "logical incrementalism" is challenged in favour of the need for strategic forward planning to formalise the involvement of stakeholders. However, whilst this research indicates a development toward a planned approach to strategy, this can be constrained by other factors that divert managers away from strategic issues, including a flat management structure, strategically indifferent political support and limited time and resources. Moreover, the multiplicity [in both number and influence] of the stakeholders to the local authority supports the situational and subjective nature of the stakeholder concept, which can lead to both positive and negative stakeholder influences. Accordingly, it is argued that stakeholder voice is ultimately related to an individual stakeholder's ability to sanction, support and/or exert power over the local authority. A model of stakeholder power has been developed, which postulates that such power is derived from the impact of legislation upon the stakeholder relationship in combination with the stakeholder's ability to control resources as well the stakeholder's impact upon the reputation of the local authority. The ability to comprehend the complexity and nuances of the stakeholder concept is therefore of paramount importance, however it was observed that managers do not fully understand the purpose and definition of strategy and therefore do not fully comprehend the stakeholder concept and its relationship to strategy. Therefore a significant need for training was identified with regard to both stakeholder involvement and strategy formulation. The research concludes that stakeholder voice does affect strategy formulation, but this relationship can be very situational, resulting in positive and negative connotations about the involvement of stakeholders to the various strategic processes of the local authority examined.
Gresty, Dominique (University of Chester, 2010-06)
This study seeks to assess issues which may prevent performance management theory being applied effectively in practice. In particular it is interested in performance management in an SME. A single case study was used to test the author’s theoretical propositions and assess them against previous academic research. Findings were validated through a multi-method approach. Many issues found in prior performance management research were present in the study organisation, with behavioural factors, management capabilities and past experience of performance management as potential barriers to a successful PMS. Although this research is based on a single case study and therefore not generalisable, it can be concluded that for a performance management system to be effective companies must be clear about their goals, develop a coherent PM strategy and show commitment at each stage of the process. This study was based on a privately-owned micro-organisation in the service sector and adds to previous research conducted into performance management issues in SMEs.
This dissertation provides an insight into marketing in the not for profit sector and in particular within the community music industry. The examination of the current marketing practices as alluded to in the title “examining the current marketing practices of a not for profit community music organisation” provides a perfect opportunity to outline the contemporary marketing models and how these are applied to the sector. The research begins with a brief outline of the history of marketing in the not for profit sector. This sets the scene for further study of the not for profit music sector. The dissertation provides research of an existing company and how current marketing is applied and the effectiveness of the practice to stakeholders. The dissertation concludes with applied strategic marketing techniques on the research to provide a series of recommendations which may be used by the not for profit organisation concerned.
The objective of this dissertation was to investigate the hypothesis that supplementation with chromium is capable of positively influencing changes in body composition, through increased muscle mass accretion or preservation and reduction of body fat mass in exercising and sedentary individuals. The efficacy of chromium supplementation will be evaluated through a systematic review of scientific, peer-reviewed, research papers. Chromium is an essential mineral required by the body for adequate insulin function and has been proposed as an effective weight loss agent. With the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in developed countries, an effective weight loss supplement which could aid exercise and dietary regimes would be valuable. The suggestion that chromium excretion is increased with physical activity and a high carbohydrate diet indicates that chromium deficiency may be an issue for athletes. The systematic search returned nineteen relevant studies which satisfied the selection criteria. Of these a total of six studies reported a significant effect of chromium supplementation either increasing or decreasing body weight, increasing or preserving lean body mass and decreasing body fat mass. Studies which were unable to find a significant effect utilised similar dosages of chromium and made attempts to assess the effects of chromium supplementation on serum chromium concentration and urinary chromium excretion. No significant effects of chromium supplementation were found on physical performance parameters. In conclusion, no significant effect of chromium supplementation on body composition in healthy, non-diabetic individuals have been found in well-designed and bias controlled studies. In terms of insulin potentiation, availability of chromium from the normal dietary intake is not the limiting factor to potentiation of insulin. Of all the studies reviewed none reported adverse effects to chromium supplementation when provided greatly in excess of recommended daily intakes. The claims that chromium supplements on the market are capable of enhancing body fat loss and muscle mass accretion are not supported by the findings of well-designed and bias controlled studies.
Pickett, Danielle J. (University of Chester, 2017)
The story of the Reverend Patrick Brontë’s gift of twelve wooden soldiers to his twelve-year-old son Branwell in June 1829 is a much repeated one among scholars of the Brontë juvenilia. Renamed affectionately The Twelves, the toy soldiers provided the catalyst for the Young Men’s plays that grew into the Glass Town, Angria and Gondol sagas, and would continue to fuel the four youngest Brontë siblings’ imagination for the next twenty years. And yet, despite this early education of authorship and world play, Elizabeth Gaskell in The Life of Charlotte Brontë gave little attention to the ‘wild weird writing’ of her subject’s formative years,1 instead enshrining Charlotte in a domestic home ‘of the most dainty order, [and] the most exquisite cleanliness’.2 Resorting to same superlatives that she does in her treatment of the juvenilia, Christine Alexander’s assertion that ‘Nineteenth-century biographers…generally gave no more than a cursory glance at an author’s juvenilia, if indeed they acknowledged it at all’ fails to account for Gaskell’s censorship, and implies a more deliberate motive for the (dis)use of her language.3 This study locates Gaskell’s uneasiness in the conflict between Charlotte the writer, and Charlotte the woman. Accepted as her writing was in adulthood, it is Charlotte’s juvenilia and the imaginary worlds of Glass Town and Angria she created in childhood but continued well into adulthood, that disrupts the demarcation between what was acceptable as a professional woman author, and what was not. If the nature of the freedom of play in childhood is meant to be temporary, the transgressive nature of the Brontës’ was that it was not. For Charlotte, prolonged immersion in her fantasy world began to affect her reality, and it is the conflict between reality and her imaginary world that is evident in Jane Eyre, which this study examines as a full-length version of her last contribution to her juvenilia and read as ‘A [Final] Farwell to Angria’.
Introduction - It is well documented that first year university students, often away from home for the first time, have poor dietary habits which are widely accepted to contribute to serious health problems. Research suggests improving confidence, skill and knowledge to cook healthily is important to facilitate healthier eating behaviours amongst the student population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the educational intervention, Can’t cook, don’t cook on the confidence, skill and knowledge of first year students from the University of Chester to cook healthy foods. Method - Students were recruited to take part in the intervention through the use of posters and flyers. The intervention comprised of three practical cooking sessions that included some classroom-based learning. Those who attended the intervention were asked to participate in the evaluation research, 14 males and 30 females doing so. The evaluation consisted of the completion of two questionnaires, pre- and post-intervention, measuring self-reported confidence, skill and knowledge to cook healthy food. Results - There were significant increases in all aspects of confidence, skill and knowledge from participating in the intervention except for transport access to supermarkets. Students reported achieving five portions of fruit and vegetables a day more frequently post-intervention and there was also a positive increase in the confidence of using various cooking methods post-intervention compared to pre-intervention. There were little differences between genders, the only significant difference was that of females that attaching more importance to healthy eating prior to the intervention that their male counterparts (p=0.003). Conclusion - Participation in the intervention increased the confidence, basic skill and knowledge in university students equipping them with the tools to buy and cook cheap, healthy meals for themselves. A healthier, well balanced diet can help to eliminate the risk of poor health and the onset of disease that literature implies students are at risk of. Although there are many barriers to healthy eating students living in university halls of residence face, engaging, hands-on cooking sessions for this population can help to overcome some of them. The effectiveness of a nutrition educational intervention for university students was demonstrated regardless of their age, gender and degree programme and is a recommendable method to improve the eating behaviours in this group.
This dissertation aimed to investigate whether a low-carbohydrate diet could achieve clinically significant weight loss (≥5% body weight) in obese patients seen over a six month period. Patients were seen at an NHS specialist weight management service in a one-to-one dietetic outpatient clinic setting. Routinely collected quantitative data (weight and body mass index) was retrospectively examined following a service evaluation. The primary outcome measure was percentage weight change from baseline to six months. Professional contact was approximately every six weeks. This study included data from one hundred and three patients with a mean age of 47.0±12.2 years (mean ± SD) and mean body mass index of 48.0±8.5 (mean ± SD). 68% (n=70) were female. Overall, 32% (n=32) of patients had type 2 diabetes. Weight loss in completers (n=70) was 8.3±5.1% body weight (mean ±SD) at six months (P<0.001). When all patients (n=103) were included in the analysis, a clinically significant weight loss of 5.8±5.8% body weight (mean ± SD) was achieved (P<0.001). The overall dropout rate was 15.5% (n=16) and 16.5% (n=17) switched to another dietary approach within the six month period meaning that 32% (n=33) of patients starting the low-carbohydrate diet either dropped out or changed intervention. This study provides evidence that a low-carbohydrate diet is effective in achieving clinically significant weight loss, in obese patients seen in routine practice, for at least six months. These results can be generalised to patients with morbid obesity and obesity related co-morbidities, such as type 2 diabetes.
Barbon, Ana J. D. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2005-09)
This report aims to provide an accurate an up-to date vision of business ethics and corporate governance performance in the context of business organisations. Furthermore the aim of the report goes beyond the theoretical level, trying to unveil the practical side of ethics and corporate governance practices within a specific live organisation. Accordingly this piece of research explores the perceptions of financial professionals on ethical and corporate governance performance within the Accounting Department of Company A. Two instruments are used to this purpose: interviews and questionnaire. The analysis of the data collected will disclose some strengths in the views of the staff about the ethical performance of company A such as high commitment of both employees and company to the duty of business ethics and to report financial information with integrity. Alternatively weak areas in need of improvement would be an employees' low level of familiarity and comfort with whistleblowing tools available within Company A, the little applicability of company code of ethics in practice and the lack of an appropriate performance measurement system to assess ethical and corporate governance performance and to communicate it to stakeholders. Ultimately a list of recommendations is included in chapter 6, based on the conclusions raised in the report. It includes among others: the use of value-based codes, a formal introduction of the code to employees, additional formal ethics training, periodic updates to employees on whistleblowing policies and procedures, the use of external channels to report misconduct or the development of a combined performance measurement system that integrates not only financial and business indicators but measures to assess ethical and corporate governance performance.
Police forces in England and Wales require new recruits and serving officers to pass an annual fitness test, reaching level 5:4 on the 15-metre MSFT, a predicted VO2max of 35 mL · min–1 · kg–1. This current standard is based on linear regression analysis from directly measured V O2max during a treadmill protocol and number of shuttles achieved during the 15-metre MSFT. The oxygen cost at level 5:4 has not been attained during the 15-metre MSFT, and the reliability of this test has not be investigated, therefore, the present study aims to investigate whether level 5:4 requires an O2 cost of 35 mL · min–1 · kg–1, and whether this is a repeatable measure. Due to police officers unable to complete the 15-metre MSFT due to musculoskeletal impairments, the CTWT, used within the fire service, has been proposed as an alternative occupational fitness test. A modified version of the CTWT (Police) requires a constant treadmill speed of 6 km·h−1 with 3% increments in treadmill gradient every 2 minutes up until 10 minutes (12% gradient), when predicted V O2 of 35 mL · min–1 · kg–1 will have been achieved. The validity and reliability of this test has not been examined using direct measurement of V O2, therefore, prior to potential inclusion as an alternative fitness test, the validity and reliability of the test require investigation to determine whether 10 minutes is a valid and reliable measure of 35 mL · min–1 · kg–1, demonstrating that successful completion requires a VO2max of at least 35 mL · min–1 · kg–1.
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