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)
    • Redressing Small Firm Resilience: Exploring Owner-Manager Resources for Resilience

      Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; University of Chester; University of Sunderland (Emerald, 2019-04-24)
      Purpose: The owner-manager of small firms is recognised as having a potentially significant role in the small firm’s competitiveness, growth and failure. However, the owner-manager’s own resilience has been largely overlooked in the small firm resilience literature. The purpose of this paper is to redress this and expand the debate and empirical basis of small firm owner-managers’ personal resources for resilience. Design/methodology/approach: This longitudinal qualitative study deployed semi-structured interviews with nine owner-managers, each being interviewed three or four times. Analytical procedures were employed utilising an established framework which conceptualised four key personal resources for resilience as adaptability, confidence, social support, and purposefulness. Findings: There were four key findings: (1) owner-manager adaptability can appear in extremes including a sense of helplessness or optimism where disruptive circumstances are not sensed as problematic, (2) owner-manager confidence levels often echo their own mindset of adaptability, that is, from helplessness to positive ambition, (3) owner-managers can utilise discursive tactics with strong/weak ties for a range of affective as well as technical resources for resilience, and (4) purposefulness tended to be framed in terms of a necessity for a longer term future state related to own or family lifestyle, rather than profit. It is also noted that the owner-manager and the firm are closely interrelated and therefore enhancement of personal resilience resources is likely to positively influence their resilience, and therefore the resilience of the organisation and strategic capability of the firm. Originality/value: The small firm resilience literature typically focuses on the organisational level which de-emphasises the salient role of the owner-manager and their resilience. This study attempts to redress this.
    • Workplace stress management

      Parkyn, Matthew; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      Sustainability encapsulates not only ecological and socio-economic dimensions, but also those dimensions focused on developing the quality of life of every human being (Di Fabio, 2017). As the global rise of work-place or work-related stress is now recognised for its interconnectedness with and impacts on other aspects of health such as depression and mortality and sustainable development more broadly, such as poverty, stress has become a significant sustainable development challenge (ILO, 2016; HSE, 2015; EU OSHA, 2014). Indeed, stress can be understood in a variety of ways, including biological or physiological stress (in terms of the pressures placed on the material body), experiential (in the sense of how those demands are perceived and made sense of), and a combination of these. In particular, work-related stress is the response people have when presented with work contexts, demands, and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities. Therefore, stress management encompasses a range of activities that are deployed by individuals, teams and organisations to manage the experience and impacts of stressors (ibid), and therefore has a role in the mitigation of the wider sustainable development impacts aforementioned.
    • Stress management training and education

      Parkyn, Matthew; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-09-10)
      Stress is understood in a variety of ways, including biological or physiological stress (in terms of the pressures placed on the material body), experiential (in the sense of how those demands are perceived and made sense of), and a combination of these. In particular, work-related stress is the response people have when presented with a work environment where job demands and pressures are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope with those demands. Therefore, stress training and education encompass the range of activities that are deployed by individuals, groups, and organisations to develop awareness, knowledge and skills about stress, stressors and how to manage these, with a view to manage the experience and impact of stress.
    • Mental toughness

      Strycharczyk, Doug; Clough, Peter; Wall, Tony; Perry, John; AQR Limited; University of Huddersfield; University of Chester; Mary Immaculate College (Springer, 2019-10-26)
      Since the turn of the 21st Century, Mental Toughness has been defined in a variety of ways (e.g. Clough, Earle & Sewell, 2002; Coulter, Mallett & Gucciardi, 2010; Fourie & Potgieter, 2001; Golby & Sheard, 2006; Gucciardi, Gordon & Dimmock, 2008; Jones, Hanton & Connaughton, 2007). Although they differ in many respects, the conceptualisation share a number of similarities. For example, self-belief is at the core of most definitions, motivation is central to most as is persistence in achieving and the ability to deal with setbacks. As such, Mental Toughness is an umbrella term that entails positive psychological resources, which are crucial across a wide range of achievement contexts and in the domain of mental health. Clough and Strycharczyk (2015: 33) suggest that: Mental Toughness is a narrow plastic personality trait which explains in large part how individuals respond differently to the same or similar stressors, pressures, opportunities and challenges… irrespective of prevailing circumstances.
    • Spirituality and wellbeing in the workplace

      Foster, Scott; Wall, Tony; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (2019-09-26)
      The late 20th century and the early 21st centuries have seen a growing interest in spirituality in general and its role in the workplace (Petchsawanga and Duchon, 2012; Bell and Burack, 2001; Sedikides, 2010; Wagner-Marsh and Conley, 1999). However, despite this growing interest in spirituality and its place within the organisation, the concept remains undertheorized, and there is no generally accepted definition. The literature is primarily dominated by speculative discussion, fragmentation, dearth and incomprehensibility and a marked lack of empirical data, especially quantitative research (Khaled et al. 2012). Corner (2008: 377) goes on to note that, much of this work is in fact useful and thought-provoking but “…needs to be extended with experience or empirical data to prevent theories being remote from the phenomenon they intend to describe.” Often, the words spirituality, ethics and religion tend to overlap, so there is a need to clarify the concepts (Giacalone and Jurkiewicz, 2010). In a broad sense, ethics normally differentiates between right and wrong, religion is concerned with beliefs, prayers, and related formalised practices, whilst spirituality tends to refer to an individual’s determination to experience a deeper meaning to life through the way in which they live and work. (Snyder and Lopez, 2008).
    • Global Perspectives on Work-Based Learning Initiatives

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (IGI Global, 2018-06-15)
      The book is the first to appraise developments in Work based learning from a global perspective. 'Work based learning' (WBL) in the context of a formal programme of study in higher education is defined as all forms of learning relevant to the workplace to include closely related terms such as Work Integrated Learning, Work Applied Learning and Work Related Learning. Three types of WBL can be described: learning for students currently outside the workplace seeking to enter it gaining experience in the form of a work placement; learning for students who are part located in the workplace and part in an educational institution typically in the form of an apprenticeship and learning for students fully engaged in the workplace studying part time. All three forms of WBL are increasingly common around the world in response to the perceived deficiencies of the traditional curriculum as part of a desire on the part of students, employers and policy makers to create learning more relevant to the labour market and workplace. The book reviews all types on WBL practice in ten countries- Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Japan, South Africa, Eire, the Netherlands, USA, Germany and the UK.
    • 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, 2017-03-31)
      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...
    • Organizational Initiatives for Spiritual Wellbeing in the Workplace

      Foster, Scott; Wall, Tony; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      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 Toughness Development

      Wall, Tony; Strycharczyk, Doug; Clough, Peter; University of Chester; University of Huddersfield (Springer, 2019-11-29)
      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, 2019-10-01)
      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.
    • Reflective practice for sustainable development

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-09-30)
      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)...
    • 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)...
    • Service learning and sustainability education

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2019-09-30)
      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, 2019-10-01)
      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.
    • Ubuntu in adult vocational education: Theoretical discussion and implications for teaching international students

      Tran, Ly Thi; Wall, Tony; Deakin University; University of Chester (2019-04-08)
      Evidence now calls into question the efficacy and appropriateness of pedagogical practices that force international students to adapt to economically-driven and Eurocentric expectations. As a response to calls for alternative perspectives, this paper introduces the construct of Ubuntu, an African worldview prioritising ‘humanness’ and interconnectedness, and utilises it as a conceptual lens to examine the key tenets of engaging pedagogical practices in teaching international students. The findings point to three main ways that the Ubuntu perspective can manifest in teaching international students: humanness, interconnectedness, and situatedness. The paper offers new insights into how an under-researched, non-western human wisdom – Ubuntu – can be used to interpret international education practice. In doing so, it contributes to both theory building and provokes consideration of an alternative pedagogical lens. In particular, the paper draws on Ubuntu as a critical framework to challenge the conventional ways of viewing international students as the ‘other’ in ‘our’ educational system.