• 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.
    • A Comparative Study on Students’ Learning Expectations of Entrepreneurship Education in the UK and China

      Lam, Wing; Harris, Phil; Ullah, Farid; Li, Lan (University of Chester, 2022-03)
      Entrepreneurship education has become a critical subject in academic research and educational policy design, occupying a central role in contemporary education globally. However, a review of the literature indicates that research on entrepreneurship education is still in a relatively early stage. Little is known about how entrepreneurship education learning is affected by the environmental context to date. Therefore, combining the institutional context and focusing on students’ learning expectations as a novel perspective, the main aim of the thesis is to address the knowledge gap by developing an original conceptual framework to advance understanding of the dynamic learning process of entrepreneurship education through the lens of self-determination theory, thereby providing a basis for advancing understanding of entrepreneurship education. The author adopted an epistemological positivism philosophy and a deductive approach. This study gathered 247 valid questionnaires from the UK (84) and China (163). It requested students to recall their learning expectations before attending their entrepreneurship courses and to assess their perceptions of learning outcomes after taking the entrepreneurship courses. It was found that entrepreneurship education policy is an antecedent that influences students' learning expectations, which is represented in the difference in student autonomy. British students in active learning under a voluntary education policy have higher autonomy than Chinese students in passive learning under a compulsory education policy, thus having higher learning expectations, leading to higher satisfaction. The positive relationship between autonomy and learning expectations is established, which adds a new dimension to self-determination theory. Furthermore, it is also revealed that the change in students’ entrepreneurial intentions before and after their entrepreneurship courses is explained by understanding the process of a business start-up (positive), hands-on business start-up opportunities (positive), students’ actual input (positive) and tutors’ academic qualification (negative). The thesis makes contributions to both theory and practice. The findings have far reaching implications for different parties, including policymakers, educators, practitioners and researchers. Understanding and shaping students' learning expectations is a critical first step in optimising entrepreneurship education teaching and learning. On the one hand, understanding students' learning expectations of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education can help the government with educational interventions and policy reform, as well as improving the quality and delivery of university-based entrepreneurship education. On the other hand, entrepreneurship education can assist students in establishing correct and realistic learning expectations and entrepreneurial conceptions, which will benefit their future entrepreneurial activities and/or employment. An important implication is that this study connects multiple stakeholders by bridging the national-level institutional context, organisational-level university entrepreneurship education, and individual level entrepreneurial learning to promote student autonomy based on an understanding of students' learning expectations. This can help develop graduates with their ability for autonomous learning and autonomous entrepreneurial behaviour. The results of this study help to remind students that it is them, the learners, their expectations and input that can make the difference between the success or failure of their study. This would not only apply to entrepreneurship education but also to other fields of study. One key message from this study is that education can be encouraged and supported but cannot be “forced”. Mandatory entrepreneurship education is not a quick fix for the lack of university students’ innovation and entrepreneurship. More resources must be invested in enhancing the enterprise culture, thus making entrepreneurship education desirable for students.
    • A practical and theoretical approach to assessing Micro-Enterprise brand image signals

      Davies, Gary; Lam, Wing; Leong, Kelvin; Wang, Dian (University of Chester, 2021-10)
      This thesis aims to investigate how Micro Enterprises (MEs) communicate their brand image to their markets. The research takes a comparative approach and examines firms in both the UK and China. The main theoretical base for the work is that of the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) which holds that entities with humanistic associations (including brands and corporate brands) are automatically judged for their ‘warmth’ (trustworthiness, sincerity, supportiveness) and their ‘competence’ (effectiveness, efficiency). The status (prestigious, glamorous) of the entity is also included in the SCM model but as an antecedent to competence judgements. Recent work alternatively considers it as a dimension of imagery which is automatically judged by customers. The methodology is a mixed method and has three interlinked pieces of work, the first two of which are more exploratory and the last more confirmatory. A case study approach first explored the signalling of 14 MEs using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with their owner-managers. A thematic analysis of content showed that managers emphasize their competence and that fewer provided unprompted examples of status positioning. The second study involved the content analysis of parts of 66 ME websites labelled ‘who we are’ or similar. Competence descriptors were again the most frequent followed by warmth and then status items. The two studies evidence that MEs signal competence, warmth, and status but in that order of emphasis. An experimental study was conducted where the status signalling of a fictitious ME (a gift company) was manipulated. It explored why MEs use the signal less and test whether this changes the perceived competence of the company and the purchase intention and person-brand congruence of potential customers. The increase in status did not increase competence and it reduced outcome behaviour and warmth. As warmth explains consumer attitude best, using the status signal can reduce potential sales. This holds regardless of country (the UK and China), and control variable values. However, perceived higher prices and giving too much irrelevant information mediated and therefore explain the effect of status on consumer attitude. The main effects were positive, but the indirect effects were negative due to perceived higher prices and irrelevant information. Finally, all variables considered in this study were tested using Structural Equation Modelling, adding to the insights from the final study The primary contribution is to better understand how MEs communicate their imagery to their market. SCM thinking is also tested and developed in the context of ME marketing and recommendations made for its adaption.
    • To investigate the ambidextrous challenges and tensions of small and medium enterprises in the United Kingdom defence & security sector

      Wall, Tony; Moore, Neil; Lewis, Christopher C. (University of Chester, 2021-05)
      The defence and security industry is an extremely dynamic environment, influenced by policy and world events. Whilst it often needs to respond to rapid change, there is a dichotomy in that capital programs take years to come to fruition. Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are involved in both of these short and long-term aspects of acquisition, thus creating strategic challenges. Though there has been much research around ambidexterity and SMEs, there has been very little in the fluid domain of defence and security supply-side SMEs. This study aims to investigate this gap in research. The investigation collected primary qualitative data through the use of semi-structured interviews, with research participants constituting the leadership functions of eighteen businesses that deliver either directly to the defence and security governmental departments, or into the supply chain. Findings indicate that within a shrinking defence sector, successful SMEs are operating in an ambidextrous fashion, often utilising the industrial partners of the industry trade organisations. Also, outside that of grand strategic change, Government policy has a limited impact on the SMEs in this sector. With scarce resources, the leadership of businesses see the competing needs of resource and finances as a major tension point. These two competing needs can be defined as exploration and exploitation respectively, and can be situated within an ambidextrous construct. Critically, successful businesses operate in a ambidextrous zone where there is constant iterative adjustment between both exploration and exploitation. This thesis advances the thought leadership in SME strategy, particularly around the key indigenous industry of defence and security, thereby adjusting the understanding of the definition of ambidexterity. This study contributes to the current literature, through the development of an alternative and responsive conceptual dynamic model of a growing business, theorising that ambidexterity functions change as SMEs grow, are constantly evolving, and are adjusted by both internal and external influences. The study concludes with recommendations for practice.
    • Disruptive Philanthropy: Assessing the Challenges of Funding from “Big Tech” for a UK Charity

      Manning, Paul; Baker, Nigel T. (University of Chester, 2020-12-31)
      The immense wealth generated by the technology sector – or Big Tech – since the end of the 20th century has created a new breed of philanthropists, keen to use the business practices of Silicon Valley to ensure their money is employed to optimum social impact. This study considers how a long-established, UK-based journalism charity can understand, and engage with, the new philanthropic practices of the digital economy in to order to fund transformative change, while appreciating, and managing, the associated benefits and risks. A characteristic of the digital economy is that it has blurred conventional boundaries between commercial and philanthropic practices. Accordingly, this study was conducted through the theoretical framework of “hybrid organizations” – defined here as non-profit entities which adopt business practices to achieve social ends but face the challenge of balancing the competing institutional logics of mission and money. This study synthesises the literature on the new, more market-oriented philanthropic models - collectively described here as “disruptive philanthropy” – to provide a conceptual model to guide hybrid, non-profits like the journalism charity that wish to engage with the digital economy. The model is then used to inform a qualitative, inductive study of the journalism charity using semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of eight stakeholders from the journalism charity and four “elite” interviewees from the digital economy. This study makes a number of contributions to theory and practice in terms of understanding the digital economy’s business ethics and how non-profit organizations can assess clearly whether the funding support it is seeking from the digital economy is philanthropic or commercial. The conceptual model serves as a guide to hybrid, non-profit organizations on the factors to assess when seeking engagement with the digital economy. A framework is offered to help non-profits ensure good governance when accepting funds from the digital economy. The study reinforces the need for non-profits to have a clear identity and mission to obtain philanthropic funding. Finally, the study provides an understanding of how organizations from the digital economy assess their funding support through the benefits to their own “ecosystems” – which can be commercial, philanthropic or hybrid in nature.
    • The Isle of Man: All dressed up but nowhere to go. Can place branding and marketing strategies help turn around the fortunes of the Isle of Man?

      Moss, Danny; Ashford, Ruth; Clements, Florida (University of Chester, 2020-11)
      Place branding and marketing has become one of the tools employed in the competition between countries and cities for attracting businesses, investments and a talented workforce. Place branding and its underlying factors, place identity and place image, have been widely researched especially in the last two decades, however it is yet to be agreed upon models and frameworks which can assist practitioners in their day-to-day activity. Through investigating the role of place identity in place branding strategies, this research aims to explore how place branding strategies can help the IoM to enhance its image and attract businesses and a talented workforce. Identification of a place brand model or framework would assist the IoM brand managers in their efforts to show the IoM as an attractive location for businesses and workers. This research was conducted adopting a social constructionist philosophy and following an interpretivist theoretical perspective. The focus of the research is placed on comparing and contrasting how the Isle of Man is perceived by local and relocated business people with how it is portrayed through the IoM government websites, providing a contrast between place identity and place brand identity. Therefore 15 interviews are analysed using thematic analysis and six IoM government websites are analysed using qualitative content analysis. From the findings emerged a strong sense of ambiguity when looking at the IoM as a place for business and as a place of residence highlighting the fact that people’s perceptions about places are not one dimensional. This finding supports the suggestion that places have multiple identities. Also some of the characteristics of the IoM were aligned with what was presented in the websites, but other characteristics did not, which coincided with dissatisfaction for the respondents. These findings suggest that misalignment of certain place brand attributes with place identity coincides with dissatisfaction, however the source of dissatisfaction is not the misalignment but rather the quality of the attributes not matching the expectations. Classification of the place brand attributes that give rise to dissatisfaction or satisfaction is identified as an important factor in developing the place brand strategies. The contribution of this research is focused on making a difference to business practices by offering a practical solution; an adaptation of the Two-factor Theory is suggested as a tool that could aid the process of brand attribute classification. The application of the Two-factor Theory could assist the IoM brand managers to monitor and develop the alignment of place identity with place brand identity. Whilst the adaptation of the Two-factor theory has already been confirmed in product branding, further quantitative research could help in establishing its reliability and validity for place branding.
    • Medium and large family businesses of North West England as learning organisations

      Harris, Phil; Lam, Wing; Page, Steve; Passikku Hannadige, Yimashi S. (University of Chester, 2020-10-30)
      This study is an exploration of the learning strategies of family businesses in the North West of England, within the framework of the theory of the Learning Organisation (LO). The main purpose of this study is to explore and evaluate the notion of the Learning Organisation and to investigate its prevalence and application to the Family Business sector within North West England. To date, a very limited amount of studies focused on the characteristics of the LO within the medium and large family business context. Therefore, this study contributes to knowledge by determining practical guidance for implementing LO characteristics that can be applied to family businesses. The study used a qualitative methodology, associated with the social constructivist and interpretivist paradigm. Six medium and large family businesses operating in North West England were chosen to facilitate the qualitative research. In the North West of England, medium and large family businesses have complex features which create high demand for owners and employees to adopt learning strategies discussed in the LO concept which makes it an ideal context to explore the prevalence and the application of LO characteristics. This research makes a number of contributions to knowledge. Firstly, through review and analysis of the currently available theoretical work from more than 40 LO theorists and practitioners spanning the last four decades. The development of this “theoretical frame of reference” and the terminology used for identifying and analysing of LO characteristics is not only seen as a vital fundamental step in the course of this thesis, but also as a major contribution to providing structure and improving the future academic study of LO. Second, findings from the study suggest that medium and large family businesses have shown the existence of some of the LO characteristics within the three main levels of the organisations. The notable findings of the research are that medium and large family businesses need to develop a learning culture with organisational learning to incorporate with the business strategy and provide a transformational leadership so as to achieve the possibility of becoming a LO. The findings identify that family businesses in the North West region have the potential to become Learning Organisations should they implement the proposed recommendations and changes to their currently family business models. Third, the thesis makes a methodological contribution by introducing a model of Learning Organisations which specifically relates to family businesses. Furthermore, this model aims to facilitate a learning culture that suggests family businesses adopt key characteristics of the LO for continuous improvement, collective learning, and enhancement of performance.
    • 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.
    • Managers Managing Stress at Work: Exploring the experiences of managers managing employee stress in the social housing sector

      Wall, Tony; Foster, Scott; Parkyn, Matthew (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07)
      This research has explored how seventeen middle managers in the social housing sector manage employee stress and the reasons they take the approach they do. The research has been conducted in response to the increased prevalence of workplace stress. While workplace stress and mental well-being continues to rise up the political and business agenda; the most recent statistics from national and international organisations identify that the management of stress in the workplace needs to be improved. Workplace stress is a global issue for which the related direct and indirect costs are only beginning to be quantified, although the estimated cost of work-related depression in Europe is €617 billion per year. Furthermore, there is a trend towards devolving responsibility for managing workplace stress to individual managers. Despite their increasing responsibilities for managing stress at work, middle managers often lack the authority, skills and capacity to make the changes required to prevent workplace stress. Evidence suggests that middle managers are in a complex and challenging position between their superiors and more junior staff which can exposes them to role related stressors. The United Kingdom (UK) social housing sector is a particularly complex and vital one, comprising of a variety of private, public and charitable enterprises that build, manage and maintain housing stock. The complexities, political and financial challenges facing the sector expose middle managers and their staff to an increased risk of work-related stress. This study adopted a constructivist philosophy, relativist ontology and subjectivist epistemological position. Semi structured interviews were conducted with seventeen middle managers working in the social housing sector in an attempt to explore and better understand how they approach managing work-related stress experienced by the employees. The findings of this study are that, in contrast to what the extant literature recommends, participants adopt predominantly reactive approaches to managing employee stress and deploy mostly secondary and tertiary stress management interventions. The study also found that the participants tend to focus on managing stress caused by workload, relationships at work and home-work interface. Furthermore, this study contributes new insights into how middle managers are managing stress in practice such as, using their personal experiences of managing their own stress and by observing the behaviours and practices of other managers. This study also highlights a number of contemporary stressors in the context of the social housing sector. These contributions provide new practical insights into how middle managers might more effectively manage stress in the workplace. The need and focus of this research arose from the researcher’s practice as an occupational health and safety consultant working with social housing providers across the UK. His work involves advising housing providers and their middle managers on matters of employee stress and health. Often this advice is sought when the employee is already unwell and needs help to recover. This reactive approach to workplace stress is contrary to what UK health and safety (H&S) law requires and is known to be ineffective in tackling stress at work. The researcher’s professional experience in the housing sector and the trend in devolving responsibility for managing stress at work to middle managers, provided the initial spark for this research.
    • Understanding UK Rewards-based Crowdfunding as an Alternative Source of Entrepreneurial Finance

      Harris, Phil; Lam, Wing; Zhao, Ying (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-06)
      Entrepreneurial financing plays a vital role in the survival and viability of businesses (Crosetto & Regner, 2018; Mason & Harrison, 1991; Signori & Vismara, 2017; Zhao et al., 2019). Research studies and financial commentators have suggested that reward-based crowdfunding (RBC) plays an increasingly important role in the process of business start-ups (Baeck et al., 2014; Bilau & Pires, 2018; Lelo de Larrea et al., 2019; Mollick, 2014). However, a review of literature indicates that little is known about the field of RBC from a theoretical perspective. Therefore, the main aim of the thesis is to address the knowledge gap by developing a conceptual framework to advance understanding of the RBC funding process through using a signalling theory lens. The author adopted a pragmatist epistemological stance. This study collected publicly available data of 636 UK start-up projects on a RBC platform, Kickstarter, from September to December in 2017 and repeated this for the same period in 2018. It was found that signal observability (the size and quality of the fundraiser’s network) play a significant role in crowdfunding success across all projects. Whereas, prosocial intention (charitable purpose) plays a stronger role in predicting the likelihood of the success of projects with a medium goal. This study identifies and evaluates how the key factors (project quality, project intention and signal observability) impact on crowdfunding’s success, as well as investigates the interplay between different actors (signallers, receivers and signals) in the RBC market. A further important contribution of this work arises from the use of rich qualitative data in addition to the quantitative research approaches previously utilised by others (Bi, Liu and Usman, 2017; Kunz et al., 2017). The thesis makes contributions to both theory and practice. The findings have major implications for different parties including: policy makers, practitioners, researchers and educators. It provides an insight for practitioners considering the adoption of a crowdfunding approach and the knowledge and recommendations in running a successful RBC campaign. It also helps nascent entrepreneurs to reconstruct their financing strategy through the better understanding of the position of RBC in entrepreneurial financing. An important implication is that this study can help policy makers to better understand the RBC industry, which is essential in developing relevant policies in this under-governed area. Finally, this research contributes to growing knowledge and interest in entrepreneurial finance, especially in the online alternative finance market, which is beneficial for both researchers and educators.
    • Exploring the lived experiences of owner-managers who thrive at work

      Wild, Wendy (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-06)
      This thesis explores how owner-managers of scale-up companies thrive at work and aims to explore the experiences of owner-managers of these companies who are thriving at work. Empirical research to date is primarily conceptual and quantitative and conducted outside the UK with employees. This research addressed the literature gap by undertaking interpretative phenomenological analysis with owner-managers in the UK. Key findings both support and challenge the existing thriving at work construct proposed by Spreitzer, Sutcliffe, Dutton, Sonenshein & Grant (2005). Whilst this study was a based on a small number of atypical individuals, this appreciative inquiry extended existing knowledge by describing the insights and experience of owner-managers who were thriving at work using their own taxonomy, clearly expressing their need for self-development and energy, but combining these with a third dimension of being happy on a daily basis. For some, the number of participants might suggest that the findings have to be interpreted cautiously, however the underpinning methodology provided a robust rationale for such numbers to gain a deeper understanding of the idiographic experience ownermanagers have when they thrive at work. This research also contributes to the body of knowledge on spill-over, between home and work, as owner-managers were happy to have, and accepted, that their work-life and home-life would be intertwined. In the UK the Scale-up Institute report of 2014 recommended that an eco-system be developed to support these companies, and the findings of this thesis produce practical insights for stakeholders within this eco-system. Educationalists in particular should be facilitators who focus on the strengths of owner-managers, recognise that owner-managers are paratelic learners, so enable them to spot and respond to challenges to support their thriving, but importantly recognise that the speed of change could be gender specific. It is incumbent on stakeholders in the ecosystem to invest in external peer groups as a place in which owner-managers can be authentic, as inside their organisation they see themselves as role models to their staff, recognising the contagious effect their mood could have on those around them.
    • The Study of Endogenous Corporate Social Responsibility in Saudi Arabia

      Harris, Phil; Saeidi, Adnan E. A. (University of Chester, 2019-05-14)
      Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is striving to reach the business community of Saudi Arabia from Western and International CSR prospective. However, they are faced with local endogenous CSR factors indicating the distinctive Saudi CSR features and characteristics originating from within Saudi Arabia during the current early CSR initiatives. Saudi Arabia is an advocate for Islamic teaching and practices, throughout the Islamic world abiding comprehensively to the Islamic social care system, which is interlocked with additional unique cultural, national, and social expectations. Those factors overlap with the semi-official governmental endorsements and the private sector’s unique conceptualization of CSR, which, in essence, formulate the endogenous distinctive Saudi CSR characteristics (Saudi CSR) considered to be under-researched in comparison to the CSR generic debate in other countries. The research questions are: what are the endogenous Saudi CSR Characteristics? How can they be related to the local Saudi CSR unique conceptualization? And could they be interpreted using Carroll’s 1779, 1991, and 3D CSR Models? The study primarily aims to empirically investigate, identify, and analyse the unique origination of the Saudi CSR model and the misconceptualizing it has to the International CSR regulatory framework. It also aims to provide a possible template for the Saudi National CSR strategy respectively. It focuses upon investigating whether the empirically formulated and identified Saudi endogenous CSR’s context and characteristics can be aligned, analysed and/or interpreted in light of CSR generic theories, and the international CSR standardization for reporting initiatives, including Carroll’s Four dimensions: 1979 and Pyramid 1991, and the Three-Domain 2004 CSR models (Mark et al., 2004). The analytical analysis demonstrates that a Saudi national CSR strategy has not been established yet; hence the current study provides a template for building up such strategy. A conceptualized theoretical framework is formulated utilizing both empirical evidence from pilot studies and the narrative analytical analysis, which aimed at identifying and exploring Saudi CSR uniqueness using an eclectic research approach. The indirect Saudi CSR evidence was investigated using questionnaires, document analysis and Semi-structured interviews, which comprised nearly 380 Saudi organizations within the private, listed, and Non-profit sectors. Data Analysis including King Khalid Foundation, Saudi companies and CSR Data reflection revealed a set of endogenous distinctive characteristics, which are validated using triangulation data collection tools. The findings of the study suggest that the Saudi CSR characteristics (endogenous features) fall within the following categories evidenced by their practical applications, Saudi companies’ strategic policies and Saudi leadership’s CSR own self-generated principles: (1) Islamic Philanthropy, (2) Social Obligation, (3) National Development Obligation (5) Corporate Citizenship (6) National Economic Developments (7) National Competitiveness, (8)Stakeholder’s Expectation and (9) Environmental and Global Expectation and (10) Corporate Governance. Furthermore, data analysis displays that Carroll’s 3D CSR model sets certain suitability limitations for Saudi CSR interpretations. It also reveals the need for utilizing the adopted Carroll’s combined model formulated in the present study; its utilization conforms to the Saudi CSR components while formulating the required Saudi national CSR.
    • Factors affecting progress of the National e-Health Strategy in the NHS in England: A Socio-technical Evaluation.

      Page, Steve; Bellamy, Lawrence; Manning, Paul; Richardson, Keith (University of Chester, 2019-03-21)
      Background: This is a formative socio-technical study of the “middle out” NHS e-health strategy in England. It began in 2015 with an objective to become “paperless at the point of care by 2020”, focussing nationally on the “electronic glue”, (interoperability), to facilitate the inter-organisational exchange digital communications of patient data and leaving the choice of EHRs to local organisations. No academic research has been published into the strategy and similar studies rarely include sample groups of suppliers or IT consultants. So this study seeks to fill both gaps in knowledge. Such strategies are prevalent across westernised developed countries and can consume large sums of government funding and local resources. In consequence, their failure can be very costly. This study seeks to mitigate that risk whilst recognising that, as they operate in highly complex environments, choosing any particular type of “bottom up”, “middle out” or “top down” strategy construct does not guarantee success. Their outcome is dependent upon the successful navigation through a mix of factors, known and unknown, across technical, human and social, organisational, macro-environmental and wider socio-political dimensions through time. Findings: The “middle out” strategy is broadly more appropriate, rather than “bottom up” or “top down”, but the target, of becoming “paperless by 2020”, is unattainable. Major cultural barriers include resistance by powerful clinicians, who can perceive such strategies as threats to the moral order and their traditional role as gatekeepers of access to patient data. Other barriers include inadequate and delayed national funding; disruption caused by government reorganisations; major premature programme re-structuring and a shift away from the original intent, resulting in the inappropriate selection of single organisation pilot sites rather than multi-organisational community wide ones to promote interoperability. New factors found include: the threats of cyber security incidents and the need for protective measures; the mismatch between strategy timescales and local procurement cycles; the quality of IT suppliers and the competing demands of similar change management programmes for scarce local NHS resources. Proposition: To reflect those findings a new socio-technical model is proposed that incorporates those additional factors as well as two further cross cutting dimensions to reflect “Lifecycle” and “Purpose”, drawing on elements of both Change Management and Technology Lifecycle Theory. “Lifecycle” reflects the “passage of time” as the evidence suggests that factors affecting progress may vary in their presence and impact over time as a strategy moves though its lifecycle. The addition of a “Purpose” dimension supports a reflection on the “why”. Some support is found for the proposal that a “middle out” strategy is more likely to facilitate progress than “bottom up” or “top down” ones. However a shift in approach is advocated. It is proposed that “middle out” e-health strategies are more likely to be successful if their “purpose” shifts away from promoting EHRs, per se, like with single organisation pilot sites, towards inter-organisational clinical and social care workflow improvement across health and social care economies. To achieve that, the focus should shift towards interoperability and cyber security programmes. Those should promote and mandate the use of national interoperability infrastructure, national systems and national standards. They should also provide national funding support to health economy wide clinical and social care workflow improvement pilots and initiatives that span those economies.
    • The roots and uses of marketing knowledge: A critical inquiry into the theory and practice of marketing

      Ashford, Ruth; Stokes, Peter; Smith, Terence D. (University of Chester, 2019-03-19)
      This thesis engages with the vital conversation about the nature, roots and uses of marketing knowledge, looking beyond the traditional reification of practice in theory and verification of theory in practice, making an original and imaginative contribution to marketing in the conceptualisation and creation of an integrative Marketing Knowledge Process Model. The ontology of this study is anchored in subjective individual meaning; the epistemological stance assumes that this meaning is socially constructed, grounded in context. Consequently, rich empirical data extracted from a comprehensive range of marketing constituencies - academics, practitioners, managers, consultants, authors, lecturers and students - are analysed in the interpretive paradigm using a phenomenological methodology with grounded theory data capture and thematic analysis. In its examination of the polarities, hybridity and iterative flow of marketing knowledge creation and consumption, the framework which has evolved presents a unique perspective on the ideologically-driven power relations implicit in the theory/practice dichotomy debate. In place of duality, this new scholarly structure, and its accompanying argument, adds valuable insights into the theoretical, practical and pedagogical representation of marketing and introduces a feasible, holistic perspective created in marketing praxis which posits a cohesive argument for a theory/practice bipartite fusion not dichotomy.
    • Professional ‘lived’ experiences of middle managers in Further Education (FE) colleges in Wales: A study of the impact of major change

      Rowland, Caroline; Moss, Danny; Walford, Robert (University of Chester, 2019-01-14)
      Merger organizational change has been prolific across Wales and has significantly affected all Further Education (FE) colleges. The main merger driver was to reduce operational costs, whilst in the pursuit of increased organizational and departmental efficiencies and effectiveness. An imperative to widening access to education, an increase in the quality of curriculum provision and a need to reduce duplication of curriculum programmes were also important considerations. It is these changes that have shaped college organizations and the college middle manager role, post-merger, with a resulting impact on middle managers professional ‘lived’ experiences. The author’s research examines the effect of merger on the middle manager role and the influence of the college context on the ‘lived’ experiences of middle managers managing curriculum departments. The review of the literature highlights key relationships between mainstream management and the college middle manager role, as well as the influences likely to have an impact on this role. The author has developed a conceptual model with key elements consisting of professional ‘lived’ experiences of middle managers and role construct and behaviour, management and leadership. This study is exploratory in nature and uses a social constructionist philosophical approach. A subjectivist epistemology was adopted for this study, with the researcher applying a thematic analysis and an investigation of multiple realities. Data for this research was collected from in-depth semi-structured interviewees, which gave interviewees the opportunity to highlight their specific day-to-day professional ‘lived’ work experiences. The research study outlines a number of conclusions, which accord with this study’s specific research objectives and recommendations. In the post-merger era, the middle manager role has become more complex and challenging. Conclusions indicate a broader role for the middle manager, and a role defined by the college’s professional context, which contributes to influencing the college middle manager role. This study contributes to the field of academic study, and to professional practice. It provides insights to understanding the role of middle managers in the FE sector and also offers recommendations for college strategy and policy. Finally, it highlights opportunities for further research in Wales and beyond.
    • 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.
    • The management of continuing professional development in General Further Education Colleges when intentionally aiming to improve Ofsted inspection from an ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ grading to ‘good’.

      Flanda, Wilfrid, T (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2018-09)
      The area of teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) is in the spotlight. This study considers the range of CPD opportunities that are implemented for teachers in General Further Education Colleges (GFECs) following an “inadequate” or “requires improvement” Ofsted inspection in order to achieve a future grading of “good”. The study draws on specific theoretical insights from the literature concerned with teacher professional development in the Further Education (FE) sector. In doing so, the study evaluates the spectrum of CPD models that were on offer within eleven GFECs that took part in the study by using a constant comparative approach. Using data generated from the eleven GFECs and also Kennedy’s (2014b) framework of CPD models as a lens for analysis, I identified five CPD models, which I then classified in relation to their top-down or developmental approach, and also the extent to which the activities identified underpinned professional autonomy and transformative practice. Using CPD as the point of analysis, the study investigates eleven GFECs, and whether the approach taken by the various colleges, prioritises individual or collective development. It then goes on to examine the contribution of resources, roles and responsibilities of individuals and teams within the particular context in which they operated. The findings generated from this study argue that continuous improvement is the result of a change in culture that is initiated by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and middle managers, and the success of this cultural change hinges on a series of mechanisms that support the achievement of “higher standards” in teaching and learning.
    • 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.
    • An Investigation into the Influence of Social Media Message Context on Retailer-Consumer Interaction: A Case Study from the Lens of a UK Retailer

      Ashford, Ruth; Manning, Paul; Smith, Philip (University of Chester, 2018-07-13)
      This thesis investigates social media and retailer-consumer interaction with a research site of a well-established medium sized specialist retailer within the outdoor activities sector (the case organisation), selling goods and services online, and offline from physical retail stores across the United Kingdom (UK). The research investigates the case organisation’s response to the development of social media channels, with the purpose of developing understanding of the influence of content posted by the retailer on Twitter and Facebook platforms. The ease of access of these social media communications allowed the researcher to freely view the context of the case organisation’s activity and helped shape the questioning of research participants in their face-to-face semi-structured interview. The research aimed to develop understanding, and therefore qualitative methods were most appropriate. The philosophical assumptions were for a subjectivist ontology and interpretivist epistemology. The theoretical framework of uses and gratification theory (UGT), provided a priori themes to identify the retailer’s postings into social, entertainment or information value to the consumer. This study demonstrates that the case organisation’s posting activity on its primary Twitter and Facebook accounts, were predominantly of information value to the consumer, whereas users appeared to interact more with postings that were of social or entertainment value. The apparent under resourcing of the specialist product sub-community accounts (S1 and S2) appears to be suppressing social media activity, and thereby interaction with community members. But by reassigning management of S1 and S2 activity to generalists within the social media team, these research findings indicate that the case organisation is putting the close ingroup interaction that these sub-communities serve at risk. The one store-based subcommunity Facebook account (S3) was achieving a more balanced mix of user interaction than the case organisation’s primary account; indicating that local staff involvement was a motivating factor in consumer interaction. These research findings indicate that by re-evaluating the context of messages posted on its primary Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the involvement of local store account activity, consumer interaction on these channels will increase. Furthermore, the research findings suggest that by developing a transparent corporate social media strategy, that includes clear policy and operating procedures, those actors on the periphery of social media activity will benefit from the resultant clarity of understanding. And the call for training in managing social media activity for business by these actors can be addressed and delivered within the framework of a robust social media strategy. While there are inherent limitations in researching a single-case organisation, the generous access granted to the researcher provided a unique opportunity to investigate the research aim and objectives in a real-world setting. Moreover, this indepth study of Twitter and Facebook activity at the case organisation contributes to theory and practice by providing new insights and understanding on the influence of message context on consumer interaction from the lens of a specialist retailer.
    • Employee Engagement, Motivation, Resilience, and Leadership: An exploration of relationships within a Higher Education Institution

      Thomas, Mike; Rowland, Caroline; Mulliner, Julie (University of Chester, 2018-02-09)
      This study seeks to explore, in one particular UK Higher Educational Institution (HEI), the relationships between engagement, motivation, resilience and the quality of the relationship between managers and those being managed. A literature review provides salient themes relating to the four concepts of: employee engagement, motivation, emotional resilience, and leadership. The changing landscape of the University sector in the UK is also considered for contextual purposes. A mixed methods approach was used to explore relationships between these four concepts. Methods included: observation, focus groups, questionnaires and interviews. Findings from this study indicate that motivation, resilience, engagement and leadership all interrelate; but that leadership interrelated with the other concepts to a lesser extent. Prerequisites of engagement were found to be motivation and resilience, both of which were inter-reliant and as such were difficult to separate. Prerequisites of motivation and resilience were found to be individuals’ personality characteristics, mind-set and thinking style. Higher quality relationships with managers were consistently associated with higher effort, whereas lower quality relationships ranged from making no difference to the exertion of effort, to being a minor irritation in the background, to adversely affecting effort and resilience. Specific leadership attributes and behaviours were found to be more influential in terms of creating affinity between the line manager and follower which were more likely to positively influence engagement, motivation and resilience. Conclusions indicate that the majority of effort is influenced by an individual’s personality characteristics, mind-set and thinking style. The minority of effort therefore was influenced by external factors such as job enjoyment, as a loci of engagement, and autonomy, as a determinant of engagement. The role of a leader is therefore critical in terms of creating and maintaining an engaging work environment. Certain leadership attributes such as gaining trust, being genuinely caring and compassionate and having a positive outlook were positively associated with the followers having a stronger emotional attachment to the organisation manifesting in increased engagement, motivation and resilience. Practical recommendations for senior leaders in organisations, people managers and HR practitioners include: creating operational clarity and clarity of vision; creating and maintaining a culture of care and support; developing leadership attributes and competencies which are key to achieving an engaged workforce; and implementing practices to facilitate job satisfaction, personal and professional growth and a climate of team collegiality which were found to be the three most important work related factors which positively influenced engagement. This research contributes by bringing a new dimension to employee engagement, motivation, resilience and leadership, adding to the existing literature relating to these four concepts. Three different perspectives are presented and one conceptual approach, relating to these four concepts. Each perspective and approach contains elements which can be applied by HR professionals and organisational leaders to create a culture of employee engagement. This study provides a questionnaire that may be used by other organisations to determine engagement strategies and policies.