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  • Investigating the likely impact of new public management on human resource managers and academic lecturers in the Saudi Arabian higher education sector

    Ali, Shaukat; Iafrati, Stephen; Alhammami, Naser; Management Research Centre, University of Wolverhampton Business School, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-03)
    Since the 1980s, new public management (NPM) has been considered the dominant model of public management. The model has many elements that have been adopted from different countries around the world, in particular Western countries, to reform their public sector organisations. This research examines four main models of NPM and extracts the common and most influential elements (e.g., decentralisation and empowerment) to build the theoretical framework for this research. Using this framework, the study investigates the implementation of aspects of the NPM model in a non-Western context, namely the higher education sector of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Saudi Arabia is undergoing historic transformation since 2016, including the launch of the country's largest economic reform plan to date- Vision 2030. This plan aims to reduce the dependence on oil revenues and to enhance the role of the public and private sectors in the Saudi economy. The Vision aims also to modernise its public sector administrative model. This research investigates the likely impact of NPM-oriented public sector reforms on the Saudi HE sectors. The research takes the form of qualitative case studies. Five public universities were selected to represent the five geographical regions of the country. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. Using an interpretive lens, the researcher explored the multiple interpretations, different meanings and experiences of the participants regarding the research issues. NVivo software was used in the coding and classification of the data. Content analysis helped with the analysis of the huge number of texts and identification of the patterns and relationships among the five cases. The results indicate that the Saudi HE sector has several managerial problems such as strict centralisation, lack of empowerment, participation and competition, which appear to have put pressure on the government to launch its reform agenda. The Vision 2030 has led to many positive effects, including the autonomy of three universities and the issuance of new civil performance measurement. From the research findings, the NPM model is unlikely to be applicable in Saudi Arabia due to the revealed challenges such as the prevalence of the central style, weak empowerment and participation. The working conditions of the Saudi public employees, such as job security, workload, work pressure, and salary, are expected negatively impact the applicability and implementation of NPM tenets in Saudi Arabia. This research contributes to the study of NPM reforms, and sheds new light on its applicability in the HE sector in a non-Western, nondemocratic context.
  • An exploration of the roles and experiences of governance officers in an NHS trust

    Kanjilal, Mahuya; Jester, Rebecca; Haynes, Mike; Ahme, Taiwo Jumoke; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
    Background Accountability is a key issue in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Clinical governance officers are a relatively new group of staff that are employed to help ensure accountability at the local level of the NHS. Aim This thesis explores the role of governance officers in an NHS Trust. It examines how they negotiate the space between managers and clinicians to ensure accountability. Method Using a phenomenological approach, semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted to explore lived experiences and views of governance officers. The study draws on theoretical frameworks relating to role theory, Foucault’s theory of power and Bourdieu’s theory of habitus. The data is analysed thematically using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) method. Findings and Discussion The key themes emerging from the data are the governance officer role; pleasures and pains; unity versus diversity; in pursuit of accountability; the dual role of the governance officer (policing and nurturing); self-perception and perception of others; complex connections. Surveillance, a network of interactions and power dynamics influence how governance officers ensure accountability and this shapes their identity. Recommendations The major recommendations of the study are to review training relating to the governance officer role; to streamline processes in order to efficiently enhance accountability; to develop the role of the governance officer and its positionality within ensuring accountability, by the formation of Communities of Practice in order to enhance their identity and professional standing. Conclusion This study has addressed a gap in knowledge by providing an insight into the governance officer’s role. This pivotal role is important in ensuring accountability at the local level of the NHS and also in providing high-quality patient treatment and care.
  • Theatre, performance and digital culture

    Doyle, Denise; Marshall, Gregory; School of Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2022)
    This thesis proposes that the theory of aesthetic agency derived from gaming in digital culture may be used as a lens through which live theatre and performance may be analysed. I argue that the aesthetics, immersion and play with identity in live theatre and performance are informed by digital culture through the behaviour and agency of the participants, be they audience or participants. Using a grounded theory methodological approach, four large-scale outdoor immersive productions and two traditional theatrical productions have been selected to provide a comparative analysis using aesthetic agency. Aesthetic agency is central to the analysis of immersion and play with identity in the productions selected. Comprising intention, perceivable consequence, narrative potential, transformation, co-presence and presence aesthetic agency is the feeling of pleasure audience and participants derive through the experience of live theatre and performance. Analysis using aesthetic agency in immersive productions examines qualities such as interaction and participation, discovery, understanding social rules, proximity to points of engagement within the performance, the use of narrative or gameplay, liminality and the suspension of disbelief and the use of physical or imaginary boundaries. Aesthetic agency in play with identity uses qualities of transportation, presence and co-presence and is analysed using themes of liminality, ritual, agency and memory which offer the opportunity of real experience within the virtual environments. The outcomes of the study highlight the opportunities to analyse and understand the meaning making process in live theatre and performance in a new manner through the lens of aesthetic agency derived from digital culture. Through examples, the outcomes show how digital culture theory may be used in live theatre and performance to examine and explain the experience for spectators and participants. The future use of aesthetic agency as a dramaturgical tool then becomes a possibility which may enhance the development process and enrich the subsequent experience of spectators and participants. Further, aesthetic agency may find utility as a dramaturgical tool when used to aid the creation of new live productions.
  • Effect of ATF2 transcription factor on DLL4 gene expression in angiogenesis

    Armesilla, Angel; Kalyanakrishnan, Krithika; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
    INTRODUCTION: ATF2 belongs to the AP1 transcription factor family that homodimerize or heterodimerize with other members of the bZIP family and regulates the transcriptional activation of target genes. Previous studies have shown that ATF2 mediates VEGF-induced angiogenic processes but the molecular mechanisms implicating ATF2 as a regulator of angiogenesis and its effect on other angiogenic related genes are largely unknown. METHODS: The sequences of the enhancers and the promoter of the DLL4, which is an angiogenic-related gene, were obtained from the ensembl website and using the ConTraV3 R software, the putative binding sites of ATF2 on the regulatory regions of DLL4 were identified. Among the four enhancers and the promoter regions identified, it was attempted to clone one enhancer sequence in a luciferase-based reporter plasmid. ATF2 functionality was suppressed by infecting HUVEC with an adenovirus expressing a phosphorylation-mutant, dominant-negative version of ATF2 (Ad-ATF2AA). HUVEC infection with an adenovirus encoding GFP (Ad-GFP) was used as a control. Alternatively, ATF2 expression in HUVEC was suppressed by siRNA-mediated knockdown. qPCR was performed to determine the effect of ATF2 functional suppression on the expression of DLL4-target genes and other genes related to angiogenesis. A colony of ATF2flox/flox mice was established by crossing ATF2flox/flox breeders with the intention of a future development of an endothelial-specific ATF2 knockout mice for future in vivo studies. RESULTS: In silico analysis revealed that ATF2 has potential binding sites on the regulatory regions of the DLL4 locus suggesting its involvement in the regulation of DLL4. HUVEC deficient in ATF2, achieved by overexpression of a mutant protein or knockdown of ATF2, showed a significant increase in the expression of the Notch ligand DLL4 in basal and VEGF-stimulated conditions. The gene expression of angiogenic related genes HEY1 and NRARP were also altered, suggesting ATF2 involvement in the regulation of these proteins. CONCLUSION: This study shows that activation of ATF2 is essential for the negative regulation of DLL4, HEY1 and NRARP. Interestingly, activation of these Notch-related genes has been reported to have an inhibitory effect on angiogenesis. These results indicate that the negative effect of ATF2 suppression observed in angiogenesis might implicate upregulation of DLL4, HEY1 and NRARP.
  • The process and impact of special measures upon an NHS trust

    Yarwood-Ross, Lee; Mortimore, Janet; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
    NHS Trusts that perform poorly in inspections by the regulator (Care Quality Commission) are rated inadequate and may be placed into special measures by NHS Improvement. There is a paucity of research on the process and impact of special measures. The purpose of this research was to explore how a Trust comes to be in special measures and how special measures impacts on organisational culture. The ethnographic case study of a Trust that was in special measures at the time comprised a thematic analysis of qualitative data collected via semi-structured interviews, autoethnography and published material. The participants were purposively selected staff from a wide range of roles predominantly at the lower end of the NHS pay bands (groups that have been underrepresented in previous studies of culture in healthcare organisations). The findings revealed that participants perceived a complicated tangle of operational and cultural issues to have led to the Trust’s poor performance. Participants’ perceptions of the Trust’s culture cut across the integration, differentiation and fragmentation perspectives of organisational culture, at times within the context of a single interview. Secondary analysis revealed that participants appeared to have experienced a reaction process to the label of special measures. Participants perceived that some improvement had been made in staff engagement following placement in special measures, which may be more aligned to organisational climate than culture. It is recommended that previously ‘hidden voices’ are included in NHS inspection regimes, as they appear to be an untapped resource in terms of potential organisational improvement. In addition, whereas NHS guidance espouses organisational culture as a route to performance improvement, the investment in managers to improve the climate within work groups is recommended, with the aspiration that these improvements will work their way through the system and have a long-term positive impact on culture throughout the NHS.
  • “When Christ and grime combine”: Gospel grime cultures in contemporary London

    Glover, Richard; Gregg, Stephen; Onafuye, Samson Oluwatosin Babajide; Faculty of Arts (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-08)
    Gospel grime is a Black-British religio-musical subgenre which emerged in London at the turn of the century. As a Black-British, street-credible musical brand of Christianity emerging from within grime musical culture, the manifestation of the genre reflects the dual identity formation of its social actors, who simultaneously identify as Christian and grime. As such, tied to London’s inner city street culture as well as the Black majority Pentecostal church traditions within the diaspora, gospel grime demonstrates how MCs (rappers) within the culture, navigate, negotiate, and explore their enmeshed subcultural identities; and how, in the process, they challenge, problematise, and disrupt false binaries imposed on them by the dominant cultures from which they emerge. Gospel grime is unapologetically evangelical. Yet despite its Christian evangelical identity, it is often rendered invisible within a range of institutionalised Black majority Pentecostal churches. Simultaneously, gospel grime is expressively grime. Yet despite its embodied grime formation, it is left out of existing scholarship and public discourses on grime music culture. Thus, given the omission of music in grime and Black-British gospel music scholarship and public discourses, this project makes a scholarly contribution by placing gospel grime within the lineage of grime and Black-British gospel music cultures. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews with MCs within the scene, online research, musical, lyrical and performance analysis, this multi-methodological project explores the ways in which London-based gospel grime MCs represent their Christianity through grime and grime through Christianity. Furthermore, given their shared heritage with Black Pentecostal and grime traditions, I explore the ways in which MCs display formal qualities of both cultures and how these qualities inform the construction of their enmeshed subcultural identities.
  • How do psychological practitioners construct the meaning of parental alienation: a social constructionist approach

    Morgan, Angela; Bisconti, Maria; Ahmad, Nahid; Stewart, Rebecca; Institute of Human Sciences, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-12)
    There is growing recognition of parental alienation [PA] amongst family courts and social workers within the United Kingdom [UK]. PA primarily occurs in family custody disputes, where there is manipulation of a child by one parent against the other. This study was developed to address the complexity of the phenomenon by exploring how aware psychological practitioners are of PA, how they meaningfully construct PA, and the implications this may have for clinical practice. A qualitative approach was utilised using a social constructionist grounded theory [SCGT]. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews in two stages, with eight psychological practitioners (including one negative case analysis). Data gathering and analysis followed the grounded theory [GT] methodology. The analysis of data reflects how psychological practitioners utilised ‘Conceptual Manoeuvring’ to develop an emerging interpretation of the meaning of PA. Three key sub-processes were identified: (1) using pre-existing knowledge to open a new interpretative space; (2) co-constructing parental alienation; and (3) becoming aware. The analysis found that there are multiple ways in which participants co-constructed the meaning of PA, which had multiple implications for the consideration of psychological interventions and practice. As part of conceptually manoeuvring PA, all participants were able to recall possible cases of PA in their clinical work with individuals. However, for seven participants, their understanding of PA was initially based on assumption, due to an identified lack of self and others’ awareness. This appeared to raise uncertainty when considering relevant psychological theory and intervention for PA; but despite this, counselling approaches appeared more favourable. It was indicated by seven participants that due to the relational aspect to understanding PA, counselling approaches (such as Humanistic and Psychodynamic) appeared more favourable in comparison to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] approaches. However, some CBT interventions (such as cognitive restructuring) were considered helpful. A negative case analysis was purposefully sought to strengthen the GT following interviews with seven participants. The negative case analysis reflected similar conceptual manoeuvring to construct PA; however, their construction of PA and consideration of therapeutic interventions provided richer insight into the phenomenon and appropriate interventions. The implications of the research appear to highlight the gap in awareness of PA among psychological practitioners within the UK, a need for defining terminology, the construct of PA, and identification of evidence-based treatment. This research has contributed towards developing awareness of PA and provides recommendations for future research.
  • In vitro investigation of the effect of disulfiram on hypoxia induced NFκB, epithelial to mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells in glioblastoma cell lines

    Wang, Weiguang; Azar, Karim; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive and lethal cancers with a poor prognosis. Advances in the treatment of GBM are limited due to several resistance mechanisms and limited drug delivery into the central nervous system (CNS) compartment by the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and by actions of the normal brain to counteract tumour-targeting medications. Hypoxia is common in malignant brain tumours such as GBM and plays a significant role in tumour pathobiology. It is widely accepted that hypoxia is a major driver of GBM malignancy. Although it has been confirmed that hypoxia induces GBM stem-like-cells (GSCs), which are highly invasive and resistant to all chemotherapeutic agents, the detailed molecular pathways linking hypoxia, GSC traits and chemoresistance remain obscure. Evidence shows that hypoxia induces cancer stem cell phenotypes via epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), promoting therapeutic resistance in most cancers, including GBM. This study demonstrated that spheroid cultured GBM cells consist of a large population of hypoxic cells with CSC and EMT characteristics. GSCs are chemo-resistant and displayed increased levels of HIFs and NFκB activity. Similarly, the hypoxia cultured GBM cells manifested GSC traits, chemoresistance and invasiveness. These results suggest that hypoxia is responsible for GBM stemness, chemoresistance and invasiveness. GBM cells transfected with nuclear factor kappa B-p65 (NFκB-p65) subunit exhibited CSC and EMT markers indicating the essential role of NFκB in maintaining GSC phenotypes. The study also highlighted the significance of NFκB in driving chemoresistance, invasiveness, and the potential role of NFκB as the central regulator of hypoxia-induced stemness in GBM cells. GSC population has the ability of self-renewal, cancer initiation and development of secondary heterogeneous cancer. The very poor prognosis of GBM could largely be attributed to the existence of GSCs, which promote tumour propagation, maintenance, radio- and chemoresistance and local infiltration. In this study, we used Disulfiram (DS), a drug used for more than 65 years in alcoholism clinics, in combination with copper (Cu) to target the NFκB pathway, reverse chemoresistance and block invasion in GSCs. The obtained results showed that DS/Cu is highly cytotoxic to GBM cells and completely eradicated the resistant CSC population at low dose levels in vitro. DS/Cu inhibited the migration and invasion of hypoxia-induced CSC and EMT like GBM cells at low nanomolar concentrations. DS is an FDA approved drug with low toxicity to normal tissues and can pass through the BBB. Further research may lead to the quick translation of DS into cancer clinics and provide new therapeutic options to improve treatment outcomes in GBM patients.
  • Study of photovoltaic (PV) module interconnections failure analysis and reliability

    Ekere, Nduka Nnamdi; Tchuenbou-Magaia, Fideline; Majd, Alireza Eslami; School of Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-08)
    Solar Energy is one of the most widely used renewable energy sources, with the solar Photovoltaic (PV) module technologies deployed as one of the primary renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels. However, the R&D challenge for improving the performance and reliability of PV modules has become an urgent and critical agenda for the energy generation industry sector. The interconnection between the solar PV cells is a very important part of the PV module assembly, and its failure can adversely affect the performance and reliability of the PV module. The interconnection failure has been mostly linked to the crack initiation and propagation in the solder joints used to connect the ribbon interconnection to the cell. This research focuses on the study of the thermal failure of PV module solder joint to determine the optimum ribbon interconnection designs that will give improved thermo-mechanical reliability. It develops a virtual reliability qualification process for the assessment of the life expectancy of PV module interconnections. The FEM simulations in ABAQUS 2019 software are implemented to investigate failure of the solder joints in different ribbon interconnection designs under anticipated life cycle loading conditions and high temperature lamination process. For the first time, the extended finite element method (XFEM) technique is used to determine the crack initiation temperature, crack location, direction and growth rate in solder joint of PV module interconnection under lamination process. Furthermore, the research used the Developed Morrow Energy Density lifetime model to determine the number of cycles to creep-fatigue failure, and then it defined a new generic exponent factor using the Coffin–Manson–Arrhenius model to estimate the lifetime for the designs under different thermal cycling conditions. The research also combines the numerical results of XFEM and creep-fatigue investigation to determine the failure lifetime of PV Module interconnection designs. The results show that the Multi-Busbar interconnection design improves solder joint creep-fatigue life (up to 15%) and consequently provides higher thermo-mechanical reliability for the solar PV modules compared to other studied designs (Conventional and the Light Capturing Ribbon interconnections). The results of this PV module interconnections study can be used for evaluating potential design changes and to facilitate design for reliability validation of different configurations for improving the long-term PV module system reliability.
  • On informing the creation of assistive tools in virtual reality for severely visually disabled individuals

    Nahar, Vinita; Loizides, Fernando; Aggoun, Amar; Pollard, Andrew; Weir, Kurtis; School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
    Virtual Reality (VR) devices have advanced so dramatically in recent years that they are now capable of fully immersing users in experiences tailored to fit a multitude of needs. This emerging technology has far reaching potential, yet is primarily contained to the entertainment or gaming market, with limited considerations made for disabilities and accessibility. Identifying this gap, evaluating these newer VR devices for their suitability as accessibility aids is needed, and clear standards for successful disability VR design need to be defined and promoted to encourage greater inclusively going forward. To achieve this, a series of ophthalmology-informed tests were created and conducted against 24 participants with severe visual impairments. These tests were used as comparative benchmarks to determine the level of visual perception impaired users had while wearing a VR device against natural vision. Findings suggest that, under certain conditions, VR devices can greatly enhance visual acuity levels when used as replacements to natural vision or typical vision aids, without any enhancement made to account for visual impairments. Following findings and requirements elicited from participants, a prototype VR accessibility text reader and video player were developed allowing visually disabled persons to customise and configure specialised accessibility features for individualised needs. Qualitative usability testing involving 11 impaired participants alongside interviews fed into a iterative design process for better software refinement and were used to informed the creation of a VR accessibility framework for visual disabilities. User tests reported an overwhelmingly positive response to the tool as a feasible reading and viewing aid, allowing persons who could not engage (or, due to the difficulty, refusing to engage) in the reading and viewing of material to do so. Outcomes highlight that a VR device paired with the tested software would be an effective and affordable alternative to specialist head gear that is often expensive and lacking functionality & adaptability. These findings promote the use and future design of VR devices to be used as accessibility tools and visual aids, and provide a comparative benchmark, device usability guidelines, a design framework for VR accessibility, and the first VR accessibility software for reading and viewing.
  • Life after death: An interpretative phenomenological study of men who have experienced a sudden bereavement

    Mangiorou, Lamprini; Cockshott, Christopher; Finney, Emily; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
    The presented study investigated the lived experience of suddenly bereaved men. The aim was to identify the felt impact of such a phenomenon, including the meaning men ascribed to their experience, and to provide insight into interventions which participants recognised as helpful and unhelpful in their bereavement. Three men whose wives had died of natural causes within six weeks of admission to a hospital critical care setting, volunteered to be interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology was adhered to throughout the research process and used to develop themes which represented participants’ experiences. Three super-ordinate themes emerged, focussing on meaningful aspects of participants’ experiences. Firstly, ‘Sudden Loss’ details the impact of the suddenness of the loss and the resulting emotional impact, including the occurrence of an apparent ambivalence towards aspects of social support. The second super-ordinate theme, ‘Transitioning Self’ brought together features of participants’ experiences which were key within the process of transition to a new reality without their wives, including adaptions to their sense of self, re-evaluation of their lives and the felt impact of social influences on their grief. Lastly, the ‘Supporting Transition’ theme highlights facets which were supportive in navigating their journey post-bereavement. The findings illustrated the lived experience of a sudden bereavement impacted across multiple aspects of participants lives, including their sense of self, independent futures and considerations for social elements. Conflicting views within their experiences were also impactful within participants’ mourning. Implications for Counselling Psychology and professional practice are discussed, highlighting issues surrounding the reduction of social stigma regarding the demonstration of emotion in men’s mourning and the supportive value of continued bonds post-bereavement. Suggestions for future research are also identified.
  • The incredible disappearing soldier and other adventures in British military recruitment: How is masculine identity constructed by British military recruitment films in the decades 2000–2020?

    Kossoff, Adam; Adkins, Kirsten; Faculty of Arts (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-10)
    The Incredible Disappearing Soldier is a practice-led enquiry which explores the visual and discursive construction of masculinities in British military recruitment and promotional films produced during the first two decades of this century. Its title alludes to the 1957 US film The Incredible Shrinking Man, in which the subject becomes smaller and smaller and eventually disappears from view. The study engages theoretical and practice-led applications to open up aesthetic and conceptual questions surrounding the body, identity and the gendered military subject. It explores a phenomenon where soldiers and enemy targets are often defocused, or they are absented from staged scenes of military action. Attention is often directed away from the heroic individual, away from representations of the sentient body and towards abstract themes of belonging where the self gives way to a collective identity. Heroic endeavour is sometimes visualised through the technologies of war and a destruction of landscapes, often replacing visual representations of the soldier subject. On the surface the films’ direct appeal to women, minority ethnic and sexual minority groups preclude traditional representations of heteronormative male stereotypes associated with a hegemonic military ideal. Yet in many respects such narratives are counter-positional to the realities of a soldier’s life: at the time of writing this study the British military remains an overwhelmingly homosocial institution. This study therefore proposes that beneath the surface of the ambiguous visual language of these promotional films, traditional hegemonic ideals associated with a gendered military identity are still present. The Incredible Disappearing Soldier takes an interdisciplinary approach in the examination of thirty short promotional films made across a twenty-year period. This coincided with the so-called ‘war on terror’, the US and Allied military campaign started after 9/11 in the United States. The study utilises deconstructed filmmaking practice combined with critical approaches including gender studies, post-structuralism and film theory to develop an enquiry into how British military masculinities are constructed, interpreted and understood. It is concerned with ethical and political implications associated with a visual blurring of the gendered subject in the mediated framing of state-controlled violence. It also asks why military recruitment in the UK is increasingly framed through a disavowal of the individual and the vulnerable body. Film analysis and practical responses are facilitated by a methodology which is conceptualised as blur. This concept relates to an undecidability surrounding meaning, the image and subjectivity and builds on work around deconstruction, particularly in respect of the writing by Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. Deconstruction here includes the material breaking of film texts and establishes a synthesis between making and interpreting, practice and theory. Blur also facilitates discussions around a visual and conceptual blurring of the gendered subject. Centrally, Butler’s considerations of gender construction, a relationship with the body and subjectivity are explored through practice in performance and film. Postproduction methods are also used to engage and examine themes of continuity and discontinuity, coherence and incoherence. A deconstructed methodology is interpreted as a provocation, whose aim is to open up critical and reflective spaces when examining the visual construction of gender subjectivity and the framing of war.
  • Exercise & cardiopulmonary physiology in rheumatoid arthritis

    Vitalis, Panagiotis (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
    Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) individuals are at greater morbidity and mortality risk from developing cardiac and pulmonary disorders than the general population, primarily due to a sedentary lifestyle. Aims: This project aimed to (1) obtain information on the rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD) patents’ achieved/preferred exercise principles and awareness, (2) investigate the need to implement and safety, as depicted when a verification phase is added at the cardiopulmonary exercise tolerance test (CPET) in RA, to confirm the attainment of maximal effort, (3) evaluate potential differences between RA individuals and non-RA controls regarding the cardiopulmonary physiology and its association with the cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) level and (4) assess possible cardiopulmonary changes following a supervised three-month aerobic high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen and examine its adherence in RA. Methods: A total of 298 individuals were recruited. A newly developed questionnaire in RMDs explored qualitative data about exercise. CRF was evaluated through a combined CPET with verification phase protocol. CPET was analysed for its sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios (LH+/LH-), and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR). The verifications’ phase safety was examined through CPET's absolute and relative contraindications during monitoring and patient’s acceptability. Cardiopulmonary physiology was investigated via both echocardiography and complete pulmonary function tests (PFTs). To estimate the disease activity score (DAS28) ‐ C‐reactive protein (CRP) was used in people living with RA. Results: Study 1: The most preferred exercise routine characterised by a frequency of “2-3 times per week”, moderate intensity, lasting “about an hour’’, with swimming being the best- suggested modality. In Study 2, a combined CPET with a verification phase protocol presented superior diagnostic accuracy and was free from safety issues for both people with RA and non-RA controls. In Study 3, in the absence of any overt cardiac and/or pulmonary disease, RA individuals presented with an eccentric cardiac remodelling and lung hyperinflation pattern compared to non-RA controls; CRF was associated (p<0.05) with left ventricular (LV) compliance and pulmonary function indices in both groups. Study 4: The HIIT programme revealed significant (p<0.05) improvements in pulmonary function, CRF, and reduced DAS28, while individuals adhered overall moderately to this regime. Conclusions: This Thesis concluded that: (1) exercise recommendations are not individualised according to the individuals’ needs and preferences in RMDs, (2) the combined CPET with a verification phase is a safe and necessary methodology to ensure a diagnostically accurate assessment of maximal effort for both people living with RA and non- RA controls, (3) people living with RA may present a parallel eccentric cardiac remodelling with a hyperinflation pattern in the subclinical phase, while CRF levels associate with cardiopulmonary function indices in both groups, and (4) a moderately adhered three-month aerobic HIIT exercise regimen can significantly improve pulmonary function, CRF, and RA's disease state.
  • Shifting academic identities in a post 1992 university. What are the implications for gender?

    Thompson, David; Walton, Anita; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-12)
    Under the weight of the neoliberal agenda, higher education lecturers in the United Kingdom (UK) struggle to maintain their professional identity, destabilised by the pressures of marketisation and accountability. The questions explored within this thesis are based around a research project that aimed to examine the shifting academic identities of lecturers in a post-1992 university. The research adopted a qualitative methodology, informed by a post-structuralist perspective and a Foucauldian theoretical framework. Neoliberalism, marketisation of higher education and new managerialism have disrupted academic identities and altered the very nature of academic work (Fumasoli et al., 2015). Academics are required to meet students’ raised expectations in a business-based environment and are obliged to participate in the new culture of audit and increased accountability This thesis argues that academics’ identities have shifted to include three new identities: customer service-provider, carer and for some, researcher. Analysis of the data suggests that there are clearly gendered patterns of work at the university and highlights how the Research Excellence Framework (REF), also has gendered implications (Yarrow and Davies 2018). This thesis presents the concept of academic identity in a post-1992 UK university as a fluid and multifaceted entity. This is shaped by the broad relationship between the universities’ adoption of neoliberal agendas and the impact of this commitment on the life of academics, resulting in the appearance of a new identity of a ‘multifarious’ academic.
  • “The sole purpose is for two people to come together and be”. A thematic analysis of the impact of therapist attachment on intersubjectivity when working with clients with complex trauma

    Slater, Chelsea; Mangiorou, Lamprini; Parker, Elizabeth; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
    The current study aimed to explore the significance of therapists’ attachment strategies on the intersubjective nature of the therapeutic relationship. Specifically, how important it is for therapists to have attachment security. Twelve therapists working with individuals with complex trauma were interviewed and ‘Codebook’ Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2020) was used to generate the following themes: Developing the therapeutic relationship; Impact of therapist attachment; Therapist motivation; Overcoming barriers. Key findings identified a distinction between the therapeutic alliance and a secure attachment. This was based on the relationship’s capacity to tolerate rupture which was impacted upon by the participant’s own attachment. The study also found that therapists’ own attachment strategies affect empathy towards clients, with the underlying process being related to identification, but where over-identification is unhelpful. Further, the study identified the way that therapists responded to client anger was related to their attachment strategies. Whilst avoidant / dismissive therapists were better able to contain client anger, this had the potential to impact upon attunement. Findings challenged the widely accepted view of the necessity for therapists to have a secure attachment, rather warmth and proximity elicited negative responses from some clients. An unexpected finding was therapists’ motivation which identified specifically the therapeutic relationship as meeting the attachment needs of the therapists. Findings reinforce the premises of counselling psychology for reflective functioning and recommend that therapists acknowledge their own attachment strategies and wounds. A better understanding into these processes may enhance the therapeutic relationship and improve treatment outcome.
  • How can pedagogic mediation develop better listening practices in early years settings?

    Pascal, Chris; Bertram, Tony; Williams-Brown, Zeta; Lyndon, Helen; Institute of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
    A praxeological approach provides the predominant paradigm for this thesis which is based in praxis and seeks to ensure an ethical approach throughout (Pascal and Bertram, 2012). In utilising ethnographic techniques and focusing on pedagogy this research is embedded within the early years sector. The research aims to explore pedagogic mediation as a context-based approach to professional development and an ethical way to develop listening practices within early years (Oliveira-Formosinho and Formosinho, 2012a). Pedagogic mediation provided the mechanism through which relationships with practitioners in three central research sites were developed over a period of two academic years. Pedagogic mediation has been cultivated in Portugal as a central tenet of Pedagogy in Participation (Formosinho and Formosinho, 2008). This research sought to transport this approach to England within the context of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and to explore how it could support pedagogic developments, in this case to better listen to children. Pedagogic mediation is considered in light of Kennedy’s (2005; 2014) model of continuing professional development (CPD), and this research demonstrates how it sits at the transformative end of this spectrum. The elements of pedagogic meditation are mapped through this thesis and the attributes of the mediator are explored to illuminate the role. Critical research interactions, defined as encountering within pedagogic mediation, were utilised to develop listening methods. The listening methods developed were as a result of a participatory approach as practitioners were the expert within their own context. A reflective field diary (Ortlipp, 2008) supported the research throughout and then specific listening methods were developed, most notably photo-elicitation, family voice and drawing methods, including an innovative graduated framework. Encountering research interactions were also mapped against Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological system theory (Bronfenbrenner and Ceci, 1993) to illustrate the range of processes and the aspects of societal influence which they represent. In one setting encountering research interactions tackled the complexities of process within the macrosystem demonstrating the ability of pedagogic mediation to shift ideological thinking well as daily practice. Overall, this research provides guidance on the role, responsibilities and attributes of the pedagogic mediator to support future CPD within the early years sector. Such mediated interactions have the opportunity to raise the consciousness (Freire, 1996) of a neglected workforce and to further support the professional development of the sector.
  • Lean-excellence business management for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in Kurdistan region of Iraq

    Daniel, Emmanuel; Gyoh, Louis; Mohammad, Ibrahim Salih; Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-06)
    To survive in the twenty-first century’s business environment, many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) depend on Lean Manufacturing (LM) techniques as their industrial strategies to enable them to reduce waste, time, effort, enhance quality and increase customer satisfaction constantly. However, many SMEs, especially in developing countries, fail to engage in lean programmes successfully. In this research, a strategic framework to support LM practices within manufacturing SMEs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) has been developed. Based on a comprehensive review of the literature, the research develops Lean-Excellence business management (LEBM), a conceptual framework resulting from the integration of lean tools with the criteria of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) excellence model. The framework assists lean practices through eight variables, namely lean leadership, strategic planning, customer relationship, continuous improvement, process management, human resource development, organisational learning and business results. The research applied mixed-method techniques, including a questionnaire administered to 207 SMEs, three case studies and an interview with nine experts to validate the framework. The findings indicate that lean practices in the KRI-SMEs are not matured. However, partial lean practices still positively influence business performance. Many factors impede the adoption of LM, including language barriers, outdated management style, substandard attitudes of employees, poor technological infrastructure, and lack of government support. The findings from this research could be a good driver to introducing LM to manufacturing SMEs within developing countries. However, external issues such as government support, national culture and workers’ personal values were excluded in this research, which can address critical gaps for further research.
  • Stressful life events and deliberate self-harm: Exploring the specificity of stressful life events and emotion regulation facets

    Boyda, David; Mcfeeters, Danielle; Hitchens, Danielle; Institute of Human Sciences, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021)
    Objective: The current study aimed to examine if specific emotion regulation facets mediated the relationship between different stressful life events and deliberate self-harm. It examined both the cumulative and specific effects of stressful life events. Methods: A quantitative correlational survey method was adopted using several questionnaires to explore the relationship between stressful life events, emotion dysregulation and self-harm engagement. The sample included 164 individuals who were seeking support from a secondary care NHS service. Analysis was conducted using Mplus 6 and involved two mediation models. Results: The results demonstrated that different types of stressful life events were significantly associated with engagement in deliberate self-harm. This varied depending on the stressful life event, in which some stressful life events decreased self-harm engagement. In isolation the number of stressful life events was not significantly associated with self-harm, indicating that there was no cumulative effect of stressful life events on engagement in deliberate self-harm. However, experiencing more stressful life events was significantly associated with deliberate self-harm through specific emotion regulation facets. Conclusions: Results indicated that stressful life events are more likely to contribute to the engagement in deliberate self-harm when they coexist. The current findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the mediating processes between stressful life events and deliberate self-harm. They specifically demonstrate that particular pathways to deliberate self-harm are not determined by the presence of stressful life events, but the ways in which emotion regulation ability is refined and developed during their presence, which subsequently effects the individuals need to use deliberate self-harm as a means of managing their distress.
  • Expressions of psychological stress on Twitter: detection and characterisation

    Thelwall, Mike; Gopalakrishna Pillai, Reshmi; School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
    Long-term psychological stress is a significant predictive factor for individual mental health and short-term stress is a useful indicator of an immediate problem. Traditional psychology studies have relied on surveys to understand reasons for stress in general and in specific contexts. The popularity and ubiquity of social media make it a potential data source for identifying and characterising aspects of stress. Previous studies of stress in social media have focused on users responding to stressful personal life events. Prior social media research has not explored expressions of stress in other important domains, however, including travel and politics. This thesis detects and analyses expressions of psychological stress in social media. So far, TensiStrength is the only existing lexicon for stress and relaxation scores in social media. Using a word-vector based word sense disambiguation method, the TensiStrength lexicon was modified to include the stress scores of the different senses of the same word. On a dataset of 1000 tweets containing ambiguous stress-related words, the accuracy of the modified TensiStrength increased by 4.3%. This thesis also finds and reports characteristics of a multiple-domain stress dataset of 12000 tweets, 3000 each for airlines, personal events, UK politics, and London traffic. A two-step method for identifying stressors in tweets was implemented. The first step used LDA topic modelling and k-means clustering to find a set of types of stressors (e.g., delay, accident). Second, three word-vector based methods - maximum-word similarity, context-vector similarity, and cluster-vector similarity - were used to detect the stressors in each tweet. The cluster vector similarity method was found to identify the stressors in tweets in all four domains better than machine learning classifiers, based on the performance metrics of accuracy, precision, recall, and f-measure. Swearing and sarcasm were also analysed in high-stress and no-stress datasets from the four domains using a Convolutional Neural Network and Multilayer Perceptron, respectively. The presence of swearing and sarcasm was higher in the high-stress tweets compared to no-stress tweets in all the domains. The stressors in each domain with higher percentages of swearing or sarcasm were identified. Furthermore, the distribution of the temporal classes (past, present, future, and atemporal) in high-stress tweets was found using an ensemble classifier. The distribution depended on the domain and the stressors. This study contributes a modified and improved lexicon for the identification of stress scores in social media texts. The two-step method to identify stressors follows a general framework that can be used for domains other than those which were studied. The presence of swearing, sarcasm, and the temporal classes of high-stress tweets belonging to different domains are found and compared to the findings from traditional psychology, for the first time. The algorithms and knowledge may be useful for travel, political, and personal life systems that need to identify stressful events in order to take appropriate action.
  • A comparison of German and British therapists’ explicit and implicit reasoning about white and non-white clients – a vignette study

    Galbraith, Niall; Chen-Wilson, Josephine; Bisconti, Maria; Landmann, Sophie; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
    Objectives – This doctoral study explored the impact of a client’s ethnic background on the perception and chosen therapeutic approach of UK and German therapists. This study sought to identify how a therapist’s held explicit and implicit biases influence their practise with clients of various ethnic backgrounds. Methodology – A sample of 51 therapists from the UK and Germany was recruited to take part in this online study. Participants were randomly allocated to either ‘Condition Caucasian’ or ‘Condition Diverse’ and first presented with three vignettes accompanied either by a photo of a person with European ethnic background or a person with African or South-Asian ethnic background. The participants then answered nine questions about their potential approach with each presented client, which were designed to identify explicit bias. In the second step, all completed a modified race implicit association test (IAT) that further quantified the therapists’ implicit and explicit bias towards individuals of various ethnicities. Results – Multivariate Analysis of the vignette data found no statistically significant differences between the two conditions; thus, no explicit bias was found within this sample. A subsequent comparison between the two nationalities was impaired due to uneven sample sizes, yet differences between the scores became visible. The analysis of the IAT data found slight implicit pro-white bias in the complete sample, as well as indicators for a priming effect in participants assigned to ‘Condition Caucasian’. The IAT study replicated previous research findings of implicit pro-white bias and the inconsistency between the tested implicit and the self-reported explicit bias within a therapist sample. Discussion – While explicit bias could not be identified within this sample, implicit pro-white bias was uncovered. It was concluded that therapists are as fallible to implicit bias as other healthcare workers, though they may be better at masking its conscious impact. Steps towards a less biased practise were outlined. Follow-up research will have to determine whether all findings, and in particular the cross-cultural comparison, can be replicated with a larger sample.

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