Farquhar, Stuart (University of Wolverhampton, 2011-11)
In this research the impact of board governance orientation and board processes on board role performance and board effectiveness is examined. Building on existing literature, a model that relates board governance orientation (agency, stakeholder, stewardship and resource dependency) and board processes (cohesiveness, cognitive conflict, affective conflict, communication quality, effort norms, trust and the use of knowledge & skills) to board effectiveness via three mediating variables, board control role, board service role, and board strategy role is developed. The model was tested through a survey of listed companies in the UK. The results are based on 74 companies. The findings show (a) the board undertakes two distinct roles, control and service; (b) process variables, most notably cognitive conflict and the use of knowledge & skills, significantly influence board effectiveness mediated by the board’s control and/or service role; (c) structural variables, specifically the proportion of outsiders on the board, impacts on the board control role; (d) understanding board effectiveness requires a multitheoretic perspective.
Sandanayake, Yasangika Gayani (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
In this era of globalisation and fierce competition amongst businesses, there is a need to improve advanced operations management philosophies such as just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to enhance business performance. Literature review shows that there is no mechanism so far to identify key JIT drivers relevant to a given organisation and its production processes, and their impact on enterprise performance. The research carried out here therefore involved the development of a generic performance measurement model to identify and capture the influence of JIT practices on enterprise performance. A conceptual performance measurement model, which was designed based on comprehensive literature review and informal interviews/discussions with both academic researchers and industry practitioners describes the link between JIT drivers (Xi) and measurable performance (Y). This mathematically determined model is aimed at assisting managers in the systematic identification of the influence of key JIT drivers on enterprise performance using a multidimensional tool such as the extended balanced scorecard. The case study approach was selected as the most suitable methodology for testing and validating the conceptual model in JIT enabled production plant and was applied to the production process of Denso Manufacturing (UK) Ltd., a global automotive component manufacturer. A novel eight-step implementation procedure was designed to collect data, which were analysed and validated by design of experiments, linear mathematical modelling, computer based dynamic simulation and analytic hierarchy process tool. The performance measurement model was then successfully applied to a non-automotive component production plant (Risane Ltd.). In conclusion, the performance measurement model can now be suitably applied to JIT enabled manufacturing environments using relevant organisation specific JIT drivers and key performance indicators to optimise system performance. The contribution to knowledge is an innovative, user friendly, robust and multidimensional performance measurement model enabling industry practitioners to optimise JIT processes with substantial performance enhancement. The model could also be applied by future researchers to other operations management philosophies and industries, and at a higher level could be developed into a self-optimising software package, which will enable rapid determination of the key control parameters needed to optimise process performance just in time.
Alosaimi, Hanouf (University of Wolverhampton, 2019)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) construction sector is an important industry and contributes approximately 20% of the GDP. It has been the most significant economic activity outside the oil sector. However, uncertainty, complexity, sustainability, climate change, and Saudi Arabia National Policy Plan 2030 are among the most important features of the current construction business environment in the KSA. As organisations try to meet these complex challenges, they need to be innovative. It is widely recognised that knowledge is an essential strategic resource for a firm to retain a sustainable competitive advantage. Although Knowledge Management (KM) has been widely practiced in the western countries, there is a little evidence in the KSA especially in the construction industry. Therefore, this research focuses on key KM strategies that the KSA construction organisations implemented en-route to organisational competitiveness. The findings are in the main, based on semi-structured interviews with 46 professionals from 30 construction organisations.
The data analysis revealed that, the key initiatives implemented broadly under the umbrella of KM are: knowledge sharing initiatives, knowledge capturing initiatives and knowledge mapping initiatives. Furthermore, seven types of KM specific training strategies adopted in the KSA construction organisations. The single most important driver for managing knowledge is to improve cost savings. The key challenge for managing knowledge is capturing tacit knowledge. The KM strategies contribute to improved competitiveness on cost savings. Furthermore, a framework for managing knowledge is developed and validated. The study concludes that managing knowledge is an integrated and complex process. More effective knowledge-sharing within and across construction organisations is required. Therefore, the KSA professional institutions and construction industry should support and participate in the work of knowledge-sharing groups to address perceived risks and opportunities from new technologies and processes. The results do suggests that for effective implementation of KM strategies, there is an urgent need for KSA construction industry to develop and deploy appropriate KM related management training programmes. Leadership plays an important role in breaking down barriers in achieving KM strategies. This study has made significant contributions to knowledge since there is no previous research explored on KM programmes in the KSA construction organisations. Findings of this research are limited to the KSA construction industry context only, as such, the level of generalisability outside this context may be very limited.
Kozlowska, Olga (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
This thesis examines the lived experience of economic migration of young and degree level educated migrants from Poland to Britain. The main aim is to explore how the participants of economic migration within the borders of the European Union experience migrating. The special feature of this migration is the fact that they leave a postcommunist country and come to a country with a well established capitalist economy and long-standing democracy. The particular questions are: how these migrants construct their experience of migrating, are they faced with any problems while doing it, and if so - how do they resolve them? The data comes from twenty-two semi-structured interviews with migrants educated to degree level who were residents and worked in one of the regions of England at a professional level or below their qualifications (manual or simple clerical work). The research utilises the critical discourse analysis perspective; the data is approached with analysis focused on linguistic choices (lexical and grammatical) evident in the respondents’ statements. This kind of analysis enables observation and in-depth interpretation of the way experiences of migrating are constructed. The migrants’ narratives were full of discursive struggle while constructing their experience of migrating. Firstly, the interviewees made an effort to present their migration as rational. Secondly, they were trying to rationalise their financial needs to refute accusations of greed for money. Thirdly, the underemployed migrants justified their employment choices by distancing themselves from work below that which they were qualified for. Fourthly, the interviewees were making an attempt to withdraw from a multicultural community by constructing the negative Other. Exploring lived experience of living and working abroad reveals competitive discourses and ways of coping with ambivalence. Understanding these discursive practices requires knowledge of their beliefs and values that underpin the discourses available in the Polish postcommunist society. Overall, the narratives overflowed with dilemmas that showed this migration as more complicated on an individual level than the official discourse of free movement of people in the EU suggests. This thesis captures the migrants’ lived experience within one year after the EU enlargement; it reflects on the narratives being shaped when migrants were given the opportunity to introduce the new discourses on migration or re-think the old ones as a result of new macro-processes in the European Union. This research complements other studies exploring migrants’ voices in search of insight into what their experiences were and how they made sense out of them. However, with the methodology used, it focuses more on uncovering the struggle over arguments available to build their stories. It offers explanation to their discursive practices by analysing them against the discourses as being products of postcommunism. The study’s results may shed more light on recent processes within this group of migrants and also inform institutional policy and practice about problems affecting members of this group, reported in this thesis.
Greening, Daniel John (University of Wolverhampton, 2010-04)
A research investigation that illustrates the development of the European landscape tradition as an unbroken interactive and material movement, through discussion of artists from Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) to Richard Long (1945 –). The contribution of each artist within their respective epoch will be used to propose that the subject of landscape has become an actual creative medium, integral to and consistent with the external Plein-Air technique. Thus, presenting a ‘creative narrative’ from the observed into the articulated that will demonstrate how the examination and representation of actual landscapes have become physically used within creative presentations. The study uses key artworks that have been inspired by landscape to show the shift from documentation into interaction with the reality of the natural world. This entails the chronology of the investigation and commences with the concept of Ideal Landscape, established by Carracci, within the late 16th century, through the development of the Plein-Air tradition and culminating with particular emphasis on European landscape artists’ and movements since 1945 that have interacted with actual sites and natural materials: from the ideal to the actual. Furthermore, the European transfer and diffusion of interactive and material based landscape methods, including drawing and painting outside, the collection of organic items and photography, passed and developed from one generation to the next, informs a body of personal creative work. This is a 50/50 co-dependent strand used to illustrate the practical and creative discourses between practitioner and landscape, involving the articulation of actual land materials, found objects and Plein-Air excursions to the drawing locations of previous practitioners’, sketchbooks and journals. The insights provided, by the personal practice and associated theoretical position, aid the evaluation, analysis and description of the evolution of the creative methods inherent in the development of subject into media, but not presently described in historical accounts, therefore, presenting a Material Chronology and thus the original contribution of knowledge for this investigation.
Kwakye-Awuah, Bright (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
The production of silver-loaded zeolites either by ion exchange method or by isomorphous substitution of silver ions into zeolites frameworks and their antimicrobial activity is presented. Silver-loaded zeolites produced by ion-exchange in this work include silver-exchanged zeolite X, silver-exchanged zeolite A and silver-exchanged high-alumina Phillipsite. Silver-doped Analcime was produced by isomorphous substitution of silver ions into the Analcime framework. The silver-loaded zeolites were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis, particle size analysis and Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Studies showed that the amount of silver ions loaded into the zeolites frameworks differed for each zeolite. XRD analysis showed little or no changes in the phase purity of all zeolites before and after ion exchange or before and after substitution of silver ions. SEM analysis and particle size analysis showed that the morphology of each zeolite particles was closely related before and after ion exchanged or before and after substitution of silver ions. The antimicrobial activity of these silver-loaded zeolites was investigated by exposing Escherichia coli K12W-T, Staphylococcus aureus NCIMB6571 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCIMB8295 suspended in tryptone soya broth (TSB) to the silver-loaded zeolites. The first stage of the investigation involved the exposure of the strains to silver-loaded zeolites in TSB for a duration of 24 hours at different concentration of silver-loaded zeolites. The second stage involved the exposure of the strains to silver-loaded zeolites in TSB over a period of two hours. The persistency of antimicrobial activity of silver-loaded zeolites was investigated by retrieving each silver-loaded zeolite from the first exposure cultures, washed copiously with de-ionised water and adding to fresh bacterial suspensions. To understand the mode of antimicrobial activity of the silver-loaded zeolites, the uptake of silver ions by the strains, composition of fatty acid, as well as the DNA content of Escherichia coli K12W-T was studied. The results obtained showed silver ions appeared to elute from the zeolites frameworks into the TSB in anomalous trend. All three microorganisms were completely inhibited within one hour with the silver-loaded zeolites retaining their antimicrobial activity. The release of silver ions from the zeolites frameworks followed first-order kinetics with varying rate constants and half-lives. The fatty acid composition of all strains as well as the DNA content of Escherichia coli K12W-T were affected by the action of silver ions.
In this thesis Graphit-iC™, an amorphous carbon coating developed by Teer Coatings Ltd. was modified and deposited onto CoCr and WHMWPE substrates in order to improve the wear properties. It was identified that depositing a hard coating onto soft substrate would cause high stresses and lead to coating delamination. Consequently the polyethylene substrates were ion implanted with nitrogen to reduce the hardness differential at the substrate-coating boundary. The coating was characterised using a pin on disc method in order to determine wear and friction. Hardness and fatigue was characterised using nano-indentation and the coating adhesion was measured using scratch testing. Application of the coatings resulted in a significant reduction in wear. Wear factors as low as 3.65x10¯18m³/Nm were achieved for coated CoCr substrates compared to 3.53x10¯15m³/Nm reported in the literature for uncoated CoCr. The coating resulted in friction coefficients between 0.12 and 0.19 with hardness ranging from 6.65 and 15.63GPa. Similarly coating UHMWPE resulted in a reduction in the wear factor to less than 9.6x10¯17m³/Nm. It was concluded that the deposition of amorphous carbon coatings can improve wear of hip joint prostheses, although consideration must be made for the adhesion of the coating to the substrate so that it does not contribute to an early failure of the device. Improved adhesion can be achieved by reducing the hardness differential between the coating and adhesion, either through softening the coating or by using interlayers.
Bashir, Abubakar Muhammad (University of Wolverhampton, 2013-06)
The poor safety situation in the United Kingdom (UK) construction industry and its adverse socio-economic record are well documented in the existing literature. The application of Lean Construction techniques has been proposed as an effective strategy to address accidents on construction sites, a major safety concern in the construction industry. However, examination of the relationship between Lean Construction techniques and safety issues has been marginal. This study explores this relationship with the aim of developing a framework for using Lean Construction techniques to promote safety on UK construction sites. A framework was initially devised based on a synthesis of the literature and further refined based on findings from interviews held with 10 Lean Construction practitioners on antecedents of Lean Construction techniques and safety issues. In order to develop and confirm the framework, data was collected from practicing Lean Construction organisations using a questionnaire survey and analysed using descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and inter-rater agreement statistical test to examine the pattern and extent of the relationships. The study found a total of thirty-eight (38) relationships between Lean Construction techniques and safety issues. These relationships are mainly positive in nature in that they demonstrate path to improvement in safety on construction sites. They show which techniques could be used to address the relevant safety issue. Furthermore, it was established that the application of Lean Construction techniques on construction sites can be impeded by challenges such as: lack of Lean Construction knowledge, complexity, misconception about Lean and difficulties in changing employees’ working culture. The study identified strategies that could be used to address these challenges. These include enlightenment on benefits of Lean practice, publication of improvements realised from Lean practice, training, workers’ involvement and empowerment, persistence, robust planning and gradual step-by-step implementation. The study, therefore, concludes that Lean Construction techniques have positive relationships with safety issues on construction sites in the UK and on the basis of the relationships develops an integrated framework to guide application of the techniques by contracting organisations in promoting safety. The study makes a number of recommendations including the incorporation of Lean Construction practice into government health and safety initiatives, regulations and policies, and identifies areas for further research.
Prior to the implementation of the European Union Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) in 31 Dec 1998, around a quarter of the sewage sludge produced in the UK was either discharged to surface waters via pipes or disposed from ships at sea. Discontinuing this route together with the quality requirements of the European Waste Water Directive, led to the generation of significant quantities of sewage sludge. It has therefore become required to treat this waste effectively before it can be sent back to the environment. Consequently, this added greater challenges for the environmental agencies, as well as local authorities. The treatment process comprises costly and energy consuming applications including physical, chemical, biological and thermal. In addition to the sewage sludge, the power generation industry produces massive quantities of fly ash from burning coal. In the UK, there is about 5,300,000 tonnes of fly ash that are generated annually, which require to be processed and classified in order to meet the standard requirements before it can be used in the construction applications. The classifying process also involves a series of costly and energy consuming mechanical and physical applications. This research programme has introduced an innovative alternative to the traditional re-use and disposal routes of Raw Sewage Sludge (RSS) and unprocessed fly ash. It has suggested the utilisation of RSS and unprocessed fly ash as raw ingredients for the production of sustainable construction materials. This research programme has therefore examined the performance of cement-based materials containing Raw Sewage Sludge (RSS) as a water replacement and unprocessed fly ash as cement replacement. Mortar and concrete mixes incorporating these materials were tested for their flowability/workability, density, Total Water Absorption (TWA), Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV), compressive strength, flexural strength, drying shrinkage, sulphate attack and leaching properties. Three series of cement-based materials were studied including mortar mixes with RSS and unprocessed fly ash (Series 1), mortar mixes with RSS and large proportions of unprocessed fly ash (Series 2), and concrete mixes with RSS and unprocessed fly ash (Series 3). The outcomes of the investigation were encouraging in that cement-based materials containing RSS and unprocessed fly ash that were produced demonstrated relatively good engineering, durability and environmental properties in comparison to the control mixes. The inclusion of unprocessed fly ash significantly reduced flowability/workability; however it improved long-term compressive strength for both mixes with RSS and water. The best compressive strength results were recorded when cement was replaced with 10-20% unprocessed fly ash by weight of total binder. The results also showed that sulphate attack resistance improved when fly ash was included. Moreover, safe concentration levels of heavy metals and free ions were detected when leaching test was performed. However, it must be kept in mind that more environmental tests must be performed before any large scale use is undertaken.
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