Now showing items 21-40 of 795

    • Evaluation of sustainable strategies adoption for competitiveness within the Qatar oil and gas sector

      Renukappa, Suresh; SARRAKH, Redouane; School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      With the increasing importance given to sustainable development, now-a-days countries around the world are shifting their focus and efforts to changing the previous unsustainable growth framework that has been ineffective. Qatar seems to be following the rest of the world and has decided to introduce a sustainability plan to ensure prosperity through its national vision and strategy plans. However, despite Qatar’s National Vision 2030 implementation, several organisations within the oil and gas sector still have difficulties in embedding sustainability agenda in their systems and processes. There is, also, a paucity of empirical research on the implementation of sustainability strategies within the Qatar oil and gas sector to improve competitiveness. Therefore, the aim of this research is to evaluate the Qatar oil and gas sector implementation of sustainability strategies so as to improve its competitiveness. A qualitative approach was adopted to collect and analyse data based on 24 interviewees from eight Qatar oil and gas organizations. The research started with a purposive sampling method that was later adapted to snowball. Semi-structured interview was selected as the data collection tool, and thematic analysis was chosen to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the interviews. Systematics approaches, such as the Total Interpretive Structural Modelling (TISM), Fuzzy Matrice d’Impacts Croises-Multiplication Applique an Classment (FuzzyMICMAC), maturity model and Graph Theoretic and matrix Approach (GTMA), were selected appropriately in order to achieve the research objectives. A framework and readiness tool were developed as the output of the research findings. The results of the study revealed that the Qatar oil and gas sector identified six main areas of interest to evaluate the performance of the sector and its organisations: workforce, health and safety, society, environment, climate change, and economy. Overall, the Qatar oil and gas sector is operating within or above governmental laws and regulations, which is evident in some organisations’ adapted policies and strategies. It is found that international standards and governmental regulations and laws are amongst the main drivers that fuelled for the implementation of sustainability initiatives within the sector. While strategic issues were highlighted as the main inhibitor to sustainability implementation within the sector. The findings of this research provide valuable insights that would help the Qatar oil and gas industry’s decision makers to implement sustainability initiatives to improves the sector’s competitiveness.
    • Exploring the applicability of a continuous improvement philosophy to a ‘self-improving school-led system’

      Suresh, Subashini; Lawton, Megan; Tsouroufli, Maria; Starr, Sean; School of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-02)
      In recent years the concept of a ‘self-improving school-led system’ has been at the heart of the English Government’s education policy, with a core focus on ‘high-autonomy-and-high-accountability’ within the system. With greater autonomy comes the expectation that schools will be the main drivers of systemic improvement to ensure effective outcomes. Adopting a continuous improvement (CI) approach may reduce the impact of the changeable nature within an open system, such as those attributed to schools. A CI philosophy has been demonstrated to be a critical influence for sustained performance within unpredictable environments in sectors outside of education. The study explores the applicability of a CI philosophy to support school improvement. This research is situated within a human activity system (HAS) based around the dynamics of school improvement within six schools, situated in the West Midlands, during 2016. The literature review demonstrated an agreement on the critical success factors (CSFs) required to develop a CI philosophy. These CSFs situate around leadership, people, process, purpose and culture. The research was positioned in a interpretivsit paradigm and used a Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) approach to explore the dynamics of school improvement within compulsory education due to the complexity of this HAS. This inductive process reveals a congruence of elements associated with CSFs of CI within a compulsory school setting. However, this study concludes that a CI philosophy would be unsustainable under the current educational climate in schools. This is due to missing or under-represented CSFs, in particular those related to leadership and culture. If schools are to meet new demands associated with the external and strategic environment, it is essential that clarification and understanding between the implementation of CI and the schools’ improvement agenda be explored further.
    • Manpower and military conscription in Acton, 1916-1918

      Ugolini, Laura; Henderson, Caroline; Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
      The human resource – or ‘manpower’ – problem faced by the British during the First World War is a topic that has been neglected and is therefore much misunderstood. This thesis sheds light on the ways in which the nation attempted to organise its citizens to serve four concomitant manpower needs: the sufficient supply of men for the armed forces, the workforce required for the munitions industry, the personnel needed to cater for the needs of the civilian population, and the people who worked to maintain the country’s financial and economic stability. This is done through study of the implementation and administration of compulsory military service. The principal archival source is the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal archive, held at The National Archives in Kew. The urban district of Acton has been used as a data sample. This thesis examines five different occupations and considers the three groups of people involved in the tribunal process: the potential conscripts, their associated contemporaries and the tribunal members. This thesis demonstrates the complexities involved in balancing the nation’s manpower needs. Indeed, many of the problems were never fully solved. With little overall central guidance the demands made by various government departments, the military authorities, trade associations, employers, the local populace, family members and the appellants themselves were often difficult for the military service tribunals to resolve. This thesis shows that home front imperatives were a fundamental aspect of the decision making with regard to the nation’s manpower. A man’s skill, his local influence and his health were important points to consider when deciding whether he should remain on the home front or serve in the armed forces. In addition it is clear that tribunals paid mere lip service to some central government advice, such as that related to one-man businesses. Much of Britain’s manpower legislation was enacted as a reaction to the problems caused by the country’s implementation of compulsory military service in the middle of the war. As this thesis demonstrates, tribunals were expected to implement a manpower policy that was constantly evolving to deal with the very conscription they were supposed to manage.
    • Plans and planes: United States Army aviation in American colour-coded war plans, 1920-1939

      Buckley, John; Shipp, Robert; Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      The use of airplanes and rigid airships during the First World War forever transformed the way the nations around the world would wage war. By the time the Americans joined the fray, air power had become an integral element of modern warfare. During the interwar period, United States Army war planning staffs understood the essentiality of air power in any future war and intentionally integrated it into the colour-coded war plans created and maintained between 1920 and 1939. This thesis examines the extent United States Army air power was included in the eight colour-coded war plans created or revised between 1920 and 1939. It demonstrates that the intentional inclusion of air power within the plans was due to the planners’ understanding of air power ideology, the inclusion of aviation units and types within the organization of the combatant commanders, the basis for the plans – the international tension which might warrant the use of military force, and the plan creation process within which airmen were included at many if not all levels. War planners at all levels of the United States Army were exposed to air power doctrine, whether through experience or courses taken at the various professional development schools. This understanding influenced policies and the structure of the United States Army, both being reflected within the plans of the interwar years. Moreover, the planning process, which throughout the period included airmen, ensured air power’s inclusion. Finally, the nature of the proposed conflict demanded planners consider both the enemy’s and their own air power capabilities.
    • The impact of socioemotional wealth on the relationships between entrepreneurial orientation and debt financing of family businesses: empirical evidence from Nigeria

      Wang, Yong; Mahmood, Samia; Jaiyeola, Afusat; Management Research Centre, University of Wolverhampton Business School, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-08)
      Family businesses play an important role in economic development and income growth. However, increasing business competition has placed family businesses in a volatile position due to their limited resources. Undoubtedly, the family business’s success in responding to the challenge of the business environment depends on their strategy for engaging in entrepreneurial behaviours and the availability of debt financing to family businesses. Understanding the factors that influence debt financing, therefore, becomes important. In exploring the factors that influence debt financing, prior studies investigate the effects of entrepreneurial orientation and socioemotional wealth (SEW) in isolation from each other. Moreover, literature on the effect of SEW on debt financing shows mixed conclusions. The current study, by considering SEW as the kernel, firstly examines the influence of entrepreneurial orientation on debt financing. Secondly, it examines the impact of SEW on the relationships between entrepreneurial orientation and debt financing. To avoid bias from utilising one particular research method, this study purposely employed an explanatory sequential triangulation strategy. This was intended for model testing and an in-depth understanding of the research issues in the Nigerian context. Primary data were collected from Nigeria via a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. Adopting a purposive sampling and snowball sampling method, a total of 500 self-administered questionnaires were sent out in August 2019 to family businesses to collect primary data. Out of the number sent, 405 useful responses were gathered for the quantitative study generating a response rate of 81%. For the qualitative study, 10 interviews were conducted with family businesses. A hierarchical regression analysis was applied in assessing the impact of SEW on the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and the debt financing of family businesses. Research results suggest that, firstly, entrepreneurial orientation influences the debt financing of family businesses. More importantly, SEW has a significant moderating impact on the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and debt financing. The study contributes to the literature in three major areas. Firstly, against the backdrop of mixed conclusions in prior research about the effect of SEW on debt financing this study finds that the effect of SEW could be examined along with the dimensions of entrepreneurial orientation. Specifically, it establishes that SEW moderates the effects of the EO dimensions on debt financing of family businesses i.e., the antecedents of debt financing. This helps clarify the role of SEW. Secondly, unlike prior studies and models that examine the influence of entrepreneurial orientation and SEW in isolation from each other, this study develops and validates a model to examine how these factors jointly shape debt financing. Specifically, the model shows that entrepreneurial orientation influences debt financing but also SEW would intensify the influence of entrepreneurial orientation on company debt financing. Lastly, even though family businesses are the dominant form of organisation in the world and are the prime source of wealth creation and employment for both developed and emerging economies, it has received insufficient research attention in Nigeria. This study has, therefore, added to the scanty research available about family businesses and their contribution to poverty alleviation, employment generations, and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria. On the whole, the study makes a theoretical and methodological contribution to the study of debt financing of family businesses.
    • The impact of mental ill health on medication adherence level in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

      Morrissey, Hana; Ball, Patrick; Bibi, Nasreem; School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-02)
      Background: In the UK, 4.9 million people have type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), costing the NHS £10 billion annually. One in six-people (17.0%) in England has experienced depression or anxiety in the past 12 months. T2DM is managed by pharmacological therapy and lifestyle adjustment. The aim of this study was to explore if there is a relationship between depression, anxiety and poor medication adherence in patients diagnosed with T2DM. Method: A pilot, single-site, observational study of patients with T2DM (n=64) randomly assigned into group A (3-consultations) or group B (2-consultations). All initial consultations were in-person, while follow-ups were by telephone. Participants were screened; for medication adherence using MMAS-8©; for depression using CUDOS© and anxiety with CUXOS©, and the findings were managed appropriately. The measurable outcomes were changes in HbA1c, BP, medication-adherence, depression, anxiety and self-reported wellbeing. Thematic and comparative analysis was conducted by groups and demographic variables using paired sample t-test and statistical regression. Results: Adherence to diabetes medications improved for both groups (intentional: p = 0.15 and unintentional, p =0.01). Similarly, adherence to all other chronic diseases medications means were improved for both groups (intentional, p = 0.32 and unintentional, p = 0.02). The depression, anxiety and well-being means were also improved (p = 0.01 and p = 0.04 p = <0.01 respectively). HbA1c results did not show statistical significance (p = 0.77). BP readings were unchanged but remained in the recommended range for both groups, under 130/82 mmHg. Based on the manual thematic coding, there were three possible phenomenon (high self-care efficacy and favourable disease prognosis [F= 7 & M=4], high self-care efficacy and poor disease prognosis [F= 15 & M=11] and poor self-care efficacy and poor disease prognosis[F= 12 & M=11]) and one phenomenon was not proven due to the small sample size and possible patients self-reporting bias (poor self-care efficacy and favourable disease prognosis [F= 1 & M=3]). Conclusions: A significant inter-relationship was found between depression and/or anxiety, adherence to therapy and T2DM prognosis. More frequent interventions were advantageous. Two prototype T2DM management algorithms; generic and tailored to patients from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds were created. These were adopted in the study site and were provided to the HRA in the final ethics report for NHS use in the wider primary care. Other ethnicities and chronic conditions could be similarly investigated.
    • 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.