• Systemic effector conceptual model in groupware implementation

      Hassall, John (University of Wolverhampton, 1999-09)
      Network software systems and groupware within organizations differ from other information technologies, requiring individuals to 'design' their own use. Users and groups can choose how to engage with these systems (Hassall, 1998), and use is dependent upon existing technological framing (Orlikowski, 1992). Groupware provides opportunities to study interaction between technological and organizational potentials. The action and structure duality of structuration theory (Giddens, 1984) points to the need for systemic understandings. Moreover, deconstructive schemes (e.g. Dudley and Hassall 1995,1996) demonstrate a plurality of overt and ulterior motivations in use. The Systemic Effector Model has been developed based upon longitudinal research in groupware implementation. This abstracted perspective relates choice of facility and design of action to important motivators at the individual and systemic levels. The genesis and explanatory power of the model is explored through survey and case study data.
    • The development of a system of social services in the Russian Federation

      Gilbert, K. (University of Wolverhampton, 1999-09)
      The paper draws on field studies carried out by the author during the course of a Western-sponsored initiative to support curriculum development in the education of social workers for the Russian Federation. It presents a chronology of the development of Russian social welfare laws and institutions during the 1990s, focusing on the major legislation of 1995. Aspects of the ‘welfare mix’ are examined, to locate Russia on the model proposed by Abrahamson (1992). Within this context, the curriculum for social work education is critically reviewed. The paper concludes that, in current circumstances, there are few positive incentives for young graduates to remain in social work after graduation, and that Russia has experienced a shift in provision towards the Southern European type as expressed in Abrahamson’s model, although expectations remain that the state should be the main provider of benefits and services.
    • The effect on international competitiveness of differing labour standards in the fertiliser industry of the NIS and the EU

      Walsh, Kenneth; Leonard, Valerie (University of Wolverhampton, 1998-09)
      The project which generated this paper arose from continuing concern in the European Union about the persistence of high unemployment and the likely effects of economic reforms in the New Independent States. The study brought together researchers from four countries: Finland and the United Kingdom in the EU and Belarus and Russia in the NIS. The purpose was to examine the impact that differing labour standards in the two NIS countries and the two EU countries have and are likely to have on the ability of companies in each country to compete internationally. The core research activity comprised a small number of in-depth case studies of firms in the fertiliser sector, enabling comparisons to be made between the industries in each of the four countries. The lack of structure of labour markets in the NIS and their comparatively low labour costs posed a potential threat to the competitive position of the EU and this study set out to understand the relevant issues more fully from a number of different perspectives. These included comparing labour costs and productivity, social costs such as health and safety, pensions and other benefits and exploring the impact of investment on productivity. Ultimately the study focused on how a levelling up of labour standards in the NIS would impact on the EU Member States. This paper sets out the findings of the case studies within the fertiliser industries of the respective countries. These specific findings are presented within the general context of a comparison of labour market conditions. The fertiliser industry has been through a period of change in all four countries. Factors which emerge strongly from the research are the differences in health and safety standards and costs and environmental standards and costs between the NIS producers and the EU producers. Productivity also presents a very varied picture, with the NIS producers being disadvantaged by out-dated technology.
    • The effect on international competitiveness of differing labour standards in the steel industry of the NIS and the EU

      Walsh, Kenneth; Leonard, Valerie (University of Wolverhampton, 1998-09)
      The project which generated this paper arose from continuing concern in the European Union about the persistence of high unemployment and the likely effects of economic reforms in the New Independent States. The study brought together researchers from four countries: Finland and the United Kingdom in the EU and Belarus and Russia in the NIS. The purpose was to examine the impact that differing labour standards in the two NIS countries and the two EU countries have and are likely to have on the ability of companies in each country to compete internationally. The core research activity comprised a small number of in-depth case studies of firms in the steel sector, enabling comparisons to be made between the industries in each of the four countries. The lack of structure to labour markets in the NIS and their comparatively low labour costs posed a potential threat to the competitive position of the EU and this study set out to understand the relevant issues more fully from a number of different perspectives. These included comparing labour costs and productivity, social costs such as health and safety, pensions and other benefits and exploring the impact of investment on productivity. Ultimately the study focused on how a levelling up of labour standards in the NIS would impact on the EU Member States. This paper sets out the findings of the case studies within the steel industries of the respective countries. These specific findings are presented within the context of a comparison of general labour market conditions. The steel sector is an important job and wealth creator in all four countries, accounting for a substantial proportion of manufacturing employment. The contrast between the EU producers and their Belarusan and Russian counterparts is quite marked. In terms both of health and safety standards and environmental standards, the EU firms incurred costs significantly in excess of those incurred by their NIS counterparts, but this was counteracted by much higher productivity and concentration on quality products.
    • The effect on international competitiveness of differing labour standards in the textile industry of the NIS and the EU

      Walsh, Kenneth; Leonard, Valerie (University of Wolverhampton, 1998-09)
      The project which generated this paper arose from continuing concern in the European Union about the persistence of high unemployment and the likely effects of economic reforms in the Newly Independent States. The study brought together researchers from four countries: Finland and the United Kingdom in the EU and Belarus and Russia in the NIS. The purpose was to examine the impact that differing labour standards in the two NIS countries and the two EU countries have and are likely to have on the ability of companies in each country to compete internationally. The core research activity comprised a small number of in-depth case studies of firms in the textile sector, enabling comparisons to be made between the industries in each of the four countries. The lack of structure of labour markets in the NIS and their comparatively low labour costs posed a potential threat to the competitive position of the EU and this study set out to understand the relevant issues more fully from a number of different perspectives. These included comparing labour costs and productivity, social costs such as health and safety, pensions and other benefits and exploring the impact of investment on productivity. Ultimately the study focused on how a levelling up of labour standards in the NIS would impact on the EU Member States. This paper sets out the findings of the case studies within the textile industries of the respective countries. These specific finds are presented within the general context of a comparison of labour market conditions. For the most part, textile firms in the NIS are in a more vulnerable situation than their EU counterparts, with falling domestic demand in Russia and severe raw materials difficulties in Belarus typifying the problems. Lower labour costs in the NIS firms are counteracted by poor productivity and quality issues. Finnish and UK firms also feel vulnerable in a world market, but most have challenged this by developing higher quality, niche products. Higher labour standards does not currently represent a major factor affecting the competitive position of EU firms compared with those in the NIS.
    • The Perceptions of public and private sector managers: a comparison

      Worrall, Les; Cooper, Cary L.; Campbell, Fiona (University of Wolverhampton, 1998-09)
      The paper is based on a five year, UMIST-Institute of Management study into the changing nature of the Quality of Working Life and seeks to uncover differences in the incidence and impact of organizational change on the perceptions and experiences of managers in the public sector, the private sector and the (former public) utilities. The research indicates that there are significant differences in the impact of organizational change on managers in the three sectors with public sector managers and managers from the utilities having been more adversely affected. An analysis of managers' perceptions of their 'organization as a place to work', prevailing managerial styles in their organization and managers' perceptions of the 'changing nature of their job' also reveals wide differences between managers in the three different sectors.
    • The Russian Open Game: notes on a Westerner’s experience

      Gilbert, K. (University of Wolverhampton, 1998-09)
      The Russian Open Game is a highly structured set of techniques and procedures for managing an intensive group learning situation extending over a number of days. As such, it offers a challenge to assumptions that the “Russian learning style” does not favour the use of participatory techniques in training and organisational development. While there is a growing literature on the reactions of Russian groups to Western training events and methods, there are few records of the reactions of Western participants on Russian events. The paper presents a description of one iteration of the Russian Open Game, held in Kaluga in May 1998. It sets out the key roles and techniques of the method, and examines issues such as openness, participation and conflict as they arise in the game. It concludes that the Game involves a high level of manipulation of events and group dynamics by the leadership, and that it is this role of the leader-as-choreographer rather than leader-as-facilitator which is the principal area of difference between the Russian Open Game and a typical British participatory training or organisational development event.
    • The social and technical infrastructure for the virtual university in rural areas.

      O'Donoghue, John (University of Wolverhampton, 1999-06)
      Rural Broadnet is funded by the HEFCE under a widening provision programme which is designed to increase access to higher education for groups within society who traditionally suffer from poor access. The project’s brief is to widen HE participation in rural areas utilising, where possible and necessary, an information technology infrastructure. The project’s programme is needs led and characterised by community level partnerships; it does not aim for high specification hardware, software or communications technology. Its focus is to facilitate delivery of education, training, information and advice to local rural communities using technology which is accessible to, and affordable by, those communities. Particular target groups are the unemployed, women returners, older people, the 16+ age group and those on low or negative income. Local businesses, mainly agriculture-related sole traders, with low skill levels and a poor tradition of training, are also seen as a target group. This project differs from many others in that it has focused on communities, has identified local needs and attempted to meet those needs, rather than simply imposing the established University ‘learner’ model. A number of locally based and managed IT centres have been established, and these support a diverse range of course delivery and learning materials, from basic word processor use to Internet access and web site development. The Rural Broadnet team have become facilitators of a negotiated, student-centred learning experience which is supported at the local level by collaborative partnerships involving community groups, voluntary sector organisations, training providers and other agencies.
    • The Study of business and football: an overview of the nature of the literature

      Perry, Bob (University of Wolverhampton, 1999)
      I have recently completed a management-orientated research project in the study field of football. Several students have asked me to suggest helpful academic sources. This occasional paper is a direct response to these enquiries and aims to assist any Business School students undertaking football related dissertations and projects. Although some aspects of the game are well served by literature for other topics there are “black holes”: not least in the area of management and business. This paper provides some guidance in this respect and classifies the nature and content of key academic and other contributions. It also explains how non-academic literature could be utilised. Finally, appendices list useful points of enquiry and an extended bibliography.
    • There is Power in the Union: negotiating the. employment relationship at two manufacturing plants

      Greene, Anne-Marie; Ackers, Peter; Black, John (University of Wolverhampton, 1999-06)
      In previous papers, we have challenged stereotyped policy responses, particularly those which posit the end of ideology and the demise of the age of trade unionism (Black, Greene & Ackers, 1997). Recent research has allowed a comparative approach, between two companies with similar historical and industrial backgrounds, exploring the ways in which the work place union organisation has adapted and responded to the specific changes and challenges which they have confronted. Longitudinal case study research has allowed us to qualify claims of either a dramatic or uniform change in the nature of work place unionism in response to the “Thatcherite” environment prevailing since 1979. This paper seeks to qualify and supplement the larger macro surveys which tend to obscure both the qualitative changes in the work place as well as the relationship between these changes and the local context (c.f. McCarthy 1994, Morris and Wood 1991). We place an emphasis on the way in which work place union organisation is constantly remade in accordance with local circumstances; absorbing local traditions, customs, and styles (Ackers et al 1996; Fairbrother, 1989). Consistent with the above quote from Ackers et al (1996), the pattern of employment relations, we argue, is worked out in the particular organisational milieu. Work place relations develop and change in response to the wider economic, political, legislative, and ideological environment, and are mediated by the nature of the particular workplace. Of particular interest in this paper are the issues of the interplay between union leadership style and the way in which the union/management relationship is viewed by the lay membership. We begin by introducing our two case studies. This is done in some depth, in order to provide the contextual background which is central to our analysis of the situation found at each firm. Our methodology is then briefly presented, before introducing the context of theoretical debates on union leadership. In the main body of the paper, we discuss the various aspects of the two case studies, drawing on analysis of workers’ opinions of their union organisation, and exploring possible explanations for our findings.
    • Transferring Entrepreneurship Education knowledge in a conflict environment: insights from Boko Haram Heartland

      Anosike, Paschal; Kolade, Oluwaseun. (Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 2016-08)
      In this paper we use interview data to demonstrate the efficacy of training as a mechanism of knowledge transfer of entrepreneurship education within a conflict environment. In particular, we found that entrepreneurship education is indeed a vital component that impacts the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills acquisition as well as the entrepreneurial intentions amongst a group of University students severely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria. We draw from our findings to outline the central tenets and policy implications of using training as a mechanism of knowledge transfer.
    • What can western management offer Russian social work?

      Gilbert, K. (University of Wolverhampton, 1999-06)
      This paper contributes to the debate on the process and the efficacy of Western management 'knowledge' transfer by casting light on the ways in which it has had an impact on the largely neglected area of public service and public administration. The study from which the paper derives took place in 1997 and 1998 in two social services departments in regions south of Moscow, and in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (formerly Social Protection) in Moscow. The author is a British management academic acting as a consultant to the development of social work management on a recent Tacis project. The paper is an ethnographic, participant observer account of working with Russian social workers, social work managers, and heads of service. In Russia, the institutions for protection of the most vulnerable groups in the population, and the legislative frameworks for such institutions (the ‘social safety net’), are being radically re-drawn, in efforts to forestall the direst social consequences of a rapid shift to the market. Social work as a profession is being shaped and defined within this context, and an infrastructure to manage and resource it is being gradually and painfully developed by its leaders, often in extremis. Social services managers are struggling with a gargantuan task of reconciling the contradiction between vastly expanding public expectations and rapidly dwindling resources. Within this contradiction, Western influences, traditional Russian values and the harsh reality of the present, meet, collide and confront each other. Inherent tensions lead to the psychological phenomenon known as ‘splitting’ - the separating out of negative emotions or feelings judged unhelpful, and their projection onto other groups. Using an ethnographic approach to a small number of recent consultancy episodes, the author contends that only those Western management approaches which can accommodate a diverse range of ideological positions will be helpful, because they will be recognised in terms of current realities and comprehended as consistent with dominant values. No single set of values can yet be said to be dominant. The ensuing result is that a focus on developing practice in social work delivery is seen to be more relevant, and less problematical, than the transfer of new approaches to service management.