• E-AI an emotion architecture for agents in games & virtual worlds

      Moreton, Robert; Buckley, Kevan; Bridges, A.; Slater, Stuart (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      Characters in games and virtual worlds continue to gain improvements in both their visual appearance and more human-like behaviours with each successive generation of hardware. One area that seemingly would need to be addressed if this evolution in human-like characters is to continue is in the area of characters with emotions. To begin addressing this, the thesis focuses on answering the question “Can an emotional architecture be developed for characters in games and virtual worlds, that is built upon a foundation of formal psychology? Therefore a primary goal of the research was to both review and consolidate a range of background material based on the psychology of emotions to provide a cohesive foundation on which to base any subsequent work. Once this review was completed, a range of supplemental material was investigated including computational models of emotions, current implementations of emotions in games and virtual worlds, machine learning techniques suitable for implementing aspects of emotions in characters in virtual world, believability and the role of emotions, and finally a discussion of interactive characters in the form of chat bots and non-player characters. With these reviews completed, a synthesis of the research resulted in the defining of an emotion architecture for use with pre-existing agent behaviour systems, and a range of evaluation techniques applicable to agents with emotions. To support validation of the proposed architecture three case studies were conducted that involved applying the architecture to three very different software platforms featuring agents. The first was applying the architecture to combat bots in Quake 3, the second to a chat bot in the virtual world Second Life, and the third was to a web chat bot used for e-commerce, specifically dealing with question and answers about the companies services. The three case studies were supported with several small pilot evaluations that were intended to look at different aspects of the implemented architecture including; (1) Whether or not users noticed the emotional enhancements. Which in the two small pilot studies conducted, highlighted that the addition of emotions to characters seemed to affect the user experience when the encounter was more interactive such as in the Second Life implementation. Where the interaction occurred in a combat situation with enemies with short life spans, the user experience seemed to be greatly reduced. (2) An evaluation was conducted on how the combat effectiveness of combat bots was affected by the addition of emotions, and in this pilot study it was found that the combat effectiveness was not quite statistically reduced, even when the bots were running away when afraid, or attacking when angry even if close to death. In summary, an architecture grounded in formal psychology is presented that is suitable for interactive characters in games and virtual worlds, but not perhaps ideal for applications where user interaction is brief such as in fast paced combat situations. This architecture has been partially validated through three case studies and includes suggestions for further work especially in the mapping of secondary emotions, the emotional significance of conversations, and the need to conduct further evaluations based on the pilot studies.
    • Ecological labyrinths and myths of the fall: An earth-centred approach to The Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials

      Wilson, Frank; Greenfield, Stephen Richard (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      Ecological criticism (ecocriticism) bifurcates between two paths that offer alternative definitions of ecology as a structure. One leads to a fixed, cyclical model, the other moves in a dynamic, evolutionary direction. These differences of orientation frame ecocritical responses that appear irreconcilable to each other. This research provides a way of reading the structure of fantasy texts as parallel to ecological structure in a way that brings the two definitions of ecology into dialogue. The divergence in approaches to ecocriticism has caused a chasm to open between the respective ends of an ecocritical spectrum in the polemical positions of deep ecology and ecohumanism. These positions reflect fundamental differences over the structure of ecology and tend toward mutual antagonism. This research addresses division in facilitating dialogue through analysis of structural ecological positions as a binary that creates meaning. Such a comparative approach leads to a nuanced understanding of ecological structure and its articulation through narrative design. The reading draws out structural ecological meaning, highlights inconsistencies and weaknesses, and reconciles divergent polemical positions as complementary. The general principle of reading the quest hero as exemplifying ecological structure has been used by Rachel McCoppin in her analysis of mythological texts to identify ‘botanical heroism’. McCoppin chose to map myths from pre-Darwinian ages to a simple seasonal cycle of nature as her structural model. As such her research does not deal with the complex and nuanced twentieth-century confusion over ecological structure. My research confronts that problem, proposing a method for understanding discontinuities that are, in any case, ecological in nature. I arrived at an alternative to the cycle of nature that articulates the struggle to define a pattern of ecological relationships, in the form of the labyrinth. The labyrinth comprises a dichotomy. On the one hand a unicursal model articulates structure as a series of concentric loops that act as boundaries and lead toward a point of illumination. This model incorporates the cycle of nature within a more complex scheme than McCoppin’s seasonal model of regeneration. On the other hand the labyrinth in multicursal form comprises a maze that resists regularity, replacing certainty with choice leading either to continued progress or dead-ends. The labyrinth as a symbol of alienation, disorientation and confusion captures the ambition of ecological readings of quests to reconcile humanity and nature. I apply the eco- labyrinthine model to my reading of two of the twentieth-centuries most popular quest fantasies, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. The following study shows that an eco-labyrinthine approach to reading modern fantasy quest provides a way of bringing together alternative perspectives of ecological structure in a dialogue that undermines claims to mutual exclusivity. By way of answers the eco-labyrinth provides a spectrum, or continuum, against which to plot inconsistencies. It opens up questions about heroism mapped against an ecological model. This thesis illustrates how an eco-labyrinthine exegesis works in relation to certain texts to reassess their ecocritical meaning. Some of the questions this research raises about how authors engage with ecology, biodiversity and evolution through structural modelling of fictitious worlds, reflected in narrative structure, will necessarily benefit from a lively and continuing debate.
    • Ecology, history, management and conservation of the multipurpose Forest of Wyre

      Hobson, Peter R (University of Wolverhampton, 1997)
      There were three principal aims to this study: to provide an accurate historical account of the management of Wyre Forest over the last millennium and to interpret these events by analysing existing forest vegetation; to describe in detail the phytosociological nature of the forest and determine a range of environmental factors which influenced these vegetation patterns; and to suggest an effective conservation strategy on the basis of the findings of this study and an understanding of conservation science. Scant historical records coupled with a more detailed contemporary oral account identified three periods in the history of Wyre: the Medieval times when the forest was managed as a Chase and deer parks under the ownership of the Mortimer family; the 16th century to the turn of the 20th century- a very active period of rural industrial development, interrupted by deforestation; and the last 90 years when traditional woodland practices were abandoned and modern silvicultural management was introduced with new plantings. Traditional coppicing in Wyre involved both frequent cutting of small wood and the careful singling of chosen stems over a prolonged rotation of 70 to 125 years to provide for the garden centres, tanneries, mines and steel industries. Charcoal was a major product of the forest. By analysing stem density and diameter data, and by measuring the proportion of birch in the wood four main structural stands were statistically recognized. These stands related to past and present silvicultural practices. Significant differences in oak stem densities between woodland sites reflected more recent attention paid by foresters to local soil variations. A vegetation analysis identified six stand-types although considerable floristic grading across community boundaries suggested a broad complex western oak-wood association. Ordination analysis recognized three factors partially responsible for the plant assemblages: complex soil patterns; a long history of management; and the impact of intensive browsing by deer. In particular, recent coppicing significantly altered plant assemblages by promoting less typical forest stand-types. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of coupe and high forest vegetation indicated a significant difference in structural heterogeneity brought about by deer browsing pressure. Greater heights of birch and oak seedlings, and bramble were apparent in the enclosed coupes. Conservation management should aim to achieve a balance between coppicing and the problems of edge-effect created by this activity by promoting small randomly spaced glades throughout the forest which are cut on a more natural rotation cycle. Deer numbers should be governed according to the extent of damage they exert on the forest vegetation. Both plantation and natural forest could be managed on a selective system. Recreational activities should be controlled through capping and zoning.

      Worrall, L; Tate, G; May, Daniel E (University of Wolverhampton, 2012)
      Abstract Cropping allocations have normally been studied using frameworks that assume the existence of a representative farmer who cares about maximising gross margin. Evidence has shown that results obtained from these studies to predict cropping allocations in response to policy reforms are not satisfactory. On the other hand, an alternative research using multivariate models (i.e. models that consider economic and social-psychological variables to explain farmers’ behaviour) has been developed with the purpose of identifying farmers’ motivations to adopt specific environmental policies. However, this research has not been extended to study strategic cropping decisions. This is surprising given the fact that policy reforms strongly affect the allocation of crops when they are accompanied with the elimination of domestic distorting policies. The objective of this thesis is to fill this gap by proposing a novel holistic multivariate model designed exclusively to study farmers’ strategic cropping decisions. The proposed model integrates a number of alternative and complementary approaches that can explain farmers’ strategic behaviour. The model was applied to a sample of ex-sugar beet farmers in the West Midlands region of the UK to investigate the way in which these individuals adjusted to the Sugar Regime reform introduced on 20th February 2006. As a consequence of this reform, the sugar beet factory located in Allscott in Shropshire was closed and the sugar beet growers in this area adjusted by replacing sugar beet with alternative crops. Evidence has revealed that these farmers replaced sugar beet with crops with low gross margin such as oilseed. This choice is puzzling because other crops with high levels of gross margin such as carrots and parsnips were also available when the reform was implemented. The proposed multivariate model not only was useful to explain this choice, but also identified heterogeneous behavioural responses that no related research has identified so far.
    • Economic backwardness and state led development: the origin, character and fate of the Soviet model

      Haynes, Michael (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
      The collapse of the USSR in 1991 appeared to mark the end of an era of state led development as a response to economic backwardness. The Soviet model had already ceased to inspire similar state led approaches in the rest of the world but now it demonstrably failed in its leaders' self-defined mission - `to catch up and overtake' the advanced west. The papers in this portfolio reflect an attempt to come to terms with the Soviet experience - its origin, character and fate. But they also set this discussion within the wider context of global inequalities in a way that tries not only to make sense of the past but also to offer some understanding of the current constraints of economic convergence in the former Soviet Union in general and Russia in particular. In this way, the papers seek to engage both with specific debates about the USSR and wider questions of global political economy. The pieces selected here reflect the particular urgency in these debates created by the situation in the last five years as it has become obvious that the high hopes of the immediate post transition period were not being met. Instead there was economic, social and political turmoil in the fragments of the former USSR and a growing degree of intellectual anxiety as predictions unravelled. The papers were written as interventions in current debates, structured by an attempt to lay out a distinctive approach in the following terms: firstly, the argument that an explanation of the history of the USSR has to start from an understanding of its relationship to the wider global system; secondly, that this understanding has to be informed by a critical approach both to the development of global capitalism and in the USSR in particular; thirdly, that this requires both theoretical engagement and a strongly grounded empirical approach; fourthly, that together these point to the need to question both the conventional wisdom about the significance of the Soviet experience and the approaches usually adopted in more radical accounts.
    • 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 effect of iron supplementation and tumour location on the mucosal microbiological and immunological environment in colorectal cancer patients with iron deficiency anaemia

      Omar Al-Hassi, Hafid; Brookes, Matthew; Phipps, Oliver; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-07)
      Iron deficiency is a common complication of colorectal cancer, being present in ~60% of patients and often leading to the manifestation of anaemia. Preoperative anaemia in colorectal cancer patients is associated with inferior clinical outcomes, hence this leads to the requirement of iron supplementation to treat anaemia. The current standard treatment for iron deficiency anaemia is oral iron supplementation. However, this can contribute to an increased gut luminal iron concentration, which has the potential to alter the gut microbiota and mucosal immune system, potentially leading to inferior oncological outcomes. Previous animal studies have supported this association; however, here is provided the first human clinical studies to assess the microbiological and immunological outcomes of iron supplementation, through a colorectal cancer randomised control trial comparing oral and intravenous iron therapy. The results of these studies suggest that oral iron leads to differential bacterial populations, potentially contributing to a more procarcinogenic microbiota, as well as leading to greater tumour immune cell activity and increased pro-inflammatory cytokine production, compared to intravenous iron therapy. Furthermore, this research provides an insight into the differences between patients with right- and left-sided colorectal cancer; showing the non-tumour microbiota is significantly different between right- and left-sided colorectal cancer patients, whereas the tumour microbiota is more consistent. Furthermore, the results show that right-sided colorectal tumours are more immunogenic, showing an increase in inflammatory cytokines compared to patients with left-sided colorectal tumours. Finally, presented is the long term clinical data from this cohort of patients, assessing differences in tumour location and iron therapy on survival outcomes. Collectively the results of these studies support the use of intravenous iron therapy preoperatively in colorectal cancer patients with iron deficiency anaemia, in order to limit the potential microbial perturbations and inflammatory outcomes associated with oral iron therapy. As well as supporting the stratification of colorectal cancer based upon tumour location, particularly in regard to studies of probiotic and immune therapies.
    • Effective implementation of value engineering in the housing construction programmes of the UAE

      Chinyio, Ezekiel; Alketbi, Sultan Rashid (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-06)
      Balancing time, cost and quality is one of the major challenges impacting the housing programmes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Therefore, this study was undertaken with the main aim of determining the impacts of the tools and principles of value engineering on public sector housing in the UAE. The study also aimed to develop a framework to define the guidelines of a value engineering methodology to improve the execution of government housing projects, along with a reduction in the level of risk. The five dependent variables in the study were: achievement of needs, conflict avoidance, affordability of housing, competitive advantage and reduced cost of production. The two independent variables were value engineering in design and value engineering in the procurement process. To accomplish the aim and objectives of the research, both primary and secondary research approaches were used. The secondary research was conducted through a literature review while the primary research was conducted using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative research involved a survey of value engineers, contractors and employees of construction companies in the UAE. The number of fully completed questionnaires was 102, and the primary data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics and regression and correlation analyses. Subsequently, qualitative data was collected through interviews in order to gain deeper insights into the subject matter. Thirty interviews were conducted with housing officers, directors and value engineers associated with housing construction projects. The interview data was analysed using content analysis. The analyses suggested that the five dependent variables were significantly correlated with the implementation of value engineering in design and procurement. On the basis of these findings, a framework was developed and validated by 40 experts. This framework can be applied in the UAE to make housing and other construction projects affordable and sustainable and to meet the full needs of clients as well as end users.
    • Effectiveness of an agricultural technology research and development project for increasing sustainability of cropping systems in upland areas of Yunnan Province, China

      Fullen, Michael A.; Mitchell, David J.; McCrea, Alison R.; Milne, E.; Zhi, Wu Bo; Cuddy, Michael P.Hocking, Trevor J.; Subedi, Madhu (University of Wolverhampton, 2006)
      Continued increase in population and escalating environmental degradation have changed the priorities of agricultural development projects in developing and emerging countries towards both increasing production or productivity and improving sustainability. The long-term success of these development projects, especially in terms of improving sustainability, depends on how widely those improved practices which are shown to be effective in achieving the technical objectives, are adopted/adapted by farmers in the targeted region. In these terms, many projects in recent years may be considered to be relatively unsuccessful. This study aimed to investigate the factors contributing to the effectiveness of agricultural technology research and development projects in improving the sustainability of cropping systems in upland areas of China, together with the factors that might limit their effectiveness. This has involved both a review of recent projects carried out in the region and detailed monitoring and evaluation of one such project carried out in South West China – the SHASEA project. The SHASEA Project was implemented in Wang Jia catchment in Yunnan Province using holistic and multi-disciplinary approaches to address the twin objectives of increasing productivity of maize, wheat and soybean in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. It introduced into the catchment a range of novel or modified cropping practices, which had been evaluated in plot studies over the preceding six years, together with biological and engineering measures designed to stabilise large scale soil movements in lateral gullies and the main stream. The SHASEA Project was successful in achieving its short-term scientific and technical objectives, but was too short to determine the level of adoption by farmers in the locality. The present study has used a range of approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of this Project, to monitor the biological, environmental and socio-economic impacts and investigate the perceptions of the farmers about the Project and the likelihood of their adoption of the recommended practices. Participatory approaches were used wherever possible, including detailed household surveys, PRA workshops and discussions with Key Informants. Field surveys and direct observations were also made, together with a limited economic analysis of the modified cropping practices introduced into the catchment. It was found that the farmers had different perceptions about the range of practices introduced into the catchment. Some were clearly preferred, such as contour cultivation and were likely to be adopted, while others were seen as inappropriate, such as straw mulching and intercropping, and were unlikely to be adopted. The benefits of an innovative, integrated cropping system, INCOPLAST, were not fully appreciated by the farmers. Other practices would only be adopted if the financial returns were favourable, such as the use of polythene mulch. Longer-term measures, such as tree planting schemes, were regarded favourably, but adoption would still depend on economic returns and related issues such as land security. An irrigation scheme was suggested by the farmers, but after installation it was not used extensively for the staple crops in the catchment. It was found that farmers planned to use the irrigation for higher value crops such as tobacco, after the end of the Project. It has been concluded that, despite the technical and scientific success of the Project, long-term adoption of many of the practices introduced into the catchment will be low, unless considerable incentives are used or much more effective dissemination techniques employed. It is considered that the outcomes would have improved considerably if participatory approaches had been used from the outset, to engage farmers more fully with the project, to ensure that the practices introduced were as appropriate as possible, to achieve greater ownership of the objectives and outcomes, leading to higher adoption rates. More emphasis should have been given to the dissemination of the outcomes at farmer level outside the catchment of study and there should have been more involvement with the regional policy makers and extension officials throughout the programme. Longer-term improvements in sustainability at the catchment level have not yet been demonstrated. These outcomes are discussed within the context of other agricultural projects carried out in South East Asia and other developing regions. Based on the outcomes and conclusions from this study, a series of recommendations are made which are presented as good practices for future agricultural development projects in South East Asia.
    • Effects of Cultivation Techniques on Maize Productivity and Soil Properties on Hillslopes in Yunnan Province, China

      Hocking, Trevor J.; Fullen, Michael A.; Bizhi, Huang (University of Wolverhampton, 2001)
      The rapid population increase in China from 556.7 to 1226.7 million during the past 50 years means China has one-sixth of the world’s population. This population growth has imposed high pressures on Chinese agriculture. Crop production and productivities have more than doubled, for example mean maize yields have increased from 1.54 to 3.91 t ha-1 from 1960 to 1998. Despite this, food shortages remain major problems. These pressures have also led to intensive cultivation of sloping lands, making China the country with the most serious soil erosion problems in the world. Yunnan Province, south-west China, has some 70% of its total of 6.53 million hectares of cultivated fields located on sloping land, most of which suffers from soil erosion. Furthermore, traditional downslope cultivation of these upland fields produces increased soil loss and runoff and threatens agricultural sustainability. Crop yields on sloping land in these areas have decreased by 30-60% in the last century because of soil erosion and in 50-100 years most topsoil may have been removed. There is an urgent need to develop more productive and sustainable cropping systems and the dual aims of this project were to investigate ways of increasing productivity of maize on sloping land, while conserving soils. This investigation was carried out in Wang Jia Catchment (25028’N,102053’E), selected as a representative area of fragile slopes in Yunnan Province. Five treatments (1) Traditional + Downslope planting (control), (2) Traditional + Contour planting, (3) Traditional + Contour + Straw mulch, (4) Minimum tillage + Contour + Straw mulch and (5) Traditional + Contour + Polythene mulch, were selected for evaluation and established on replicated field plots in 1998 and 1999. An additional experiment in 1999 investigated the effects of irrigation on crop yield. Although there were variations during the growing season and between years, straw mulch with contour planting increased soil moisture (0-20 cm depth) and was associated with lower soil temperatures. Polythene mulch improved soil moisture retention when applied after early season rainfall or irrigation and caused increases in soil surface temperature of up to 4-50C. These increases in soil moisture and temperature were associated with increases in Green Leaf Area Index, Green Leaf Area Duration and standing biomass. Grain yield was increased up to 51.6%, compared to un-mulched plots. Straw mulch increases in yield 14.0 and 20.7% (nonirrigated treatment), compared with the control in 1998 (5.0 versus 4.3 t ha-1) and 1999 (6.2 versus 5.3 t ha-1), respectively. Furthermore, straw mulch appeared to be beneficial for maintaining soil fertility and improving soil structure. Irrigation improved early vegetative growth and final yields when early season rainfall was unreliable and maize grain yield increased by 39.5 to 59.6% in 1999, compared with the corresponding non-irrigated treatments. Polythene mulch and contour planting combined with early irrigation produced the highest maize yields. The results are compared with other published work, including research in erosion plots, where the effectiveness of mulches in reducing runoff and erosion has been evaluated. A cultivation technique combining polythene mulch, straw mulch, contour planting and early season irrigation is considered likely to be highly effective for increasing productivity and improving soil conservation on sloping land. This project is part of a larger programme, which aims to establish and evaluate a demonstration model at a catchment scale for more sustainable crop production systems in the highlands of South-East Asia.
    • Egalitarianism, Perfectionism & Support for the Arts

      Gomersall, Christopher (University of Wolverhampton, 2016-10)
      This dissertation is oriented around two moral ideals. The first is equality and the second perfection or excellence. In the chapter 2 I review some of the literature on the seemingly devastating ‘Levelling Down Objection’ to equality. I am in agreement with Larry Temkin that the Levelling Down Objection is true only if we believe that ‘person-affecting’ value, more specifically, welfare, is the only thing that matters in the moral universe. Hence, the Levelling down objection is premised on the truth of an undefended, highly contentious monism about value The purpose for introducing the Levelling Down Objection in chapter 1 is made clear in chapter 3, where I suggest a new problem for egalitarians. Equality is a comparative relation holding between people. Relations are not properties, and, since it is widely assumed that value supervenes exclusively on properties, we need to show how a relation could be of value. It is crucial to be able say how this could be the case. However, this issue has, to the best of my knowledge, not been addressed in the literature on equality. If we cannot answer this question then the value of the equality relation must reduce to the value of its relata. I try to offer a framework which at least goes as far as demonstrating that this need not be true. Chapters 4 and 5 deal with the value of perfection. I offer a careful reading of the work of an important defender and an important critic of this ideal, the former being Immanuel Kant and the latter being Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The aim of these two chapters is twofold; firstly, I show that the value of perfection consists in the development and cultivation of our capacities for rationality. Secondly I show how perfectionism illuminates the importance of culture and the arts. In the final chapter I bring the insights of this dissertation together in order to address a practical question; whether there are egalitarian reasons to support the arts.
    • Embedding knowledge management strategies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia construction industry

      Renukappa, Suresh; 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.
    • Embedding sustainable strategies for competitive advantage in the UAE sports sector

      Renukappa, Suresh; Almenhali, Ali Abdulqader Abdulrahman (University of Wolverhampton, 2019)
      Sports industry is receiving an imperious call to reduce their negative influences associated with their events, operations and facilities on the natural environment. Hence, it has developed numerous initiatives to address pertinent issues, bearing in mind two significant initiatives; reducing their ecological footprint and using the power and popularity of sport as a means to promote and raise environmental awareness and to inspire positive social change amongst fans and spectators. Despite the growing popularity given to sports industry lags behind other forms of facilities with reference to sustainability strategies. Therefore, this study aims to investigate how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sports sector is embedding sustainability for competitive advantage. A mixed methodology of research was adopted to collect and analyse data. Descriptive analysis was used to analyse quantitative data obtained from 124 completed online survey questionnaires. The results were further augmented by qualitative results derived from semi-structured interviews with 30 professionals from 20 sports organisations. As part of the analysis of the interviews, content analysis was employed. The unit of analysis adopted for this study is the ‘sports sector’ and the embedded unit is ‘individual employee’. The study concluded that the UAE sports sector is still in the developing stage. The implementation of initiatives related to sustainability is relatively low in the UAE sports sector organisations. Therefore, there is a need to reshape the UAE sports sector organisations existing sustainability strategy in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage. To improve the UAE sports sectors sustainability performance, decision makers have to recognise and understand the concept of sustainability. The lack of leadership skills for successful deployment of sustainability initiatives is one of the most important challenges for the UAE sports organisation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop and deliver a bespoke leadership training programs to address, improve and measure the effectiveness of leadership skills for driving change towards sustainability. A sustainable assessment framework was developed and evaluated. This study has made significant contributions to knowledge since there is no previous research explored on embedding sustainability strategies in the context of UAE sports sector. Findings of this research are limited to the UAE sports sector context only, as such, the level of generalisability outside this context may be very limited.
    • Emerging trends in construction law at the confluence of academia and industry

      Chinyio, Ezekiel; Charlson, Jennifer (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-07)
      Engineering UK’s 2018 report on the state of engineering records that in 2016, engineering enterprises generated 23.2% of the UK’s total turnover of £5.3 trillion (£1.23 trillion) and construction had a turnover of £171.91 billion, representing 14.0% of the total turnover produced within the engineering sectorial footprint. The congruence and distinction between the law underpinning construction and engineering in academia and industry is uncertain. The research aim therefore is construction and engineering law compared and contrasted from academia to industry. The author adopted a constructionist or subjective epistemology and relativist ontological stance. Constructivist and pragmatic philosophical paradigms and qualitative methodologies were selected including document analysis, interviews, case studies and focus groups. The construction and engineering law required by professional institutions to be taught in academia to undergraduates were analysed. Some similarity between the legal topics mandated by engineering and construction professional institutions was identified; for example, the legal framework, contract, environmental and health and safety law. The differences are that engineering bodies also require intellectual property awareness and construction institutions incorporate dispute resolution and land law. It was also argued that the importance of European Law should be recognised. Guidance for construction expert witnesses, who are engaged in dispute resolution, arising from three relevant significant documents that were published in 2014 by the Civil Justice Council, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Society of Construction Law was researched. The following were suggested as barriers affecting experts: regulations, budgetary controls, availability of evidence and deadlines. Construction-specific legal risks relevant to SMEs in Europe with a view to manage them were identified. The study confirms that the relevant legal risks for construction SMEs in Italy are: procurement, building regulations, construction contract and dispute resolution. The civil engineering SME case study touched on contract terms, regulations and dispute resolution and the additional issue of intellectual property protection was recognised. Environmental law issues surrounding the regeneration of brownfield land including contaminated land, waste management, water pollution, regulators, environmental impact assessment issues were investigated. Contractors’ standard of design responsibility in current standard forms of contract was analysed and recent relevant case law was reviewed. In conclusion, the overlap in academia, between construction and engineering law of legal topics including legal framework, contract, environmental and health and safety law has been identified. They differ in that engineering bodies additionally require intellectual property awareness and construction institutions include dispute resolution and land law. These findings in academia are reflected in industry. Although framed in a construction law context, the research on expert witnesses also applies to engineering expert witnesses. However, as identified by the accrediting professional bodies, there is a greater requirement for dispute resolution in the construction industry. Environmental law is relevant to both engineering and construction industries. Similarly, current standard forms of contract and recent case law are pertinent to both industries. The congruence and distinction between the law underpinning construction and engineering in academia and industry has been clarified. Subsequent research developed a design, manufacture and construct procurement model for volumetric offsite manufacturing in the UK housing sector and examined the introduction of Brownfield Land Registers in England. Topical and timely research examined the impact of BREXIT and the COVID-19 pandemic on construction law
    • Emotional intelligence and sociotropy-autonomy in young women with DSM-IV-TR hypochondriasis: a mixed-method study

      Papis, Karol Grzegorz (2015-04)
      DSM-IV-TR classifies hypochondriasis as a complex somatoform disorder, characterised by physical complaints for which no organic cause could be identified. DSM-5 replaced it with two new diagnostic terms: somatic symptoms disorder and illness anxiety disorder. The distinction was based on the presence or absence of somatic symptoms, and concerns have been raised with regards to the validity of these new diagnostic concepts. While there has recently been an increase in recognising the role of the underlying anxiety in this condition, the psychological needs of individuals with hypochondriasis remain unclear. It is conceivable that specific emotional and interpersonal dimensions play a mediating role in the onset of hypochondriacal presentations, and have explanatory power with regards to the improvement of tailored therapeutic interventions. The present study used a mixed methodology, with an emphasis on the qualitative component, to investigate emotions and the interpersonal aspects of hypochondriasis. Six young adult females meeting the diagnostic criteria for both DSM-IV-TR hypochondriasis and DSM-5 illness anxiety disorder formed a clinical group for the present study. Semi-structured interviews were administered and analysed in line with the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four major themes emerged from the qualitative data: 1) Early life experience; 2) Inward focus; 3) Learned helplessness; and 4) Experience of psychological therapy. Eight subordinate themes were identified: (i) Unmet emotional needs; (ii) Emotional isolation; (iii) There is something wrong with me; (iv) Emotional reasoning; (v) Self-fulfilling prophecy; (vi) External locus of control; (vii) Over-reliance on other people; and (viii) The experience of psychological therapy. Fifty-one female undergraduate psychology students formed a matched comparison group for the study and enabled a supplementary quantitative analysis to be conducted. The quantitative measures included measures of trait (TEIQue-SF) and ability emotional intelligence (MSCEIT) as well as a measure of sociotropy-autonomy (SAS). The quantitative data showed that the clinical group scored significantly lower than the comparison group on the measures of trait emotional intelligence, understanding emotions, and autonomy. Additionally, the clinical group scored significantly higher than the comparison group on the measure of sociotropy. The theoretical and therapeutic recommendations are discussed in light of the limitations of the present study. In conclusion, emotional and interpersonal aspects of DSM-IV-TR Hypochondriasis and DSM-5 illness anxiety disorder in young women provide a useful framework for the conceptualisation and therapeutic management of these conditions. It appears that with its scientific knowledge base, therapeutic flexibility, focus on reflective practice, and the emphasis on an effective working relationship, the discipline of counselling psychology is well-suited to address the needs of participants with hypochondriacal presentations.
    • Emotional intelligence in binge eating disorder among the obese population

      Gnanaiah, Raj (2019-02-10)
      This research sought to investigate several differences between obese individuals with a Binge Eating Disorder (BED-O) and obese individuals without a Binge Eating Disorder (Non-BED-O). The first focus was on investigating whether these two groups of participants have differing levels of (a) the global Emotional Intelligence (EI) trait and its constituting dimensions, (b) the engagement in overeating behaviours (i.e., Emotional, External, and Restrained Eating), and (c) the engagement in different Coping styles. The research further sought to establish whether the global EI trait and its constituting dimensions predict the engagement in overeating behaviours, and whether coping styles mediate this relationship after controlling for depression scores. The sample consisted of 109 individuals who were recruited at a diabetic clinic in Wales. Sixteen participants (14.7%) were classified as BED-O and 90 participants (82.6%) as non-BED-O. Results revealed that BED-O and non-BED-O participants did not differ on global EI scores, although there were some differences on certain constructs and dimensions of EI. BED-O group displayed lower levels of the self-control construct and higher levels of the sociality construct. This group also had lower levels on the dimensions of self-esteem, emotional regulation, stress management, and higher levels of impulsivity, emotional management, and social awareness. BED-O individuals were also found to engage in more emotional, external, and restrained eating. Emotional eating was predicted by global EI trait and self-control; external eating by self- control; and restrained eating by emotionality and emotion regulation. BED-O individuals were additionally found to engage in less adaptive coping, more emotional coping, and less rational and detached coping when compared to Non-BED-O individuals. Finally, adaptive and maladaptive coping scores were found to mediate the relationship between global EI trait and emotional eating, after controlling for depression scores. The obtained findings are discussed in relation to both the literature and practice.
    • Emotional Intelligence in Diverse Populations: Theory to Intervention

      Lane, Andrew M.; Diehl, Caren (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This research tested the relationship between Emotional Intelligence (EI) and mood states prior to performance, using two culturally diverse populations and using a mixed methodology. The objective was to explore whether there were cultural differences between the two samples thereafter exploring whether EI can be enhanced in the two cultures, using a psychological skills intervention. Phase 1 and 2 used the BRUMS-32 (Terry et al., 1999), and the EIS (Schutte et al., 1998) to investigate mood states and EI among a sample of UK wheelchair basketball players (phase 1: n = 51), and Ghanaian footballers (phase 2: n = 70). Five semi-structured interviews were also completed in phase 1. In phase 3 interventions (goal-setting, self-talk, relaxation and daily diaries) were used to enhance EI in a sample of UK wheelchair basketball players (n = 6) and Ghanaian football players (n = 8). Self-talk questionnaires, daily diaries, EIS and structured interviews were used to collect data during the intervention. Phase 1 MANOVA results showed that EI was related to mood states associated with optimal and dysfunctional performance (Wilks' Lambda 8.7 = .01, F = 74.76, P = .00, Partial Eta2 = .99) and indicated that optimism and utilisation of emotions contributed significantly to variation in mood by performance. Four key themes emerged from semi-structured interviews: antecedents of emotions; emotion and performance; emotional intelligence; and coping with emotions. Results suggested that EI correlated with performance. Phase 2, MANOVA results showed that EI was related to mood states associated with optimal and dysfunctional performance (Wilks' Lambda 8.40 = .50, F = 7.82, P < .00, Partial Eta2 = .50) and indicated that emotion regulation and appraisal of other‟s emotions contributed significantly to variations in mood by performance. When seen collectively, results of phase 1 and 2 indicate that there were cultural differences between the two populations.Phase 3 indicated that in both populations EI could be enhanced for some of the participants. Culture could be an explanation for the intervention only partially working. The EI theory or the EIS may only work in the culture it was developed in as it did not seem to detect changes in the Ghanaian sample.
    • Emotions in children’s narratives and their presence in therapy

      Chen-Wilson, Josephine Dr; Zeimet, Amélie (University of Wolverhampton, 2012)
      This mixed method study is made up of a narrative study carried out with children and an interview study with practitioner psychologists. The narrative study examined the effects of narrative types, namely a picture book story, a first person narrative and a third person narrative, and age, 7, 9 and 11, on children's use of emotion descriptive words. The lengths of the three story types were used as covariates. A 3*3 ANCOVA was carried out showing that neither the tasks, nor the children’s age, have an effect on children's performance. However, the results show a significant, though small, interaction between age and story type effects when the covariates were jointly controlled for. The limited nature of significant findings is explained. A thematic analysis was carried out with the interview study data. This part of the study inquired about the experience and expectations of practitioner psychologists working therapeutically with children. The focus was mainly on the emotional expression of their young clients. Three main themes emerged including an adultomorphic tendency, developmental uniformity and the importance of a therapeutic relationship.
    • Employees, managers and the Trade Union: changes and continuities in the employment relationship 1983-1998

      Greene, Anne-Marie (University of Wolverhampton, 1999)
      This thesis is based around two studies in the West Midlands lock industry. It was carried I out within a broad ethnographic paradigm and focuses on the voices of those working on the shopfloor as a means of tapping into change and continuity in perceptions of the employment relationship. A longitudinal study over the period 1983-1998 within one firm, revealed interesting themes about what happens to employee attitudes when a traditional paternalistic approach to management is gradually dismantled. A comparison between this firm and another lock company indicated the ways in which issues of union leadership, the bargaining relationship and perceptions of commitment and trust, could be dramatically affected by significant change within the managerial structures and strategies of an organisation'. The thesis demonstrates how the employment relationship is most usefully seen as a 'drama of negotiation', where union leaders, employees and managers interact within a framework of expected roles and behaviours, that is clearly grounded in the particular historical and sociological contexts of the two firms.
    • Enclosure and improvement: an investigation into the motives for parliamentary enclosure

      Brown, David George (University of Wolverhampton, 1992)
      This thesis establishes and examines the variety of motives for parliamentary enclosure. Its aim is not to determine their importance or frequency, except in general terms, because the detailed research of all the acts where suitable sources survive is beyond the scope of a single doctoral thesis. The, aim is rather to show the accepted view that the 'agricultural profit' motive alone (via the agency of higher prices, land values and rents) accounts for the parliamentary enclosure movement is unsatisfactory. It is argued that to understand the variety of motives for parliamentary enclosure, detailed research in estate papers, parish records and newspapers is required, rather than a statistical approach matching price rises or interest rates with the frequency of enclosure acts. The latter can establish coincidences but not definite correlations. The thesis draws together existing and often overlooked studies with extensive primary research to establish a variety of motives for enclosure apart from agricultural profit. After demonstrating the legal benefits to be derived from acts rather than agreements, other reasons for obtaining acts are examined. The most important of these motives were opening up mining areas, helping town development, funding local institutions, reducing the poor rate, allowing landscape enhancement around country seats, satisfying the desire for improvement among many landowners and increasing the supply of food at times of national crisis. It offers an alternative model to explain the phenomenon of the parliamentary enclosure movement - the notion of 'improvement' - which unites all the motives identified and was acknowledged by contemporaries as an important motivation for human enterprise.