• Knowing primary physical education movement culture

      Ward, Gavin (2015-12)
      Background: Mind-body dualisms create particular difficulties for researching and justifying learning and knowledge within PE practices. These issues are compounded in the UK by prevailing cognitivistic ideas of education, knowledge and learning. Crum (1993) suggests reconceptualising PE as movement culture as a potential solution to the limitations created by dualistic positions within education. How knowledge and learning within movement culture is positioned, however, was left underdeveloped by Crum. The aim of this thesis is to explore an embodied, action position on knowledge and learning, as a potential solution to this issue. Purpose: This thesis is driven by two purposes. The first; to examine and discuss how John Dewey’s theorising of knowledge and learning within experience provides a theoretical position on knowledge and learning within movement culture. The second; to utilise this position to explore how pupils’ and teachers’ actions within primary PE lessons constitute and negotiate the movement cultures within their school. Findings: In adopting a position which dissolves mind-body dualisms, movement culture allows the practical work of PE lessons to be considered as contexts of knowledge production. This opens up our understanding of different ways of knowing in PE through pupils’ epistemological ‘action-in-PE-settings’. Rather than creating another hybrid of educational ideology by objectifying what to ‘do’ or ‘know’, movement culture keeps the ‘who’ of participation in PE practice in view. Such a position is achieved because pupils are seen as ‘coming to know’ through their immediate and continuous experiences of sports and physical activities both in PE and beyond the school gates. By dissolving traditional dualisms within educational ideology, movement culture allows ideologies and assumptions about learning in PE to be decoded and managed. It also provides a framework to explore subject-matter for learning and analyses some of the disconnections which exist within PE practice. Conclusions: Reconceptualising PE as movement culture is not intended to create a logic of practice to which I claim PE should ascribe. In this thesis, movement culture offers a position from which to consider the continuity between PE and pupils’ lives within and outside of the school gates. Such a standpoint can challenge our ideas as to what subject-matter could be within PE and the possibilities of learning outcomes other than those that focus on performance sport or bodily training for fitness. From a research perspective questions arise in relation to understanding very young pupils’ experiences of knowing within PE and how learning and knowledge are embodied across other subject areas. Addressing such questions may help to support new understandings of learning and knowledge within schools that are concurrent with developing new methodologies and research tools. These may in turn support the continuing development of pedagogical practices.
    • Knowledge Acquisition from User Reviews for Interactive Question Answering

      Mitkov, Ruslan; Orasan, Constantin; De Boni, Marco; Konstantinova, Natalia (University of Wolverhampton, 2013)
      Nowadays, the effective management of information is extremely important for all spheres of our lives and applications such as search engines and question answering systems help users to find the information that they need. However, even when assisted by these various applications, people sometimes struggle to find what they want. For example, when choosing a product customers can be confused by the need to consider many features before they can reach a decision. Interactive question answering (IQA) systems can help customers in this process, by answering questions about products and initiating a dialogue with the customers when their needs are not clearly defined. The focus of this thesis is how to design an interactive question answering system that will assist users in choosing a product they are looking for, in an optimal way, when a large number of similar products are available. Such an IQA system will be based on selecting a set of characteristics (also referred to as product features in this thesis), that describe the relevant product, and narrowing the search space. We believe that the order in which these characteristics are presented in terms of these IQA sessions is of high importance. Therefore, they need to be ranked in order to have a dialogue which selects the product in an efficient manner. The research question investigated in this thesis is whether product characteristics mentioned in user reviews are important for a person who is likely to purchase a product and can therefore be used when designing an IQA system. We focus our attention on products such as mobile phones; however, the proposed techniques can be adapted for other types of products if the data is available. Methods from natural language processing (NLP) fields such as coreference resolution, relation extraction and opinion mining are combined to produce various rankings of phone features. The research presented in this thesis employs two corpora which contain texts related to mobile phones specifically collected for this thesis: a corpus of Wikipedia articles about mobile phones and a corpus of mobile phone reviews published on the Epinions.com website. Parts of these corpora were manually annotated with coreference relations, mobile phone features and relations between mentions of the phone and its features. The annotation is used to develop a coreference resolution module as well as a machine learning-based relation extractor. Rule-based methods for identification of coreference chains describing the phone are designed and thoroughly evaluated against the annotated gold standard. Machine learning is used to find links between mentions of the phone (identified by coreference resolution) and phone features. It determines whether some phone feature belong to the phone mentioned in the same sentence or not. In order to find the best rankings, this thesis investigates several settings. One of the hypotheses tested here is that the relatively low results of the proposed baseline are caused by noise introduced by sentences which are not directly related to the phone and phone feature. To test this hypothesis, only sentences which contained mentions of the mobile phone and a phone feature linked to it were processed to produce rankings of the phones features. Selection of the relevant sentences is based on the results of coreference resolution and relation extraction. Another hypothesis is that opinionated sentences are a good source for ranking the phone features. In order to investigate this, a sentiment classification system is also employed to distinguish between features mentioned in positive and negative contexts. The detailed evaluation and error analysis of the methods proposed form an important part of this research and ensure that the results provided in this thesis are reliable.
    • Knowledge creation in a cross cultural context for sustainable organisational change and development

      Firth, Janet (2015-03-01)
      The central theme of this doctoral research is organisational knowledge creation in the cross cultural context of the post-socialist transition of former Eastern European (EE) countries towards a more liberal market structure and methods of working. This transition was particularly important for those countries seeking European Union (EU) accession such as Romania, and impacted on those organisations having a major role in accession such as the Romanian Border Police (RBP). The need for organisations to expand their knowledge of strategic decision making for change and development resulted in a plethora of EU-funded training interventions to fill the gap. The literature suggests that as a result of the dominance of Western ideology of the transitional process, cognitive dissonance and a general disconnect with the outcomes of EU-funded projects was a product of such interventions. This research explores how a more collaborative co-inquiry methodology with partners can bring about knowledge creation as a more sustainable and significant approach for organisational change. Specifically, it investigates the reflective capabilities of a group of Romanian Border Police (RBP) managers to reveal how they can create knowledge for organisational change and development in preparation for EU accession. Simultaneously a framework for facilitation was developed as a result of using the original research of Geppert and Clark (2002) and Breiter and Scardamalia (2000), as a foundation for the operationalisation of the research and in the attempt to move away from traditional models of knowledge transfer to further develop the changing dimensions of training interventions in the EE as suggested by Michaelova and Hollinshead (2007). It is offered as a purposeful method for the sustainable organisation, in preference to western style knowledge transfer projects. The findings result in a complex model of knowledge creation for the RBP and a better understanding of how Western trainers can work with EE organisations to achieve the desired outcomes for developing organisations. Moreover recommendations are made on how the EU can best utilise this research as a basis for funding future knowledge transfer projects, to guarantee that funding is having an impact on developing organisations at a time of austerity.
    • Knowledge driven system architecture to support collaborative product development in the extended enterprise

      Rodriguez Echavarria, Karina (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
      In recent times, the global engineering environment has led to the distribution of product life cycle information and knowledge affecting the collaboration throughout product development. Although information technologies, such as the Internet, provide a partial solution to support such collaboration, there is still a need to support decision making by providing the right information and knowledge in the place, time and format required by the geographically distributed companies. The sources of this knowledge are the experience of individuals, published literature, as well as the manufacturing process and resource capabilities. Hence, it ensures the production of a better and more cost effective product in less time. The research presented in this thesis proposes a knowledge driven system architecture to support collaborative product development (KdCPD). Furthermore, a novel approach for identifying, capturing and representing knowledge of a geographically distributed extended enterprise was developed as part of the research. This knowledge representation, which is referred to as Manufacturing Knowledge Model, is the basis of the proposed system architecture. In this research, a reference framework was adopted for the development of the KdCPD system architecture. This framework guided the identification of information and knowledge driven manufacturing activities as well as the modelling of the Manufacturing Knowledge Model. Based on this, a Knowledge driven Collaborative Product Development (KdCPD) system architecture was designed and a system prototype was implemented using object oriented enabling technologies. Finally, several experiments were conducted in the system prototype using several case studies in order to simulate the development of injection moulded parts among geographically distributed companies after the conceptual design has been agreed. The results of these experiments demonstrated how the KdCPD system supports decision making by providing the right information and knowledge in the place, time and format required. This confirmed the contribution of this research to the next generation of collaborative systems.
    • Knowledge management orientation, organisational capabilities and performance: an empirical test of performance relationships using structural equation modeling

      Wang, Catherine Lihong (University of Wolverhampton, 2003)
      It is widely recognised that knowledge is a strategic resource, and that knowledge management capability is central to create and maintain competitive advantage in the dynamic business arena. Companies must leverage their existing knowledge and create new knowledge in order to succeed the competition. In practice, some companies make enormous investment in developing and adopting knowledge managementools and techniques. Unfortunately, many of them fail to achieve the desired outcomes. This has confounded knowledge management efforts and has blurred their extolled benefits. Unless its role in business performance improvement is justified, knowledge management remains an ad hoc event in the practices of many companies. Academically, the majority of research focuses on defining knowledge, intellectual capital, and knowledge management, and identifying knowledge management processes. Some recent research has aimed at finding the factors that influence knowledge management success. However, their results are based on case studies of one or a few companies. Additional1y, very little research has been incisive in understanding knowledge management performance. The resource-based view, and its extension, the knowledge-based view, suggest that performance differences between companies are a result of their different knowledge bases and differing capabilities in developing and deploying knowledge. Knowledge management is the pre-eminent capability of businesses, and the principal driver of all. other capabilities. Simply id speaking, knowledge management impacts on performance through enhancement of other aspects of organisational capabilities, such as market orientation, organisational learning and innovation. The task of this research is to provide empirical evidence and test these theoretical propositions. More explicitly, the main objective of this research is to identify the relationships between knowledge management orientation, market orientation, learning orientation and organisational innovativeness, and thereby the direct or indirect impact of knowledge management on performance outcomes. Due to the strong causal nature of this research, the quantitative research methodology, in particular, structural equation modeling was employed. Research hypotheses and models were developed from theoretical insights and extant empirical -research findings. Data were collected using questionnaire survey from medium to large companies based in the Great Britain, and subsequently analysed using SPSS 10 and AMOS 4. The main findings of this research supported the theoretical proposition that knowledge management is imperative in building organisational. capabilities of market orientation, learning and innovation. Although it does not have direct impact on performance, knowledge management indirectly impacts on performance through building and strengthening other aspects of organisational capabilities. It is through matket-oriented behaviour and new product development that companies transfer their knowledge management capability into delivery of better value to the customers and thus achieve marketplace-based competitive advantage. The statistical analysis strongly supported the convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of the research constructs and findings.
    • Knowledge management practices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia public sector organisations

      Renukappa, Suresh; Algahtani, Khaled (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-09-20)
      After a decade of sustained oil-based growth, KSA is at a transition towards knowledge based economy. Today, achieving that goal has become essential. To address these change challenges, knowledge is increasingly accessed and shared across different functional departments and professionals. This knowledge interdependence creates new management challenges resulting from the risks and difficulties of knowledge transactions across boundaries. Providing access to key tacit and explicit knowledge to decision makers during potential changes seems to be critical for effective decision-making. Recent technological developments have made a significant and positive impact on the ability and desire to manage knowledge. These challenges have made the government think to adopt Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives. There is, however, a paucity of empirical research on the key KM practices that have been implemented in the public sector organisations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – which is the core rationale for this study. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate how KSA public sector organisations are managing knowledge to gain sustainable competitive advantage. A web based, online questionnaire survey method was employed to collect data. Descriptive and inferential analysis was used to analyse the data obtained from the 107 completed and usable questionnaire for inference and conclusion. The survey revealed that to improve access to key knowledge is most important driver for managing knowledge in KSA public sector organisations. The extent of implementation of KM initiatives is relatively low in the KSA public sector organisations. Furthermore, study revealed that conventional, simple and cost effective KM techniques and technologies are effective and extensively used. Lack of government support for using new technologies, lack of awareness of knowledge, and lack of leadership support are key challenges for managing knowledge in the KSA public sector organisations. KM strategies have a very high positive impact on improving citizen relations. The study concluded that the challenge of managing knowledge is a daunting task for any organisation. An organisation’s knowledge resources are complex and multifaceted, ranging from tacit components to knowledge that is explicitly represented. The ultimate key to organisations successfully embracing KM initiatives into daily operation is leadership. Therefore, the KSA government should take a greater leadership role in shaping the information environment and the role of emerging technologies in society that have significant impacts. It is necessary for KSA public sector decision makers to recognise and use a blend of ICT and non-ICT based KM techniques and technologies. Before embarking on a KM journey, decision makers have to understand what it is that they would like to achieve with KM and what value it needs to add to their organisation in the context of Saudi Vision 2030. The scarcity of knowledge and expertise a huge challenge for many KSA public sector organisations. Therefore, training and education related to the management of knowledge will help leaders, managers, and change agents to better understand on how to craft and implement various KM strategies for competitive advantage.
    • Knowledge sharing within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia large construction organisations

      Renukappa, Suresh; Alamil, Hani Mohammed; School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2022)
      An increasing number of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) construction organisations are turning to knowledge sharing as a key to leverage their distinctive core competencies in their pursuit of competitive advantage. However, the construction industry is one of the most challenging environments where managing people effectively is vital to ensure that they contribute their knowledge to organisational success. Knowledge sharing is part of knowledge management process, one of the building blocks for an organisation’s success and acts as a survival strategy in this knowledge era. However, knowledge sharing is an under-researched area in the KSA large construction organisations context, despite several policy transformations announced by the KSA government. Thus, the main aim of this research was to investigate how KSA large construction organisations are knowledge sharing en-route to competitiveness. The findings are based on qualitative methodology adopting semi-structured interviews with 44 professionals. The content analysis revealed five key drivers for knowledge sharing. The single most important driver for knowledge sharing is the integration of knowledge assets. Furthermore, seven key knowledge sharing strategies are implemented in large construction organisations in the KSA. Regular sharing of best practices related to project knowledge is the most widely implemented. The study revealed eight knowledge sharing techniques and technologies that are extensively used in the KSA large construction organisations. The key challenge for knowledge sharing is the lack of communication skills whereas knowledge sharing strategies contribute to the acceleration of construction processes. A framework for knowledge sharing was developed and evaluated for the benefit of KSA large construction organisations, which is the main contribution to the knowledge. The study concludes that knowledge sharing is an integrated and complex process. The results suggest that, for effective implementation of knowledge sharing strategies, there is an urgent need for the KSA large construction organisations to develop and deploy appropriate knowledge sharing related management training programmes. The most estimable contribution of this study is to provide valuable insights that would help the KSA construction industry’s decision makers to implement knowledge sharing strategies to improves the sector’s competitiveness. The findings of this research are limited to the KSA construction industry context only; as such, the generalisability of the results outside this context may be very limited.
    • Labour flexibility: An analysis of the future trajectory of the employment of female graduates in Saudi Arabia

      ALFALIH, ABDULAZIZ (2016-04)
      Debates on flexible employment and labour persist in most Western market economies, while being largely absent regarding Saudi Arabia. Increasing unemployment among qualified Saudi citizens remains a major concern, particularly for females, despite a government policy of Saudisation. Notwithstanding incentives for prioritising Saudi citizens, foreign nationals dominate private sector employment. Few empirical studies consider the factors impacting employment of educated Saudi women: further, there are hardly any robust frameworks which offer policy makers, employers, and those championing the employment of this group a clear set of plausible guidelines bearing in mind the socioeconomic context of Saudi Arabia. The research aims, first and foremost, to examine how far "labour flexibility" in Saudi Arabia offers solutions to unemployment among educated Saudi females, exploring interalia the main institutions and regulatory framework of the Saudi labour market, and the effectiveness of these in managing the relationship between employers and employees. It also examines the major labour market and employment policy concerns of government, employers and employees, considering flexible employment forms in Saudi Arabia, and in what context employers and employees do or would consider flexible employment. Following on from this, the second aim is to develop a conceptual framework on key factors impacting the participation of educated Saudi females in the Saudi labour market. The framework that emerges from these analyses also provides some guidance for graduate women who seek labour market entry and participation. iii The study employed quantitative and qualitative methodologies, with targeted participants, returning 1347 usable questionnaires (41% response) augmented by 28 semi-structured interviews. The quantitative data underwent statistical examination by performing descriptive and inferential analysis on the SPSS software, and qualitative data were analysed using summative content analysis. A conceptual framework was developed and validated through interviews with ten representatives of the interviewed sample population, who held senior positions. To improve understanding of key influencing factors for educated women’s participation in the Saudi labour market for key stakeholders. The six factors identified were personal, socio-cultural, educational, legal/political, organisational and economic. The study identifies a relationship between increased flexible work patterns and increased employment of educated Saudi females and suggests a relationship between the challenges Saudi females face within employment practices and numbers employed in the labour market. Similarly, a relationship exists between educational level and employment chances for Saudi women. Recommendations are proffered to the Saudi Government, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, industrial sector, organisations, researchers and academia.
    • Land use and vegetation change on the Long Mynd

      Packham, J.; Trueman, Ian C.; Hill, M. O.; Musgrove, Nicholas James (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      The plant communities of the Long Mynd plateau are the culmination of over 3000 years of human intervention that largely deforested the uplands, and subsequently maintained the generally treeless heath and grassland communities now extant. The capacity of these communities to respond to directional change is well known, indeed the traditional mode of heathland management, burning, depends on the regenerative capacity of the target species, generally heather (Calluna vulgaris), for its success. However, changes in post WW2 stocking practice; the loss of ponies followed by an increase in the numbers of sheep and a change to them being overwintered on the hill, led to excessive grazing and damage to the heath. This coincided with the spread over the hill by bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and other changes in the distribution and nature of the vegetation. A sequence of vegetation surveys made by various individuals and organisations over the past 75 years or so has been analysed in an attempt to delineate spatial and temporal changes in the vegetation. This demonstrated the need for a standardised survey methodology to allow consistent monitoring. The analysis showed that bracken had been infiltrating most of the communities from its origins outside the lower limits of the Common as well as from some of the valley sides. Within the last decade, this expansion has apparently been contained in line with the current management plan for control. A survey of 730 quadrats in some 30 stands was made to characterise the variation of the vegetation on the plateau, and to relate it to some of the associated environmental factors. Classification, unconstrained ordination and ordination constrained by the abiotic environmental variables, showed that, a) the strongest trend in the vegetation distinguished water-flushed communities, b) non-wetland communities differentiate between heathland and grassland, c) this trend can be only partly be attributed to the measured abiotic environmental variables, d) the amount of pure Pteridietum [U20] is limited, although much of the heathland and grassland has bracken within it. There are indications that invasion by bracken often correlates with a loss of dominance of Calluna in favour of Deschampsia flexuosa and Vaccinium myrtillus. Difficulties in associating these trends with measured abiotic variables suggests, other factors probably management processes, are critical in driving this trend. Distribution of ‘heathland’ bryophytes was found to be associated more with the structure of their ‘host’ vascular communities rather than with abiotic factors. Finally, this investigation considers the practical implications with regard to the future encouragement of heather and the control of bracken. Cutting rather than burning appears to be the ecologically most suitable method for heather regeneration and bracken control.
    • Language and ideology: a linguistic analysis of school textbooks from the FRG and the GDR, with special reference to the role of language in socialisation

      Beverley, Angela (University of Wolverhampton, 1986)
      This thesis investigates the interrelationship of language end ideology as exemplified in a corpus of politics textbooks used in East and West German schools. The theoretical framework adopted is a development of the work of M A K Halliday, incorporating also work done in other fields of linguistics, in psychology, pedagogics, political science, and sociology. Part I discusses the corpus and the conceptual framework of the thesis. The role of language in the creation and maintenance of ideology, and the contrasting ways in which this finds expression in political education in the two German states, are discussed. The problematic issue of the standpoint of the linguist is considered. Part II presents the linguistic framework of the thesis; little immediately relevant work had previously been carried out. Halliday’s work provided the most appropriate tool for our analysis. In Part III the texts are discussed from the standpoint of each of the macrofunctions Transitivity, Mood and Theme, and contrasts are drawn where appropriate between the expression of these functions in the two sets of texts. The main overall conclusion of the thesis is that the two sets of texts are typologically distinct and express different universes with respect to the role of the reader and the text; these differences can be perceived in all the linguistic systems investigated. The thesis makes a major contribution to the discussion on the interrelationship of language and ideology, but goes beyond a simple rehearsing of contrasting lexical usage in East and West Germany by also analysing syntactic and semantic features. Examples of linguistic obfuscation, resulting from mismatches between language and ideology, are also discussed. Most importantly, the thesis is an original application of Hallidayan linguistics to German.
    • Leadership for implementing knowledge management strategies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

      Renukappa, Suresh; Al Nabt, Saeed (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09-17)
      The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) government aims to improve the current public service delivery and to achieve the Saudi’s Vision 2030, the KSA needs to extend on knowledge management (KM) strategies and programmes. However, the key to successfully embracing these changes and guide them to transform into twenty-first century public sector organisations would require visionary, innovative, creative, and dynamic form of leadership. Although featuring strongly in the popular media, trade, professional, and academic journals, the very concept of ‘leadership’ in the context of KM is elusive for the KSA public sector organisations. Therefore, the aim of this research is to investigate the roles of leadership for implementing KM strategies in the KSA public sector organisations. Given the new and unexplored nature of the research problem, a qualitative research methodology was adopted. In total, 42 semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data, which was then analysed using content analysis along with Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) for inference and conclusion. As revealed in the study, the critical success factors (CSFs) for effective implementation of KM strategies are broad, but nine key CSFs stand out. The association between the identified factors is established by employing an interpretive structural modelling (ISM) methodology that is based on multi-criteria decision making approach. The research result indicated that ‘leadership’ and ‘organisational culture’ are the most significant critical success factors having highest driving power. These factors are deemed to be most-effective for adopting KM strategies in the KSA public sector organisations. It is evident from this study that there are many misconceptions of what leadership meant to them and their organisations in a KM context. Ten key roles leadership plays in implementing KM related change initiatives. The main motivations for invest in leadership skills development programmes are to facilitate the growth of the department and retain staff. The key barriers for delivering knowledge leadership skills training programmes are time, cost, and culture. It is suggests that a more robust leadership training evaluation process would be desirable. A leadership skills awareness training tool was developed and validated. The research concludes that the leadership plays a key role in implementing KM strategies in the KSA. In order to meet the Saudi Vision 2030, KSA public sector organisations must show leadership. It is suggests that public sector wide awareness raising programmes on the concept of leadership needs to be implemented. Also, there is a need to re-assess the leadership skills required by the KSA public sector organisations. The existing education and training programmes in the KSA need some reorientation.
    • Lean-excellence business management for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in Kurdistan region of Iraq

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

      Boraie, Deena (University of Wolverhampton, 2003)
      This study investigated adult EFL learners' perceptions of English language proficiency, identified their test-taking strategies and emotional regulation processes during test-taking and explored the relationship between test-takers' reported use of test-taking strategies and emotional regulation on the one hand and their performance on an English language placement test on the other. The study was conducted in the Center for Adult & Continuing Education at the American University in Cairo. The rationale for this study was two fold. Firstly, given that there is a variety of interpretations of the construct of English language proficiency, no empirically derived definition of language proficiency was available for this particular context. Secondly, a lack of research was found investigating test-taking strategies, emotional regulation and test performance within a process approach. Expanding on the Bachman & Palmer (1996) model, a Language Testing Processing (LTP) model was proposed. A mixed methods approach was used integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in different stages of the study. The context-specific definition of the construct of language proficiency was based on data collected from 36 learners using a semi-structured interview and from 41 teachers using an open-ended questionnaire. Test-taking strategies and emotional regulation processes were identified from think aloud data obtained from 12 test-takers who were asked to verbalize their thoughts and feelings while they took a placement test. Based on the think aloud data and the literature, the Test-Taking Strategies Questionnaire (TTSQ) was designed to investigate the relationship between test-taking strategies, emotional regulation and language test performance. The TTSQ was administered to 497 test-takers after they completed the placement test. Correlations, analysis of variance and discriminant analysis showed that emotional regulation influences the selection of particular test-taking strategies, which in turn is associated with performance on a language placement test. The LTP model was supported and further refined by the think aloud and quantitative data. The insights gained on perceptions of language proficiency, test-taking strategies and affective factors that influence test performance are discussed and the implications of these results on curriculum designers, test developers and teachers are presented.
    • Learning in boards: a grounded theory study of UK boards of directors

      Boards of directors have been described as an integral part of corporate governance research, being at "the apex of the internal control system" (Jensen, 1993, p.862). Early corporate governance research has examined whether, and to what extent, board characteristics impact on performance. However, the results of studies that focused on board structure/composition and performance produced mixed outcomes. Consequently, we saw the emergence of research on board processes and their impact on board task performance. Research on board processes is still ongoing, and scholars have been interested in, among other processes, how knowledge and skills by board members are being used (Gabrielsson and Huse, 2004; Kor and Sundaramurthy, 2009). At the same time, there is a gap within educational research on how knowledge is being created within teams that are episodic in nature, such as boards (Forbes and Milliken, 1999). As such, the concept of learning has to date been under-researched in a board context. In this thesis, board processes are studied by exploring the processes involved in the acquisition and sharing of knowledge and skills in boards. Further, as a response to calls for the adoption of alternative research approaches to the study of boards (Pettigrew, 1992; Johnson et al., 1996), this research is conducted using a qualitative method based on a grounded theory approach. The study is conducted based on evidence from semi-structured interviews with UK board members. The findings show that the creation of knowledge in boards depends on two dialectical processes of learning (acquisition of knowledge and skills from the external environment and sharing of knowledge and skills in the internal environment). The qualitative findings show that 1) directors possess certain levels of knowledge related to specific boards task – which is also known as directors’ knowledge base; 2) the gap between the level of knowledge and skills needed to perform specific board tasks and the directors knowledge base is regarded as a gap in directors’ knowledge; 3) that there are two processes of filling the gap(s) in directors’ knowledge – the process of acquiring knowledge and skills (from the external environment), and the process of sharing knowledge and skills within the board; 4) that there are factors which are impacting on the processes of acquiring and sharing knowledge in boards; and 5) the processes of learning in boards are circular and board members must continually update their knowledge to enhance their capabilities. The thesis contributes to knowledge by revealing new insights into how board members acquire knowledge and skills (processes of learning) and factors that are impacting on learning in boards, underpinning former conceptual models. Qualitative analysis itemised different types of processes for both acquiring and sharing knowledge and skills in boards. Additionally, the qualitative analysis revealed various forms of learning styles that are being employed by board members either to acquire or share knowledge and skills. Finally, this thesis contributes to qualitative research in boards and its findings have implications for board practice, especially boards’ tasks performance and processes of learning.
    • Learning to be an Insider Agent of Change in a Brazilian Rural University

      Kowalski, Robert; Bartlett, Steve; Botelho, Marcel (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
      The “University” is under pressure to address both local and general requirements from society towards a phenomenon called globalisation. In Brazil, the Ministry of Education has tried, without success, to promote institutional change. Confronted by this situation a process initiated by an internal change agent and based upon the introduction of Action Research was itself the subject of this AR Study by the change agent. This thesis draws upon the findings of that AR and uses it to critically examine the potential to foster change within the higher education context in Brazil using AR. The research was designed in two synchronous processes taking place at two different levels. The first is the facilitation of the uptake of Action Research by a group of academic staff, and the second is the research into that process as a piece of Action Research in its own right by the change agent/facilitator. Facilitation of change has been described as taking place in three phases: a) Mobilization; b) Implementation; and c) Continuation. Throughout such phases in this case data were systematically gathered by the use of five instruments of data collection: 1) Observation; 2) Diary; 3) Questionnaires; 4) Interviews; and 5) Sociogram. Results show my personal learning in facilitating this process of change and two main contributions to knowledge. The first is one which, though local and specific, may nevertheless speak to the challenges faced by other practitioners. Exemplified in this study by the critical exploration of the ‘Daisy Model’ of introducing AR that led to its modification into the ‘Flower Model’. The second is that new knowledge which appears to be more generalisable and for which a case can be made for its wider applicability. Again exemplified in the continuous and disruptive process of change that unfolded to reveal a suitable framework for the use of Action Research as a vehicle of change in a rural university in Brazil where all actions were based on four central principles that emerged from the research: neutrality, voluntary participation, time and motivation. The future success and sustainability of the change processes begun are contingent upon the reaction of the current management of the institution. Five scenarios are examined and a second phase for this AR project is suggested that attempts to address the issues raised.

      Jones, Jenni (2016-09)
      Mentoring is increasing in popularity in the workplace but we do not fully understand it. There is not enough evidence or clarity within the practitioner or academic field to demonstrate the learning outcomes for both parties and what factors moderate the mentoring relationship over time. Therefore, this doctoral research aims to investigate this gap. Following an extensive literature review of the mentoring, learning and moderating factors, four research questions were identified. These are: 1. What do mentees and mentors perceive they are learning during their formal mentoring relationships? 2. How does the learning change over time for both parties? 3. What are the factors that moderate mentee and mentor learning during their formal mentoring relationships? 4. How do these moderating factors change over time for both parties? The research was conducted within three collaborating public sector organisations drawn from the Healthcare sector (Case 1) and the Police sector (Case 2 & 3) of the United Kingdom. Interviews and focus groups were conducted: 38 mentee and mentor interviews and two focus groups in Healthcare, 68 interviews and four focus groups in the first Police study and 12 focus groups in the second Police study, spread across the four phases of the mentoring lifecycle; initiation, cultivation, separation and redefinition (Kram, 1988). Key findings have been revealed in relation to the particular types of learning outcomes that result from formal mentoring dyadic relationships and the moderating factors that impact positively and negatively on the mentoring learning process. The present study has identified that both mentors and mentees learnt across all four learning domains as defined by Wanberg et al., (2003): cognitive, skill-based, affective-related learning and social networks, in all three organisations. Generally for both parties, the largest number of mentee and mentor responses were in relation to the affectiverelated learning domain, in the area of confidence. For the moderating factors, there were common facilitating and hindering factors identified for both parties based on Hegstad and Wentlings’s (2005) moderating factors, with four new factors added as a result of this research: personal factors, other relationships, similarity and difference. There was no similar pattern of mentee and mentor responses in relation to moderating factors over the four phases of the mentoring lifecycle, across all three case organisations. However, a common factor for all three case study organisations was that formal mentoring relationships endured despite some significant hindering factors within the workplace. The thesis concludes by discussing implications for theory and practice that have emerged from this study. It confirms that mentors learn within the same four learning domains as mentees throughout formal mentoring and that there are some significant moderating factors for both parties that change in emphasis over time. These insights have led to the modification of one established formal mentoring model and the creation of two new theoretical models in relation to learning outcomes and moderating factors. Comments are also made about the power relationships within the public sector and how mentoring can be embraced or restricted through the organisational structure, culture and climate.
    • 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.
    • Limit State Design of oil and gas well casings

      Huang, Xiaoguang (University of Wolverhampton, 2002)
      The casing is widely used as a protective conduit during all phases of drilling operations and production in the oil and gas industry. Traditionally casings were designed using working stress design, which had a number of shortcomings such as poor economics, inflexibility and uneven risk. This thesis was initiated by the increasing demand for an improved design of casings for the oil and gas industry. A new approach using the concept of limit state design is proposed to remedy the limitations of the present design code. Limit state design employs the probability of failure rather than the usage of a safety factor, from which the designer can gain an overall idea of the safety and adequacy of the design. The main objective of this thesis is to set up a set of limit state design equations for casings under different loadings. This objective is tackled by way of investigations into three fundamental casing failure modes, i. e. casing collapse, casing burst and casing axial tensile failure. Simple equations are proposed for the calculation of the load terms in the limit state design equations for the three failure modes. A comprehensive finite element methodology is developed to investigate the ultimate strength of casings with imperfections under different loadings. Extensive comparisons between finite element models and historical experimental data demonstrate that, if the variables are known, the ultimate strength of a casing can be predicted to a satisfactory degree of accuracy using the finite element method. Detailed parametric studies have been performed to investigate the effects of major factors (i. e., the ratio of outside diameter to wall thickness, ovality, eccentricity, material hardening, anisotropy and residual stress) on the casing strength. Existing design equations are assessed by means of full-scale test data, where they are found to be only accurate within a certain region. The investigations for new limit state design equations have been performed by employing a new concept of generalized material behaviour, which is constructed from experimental data and implemented in the finite element simulation. A set of limit state design equations are derived after regression analysis of the numerical results. Comparisons demonstrate that, the new design equations are capable of providing more accurate predictions of casing strength without compromising safety. The limit state design approach is provided in a structured way with a detailed design flow chart to enable a casing designer with a conventional engineering background to assess casing design using the limit state design methodology. It is anticipated that the implementation of a limit state design methodology in the design of casings will lay the foundation for an increased safety awareness whilst enhancing cost savings.
    • Limited Liability: A Pathway for Corporate Recklessness?

      Dabor, Igho Lordson (2016)
      This thesis argues that the twin concept of separate personality and limited liability from its historical beginnings, has entrenched corporate irresponsibility. It assesses the role that these concepts have played in tackling corporate irresponsibility from their historical origins to the present day, commenting on the lessons learnt. Whilst the institution of the company as a legal person is unquestionably the bedrock of modern company law, this thesis examines these concepts not necessarily from the position of disputing the philosophical, economic, or political imperatives, all of which are incredibly important – but from the viewpoint that historically, the principle of separate personality and limited liability entrenches corporate irresponsibility. As such, this thesis suggests a partial abandonment of the separate personality principle because it provides a mechanism for dishonest directors to escape liability for their fraudulent conduct. It also argues that the existing judicial evasion and concealment principles and the statutory fraudulent and wrongful trading provisions under the Insolvency Act 1986 are too restrictive, and ambiguous in combating corporate abuse. It is concluded that the existing common law and statutory rules geared towards combating abuse of limited liability provides no coherent format upon which the courts and legislature may effectively curb abuse of the corporate form. As such, these laws in light of their inability to make dishonest directors personally liable for their fraudulent conducts ought to be challenged. There is a need to challenge the existing rules in order to show the effect abuse of limited liability has on creditors, the public and the economy. This research indicates that there ought to be an adequate and effective alternative law which provides balance and support for genuine enterprise whilst providing a robust system whereby those who abuse the corporate form can be easily made liable for corporate debts.
    • Linguistic expression and perception of personality in online dating texts and their effect on attraction

      Fullwood, Chris; Kirwan, Gráinne; Connolly, Irene; Morris, Neil; Fox Hamilton, Nicola (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-02)
      Online daters report difficulties, frustration and anxiety in conveying their desired impression of themselves and from their lack of ability in perceiving another dater’s personality accurately. There is a lack of research on how expression of personality traits in profiles impacts on perception and on assessments of attractiveness. This thesis aims to fill this gap by exploring the expression and perception of personality traits in online dating profile texts, and to examine whether textually expressed personality affects attractiveness. The first two studies employed a linguistic and content analysis approach to determine how personality was expressed in dating profiles across different dating platforms and a comparison creative story text. There was considerable variation in expression indicating that language may not be a reliable indicator of personality. A lens model approach, using Funder’s Realistic Accuracy Model, was taken in the third study where accuracy of personality perception was examined in two contexts to determine whether dating profiles provided more salient trait-related cues to personality. The linguistic and content cues utilised by judges in making personality assessments were investigated. While some accuracy of perception was possible for emotional stability in online dating profiles, it was context dependent and unreliable, and few cues were utilised accurately. The effects of actual and perceived personality, and similarity of personality, on attractiveness were investigated and had not been examined previously in this context. This research shows that actual traits and similarity only affect attraction when it is perceivable, whereas perceived traits and similarity can affect attraction without accurate perception. This thesis illustrates the complexity of accuracy of interpersonal perception in text, and how context drives a considerable amount of the variation in achievement of accuracy. Additionally, the results offer some practical implications for online daters.