• The role of Human Endogenous Retrovirus K10 (HERV-K10) in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis via molecular mimicry

      Attridge, Kesley; Trela, Malgorzata (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-03)
      Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic joint disease of unknown aetiology. The autoimmune nature of RA is underlined by abundant generation of rheumatoid factor (RF) autoantibodies to IgG1 Fc, and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) to citrullinated autoantigens such as fibrinogen. Although RA pathogenesis has not been elucidated, genetic predisposition, environmental insults and viral pathogens are considered contributory factors. Human endogenous retrovirus K10 (HERV-K10) is one such virus as it retained the capacity to produce viral particles in RA synovium. This study set out to explore how HERV-K10 Gag matrix region could contribute to RA pathogenesis and perpetuation, with particular emphasis on its ability to mimic host autoantigens. We showed that Gag region exhibits high levels of sequence and structural homology to IgG1 Fc and it could provide a key epitope important for auto-reactivity in RA. Analysis of how HERV-K10 may evoke immune responses in RA was broadened by investigation of serological cross-reactivity of novel anti-K10 polyclonal antibody (PAbMAG) with IgG1 Fc. We showed that PAbMAG cross-reacted with linear and conformational epitopes on IgG1 Fc. In a further development, we showed a significantly elevated mean IgG response to HERV-K10 epitopes in serum samples from RA patients when compared to other arthritides. These data suggest that molecular mimicry between viral and host proteins has the potential to lead to antigen-driven high-affinity RF IgG immunological reactivity in RA. Finally, we broadened our study of mimicry in RA by the investigation of citrullinated autoantigens. Structural studies demonstrated high levels of homology between citrullinated fibrinogen, IgG1 Fc and HERV. We further explored how protein citrullination affects the cross-reactivity of autoantibody responses in RA. These experiments revealed that generation of neoepitopes through citrullination of HERV-K10 and autoantigens IgG1 Fc and fibrinogen enhanced the reactivity of RA sera to these targets. Moreover, we showed that RF autoantibodies could mediate responses to a classical ACPA target fibrinogen, only when it is citrullinated, in the absence of ACPAs. These data provide a new insight into the initiation and propagation of immunological responses in RA and how viral/host molecular mimics and citrullination could modulate serum cross-reactivity profiles in RA.
    • 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.
    • Can web indicators be used to estimate the citation impact of conference papers in engineering?

      Aduku, Kuku, J. (2019-02-08)
      Although citation counts are widely used to support research evaluation, they can only reflect academic impacts, whereas research can also be useful outside academia. There is therefore a need for alternative indicators and empirical studies to evaluate them. Whilst many previous studies have investigated alternative indicators for journal articles and books, this thesis explores the importance and suitability of four web indicators for conference papers. These are readership counts from the online reference manager Mendeley and citation counts from Google Patents, Wikipedia and Google Books. To help evaluate these indicators for conference papers, correlations with Scopus citations were evaluated for each alternative indicator and compared with corresponding correlations between alternative indicators and citation counts for journal articles. Four subject areas that value conferences were chosen for the analysis: Computer Science Applications; Computer Software Engineering; Building & Construction Engineering; and Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering. There were moderate correlations between Mendeley readership counts and Scopus citation counts for both journal articles and conference papers in Computer Science Applications and Computer Software. For conference papers in Building & Construction Engineering and Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, the correlations between Mendeley readers and citation counts are much lower than for journal articles. Thus, in fields where conferences are important, Mendeley readership counts are reasonable impact indicators for conference papers although they are better impact indicators for journal articles. Google Patent citations had low positive correlations with citation counts for both conference papers and journal articles in Software Engineering and Computer Science Applications. There were negative correlations for both conference papers and journal articles in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. However, conference papers in Building and Construction Engineering attracted no Google Patent citations. This suggests that there are disciplinary differences but little overall value for Google Patent citations as impact indicators in engineering fields valuing conferences. Wikipedia citations had correlations with Scopus citations that were statistically significantly positive only in Computer Science Applications, whereas the correlations were not statistically significantly different from zero in Building & Construction Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering and Software Engineering. Conference papers were less likely to be cited in Wikipedia than journal articles were in all fields, although the difference was minor in Software Engineering. Thus, Wikipedia citations seem to have little value in engineering fields valuing conferences. Google Books citations had positive significant correlations with Scopus-indexed citations for conference papers in all fields except Building & Construction Engineering, where the correlations were not statistically significantly different from zero. Google Books citations seemed to be most valuable impact indicators in Computer Science Applications and Software Engineering, where the correlations were moderate, than in Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, where the correlations were low. This means that Google Book citations are valuable indicators for conference papers in engineering fields valuing conferences. Although evidence from correlation tests alone is insufficient to judge the value of alternative indicators, the results suggest that Mendeley readers and Google Books citations may be useful for both journal articles and conference papers in engineering fields that value conferences, but not Wikipedia citations or Google Patent citations.
    • The impact of implementing heritage elements in contemporary buildings in the United Arab Emirates

      Arif, Mohammed; Al Qasimi, Shaikha Khuloud Humaid (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-02)
      Due to the rapid growth and development which occurred during the last century the United Arab Emirates witnessed dramatic changes after oil discovery and the economic boom. This affected the building and construction sector that formed the urban fabric of the country. The four fundamental architectural heritage elements of the UAE are the mashrabiya, the wind tower, the courtyard and the broken entrance, these essential architectural heritage elements were efficiently implemented in traditional buildings. In the context of the contemporary; preservation challenges are experienced particularly when foreign architectural design is seen to be increasing dominating the cityscape and the architectural heritage elements are being misused neglecting their functionalities. This research aims to analyze and compare the efficiency of architectural heritage elements in the contemporary buildings and seeks to gather thorough rationale and logical interpretation in heritage elements. In order to investigate these four architectural heritage elements further, ‘case study ‘methodology has been used to inspect the performance of four local contemporary buildings and a comparison technique ( Comparative Analysis ) was conducted to better understand the outcomes of the analysis. The case study research is being preferable as a strategy due to the exploratory nature of the research and it essentially responds to research questions that seek explanation rather than experimentation. This research diverse from the usual traditional and contemporary comparison of heritage elements and focuses on comparing their reliability and functionality when addressed in contemporary buildings. It asserts that preservation must be in mind as a pre-requisite towards interpretation of heritage elements and ensures that currently more advanced technologies can be fully exploited to embrace traditional elements to achieve development requirements.
    • Joint venture and production sharing contracts in less developed countries – a critical legal analysis

      Haynes, Andrew; Wigwe-Chizindu, Veronica (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      The thesis principally examines the three categories of petroleum arrangements in Nigeria and gives examples of other developing countries. This study presents a systematic and in-depth analysis of both the structure and substance of some modern petroleum arrangements that have emerged in recent years and examines, the financial benefits of such associations. The thesis is divided into two parts. Part 1 deals with participation agreements, joint venture and production sharing contracts, whilst Part 2 examines mutual benefit and marginalisation of the host communities. These agreements are usually long-term, without any mechanism for renegotiations and are shrouded in secrecy and confidential clauses. A good example is the NNPC and Ashland oil contract. Due to this lacuna, it is usually the practice for renegotiation to be done through the passing of a legal notice or new law, resulting in the presence of quite a few laws in the petroleum industry and the attendant mystification. This practice would have been simple if renegotiation clauses were enshrined in the agreement, enabling changing circumstances; and confidential clauses removed, aiding transparency in the transaction. The study finds that some of the laws and the regulations are very old and clearly out of style with the times, not to mention in an industry that is forever changing and dynamic and further affected and determined by international factors. Further, the study also found that the activities of the oil and gas companies, to a great extent have not employed international best practices or remained compliant with the existing laws of the nation; resulting in oil spillages, various forms of pollution, serious health hazards, gross environmental degradations, rural agricultural destruction, distortion of social harmony and peace that exist in, and between host communities and have fuelled underdevelopment in these communities. As long as these social inequalities and injustice continue, human rights violations, gross mismanagement of natural resources, corruption in all forms and sizes exist and the activities of the participants in that sector are not addressed satisfactorily, so shall poverty, insecurity and serious threat to national existence and survival continue.
    • Banking regulation and the Basel III Accord: an examination of the risks and shortcomings posed by Basel III

      Haynes, Andrew; Chatterjee, Charles; Jacobs, Lézelle; Barnes, Matthew R. (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      In 1974 the Committee on Banking Regulations and Supervisory Practices was created and supported by the Bank for International Settlements. It was envisaged that a forum should be created so that regular interaction and co-operation could be achieved by member countries to improve financial stability and to enhance the quality of banking supervision. The aim of this research is to examine the risks and shortcomings posed by Basel III; specifically capital ratios, credit rating agencies and value-at-risk. These are based on the author’s initial research that indicated these to be the most problematic. The research also aims to provide recommendations in order to improve Basel III. Additionally, the research includes Basel I and II to illustrate the developments, problems and milestones to create a wider appreciation of this area. The title of this research is tackled extensively in Chapters 4 and 5 where the risks and shortcomings are considered in the former and recommendations are put forward in the latter. This consists of changes that are taking place or have been suggested. It is argued that there is still much work to do, but there has been significant improvement(s). The main contribution to knowledge and understanding the field in the form of originality is found throughout the research in its treatment of the subject matter and can also be viewed substantially in Chapter 5. The recommendations can be summarised below. Capital Ratios 1. A longer implementation period for liquidity coverage ratio and high quality liquid assets. 2. A longer implementation period for high quality liquid assets in a European context. 3. High quality liquid assets need re-categorisation. 4. The creation of a dedicated liquidity risk management team. Credit Rating Agencies 1. International Organisation of Securities Commissions model and more enforceability through regulators and governments. 2. Tighter regulation through the Basel regulations. 3. The creation of a public credit rating agency. 4. Uniformity on whether agencies offer opinions or advice and more accountability through the Basel regulations. Value-at-Risk 1. Research and investment to improve credit value adjustment value-at-risk. 2. The use of all three conventional approaches - Analytical Variance/Covariance, Historical, and Monte Carlo. 3. Penalising those who manipulate value-at-risk to turn products/positions from high risk to low risk.
    • Influences on conceptions, perceptions and experiences of employability

      Thompson, David W.; Cramp, Andy; Edwards, Emma (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      This research explores the responses to the employability agenda of staff working within a post-1992 Higher Education Institution (HEI). Recent policy and discourse has served to drive this issue to the top of many HEI agendas. HEIs are required to provide data about the employment rates of their students at course level (Office for Students, 2018). University marketing material emphasises these statistics as publicity and promotion to prospective students (Burke et al, 2017, p.88). Employability is, therefore, a priority for many institutions operating within a competitive, marketised higher education (HE) sector. This research contributes to existing work on employability by examining, in one institution, the lived experiences of the following key participants in the agenda: senior leaders, middle managers and academics. By adopting an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, rich data was generated revealing the often hidden institutional conversations taking place. The findings of the research reveal a complex and varied response to employability, influenced by several factors, principally: personal experience, values and beliefs, position within the institution and the nature of the institution itself. Common experiences emerged in terms of surveillance and auditing, characteristic of an HE environment governed by increasingly standardised policies, where measuring employability has become mandatory. Participants were united in advocating a bespoke approach to employability policy development and evaluation, which takes account of and recognises various macro and micro issues, for example: the region in which the research setting was based, the nature of the institution, and the diversity of the student body. The research further indicates that institutional approaches to employability can be understood as a change process, impacting on individuals in the sector in various powerful ways: identity, loss of control, agency and increased pressure are significant issues for participants. The research demonstrates that the implementation of the employability agenda within HEIs is clearly challenging and requires an understanding of the influencing factors on perceptions and conceptions of employability, and negotiation with key staff. For academics in particular, local adaptation of policies and strategies was seen as crucial to meaningful developments in the agenda and the avoidance of being merely policy-led.
    • Reflections from practice using the UK QAA Quality Code as a framework to assist in managing and subsequently closing an international branch campus

      Devlin, Linda; Houlton, Loraine Jennifer (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      This study is based on a single longitudinal live case study of an International Branch Campus The scope of this study relates to learning lessons from the current literature in relation to International Branch Campuses [IBC]. The review of the current literature allowed me to identify risks based on experiences from my fellow practitioners, which then allowed me to mitigate my own exposure to them. This related initially to the setting up of an IBC and thereafter the delivery at an IBC. The introduction of a Quality Framework, in December 2012, by the Quality Assurance Agency [QAA] is an independent body whose role is safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education wherever it is delivered around the world. The Quality Framework was a unification of standards across the whole of the UK, whereas previously there were separate systems in England, Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. The framework introduced two key new concepts, firstly, a ‘risk based approach’, the first phase of risk management is risk identification according the Institute of Risk Management and by reviewing existing literature I was able to identify risks from learning lessons from existing case study examples. The second concept related to quality enhancement rather than just focusing on quality assurance. This encourages a continuous monitoring of processes rather than the previous concept of annual monitoring. This was piloted in the case study example in the form of a lessons learned log which identified risks at the earliest opportunity, which then fed into the Course Journal. A lessons learned log approach allowed students to be engaged in the quality process more and quality became a positive element, looking at what went well, and even better if…mind set rather than ticking a box in relation to compliance. This research is based in a lived in case study example of an IBC which opened in March 2012, prior to, and the subsequent introduction of the Quality Framework, and illustrates the lessons learned through the first year of operation providing an insight to examples of quality enhancement in relation to pedagogical examples of delivery, content and student engagement. In June 2015 a decision was made to close the case study International Branch Campus whilst reviewing literature in relation to closing an International Branch Campus there was a gap in relation to ‘how to’ close rather than providing data on how many had closed [although this appears to be lacking in rigor], and identifying the reasons for closure. This study will illustrate how to close an International Branch Campus using the QAA Quality Framework to ensure that student enhancement opportunities are identified to support student success.
    • ‘Are they ready to fly?’ Flying faculty preparedness and professional learning: an exploratory study of transnational education staff perspectives

      Devlin, Linda; Bartram, Brendan; Whieldon, Joan Ann (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      The international mobility of higher education institutions and courses is increasing exponentially. In 2016–17, there were 707,915 students on UK degrees outside the UK with 1.6 times more students now on UK degree programmes offshore than there are international students based at universities in the UK. They are referred to as ‘glocals’ – students having global aspirations with local experiences. Transnational education takes a number of forms, one of which involves UK academic staff working as ‘flying faculty’ offshore. This requires a tutor flying to a host country, delivering the programme of study intensively and then flying out, returning to the awarding institution in the UK. This study examines the impact of these short-term teaching sojourns by staff and their ‘lived lives’ at the pre-, during- and post-delivery stages. The study investigates what training or preparation takes place and whether the challenges and opportunities of undertaking the work of flying faculty affects them personally and/or professionally. There is also consideration of their future development needs. Six staff from two universities were interviewed as part of this research using the biographical narrative interpretive method (BNIM), supported by a focus group of twelve participants originally involved as part of a project supported by the Higher Education Academy. This wide demographic provided a significant representation of the sector with flying faculty experience ranging from zero to fifteen years. Conclusions which evolved from this study are authoritative since they emanate from experts in the field, with participant samples identified as typical. Results demonstrate that preparation and on-going support for this pedagogical practice is ad hoc, informal and of uncertain design leading to significant apprehensions for staff. A lack of focus by UK higher education institutions on the personal and pedagogic needs of flying faculty subverts any Maslowian aspirational achievements. In spite of continuing rapid growth in this area of education, there is no structured training, development or support for those staff involved. The intention of this study is to provide a starting point for higher education institutions to move forward, encouraged by regulatory, fiscal and personnel incentives. The design of personal and pedagogically structured preparation, support and development for flying faculty in the future would represent a positive paradigm shift in the way that flying faculty are prepared, developed and perceived. The results of the study should be recognised as a contribution to knowledge engendering the need for change.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Oil and gas contracts: a law in context analysis using Nigeria as a case study

      Haynes, Andrew; Adebayo, Jamiu Olohundare (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-12-31)
      The legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry and the contracting obligations arising thereof have evolved over time in many forms across oil producing states. Given the peculiarities of each of these oil producing states, the framework is constantly changing. The changing face of politics, climate and rapidly developing technology are changing the landscape of the industry, demanding a fundamental need for petroleum resource-endowed states to take a strategic view and choose what legal framework and contracting approaches are likely to deliver their ultimate objective: optimum production with topmost financial gains. The idea behind the exploration and exploitation of natural resources is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing states with the anticipation that such investment will put them on the centre stage of global economics and lead to an improvement in research and technology transfer that would sustain economic growth and development. However, the objective of transnational corporations is to maximise their profits. Ultimately, it is the exploration licensing contracts that states use to implement oil exploration and exploitation policies. The present research therefore seeks to look at the dynamics of the legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry focussing on its everchanging contract types and nature. The research attempts to look at the causes of the imbalance in international oil and gas contracts with an eye on the observation that one of the causes of the imbalance are the investment treaties because they focus on a state’s obligations with little or no focus on obligations from transnational corporations towards the states. Some critical clauses that need to be taken into account by parties to the contract are also explored because it is argued that contractual clauses are also among the causes of imbalance in international oil and gas contracts. This research therefore addresses the causes of imbalance by looking at the problems associated with investment treaties and the long-term contractual relationship between the host states and the transnational corporations, particularly the associated risks with oil and gas contracts such as; political, economic, natural and technical risks. Essentially, the study will narrow down on the processes, technicalities, case studies and the features of four main types of oil and gas contracts namely, Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Ventures, Service Contracts and the two Concessions, (Old and New). The research also attempted to answer the following questions: what is the current structure of oil contracts and to what extent can parties’ commitments be altered to ensure the sustenance of economic stability? Which type of contract is the best for development and financial purposes? What are the causes of imbalance in the oil contract and to what extent have the principles of international environmental law been utilised at a state level and whether developing countries have been able to overcome the pressures from transnational corporations on the issue of environmental law? The research will address these questions through its five chapters.
    • How infant massage enhances pedagogical attachment in families facing challenging circumstances

      Rouse, Elizabeth (2018-12-05)
      This doctoral research project aimed to contribute a needed in-depth understanding of the effects of infant massage for families around the times they faced stressful life events. It was developed in response to Bennett, Underdown and Barlow’s 2013 meta-analysis and critique of studies examining the influence of infant massage on young babies’ health outcomes, and their recommendation that future studies explored the effects for groups they described as ‘higher risk’. The research was underpinned by five key concepts identified as potentially important themes, namely touch, intersubjectivity, attachment, resilience and infant massage. Located in the constructivist paradigm, and using a praxeological case study methodology, this qualitative study used methods including video, storyboarding, interviews and questionnaires with families and practitioners. The central ethical issues were around the assent, consent and voices of three infant-carer dyads who participated in the filming, and addressed through an innovative matrix of approaches to informed consent, and co-interpretation of the data with families. Infant massage was found to facilitate a unique multi-modal form of joint communication which I termed ‘visceral interaction’. This connectivity was set in a series of delicately balanced and nested environments (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and was found to enhance carers’ understanding of infants’ cues, respect for them as individuals, and to support intersubjective and attachment relationships. Infant massage can offer families a special environment focusing on the infant-carer connection, and offering important respite from the challenges that may disrupt its development. However, the environments surrounding the families, and timing of the programme were found to be critical; the massage context needs to support infant and carer feelings of containment (Bion, 1962) and regulation (Gerhardt, 2015) as they adjust to a new life phase. Drawing on these findings, this study recommends that future research focuses on practices which may support families’ increased participation in this vital service, and that there is a move to widen the offer of compassionate, respectful and individualised services to all families at this critical early stage.
    • Understanding the intersection of culture, religion and gender on diversity management: a qualitative study of Nigerian hotels

      Ukachukwu, Amarachukwu (2018-12-01)
      Recent attention has been drawn to human resource management within the Nigerian context, with increased interest in the improvement of organisational management practices to enable Nigeria to compete in an increasingly globalised economy (Fajana et al., 2011). Despite this, however, there is a distinct paucity of academic literature addressing the effects of culture and religion on gender equality in management within Nigerian organisations (Tiemo and Arubayi, 2012). Nigeria does not have an indigenous tradition of human resource management, and as a consequence, many of its management practices are imported alongside foreign investment and amalgamated with local practices (Fajana et al., 2011). Nigeria’s patriarchal culture and demographic context have significant implications on diversity management, and this reflects on the composition of the workforce (Tiemo and Arubayi, 2012). Qualitative data collected in Northern, Southern and Eastern regions of Nigeria through in-depth interviews were coded and analysed. The study found that hotels in Nigeria are still grappling with the problem of gender inequality with females’ career development suffering greatly under the burden of a patriarchal culture. Females are also made to take job responsibilities that reflect their positions in the society and households. Secondly, the intersecting factors of gender, religion and culture put severe pressures on women, which tend to have a negative impact on work-life balance. Thirdly, family responsibility and expectations deter females from seeking promotion to the higher level of hotel administration. Many females who attempt to ‘rebel’ against the standing cultural order find themselves in marriage crises. Finally, gender diversity management is not promoted in Nigerian hotels. The study makes contributions to theory and practice. It finds common ground for the application of hegemonic masculinity framework and intersectionality perspective in gender and management inquiries. The study recommends radical holistic change is required regarding policy, cultural, programmatic, attitudinal and social actions.
    • Religion and spirituality within the Sikh religion: how counselling psychologists can help

      Kaur, Mandeep (2018-11-01)
      This study investigated the spiritual and religious experience of members of the Sikh community with a focus on how such an experience affects their sense of wellbeing. Consequently, the central aim of this study is to explore how Sikhs use religion and spirituality with coping. This was examined by exploring how Sikhs deal with stressful events and how these impacted on their wellbeing. The thesis was comprised of two parts. Study one comprised of the thematic analysis of questionnaires. 56 UK based Sikh participants (23 males and 33 females; age range 17-62) took part. The findings from study one speculated that the older age group appeared more accepting of their religion and spirituality suggesting maybe they are less occupied by a quest to explore their life through religion and spirituality than the 20-30 year old age group. Consequently, study two looked more closely at participants aged between 20-30 year olds to further explore their lived experience. In line with the IPA methodology, a small well-defined opportunity sample of six people (4 males and 2 females) in the Sikh faith, who have been practicing their religion for at least 2-3 years and between the ages of 20-30 were invited to participate in the interviews. Four superordinate themes were found which represented an overall story. The themes were namely, religious and spiritual struggles; religion and spirituality assisting with the development of self and identity; spiritual striving and aids to well-being: religious/spiritual coping. It is hoped that findings from this research will help to inform our understanding of how Sikh client’s religious and spiritual beliefs influences their wellbeing as well as incorporating this knowledge into the therapy process to make good clinical judgements. This study will enhance research in counselling psychology with regards to religion and spirituality and mental health specifically with regards to young Sikh’s.
    • Designing a safe dendronised polymeric nanocarrier for hydrophobic drugs or gene delivery in cancer therapy

      Tang, James; Wali, Aisha Roshan Mohamed (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-11)
      The hardship of cancer is continuously increasing and is rapidly spreading globally. At present, almost one-third of newly discovered potential therapeutics have poor pharmacokinetics and biopharmaceutical properties. Chemotherapeutic agents known to be the most effective treatment, lack tumour specificity and suffers from poor solubility. The lack of specificity results in severe side effects in off-target tissues, whereas poor soluble drugs exhibit short half-life in the bloodstream and high overall clearance rate. Amphiphilic block copolymers based on hydrophobic dendrons have shown to be a promising strategy to enhance the solubility of hydrophobic drugs, prolong circulation time, minimise non-specific uptake, and allow for specific tumour-targeting through the EPR effect. Herein, we have proposed the development of a new safe and more specific non-viral vector system based on peptide dendronised polymeric micelles to enhance the delivery of hydrophobic drugs into liver cancer cells. G3(PLLA and OGPLLL) arginine dendron of third generation bearing eight peripheral hydrophobic or cationic groups (PBF and BOC or guanidine groups) were synthesised in high yield, identified and tested for purity using NMR, MS and TLC. A series of three amphiphilic system characterised by different hydrophilic pullulan derivatives segments were then synthesised using Huisgen azide-alkyne 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition between pullulan (P), lactosylated pullulan (P(Lac)) and pullulan bearing disulphide linkage (PSS) with the G3 dendron to lead amphiphilic block copolymers P-PLLA, P(Lac)-PLLA and PSS-PLLA, respectively. Hydrophilic pullulan and lactobionic acid were selected for amphiphilic modification, aiming at specific asialoglycoprotein receptors recognition onto hepatocytes cells in the liver. Macromolecular structures of amphiphilic P-PLLA, P(Lac)-PLLA and PSS-PLLA were able to self-assemble spontaneously into spherical nanoarchitectures of sizes less than 90nm with low polydispersity in the aqueous media, which was confirmed by CAC, DLS and TEM. Furthermore, the polyaromatic anticancer drug Doxorubicin (Dox) was selectively encapsulated in the hydrophobic core through multiple interactions with the dendron, including π-π interactions, hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions. Such multiple interactions had the merits of enhanced drug loading capacity (>16%), excellent stability against dilution, and excellent sustained release property. Results showed that a high number of hydrophobic segments within a micellar core enhance higher loading efficiency of hydrophobic drugs, whereas, an increase of surface hydrophilicity or an increase in the length of the hydrophobic segment, both have an effect in reducing the micellar size and CAC value. The disulfide-containing PSS-PLLA micelles were able to co-encapsulate both hydrophobic drugs Dox and Curcumin (Cur) which could simultaneously be co-released in high rate from the carrier (>80wt% in 60hours) in response to the high redox potential environment. Most importantly, the release of Dox from the carrier at pH 5 enhanced the release of curcumin, whereas curcumin, in turn, would improve the efficiency of Dox anticancer activity by overcoming Dox MDR. Such a delivery system provides a promising approach for combination therapy in cancer. The cell viability assay presented that the blank micelles had excellent biocompatibility both in the normal and tumour cells. Moreover, loaded drugs nanoparticles could be effectively internalised into the hepatoma carcinoma cells, and Dox-Cur-PSS-PLLA dramatically inhibited cell proliferation. Also, cationic dendron conjugated pullulan (P-OGPLLL) could efficiently condense DNA with excellent hemocompatibility and high gene transfection in Hela and Hek293T cells. Thus, this work offers an effective strategy of designing a non-viral system and the P-PLLA, P(Lac)-PLLA, PSS-PLLA and P-OGPLLL nanocarriers serve as a reliable drug/gene delivery nanoplatform to enable the improvement of the bioavailability, targetability, efficacy and overcome MDR of therapeutic agents.
    • Developing a framework for BIM implementation in the Saudi Arabian construction industry

      Alhumayn, Saud Abdullah (2018-10-01)
      The construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is faced with challenges of incessant delays, cost overruns and poor quality. The premise of the research reported here is that effective adoption and implementation of Building Information modelling (BIM) can contribute to the achievement of the necessary improvement. Against this backdrop, the aim of the research was to produce a strategic framework to underpin such adoption and implementation. It entailed investigation of the awareness of BIM, the extent of its use in KSA and the barriers to its more effective adoption and implementation. A mixed research approach was adopted, using a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews for collecting data. The questionnaire survey was used to obtain information on the awareness, barriers, drivers and status of BIM usage in the KSA construction industry, while the semi-structured interviews were designed to elicit the opinions of professionals and elucidate their own experiences in relation to the variables in this study. The data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and thematic content analysis. The study found that the awareness of BIM in the Saudi construction industry is low and faced with inherent barriers that impede its successful application. These barriers were found to be a lack of knowledge of BIM, initial and running costs of implementation, a lack of training of personnel, and a fear of changing from the traditional methods of construction. The study identified strategies that could be used to address these challenges. These include enlightenment on the benefits of BIM application; creating awareness of BIM through workshops, seminars and conferences; training of workers; and the introduction of government intervention to enforce the application of BIM. In addition, this study identified the relevant factors that would enable the application of BIM in the Saudi construction industry to be meeting client's expectations and the requirement to use BIM technology, and using BIM because of the benefits it offers such as cost savings, efficiency, quality and increase in productivity. Regardless of these BIM drivers, however, the most important aim is to bring the stakeholders to commit themselves and invest in the necessary technology, tools and resources in order to improve construction processes. A strategic framework was developed to serve as a roadmap for BIM implementation. The framework also encompassed the key parties in the process and the specific roles to be played by them. The study concludes that the implementation of BIM could improve project performance in Saudi Arabia in terms of time, cost and quality.
    • Fulfilling roles: Midland women, developing roles and identities C.1760-1860

      Ponsonby, Margaret; Gildart, Keith; Maitland-Brown, Katrina (2018-09-15)
      This thesis examines the lives of a group of Midland women in the period c. 1760-1860. They were the wives, sisters, daughters and mothers of the middle-class entrepreneurial and professional men of the region. During this period the Midlands produced individuals who expanded production and commerce, often with little technical innovation, but with a shrewd sense of what was marketable. Men such as the Wedgwoods, Boultons and Kenricks built businesses, sponsored canals and highways, and invented, produced and sold an ever-expanding supply of goods world-wide. Yet while the lives of such men have been celebrated, the women of these families have often been overlooked. They are the focus of this thesis, which will address this gap in the history of the entrepreneurial and professional families of the Midlands. Examining the identities of these women through a range of archival and printed sources, both as individuals and as members of families, communities, networks and organisations, particular attention is paid to changing social and cultural attitudes. The thesis will investigate whether and how their experiences contributed to the wider debates on women’s roles in this period, examining the role of networks in assisting women to operate in a variety of spaces, broadening their political consciousness, and questioning what, if any, generational changes are visible. The thesis will argue that in this period, middle-class women negotiated social and cultural conventions of class and gender through a variety of roles which empowered them to shape their own identities. A microhistory study such as this highlights the more subtle and complex efforts made by women in search of autonomy, filling in gaps created in broader studies. In revealing contradictions of the norm, a more nuanced view of women’s experiences can also emerge. The thesis aims to extend existing knowledge in the field of social and cultural history by researching the experiences of these middle-class women of the Midlands who, for the most part, notwithstanding their achievements as businesswomen, religious figures and contributors to science and literature, have escaped the notice of scholars of women’s history. Yet knowledge of women’s activities beyond feminist campaigns can broaden our understanding of what may have been important to their social group. They all had something to say, even the quieter ones. In examining their activities this thesis restores their social and cultural histories and, by highlighting their concerns and interests, allows a more inclusive picture of British middle-class women’s experiences in the period 1760 to 1860 to emerge, with some surprising results.
    • Queering the Black Country: a critical and creative response

      McDonald, Paul; Colbert, Ben; Francis, Robert Mark (2018-09-01)
      This project explores the following research questions: How might Black Country fiction illuminate the possible connections – in theory and practice – between the post-industrial liminality of the region and queer identity or experience; and, in what ways might a close analysis of contemporary Black Country fiction function as an enabling or energising factor in the production of a new creative work about the region? Using Environmental Psychology and Psychogeography, I critically examine the ways the literature of the region depict its geography and the impact this has on the identity of its characters. Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis is utilised to discuss ideas of liminal states of being - focusing on the uncanny, the abject and Lacan’s Lamella. These ideas are set within the framework of Queer Theory, connecting place and identity with non-normative sexualities. Psychogeography and environmental psychology illustrate how one’s culture, heritage and environment help form communal identity and sense of place. I examine sense of place in the region’s literature and investigate the liminal aspects of its geography and socio-politics, exposing how liminal place affects the inhabiting cultures and communities, and how liminal place forges liminal experience and identity. I investigate identity by looking at literary depictions of abjection and the uncanny; using Freud, Lacan and Kristeva, this project looks at notions of coming into being, and the anxieties formed from the return of the repressed. Queer Theory focuses on non-normative desire and sexuality. I discuss how queer experience and identity can be read as liminal, uncanny and abject. These theories are set against the landscape of the Black Country, examining how the region can be used as a fruitful backdrop for dealing with identity politics and how the Black Country, in its borderlessness, plays a significant role in specifically local types of queerness. An important thematic thread of contemporary Black Country literature deals with notions of identity in a post-industrial landscape. The region can be identified as post-industrial in several ways. I examine how Black Country writers deal with it as a borderless place – a place difficult to map, a place where new meets old, where rural life sits next to heavy industry, a place geographically and socio-politically liminal. This thesis is a piece of literary criticism of existing Black Country Literature, an original piece of creative writing and a reflective commentary on my creative practices. Queering the Black Country investigates the research questions through three different methodologies, resulting in an overall conclusion that draws on three distinct academic / creative practices. The critical output sets out how Black Country writing can be read as examples of liminal, post-industrial and queer literature. This also develops the theoretical framework the creative element uses. The creative output develops and adds to the existing dialogue of these ideas of liminality and queer experience, offering an original creative perspective on the traditions of this region’s literature. My reflective commentary explores how creative writing practices and processes, in terms of narrative devices, add to the ways one produces liminal and queer literature. This part critical - part creative project investigates slippery notions of liminality through criticism of existing Black Country literature and through production of an original piece of creative fiction.
    • Hospital nurses' attitudes to work: a case study of a Chinese hospital

      Feng, Feifei (2018-07-30)
      The aim of this study is to explore what the relevant factors of nurses' attitudes to and at work are. These include the separate but related hypotheses – the nature of the profession and changes in terms of management and training; the nature of the work situation including contracts and pay determination; and the nature of work relations as they impinge on nurse status including relations with co-workers and patients. All of which can be understood and compared with other workers in terms of both labour process and industrial relations as Goldthorpe (1968) did in the study of car workers. In the context of the contemporary Chinese social and political economy, the research also evaluates the roles of the government and how it affects nurses’ attitudes to the profession. It is grounded in a case study of 330 nurses in a Chinese public sector hospital, using questionnaires, interviews, and documentary evidence on government policies and hospital practices. The findings suggest that nurses at the case study hospital are frequently put under pressure due to the high number of patients they are expected to care for. This was caused by insufficient government funding for public sector hospitals, and the pressure to improve overall efficiency within the health service. The use of different types of employment contracts for nurses has caused strong resentment among nurses because it fails to award ‘equal pay for equal work’. In addition, the current system used in many Chinese hospitals for nurse education, recruitment, training and development, and pay have not helped establish realistic expectations of nursing or rewarded nurses for the work they do effectively.