• An investigative study on the relationship between organizational factors and knowledge management effectiveness in UAE public organizations: the case study of Abu Dhabi

      Alkatheeri, Ayman (2018-07-01)
      This study examines the relationship between organizational factors (Culture, Structure, Strategy and Technology) and Knowledge Management Effectiveness (KME) in Abu Dhabi public organizations. The literature indicates that these factors are widely used to explore KME in construction organizations, but little analysis has been undertaken for UAE public construction companies. The government of Abu Dhabi regulates eight different construction organizations. This study obtained 414 samples from the considered organizations. An empirical research with quantitative methods was undertaken. First, a comprehensive literature reviewed enabled the derivation of three hypotheses, which were then verified through a quantitative survey of the eight organizations. A questionnaire was administered to 414 active department managers, supervisors and employees of Abu Dhabi public organizations whose job description indicated responsibility for KME implementation. Descriptive statistical analysis was used to evaluate the organizational factors and KME of the considered organizations. Ordered logistic regression was used to assess the influence of the organizational factors on KME, and factor analysis was used for the extraction of the significant dimensions of these factors. Ordered logistic regression was used to explore the relationships between the significant dimensions found in these factors and KME. It was discovered that there is significant relationship between organizational factors and KME, but only a few dimensions have significant impacts. Therefore, a model was subsequently developed for the improvement of KME in Abu Dhabi public organizations consisting of significant areas and dimensions of factors impacting on KME, which was developed in a group discussion conducted with senior and middle management leaders from the considered organizations, who were responsible for implementing knowledge management. This model was then validated in Abu Dhabi public organizations and the results indicate the areas and factors of Abu Dhabi public organizations’ knowledge management leaders that need to be strengthened to improve KME performance.
    • Automatic identification and translation of multiword expressions

      Taslimipoor, Shiva (2018-06-30)
      Multiword Expressions (MWEs) belong to a class of phraseological phenomena that is ubiquitous in the study of language. They are heterogeneous lexical items consisting of more than one word and feature lexical, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic idiosyncrasies. Scholarly research on MWEs benefits both natural language processing (NLP) applications and end users. This thesis involves designing new methodologies to identify and translate MWEs. In order to deal with MWE identification, we first develop datasets of annotated verb-noun MWEs in context. We then propose a method which employs word embeddings to disambiguate between literal and idiomatic usages of the verb-noun expressions. Existence of expression types with various idiomatic and literal distributions leads us to re-examine their modelling and evaluation. We propose a type-aware train and test splitting approach to prevent models from overfitting and avoid misleading evaluation results. Identification of MWEs in context can be modelled with sequence tagging methodologies. To this end, we devise a new neural network architecture, which is a combination of convolutional neural networks and long-short term memories with an optional conditional random field layer on top. We conduct extensive evaluations on several languages demonstrating a better performance compared to the state-of-the-art systems. Experiments show that the generalisation power of the model in predicting unseen MWEs is significantly better than previous systems. In order to find translations for verb-noun MWEs, we propose a bilingual distributional similarity approach derived from a word embedding model that supports arbitrary contexts. The technique is devised to extract translation equivalents from comparable corpora which are an alternative resource to costly parallel corpora. We finally conduct a series of experiments to investigate the effects of size and quality of comparable corpora on automatic extraction of translation equivalents.
    • The law and Regulation of Credit Rating Agencies in the US and EU

      Hemraj, Mohammed Baker (2018-06-16)
      The need for regulation of the credit rating agencies (CRAs) arose due to their role in the subprime mortgage crisis. The CRAs awarded risky securities ‘3-A’ investment grade status and then failed to downgrade them quickly enough when circumstances changed which led to investors suffering substantial losses. The causes identified by the regulators for the gatekeeper failure were conflicts of interest (as the issuers of these securities pay for the ratings); lack of competition (as the Big Three CRAs have dominated the market share); and lack of CRA regulation. The regulators, both in the US and EU, have tried to address these problems by introducing soft law self-regulation in accordance with the International Organisation of Securities Commissions Code and hard law statutory regulation such as that found in the “Reform Act” and “Dodd-Frank Act” in the US and similar provisions in the EU. This thesis examines these provisions in detail by using a doctrinal black-letter law method to assess the success of the regulators in redressing the problems identified. It also examines the US case law regulation relating to the legal liability of CRAs. The findings are that the US First Amendment protection, exclusion clauses and case law, all lack a deterrent effect on the actions of CRAs. As CRAs have escaped substantial damages, investors are left uncompensated for their losses. The thesis concludes that the issues of conflicts of interest and an anti-competitive environment persist. This thesis recommends the introduction of liability for the CRAs based on the Australian Bathurst case and which should be put in a statutory footing, including the requirements that are needed for making exclusion clauses effective. Rotation of CRAs for every three years would minimise the conflicts of interest. Regulators should require CRAs to purchase professional indemnity insurance, if available, to compensate investors.
    • Subclinical delusional ideation and reasoning

      Jones, Claire (2018-06-15)
      Delusions are fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence (APA, 2013) and are a symptom most often associated with schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that psychotic symptoms, such as delusions, exist on a continuum from the healthy population to clinical disorder (van Os, Linscott, Myin-Germeys, Delespaul & Krabbendam, 2009; van Os & Reininghaus, 2016). Research demonstrating that biases in reasoning contribute to the formation of such delusional beliefs has gathered momentum and has been shown in both clinical and healthy, non-clinical populations (e.g. Warman, Lysaker, Martin, Davis, & Haudenschield, 2007). Liberal acceptance has only been demonstrated previously in patients with schizophrenia therefore the current thesis aimed to examine whether a liberal acceptance reasoning style would be evident in a subclinical sample consistent with a continuum model and to examine factors that may underpin this acceptance. In Chapters 3-5 and Chapter 8, it was found that there was a tendency for those high in delusional ideation to rate stimuli with both delusional and neutral content as more likely to be true compared to those low in delusional ideation indicating a lowered threshold for plausibility, consistent with a liberal reasoning style. It was a fairly consistent finding that stimuli with delusional themes were rated as more exciting than stimuli with neutral themes by participants high in delusional ideation, highlighting a potential mechanism for why narratives with delusional and neutral content are more likely to be accepted (Chapter 2, 5 & 8). Sensation seeking however did not provide an explanation for finding excitement in delusional stimuli and creativity was only implicated when this was in regards to emotional creativity in Chapter 3. Furthermore, perceptual and non-perceptual apophenia (the tendency to see patterns where none exist or make causal connections between random events) appears to play a central role in why participants high in delusional ideation liberally accept. Embedded objects were reported in visual ‘noise’ where no object had been embedded by participants high in delusional ideation in Chapter 4. Consistent with this, participants high in delusional ideation also tended to report experiencing more coincidences than those low in delusional ideation in Chapters 5 and 8. This is important for the liberal acceptance account since the ability to see patterns where none exist and make causal connections between random events may be a factor in why delusion-prone individuals see plausibility where others do not. Liberal acceptance was also investigated in light of findings from studies with clinical patients in Chapters 6 and 7. In Chapter 6, participants assigned plausibility ratings to interpretations of ambiguous pictures to see if those high in delusional ideation see plausibility in interpretations that others would reject or rate lowly. Similar trends were found in a subclinical sample, to that found in Moritz and Woodward’s (2004) original study and participants high in delusional ideation rated more of the interpretations as possible, good or excellent compared to participants low in delusional ideation, who rated more of the interpretations as poor; these effects however did not achieve significance. When probability estimates and decision and rejection thresholds were examined using the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ paradigm (see Moritz, Woodward & Hausmann, 2006), differences between participants high and low in delusional ideation did not emerge in Chapter 7. The series of experiments reported in this thesis have been successful in highlighting under what conditions participants high in delusional ideation liberally accept and in identifying potential factors that underpin this acceptance. Limitations of this research, theoretical implications and directions for future research are considered in the General Discussion in Chapter 8.
    • The development of 5D BIM framework to facilitate costing in contractor-led projects

      Tochukwu, Moses Gift (2018-06-15)
      Building Information Modelling (BIM) as an ambitious Government Construction Strategy (GCS) on all publicly procured sector projects, is leading to a significant shift and changing the dynamics of cost professional functions. This therefore requires the current fragmented construction industry to urgently review approaches to existing cost estimating and cost planning processes leading to a reliable project budget. This drive, along with 2025 construction strategy is key to achieving the requirement of GCS for 25 percent cost reduction. To successfully implement Level 2 BIM, relevant costing framework, enabling 5D BIM cost protocol or standard significant to changing dynamics of cost functions within BIM environment is required to be embedded within design development stages. Using phenomenological qualitative research method and thematic data analytical process, interviews involving 21 participants from seven construction organisations with design, construction and cost management practices were conducted. Scope was intentionally provided for extensive discussion to identify issues beyond the literature findings. Findings suggest strong commitment and leadership from organisational management will facilitate cost savings, generate accurate cost information in a Level 2 BIM project. A considerable cultural shift towards automating and digitising cost functions virtually; stronger collaborative working relationship relative to costing in design development, construction practice, maintenance and operation is required across the built environment. The 5D BIM Costing Framework (5B-CF) which informed the creation of 5D BIM Cost Protocol (5B-CP) as developed would allow contractors fully utilise BIM facilitating more effective 5D costing in a contractor-led project.
    • Exploring postcolonial trauma in Nigeria as stimulus for creating new plays

      Agboaye, Isikhuemen (2018-06-01)
      This research is situated within the practice-led method, enabling me as a playwright to gain stimulus for creating trauma informed plays. The framework for creating such plays in this research is the centre-periphery concept (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, 2013, 43) situated with the imagined nation as backdrops for understanding postcolonial trauma. In order to gain stimulus for playwriting in this research, I explored Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman to understanding postcolonial trauma in my part of Africa, being Nigeria. I also explored other sources for the purpose of gaining stimulus from embedded trauma motifs, useful for writing The Longest Snake, The Endless Walk and the Alternative plays. The Alternative plays draw meanings from the initial plays and are interventive and socio-dramatic; revealing how trauma may be understood from other perspectives. The originality of this research and contribution to knowledge may be perceived in the new plays which incorporate trauma notions; the role of the ‘circle’ in conceptualisation and the use of the ‘centre-periphery’ concepts as template for playwriting and analysis. The originality may also be inferred from the interventive relevance of the created plays, touching on how postcolonial trauma may be understood from the lens of the imagined nation, and events in the centre-periphery context. It is also important to mention how the collectives are traumatically affected by the negative effects of colonisation as mirrored in the textual sources explored. Equally relevant are my personal experiences and the African folklore and folktale milieu, which are relevant for understanding postcolonial trauma through praxis; reiterating Gray and Marlins’ (2016: 2) thoughts that ‘We learn most effectively by doing – by active experience, and reflection on that experience,’ which may be seen in the context of the practice-led approach I adopted in this research.
    • An investigation of building information modelling implementation in KSA

      Naim, Abdullah Abdulrahman Abdullah Al (2018-06-01)
      Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been well recognised all around the world as a technology driven approach that can bring radical improvements in construction productivity. There is considerable demand for using BIM in the KSA due to the large scale of its construction industry that needs to improve its productivity to overcome the persistent problems, such as project delays, planning inefficiencies, and waste of resources. The aim of this study is to investigate how the KSA construction organisations are implementing BIM for competitive advantage. Qualitative research approach was adopted to collect and analyse data from 46 BIM professionals. As part of the analysis of the interviews, content analysis was employed. The unit of analysis adopted for this study is the ‘construction industry’ and the embedded unit is ‘individual employee’. The KSA construction industry is heading in the right direction for implementing BIM, however it is lacking BIM knowledge and does not understand BIM as a set of requirements. Therefore, an industry wide awareness-raising programme on the concept of BIM needs to be developed and deployed. The existing education and training programmes need some reorientation. Furthermore, the KSA construction organisations would not survive if they choose not to use BIM. BIM is widely used during planning and design stage. The four most important drivers for BIM implementation are: client pressure, competitive pressure, to improve collaboration, and government pressure. Eleven challenges were also revealed in this study of which organisational culture for change is the key challenge for adoption of BIM in the KSA construction organisations. Leaders of a change process need to realise that most changes within an organisation will usually cause and expect some change in its existing culture and sub-cultures. Therefore, having a better understanding of the effects change has on the sub-cultures of an organisation, group or team, will in turn help leaders of a change process better understand the resistance towards the change itself, and provide a more realistic approach on how to manage it. A BIM implementation framework is developed for the benefit of KSA construction organisations. It is recommended that KSA construction stakeholders including the government and professional regulatory bodies should work together in ensuring that the enablers of BIM adoption such as the provision of regulations and industry standards guiding the implementation are provided and strengthened to make the industry ready enough for BIM adoption.
    • Representing Muslims: Islamophobic discourse and the construction of identities in Britain since 2001

      Jackson, Leonie (2018-05-01)
      Employing critical race theory as a theoretical and analytical framework, this thesis explores the nature, structure and purpose of Islamophobic discourse, and offers two central contributions to the scholarly debate on Islamophobia. First, it contributes to the literature on the nature of Islamophobia by analysing the form and structure of discourse that seeks to represent Muslims and Islam in a number of social and political sites. Second, the thesis addresses a significant gap identified in the scholarly literature, which has largely overlooked the purpose that Islamophobic discourse serves for those employing it. In order to address the nature and structure of Islamophobic discourse, the thesis analyses representations of Muslims and Islam in dominant national community cohesion and counterterrorism discourses; rearticulation of these discourses at the local level in the West Midlands town of Dudley; the use of Islamophobic discourse by the English Defence League; and the ways in which Islamophobic narratives were used to mark national boundaries in Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and France. I explain the convergence of narratives across these levels by extending Ghassan Hage’s theoretical formulation of racism as nationalist practices to Islamophobic discourse and argue that, as a cultural racism, Islamophobia can be conceptualised as upholding a system of Eurocentric supremacy, where Western subjects receive a better social, economic and political ‘racial contract’ and seek to defend these privileges against real and imagined Muslim demands. Whether employed for local, national or civilisational purposes, Islamophobia relies on the notion that space has been culturally compromised by Muslims and must be restored to authenticity by legitimate non-Muslim cultural managers. Islamophobia operates through a three-stage ideological process, and restores fantasised power to those who perceive Muslim cultural difference to be unacceptably changing the spaces in which they reside by representing Muslims as making incongruous demands of a territory, singling out a particular timeless value that is under threat, and reifying this value to an absolute. Through this process Muslims are put back in their place, while those employing this discourse experience a restoration of their cultural power to decide the values of a space.
    • Storying students’ ecologies of belonging: a narrative inquiry into the relationship between ‘first generation’ students and the University

      Richards, Lynn Maureen (2018-04-16)
      This research study explores the ways in which articulations of belonging are expressed by a small number of second year education undergraduates in a post-1992 university in the UK. Issues of student engagement and belonging in Higher Education (HE) have been the subject of research within recent years as a way to enhance rates of student retention and success, as the Widening Participation agenda has realised a changing demographic within the traditional student body. This study focuses on the First Generation Student (FGS), as reflective of the non-traditional student, who is subject to a negative framing within the educational literary discourse. The research adopts a metaphorical lens to locate the FGS as migrant within the HE landscape and to consider HE institutional efforts to foster a sense of belonging, as a strategic tool for success, as a colonising process. Working within an ecological framing of the topic, the study focuses on the differing contexts within which the research participants operate and considers the impact these have upon student engagement with the university. As a way to foreground respectful working with research participants, a person-centred approach has been employed, using a narrative inquiry methodological framework. Voices of the participants, as narrators, are privileged within this study in order to afford them the opportunity to add to the ongoing conversation on belonging. Creative strategies, based upon photo- and metaphor-elicitation, have been employed to facilitate discussion of the abstract and intangible concept of belonging and to provide a participatory nature to this research study. Findings signal a strong resolve by these narrators to overcome obstacles in their path to success within what is often an unfamiliar terrain within HE. The potentiality of the individual is privileged, showing strengths that are brought to the world of study which are often unrecognised by university practices. The affective dimension of belonging is emphasised within the research and metaphors of belonging, articulated by the narrators, offer alternative conceptual structurings which privilege aspects to do with security and adventure. Such insights afford opportunities to view belonging from differing perspectives, to re-figure ways in which students see themselves within HE processes, and to alert staff and personnel to new ways in which they might view the non-traditional student. Aspects of valuing the diversity of students and of a person-centred approach to working are viewed as key to creating the possibilities for belonging.
    • An interpretative phenomenological analysis investigation into the subjective experience of being diagnosed with dyslexia in adulthood

      Njoku, Chinenye (2018-04-01)
      A large number of adults remain unaware that the difficulties they encounter may be related to dyslexia. Diagnosing dyslexia in adulthood may provide the means to reasonable accommodation to help in areas of difficulties but may also impact on the individual’s sense of self. To date, little research attention has been paid to idiographic experiences of adulthood diagnosis of dyslexia and subsequent adjustment issues related to the diagnosis. The aim of this study is to develop indepth understandings on subjective conceptualisations, meaning making and adjustments issues to the experience of adulthood diagnosis of dyslexia. Semistructured interviews were conducted with seven individuals diagnosed with dyslexia in adulthood to explore this experience. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) from which five superordinate themes emerged: ‘De-constructing the past to make sense of the present’, ‘Roller coaster of emotions to dyslexia and diagnosis’, ‘Stigma, stereotypes and stereotypical attitudes towards dyslexics’, ‘The Paradox of self-disclosure’ and ‘Support following dyslexia diagnosis’. These superordinate themes, with their associated subordinate themes, are expanded into a narrative account of adults’ experiences. The findings revealed that adulthood diagnosis of dyslexia entailed a range of experiential processes that culminated to ‘identity transformation’. These findings can help in deepening understandings of the effect of adult dyslexia diagnosis on identity; contribute to existing practices in counselling psychology, educational institutions and employment agencies providing supportive services for individuals with dyslexia. Keywords: Dyslexia, dyslexia diagnosis, adulthood, adult dyslexia, dyslexic experience, diagnosing dyslexia in adults, dyslexia disclosure, dyslexia and impact and dyslexia support.
    • Global Extraction and Cultural Production: An Investigation of Forms of Extraction Through the Production of Artist-Video

      Brand, Carina (2018-03-01)
      This research is a practice-based, theory-led, examination of forms of extraction under capitalism. The thesis addresses the question of where and how does extraction take place, both in and outside of the wage relationship. Directly employing Marx’s concept of surplus extraction, but further extending the concept of extraction as an analytic tool, artistic method, and identifying its aesthetic form. Through the production of an original body of artistic video work, I explore three disparate sites where ‘extraction’ takes place and employ Science Fiction methods of narrative, the utopian impulse and the ‘alienation effect’ to critique global capitalism. Drawing on political economic theory, I argue that these new ‘zones’ of extraction have; forced the further ‘subjectification’ of labour; supported continued and on-going primitive accumulation – through the creation of global space/time; and promoted the intensification of both relative and absolute surplus value, through the mechanisation of reproduction and the blurring of work and life, through digital technology. The Video Trilogy sets up a dialogue between – fictionreality and space–time, and situates current readings of global extraction in a future/past space, where the inconsistencies of capital are played out. Extraction as concept is utilised to bring together, and expand on, both theoretical readings of the political economy, and to identify that extraction can be redeployed as a cultural or artistic form. I argue that extraction is mobilised through culture, but more importantly, I identify the specific cultural forms of extraction itself. By situating the research between theory and practice, I am able to represent, or interpret, the forms extraction takes – appropriating, performing and re-making them as material and subject within the videos. The research contributes to current critiques of capitalism, in critical theory, art theory, political economy and art-practice-as-research. The video submission brings together a range of aesthetic styles and techniques to construct an original alien world, which is an allegory of our own.
    • An investigation into the impact of the marketization of further education on individual teacher identities using visual images, metaphors and narrative to analyse and evaluate the key themes and discourses

      Davies, Christopher Dominic Stephen (2018-01-15)
      Teacher identity (Ti) is an important concept in helping to understand the variety of inter-connected influences that impact on the professional lives of teachers in further education (FE). Ti is under researched within the FE sector and is used in this study to analyse the impact of the marketization of FE (post-incorporation) on the roles of individual teachers and teacher managers. The study takes an interpretive stance using visual metaphors and the narratives of participant teachers, linked to their roles, and teaching journeys, to analyse and evaluate changes to professionalism and individual agency in response to the marketization of the sector. Key literature on Ti in FE, professionalism and teacher agency were used to develop an understanding of the effects of marketization in relation to the main question and market theory provided a lens through which to consider marketization in context. The findings identified the individualised nature of the effects of marketization on the identities of teachers and how they interpreted their roles. These were seen through different levels of teacher agency and changes to professionalism in response to managerialism and the altered culture of the colleges in the study. A summative conceptualisation of Ti in an FE context was developed, which provided an insight into the potential strategies adopted by staff in relation to marketization and the main question set for this study.
    • Development of a framework for sustainable construction waste management. A case study of three major Libyan cities

      Ali, Ashraf (2018-01-01)
      Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste is one of the most voluminous and harmful categories of solid waste worldwide, comprising 40% of the total volume of global waste. Waste minimisation is essential for sustainable waste management for environmental, social and economic benefits. Libya has particularly egregious C&D waste due to prolific and unregulated construction activities and conflict, and defective C&D waste management. This study presents a framework for sustainable construction and demolition waste management (SC&DWM) in the Libyan context. A critical analysis of different barriers affecting SC&DWM and strategies to overcome them are presented based on a combination of literature review and mixed methods research. During the first phase, questionnaires were distributed face-to-face to four different groups: the general public, two groups of experts and policy maker. The second phase involved a focus group discussion (FGD) to produce additional beneficial supporting data, particularly from experts, in order to strengthen the outcomes of the study. Data analysis revealed that the main barrier to SC&DWM in Libya is the lack of C&D waste management facilities, while the least important barrier was producing unrecyclable materials from construction activities. The key strategy for SC&DWM is increasing awareness of negative impacts of C&D waste and the positive influence of sustainable practices for organizational and national economics. The developed framework presents a coherent and systematic approach and identified strategies that could be used to address these barriers and lead to SC&DWM, including options available for SC&DWM, capacity building, implementation and enforcement and evaluation and reviewing. The practical implication of the findings is that Libyan central government, municipalities and organizations need clear vision, approaches and practices to achieve SC&DWM. To validate this research findings, internal and external sources were adopted. In addition, respondent validation technique was used to evaluate the framework. Respondents believed that this framework tailored to the Libyan circumstances and the framework is appropriate enough to obtain SC&DWM practices in the case study. The study also provides a range of targeted recommendations for SC&DWM in Libya to improve efficiency. Further work is necessary to implement construction waste management and waste management at the industrial level, as well as identifying the actual quantity C&D waste so far, and its composition and distribution in Libya.
    • Drought and drought mitigation in Yobe State, Nigeria

      Hassan Gana, Abdullahi (2018)
      Drought is regarded as a natural phenomenon and its impacts accumulate slowly over a long period. It is considered to be insufficient precipitation that leads to water scarcity, as triggered by meteorological parameters, such as temperature, precipitation and humidity. However, drought mitigation has mostly been reactive, but this has been challenged by extreme events globally. Many countries and regions around the world have made efforts in mitigating drought impacts, including Nigeria. This research produced frameworks for drought amelioration and management as a planning tool for Yobe State, Nigeria. Mixed methods were employed to investigate the effects of drought; 1,040 questionnaires were administered to farmers in three regions of Yobe State (South, North and East). Some 721 were returned, representing a 69.3% return rate. Drought is pronounced in the State and has been recent over the years; it has also affected many people, with losses of ~70-80% of their harvests and livestock. Drought coping strategies have also caused environmental degradation in Yobe State. Farmers over-harvest their farms, practise deforestation and over-exploit wild animals. Several efforts to mitigate the impacts of drought by the Nigerian Government have failed, thus this research adopts a bottom-top approach to mitigate drought impacts in Yobe State. Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were also conducted at government and community levels to gather farmers’ and government officials’ opinions on their drought experience and suggestions for mitigation measures. Farmers believed that rainfall is their main problem and officials pointed that there are no proper drought mitigation plans in Yobe State. Four validated drought mitigation and management frameworks were developed for Yobe State. The frameworks were evaluated pre-use through respondent validation. State officials and farmers believed that these frameworks will reduce the impacts of drought in Yobe State. The frameworks include social, economic, environmental impact mitigation and an Integrated Drought Mitigation and Management Framework. The proposed frameworks were designed and have advocates a paradigm shift, using both proactive and reactive measures. A new drought definition was proposed based on the findings of the study. The definition states that drought is the shortage of rainfall or water that affects people’s livelihood and the environment both directly and indirectly.
    • Through the Lens: Using Auto-Driven Photo-Elicitation to Capture the Development of Career Aspirations of Business Management and Fine Art Students

      Turley, Helene (2018)
      The uniqueness of this study is primarily in the application of a visual research methodology to generate knowledge and understanding in an area that is often associated with quantitative research. Careers and employment research typically focuses on statistical information which can provide general information but does not give an in-depth understanding of the area under study. Visual research can give an in-depth understanding; in addition to giving access to a different kind of knowledge, supported by Harper (2002) who proposes “that images can evoke deeper elements of human consciousness than words alone.” I explore the various ways in which students perceive and develop different career aspiration including what motivates and what might inhibit students’ development of their career aspirations. This understanding will enhance my professional practice and encourage the Careers and Employment department within the University to adapt their service and give students the relevant tools and information to prepare them for employment. A visual research methodology is utilised as this fits comfortably with my background in art and gives the in-depth knowledge I require for my research (see Clark-Ibáñez, 2004; Collier (1957); Collier and Collier, 1986; Cousin, 2009; Guillemin and Drew, 2010; Harper, 2002; Harris and Guillemin, 2012 and O’Brien, 2013 for further information on the benefits of using a visual research methodology). Auto-driven photo-elicitation (ADPE) is used with six fine art and six business management students. These students often have less career direction and tend to struggle to secure graduate level positions (Swani, 2016); in addition, the two subject areas were chosen because they are a contrast in terms of how their curriculum is delivered. Using visual research to inform careers and employment is unique and through sharing my research and research experience I want to initiate a shift in how careers and employment research is approached in the future. In addition to the uniqueness of using a visual research methodology in careers and employment my findings indicate there are five orientations business management and fine art students’ use when developing their career aspirations: a strong sense of direction, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, weak planning and dreams. This research discusses the five orientations and the factors that might contribute to a rich learning environment for career building. Subject and professional identity are discussed in relation to identity formation and career building. Four main sources of identity formation are identified: identity through being (transition from study to profession), identity through self-discovery, identity through belonging (concerning the informal and cultural aspects of community life), and identity through peripheral participation (activities that are akin to peripheral participation in a professional community). This research establishes there is a relationship between the development and building of identity and self-efficacy through belonging, professional experience and working alongside mentors when developing strategies to develop career aspirations.
    • Young people’s perceptions of novel psychoactive substances

      Freeman, Jodie (2018)
      Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) also known as “legal highs” replicate the effects of illegal substances such as ecstasy and cocaine. The most common NPS reported are stimulants and synthetic cannabinoids. Despite the Psychoactive Ban (2016) recent reports identified the UK as having the largest market of NPS use anywhere in Europe. These substances have a short history of consumption and consequently little is known about their effects and health implications. Despite this, the sale of NPS is easily achieved through the internet and street dealers. Increased reports of negative health consequences from NPS consumption and research findings highlighting the willingness of young people to consume drugs without knowing what they are, mean it is vital that we investigate young people’s understandings and perceptions of them. At present there are very few in-depth qualitative studies on NPS. A series of 7 focus groups with a range of young people (40=N: aged 16- 24 years) across the Merseyside area were carried out. Research sites included colleges, youth groups, supported living accommodations, and youth drug and alcohol services. Focus group interviews explored participants’ perceptions of NPS and were followed up with a few semi structured interviews with selected participants. The direction of the study focused on mainly on synthetic cannabinoids which may reflect the age of the study’s population. Using thematic analysis informed by a social constructionist perspective, three main themes were identified around stigma and identity, attractive features of NPS and risk. Findings showed that young people’s perceptions of these substances were dependent on their level of experience with illegal substances and NPS. A novel finding was that synthetic cannabinoid use is employed in the normalisation of cannabis use. Local, national and policy recommendations are made on how youth and health services in both educational and specialised services could work more closely and effectively with young people NPS. They also identify a need among young people for specific guidelines on how to use the Internet and Print media in relation to previous knowledge and experience.
    • The impact of FNGO services on the performance of micro and small enterprises: Empirical evidence from the Volta Region, Ghana

      Atiase, Victor Yawo (2018)
      Financial Non-Governmental Organisations (FNGOs) are regulated microfinance institutions (MFIs) that operate with the social welfare logic in the delivery of Microcredit (MC) and Entrepreneurship Training (ET) to the poor in Ghana. The provision of these two capitals (MC and ET) is aimed at supporting the poor to create sustainable Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) which is aimed at generating both skilled and unskilled employment. The major aim of this study is to investigate the impact of MC and ET delivered by FNGOs on the performance of MSEs in Ghana. Theoretically, the study adopts both the Institutional Theory and the Resource-Based View theory as the underlying theoretical frameworks, assuming that institutional and resource factors have a great influence on FNGOs in their delivery of MC and ET to MSEs in Ghana. The research design adopted in undertaking this study is based on the pragmatic research philosophy. Specifically, the mixed strategy with an explanatory triangulation method has been used. The mixed method has been adopted purposely for model testing as well as for exploring various issues on FNGOs and their role in the performance of MSEs. Primary data were collected through a quantitative method using a survey as well as through qualitative interviews. Adopting a stratified random sampling method, a total of 720 self-administered questionnaires were sent out in March 2017 to MSEs in the Volta Region of Ghana to collect primary data. Out of the number sent, 506 questionnaires were retrieved generating a response rate of 70.2%. Also, interviews were conducted with 10 MSEs. A multiple regression model was applied in measuring the impact of MC and ET on the performance of MSEs. The findings suggest that firm characteristics such as gender, managers educational level, industry category and business age correlate positively with employment sales and profitability growth which are statistically significant at 1% level. Secondly, the study also found that both MC and ET factors have a significant impact on MSE performance in the areas of employment, sales and profitability at 1% significant level. The qualitative findings also support the model tested in this study in the sense that the combined approach of both MC and ET have a significant impact on MSE performance in Ghana. This study has made two main contributions. Firstly, the provision of MC by FNGOs can only have the desired impact on the performance of MSEs if it is combined with entrepreneurship training, thereby leading to a sustainable employment, sales and profitability growth. Therefore, by using the 506 MSEs financed by FNGOs in the Volta region of Ghana, this study has for the first time in the Ghanaian microfinance landscape tested an empirical model and came out with meaningful findings for effective integration of ET into microfinance to improve the delivery of financial services to MSEs in Ghana by FNGOs and other socially oriented MFIs. The study has therefore developed a practical framework for ensuring that ET is provided alongside the delivery of MC in order to have the desired impact on the performance of MSEs. The study provided implications for policy and practice for making MC and ET more accessible to MSEs to achieve the desired goal of creating employment. Secondly, even though FNGOs play a very important role in providing entrepreneurial finance to MSEs particularly in developing countries, it has received insufficient research attention. This study has, therefore, added to the scanty research available about FNGOs and their contribution to entrepreneurship development and poverty reduction in developing countries.
    • Institutional and Social Factors Influencing Informal Sector Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Nigerian Case Study

      Joshua Adike, Abinotam (2018)
      The extant entrepreneurship literature is replete with competing narratives about the concept of informal sector (IS). Also, IS’ potential as a source of income and the behavioural tendencies of operators in the sector remain highly contested but under-researched. In particular, not much is known about the incentives and the motivations for engaging in informal economic activity from the perspective of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) context where a significant proportion of all economic activities are informal. Thus, the lack of conceptual clarity and consensus about the underlying factors driving individuals into informal economic activity constitutes a major knowledge gap. To fill this gap, this study seeks to clarify the domain of IS from a SSA viewpoint, and through this paves the way for a more holistic understanding of the behavioural tendencies and motivations of IS operators in SSA. Specifically relying on the institutional, social exclusion, and personality trait theoretical frameworks, the study demonstrates how a combination of separate yet related phenomena of personality traits, institutional factors, and more importantly, situational factors that manifest as perceptions of social exclusion serve as the incentives and the motivations to engage in informal economic activity in SSA. To achieve its goal, qualitative primary data obtained through thirty-eight semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Nvivo. Firstly, the study found that institutional ambiguity, institutional delinquency, institutional passivity, and institutional incongruence are sources of voids in Nigeria's institutional framework that influence an individual to enter the IS. Secondly, social exclusion regarding lack of access to requirements such as finance and formal education to start and sustainably operate a business influences people to enter into the IS. Lastly, the findings indicate that personality traits’ influence regarding the decision to engage in informal economic activities is dependent on individual circumstances. These are valuable contributions to the stock of knowledge about the IS. Particularly, the identification and categorisation of four specific institutional voids and partitioning of the sources of exclusion; the finding that in adverse economic circumstances personality traits could influence potential opportunity-entrepreneurs to start-up in the IS; the finding about the role of trade associations; and the new understanding about the collaborative dimension of corruption in the context of IS practice, represent a significant contribution of this study. These contributions are valuable not just in terms of creating new windows of research opportunities, but also for evidence-based policy relating to the IS that is appropriately targeted at relevant groups. This is in addition to facilitating collaborations for business support, enlightenment, improved business practice, and inclusive growth.
    • Integration of Process Planning and Scheduling in the Manufacturing Sector to Enhance Productivity – a Case study of Developing Countries

      McCarthy Emeka, Bryan (2018)
      This thesis describes research carried out to investigate and address the problems associated with integration of process planning and scheduling through collaboration between diverse functions within manufacturing companies in Nigeria. Collaboration is an emerging necessity for functions of manufacturing companies in developing countries and has been influenced by the evolving need for gathering segmented groups with diverse knowledge and experience in developing new solutions to support addressing complex problems in a domain. Use of new technologies, to some extent, assists interaction and collaboration between segregated functions. This approach has been a feasible solution for real-time communication in virtual environment, however, functional boundaries influence the recognition of the problem-related factors affecting different functions in a domain and results in conflicts of perspectives and ineffective interaction between functions. The study carried out here investigated the limitations of existing approaches to manufacturing with a view to engaging segregated functions by integration of process planning and scheduling functions and thereby develop a new approach to address a key manufacturing company’s complex problem. Consequently, this thesis addresses the research question “How do we minimise the limitations to existing manufacturing approaches which integrate process planning and scheduling in developing countries?”. In doing so, this research brings together current literature on manufacturing systems and empirical evidence to investigate the factors that influence the effectiveness of integration of process planning and scheduling through collaborations with different functions. Review of the existing approaches to integration of process planning and scheduling and the limitations of each approach shows that the effectiveness of this integration has not been fully achieved. This resulted in developing, refining and validating a new approach to integration of process planning and scheduling which was applied in different manufacturing companies. The study resulted in significant contributions to knowledge and benefits for the manufacturing companies involved. A key contribution is development of a new approach to integration of process planning and scheduling called EC-FIKT which emphasises Effective Communication through Facilitated Information and Knowledge Transfer. The applications of EC-FIKT in the field suggest that it eliminates some of the main deficiencies of well-known approaches to integration of process planning and scheduling, and which brings additional benefits to manufacturing companies. The research has also identified areas where there is significant scope for further research and investigation.
    • In their own performance: an ethnographic study of mothers’ accounts of interactions with professionals at a children’s centre.

      Tumelty, Bridget Patricia (2018)
      This study is concerned with how mothers, who have been referred to a children’s centre for support with parenting, interpret their interactions with professionals including midwives, health visitors, social workers and family support workers. Previous studies have concentrated on unhelpful, “them and us” othering practices, this project aimed to consider mothers’ interpretations of interactions, exploring verbal and non-verbal interactions as well as identifying what interactions with professionals that were helpful or not and why? To explore mothers’ stories, I designed an arts based performance ethnographic methodology. Through the use of theme boards and stream of consciousness writing in a drama group context, text was collected over an eighteen month period from 16 mothers. Initial review, editing and distilling of text was carried out with participants, generating 18 scenes for a play performed together in front of a live audience. Text not used in the play was further analysed using narrative analysis and produced an overarching metaphor of a ‘dance of compliance’. The dance explores images of mothers navigating steps of vulnerability, risk and compliance. Inhabiting the dance were many overlapping victimizing narratives exposing stories of parenting support presented as life enhancing in a context of scarcity. I found that the women kept dancing not because they were empowered but because the dance is obligatory, driven by the systematic production of unhelpful signs that come to constitute their reality. Theoretical perspective/s used in analysis highlight how children’s centres could become a space for symbolic exchanges of support bringing into the light steps of fortitude and humanity. Recommendations for practice centre on the need for professionals to engage in empathic interactions whist always looking for opportunities for mothers to participate in the day to day activities of parenting support.