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Understandings of ‘Teaching Excellence’ in Higher Education: A comparative study of English and Australian academics’ perspectives(Taylor and Francis, 2018)In the current higher education (HE) environment, indicators of ‘teaching excellence’ (TE) are increasingly under the spotlight. The literature offers a wide range of models and perspectives, but also highlights the need for greater (comparative) scrutiny of the perceptions of those at the centre – staff teaching across the disciplines in different countries. This article aims to contribute to ongoing debates by investigating and comparing the views of 120 academic staff teaching in one of two countries – England and Australia – in an attempt to deepen our appreciation of their definitions and understandings. The findings from this two-stage enquiry using online questionnaires and interviews indicate broad commonalities in the ways academics define TE, centred on facilitative, interactive pedagogy related to individual professional aspirations; they also reveal widely shared reservations about the term’s legitimacy and institutional/marketized (ab)use. As such, the findings offer policy-makers and institutions useful insights at a time where TE definitions and metrics are growing global pre-occupations.
Technological constraints to firm performance: the moderating effects of firm linkages and cooperation(Emerald, 2018-06-05)Manufacturing and services SMEs in Africa face challenges and constraints exacerbated by ineffectual government policies, environmental turbulence and the near-absence of institutional support. This study investigates if informal linkages and formal cooperation are helping firms to overcome constraints to uptake of technological innovations in Nigeria. The paper is based on quantitative data obtained from structured interviews of 631 Nigerian firms. These firms were selected using stratified random sampling from a total population of 18,906 manufacturing and services companies in the national database obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics. The result of the binary logistic regression indicates that, while informal linkages appear to be insignificant, formal inter-firm cooperation is an effective moderator of barriers to technological innovations. The paper focuses only on technological, rather than non-technological, innovations. The paper recommends that, in addition to other interventions to promote diffusion of technological innovations, governments should give priority to interventions that support formal cooperation among SMEs. Previously studies have generally looked at the impact of cooperative networks on firms' innovation uptake. This paper provides original insights into the "how" of cooperative impact, specifically with respect to helping SMEs to overcome constraints. The paper also delineates formal cooperation from informal linkages
(Bio)degradable polymeric materials for a sustainable future – part 1. Organic recycling of PLA/PBAT blends in the form of prototype packages with long shelf-life(Elsevier, 2018-07)Prediction studies of advanced (bio)degradable polymeric materials are crucial when their potential applications as compostable products with long shelf-life is considered for today’s market. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the polylactide (PLA) content in the blends of PLA and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT); specifically how the material’s thickness corresponded to changes that occurred in products during the degradation process. Additionally, the influence of talc on the degradation profile of all samples in all environments was investigated. It was found that, differences in the degradation rate of materials tested with a similar content of the PLA component could be caused by differences in their thickness, the presence of commercial additives used during processing or a combination of both. The obtained results indicated that the presence of talc may interfere with materials behavior towards water and consequently alter their degradation profile.
Examining networked NGO services: reconceptualising value co-creation(Emerald, 2018-07-02)Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explain how value is co-created in a many-to-many (MTM) context. The authors use a case study of a non-governmental service delivery consortium engaging multiple actors to examine how value is co-created beyond the buyer-supplier dyad. Design/methodology/approach An explanatory case study of a consortium of seven UK non-governmental organisations (NGOs) delivering public service contracts is presented. Multiple data collection methods are combined; semi-structured interviews (n=30) and focus groups with internal stakeholders (n=5), participant observations (n=4) and document analysis. Findings The authors use three illustrative empirical examples to show how different sources, types, enablers and mechanisms of VCC are evident during service provision activities. The findings show how different service provision activities utilise different dimensions, leading the authors to suggest that dimensions of VCC may be context dependent. Research limitations/implications As consortia differ in their context and function, the findings may not be generalisable. Nevertheless, they provide specific examples of sources, types, enablers and mechanisms of value co-creation (VCC) that may be applicable to private, public and NGOs. Practical implications Understanding how value is co-created with multiple stakeholders can offer competitive advantages likely to lead to improved sustainability, impact and performance. Originality/value The empirical study offers a reconceptualisation of VCC in a MTM context. The paper combines disparate perspectives of VCC to offer a more holistic perspective.