University of Bedfordshire PhD e-theses

Recent Submissions

  • Perceptions and experiences of children and young people in English Custodial Centres and Spanish Re-educational Centres: a comparative study

    Romero McGuire, David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-04-14)
    This thesis examines countries that have not yet reached full compliance with international standards when it comes to children who offend. England and Wales’ youth justice system has been framed, even though it has not always been the case, within a ‘justice model’ where the protection of the public and a focus on reduction of offending take precedence over the welfare of the child. This sets it even further away from others in achieving some of the standards stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989; the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985; the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec. 20, 2003; the UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, 1990; and the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, 1990. Research has argued that children experience a justice system that is more punitive and are treated more harshly than Spain. Although efforts are being made to comply with such standards and to promote children’s well-being, there is much work to be done. It requires a change and harmonisation of policies and practices, on a national, European and UN level. In order to demonstrate this, a comparison of the youth justice systems in England and Wales and Spain was performed. This thesis is drawing primarily on questionnaires completed at 20 Spanish Re-educational Centres during the summer of 2016, completed by 561 children. Eleven of those were interviewed alongside 10 members of staff. As the questionnaires are the same used in the custodial centres in England and Wales, it points out some differences between countries. The interviews offer a more in-depth understanding of the practices which could not be captured in the questionnaires. The impossibility of interviewing in England and Wales due to my role as CEO, justified change from a comparison to a case study. This has the advantage of allowing the data collected to be of great depth. The amount of participants involved in the questionnaires from Spanish custodial centres is a large sample difficult to achieve. Some amendments include the use of language and the culture among others illustrate the challenges associated with undertaking a comparative study between countries. Nevertheless the amount of data from Spanish centres represent a useful tool which gives the possibility of learning and improving practice. There appears to be no previous research in Spain involving such a large sample from different counties. And it is the first time a questionnaire is used in two different Justice System which allows a comparison of the different experiences. This study intended to open people´s minds to think beyond what each of us believes is the only truth about models of youth justice and the delivery of services.
  • The impact of time allowances in an EAP reading-to-write argumentative essay assessment

    Bruce, Emma Louise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-03)
    The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of time allowances on students’ source use, composing behaviour and performance, in a second language reading-to-write assessment context. Set within a language centre in a large Hong Kong university, this mixed-methods study incorporates quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative aspect focuses on an analysis of essay scores and lengths as well as reference types and uses, while the qualitative aspect incorporates retrospective questionnaires and discourse-based interviews to gain an understanding of students’ intentions, views and approach to composing. The synthesis of the countable data with students’ personal insights facilitated an understanding of the ways in which differences in source use and composing behaviour in the timed and extended conditions affected performance. The findings show that the majority of students preferred the extended condition as they valued the time to read the sources, think and reflect in a relaxed environment. Conversely, some students felt the time pressure elicited a heightened cognitive state, which enhanced their performance. Students tended to write over multiple sessions, engage more with the source texts and adopt a more recursive approach in the extended condition. In contrast, when composing under time pressure, students tended to reduce their engagement with the source texts in order to complete their essay. This rush to write the essay resulted in different reading strategies and a more knowledge-telling approach to composing. When students were given more time to write, mean word counts and mean essay scores were significantly higher. The top-performing students seemed to benefit most from the extra time. These writers experienced the biggest positive difference in essay length and scores, and displayed more instances of source-text use, but perhaps surprisingly they were more likely to embed their understanding of what they read into their own text without referencing the source material. The data suggest that, for higher-achieving students, the extra time resulted in an increased interaction with the source texts, which allowed them to take a more expert persona in their writing, impressing raters and leading to higher overall scores. The results have important implications for language teachers and test developers in EAP programmes. In particular, they demonstrate the paradox of implementing reading-to-write task types in an attempt to simulate the target language use context while failing to take account of the time required to engage in the appropriate academic literacy skills. Importantly, EAP curriculum and assessment designers should recognise that genuine academic writing requires time for students to engage with sources, to reflect and to construct new knowledge. This study suggests that essays produced in timed and extended conditions are two different manifestations of the dynamic reading-to-write construct and that, if both types of writing are indeed demanded in the wider university, EAP programmes should support students in acquiring the most appropriate and effective skills for achieving success in both contexts.
  • Attitudes and perceptions of HIV-infected pregnant women towards the use of antiretroviral therapy in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria

    Major, Puremeluan Baldwin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-02-20)
    Background Despite several initiatives, the number of HIV-infected pregnant women receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in Nigeria remains low. In 2016, only 32% of HIV-infected pregnant women received ART to prevent MTCT of HIV. Evidence suggests that attitudes and perceptions of pregnant women with HIV influence their use of ART. However, limited evidence exists about HIV-infected pregnant women’s attitudes and perceptions towards ART in Nigeria. Aim This study aims to improve the understanding of the attitudes and perceptions of HIV-infected pregnant women towards the use of antiretroviral therapy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Method The study utilises an exploratory sequential mixed methods design, consisting of qualitative and quantitative phases. In the first phase, 24 HIV-infected antenatal attendees were purposively selected. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted for all 24 participants. Interviews explored pregnant women’s attitudes and perceptions towards the use of ART for PMTCT. All the interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using a thematic approach. In the second phase, a sample size of 264 was statistically determined. Simple random sampling was used to select the 264 participants who attended antenatal clinics during the period the study was conducted. A survey questionnaire was administered, 260 participants responded to the questionnaire. The survey examined how pregnant women’s attitudes and perceptions influence their use of antiretroviral therapy, as well as the influence of socio-demographic factors on their attitudes towards ART. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS.
  • Perceptions of Indian manufacturing SME employers on adopting green supply chain management practices

    Dhillon, Manpreet Kaur (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-12-18)
    Green supply chain management (GSCM) is an increasingly important aspect of today’s supply chain practices. Meeting environmental concerns in industrial operations has in recent year’s evoked interest among environmentalists, government bodies, academics and business organisations in recent years. However, current research indicates that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) globally, struggles on various grounds to implement GSCM and its practices in comparison to larger organisations and they often focus on making profits than saving the environment by adopting GSCM practices. For Indian SMEs to gain competitive advantage and succeed in the market it is essential to change their traditional practices and to adapt their strategies to the dynamic environment of today. A better understanding and application of GSCM and its practices by SMEs can help in improving their performance and succeed in their operations. This study is exploratory in nature it aims to explore the perceptions of Indian manufacturing (IM) SME employers on adopting green supply chain management practices (GSCM practices) in their organisations. In order to explore these aspects, this research will investigate various dimensions of GSCM such as GSCM practices, the motivational factors and challenges faced by IM SMEs and finally develop a conceptual framework based on, literature review and the empirical findings from this study. Qualitative research methodology is used in order to gather rich and rigorous information from experienced employers, from different geographical locations in India, namely, Kolkata, Bihar, Delhi and Punjab. To meet the proposed objectives semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected SME employers over the phone. The Semi-structured interview was used based on pre-established interview questions and the data was analysed using thematic analysis method. The procedure followed helped in determining useful results and underlined various dimensions of the GSCM practices under investigation. Based on the interviews with the target employers this study identified eight GSCM practices (namely, green purchasing, green manufacturing, green transportation, green distribution, green warehousing, green marketing, green operations and reverse logistics), sixteen motivational factors (such as, financial benefits, saving cost etc.) and twenty-four challenges (such as, lack of awareness among employers, expensive process, lack of skilled staff etc.) faced by them in adopting GSCM practices. The results further helped in determining the current status of GSCM in India and most importantly the perceptions of SME employers in regards to the adoption of GSCM practices in their firms. Hence, using the interview method allowed the researcher to capture much relevant factual information about GSCM and its practices among the IM SMEs. It can be concluded, that IM SME employers are not doing much in the adoption and implementation of GSCM practices. The employers had a lack of understanding of GSCM practices and they are reluctant to move away from their traditional business methods. This information enabled to assess the level of adoption of GSCM among the IM SMEs. It is believed this is one of the first studies that highlight the perceptions of SME employers and based on this to predict the adoption of GSCM within their organisations. Finally, it is hoped that the study will help increase awareness and importance among the Indian SME employers in adopting GSCM practices in their organisations. The evidence provided on various aspects of GSCM in India should also benefit researchers and scholars in terms of understanding the current status of GSCM in Indian SMEs and assess the adoption of GSCM practices in different settings and contexts.
  • The effects of deductive, inductive and a combination of both types of grammar instruction in pre-sessional classes in higher education

    Giorgou Tzampazi, Stella (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-12)
    In recent years, debates continue about the efficiency of using different types of grammar instruction in language teaching contexts (Alzu‟ bi, 2015; Mahjoob, 2015; Brown, 2000; Ellis, 1997; Celce-Murcia, 1991; Krashen, 1982). Existing research is rather controversial and inconclusive and furthermore there is not any general agreement on how to approach grammar instruction: one basic dichotomy is connected with the processes of teaching grammar inductively (Krashen, 1985; Ke, 2008; Kuder, 2009; Scheffler, 2010; Gorat and Prijambodo, 2013; Alzu‟bi, 2015; Anani, 2017) versus deductively (Younie, 1974; Selinger, 1975; Pienemann, 1988; Anderson, 1990; Lee and VanPatten, 1995; Schmidt, 2001; Mountone, 2004; Nazari, 2012; Mallia, 2014; Sik, 2015; Amirghassemi, 2016). Some educators are in favour of the inductive grammar approach whereas others prefer the deductive approach (Ibid). University L2 pre-sessional students need to develop their understanding of EAP grammar which is essential for producing academic texts required for their studies and improve their score in ELAS writing exam. Having said that, which type of grammar instruction works better for university L2 students enrolled in pre-sessional classes: deductive, inductive, or combination of both? This study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of using deductive and inductive teaching models in teaching grammar needed for academic writing in terms of L2 pre-sessional students‟ grammar academic achievement. The current study, also, investigates university L2 pre-sessional students‟ perceptions and attitudes towards teaching grammar deductively and inductively. A quasi-experimental design and an ethnographic approach were used to collect data through the use of interviews, observations, questionnaires and diaries. Data analysis was performed using t-tests in order to analyse the relationship between different types of grammar instruction based on pre-post-tests. The results indicated that there were significant differences among the performances of each group in favour of the deductive approach. The results, also, revealed that university L2 pre-sessional students who were taught deductively or through the combination of the two types of grammar instruction performed slightly better as compared to those who were taught inductively. The study also contributed to the fact that teaching grammar through the use of both cognitive and prescriptive grammar may be the best solution in teaching contexts in higher education in EAP contexts.
  • Risk and relationship in mental health practice: a grounded theory of situational connection.

    Alexander, Kelly J. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-01)
    This thesis reports the findings of a qualitative study that answers the question, ‘How do mental health practitioners working in adult community mental health settings respond emotionally to the assessment and management of risk in practice?’ Current research relating to risk assessment and management in mental health practice considers ways in which risk is understood and assessed, focusing primarily on definition, application and technical processes. Less is known about the emotional effect of the risk-related aspects of the mental health practitioners’ role. This aim of this study was to explore the experience of mental health professionals by considering: the ways in which they conceptualised risk, the emotional effect of assessing and managing risk and, the ways in which their relationships with professional colleagues and service users did, or did not, mitigate this effect. The study was undertaken using grounded theory and collected data via in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 18 participants, representing the range of disciplines usually present in multi-disciplinary teams in statutory adult mental health care. The main contribution of this study is that it provides evidence of the changing nature of mental health practice and how this is creating new organisational and personal contexts for practitioners. The current focus in mental health practice appears to be the efficiency of pathways for service users. This focus has led to organisational structures that reduce the space and time practitioners have for connection with each other. The remodelling of the organisational context is creating a new ethos in practice in which practitioners feel less attention is given to their experience of relationship, skill and therefore safety. This study has found that a consequence of professionals’ sense of lack of safety is to assess risk posed by service users as higher than they would if contained in their own practice. The evidence for this emerges from practitioners’ reflections on fragmenting teams, changing working spaces, sense of isolation and responsibility, particularly in relation to the care coordination role. Enabling practitioners to feel emotionally anchored in their work context in relation to the assessment and management of risk will facilitate the emotional management of the effect of their role. The benefit for service users will be a greater focus on recovery and less risk averse approaches. This study concludes with a model for situationally connected practice that is the emerging theory from the research. This theory was shaped by the analysis from participants for whom situational connection was both present and absent. The conclusion is that greater attention to facilitating situational connection for practitioners with regard to relationship-based practice with colleagues will contribute to the creation of safer conditions for practice.
  • History assisted energy efficient spectrum sensing in cognitive radio networks

    Syed, Tazeen Shabana (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-11-28)
    The ever-increasing wireless applications and services has generated a huge demand for the RF spectrum. The strict and rigid policy of spectrum management by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rendered spectrum a valuable resource. The disproportion in the usage of spectrum between the licensed primary users (PUs) and the enormous unlicensed secondary users (SUs) in the band has created spectrum scarcity. This imbalance can be alleviated by the Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) based on Cognitive Radio Network (CRN) paradigm by significantly improving the efficiency of spectrum utilisation of the wireless networking systems. DSA enables unlicensed secondary users (SUs) also known as cognitive radios (CRs) to sense the spectral environment and access the licensed spectrum opportunistically without causing any interference to the licensed primary users (PUs). Spectrum sensing is the most prominent capability of CRs to effectively detect the presence or absence of licensed primary users (PUs) in the band. Sensing provides protection to primary users (PUs) from interference and creates opportunities of spectrum access to secondary users (SUs). However, scanning the spectrum continuously is critical and power intensive. The high-power consumption in battery operated CR devices reduces device lifetime thereby affecting the network performance. Research is being carried out to improve energy efficiency and offer viable solutions for extending lifetime for wireless devices. In this thesis, the work focuses on the energy efficient spectrum sensing of CR networks. The main aim is to reduce the percentage of energy consumption in the CR system in possible ways. Primarily, the conventional energy detection (ED) and the cyclostationary feature detection (CFD) spectrum sensing mechanisms were employed to sense the spectrum. Aiming on energy efficiency, a novel history assisted spectrum sensing scheme has been proposed which utilises an analytical engine database (AED). It generates a rich data set of spectrum usage history that can be used by CRs to make efficient sensing decisions modelled using Markov chain model. The usage of sensing history in decision making, results in decreasing the frequency of spectrum scanning by the CRs thereby reducing the processing cost and the sensing related energy consumption. It shows 17% improvement in energy saving compared to the conventional sensing scheme. The key performance parameters such as probability of miss detection (PMD), probability of false alarm (PF) and probability of detection (PD) were investigated using ROC curves. Extensive performance analysis is carried out by implementing two traditional sensing schemes ED and CFD in terms of computational cost and energy consumption and shows 50% improvement in effective energy saved by using history assisted spectrum sensing mechanism. Further, to address the high energy consumption during communication between CRs / stations (STAs) and the base station (BS), a novel energy efficient Group Control Slot allocation (GCSA) mac protocol has been proposed. Publish/Subscribe (PUB-SUB) and point-to-point messaging models have been implemented for data communication between BS, STAs and AED. The proposed mac protocol increases the number of STAs to enter in to sleep mode thereby conserving the energy consumed during idle state. Furthermore, cluster based co-operative spectrum sensing (CSS) is considered for reducing the energy utilised for data communication between CRs and BS by electing a cluster head (CH) using fuzzy logic-based clustering algorithm. The cluster head (CH) collects, aggregates data from cluster members and it is only the CHs that communicate to the BS. Thus, there is no communication between individual non-CH CRs and BS, thereby significantly reducing the energy consumption and improving the network lifetime of the CR system. Extensive simulations were performed in MATLAB and results are presented for all the proposed schemes.
  • Theorising marketing communications practices in the context of small businesses in emerging markets

    Kuzmina, Ekaterina (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-05)
    As part of the main research contribution this study raises the substantive theory on Marketing Communications (MCs) in the novel context of the Russian market and small ‘organic’ skincare businesses by this building the foundations for further research studies in this area of SMEs with intangible attributes and markets with emerging marketing practices. This research explores how small businesses in organic skincare industry in Russia practice MCs; and specifically focuses on what contextual factors impact on ‘inside-out’ and ‘outside-in’ approaches to marketing communications. While the ‘inside-out’ approach represents a more company-controlled and brand-informed marketing, the ‘outside-in’ approach mainly focuses on a customer-centric and considering that MCs have mostly been investigated in the context of large scale companies with advanced marketing practices, it is worthwhile to provide more insight into how small businesses with emerging marketing practices understand MCs and implement its core principles of customer and brand orientation. In this sense a salient example is the Russian market, where marketing as a discipline initiated its development only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90-ies. MCs will be investigated in the context of organic skincare products. Local skincare companies in Russia extensively label their brand ‘organic’ to gain a competitive advantage on the market. Despite that, there is a lack of insight into how the ‘organic’ concept and its characteristics are communicated to the local audience and whether they are consistent with a customer’s locally constructed perception of ‘organic’. In response to that, this research aims to fill in this gap and to shed the light on whether and how local small companies in the industry manage to create a consistent customer-centric brand identity. The research consists of two sets of data collection methods: the analysis of online consumers’ discourses on organic skincare (netnography) and the interviews with the small organic skincare companies in Russia, which respectively provide insight into a customer’s local perception of ‘organic’ in skincare and the company’s communicated ‘organic’ brand identity. The present study is informed by the grounded theory methodology with the social constructivist and symbolic interactionism dimensions that guide and support the subsequent substantive theory on MCs in the defined context. As part of the main contribution the research introduces the concept of the business self (the owner-manager’s perception of the business) as the main constituent that defines MCs practices. In the case of the ‘restricted business self’ the company describes itself as a business with restricted resources and limited ability to invest into customer-informed marketing practices. The main focus of the company is on communicating a consistent brand identity, which is however hardly supported by a customer insight. Thus, this practice demonstrates more of the brand orientation and the ‘inside-out’ MCs. Conversely, in the case of the ‘desired business self’, where the company envisions itself in a favourable market situation, it expresses the ‘desire’ to invest into rigorous primary customer research and customer relationship management (CRM) to achieve a higher level of customer centricity to inform its brand identity. Thus, the case of the ‘desired business self’ demonstrates the shifts towards the customer orientation and the practice of ‘outside-in’ MCs.
  • Prediction of a water quality index using online sensor data

    Anyachebelu, Tochukwu Kene (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-11)
    Surface water quality is a dynamic quantity to deal with. There are factors which affect the surface water quality. These factors include weather changes, anthropogenic activities and urbanization. There is an underlying problem with water quality monitoring and management around the world especially in developing countries. Pollution outbreak in a Luton town lake in 2012 which killed a lot of fishes is one instance of such devastating outbreak and the underlying effects. This thesis is aimed at utilising measured data values for certain physico chemical parameters in the determination of surface water quality through analysis, indexing and model prediction. The physical parameters measured are temperature, conductivity and turbidity while the chemical parameters are dissolved oxygen, pH and ammonium. These parameters are measured at two locations on the Luton Hoo Lake which is used as our research study site to monitor the water quality and possible sources of contamination. Data with regards to the values of the different parameters is collected with the help of multi parameter probe sensors that were installed at the site in form of a remote monitoring station. Manual sampling of the water and collection of parameter value readings is also used to substantiate the values derived from the remote monitoring stations. A preliminary analysis is carried out using descriptive Statistics and correlation analysis to determine the dependencies between the various parameters measured for water quality monitoring. We evaluate the relationship of the measured parameters to contamination sources and its impact on the water quality as it affects aquatic life. With the correlation analysis, it is discovered that some of the parameters exhibited the expected relationship whereas some could not relatively show any dependence. This led to the need for further analysis to help in the parameter selection since the aim of this work is to use minimal parameters to establish the water quality status. It is determined that dissolved oxygen is the most important parameter compared to other measured parameters. This was actualized through the use of principal component analysis to identified the major components. Multiple linear regression is used to establish the relationship between Dissolved oxygen and the other measured parameters. The two locations being monitored exhibit the same trend from the results of the box plot analysis that was carried out. Dissolved oxygen is inversely proportional to Temperature which confirms the same trend pattern as exhibited by the correlation analysis. Principal component analysis helps in the establishment of the hierarchy of the parameters measured and the level of importance which determines the input parameters for the water quality index. This research work looked at various water quality indices developed by various researchers and discovered that most available indices were limited by the fact that the data collection was done manually. This work adopted the use of a tailored Water quality index with three parameters which are Dissolved oxygen, Conductivity and Turbidity. These parameters were selected based on the results derived from the Principal components analysis. Water quality index is a good way of uniquely rating the overall water quality status of a water body using a single term. In this research study, we utilised available water quality indices that have been developed through expert opinions and modified them to suit our requirements. The results obtained were satisfactory and proved that the use of minimal parameters can give a good indication of the water quality in same way as the use of many parameters. The minimal Water Quality Index is recommended where faster and more economical approach is needed in decision making with regards to water quality monitoring. A hybrid neural network is finally proposed for the prediction of parameters for water quality index which can be tailored based on the location of the surface water and the primary use of the surface water for the end users. The major problem of identifying a low cost way of monitoring surface waters for developing countries is achieved through the use of minimal parameters and the availability of the sensor probes in the market is of great importance to the work.
  • Development and evaluation of a tailored workplace intervention to reduce and break up sitting time in office workers

    Ojo, Samson Oluseye (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-01-10)
    There is a growing body of evidence linking high volumes of sitting with adverse health risks, including cardiovascular disease and mental health problems. The workplace is a major contributor to excessive sitting, particularly for desk-based workers who spend more than two-thirds of working time sitting. Although the workplace contributes to prolonged sitting, it has also been identified as an ideal setting to combat sedentary behaviour (SB). A wide range of studies have sought to break up and reduce sitting time in the workplace using strategies like prompts to stand, environmental restructuring such as walking meetings and the use of active workstations. Although some of these strategies have been successful in decreasing workplace sitting time, results are inconclusive, with problems of compliance in some interventions. One reason for low compliance could be that few studies take views of employees into consideration when designing interventions. In addition, management might be reluctant to implement interventions if productivity is negatively affected. Finally, there is evidence that interventions developed to change behaviour should be informed by theoretical, evidence-based frameworks. Accordingly, the aim of this thesis was to design an appropriate intervention to break up and reduce workplace sitting time in desk-based office workers, then to test the efficacy of the intervention on employees’ productivity, cardiometabolic risks, and wellbeing. A multi-phase mixed-method study was employed covering the first two stages of the Medical Research Council framework for complex interventions. The first three phases covered the development of the subsequent intervention. Firstly, a systematic review found no acute effect of active workstations on productivity, although there were concerns regarding study designs and the tools used to assess productivity. Secondly, a cross-sectional study of self-reported sitting time found no differences between age, gender, and ethnic groups, suggesting that interventions to reduce workplace sitting should be targeted at all desk-based employees irrespective of age, gender, or ethnicity, although this need to be confirmed in a fully powered study. The final stage of the intervention development was a qualitative study of desk-based employees who had high volumes of sitting time. This study identified barriers and facilitators to breaking up sitting and reducing sitting time using the COM-B (Capability and Opportunity and Motivation) model, with Psychological Capability, Reflective Motivation, Automatic Motivation, Social Opportunity, and Physical Opportunity found to be predictors of workplace sitting behaviour. The Behaviour Change Wheel guide was followed, leading to the identification of 39 behaviour change techniques as active ingredients for intervention development. The final phase of the PhD was a pilot cluster-randomised controlled trial to test the efficacy of a multicomponent intervention including education, computer-prompt software and height-adjustable workstations, as well as managerial support. The intervention decreased sitting time and increased standing time in the workplace, with most participants meeting the two-hour minimum recommendation for standing up. The intervention also improved productivity but had no effect on cardiometabolic biomarkers or mental wellbeing outcomes. This study could serve as evidence for workplace managers on the benefits of such interventions and provides evidence to strengthen the need to tailor workplace interventions to employees’ needs to improve adherence.
  • An examination of performance management in Nigeria’s public health sector through two case studies

    Egbegi, Jean Engoere (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-12-21)
    Extant literature has called for contextual studies on performance management to maximise its effectiveness. Following this call is a study of performance management that considers the practice, its system and context. Scholar also presents that performance management researches conducted in less developed countries’ context loosely align their studies with a theoretical framework or use none within the study. This exploratory research study built upon Ferreira and Otley's (2009) framework as the theoretical underpinning to guide the research to address these problems and achieve its aim. This research aims to investigate performance management within the Nigerian public health sector. An interpretivist philosophy and abductive reasoning were the methodological choices employed while using a case study strategy. Data collected for this research include 40 semi-structured interviews and a document review across two Federal Hospitals in Nigeria. Thematic analysis was adopted to examine the data collected for this study using NVivo 11. The findings identified issues (such as union, godfather, organisational needs) that affect performance management. These issues elaborate the third level (contextual factors and culture) in Ferreira and Otley’s framework and pervade the organisational, sectoral and national level. Again, the findings also identified the informal activities (such as mentoring encouragement) used by managers in the study context. The findings further suggested that actors of performance management interpret the phenomenon as continuous and integrated and the practice within the context is at multi-level - departmental and organisational. The implication of the findings reinforces the significance of including the performance management practice, its system and context to fully again in-depth or insight into the contextual understanding of PM across different context. The originality of this study is the conceptualisation of performance management within the Nigeran Public Health Sector building upon Ferreira and Otley (2009). The contribution to knowledge includes the elaboration of the outer level in Ferreira and Otley’s framework with the identification of the v contextual factors challenging performance management within the Nigerian public health sector. The development of knowledge on performance management within the Nigerian public health sector is another contribution as there is a dearth in research studies. Again, the study contributes to the on-going debate by scholars on the relevance of understanding performance management within its context in order to maximise its effectiveness. The practical implication for hospitals managers is the awareness of the factors affecting performance management, which consequently will maximise its effectiveness within the Nigerian public health sector. Further studies on performance management should investigate and identify contextual factors and how these would affect its effectiveness within the different contexts.
  • The transfer and diffusion of human resource (HR) policies and practices of European multinational companies (MNCS) to their Nigerian subsidiaries

    Akhile, Janet Francis (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-06-21)
    Human resource (HR) practices diffusion within multinational companies (MNCs) is an imperative area of research for strategic international human resource management (SIHRM). The existing literature noted that there are critical factors that affect the transfer and diffusion process of human resource practices. This research seeks to address certain shortcomings in existing SIHRM literature, in particular the lack of work on human resource policies and practices adopted by multinationals operating in developing sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. This research extends the focus of SIHRM literature beyond MNCs parent companies into the subsidiary’s context in developing SSA country. This work builds from broader analytical frameworks to examine and interpret the dynamic underlying process of human resource practices diffused. More precisely, drawing upon SIHRM literature and institutional theory to provide a comprehensive understanding of the transfer and diffusion of human resource practices. The empirical data was collected from international human resource managers (IHR), local management staff in the Nigerian subsidiaries including human resource managers, senior managers and line managers. The research involved forty-two semi-structured interviews, supplemented by company documents, from two European companies operating in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. This work used thematic analysis to evaluate and interpret the data. Analysis of the interviewers account showed that both company and country factors shape the adoption and diffusion of human resource practices in the Nigerian subsidiaries. The findings indicate that the strategic importance of each human resource practice is a driving force behind the transfer process. The two European MNCs utilised exportive and integrative SIHRM orientation to disperse a wide range of HR practices from the parent companies. Furthermore, the findings indicate that employment regulations and trade union effects alone do not influence MNCs’ choice of practices diffused in the Nigerian subsidiaries. Socio-cultural factors such as values and beliefs affect the workforce's personal actions and perceptions, and these are key factors to consider when transferring HR practices. The findings of this work thus make a valuable contribution to SIHRM literature and institutional theory literature with a focus on HRM in MNCs operations.
  • A general practice intervention targeting registration on the NHS Organ Donor Register

    Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-10-15)
    Background: There is a shortage of organs for transplant in the UK. Family consent is a critical part of the organ donation pathway, and prior knowledge of a person’s wishes makes this decision easier for families. The most effective way to express organ donation wishes is through registration as an organ donor. General practice is an underutilised setting for organ donation interventions, and is the only NHS setting which can put people directly on the organ donor register. Therefore, interventions could be developed in this setting to maximise the opportunities for UK residents to register their request to donate their organs after death. This thesis aims to explore this by developing and evaluating the feasibility of a general practice intervention designed to increase organ donor register sign-up in the UK. Methods: A literature review, systematic review, and theoretical review were conducted to establish a basis for the intervention. Intervention Mapping was then used to develop it based on these empirical and theoretical findings. Based on the IIFF model of organ donation registration, the intervention consisted of three parts; staff training, asking patients in consultations if they wished to join the NHS Organ Donor Register (prompted choice) and the provision of leaflets and posters in the waiting room. A single practice feasibility study was conducted to assess five dimensions; recruitment, data collection materials, resources, acceptability, and intervention promise. Intervention mapping was revisited to refine the intervention based on the single practice study findings. Results: Staff conducted prompted choice on 12.4% of face to face consultations they had with patients over three months, with 214 patients joining the NHS ODR. Some staff found prompted choice both feasible and acceptable, with opinions dependent on staff professional role. Responses to the training sessions were positive; however, although leaflets and posters were found to be feasible and acceptable, the majority of patients did not notice them. Significant challenges to implementation were found with SystmONE the practice software, the NHS Ethics process (particularly the confidentiality advisory group) and recruitment of practices. These resulted in the ultimate abandonment of a planned multi-practice feasibility randomised controlled trial. Conclusion/Discussion: These findings were positive and indicated that general practice could be an acceptable location to provide the facility to join the NHS ODR in the UK verbally. However, due to implementation issues, consideration is required as to how best to test the intervention further for feasibility. Recommendations include conducting a larger feasibility randomised controlled trial with more resources (people and financial), to help aid recruitment and the implementation of the required SystmONE elements. Contribution to Knowledge: This is the first academically tested intervention allowing people to sign-up to the NHS ODR verbally, and one of the first organ donation interventions in UK general practice. It is also the second intervention internationally to use Intervention Mapping for organ donation behaviour, and this thesis adds to the evidence base in each of these areas.
  • Identity and trust management in distributed systems – a novel approach

    Koshy, Lyzgeo (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-01-29)
    Distributed systems such as Web 1.0; 2.0, et al., have become a prominent part of modern lifestyles. Social Networking sites (SNSs) and Virtual Worlds (VW) are arguably the most widely used applications, on a daily basis, across the world. Web 1.0, 2.0+ technologies and platforms have rapidly evolved to provide a revolution in the ways they are used. Service providers offer users feature-rich platforms to build E-identities and online communities to bring people with similar interests together, to keep them online for as many hours as possible on a daily basis. This is achieved by providing services with a frictionless registration process, and platforms that are easily and constantly accessible. However, this is at the expense of the users' confidentiality and potentially the integrity of the platform itself. This asymmetry in the fundamental principles of security has opened up lucrative possibilities for cyber-criminals to carry out attacks of various kinds such as identity theft, identity cloning, cyberstalking and cyberbully amongst others. This research aims to investigate how users of SNSs and VWs can suitably verify and seek to establish an acceptable level of trust in E-Systems of all kinds (but most particularly Web 1.0 and 2.0+), based only on the identity attributes supplied by the users themselves. The end product of this research is the production of a novel E-identity and E-Trust Management Framework (that we coin: The “EEMF”) that is primarily aimed at developers seeking to better leverage SNSs and VWs while balancing the platform’s perceived integrity and the security concerns of its users. The EEMF represents a distinctive contribution to the extant literature and is our major contribution to knowledge. A pragmatic guideline that serves to fully illustrate the various processes for identity and trust management, embedded within and intrinsic to our novel EEMF framework are also fully articulated herein as a minor contribution to knowledge. Distributed systems embed heterogeneous sets of applications that either seek to disclose, partially, or fully obfuscate an individual’s identity. These systems range from “role play” VWs, SNSs and include online auctions (e.g. eBay) and B2B platforms. E-trust and E-identity management are inherent phenomena of all forms of Web 1.0; 2.0+ enabling architectures. Three different types of data collections were carried out, to validate the novel EEMF: evidence was gathered via suitably designed test-beds; surveys and card sorts. Thus, an optimal mix of quantitative and qualitative methods are later articulated to fully support the scientific validity of our novel EEMF. All the data gathered were then analysed, using a Grounded Theory (GT) driven methodological approach.
  • Capturing of 3D content using a single aperture camera

    Jácome Fernández, Juan Carlos (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-03-10)
    Integral imaging has recently re-emerged as an alternative to current 3D capturing systems, providing post-production refocusing capabilities and reducing the complexity of 3D capturing systems. One of the main drawbacks of conventional plenoptic 1 integral imaging systems is the implementation of a single custom made microlens array which has a fixed focal length and a high cost/low scalability associated with. This thesis demonstrates a variable focal length microlens arrays system, which can flexibly operate within a range of various focal lengths, increase the cost-effectiveness of the integral imaging system and offers the opportunity to manipulate the main camera optical parameters without modifying the objective lens settings. To validate the proposed concept, a custom-made integral imaging camera system was designed and built (IMPERX 4K system). Based on the results obtained from two initial optical simulations, software simulation and mathematical model; the suitable microlens arrays were acquired, and several experiments were performed to establish the feasibility of a variable focal length microlens arrays system. The results obtained show the proposed system performed as expected. The variable focal length system represents an ideal method to control microlens focal length, as it offers a higher microlens count, without a dedicated electronic system, whose performance is not susceptible to temperature-pressure changes and can operate in real-time as it does not require downtimes to re-adjust. Additionally, an existing technique of increasing the spatial resolution in Plenoptic 1 systems was conducted using a different implementation method. An alternative technique to fabricate microlens arrays using commercial 3D printers was attempted. Throughout the research, the quality of the images was improved using relevant optical elements and optimal optical integrations.
  • Drivers' attitudes, perceptions and situation awareness in relation to driving and accident experience

    Cavendish, Paul James (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-03-31)
    Road traffic accidents are among the biggest contributors to mortality rates and injury, especially young people, in developed countries. Research investigating how the human factor of driving has contributed to these accidents and early research focused on the skill of the driver as a contributory cause. Later studies have shown that it is not a lack of driving skill that causes accidents, per se, but that driving style may play a bigger role. However, the apparent relationship between driving skill, self-reported driving style and accident involvement is hampered by research not controlling for exposure and determining culpability for accidents. Similarly, research is by no means unequivocally differentiating drivers on the basis of their type of accident involvement. Therefore, the continued investigation of these factors should provide further evidence to help determine this relationship. In addition, the role of situation awareness (SA) in driving has been of interest in recent years, and poor SA caused by factors such as distraction and inattention has been shown to be a contributory factor in road traffic accidents. Current measures of SA are administered either during or after a specific, simulated task and as such are limited in their applicability. To this end, a 20 item driving specific questionnaire was developed to record drivers’ self-reported levels of situation awareness in a driving context which has provided an original contribution to the field of SA in driving research. Despite the number of traffic accidents recorded each year, they are still, on a per driver basis, rare events and as such determining the effects of skill vs. style and SA factors can be a challenge. Near-misses (also referred to as near-accidents and close calls) have also been used in place of recorded accidents and as the frequency of near-misses while driving is much higher than actual accidents, should act as a useful proxy variable in place of them. The aim of Study One was to methodically determine culpability in drivers and investigate which factors best distinguish these culpable accident and near miss involved drivers from the non-culpable and non-involved drivers, once demographic and experience variables had been controlled for. Drivers were surveyed using online survey software and self-reported accident and near miss culpability was investigated using attribution theory. The results included an Exploratory factor Analysis (EFA) of the Driver Situation Awareness (DSA) questionnaire which identified four factors that distinguished drivers on the basis of their accident and near miss involvement. Culpable drivers were lower in self-reported attention, concentration and vigilance. Culpable drivers also reported worse driving styles and attitudes that favoured riskier driving behaviours, and were also high in extraversion. Study two was a follow up study which surveyed a sub set of drivers from Study one and the same factors of interest were investigated. The aims of Study Two were to investigate differences over time in the factors previously investigated in a subset of drivers from Study One, and to explore the accident and near miss history of the same drivers to see if the differences seen between these groups still existed on those same factors. The results revealed that those differences seen in Study One were not apparent in Study Two, most likely due to a much smaller sample size masking any significant effects. The primary aim of Study Three was to explore differences between accident involved drivers from Study Two on different types of hazard and their precursors on a driving simulator and recording eye movements. This was a replication and extension of the methodology of Crundall et al. (2012). The second aim investigated whether there were any differences between drivers on different types of hazard precursor when having previously been exposed to an active hazard of the same type. The third aim involved further validating the DSA on both objective and online measures of situation awareness, and to explore the contribution of the DSA in distinguishing drivers based on their accident involvement. While the results showed no differences between the driver groups on fixating the different types of hazard overall, non-accident involved drivers fixated on more behavioural predictor precursors than culpable drivers. Culpable drivers also fixated less on precursors following an active hazard of the same type. Finally, higher levels of attention and vigilance as measured by the DSA were related to fewer fixations on Dividing and Focusing precursors and faster fixations on Behavioural Predictor precursors. The results from these studies are discussed in light of current models of driving behaviour.
  • Human systems in motion: exploring the application of systemic ideas in teams navigating change

    Rød, Anne (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-10-17)
    This thesis explores how teams can constructively lead, be in and with, emergence and change, given the challenges they are faced with in today’s complex environment. By helping teams view change and changing as something that naturally occurs in their environments, combined with their own experience of change, the teams may approach, and be with change, in different ways. The title, ‘Human Systems in Motion’ speaks to the very essence of human existence; the transformational, relational and emerging nature of our beings. The target audience is leaders, teams and other practitioners in the organisational field offering an alternative approach to emergence and change processes. The research is situated in a social constructionist perspective foregrounding the meaningmaking and sense-making activities in the teams engaged with, and what awareness and possible responses and actions emerge from these. Social constructionism depicts the relational, also known as systemic processes, where the co- creation of reality is taking place inside the human interaction. Through a parallel autoethnographical account, I share my ‘come from place’ that has shaped the lens through which I – as a long-standing practitioner in the field of organisational change – view, approach and explore change in teams and organisations. It provides an overview of some of the main contributors to the theories of change to create an understanding of how change is often conducted in organisations today. Emergent approaches to the topic are explored through perspectives on systems and systemic thinking. It investigates the relevance of these ideas to teams in change, and also looks into some of the obstacles encountered in the face of emergence. The result is a model: The Wheel of Systemic Ideas. I follow three different teams, operating in different contexts but facing some kind of emerging change. Through Participatory Action Research sessions, the teams’ perception of, engagement with, and responses to, change are explored. The main and final part of the research engages the teams with the Wheel of Systemic Ideas. Each team explores its focus points in the change process, and to what extent the systemic ideas can facilitate the emerging change process. The research indicate that the model can be applied to different change topics and contexts, enabling conversations which break up binary thinking and the questions preferences for linear and normative approaches to change.
  • Adaptive application of forward error correction mechanism for reliable vehicle-to-vehicle communication

    Muhammad, Shehu Jabaka (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-10-12)
    Recently, the intelligent transportation system (ITS), which provides vehicles with the capabilities to cooperatively and wirelessly exchange messages to circumvent, for instance, hazardous motorway traffic circumstances, have attracted an enormous amount of attention in academia and the automotive industry. Moreover, vehicular adhoc networks (VANETs) are considered to be at the centre of ITS, owing to the recent demands to minimise the number of injuries leading to fatalities, loss of lives and finances, consequent to the increased number of accidents on the highways. However, VANETs have many challenges, among which is the need for timely, reliable and scalable message transmission. Solving these challenges will require a shared media access control (MAC) layer that will guarantee timely, reliable as well as scalable communication of safety messages. This research investigates the application of error correction coding for reliable transmission in VANETs. An adaptive application of Forward Error Code (Adaptive FEC scheme) for reliable safety message transmission in VANETs is proposed. The solution combined Automatic repeat request (ARQ) with FEC at the MAC layer. The Adaptive FEC scheme used the existing channel condition, an estimate of the maximum number of transmissions and message type as an index into the code lookup ensemble (CLE) to get the optimum code (optCode) for current transmission. Furthermore, the proposed Adaptive FEC scheme also sets the transmission timeout delay RTT, encodes the message with the optCode and transmits. However, if the transmission timeout delay elapses before receiving an ACK/NAK, the scheme will go back to the initial stage for possible retransmission of the message. In this solution each transmission is self-decodable. Although the proposed Adaptive FEC scheme has shown remarkable performance, it needs improvement to minimise the incurred overhead due to the collision effect of the retransmission requests. To overcome the weaknesses of the proposed Adaptive FEC scheme, an Adaptive FEC-based Timely and Efficient Multihop Broadcast (Adaptive FEC-based TEMB) scheme is proposed for Reliable Inter-Vehicular Communication. The Adaptive application of error control and the utilisation of dynamic transmission range reduces the hops count between faulty vehicle and other nearby vehicles in a region on the motorway. Furthermore, in order to mitigate the hidden and exposed node problems, which will minimise the rate of collision in the network, a novel request to transmit (RTT) and clear to transmit (CTT) mechanisms is designed for the Adaptive FEC-based TEMB. In addition, a pre-emptive queuing mechanism is developed and applied to give the highest priority to the safety critical messages. This enables faster safety message transmission between the source vehicle and the destination vehicles. On the other hand, in VANETs, designing an efficient media access protocol poses a major challenge, as the number of vehicles is not known before transmission and could not be bounded. Thus, the scalability of the MAC approach has a significant effect on the operation of vehicular communication. Therefore, an investigation was conducted into the scalability issue of 802.11p and compared with Self-Organised Time Division Multiple Access (STDMA), using time-triggered and event-triggered safety messages. The proposed solutions’ performance is clearly demonstrated through detailed theoretical analysis which was further validated by results of the simulation experiments. The results of the theoretical analysis and simulation experiments show that our proposed schemes mentioned above outperformed the existing related solutions.
  • Message layering: a grounded theory of overcoming message limitations in social media communication

    Ahmed, Sajeel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-04-12)
    Using the Grounded Theory research method, this research has explored various forms of social media communication, including emoticons, emoji, GIFs, stickers and hashtags. Further, this study has produced a theory of message layering in social media communication. This research was conducted on data consisting of social media comments, posts and conversations in the form of online observations, as well as recordings and transcripts collected, based on face-to-face interviews. Participants consisted of members of the general public who communicate on different social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The data was collected and analysed using classic Grounded Theory procedures and guidelines, comprising theoretical sensitivity, theoretical sampling and constant comparison, as well as substantive and theoretical coding. This study identifies that social media communication has various limitations and messages can be brief, ambiguous and lacking in structure. It is evident that the main concern of communicators (both senders and receivers) on social media is to overcome such message limitations. Further, this study explains the basic social psychological process of message layering. Message layering is a theory developed in this study and is characterised by its two sub-core categories of Message structuring and message regulating. Message structuring is about combining and toning to give structure to messages. Message regulating is about associating and fitting to give meaning. Through these means, communicators on social media are seen to process the main concern of overcoming message limitations. Message layering allows communicators to give structure and meaning to messages. Theoretical explanations show that clarity and confusion in understanding what the message indicates is a result of how senders and receivers structure and give meaning to messages. However, it is also identified that senders often structure and assign meaning to messages differently to the receivers of the same message. This thesis makes contributions to knowledge by offering a new perspective on looking at social media messages. It suggests new concepts of combining, selecting, classifying, toning, making connections, assuming positions, associating, recognising types, fitting, applying knowledge and lastly, presents a typology of social media communicators consisting of stranger corresponders, distant corresponders and close corresponders. Moreover, the theory of message layering has implications for practice. Current practices addressing social media communication consider social media messages based on general definitions and understanding of words and pictures only. However, the theory of message layering suggests the importance of considering social media messages from the perspectives of both senders and receivers and further considering the processes of how senders and receivers structure and ascribe meaning to messages.
  • Hybrid light field image super-resolution and interpolation method using multi-array cameras

    Farag, Saber (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-11-02)
    Recent advances in camera technologies have led to the design of plenoptic cameras. This camera type can capture multiple images of the same scene using arrays of microlenses, where each microlens has a shifted location providing a separate view of the scene. Such a design results in a superior performance, as compared to traditional cameras, enabling multi-view or multi-focal imaging captured in a single shot. However, the main drawback of the currently available plenoptic imaging technology is limited spatial resolution, which makes it difficult to use in applications where sharpness or high-resolution is essential, such as in the film industry. Although some previous attempts have addressed this issue, they were affected by high computational complexity as well as limited interpolation factor. To resolve this, a novel light field field hybrid super-resolution method is proposed which combines two traditional methods of multi image super-resolution and hybrid single image super-resolution to create hybrid super-resolution image for efficient application to plenoptic images. Furthermore, after this combination, the output of the hybrid super-resolution image is segmented into the objects of interest. Then, super-resolution reconstruction by sparse representation is applied to super resolve the segmented image. This technique helps to increase the resolution of light field images and maintain sharpness after super-resolution. Additionally, block matching super-resolution is proposed to provide a means of enhancement for the resolution of plenoptic images by developing corresponding super-resolution methods which exploit the disparity information, estimated from the light field images, to reduce the matching area in the super-resolution process. The proposed method is denoted as block matching super-resolution super-resolution. Following on, the proposed novel super-resolution method is combined with directionally adaptive image interpolation to preserve sharpness of the high-resolution images. In addition, light field digital refocusing with the proposed super-resolution approaches can be used to record the light field and provide maximum achievable resolution. With this simplification it is easy to explain the method of refocusing and the characteristics of the performance. The complexity of the standard light field camera configuration is also taken into account. The implemented super-resolution approaches that have been proposed are used to super resolve the ‘all-in-focus’ images. This research has narrowed the knowledge gap by creating a working super-resolution and interpolation application in order to allow higher quality to all light field images captured by plenoptic cameras. The significant advantage of this application for computer vision is the super-resolved micro images or the various angles available in a single light field super resolution image which allow depth estimation. Moreover, this research demonstrates a steady gain in the peak signal to noise ratio and structural similarity index quality of the super-resolved images for the resolution enhancement factor 8x8, as compared to the most recent approaches.

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