• Facilitating organisational creativity : exploring the contribution of psychological, social and organizational factors

      Loewenberger, Pauline Anne (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-12)
      Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century the economic downturn increases the significance of creativity and innovation to business success. As the seed of innovation or fuel for the innovation engine creativity is important throughout the process in distinguishing successful innovations. However, many organisations struggle to transform the rhetoric of creativity and innovation into reality because of a lack of understanding of what this means or how to achieve this. Fragmentation of existing research leads to ambiguous evidence with a danger of spurious relationships or confounding of factors that is inadequate to advance theoretical understanding and inform practice. This investigation provides a number of valuable contributions to overcome such limitations through systemic analysis of individual, social and organisational factors that support creativity based on a research strategy of multiple case studies and employing quantitative and qualitative techniques. Empirical investigation employing both the KEYS assessment of creative climate and personality characteristics is rare. Findings reinforce the contribution for four of five factors deemed most important to supporting creativity together with the Openness to Experience personality dimension. The presentation of a general linear model explains 47% variance based on Organisational Encouragement, Challenging Work, Work Group Support, Organisational Impediments, and Openness to Experience. Alternative models suggest Openness to experience moderates the significance of climate factors. For individuals very high on this personality dimension the interaction of Challenging Work and Work Group Support contributes 60% variance in creativity. Qualitative investigation extends the variance contributed by the general linear models to include the significance of shared understanding and meaning, the need for continuous active stimulation and supportive mechanisms, passion or love for one’s work and freedom to voice ideas. Finally, synthesis of creativity theories with HRM and HRD extend and advance theory and practice in a number of ways that have implications for the limitations of KEYS and for models of SHRM. Results extend existing knowledge and understanding of facilitation and implications are explored in-depth for organisations aspiring to creativity and innovation.
    • Factors affecting active participation in business-to-business online business communities

      Gharib, Rebwar Kamal (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-09)
      The aim of this research is to investigate factors affecting active participation in Business-to-Business Online Business Communities (B2B OBCs). The primary objective of the study was to develop a framework to better understand the important factors affecting members’ active participation behaviour in B2B OBCs. To achieve the main goal of this research, an integrated framework was developed underpinned by three well known theories: Uses and Gratification (U&G), Social Exchange (SET), and Information Systems Success Model (ISSM). A mixed method approach (partially mixed sequential dominant status design) was employed to answer the research question and achieve the objectives of the study. Accordingly, this study was carried out in two phases. During the first phase an exploratory study was carried out to further explore the framework. For that purpose semi-structured interviews with twelve members of B2B OBCs were conducted. The collected data was analysed using thematic analysis utilising NVIVO and this assisted in discovering another important factor ‘service quality’, which reflected on the moderator’s role inside B2B OBCs. Subsequently, service quality was added to the model. The exploratory study is also helped to develop a new measure for active participation in the context of B2B OBCs as this study was unable to adapt the measure for the construct from prior studies due to the discrepancy in the literature. In the second phase of the study, a quantitative approach (online questionnaires) was employed to test the developed framework. Using non-probability convenience sampling technique, 521 useable online questionnaires were collected from 41 B2B OBCs on LinkedIn. The collected data was then analysed using a second generation approach (SEM) utilising AMOS. During the data analysis, two U&G constructs (functional need and hedonic need) were found to have a positive impact on active participation. Yet, the direct association between psychological need and active participation was not significant. Nevertheless, the construct found to have a positive and indirect relationship with active participation. In addition, two of the SET constructs (reciprocity and affective commitment) were also found to have a positive association with active participation. Trusting beliefs was found to have no direct impact on active participation. Further analysis revealed that the relationship between the two construct was indirect via affective commitment. Furthermore, three factors that were identified under ISSM, information quality, system quality, and service quality, were also found to be the antecedent of trusting beliefs but they did not have a direct impact on active participation. Information quality and service quality were also found to have an indirect and positive impact on affective commitment and active participation. The analysis also revealed that members from different industry types had different participation behaviour in B2B OBCs. The research outcomes made several contributions to the literature. These include a new measure for active participation and service quality. This provides a new validated instrument for B2B OBC researchers to adapt in the future. Further, an integrated model for factors affecting active participation in B2B OBCs was developed. This also provides a foundation for future studies in the field. The final results of this study demonstrate the appropriateness and robustness of the developed model, and further suggests that any attempt to investigate members participation behaviour in B2B OBCs will be incomplete unless all three theories (U&G, SET, and ISSM) are cosnidered. Moreover, this study helped to extend the existing knowledge on Online Community (OC) defintions, OC taxonomies, OC commitment, and OC trust. Finally, the findings of this study propose several guidelines to assist B2B OBC providers to build and maintain successful communities.
    • Factors affecting employees’ organisational commitment for sustainability compliance in major UK food retailers

      Abro, Muhammad Tariq (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-07-21)
      Organisations have strategies and goals to run their businesses smoothly, but in most cases, their strategies are not appropriately implemented leading to non-achievement of their goals. Strategies require the support of individuals within an organisation to achieve organisational goals. The literature has illustrated some examples where employees at middle management and operational levels, are seen as important in achieving the organisational goals that are planned at the strategic level. Employees at middle management and operational levels are considered the most significant for compliance with organisational sustainability strategies. Compliance with sustainability strategy in food retailers is interdependent; an individual’s commitment and performance can affect other members’ performance or endanger the entire sustainability strategy, as every individual is indispensable. This study examines the factors affecting employees’ organisational commitment for compliance of sustainability and food safety strategy in major UK food retailers. This thesis aimed to develop a research model about sustainability compliance through employees’ organisational commitment. It examined the influencing factors, such as moral hazards, goal conflict, information asymmetry, information sharing, trust, incentives, and CSR practices. Also, it explained how these factors influence employees’ organisational commitment which leads to environmental and food strategy compliance. The current study is based on the empirical data collected from two major food retailers in the UK. Also, it identified the relationships and their influence on employees’ organisational commitment. These factors are drawn from a proposed model, and eight hypotheses were developed for investigation. Results suggested that employees’ organisational commitment can influence and has a significant positive relationship with sustainability compliance; furthermore, it emerged as indispensable for sustainability compliance. This study has implications and recommendations for the food retailers, particularly Tesco and Sainsbury to enhance employees’ commitment to achieving their sustainability goals. The above considerations are reflected in the following objectives: 1. To examine the factors and their impact on employees organisational commitment in major UK food retailers. 2. To establish a relationship between the factors and compliance as suggested in the proposed model and related hypotheses. 3. To offer significant findings and implications for research and practice regarding sustainability and food safety strategy compliance in major UK food retailers. 4. To develop a model of sustainability and food safety strategy compliance in major UK food retailers. Based on previous research and agency theory, eight hypotheses are developed and tested in this thesis using a quantitative approach. A questionnaire is developed and sent out to 405 employees of Tesco and Sainsbury’s; 198 responses were received. Partial Least Squares – Structural Equation Modelling is used for hypothesis testing. The study results support seven out of eight hypothesised relationships. Supported hypotheses are; goal conflict has a negative relationship with employees’ organisational commitment. Information asymmetry has a negative relationship with employees’ organisational commitment. Information sharing has a positive relationship with employees’ organisational commitment. Trust has a positive relationship with employees’ organisational commitment. Incentives have a positive relationship with employees’ organisational commitment. CSR practices have a positive relationship with employees’ organisational commitment. Organisational commitment has a positive relationship with the compliance of strategic sustainability strategy. However, a negative relationship of moral hazards having with employees’ organisational commitment is unsupported. Furthermore, the results suggest that employees’ organisational commitment can influence and has a significant positive relationship with sustainability compliance. Possible explanations of the hypotheses are discussed in the results. This study examines sustainability compliance empirically. This research provided a model based on the empirical evidence which is an addition to the existing literature. It provides a rare example of an investigation that incorporates commitment for compliance of sustainability and food safety strategies with the use of agency theory. This study used PLS-SEM that has the potential to test the relationships in a complex model. Also, it provides guidance to the focused organisation related in the areas such as hygiene food handling, job satisfaction, incentives, information sharing for enhancing employees’ organisational commitment for sustainability compliance. The findings can be useful for others in the food sectors and in food-related environments. Keywords: Influencing factors, sustainability compliance, CSR, food retailers and employees’ organisational commitment.
    • Factors influencing reading difficulties of advanced learners of English as a Foreign Language when reading authentic texts

      Masuhara, Hitomi (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-04)
      This thesis investigates factors influencing the reading difficulties of advanced learners of English as a foreign language. It proposes a new approach to reading research and pedagogy in which neuroscientific insights on human verbal and non-verbal cognition are incorporated into the theoretical conceptualisation. This thesis explores the neurosdentific literature for the purpose of identifying basic principles governing human perception, emotion and cognition. The mechanisms of learning and memory are also studied. It examines how the verbal systems of the brain interact with the non-verbal systems. Making use of neural perspectives, a critical review of historical and of current reading models is conducted. Attempts are made to provide alternative interpretations for the phenomena recognised in empirical studies based on observations of reading behaviours, on computer-based studies and on the introspective data of experts and of learners. This thesis reports two experiments which were designed to investigate the Ll and L2 reading processes through Think Aloud, Immediate Retrospection, Questionnaires and Interviews. The results indicate that advanced learners, despite their established reading ability in their native languages, often rely heavily on cognitive and studial styles of L2 reading which inhibit fluent and effective reading. Neural accounts are offered which suggest that the ineffective reading styles are due to weakness in the degree of neural developments. This thesis evaluates the reading sections of current and typical coursebooks according to neural-based criteria and concludes that learners are not being given the opportunities to develop the neural networks required in fluent and enjoyable reading. Finally suggestions are made for future reading research and pedagogy.
    • Factors influencing the performance of tour guides in Thailand

      Khornjamnong, Butsakorn; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      The purpose of this study is to critically evaluate the performance of tour guides in Thailand and their impact on the tourist experience. The research objectives include a: review of the literature on service quality and tour guide performance; a survey of tourists’ expectations and satisfaction with tour guides in Thailand; a critical evaluation of tour operators’ and tourists’ perspectives on the variables that constitute a high standard of performance for tour guides; analysing how the performance of tour guides influences the experiences of foreign tourists; and understanding the attributes of tour guides that influence the satisfaction of foreign tourists. The sample in this research comprised 400 tourists in Thailand who were currently on or had previously been on a group package tour in Thailand within the past two years. The survey took place in 2014 between January 1 and July 31and was conducted in the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. A convenience sampling technique was utilised, with respondents being requested to provide a range of demographic variables. Descriptive analyses of these variables were conducted to examine tourists’ demographic profiles in order to understand tourists’ characteristics and their behaviours. The results of the questionnaires were analysed using statistical methods including factor, regression and multivariate analyses. Based on the results, a tour guide service quality evaluating model (TGSQEM) was developed, composed of eight dimensions: reliability (informative); personal traits; empathy1 (service-oriented mind); assurance1 (knowledgeable); professionalism; attitude; assurance2 (able to generate an atmosphere of trust); and empathy. The results identified the various factors that affect tour guide performance whilst enhancing the understanding of the perceptions of tourists’ expectations of tour guide performance and associated service quality. Using quantifiable data, these were then calculated and plotted into a graph utilising the Important Performance Analysis (IPA) technique. This investigation of the variables that influence the service quality performance of tour guides in Thailand has subsequently been used to create a theoretical framework that can be utilized to enhance the service quality of tour guides and contribute to a more successful tourism industry in Thailand. The development of this model represents a furthering of the knowledge about the performance of tour guides and, whilst constituted in a specific cultural context, it is envisaged that it would have generic transferability to tour guiding elsewhere.
    • Fairytale women: gender politics in Soviet and post-Soviet animated adaptations of Russian national fairytales

      Fadina, Nadezda (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-01)
      Despite the volume of research into fairytales, gender and ideology in media studies, the specific subject of animated adaptations of national fairytales and their role in constructing gender identities remains a blind spot at least in relation to non-Western and non-Hollywood animation. This study addresses the gap by analysing animated adaptations of Russian national fairytales in Soviet and post-Soviet cinema and television. It does so as a tool through which to approach the gender politics of the dominant ideologies in national cinema and also, though to a lesser extent, in television. One of the key perspectives this research adopts concerns the reorganization of the myths of femininity, as stored in ‘national memory’ and transferred through the material of national fairytales produced during a century-long period. By providing a detailed critical treatment of animated adaptations of Russian magic fairytales, this research examines the interaction between the cinematic versions of the national fairytales and the representation of female characters on screen. It draws on a range of feminist theoretical approaches on media representation. By performing a systematic study of the under-researched field, through a combination of qualitative and empirical analysis, the work demonstrates how totalitarian regimes and new democratic societies implicitly control gender constructions in similar ways, and specifically through the animated versions of national fairytale adaptations. The research identifies how the constructions of femininity are manipulated through the reshaping of the national past coded in the ancient folkloric narratives. The findings of the study reveal the principles on which the implicit patriarchal gender politics is based. These principles include the conservative choice of fairytale material adapted to the screen, the reactionary increase of production of animated fairytales targeted against liberalisation, the exclusion and reconstruction of strong matriarchal fairytale female characters, stereotypical representation of selected female characters, and normalisation of domestic violence. In so doing the study identifies a weakness in the existing scholarly discourse on ideology, which traditionally has claimed that Soviet animation was non-violent. Further, the study establishes the constructions of national memory and female identity as a part of the dominant cinematic discourses.
    • Family systemic therapy in the home : reigniting the fire

      Jude, Julia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013)
      The current models that we use in systemic family therapy came out of office/clinic-based practice. To date, there is no model specifically orientated to systemic family therapy in the home. As a systemic family therapist, I argue that non-traditional approaches may need to be considered; and that systemic family therapy models should come closer to reflecting discourses that have shades of global influences. My interest in the area emerged from a position of ignorance – making assumptions that the tools used in the clinic could easily be colonised into a family’s home – but I found that the models often used in the clinic do not necessarily transfer easily into the home. an adaptation of a systematic review was conducted that undermined the notion that therapists are ‘knowing’ with particular skill and competency to work in the home. I ask the question: How do I improve upon my systemic family therapy practice to work in families’ homes? African oral traditional ideas (AOTI) are broadly explored to consider the notion of self and bod􀀐ily feelings as a source of knowledge. Through the use of AOTI I created an approach known as Seselelame, foregrounding a new practice stemming from ideas that are not home grown within the systemic family therapy perspectives, to support my practice within the home. the inquiry offers the following contribution of new knowledge to family systemic therapy: conceptualization of a method (Seselelame) that incorporates the idea of self in the context of awareness of feelings in the body; a method that incorporates African oral traditional ideas and thus expanded the traditional Western view of family/systemic therapy; contextualization of the significance of home as a source of knowledge; the Seselelame model was used as an analytical tool alongside a systemic constructionist analytical model to compare and contrast the data produced. The findings conclude that the inquiry has implications for the practice and teaching of systemic family therapy, which will eventually be published once the thesis is completed.
    • Fast fashion: the dynamic capabilities underlying project management in the UK fashion industry SMEs

      Godhania, Sonal Arjun (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-04)
      The UK Fashion Industry (FI) is both volatile and fast-changing. Notably, the clothing and jewellery industry contributes £16 billion annually to the UK’s revenues. However, small and medium-sized (SMEs) fashion companies are stressed to survive the harsh global competition. The companies have to manage their routine projects, thinking constantly about keeping their market position and how to develop further in their industry. Thus, the FI requires an in-depth understanding of the success factors to survive in this competitive marketplace. A detailed literature review has been conducted to discover the background of the FI and also to understand the basic requirements of daily operations and strategies used for development and growth. As there is not much empirical study available in the area of FI, a qualitative exploratory study has been chosen as the research methodology for this particular research. A multiple case studies approach was chosen to cover eight case studies located in Leicester, Luton and London. The study is interpretative and social constructionism is its philosophical approach; and hence, the context of the study has to be interpreted in its own ethnographical setting, why and how participants construct the meaning of project management (PM). This data triangulation provided the study qualitative credibility of the findings. The data analysis found four main themes, comprising fifteen sub-themes. ‘PM capabilities’ is the most important theme for completing the daily routine operations; these are also highly utilised in the UK FI SMEs. ‘Sensing new opportunities’ is the second important theme for advancing further; these are utilised by SMEs to remain up-to-date with the market environment. ‘Manufacturing capabilities’ is the third theme found helping SMEs with their routine manufacturing base in the UK: how they extended their trade through manufacturing. ‘Jewellery industry (JI) capabilities’ is the fourth theme helping the JI to outsource and deal with trust and relations in their trade. The study contributes to the UK FI SMEs by suggesting Dynamic Project Management (DPM) approaches specific to each industry, namely, the clothing, jewellery and designer industries. Research findings also suggest that new dynamic strategies need to be sensed, adopted and learned for the development and survival of these SMEs. The benchmarking tool, provided through status categories, will guide any company in the FI to compare its progress and take steps for further development. PM tools and techniques suggested for use by these FI SMEs will also help them with further improvement in project operations.
    • The feasibility and acceptability of a stigma protection intervention designed to improve the mental health of parents and carers of autistic children

      Lodder, Annemarie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      Background: Stigma is prominent in the lives of autistic children and their families, and a systematic literature review found that autism-related stigma contributes significantly to poorer mental health among parents. Parents are also at risk of internalising the stigma directed at their child, which further exacerbates poor well-being. Interventions that focus on the mental health of parents of autistic children are sparse, and there are currently no interventions available that help parents cope with autism-related stigma as well as prevent the internalisation of stigma. An intervention that is evidenced to improve mental health in part through increasing resistance to stigma will be of substantial benefit to families and, ultimately, their children. Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to develop a stigma protection intervention aiming to improve the mental health of parents of autistic children, and to evaluate its feasibility and acceptability. The secondary aim was to explore the preliminary impact of the intervention on the mental health of the parents. Methods: The Medical Research Council’s guidelines for developing complex interventions were used as a framework for the research. Evidence from multiple sources was synthesised to produce an eight week blended (face-to-face and online) psychosocial intervention titled ‘SOLACE’. A randomised controlled trial was carried out comparing parents allocated to the SOLACE group (n=9) with those allocated to a control group (n=8) (no intervention). Mixed methods were employed to investigate feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes. Recruitment and retention rates, missing data and adverse events were recorded to assess feasibility. A qualitative focus group was conducted to evaluate the acceptability of the intervention and outcome measures. Outcomes were measured at three time points: baseline, post-intervention and at six weeks follow-up. The primary outcome of interest was mental health (MHI-5). Other outcomes of interest included measures of courtesy stigma, self-stigma, self-esteem, positive meaning in caregiving, self-blame, self-compassion, social support, and social isolation. Results: Recruitment rates were lower than anticipated, yet the retention rates were excellent, with no dropouts and minimal missing data. Attendance rates were particularly high for this population, with 80% of parents attending more than 50% of the sessions. The findings of the qualitative evaluation showed that SOLACE was acceptable to parents and that the combination of online and face to face delivery worked well. Quantitative analysis revealed that mental health scores had significantly improved for those who took part in SOLACE compared to no significant changes for control group participants. In addition, changes in secondary outcome measures were in favour of SOLACE. Conclusions: A stigma protection intervention that improves the mental health of parents and carers of autistic children in an acceptable and feasible way has been produced and evidenced for the first time. A number of recommendations are made for future use in a larger, powered trial. The knowledge derived from this thesis may be used to help inform future service provision for parents and shape future autism policy so that the importance of stigma in relation to parent mental health and their caregiving role is emphasised.
    • Feasibility of MyHealthAvatar mobile phone application for reducing prolonged sedentary behaviour in Type 2 diabetes

      Mugridge, Lucie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-07)
      Objective: Time spent in a prolonged sedentary state can have detrimental health effects in people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of a mobile phone app, MyHealthAvatar, for reducing prolonged sedentary behaviour in people with T2DM. Methods: Twelve individuals with recently diagnosed T2DM were randomised to either an intervention or control group for 8 weeks. The intervention group utilised the app for 8 weeks and the control group continued their normal behaviour. Physical activity and sitting were measured at baseline and during the last intervention week. Health measures were taken at baseline and post-intervention. Semi-structured interviews were carried out post-intervention to gain participant feedback on the usability of the app. Results: The intervention group decreased total sedentary time by 50.52 minutes/day and increased number of breaks from sedentary time by 4.08 breaks per day, standing time by 41.76 minutes/day and light physical activity by 5.28 minutes/day from baseline to post-intervention compared to the control group. Conclusion: MyHealthAvatar has the potential to reduce prolonged sedentary behaviour in individuals with T2DM. The effectiveness of this app requires investigation in a fully powered randomised controlled trial.
    • Feature based dynamic intra-video indexing

      Asghar, Muhammad Nabeel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-09)
      With the advent of digital imagery and its wide spread application in all vistas of life, it has become an important component in the world of communication. Video content ranging from broadcast news, sports, personal videos, surveillance, movies and entertainment and similar domains is increasing exponentially in quantity and it is becoming a challenge to retrieve content of interest from the corpora. This has led to an increased interest amongst the researchers to investigate concepts of video structure analysis, feature extraction, content annotation, tagging, video indexing, querying and retrieval to fulfil the requirements. However, most of the previous work is confined within specific domain and constrained by the quality, processing and storage capabilities. This thesis presents a novel framework agglomerating the established approaches from feature extraction to browsing in one system of content based video retrieval. The proposed framework significantly fills the gap identified while satisfying the imposed constraints of processing, storage, quality and retrieval times. The output entails a framework, methodology and prototype application to allow the user to efficiently and effectively retrieved content of interest such as age, gender and activity by specifying the relevant query. Experiments have shown plausible results with an average precision and recall of 0.91 and 0.92 respectively for face detection using Haar wavelets based approach. Precision of age ranges from 0.82 to 0.91 and recall from 0.78 to 0.84. The recognition of gender gives better precision with males (0.89) compared to females while recall gives a higher value with females (0.92). Activity of the subject has been detected using Hough transform and classified using Hiddell Markov Model. A comprehensive dataset to support similar studies has also been developed as part of the research process. A Graphical User Interface (GUI) providing a friendly and intuitive interface has been integrated into the developed system to facilitate the retrieval process. The comparison results of the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) shows that the performance of the system closely resembles with that of the human annotator. The performance has been optimised for time and error rate.
    • Feature learning for EEG-based person identification

      Nyah, Ndifreke Okon (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-04)
      Evoked potentials recorded on a multielectrode EEG device are known to be a ected by volume conductance and functional connectivity while a task is performed by a person. Modelling functional connectivity represents neural interactions between electrodes which are distinguishable and genetically identical. However, the representations that are caused by volume conductance are not distinguishable because of unwanted correlations of the signal. Orthogonalisation using autoregressive modelling minimises the conductance component, and the connectivity features can be then extracted from the residuals. The proposed method shows it is possible to reduce the multidimensionality of the predicted AR model coe cients by modelling the residual from the EEG electrode channel baseline, which makes an important contribution to the functional connectivity. The results show that the required models can be learnt by Machine Learning techniques which are capable of providing the maximal performance in the case of multidimensional EEG data. The proposed method was able to learn accurate identification with few EEG recording channels, especially when the channel that is used has a functional connectivity with the interactive task. The study, which has been conducted on a EEG benchmark including 109 participants, shows a signi cant improvement of the identi cation accuracy.
    • Feature technology and its applications in computer integrated manufacturing

      Ding, Lian (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003-09)
      Computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) has been a focal research area for the manufacturing industry. Genuine CAD/CAM integration is necessary to make products of higher quality with lower cost and shorter lead times. Although CAD and CAM have been extensively used in industry, effective CAD/CAM integration has not been implemented. The major obstacles of CAD/CAM integration are the representation of design and process knowledge and the adaptive ability of computer aided process planning (CAPP). This research is aimed to develop a feature-based CAD/CAM integration methodology. Artificial intelligent techniques such as neural networks, heuristic algorithms, genetic algorithms and fuzzy logics are used to tackle problems. The activities considered include: 1) Component design based on a number of standard feature classes with validity check. A feature classification for machining application is defined adopting ISO 10303-STEP AP224 from a multi-viewpoint of design and manufacture. 2) Search of interacting features and identification of features relationships. A heuristic algorithm has been proposed in order to resolve interacting features. The algorithm analyses the interacting entity between each feature pair, making the process simpler and more efficient. 3) Recognition of new features formed by interacting features. A novel neural network-based technique for feature recognition has been designed, which solves the problems of ambiguity and overlaps. 4) Production of a feature based model for the component. 5) Generation of a suitable process plan covering selection of machining operations, grouping of machining operations and process sequencing. A hybrid feature-based CAPP has been developed using neural network, genetic algorithm and fuzzy evaluating techniques.
    • Feminine identity as the site of struggle: the confrontation of different models of femininity in contemporary Spanish cinema directed by women (1990-2005)

      García-López, Ana (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-08)
      The last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented incorporation of women within the Spanish film industry. This is part of a general increase in newcomers since the beginning of the 1990s, when the industry was undergoing a deep restructuring. The media has celebrated this incorporation of women filmmakers, recurrently referring to their different sensibility, a feminine perspective noticeable in their films. Despite the socio-cultural interest of this incorporation, no thorough study of their work has been completed. This research project surveys the extent and scope of these women's incorporation within the industry, and explores the varied ways that their films engage with the main discursive trends that define femininity in Spanish cinema and mass media. Femininity is broadly understood here as the socio-cultural interpretations of what constitutes 'correct womanhood', but, also, discursively: as the space of struggle wherein individual (fictional) women engage with these constructions, by contesting and / or adopting some of their elements. Further attention is given to the ways that these new filmmakers's films engage with traditional and modern formulations of femininity, as articulated in implicit relation to, respectively, Francoism and postfeminism. In the core chapters, several detailed analyses are given of especially relevant films by these women, using a critical discourse analysis approach. These chapters address topics that are foregrounded in these women’s films and that have been central to feminine experience, namely: the family and motherhood, romanticism and sexuality, and the ‘Other’. From the study it emerges that these women’s films adopt a different perspective if only because they often render visible discriminatory behaviours (e.g. discrimination at work) and representational practices (e.g. the sexual objectification of women). Regarding their treatment of the aforementioned ‘feminine themes’ (i.e. family and romanticism), these filmmakers self-consciously engage with the conventions that have constructed femininity in the media.
    • Field and experimental studies of pyroclastic density currents and their associated deposits

      Ritchie, Lucy Jane (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2001-07)
      The transport and emplacement mechanisms of the highly energetic pyroclastic density current (PDC) generated in the blast style eruption of Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, on 26 December 1997 are examined through detailed lithological mapping and sedimentological analysis of the deposits. The PDC formed deposits which range in grain size from coarse breccias to fine ash, with distinctive bipartite layering and well-developed grading and stratification. On a large scale the PDC was highly erosive, sculpting large bedforms and depositing relatively thin deposits. However, locally, centimetre scale topographic protuberances were responsible for significant variations in deposit thickness, grain size, and the development of dune bedforms. The strong lateral and vertical lithofacies variations are attributed to well-developed density stratification, which formed during explosive expansion of the dome prior to PDC formation. Experimental modelling of stratified inertial gravity currents was carried out to investigate the effects of density stratification prior to release of the current. The degree of stratification governs the rate of mixing in the current, which in turn influences the velocity. Well·stratified currents initially move faster than homogenous currents but are slower in the latter stages of current propagation. The results have important implications for deposition from particle-laden flows, which may become stratified with coarser material concentrated at the base of the current. The role of PDCs jn the formation of unit US2-B, emplaced during the Upper Scoriae 2 eruption (79± 8 ka) on Santorini, Greece, was investigated through sedimentological analysis and mapping. Proximally, the unit exhibits features characteristic of emplacement from a flow, such as thickening into palaeochannels and erosive basal contacts. Distally, the unit is of uniform thickness and grain size parameters suggest the deposit is more characteristic of exnplacement from a fallout mechanism. Discrete lenses of fine-grained material within US2-B, and a gradational upper contact with PDC deposits suggest that there may have been contemporaneous deposition resulting the development of a hybrid deposit.
    • Football fandom: football fan identity and identification at Luton Town Football Club

      Jones, Ian (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-08)
      This study examines football fan identity and identification within the Nationwide football league in England. A preliminary examination of the literature concludes that research on fan identity with sports teams in general, focuses primarily upon the behavioural consequences of fan identification. More specific research on the football fan concentrates predominantly upon either the F.A. Premier League or the deviant fan. The research thus attempts to fill a void in knowledge by examining football fan identification of fans of less successful football teams, using a social identity theory framework. Employing a mixed-methods research design, and an embedded case study approach, the study investigates those factors that influence fan identification at Luton Town Football Club. Methods used were those of observation/participant observation, a large scale fan survey, and indepth semi-structured interviews with fans. As part of the fan survey, the sport spectator identification scale (Wann and Branscombe, 1993), revealed a fan population that was highly identified with Luton Town. Levels of fan identification were similar across age, gender, and length of support of the club. Subsequent survey and interview data allowed six themes related to this fan identification to emerge: these being the extent of fan identification; the antecedents of fan identification; the maintenance of fan identification; the effects of fan identification upon behaviour; the influence of the cultural identity within which fan identities are enacted; and the relationship between the fan and the football club. Analysis of these themes yields a model of football fan identification which can be adapted to fans of other football clubs, or fans within other contexts. It was concluded that whenever such identification provides positive social and psychological consequences for fans, levels of identification with the club remain high. For these fans, it is the process of identification with the club that is the most important component of fandom. By contrast, where the individual derives fewer benefits from fandom, identification remains low. For such less identified fans, other factors, such as the quality of facilities or team performance, become more meaningful. The findings from the study indicate that social identity theory is an appropriate framework with which to explore the concept of football fan identification.
    • Formalising ambush marketing as a marketing communications activity: a framework for planning, implementation and control

      Abbasi, Mohammad Waqar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-06)
      The UK is reporting record numbers of television and digital audiences of international sports broadcasts. Sponsoring these events represents highly lucrative and sought after opportunities for brands to reach these large audience numbers. However the immense costs of organising these events mean that the costs of such sponsorships are also immense. Therefore these sponsorship opportunities are accessible only to large multinational and global brands. Ambush marketing represents an alternative approach whereby brands can participate in marketing communication activities similar to sponsors without becoming official sponsors. Ambushers have to develop creative and imaginative campaigns to emulate sponsors without infringing on their rights. The aim of this study is to conceptualise the operational aspects of ambush marketing from the perspective of ambushers. It explores ambushing as an alternative strategic marketing communications activity to corporate sponsorship of sports. A systematic literature review has been conducted to discover the background and development of ambush marketing and ascertain the gap in research by comparing the extant research on ambush marketing to corporate sponsorship of sports. Where there is saturation in empirical consumer oriented research on brand recognition and recall, there is no research on the planning, development and implementation of ambush marketing or the day to day operations and strategies involved in ambushing sports. Furthermore research has so far not involved actual ambushers. In order to fulfil this gap, an exploratory, qualitative study has been designed. A single case study strategy has been applied with eight embedded units of analysis represented by eight actual ambushers of recent UK sports broadcasts. Participants in this unprecedented study are senior marketing and management officials of these companies. The study is interpretative with an ideographic philosophical stance allowing the exploration of UK ambush marketing within its own ethnographic context. A number of reliability and validity measures have been incorporated in the research design. The analysis of data in the form of interviews, documents and multimedia content found six main themes with a number of subthemes regarding the decision, planning and implementation of ambush marketing campaigns. These six themes are decision making, objective setting, developing ambush strategies, targeting ambush audiences, ambush expenditure and ambush outcomes. They represent sequential individual stages in the organisational process of ambush marketing found to be common in all participating companies. This study contributes to potential UK ambushers by providing a standardised approach to ambushing international sports broadcasts specifically from the industries represented by the participants, namely the betting industry and the food and beverage industry. Research also highlights the changing nature of ambush marketing from the traditional parasitic image to a contemporary image as a parallel, mutually beneficial activity. The benchmarking tool represented by the diagrammatic framework of the ambush marketing process will allow ambushers to chart their progress against a standardised approach while highlighting contemporary and innovative ideas and ways to avoid illegal and unethical practices. Lastly this study contributes to future research in ambush marketing by demonstrating that direct ambush marketer involvement is possible and making specific and valuable recommendations for further study.
    • Fragile learning

      Mathew, David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016)
      A critical exploration of seven peer-reviewed published papers supports the author’s contention that learning in Higher Education is a fragile system of conscious and unconscious transactions that serve to weaken a process that is already precarious. Over the course of this essay and the accompanying papers, the submission is that learning is brittle, and easily broken. The Fragile Learner is described as someone close to conceding defeat to circumstances that threaten his education. The Fragile Learner might be a student of a Higher Education Institution, but also might be an appointed educator. Alongside notions of barriers to learning, this submission explores identities and tensions. Although some of the ideas that make up my picture of Fragile Learning have been researched by other contributors (notably Meyer and Land; Britzman), my own contribution sees the complexities through various psychoanalytic lenses. Fundamentally, it is the addition of psychoanalysis that makes Fragile Learning original. It is argued that anxiety is an important part of adult learning. Fragile Learners might experience anxieties that are internal and complex but which appear to be attacks from other people. Alternatively, Fragile Learning might be a consequence of learners having suffered illness or indisposition. It is important that something can be blamed. The themes of fragility and anxiety – not to mention the difficulties that arise from distance learning – are present throughout.
    • A framework for assessing the impact of investment in human capital development on organisational performance

      Iqbal, Naveed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-09)
      This thesis aims to empirically examine the impact of investing in human capital development on organisational performance. It examines the relevant literature on human resource accounting and human capital development from different methodological strands and synthesises its findings in the development of a new theoretical framework. The literature review points out the challenges that remain to enterprises in quantifying and measuring the benefits of human capital development. The proposed framework takes into account those conceptual aspects of human resource accounting that how investment in human capital development can be measured to investigate the financial returns for organisations. The said framework also considers various contextual contingent factors that lead to a higher level of human resource sophistication and consequently which could affect the organisational performance. On the basis of relationships predicated between the key constructs of the theoretical model, a list of hypotheses is developed. The research methodology adopted by the researcher is based on the ideology of objectivism. It adopts a functionalist paradigm and a set of philosophical assumptions related to realism, positivism, determinism and nomotheticism. Its approach is deductive in terms of theory testing, employs the survey as its primary research strategy and uses mainly quantitative and partially qualitative methods of data collection. It adopts a cross-sectional time horizon and seeks to be exploratory and explanatory in nature. The main sample is comprised of 320 leading manufacturing organisations in Pakistan. A self-administered questionnaire is designed to collect data from human resource managers or individuals dealing with human resource development within the Pakistani manufacturing enterprises. SPSS-19 and SmartPLS packages are employed to analyse the quantitative data. Partial least squares method of structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) is adopted for the testing of hypotheses. The study’s quantitative results provide an evidence of association between investment in the development of human capital and the benefits to organisations. Furthermore, organisations that invest in training and development programmes have high employee productivity which ultimately contributes towards high organisational performance. The qualitative results help in identifying the major problems faced by management of the Pakistani manufacturing organisation in evaluating investments in HCD and their impact on organisational performance. This research is a pioneer work in Pakistan and thereby contributes to the existing global literature on management accounting in general and on human resource accounting in particular.
    • A framework for e-government success from the user’s perspective

      Almalki, Obaid (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-09)
      This thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of e-government portal success by developing a e-government success framework from a user’s perspective. The proposed framework is underpinned by relevant theories, such as DeLone and McLean’s IS success model, the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), self-efficacy theory and trust. The culture aspect has also been taken into consideration by adopting personal values theory introduced by Schwartz (1992). Three data collection methods were used. First, an exploratory study was carried to explore the main aspects and factors for understanding e-government systems success. Second, a Delphi study was conducted to investigate which of the ten value types are particularly relevant to success or have a significant impact. Third, a survey-based study was carried out to validate empirically the proposed theoretical framework. Results of the exploratory study helped to identify the potential success factors of e-government systems. The results of the Delphi study suggest that four of the ten values, namely self-direction, stimulation, security, and tradition, most likely affect e-government portal success. Structural equation modelling techniques were applied to test the research model using a large-scale survey. The findings of hypothesis testing suggested that e-government portal success (i.e. net benefit) was directly affected by actual use and user satisfaction and indirectly affect by a number of factors concerning system quality, service quality, information quality, perceived risk, and computer self-efficacy. By combining IS success model and TAM, this study found system quality, information quality and service quality affected the perceived ease of us, but service quality had no effect on perceived usefulness. However, perceived risk seemed to have no effect on attitudes towards using, but very small negative effect on perceived usefulness. Users’ computer skills was found to have no effect on perceived ease of use and very small effect on perceived usefulness. These indicate that risk and IT skills are playing less significant role in the context of e-government. The research findings confirmed that adoption was not equivalent to success, but it was the necessary precondition to success. In the personal values-attitude-behaviour model, the empirical evidence suggested that Conservation affects attitude towards use which, in turn, affects behavioural intention to re-use. Openness to change had no effect on attitude toward using. The findings provide important implications for e-government research and practice.